Monday, February 18. 2013
A dimanche j’ai fait le course de le «Around the Bays». C’a été un grand success: j’ai complet le course en 33 minutes, 3 minutes plus vite que l’année denier. Je suis très satisfait des mon progrès.
Monday, December 12. 2011
It’s been a month since I signed up for Fitocracy, which is a site that combines VC-friendly buzzwords in the form of social networking and gamification to exercise. And, for me, anyway, it works splendidly.
Let’s look at the key buzzword: gamification. Fitocracy attempts to apply RPG style mechanics to your exercise regime, awarding you points for everything you log; as you grind through more exercise, you gain levels; if you complete specific goals you gain achievement badges and can complete quests for bonus points.
What’s the value in that? Well, in and of itself it’s logging your workouts, which is always convenient, and more importantly providing an incentive to kick on with your exercise plan. The handy aspect is that it hooks into the same Progress Quest style rewards that have hooked so many people into the Everquests and Worlds of Warcraft. If you doubt their effectiveness, contemplate how many billions Blizzard have made from those same hooks. Except in this case, instead of a pasty complexion, piles of imaginary stuff, and a divorce, you get fitter. Or faster. Or stronger.
The thing that’s most interesting about this to me is that it’s a radical departure from the motivational tools usually applied to exercise programs. RPG-style progress tends to create small, incremental rewards, with regular ‘fixes’ of achievement. You levelled up. You completed a quest. You’ve overtaken someone in your guild. MMORPGs seek to create a virtuous circle of continuous achievement, hooking the player in to the idea that the next accomplishment is just around the corner.
Compare that with the tools of so many exercise programs and so much of so-called fitness culture. Magazines tend to proffer distant, seemingly unattainable goals-weight programs for supermen, figures of goddesses. Supplicants at the temple of physical culture are as likely to be berated as encouraged: ‘anything that moves when you jump is fat.’ You are weak, disgusting, a source of amusement. Only benching your bodyweight? Pathetic! Running 5km? Poof. Your expensive running shoes reprove you in the corner. Your unused gym membership taunts you.
There’s a great term for this; the shame spiral. You feel bad about the things you haven’t done so you avoid them then you feel worse so you avoid them some more. And those traditional negative motivators are perfect for creating and and feeding those behaviours. It’s a pleasing novelty to have tools that are aiming for the positive.
From the general to the personal, let me speak to what about Fitocracy works for me:
The net effect for me has been dramatic: I’ve gone from my in-theory three, but in-practise two, weight sessions per week, to a solid, reliable three per week. I’ve expanded them to make sure my hope back gets proper emphasis, something I’ve always struggled to motivate myself to lock in. Thanks to my desire to grab the pull-up achievement, that’s sorted. And my overall progress, especially on the big core exercises of the deadlift, squat, bench, and shoulder press, have rattled along nicely, not least because of the ability to easily see past reps and weights in the logging tool.
All-in-all I’ve been pleased and impressed with the concept and execution around Fitocracy. If you’re susceptible to those levers, I suspect it’ll work for you, too.
Sunday, November 28. 2010
Ada a faire du foot en deux matches aujourd’hui; le match premiere avec équipe normal mais le match deuxième a la faire avec les enfants âge.
Après faire du foot nous allons le jardin botanique à nourriture pâture les carnards at j’ai fini le après-midi dans le jardin avec la tronçonneuse.
Tuesday, August 17. 2010
Tuesday, August 3. 2010
Monday, July 26. 2010
One of discoveries Sunday’s first excursion into the wonderful world of kiddy football was unexpected side effect of having spent three or so years working on concepts of playing nice (sharing, taking turns and so on), which is the furious, pitiable wailing that accompanies the discovery that in competitive sport you have to take your turn, not wait for it.
Much howling, a mix of self-pitying and righteous indignation, ensued. This is, the coach/referee assured me, entirely normal with three years olds, and I guess it would be. But still: an unexpected side effect; it encourages me in the belief, though, that the whole business is a good thing, not least because while “playing nice with others” is a life skill that’s valuable, so is “I’ll go get it myself, no-one’s going to give it to me.”
Other than that, and a plaintitave “I’m too cold, I want to go home”, swiftly fixed by another layer of jacketing, we had a ball, and Ada managed an absolute gem of a perfectly-executed tackle, timing a textbook interception of another player on his run into her goal.
After the game Ada worked on her dribbling some more, controlling the ball through 90 and 180 degree turns, and frustrating her mother’s attempts to regain control of the ball. I’m looking forward to see how she’ll handle next week.
Monday, June 14. 2010
…players, viewers, and journalists from the part of the world that gives us such stadium spectacles as St Pauli’s, Ultras or such charmers as these Spurs creations, or squabbling over whether it’s worse to play sing-a-long-a-paedophile or mock the dead. None of which quite hold a candle to some charmers from the Netherlands.
But those very same people are such shrinking violets they want plastic trumpets banned?
Monday, April 19. 2010
I don’t watch that much TV any more, although we’ve been getting into the habit of sitting down in front of Country Calendar after dinner on a Saturday; tonight I flicked on the news and was reminded why.
Apparently, the TV tells me, there are serious concerns about the Commonwealth Games being in India after a couple of (small) bombs went off outside an IPL match. Local coverage was wall-to-wall interviews; should we be getting Kiwi players home? Should we abandon the Commonwealth Games?
This is the point where I started yelling rude words at the magic box, which is never a good idea with small ears ready to seize on them for future use, but I am afraid it was that or collapse in an apoplectic fit.
You will remember, of course, how New Zealand didn’t send sporting teams to the UK when the IRA were merrily blowing up bits of Britain. Or how we seriously mulled over whether the United States should ever hold a major sporting event when their domestic terrorists started blowing people up at an Olympic Games. We didn’t stop sending teams to South Africa even when their white government was telling everyone about those terrible ANC terrorists.
Horseshit. We’re happy to have sporting events in harm’s way. We have been for decades. The only “problem” here is that the people running security are brown instead of white.
Friday, February 5. 2010
This was easily the best Sevens costume, originality and cool-wise, I saw from the gaggles of people walking past work and our local coffee spots: Four women dressed as peacocks, with backs covered by a tail of real feathers. Nicely done, and something a bit different.
They’d also spent some time getting the noise of peacocks calling down to a fine art.
Monday, September 14. 2009
I was surprised to see Ma'a Nonu at the A&E with his family. I realised I was surprised because, having been exposed to English footballers and American Grid-Iron players through international press, I had developed, I think, an assumption that all sports players must have the means to dissapear off with their kids to expensive private clinics at a whim, rather than wait with the hoi-polloi. But no, apparently All Blacks do queue up for those worrying first-kid trips to the hospital with the rest of us. And, I hope, discover they're nothing to worry about.
(I can report that Mr. Nonu is something of a doting daddy.)
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