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  • Al Painter BA, NASM-CPT, PES, CES, TRX Qualified


Life used to be normal. It used to have meaning. It was something I regularly enjoyed. Until I got a fitness tracker.

I used to think they were just glorified pedometers and nothing more. Little did I know about the seedy fitness underbelly that came with them. Its a whole different world. We’re talking an intervention worthy one that you can check out of, but never leave.

I don’t know if I spent more time studying in college or the week I scoured the internet searching for the “best fitness trackers.” I poured over umpteen posts trying to choose which tracker I’d give my rose to. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

I suddenly found myself in a virtual candy store with $200 dollars in my pocket. And. The. Entire. Store. Was. Mine.


I found trackers that told you when to move, ones that crushed your self esteem telling you that you haven’t, ones that tracked your heart rate around the clock, models that calculated your heart rate variability, helped you monitor how many calories crushed in a day and even ones that told you how you slept (sadly, there was no option for “with my eyes closed.” HAY OHHHH! I’ll be here all week.).

I started with a Fitbit Charge HR and the story unfolded from there. Once I realized I wanted a few more features than what it offered, I was once again on a search for the precious. Six trackers later, I found the one to give my rose to, the Garmin vivofit 2 because of its back lit always on display, HR tracking capabilities and activity timer.

The recipient of my rose, the Garmin vivofit 2.

Does this make sense? Only to the senseless.

Not even Dr Phil, Ann Landers or my 6th grade math teacher could explain this. Well, they probably could pretty quickly with this simple formula:

(Al + Shiny Tech Toys) x Effective Marketing divided by “Its totally job research” = HOW DO THEY HAVE MORE STEPS THAN I DO!!

What better way to gauge my exercise than with quantifiable fitness? Or is it “certifiable” fitness???

I used to walk to get from point A to point B. Once I put a tracker on my wrist, that all changed. Every person I saw walking down the street became a carrot on a virtual stick. It was PASS OR BE PASSED BABY!

You think Frodo was on a mission to get to Mordor? That was a casual stroll compared to what I stepped into (see what I did there?). The daily quest for steps was a lot like this if I was down steps regardless of how cooked my body was. SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!! There are self esteem boosting badges to earn!

Here’s what it came down to:

“You want to go to New York? WE SHOULD TOTALLY WALK!”

“You want me to walk a mile in your shoes? Hmmm, I wonder how many steps that is.”

“We need to go to the 174th floor? We should take the stairs. C’mon, it will be fun!”

And quite possibly, the absolute worst thing that can happen to an owner of a fitness tracker:


Luckily, there was a light at the end of quantified fitness tunnel. Which had to come with steps as you walked through it, right?

Personal Growth Has Been Obtained, All is Right in My Wearable World Once Again

After a few weeks of trying to accumulate enough steps to walk to Venus, all was set right with my wearable world. I realized it was time to stop walking for a world fitness tracker championship (which would be televised on ESPN the Ocho btw) and start living again.

Oh sure, I still take walks, but I no longer use them to validate my existence based on the amount of steps taken. That is some serious personal growth my friends.

My tracker is now a tool used to track my workouts to get heart rate readings to regulate intensity levels based on that day’s HRV score. It is a much smoother process that doesn’t shatter my ego when I don’t get 87,908 steps a day like the “Cyborg” did to me in a challenge. Convincing all involved that this person had to be some kind of terminator sent back in time to steal people’s steps. Yes, that can totally happen.

The moral if this fitness tech tawdry tale? You got me because “Caffeinated Thoughts + Keyboard = Prose” is how this one unfolded.

I’ll tell you what. If you’d like some help tracking your fitness gains, setting goals or coming up with the best strategy to fit in fitness to your days, drop me a line and I’ll be more than happy to help.

Maybe we can even go for a walk while we set your plan up. KIDDING! Or am I...

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