the workweek challenge.
For as crazy as you might think I am for running in 15-degree weather or running at all for no reason, you can’t begin to call me crazy until you’ve met someone with a Fitbit (yes, I have one). Ever heard of the workweek challenge? They change a person. You could be challenging the Pope, and you’d still turn into a competitive maniac wanting to stomp his papal tiara if it gave you two extra steps—because two extra steps are two extra steps, it doesn’t matter how nice the person is, you will crush them. Or die trying.
Don’t believe me? Get a Fitbit. I’m not a competitive person at all, well, I wasn’t, until I got mine. Initially, I used it to track carbs for my prediabetes treatment; I made an effort to hit my daily step goal and then, for fun, I watched to see how much I moved around during the day. That was all. Then, my sister-in-law introduced me workweek challenges. We were neck and neck every day. She’d text me at 9:00 p.m. suggesting I rest, get a good night sleep, stop walking. I would wait until the end of the day to update my app and slap her with 10K steps all at once sending her into an all-nighter because she wasn’t going to quit. At midnight, she’d be lapping her basement, and I’d be running in place as quietly as I could, worried my husband would wander into the room and I’d have to explain myself.
Workweek challenges are horribly competitive. The mindset of the work week challenge isn’t a healthy one. Here are a few signs you might be in trouble:
- Your spouse invites you to watch a movie, and you immediately check your app to see where you stand in the challenge to determine if you have enough steps to afford an hour and a half on your butt.
- You make separate trips for the garbage and recycle bins to get more steps.
- You’re running laps around your basement at 11:45 p.m.
- You have to strategize the best time to charge your tracker so you don’t lose steps or sleep tracking.
- You text your friend at 1:00 a.m. and say, “Dammit. Quit moving!”
- You accuse your competitors of putting their tracker on their dogs.
- You have a hiding spot in the house where you can run in place ridiculously fast to confuse and discourage people who thought they were beating you.
- You go for a run just because your husband’s weekly total is two-thousand steps more than yours, making him public enemy number one.
- You come up with a subtle step-dance while waiting in line to check-out. Sure, it looks like you have to use the bathroom, but who cares?
- You have a list of excuses for what you’re doing, in case you get caught during stair intervals after bedtime.
- You make more than five trips from your bedroom to the dryer, carrying small loads of clothes, then one special trip back to close the dryer door.
- You never leave your tracker at home. Ever.
- You wait to open your Fitbit app until you hit 10K steps because people are watching.
- You roll your eyes and sigh when you sync for the night and see you are 357 steps behind.
- You get out of bed for at least 30 minutes to get 357 steps ahead and toss in 30 more minutes to safely push you to one-thousand steps.
- You park at the far end of the parking lot at the grocery store and hoof it a half of a mile to get milk.
- Everything you do during the day is determined by the number of steps you can get from it.
- When your battery dies in the middle of the day you experience a kind of sorrow and remorse for not having better judgement to charge it before you really needed to.
- You walk in place doing the dishes and folding clothes.
- You look forward to the day when Fitbit makes their trackers waterproof so you can step in the shower.
It consumes you.
It’s crazier than running. Much crazier.
And for what? You get a badge in your app. But it’s not even a tangible badge. You bust your butt for five days and break a knee joint to earn a badge that’s not even real. The first and only time I ever hit 100k steps in a single week, I didn’t get a badge. In fact, at 99,000 steps I had to redo 200 of those steps just to hit 100K, and I didn’t even get an app badge. I got a sore hip and my sister in law ran laps in her basement trying to catch up until she hit a full marathon. Why did we do this? I’m not really sure. My sister-in-law is a great person, but extra steps were extra steps and I was going to crush her. Or die trying.