Obsessively, Compulsively Personal Fitness Tracking
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because killer robots, that’s why. Trust us, it’s all connected.
By Eugene S. Robinson
The good news? America is no longer the fattest country in the world. That would be Mexico. We’re just number 2. Which means we try harder and fail almost as spectacularly as Mexico.
But our hard-fought battle against the bulge, brownies, beer and pants with belts will be won one step at a time. And the steps, now measured and data-mined by an explosion in personal fitness trackers, have already led us to a best-of-times/worst-of-times scenario.
On the one hand Fitbit, Jawbone’s UP24, Polar Loop, LifeTrak and other fitness trackers are a wholly innocent way to keep an eye on your activities and overall fitness.
On the other hand, in the wrong hands, it’s a mania-fueled handcuff designed to quantify every bit of life’s joy and crush it into dust.
I like the competitive glow that comes from knowing that I am exactly 11% better than anyone around me, based purely on the number of steps I have taken toward victory.
And that’s why I like it. I like dust. And crushing joy into it. I like the competitive glow that comes from knowing that I am exactly 11 percent better than anyone around me, based purely on the number of steps I have taken toward victory. I like knowing how many calories I’ve burned while sitting and writing this. I like the fact that, using Bluetooth technology, I can loop the world into a competition they neither want nor need by forming “teams” of people who are measuring their physical activity. I like it during the day and, more dangerously, I like it at night.
That’s right, I’m a proponent of sleep deprivation, maniacally driven to it by a terrible twofold reality:Because if you’ve ever wondered how many calories you’ve burned at night while engaged in the completely useless activity of “sleeping,” well, now you can know. It’s not much. As far as I’m concerned, sleeping cuts into the number of steps you can take (since most people are in fact, NOT sleepwalkers), which is why I suggest sleeping less and walking more.
1. Sleeping cuts into my fitness time, and
2. Thoughts of all my minutely measured fitness data floating out there in the cloud just makes me think of killer robots, Skynet, and how all of this will ultimately be used to turn us into thralls of some crazy E.T. world order. So not so much sleep is possible with thoughts such as these dancing in my sweaty head.
And while I think that taking off my own personal fitness handcuff, I mean tracker, would make my mother happy (”Eugene! Please, please, take this thing off some of the time! I don’t want you walking around at 3 in the morning trying to beat the world!”), there’s clearly more to life than making your mother happy.
OVER 10,000 STEPS IN ONE DAY, BABY!
IN. YOUR. FACE.