Monday 9 December 2019

I have got the measure of me.. good data

John Masterson was shipped off to bootcamp for the delectation of his listeners. File photo.
John Masterson was shipped off to bootcamp for the delectation of his listeners. File photo.

John Masterson

I love numbers. I could look at them for hours. And when they are data about me I can go mentally missing indefinitely. Throw in a bit of technology and I am in seventh heaven.

So to my Garmin Vivoactive watch which has been the making of the new me. It began in Florida. Most of the buggies on the golf courses we play have GPS. One or two don't and it is commonplace to see golfers consult their smart watch these days. A four ball on the fairway will have their arms in the air like meerkats saying "I get 92, a soft wedge" to get a reply like "it is reading 91 here." For some in our esteemed company this matters. For others a smart watch would need to choose the club and hit the shot too. I bought one.

Gradually, I found that this magic machine can do a lot. It would buzz me if I had been sitting down too long. It would tell me I had reached a goal of so many thousand steps that I didn't know I had set. It linked up with my phone and gave me numbers and graphs. Not only did I know how many greens I hit in regulation I also know how many steps I had taken and calories were burned. I should have kept my mouth shut.

My KCLR producer, the resourceful Eimear Ni Bhraonain got this idea of sending me to Paulie Ward's bootcamp in Carlow for the delectation of listeners. Paulie has a body of tempered steel and tremendous motivational skills. I was fearful. It was time for me and Vivoactive to embark on my personal bootcamp. I settled into village life in France. I am the only person in holiday history who bought a digital weighing scales on Day 1. Numbers change your behaviour so you need accurate data.

Each lunch-time while my colleagues were keeping track of how many units they were consuming I was engaged in more worthwhile pursuits. Start small and increase every day. I once ran the Dublin Marathon so am not a total slob. The first breakthrough comes when you realise you have been running and daydreaming. Every step is not an effort. Next are the hours you spend with all of the statistics on your phone finding improvements, going faster, lasting longer. Then there is the ecstasy of inputting weight each day and gradually seeing the graph begin to fall. Then there is the distance bar chart each day with the day off looking like a missing front tooth. Why oh why did I not do just 1km to make it look better. I won't happen again. All very motivational.

If you bump into me on the street any greeting along the lines of "I've never seen you looking better" will get us off to a good start. If I am not seen around and about much you can assume I have relapsed.

Bring it on, Eimear and Paulie.

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