Life lessons from a Fitbit called Boris

Trail in Copenhagen

In an effort to exercise more, I befriended a Fitbit with a number of annoying habits. Fortunately, he’s also had a lot to teach.

I recently gained a new friend, a Fitbit Charge 2 by the name of Boris.

I was happy to make Boris’ acquaintance because over the past cough cough months my level of activity has been somewhere between low and catatonic. I thought Boris might help inspire me to get moving again.

The start of our friendship has been a little rocky, but we are slowly learning each other’s quirks, and I believe we have a bright and possibly even active future ahead of us.

I like to think we’re learning from each other.

What I’ve learned from Boris the Fitbit

I don’t like to be nagged by my watch

Every hour that I don’t make at least 250 steps, Boris vibrates to remind me.

For context, 250 steps is somewhere between going out to the kitchen to make coffee and running to Canada to escape the zombies. (In my case, geting to Canada also involves more than 250 strokes of swimming.)

I quickly reached the conclusion that I can’t (at least, shouldn’t) drink enough coffee in an hour to get my 250 steps just making coffee. Hence while I’m on holiday I mostly haven’t been making my 250 an hour.

So every hour I get nagged by Boris. “Only 245 steps to go! Come, on get moving, you lazy sack of cake-fed writer.” Or something like that.

Getting nagged by a person is annoying enough. Getting nagged by a watch makes me start looking for sinks full of water. (Boris can’t swim.)

I usually manage about 40 paces before I get out of bed in the morning

I check my paces for the day shortly before I get out of bed each day, and it’s usually in the 35 to 40 pace range.

I see several possibilities.

I may have sleep walked out to the kitchen to make coffee.

Boris may be counting the paces I take in my dreams. Because thinking is almost the same as doing.

Boris may know how hard it is to start from zero, and be giving me a foot up so I don’t get discouraged.

It’s hard to hate him, even though he’s a colossal nag.

My wrist changes size at different times of the day

I haven’t worn a watch in years. Turns out there’s a fine line between a watch that’s uncomfortably tight and one that’s too loose to pick up my stats.

If I set my watch at the perfect size before I go to bed I wake up in the night feeling choked.

Also, adjusting the band in the middle of the night results in a great deal of pinched skin.

Boris and I have had words about this.

Walking to my letterbox and back is 23 floors

The walk to my letterbox is a pleasant stroll through native bush where Nicholas Augustus lives.

I knew it was a long way.

Boris tells me it’s 23 floors.

That sounds like a lot, so I’m inclined to believe him.

Getting out of bed and showering is really hard work

Boris keeps a record of how my heart rate changes through the day, and he’s pointed out something that I intuitively knew was true.

Getting out of bed and showering is a great deal of work.

Now I have even more reason not to do it.

Rowing is not real exercise (I already suspected this)

I had 10 minutes today in which to take 215 steps to make my goal of 250 in an hour, so I got on the rowing machine and rowed like mad for two minutes.

I know two minutes isn’t much, but it wasn’t many steps I was after.

Certain I’d succeeded, I got off and checked with Boris, who told me definitively that I hadn’t taken any steps at all.

I know technically rowing isn’t walking, but let’s not get metaphysical about this. It should still count.

I was miffed with Boris, but he insisted. From now on, rowing is not exercise.

Boris the Gitbit says yoga is not exercise.
Also not exercise.
Flapping *is* real exercise

Given rowing wasn’t working, I had to find another way to reach 250 steps.

Thankfully, I hit on the perfect solution: flapping.

In terms of steps for effort, flapping is very efficient. You can even do it sitting down.

The problem is that after a while it’s hard work. I don’t think I could handle being a bird.

What Boris the Fitbit has learned from me

It takes me 8 minutes to get to sleep

Boris keeps a record of my sleep cycles, which I have to say is rather cool. I can see how long each night I’ve spent in light, deep, and REM sleep, and how many times I woke up for one minute or less (usually when His Royal Fluffiness walked around the bed meowing).

I can also see how long it takes me to get to sleep.

Sleeping is one of my talents, it seems. Two to eight minutes is normal. No wonder I never figure out any plot problems lying in bed at night.

Yes, Boris has only learned one thing from me. I guess he’s not that smart.

Have you ever used a Fitbit? Did it help? Do you have any other suggestions for getting motivated to exercise?

Get my updates in your very own inbox. I promise I won’t let Boris nag you.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

26 thoughts on “Life lessons from a Fitbit called Boris”

  1. Funny post! I haven’t used a Fitbit, but I’m sometimes wondering if I should give it a try. I spend a lot of time sitting on my butt (and it’s getting bigger), and maybe I could use a reminder every now and then to go to the coffee machine and back. 😀

    1. I felt like I had to try something. So far it’s probably been more fun than helpful, but I’m on holiday and hubby sprained his foot, so my activities are somewhat limited.

    1. I have found it the most fun part. I have a theory about alcohol and sleep that I plan to test. But first I need to start recording the alcohol I drink, and I’m not sure I want to know that. 😉

  2. ‘Flapping?’ … you mean waving hands about, or the Charleston? … because the Charleston would so get your step-count waaaay up there! 😀

    1. I don’t know what the Charleston is. 🙁 I will assume that’s because I’m not American, not because I’m stupid. 😉 Yes, I mean waving my arms about.

  3. I had a fitbit for a while. I lasted about a year before I lost interest. Still, in the meantime I learned a lot of strange things too, like exactly how many steps it took to walk around my block, or from my house to work. And that I sleep like a log for the first four hours every night then toss and turn until morning. Hmmm… My best day was around 40,000 steps.

  4. I’d like to know how long it takes me to fall asleep. Sometimes it seems like it takes hours. Other times I’m liable to fall asleep in the middle of this sen

    1. Haha. It varies for me too. I know I can fall asleep in the middle of a sentence, because hubby will be talking to me, I’ll fall asleep and dream he means something different, then I’ll wake up and try to answer that.

  5. We seem to be on a similar wavelength this morning, as I just posted a blog about moving too! Although without a fitbit. I tried out a cheapie knock-off version at one point, but as it counted a 45 minute HIIT session as about five steps, we had some irreconcilable differences.

    I did try a sleep app, but it seems I don’t sleep that well. Which I’m normally fine with, but when I’m told I haven’t slept well it seems I spend all day exhausted. So we fell out too. I’m not doing well with these things.

    1. We must be psychic! 🙂

      Yes, I can see why that relationship fell apart. I’m definitely going to have to teach Boris about rowing, or at least how to point out to him that I’m doing exercise when I row.

      Agreed. If knowing you didn’t sleep well makes you feel more tired, not knowing definitely seems like the better choice. 🙂

  6. I think you ought to set up CCTV to film you in your sleep. Because maybe it’s like Paranormal Activity where you get out of bed and stare at your husband in a vaguely murderous way for four hours.

  7. Your post contains vital and timely intelligence. I have been considering a Fitbit for longer than I care to disclose, and your analysis of your relationship with Boris confirms my hesitation. I don’t respond well to nagging (just ask my husband) so I have doubts about how my own Boris and I will get along. On the other hand, I hope to take advantage of my inborn, slavish desire to accumulate points (or steps, or badges, or grades — yes, I was that kid in school). As for sleep, I already know I’m terrible at it so I may have to find a way to just turn that function off (in the fitbit, not in me. Although, the latter would reduce frustration and make time for other things). My solution: instead of shelling out for an actual Fitbit, I’m going to try out one of the cheaper knockoffs, since my fascination with it is not likely to outlast its lifespan. Meanwhile, good on you and thank you for the laughs.

    1. Glad I could help!

      To be fair, there is an option to turn off Boris’ nagging, but I figured a bit of nagging might do me good. And he does send me pretty badges when I complete various challenges, which clog up my inbox about as much as they make me feel virtuous (which can also be turned off).

      Have fun with your cheap knock-off! 🙂

  8. I can’t believe you named yours. I’m barely on speaking terms with mine. I got an old version, because I wasn’t full-price sold on the idea, but it does seem to be working out well for me. I think it’s that “Just do a little bit more” thing, which works better for me than the “start at square one and go to the gym after work or it doesn’t count” thing. My best day so far has been in the 26k step range, but my resting heartbeat is down, and I think I’m seeing the light on the sleep thing.

    1. To be fair, my relationship with Boris is still in the honeymoon phase. Perhaps after a while his quirks will become less endearing, and his endless attempts to turn me into a better person will make me want to drown him. Though I’m not there yet. 🙂

      26k steps is pretty impressive.

      1. 26k is my on my feet day job plus a much more relaxing walk home. I hate to take credit for day job steps, since I have no choice, and I’m usually complaining about every last one.

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