Friday, July 4, 2008

Beating Back Boredom

I love the gym and working out, but there are just a few things about my current program that bore me. This isn't intended to be a negative post, just an interlude to consider some stumbling blocks and what I intend to do about them

Doing the same routine for too long
My experiment has been a good one. I think there's value to building a routine and committing to it for an extended period. It has been a great success in terms of body composition and strength gains, but man am I ready for a change. Sunday will be the last day and I already have my next routine planned. I don't think I'll ever get stuck in a rut with my workouts. My attention span is too short!

Crunches and Pushups
I hate these exercises. I don't much like rolling around on the floor and... Oh whatever. I don't have any excuses. I just hate them. And they are critical to my success. I need to improve my overall core strength and these are two of the best ways to do that. Did I mention that I hate them? They bore me. If I don't do them the very first thing out of the locker room, I never do them.

I want to find a way to make them interesting. Maybe I can invent some sort of a game to entertain myself. I just know I have to keep doing them. And by the way, I really hate crunches and pushups.

The workout software I bought really sucks
This bums me out. I had been using a FileMaker database that I developed. I didn't want to get bogged down creating a bunch of reports for it, so I thought I'd just buy one. The one I chose is called Open Fitness and it really sucks. The list of disappointing things about it is long and a little boring in its own right. I find it to be sloooow, badly organized, difficult to customize, and really limited in the way it generates reports. Simple functions require half a dozen mouse clicks and window switches. It won't export data. It doesn't support basic functions like - oh, I don't know...Cut and freaking Paste! I went back to the site to look for an upgrade, and there is an online version that looks like it may be better-built. Great. I could bite the bullet and subscribe. Then I'll just export all those time gobbling entries into their slick online system.But dig this answer to my simple question about how to do that. (At least the email response from the folks at was prompt and courteous. I wonder how the guy wrote it with a straight face.)
It is not possible to export your entire workout history in one step, but it is possible to export individual workouts, routines, and other records. To do that, just get an account if you don't already have one...a free one will work if you just want to try it out.

Then, in the Open Fitness desktop, select the workout you want to export and click the 'Share' button. Choose to send it through to an individual and enter your user ID. Once you finish, you should find the workout in your private messages on next time you log in. You'll be able to click on the workout and import it into your account from there.
So if I wanted to move all the data I have painfully entered from their wonky desktop version into their pay as you go online version I could do it, but only one day at a time. And only by negotiating about a dozen different steps for each workout. Bogus.

One last rant, 'cause the conversation itself bores me more than pushups. Here's a quote from the site.
Open Fitness tracks all your fitness activity and monitors your progress, just like a personal trainer would. In fact, it was designed by a certified personal trainer! Open Fitness takes all of the guesswork out of fitness, so you can make the most of your time in the gym!
I'm thinking that maybe this certified personal trainer should have hired a certified software engineer. And while the program doesn't slow me down in the gym, it sure does take a lot of my time at home. Open Fitness is a lame, half-assed piece of junk and stumbling through it bores me. I've been using it for a month, and I think I'm going back to my old faithful home-made jalopy instead. I'm not spending any more time or money on it.

On the Other Hand

Did I mention strength gains? Yesterday I set new personal bests at the power cage in squats and deadlifts, the granddaddies of compound full body strength exercises. They have really been the focus of my efforts over the last few weeks, and the work is paying off. If I can get my bench and clean & press rolling too, I will have established the core of my strength training routine. Assuming I don't die of boredom during a set of crunches first.


For a time waster that I don't find boring at all, subscribe to dmotivation.

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