Today I turned 40 years old. It has been a fanstastic weekend. Some thought:
Family is the best
Norah made me an awesome card (and told me all about how she made the decision. Sorin tried to FaceTime us while we were on our half marathon today. My mom and my sister made it all around the half marathon course today. Then my sister and parents hosted a birthday gathering featuring two of my favorite treats: homemade Chex mix and peanut butter bars.
Katie is a champ
She ran the Conquor the Captial this weekend: twilight 10k last night and half marathon today! She and her friend (and my client) Sue ran the two races together and killed it! This weekend started as “her races” and turned into all kinds of activities around me turning 40. She was so gracious and our plans turned out to be amazing. We had so much fun and this paragraph doesn’t begin to describe my happiness at the end of these couple days.
Great friends matter
Sue’s husband and I spent last night tracking the ladies arising be the 10k course and had nice conversations and the four of us had some great laughs over the two races. Lunch today was with two families we love dearly, including baby Macie – what a diva!
Today was good for the soul. Do you ever have those days? To be clear, it wasn’t about the birthday celebration, though it was part of it. It was about memories with family and friends, and great results in our races. Katie finished a 10k (6 miles!) at 9pm then ran an awesome, strong half marathon at 7am. You should have seen her sense of accomplishment at the finish line! I ran my best half marathon and worked hard for every minute I cut off my PR. The finish line was almost 60 minutes hanging out with family and friends celebrating the races.
And Katie and I ended on the rooftop of the new AC Hotel at Eno Vino. What a meal, what a view, and what a conversation with my wife.
Up next? Katie and I are very excited about our family, our businesses, and our next race.
On Sunday I will be celebrating my 40th birthday running the Madison Half Marathon. It’s already Tuesday so I need to get this post out to give you guys time to buy my birthday present!
That’s right, I’m asking for a birthday gift. I’ve done this a few other times including when I ran the Monona 20k and when I participated in Save a Drink. More details this week.
The organization I’m running for is called Blood:Water. If you choose to support me by donating, click the button at the top and in the comment you can write #HansMadisonHalf and any other comment you’d like.
Yesterday I ran a fast 4-mile route through Oregon – gotta love race week and the taper! It’s only a half marathon but resting this week is critical. At work today a member mentioned that he saw me running and said I looked strong, so that’s always nice! He’s a good runner himself so I appreciate the love.
In reality today is your last day to buy me a birthday gift! Let’s be honest, Facebook on the weekend is just casual – nothing really happens.
Gifts of $5 and $10 are awesome because they cost us nothing and help in such big ways. It’s really all I’m looking for – a way to crowd-source my efforts into getting people involved in a great cause (clean water, people!) while I put in all the hard work running those miles!
Sunday I’ll be running my 8th half marathon: 13.1 miles through our Capital city. I heard yesterday there’s a “hill challenge.” Based on people’s chip times from the bottom of the hill to the top, the top three men and top three women win prizes. Very tempting but I haven’t found out where (mile-marker) on the course this is happening, so no decision has been made yet. It sure will be tempting to get a running start on that thing and go for it but boy, that effort will take a lot of juice out of the legs for the rest of the race.
Thanks again for considering supporting Blood:Water as we build wells and provide clean water for millions who are without. I am very excited for this weekend – partly for the birthday but mostly for the two runs. Katie is doing a 10k on Saturday night and then we are both running the half marathon on Sunday.
I’ll try to post a pic on Saturday of what I’ll be racing in so that if you’re on the course you can find me. I should be around 7:45/8:00-minute miles.
This week I want to share a brief insight into my vision as a fitness professional. Anyone who has worked with me for more than a couple months knows that I gravitate towards and leverage technology whenever possible. While technology is only a small part of my training, it is essential. The articles in this issue got me thinking deeper this week about the future of my training modalities and the direction of health care and the allied health industry.
My contribution to people’s health
When I am working with a client, my iPad is never more than a hop, skip, and a lunges away. I have all of my workouts on it and I’m always ready to take notes or take a picture to add to a client’s file. It is far from a perfect system and too much still falls through the cracks. But I recognize that with devices and enough apps that are fully customizable, there is continually less excuse to not have everything perfectly documented. When I do orientations for new members I want to send them their PDF as soon as our session is done so that they can start planning their next workout. When I need to see what a client did last week, where they struggled, where they won, or how they did a workout three months ago to today, I have that all on my iPad. In summary, technology makes my profession more thorough and more efficient. Hopefully this leads to increased trust and better results for the client.
Once members have started their fitness routine, I wanted to provide additional tools to help with exercise adherence and progressions. I developed a series called Fitness Tracker 2.0, the idea being that many of us have and use these trackers but don’t use them to their fullest or aren’t getting the results that we want. Since starting this series in 2016, I’ve learned that simply wearing a fitness tracker doesn’t guarantee success or even compliance and adherence. A combination of the client’s motivation, my coaching, and group (training) dynamics all contribute to this equation. But still there is so much potential for technology to not only educate us but prompt us to make better decisions. These are just a couple ways I use technology at Pinnacle on a daily basis to make things go well for me and my clients.
Apple’s contribution to people’s health
Trainers like myself have figured out how to help clients at the micro level of the industry. But there’s a lot happening at the macro level also. As I wrote about in the healthcare issue, companies will soon take information from wearable devices and integrate it with a person’s medical history to make healthcare more efficient and hopefully more successful. What if Apple Watch was more than a $400 over-priced notification gadget and half-baked fitness tracker? What if it was 97% effective at detecting irregular heart rates?! That’s what a study from the University of California, San Francisco reported last week. To be clear, I fully expect Apple and the fitness industry to have trouble getting patients to be compliant in wearing these devices in the same way that not everyone at Pinnacle is jumping into my FT2 classes. One thing I learned in graduate school was that getting people into scientific studies is a lot like exercise adherence – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. As a result I made it my goal to be a professional that bridges the gap between cutting edge research and science and the general public that needs (and wants) increased health. Regarding the irregular heart rates, Apple has provided the same bridge between consumer and the scientists. We now (potentially) have tools that mean we no longer have to go into a clinic to check for our heart health and that may even predict if a person is going to have a heart episode. Of course Apple and the clinics cannot advertise this but writing is on the wall that this is the direction of wearables and the health care industry.
No one wants the symptoms of an irregular heart beat, but fluttering in the chest, chest pain, fainting, or dizziness are usually present and help determine when you need to seek help. What if there were no symptoms? That’s often the case with the silent killer: diabetes. If the body cannot turn blood sugar into energy, the result is damage to the heart, kidneys, and nerves. I am sure there is wonderful technology around diabetes management and in fact I know a couple friends who have blood glucose monitors. But Apple is testing continuous blood glucose monitors that are (or could be) connected to an Apple Watch that would communicate with doctors and diabetes educators. This makes me so excited! Yes, I know education and monitoring are only part of the equation, but if a program can demonstrate success with these tools we can fight the disease that affects almost 10% of our population. All of a sudden a $400 watch seems like a tool that opens the door to not only health measurements but prescription and coaching. I want in on that.
I see myself always working one-on-one with clients and patients but increasingly I see myself putting systems and programs in place for population health causes like heart health monitoring and diabetes education. We need to get past the idea that tech is the solution; we can’t expect people to use these devices because they they will make them healthier. We need the human component in the form of group dynamics and coaching to help people use the right tools for the job. The tech is getting better, we are getting smarter and seeing the bigger picture, and coaches like me will continue to bridge that gap and help us realize a healthier society.
(Note: this is posting two weeks late – life happened)
There have been a couple hiccups with Apple Watch. I have been using Record by Under Armour for my workouts. I love the look of the app and I think the kinks will work themselves out but twice last week the workout paused while using the app. The first time I was doing TRX and Kettlebells and as I was checking the heart rate it showed the start screen. GRRRRR. Lost that workout data. Then yesterday I was on a long run with Katie around the golf course here in Oregon. Excited about the GPS and heart rate data (I'm using a Polar H7), in the last mile a quick glance after reaching the top of a hill showed me the start screen again. Not cool. I learned from the last glitch to not start a new workout because that would certainly eliminate all data. Plus what would I gain? One mile data after running 7.5? No thanks. So I just let the watch run and thankfully after getting home and in the middle of my cool down and stretching, the app showed my workout still tracking. So the data was there, I just needed to adjust the end time and then the estimated calories burned and distance traveled – no big deal but certainly a problem that I shouldn't have to deal with. I'm thinking it's a quick-start app timer on one of the watch faces that I think is overriding the Record app and messing up my display.
The Record app has been "hanging" too much
I am still loving the Breathe app. I'm talking to clients about it because of the mindfulness aspect of wellness. I am tracking my workouts and activity but I'm working on setting better goals for the three components: activity, exercise and stand. And lastly I've noticed many more people around the club and around town wearing Apple Watch. Part of the reason, I'm sure, is because Target just offered $70 off Apple Watch series 1. In fact I have a new client who took advantage of that deal. So that makes it essential that I keep learning the platform and figure out how work through these hurdles and leverage this tool to help people get healthier with Apple Watch.
One of the most memorable Christmas presents I ever received was a single company share (stock) of Nike. From age 12-18 and had become a fanboy of the athletic brand. Michael Jordan was in his prime, Bo Knows Bo was a thing, and all I wanted to do was Just Do It. I felt a part of the company. I had ownership. And it didn't hurt that the stock split twice. Of course with four shares, I wasn't inspired by the money; I wanted to be part of the story.
Bo Knows Bo – brilliant
The brand took a big hit when it was revealed that it was making products in sweatshops. To be honest, that tarnish of the company lasted a long time for me. Big brands soon became less of a big deal to me (poor college student) and I never regained my passion for the company.
Nike has been making quite the comeback. Their recent partnership with Apple on the Apple Watch specifically caught my attention. I was reminded how groundbreaking the company was with athletic gear and how it has evolved (as all companies must) to provide software apps and a relevant message in the 21st century. Nike established the Nike+ Run Club and almost overnight I found a script where I wanted to play a leading role.
that "Etch-a-sketch" in the middle is my running route
I love the idea of a running club. I've never been in one but the week we moved to Oregon, we were at the Firefly and learned that there is a running club that meets every Saturday morning. Life with three young kids does not make that time work the greatest for us right now, but this spring might be a different story. In my line of work I'm always looking for ways for people to take their health to the next level. I work at a fitness club, I believe there is a lot of value (equipment, community and experts) at a fitness club. But the idea of a "grassroots" running club at the local coffee shop is pretty cool also! Anyway, there's the local running club and there's the digital running club – and you know me, digital is always pretty cool to me.
I'm not sure we need another social network. I know that face-to-face interaction is both essential and at the same time taking a hit in our digital society. Still we need to leverage technology and find ways to connect with more people with said technology especially if it benefits our health. And that is my motivation: a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. Sure, a guy like me often gets competitive but it doesn't always have to be like that. Running is about being in community. Each runner is as different as the next. One of the main features of the Nike+ Running Club is the prompt to run on Sunday. I love this! And each week I've had Apple Watch Nike+ I've participated in the Sunday run.
Nike was the original athletic company. They had a significant fall from grace and they've rebuilt their brand. Nike is continuing to tell the story of health and fitness and is finding new ways to get you and me involved in the story. I'll end with one of my favorite fitness stories. Nike asked Casey Neistat to help launch their Nike Fuel band. Well the Fuel Band ended up being a flop but hey, this video is still pretty awesome. (Sorry for the thumbnail – it’s not all about girls in bikinis).
The purpose of this newsletter is to be a resource of articles for people interested in leading a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. My reading material focuses on health and wellness with occasional instances of personal productivity, discipline, and habits.
Two weeks ago a gracious client let me borrow his Apple Watch series 1 (since he had upgraded to series 2). It was a nice introduction to the platform since work had purchased a series 2 for me but it wasn’t arriving for a couple weeks.
I now have a full week under my belt with Series 2 Nike+ version and I’m loving this product. The general consensus among the Apple and tech community is that Apple “doubled-down on fitness” with this model. It boasts waterproof specs and has built-in GPS. Plus my Nike+ model has the Nike running app that I haven’t tried yet but I’m eager to jump into that community.
Breathe: my favorite app on Apple Watch
The Apple effect
For those of us in the Apple ecosystem, the Watch has been the best addition to the collection since iPad. From opening the box to setting up the device (more of a treat than I was expecting) to getting the first meaningful notifications, the Apple experience doesn’t disappoint. The screen is gorgeous. The navigation is perfect. And like the iPad, it’s allowed me to distance myself from my iPhone. At first I couldn’t believe how cumbersome the strap worked – tucking the band underneath itself seems as un-Apple as I’ve ever seen. But after a couple days it has grown on me. Regarding the form factor, I’m not a watch-guy so maybe my standards are different. But when I think of how it looks in relation to what it can do and the purpose it has in my (health and wellness focused) life, I couldn’t be more happy with this Apple product on my wrist.
Awesome sport band on Nike+ edition
Better tech for less tech
Many friends and family know me as a tech-centric person. I know the apps, the workflows, the tricks, the devices; I have a pretty good lay of the land. What people probably don’t know is that I view my technology like a world traveler views their luggage: with experience, less is more. People who passionately travel are often trying to make a trip with the smallest bag and the least “stuff” that they can. Less is more. Simple trumps complex. I absolutely love my iPhone (a 128gb computer in my pocket!). But my iPad gave me a device that was an extension of my phone while at the same time it was a work machine that allowed me to access messages and emails only when it was good for me. Apple Watch has taken this to a new level. It is not efficient to look at email on the Watch. It is not efficient to text people from the Watch. Reading the news should not happen on the Watch. But I’m learning how to lock down VIP settings so that only important notifications get through. And even throughout this process, I wasn’t expecting how easy it would be to see a message and not respond because it isn’t efficient on the device. It allows me to get more work done. Distractions derail me. Apple Watch has allowed me to keep control of my efficient work time yet still triage things that are being delivered to my desk.
Ultimate fitness device
In my first week with Apple Watch, my favorite app has been Breathe. This native application couldn’t be more simple: press ‘start’ and pay attention to your breathing for one minute. Slow down, Hans. That’s the point of Breathe: meditation, relaxation, margin, pause, be still. Will I continue to listen to my Watch when it tells me to stop and breathe? I certainly hope so. Interesting story: a Twitter friend said he had just read an infuriating political story (imagine that) and the next moment Apple Watch told him to Breathe. Kinda cool! Just today, something happened at the house that got my blood boiling and as I retreated to the couch to get away, buzz buzz buzz Apple Watch told me to Breathe. Does it sense the quick spike in heart rate? Not sure, don’t really care. All that matters to me is that I have tools, including a coach, in place helping me pursue wellness throughout my day.
Nike branding FTW
As an exercise specialist, the main reason I bought Apple Watch was for the fitness features. It has built in GPS and it’s waterproof. I’m learning how to leverage Health.app as the main hub for my wellness. I’ve given all the fitness apps permission to write to Health.app so that it’s all in one place. While a dedicated triathlon watch may offer more tri-specific features, I believe it could be done with Apple Watch and for most people, Apple Watch is the perfect fitness device. Now it’s not for everyone, but for all my iPhone friends, if they wanted a fitness tracker I would certainly point them to Apple Watch. Which brings me to my last point.
Just another tool
As much as I love my Apple Watch, it’s just a tool. It’s my job to use the different running and fitness apps. It’s up to me to listen when it tells me to Breathe (that’s the name of the app and why I capitalized). It will send me as many or as few notifications as I allow it – so I must master the platform. But it’s a blast to use and I see it as my primary health and wellness device. Moving forward, I think about tools like this for my industry. How can we use tools like this to help people get healthier? Can we build apps that are easier to use? Improve communication between clients and trainers, patients and medical staff? Can we use technology so efficiently that it actually gets out of the way so we can live healthier and more disciplined lives? That is my goal.
Email is obviously essential to our communication and this success in our digital age. Email is great for sending and receiving information but not so great to organize tasks. I have learned to process my email to Inbox Zero as often as possible and get the important information out to a dedicated task management system. Challenge your thinking and strategy to handle email.
Let’s go way back, shall we? I’m a senior at Pewaukee High School. I’m getting ready to go to college and so I’m spending more time on the computers doing bigger writing projects. My friends who are already in college are telling me it’s all about writing papers. In the high school library things are changing. They’re expanding the computer lab, computers are increasingly using a mouse (connected by a wire of course – 1995 people!), and for the first time we have an opportunity to sign up for electronic mail. I think it is safe to say I was the first one in my class to have an e-mail address – very cool! Except that I’m the first and the only so I have no one to write! If only there was a sad-face emoji in 1995…
The next year as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin I was required to have and use my University-issued email address. It was a confusing time because I was on the verge of being “cutting edge” at my high school and now I’m one of 20,000 other freshmen with an email address I was expected to use daily to communicate with classmates, advisors, and professors. And ever since that first semester as a Badger I’ve been expected to communicate personally and professionally over electronic mail.
Fast-forward twenty years (gulp). I cannot imagine a world without email. I know you’re in the same boat, but where our journeys may differ is that I’ve come to peace with my email inbox. In fact it’s not an exaggeration to say that I actually enjoy email. I can make this claim because over the years I have developed a system to process email (HT Inbox Zero by Merlin Mann).
I’m going to start at the end, meaning where I currently sit with email. I have tried all kinds of apps and different practices to handle the digital communication that is email.
I can’t imagine running a business without email. At the same time most of us are sick of email, buried in email, and probably don’t “do” email well. We all know that it is one of if not the primary mode of communication in business. For us to succeed, we better figure out how to be an email power-user if we are going to keep good relationships with our clients. We need to quickly and efficiently follow up on leads, adjust workouts, schedule sessions, and check with clients at week’s end.
On iOS most users will default to the built-in Mail.app. To be fair, Apple is continually updating the features in Mail but I still believe it lacks the power and efficiency for a professional with my needs; namely, it doesn’t have a share sheet. The share sheet allows you to send parts or all of an email to other apps. For me, this means saving files (attachments) to Dropbox or Google Drive, adding an email to my task management system, or creating a PDF from an email. If you’re asking yourself “why would I have to do these things?” you’re probably not alone. Let me explain.
I use email to communicate (i.e. exchange and share information); I do not use it as a task management system. There’s a difference. We all get emails that require us to do something. When you get these, do you organize it in your mail app? Do you print it off so you can do it later? Do you flag it or put it in a folder? For me this doesn’t work. I use a dedicated task management app (2Do) when I have specific things to do. That means I need to get things out of email and into 2Do. If it’s not a specific task, I need to copy text into the appropriate project file – anything to get it out of email.
I use Airmail on iOS because it offers the easiest way for me to send a task to 2Do (my task management app of choice) and to Snooze an email so it comes back to me at just the right time and so that I don’t forget it. If those two reasons seem small or insignificant to you, then examine how you use email. Maybe Mail and copy/paste is good enough for you. Maybe you use email (tags, labels, folders) to keep your tasks and reminders organized. Let me be clear: do whatever works for you. But in my experience, email is for communicating with people and getting information. A dedicated task manager is for getting stuff done. I don’t want to have to retrieve information in my email system because inevitably when I’m looking something up I’ll either see another message that needs attention or some new message will come in and distract me from the task at hand.
How do you process email? Have you ever thought about it? Do you think your system could be more efficient?