Geek Fitness - Getting Started (Again)

There is a stereotype for geeks that says we are predisposed to being pale, squishy people who prefer to bask in the electronic glow of an LCD than to expose ourselves to that burning ball of nuclear energy that we call The Sun. Picked on by The Jocks. Ignored by The Popular Girl/Guy. Etc. Just watch practically any movie from the 80's for examples.

Does it really have to be this way? Nope! You too, my geeky friend, can be as fit and healthy as anyone. What's more you don't have to abandon your inner nerd to do it!

"What?!" you may ask. "How is that possible? Won't I need to sweat and grunt and jump around like the gym rats do?" Of course you will. Don't be ridiculous! Nothing worth having comes easily. Especially since most of us are starting a little behind the curve.

This post is just the first in a series on how technology can assist in achieving health-related goals. The timing could not be better since I've just started Beachbody's Insanity program. Don't worry, this won't be an infomercial. There are plenty of those out there. Likewise these posts will not dive deeply into what to eat, how often to exercise or topics that are more than adequately covered elsewhere.

I will simply be sharing what has worked for me and how I've used technology to motivate myself and remove some of the excuses we all use for giving up.

Who am I and why should you listen to me? I am you. I've been there and I've gotten results.
As embarrassed as I am to post these pictures, I hope it helps you to understand that change is possible for everyone. What you see was 9 months worth of P90X.

(I was debating over posting these pictures but one of my Twitter pals posted a before/after of her results and I realized just how motivating it can be to see someone else's successes. She and her husband are two of the people who encourage me almost daily by posting their progress online. So thank you, Kristen and Eric!)

Now full disclosure. That final picture was taken 3 years ago (I was 39). Since then I've let myself go a bit. I probably fall somewhere in between those before and after shots now. The habits I made during that period I've carried forward as far as diet goes, but I've had some injuries that have slowed me down as well as a general loss of focus so the exercise part of the equation has dropped off in intensity.

It's time to put excuses aside and get back on track and that's what I plan on sharing with you.

I'll also do my best to keep the shirtless shots of me to a bare minimum.

John Cabrera Sets Me Straight

Yesterday I wrote what was essentially an endorsement for a web distributed (YouTube) show called H+ The Digital Series. I just cannot say enough good things about it.

I did, however, mention what I considered to be a fly in the ointment. It appears that the series is region locked. As several of us on Google+ were discussing how ridiculous this was, John Cabrera jumped in with some behind the scenes insight.

Hey there, I'm the second guy listed in the credits at the end of each episode, so perhaps I can shed some insight. We are YouTube region restricted in 5 territories: Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Chile. The rest of the world can watch. The way many studio projects are financed is by selling the distribution rights in foreign markets. Without that money, most of the films we enjoy at the theater wouldn't have been made. Years ago, those foreign markets had to wait years to get the movies we were enjoying in the states, and that was because those markets were starting from scratch getting the films ready for showing there... which often times included finding the distribution itself. Today that rarely happens. Foreign markets are ready to go with the distribution of a film sometimes before Hollywood even, and so on occasion, foreign release dates will be weeks earlier.

Not the case with web series, though. Although it is borrowing this financing method from the movies, the web series is still a very new business, so those markets are going to take a little longer until they're ready for an H+ showing there. But someone owns those rights, and it's certainly in their best interest that those markets see the series. In fact, Chile is the first of those markets that can. The series is being distributed on VTR's website for Chilean audiences who have been blocked on YouTube. The other four will follow suit in some way soon, I promise.

I love the graph!

Remember those credits he mentioned?

Yeah. That John Cabrera.

I don't pretend to understand the business behind content distribution. It's easy enough for me to say "it's gotta be everywhere, all at once and simultaneously!" I still think that in a perfect world it would work that way. But that's not the world we live in. 

In the meantime rest assured that if you cannot see the series today, you will be able to see it eventually.

Our conversation continued and he had some thoughts on the chart I included yesterday.
Here is what he said:
Speaking to your post, YouTube's channel initiative is about building audiences. Although YouTube is known for the viral phenomenon, this next chapter in the story of new media will see them focusing more on programming and audience building. A sharp decline after the first episodes is common with any series (including on TV). What is more important to observe is whether those who stay, continue on deep into the series or whether over time it shows a gradual decline. Your updated graph seems to indicate that those who move on to subsequent episodes, keep moving and don't stop. In fact, the graph even seems to show a small increase in later episodes, which suggests that those episodes are getting rewatched. This is exciting, I think. Not just for our series but for what it says about the future of web programming in general. So I hope it continues.

An interesting question is why the first episodes have such a higher spike. Well one reason could be as you said, taste. The first two episodes are very distopian Sci-fi and there are plenty of people who just don't like that. Another reason could be how these episodes are being watched. YouTube's website makes it very easy to move on from one episode to the next through features like annotations, and playlists. Not so on mobile devices. Not so on social networks through content sharing. In fact, the episodes that are shared the most by far are episodes 1 & 2. Solid marketing and PR strategy, believe it or not, may also be contributing. Hundreds of digital features and blog posts have been written on the series, and many of them embed episode 1 (sometimes 2). So the exposure to those two episodes is far higher than any of the rest... and in many cases the viewer is asked to find the rest of the episodes somewhere else (a tough sell). In some cases, they may not even know there are more episodes.

Now of course, we'd love to see an episode "go viral". It would be like a free marketing boost. But you can't bank on that because because virality can't really be engineered. Our hope is that each week the daily views grow and that little by little we build a dense, passionate, and loyal audience. That's the goal of all of these new premium YouTube channels. I think the public perception of YouTube is that virality is the measure of success. This will change. It has to.
That John (if I may call him John) would take the time to chime in on some random discussion or check a blog that's, quite honestly, not as heavily trafficked as others might be says a lot. If I wasn't a fan before (and I was), then I definitely am now.

So support the show and support John. You can find him on Google+ or Twitter.

I'd also recommend the interview he did on Framerate Episode #86.

And if you would like to join in on this discussion, feel free!

H+ The Digital Series



There is no way that this series should not have more views than it does. As of today (September 3, 2012) the first episode only has about a half-million views after slightly less than one month with subsequent episodes falling off pretty quickly.
While I can hardly be considered a cord-cutter, I am keenly interesting in content wherever I can get it. To have a series like this, freely available on the Internet, slip through the cracks is criminal.

By "a series like this" I mean that it's smart, well produced, well cast, well acted and well visually effected. (Sorry. Got on a roll there.) This is as good as and arguably better than anything you will find on broadcast television.

Why do I care? Well... I'll admit it. I'm selfish. I want this series to succeed so that years from now we all look back and say, "I remember when people started posting original content to the web and everyone thought it was crazy, but look at it now!" We could discuss it in the same context as other crazy schemes like make people pay for television that doesn't come in over the air or having channels dedicated to music, golf and shopping.

There are three reasons off the top of my head that these numbers are so low.

Marketing

I don't think most people know about the show. YouTube is just now dipping its toe into the original content business, but I think it still bears the stigma of being that place to find funny cat videos or guys getting hit in the crotch.

Taste

It could very well be that the numbers drop because people are not interested in the content. It's a sci-fi drama and not everyone is into that. I know, right? How crazy is that?

No Cats

The writers really messed up by not including a cat with a computer implant that runs around attacking crotches. I'm just saying.

Bottom line is that each episode is in the 5-6 minute range and there are 12 episodes out right now. It will cost you a little over an hour and let's face it. You were just going to waste that hour anyway by watching something where people hock junk at the pawn shop or someone's sister-wife gets upset for whatever reason that sister-wives might get upset.

Go to the Complete Series page and hit the play all button. If you don't like it after the first couple episodes, your money will be returned to you and you get to keep your memories, free of charge.

UPDATE - 9/4/2012 (Morning)

The chart posted above doesn't really tell the whole story since each episode is released on a different day. I've updated the chart to include views per day as a comparison.
It's also notable that this web series is region locked for some reason I cannot fathom. Last I checked, the US represents only a fraction of the world's Internet accessing population. But whatever.

UPDATE - 9/4/2012 (Evening)

John Cabrera sets me straight on the region restrictions.