Surging Into the Sunset

So for my recent birthday (Big 50 in December) my Sweetheart bought me a great gift.  She pre-ordered me a new Fitbit Surge that was only recently released to the public in January.  If you are not familiar with Fitbit and their line of products I would highly recommend you look them up.  Just for a bit of context, Fitbit is known for its products of the same name, which are activity trackers, wireless-enabled wearable devices that measure data such as the number of steps walked, quality of sleep and other personal metrics. The first of these was the Fitbit Tracker. Announced in October 2014, The Surge is more like a smart-watch than an activity tracker and aimed for the fitness demographic. The Surge includes a heart-rate monitor and the ability to track pace, distance, and elevation.

Now for a guy like me, this present was the perfect thing to get me.  You see, for most of the last several years, I worked on spreadsheets and performance statistics as a big part of my job.  I mean A LOT of spreadsheets and numbers…… it’s kind of funny and dumb all at the same time, but I really started to miss that part of my old work week.  The numbers and stats, NOT the work week!

My new toy!
My new toy!

I had already started on my journey to getting in shape at the early part of January when my new Surge finally arrived in the mail.  Well I can tell you I was pumped. What could be better than a piece of electronics that basically measures everything, charts it, provides feedback directly to you and also prepares reports on a weekly basis?!  Fantastic!  All I had to do was put in the time being active and enjoy myself because I “get” to do this and don’t “got” to do this.  Then sit back and watch the information roll in.

So far I really like this tool/toy, although, I am still going to reserve judgement on the accuracy of the GPS until I do a bit more research on the web.  I may need to do some programming on stride length for both walking and running but that is for another day.  I went online to my Fitbit account and dashboard and pulled off some of my early numbers and thought I would share them.  So far things are really going well and I find myself almost playing games with it now and making sure I hit all my daily goals.  Overall my health and fitness levels are really improving and I have never felt better.


Month      Steps Taken      Floors Climbed       Miles       Calories Burned

January       85,932                  75                     43.28            62,245

February   148,176                 179                    67.60            66,916

March        ????? – The numbers are still rolling in but I suspect they will be even higher than February.  The sky is the limit really!



Ten things people do at the gym that P** me off…..

Grey GhostI wanted to get a Retiree Diary Top Ten list out early on in my blogging career.  Going to the gym regularly over the last three months has given me plenty of motivation and should I say “prickly” inspiration for this one.

  1. People who don’t wipe down the equipment after they use it – not only is this gross and totally unsanitary, but the last thing I want to do when I climb on the treadmill for a run is put my fingers over someones else’s untreated whooping-cough or habitual sneeze.
  2. Not putting a towel down on the weight benches before using them – as a start please refer back to #1 and add in the likelihood of climbing off the bench smelling like last nights extreme garlic pasta mixed with a heavy dose of old spice.
  3. Not putting their cell phone on vibrate – or better yet, SILENT, or even better just leaving it in your gym bag in the locker room.
  4. Answering a cell phone – Seriously?  People who not only take calls while not pedalling the recumbent bike but conduct a complete business meeting and speak so loudly everyone can tell how inept they are.
  5. Walking on the treadmill so slow and dragging their feet – Have you ever been running beside someone while they drag their feet and provide you with a complete symphony of incessant squeaking like finger nails on a chalk board. I can see little toddlers in runners maybe, but you’re not 3 and running around with a Hello Kitty backpack strapped to your back. Lift your feet!
  6. Turning the peaceful solitude of the gym into an all out gab fest – There are better social spaces to be social in like perhaps the local coffee shop or even better the social room.
  7. People who leave their clothes (insert crap reference) in the day lockers for 365 days straight.
  8. Trying to engage in conversations with anyone and everyone possible as they travel from one piece of equipment to the next like some kind of synchronized talk-a-holics.
  9. Getting on the elliptical machine and setting the resistance so high they have to practically jump to move the rails forward.  Add to this a breathy “YES” after each hop, reminiscent of a bad “When Harry Met Sally” imitation.
  10. For the last item in the list I leave the “window police”.  They are the people you only see once a month but when you do the first thing they do is close the window that you just paused the treadmill, walked across the room and opened.

I am sure there are more and I bet many of you have pet peeves like these ones.  Please fill out the comment section below and share some of them with me (don’t be shy and include more than one).  If I get enough examples I will publish a follow-up article in the coming weeks listing “your top ten”.

The “Snowbirds” are here…..

NEWS FLASH – Canadian Snow Birds spotted over Discovery Ridge in SW Calgary….

I don’t mean “The Snow Birds “…the ones that thrill thousands of fans all over Canada with their feats of aerial brilliance each year. I am talking about the older folks that migrate in large flocks each winter to places like Bumble Bee, Arizona and Two Egg, Florida! I think 6 of them just flew into my gym this morning in the middle of my workout.

My fiancé and I live in a condo in SW Calgary and there is a small gym located on site. Now normally there are several people each morning that drift in, get down to business and then get on with their day. This week has been quite the opposite. The birds have arrived after their wintering south of the border and have invaded the peaceful serenity of our workouts. They have brought with them varying degrees of non-essential workout equipment such as sun visors (for indoors?), men’s dress socks and sandals, books on a variety of subjects such as the mating habits of bone fish, and remnants of curler set hair styles in shades of blue. A whole new perspective of Fifty Shades of Grey!

It always surprises me how a bunch of people who don’t really know each other can gossip for so long? Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but really?? …beside me AND in the middle of my workout?? At one point it got so chatty I fully expected a spontaneous game of bridge or gin rummy might break out right there amongst the elliptical machines and incline benches.

Maybe what we need to do is turn the table that holds the paper towels and disinfectant spray into a coffee station with a 75 cup urn to fuel the discussions? Gym goers can then take turns bringing coffee and cake (gluten-free of course) to nibble on. This table could be added into some kind of snow bird circuit training. Have a coffee and snack, followed by chatting while at rest on the recumbent bikes (no, I mean really …not even moving the pedals…), then over to the gossip challenge while looking out the window and finish off with the daily good byes. Ahhh a full workout!

As the very famous wrestling prognosticator General J R Foley used to say, “let the good times roll”! That’s right! ……roll right out the gym door and over to the “social room”, where they should have been in the first place.

Retirement – Step One

Step one – get your house in order and I mean this figuratively.

Stepping into retirement really is about steps. Lots of them…treadmills, parks, pathways and beaches. I have known people over the years when asked about what the first thing they are going to do is, say “get their house in order”! Well, Ok this follows a quick second to they would sleep for a week. I can’t count the number of people that said to me in the first few weeks I was off work, “hey its a little early for you to be up isn’t it”? I just smiled and said “nope”! They would go on to exclaim that if it was them they would sleep for a week or more. As Sam Elliott put it so eloquently in the CLASSIC movie Road House, “I’ll get plenty of sleep when I am dead”.

I remember when my Dad retired after almost 38 years he and my Mom had a list of things to do around the house. Fix this, paint this wall, organize the storage room, etc. This truly was getting the house in order but I suspect for them it was also therapeutic in many ways. My Dad told me that I would be amazed how much energy I would have after six months of not working. He is a very smart Man and was bang on.

For me getting my house in order was/is about mind, body, and spirit. After my own 33 year career not paying enough attention to how and why I tick it was time to tune-up the old chassis. Too much time behind a desk, attending meetings, flying to places I didn’t really want to go can take its toll on the old paint job. The great philosopher Jimmy Buffet prophesized in one of his many great literary works how some people treat their body as a temple, and that he treats his as a tent! I think all of us can or have been able to relate to this at some point.

So I have been getting my house in order and let’s just say it is a work in progress. Each day sleep comes easier and is more restful, clothes fit better or need to be taken in, energy levels rise as do the corners of your mouth when you remember on Sunday night, “hey I don’t work tomorrow “!
It’s a great feeling….

Should you get your house in order?