I joined a gym.
I got a personal trainer too.
And why is that?
Because I’ve realised that Apple Watch or FitBit or Garmin will not make me fit. I can go right now and spend $700 on the latest Fenix 5 and get perfect metrics for how I run or what my O2 consumption is (or whatever it is measuring) but I’d still be out of shape.
The truth is that fitness trackers don’t make you fit just like owning a computer doesn’t make you a programmer. Sure, a fitness tracker is a great device to improve your life, if you are INCLINED towards improving it to begin with… but having FitBit tell me how many steps I’ve taken is not really making that much of a difference.
I’ve realised that if I really want to make a big difference in my life, then I must take this seriously. And taking it seriously means…
ONE – It will be painful and time consuming.
TWO – It will cost a lot.
THREE – It will require sacrifices.
And it’s true. For how much I’m paying for 3 – 4 weeks of personal training, I can get the most advanced fitness watch, one that would last me for years. I already have an Apple Watch but just saying. But the truth is that I will never do what I need to do by myself. It’s the past of most resistance and it is painful and my natural instincts tell me to fuck off.
It’s easy to walk 10.000 steps. It’s a bit less easier to go for another session when your arms hurt so much (better said, ache) that you can’t even put a shirt on (and no, that’s not a figure of speech).
So it is with most other things.
I can play Eben Pagan or Frank Kern or Tony Robbins or whoever in my headsets and say to myself “wow, Razvan, great job, you’ve finished another program, way to go boy” but… what have I actually accomplished?
If I want real behavioural change, I need to sit down with pen in hand, take notes, really comprehend the information, not just superficially go through it.
And I guess this is a larger trend of life, of modern life you know? Technology gave us targets to hit and it made us believe that if we just hit those targets, we’re successful. It made us believe that if we work for so many hours and walk so many steps and read so many books per year, that we’re fucking awesome.
The focus was always on quantification, like how many minutes you’ve meditated or how many kilometres you’ve ran? And all things being equal, five is better than zero. However, while technology is amazing at measuring how much of something is there, because almost everything can be reduced to a numeric value, it is kind of awful of measuring effectiveness and interconnected systems, how something interacts with everything else.
So I can go to the gym and my Apple Watch will inform me that I’ve lost 340 calories. But my Apple Watch won’t inform me if I’ve actually done any progress in improving my musculature or if I’ve improved my health. A piece of tech measures everything the same and as my trainer proves to me many times, it is not the same.
Doing 12 bar raises with 30 kilograms is not the same as doing 12 with 10 kilograms. The muscle won’t measure a point system, it will activate its restoration process only in the moment you’ve damaged it. So doing things right is just as important, even more important than how many things you do – and if you just measure how much you do, you’ll find the fastest and easiest way to getting there.
Of course this goes way beyond fitness. Let me give you productive effort. The trend is to measure how much you work in some unit of time, like a Pomodoro, and the more you do, the better you are. But what if I told you that meeting someone for 30 minutes can be worth 100 hours of otherwise effort? That all tasks are not made equal and that some are earth-shaking important… while others don’t matter at all?
What if I tell you that 20% of what you do generates 80% of your results? Or maybe it is 30 – 70 or 10 – 90 but there is a ratio there… and that quantification based systems don’t take this into account, and treat investing one hour into the 10% that generates the 90% just as the one hour into the 90% that generates 10% of the results?
Life is not very intuitive… and looking at others for answers usually doesn’t tell you where doing the least gives you the most. If common sense was common wisdom…
Nobody would use Netflix.
Everyone would buy 3 – 4 books a month on Kindle.
Gyms would be filled and personal trainers would be more in demand than MTV singers.
All work that would be done would be relevant and important.
Everyone would be extremely strategic in resource allocation like time and money.
Nobody would give a fuck about most email and let it pile up.
Facebook would be bankrupt.
But it’s not the world in which we’re living in.
In this world… everyone is obsessed with media consumption and gyms are empty… personal trainers struggle from month to month because paying $30 – $40 per session is way too damn much (but paying $300 – $400 for a night out is not)… most work done doesn’t help anyone and it’s for the sake of feeling and looking productive… people would waste five hours to save $10… inbox zero is a religious thing and the average person spends about 10 hours on Facebook per week, and that’s FB, not messenger.
We like to bitch and blame others. We like to blame Trump or society or our wife or the jews or some ancient Italian family or the universe because our lives are not working properly.
But when faced with a proper decision… one that will maximise value… and an improper one that will satisfy only the vanity of saying that you’re doing something, believe me, in 9 out of 10 cases, you’d take the second.
So the next time you get an audiobook, don’t listen to it in the shower. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down careful notes. And forget your FitBit. Sure, 10.000 steps a day are a decent number of calories burn but I’ve consumed more calories in the last 30 minutes by eating one ice-cream and one Kinder Bueno. If you really want to improve your fitness, it will be painful, uncomfortable, hurt your body for a while, make you sacrifice things.
FitBit is bullshit. It’s like the lowest thing you can do for your body. It’s better than not doing anything for your body but you know what?
You look at the commercials and see beautiful women and men being happy, wearing their FitBit and living the life. Or you see the Apple Watch for the same thing.
Well, guess fucking what?
They’re not like that because they wear a FitBit. They’re like that because they’ve made exercising a constant part of their life, go to the gym and eat properly. Believe me, they weren’t overweight, tired with life, barely moving, bought a FitBit Charge 2 and in a few months, transformed into models.
The same can be said with stuff like FitBit Coach (ex FitStar). At best those things count as warmups but even if they weren’t, believe me, the trainers don’t look that way because they got fit with FitBit. They looked that way because they went to the gym and gave it their all.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that technology can make your life better and that if you buy the latest Garmin Fenix, you will be a tough person that goes hiking and such. Sure, if you are a hiker and you life being outdoors, that device helps you and it’s amazing but the average person buys it more because they want to be associated with looking the part than being the part.
It’s like this MacBook Pro I’m writing this on right now. I can use this computer to write an app and sell it to the App Store… or to watch porn. It’s a tool. It helps me do more of who I am. It doesn’t change who I am to begin with.
The real path to change and accomplishing goals… sorry to say, but it is (1) more expensive (2) takes more time (3) requires more sacrifice than you believe right now. And while something is better than anything and 10% is better than 0%, don’t confuse doing the bare minimum (as doing your five minutes of exercise a day and walking 5000 steps) as doing what’s required to achieve the body of your dreams (dieting, working out both enough in quantity and quality, sleep, etc).