Geek Fitness: Full Disclosure

Most of us hear it from the time we started making friends and hanging out with others. "If Jebediah jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" Never mind that Jebediah is kind of a jerk and that if he jumped off a bridge I would only pause long enough to hope that he survived and was well enough to be safely ensconced in a padded room for a very long time. The point is that sometimes we are more inclined to do something because someone else is doing it or we think someone might be watching.

My suggestion is to use this lemming-like quality. By being public about goals, activities and results we can leverage that behavior to help others and ourselves.


Peer Pressure

While most of us will deny that we care what others think, there are times when we really do. Most often when someone might see us in a negative light. Watch those workout videos carefully and I would almost guarantee that if there are people working out in the background, you will catch them picking up the pace once they think the camera is on them.

So when all of the reasons for being fit fail us and we are desperately searching for something to encourage ourselves to do today's workout or skip that piece of chocolate cake, don't underestimate the motivation that comes from considering how a friend, relative or coworker might perceive you. You don't want anyone to think you're a quitter, do you?

Really think about it. How many times have you started a diet or exercise program, but you kept it a secret. Why did you do that? Odds are that you did not want people to know if you failed. If that describes you then you've practically given up already.

Everyone Else Is Doing It

This isn't so much about helping yourself as it is about helping others. Contrary to what some might think (and in this instance you should not care), telling others about your workouts and diet is not about convincing people that you are something special  It's about letting someone else know that they are not alone in whatever fitness goals they have set for themselves and that other "regular people" are out there struggling with the same things you are.

So by all means share your regimen and let people know what you're doing and how well it's going. Just make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.

The Geek Way

That said, you don't want to be "that guy" at the water cooler. Always talking about how much you're squatting these days (whatever that means) or how you only eat cauliflower picked on Tuesdays. It's silly, annoying and nobody wants to hang around someone like that. Especially that cauliflower guy.

Fortunately for the geek, there are plenty of non-intrusive ways to share.

Fitness Blog/Journal

Believe it or not, people are interested in what you have to say. Especially if there is the smallest chance it can help them. I mean... here you are reading this. I'm assuming you are actually interested since I don't know anyone who would read this much simply out of kind feelings to me.

It's also great personal motivation. Not only does it make you accountable to your readers by making sure that they see you practicing what you preach, but it also helps you to gather your thoughts so you can learn from your successes and failures and measure your progress.

Spreadsheets

Speaking of measuring progress, nothing helps to do that more than good, solid numbers. So since you already know I like the spreadsheets, let's take it a step further. You've seen that I keep my workout schedule in Google Sheets, but I also keep track of what I actually do and what my weight is immediately following a workout.

While weight loss isn't my goal, I do like to see how it changes over time.

If your exercise program gives you the opportunity to measure progress in some way (e.g. daily number of reps/amount of weight or occasional testing), recording that information can also help track progress. Insanity has been my program of choice lately and about every two weeks, Shaun has us do a "fit test".

My results look a little something like this:

And graphed all pretty like...

Feel free to just go straight to the full thing.

Social Networking

I am, of course, talking about Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. Granted, each of those can be quite annoying on their own without having to deal with some jerk spouting nonsense about how fit he is and how sad and flabby everyone else is. So don't do that.

For the most part, I keep my day-to-day posts to Twitter. With a 140 character limit, it forces people to be brief. With all of the other Twitter posts, my one fitness post a day can easily be ignored by people who really only follow me for my keen insights on other topics. Those who do care might find some encouragement in knowing that I'm getting the blood pumping and the sweat flowing. (Um... ew!) 

Plus I follow great people who are also into sharing. Misery loves company, after all. When I need a little extra boost, almost without fail someone on Twitter will cheer me on and I do my best to act as a cheerleader for them.

If you're interested, find me.

Photos

There is nothing particularly geeky about this topic, but it has to be said when we're talking about sharing progress. Believe me, I'm no more thrilled about this than you are.

Scales are great if you want hard numbers, but they don't tell the full story. As shallow as it may sound, we all want to look good. Yes, it might be about weight and pulse and blood pressure. Those are absolutely important factors, but it sure doesn't hurt that a healthy body should look... well... healthy.

I always recommend to people that they take before and after pictures. When you finish a 60 day program and feel discouraged because it just doesn't seem like anything has changed, having something to compare can be a great encouragement.

And now the moment I've been putting off for weeks...
Yeah, I know I look rough. Both days were shot immediately after an Insanity fit test. Ignoring the differences in lighting, you can tell how thrilled I looked when I started. The fit test kicked my butt and I was really down over how far I'd fallen since my P90X days of about three years ago.

It's worth noting that I did not significantly change my diet. However, I picked up some good eating habits during P90X that I continue to put into practice today. So what you see are the results of me just being a bit more mindful of what I ate. If you go full-force into a meal plan, your results could be better. 


I'm not where I would like to be yet but, as you can see in my spreadsheets, I am in for another sixty days. If you stick around, I will keep you apprised of my progress as well as sharing more geek tips to help improve the odds that you get the results you want.