TechGenix FitITproNews

Vol. 02, #7 - February 21, 2018 - Issue #0022

FitITproNews: Body transformation story - Dan Davis

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Editor's Corner

This week in FitITproNews we're going to take a break from looking at various supplements to highlighting the success that one of our newsletter readers has had with changing his lifestyle to loose weight and become fit. Dan Davis is a Technical Alignment Engineer for an IT management company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. In many ways Dan's busy life has been typical of most IT professionals. I asked Dan for a short bio and here's how he describes himself:

My time in IT looks like a hunk of Swiss cheese, as I've floated from career to career, but I started with a VIC-20 at age 9 and fell in love with everything computer-related from then on. My parents owned two Radio Shacks when I hit high school, so I cut my teeth on upgrading proc boards in Tandy 1000 PCs, and became the "internal IT guru" at every company I worked for after (print shops, hardware stores, etc.). I even worked retail computer sales, which lead to getting an A+ cert, working temp work, getting jobs at large firms in IT doing PC/laser printer repair work… I've worked at a growing managed service provider in Michigan for going on 12 years, and am now a Technical Alignment Engineer (using the TruMethods approach for MSPs). I keep managed clients on-target using networking best practices, do service work when on-site, and give advice to our 'virtual CIOs' on my findings at each client. I also use my love of writing to create a good bit of the documentation for SOPs and asset tracking for our techs to use. Very fun job!

Let's now listen in as Dan shares the story of his journey towards losing weight and becoming fit:

Hi, Mitch, long-time reader, and I've been very interested in reading through your fitness-related newsletter lately. I've been in IT for decades now, mainly as an in-the-trenches technician but over the past two years I transitioned to a more "reviewer" type of role at our MSP. As such, my day consists of meetings in the morning, followed by a drive to a client location, followed by a large amount of the day sitting in one spot and reviewing the networks and systems managed by our company.

As I'm nearing 50, I've already noticed how difficult it had become to keep up with fitness, with a fairly busy family life. But with this job transition and my kids finishing high school my weight just snowballed. Until I was 25 I was a 6' twig, weighing in at about 130lbs. As age (now 48) and family life and IT worked their way into my life, I steadily crept up into dangerous area, and topped out last October at about 235lbs. Essentially, I grew a 14-year-old person on me!

With high blood pressure and slowly aging joints, I decided it was time to stop the progress of this laziness and get myself into SOME semblance of shape, just not pear-shaped. I have problems with my feet, and my rotator cuff has had a lot of issues the past couple of years due to RSI, so I knew going whole hog into the gym wasn't going to be a good answer for my needs. Plus, I'm not a social kind of guy, and exercising in a public way just isn't my thing. I had purchased a nice treadmill for my wife a few years ago, so I added a very decent Sole Elliptical to allow me to switch up exercises without injuring myself:

I started speed walking on the treadmill, and getting used to the way the elliptical works, at the end of October. I put a goal in my head of losing 5lbs each month for the first 4-5 months, and then having my brother-in-law (who works at a posh club in Chicago as an instructor/trainer) assess my progress and see where I need to go from there. These first few months were going to be all about gaining muscle mass, right? That means if I lose 5lbs, I'll have actually lost more than that in fat, but gained muscle. At least, that's what the interwebs tell me. 

What I found pretty quickly was that I was not engaged much with my exercise regimen. I added 10-15 minutes of upper-body work (stretches, crunches, some dumbbell work all done on a folding gym table) thinking that would help transition me to a more interesting 30-40 minutes of walk/elliptical work. Still bored. I'm just not the type to get a "runner's high" when I work out or run.

I heard from a friend who told me she goes to the gym and just watches CNN on a big screen while working out, helping her to zone out. I tried that, but dumped it because I hate news. But I did happen to watch a nature show while working out, one of those ones which has a bunch of drone work, flying over areas of farmland watching buffalo and such, and I was into that quite a bit! After I thought about it, I felt there had to be something similar in an app which I could put in front of me while working out, maybe one which moved when I did, and stopped when I did. That's when I found BitGym:

I don't want to make this into an ad for this service, but basically BitGym uses your portable device (I'm using the iOS version on an iPad) to track head movement in order to match your body motion to video footage of hundreds of "nature walks". If you speed up, the footage does as well. It uses the bob and weave of your head to figure out your approximate steps per minute. In such a way, they show you hikes through the forests of Vancouver, or runs down a beach in Panama, or walks through downtown Seattle. The videos are all professionally shot and are usually about 40-50 minutes long. Throughout the playback, interesting facts about the area you're "traversing" will pop up onscreen. At the end of the session you're shown info on your workout. You can choose to share this data with other fitness apps, as well (like Strava) but I find using MapMyFitness (which connects all of my sensors) is more accurate and meaningful for me to view:

It's about $8/month for full access to the service, and provides a trial (limited courses for a certain amount of days) to let you decide before plunking money down on what, for me, amounts to a motivational tool. Worth it? I feel it is, as I use it every other day while doing my basement runs and climbs to stay in it for the long term. Of course, not paying for a gym membership makes it easier for me to swallow the price.

And is it all working? Yes. I've modified my diet to drop about 25% of my caloric intake, stopped drinking a beer (or two) every day and cut that to 3-4 drinks/week, started eating more fruits/veggies (organic), drinking a LOT more water, and I exercise no less than 3 times each week. My weight has dropped over the past three months (including sitting out much of January with bronchitis and flu) from 235lbs to 220 as of today, and I have no wish to go back to that weight or shape (hey, look, I've got some upper body definition showing!). A workout maniac I'm not, but even the smallest amount of change like this can only lead to a happier, healthier life, so I'm OK with it.

For the record, "sensoring up" has helped, as well, basically gamifying my workouts. I'm addicted to reviewing my sessions on MapMyFitness, and I buy sensors which work with their iOS app. Wahoo TICKR heartrate strap and cadence/speed sensors on my mountain bike and elliptical, a Wahoo REFLKT+ computer on my bike (helps with altitude tracking to go along with phone's GPS data), Garmin vivosmart HR for tracking step data on the elliptical and reps with the dumbbells, and Milestone Pod for tracking steps during fast walks/jogs/runs. Lots going on (and I'll admit it doesn't always work perfectly together in MapMyFitness, which can cause some swearing before I just chuck it and run), but really helpful to see for a fact you did good work on your body!

Thanks for being part of what started this whole thing, Mitch! Feel free to use this in your newsletter! If it helps even one other person, it'd be worth it. There's a lot to be said for "If he can do it, I can do it as well!"

Are you a former "fat IT pro" and have a story to tell about how you lost weight and got fit? Send us your stories, tips, and recommendations and we'll share them with our readers in an upcoming issue of FitITproNews. Email us today at [email protected]

Send us your feedback!

Got feedback about anything in this issue of FitITproNews? Email us at [email protected]

Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness professional or nutritionist so take any suggestions made here "as is" with a grain of salt and a heaping supply of your own judgment. Please read our full disclaimer at the bottom of this newsletter.  

Subscriber preferences: As a WServerNews subscriber we're sure you'll enjoy reading FitITproNews each week as much as you enjoy reading WServerNews. But if you'd rather not receive FitITproNews any more, just go to the bottom of this issue and click Update Newsletter Preferences to change your subscription preferences. And by the way, we also have two other TechGenix newsletters you can subscribe to: our Weekly IT Update and Spotlight Articles. Why not subscribe to all of them today?

Ask Our Readers: Need help or advice concerning fitness, weightloss, exercising or nutrition? Why not tap into the huge collective expertise of our IT pro readership from all around the world! Send your questions to us today by emailing us at [email protected]

Today's workout

The last few days of work have been stressful for me and I'm afraid I fell off the wagon and didn't exercise or eat very well. In fact I had pasta twice for supper and ate two pieces of carrot cake for dessert! So this morning I once again climbed back on the wagon and began the grind towards fitness by doing the following:

  • 30 minutes of cardio on my exercise bike
  • 15 minutes of resistance training targeting the adductor muscles in my legs, my medial triceps muscles, and my forearm muscles. 

I'm also trying to get back to limiting myself to around 2500 calories per day as I slowly work towards my summer "beach body" target weight.

Got a favorite workout? Have you developed a workout that you enjoy doing and feel has been contributing to your health and which you'd like to share with our readers? Email us at [email protected]

Fitness Toolbox

Products and services we think you shouldn't be without!

GOT ANY exercise equipment, nutritional supplements, personal training services, fitness websites, or anything else you would like to recommend for our readers? Or for that matter do you have any IT products or services you would like to promote or recommend? After all, our target audience here is mostly IT pros! Email us at [email protected]

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The vivosmart HR smart activity tracker with Elevate wrist heart rate technology measures heart rate at the wrist 24/7:

Wahoo chest and armband mounted heart rate monitors tracks calories and motion data, in addition to your heart rate, in real-time:

Exercise tip of the week

Strengthening forearms

Forearm strength is important if you want your overall musculature to grow. That's because the best way to get strong is to do heavy full-body exercises like deadlifts and cleans. These exercises work a whole bunch of different muscles in your body, and this stimulates muscle growth overall including muscles you aren't using very much. 

But to do an exercise like a heavy deadlift properly you need strong forearm muscles--unless you use straps, but there are pros and cons of doing it that way. How can you build strength in your forearms given that there are so many smaller muscles there? 

One good way I've discovered myself is to use a wrist roller, and being somewhat cheap I decided to make one myself using a wooden dowel, some small dumbbells, and an old leather belt:


What I do is to unwind the belt from the dowel and use my hands to roll the weights up and down one way and then up and down the other. This gives both the flexor (lower) and extensor (upper) muscles of my forearms. (I hope I've got that right and haven't reversed them.) After 2-3 sets of 2-3 reps each my forearms are burning and are pumped up for the rest of the day. 

Have you built an exercise device you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]

Nutritional tip of the week

Avoid overeating with more protein

Research performed at the University of Missouri in 2011 suggested that eating a protein-rich breakfast can help you consume fewer calories overall. This seems to happen because protein provides greater satiety than carbs. In other words, by eating more protein than carbs with your breakfast you'll feel fuller afterwards and be less hungry and thus less prone to snacking or breaking your diet. 

So make eggs, sausage, ham, fish, Greek yoghurt, or cottage cheese the main component of your breakfast along with low-glycemic carbs like cooked oatmeal or whole-grain bread.

Got tips? Do you have any exercise or nutritional tips you'd like to share with other IT pros who are trying to lose weight and get more fit? Email us at [email protected]

Fun stuff

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Does this mean that the BIGGER your breakfast the BETTER it is for you? Let's find out…

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Product of the Week

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About FitITproNews

FitITproNews is the only weekly newsletter in the world that is entirely devoted to helping IT pros get fit, lose weight, and live happily ever after as they face the daily stresses and workload of being in the gristmill of the IT profession. FitITproNews is brought to you by TechGenix and is created each week by the same all-star editorial team that brings you WServerNews, the world's longest running IT pro newsletter focusing on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. Subscribe to FitITproNews today! And while you’re at it be sure to also subscribe to our other TechGenix newsletters such as our Weekly IT Update and Spotlight Articles!

Editorial Team

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of FitITproNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written numerous articles and whitepapers and has authored or been series editor of more than 50 books for Microsoft Press. Mitch also successfully made the transition from being a typical "fat IT pro" to becoming fit by losing almost 50 lbs through a combination of resistance training, cardio exercises, and proper nutrition. Mitch's passion with FitITproNews is to help other IT pros do what he has been able to accomplish by sharing his personal story and lessons learned.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of FitITproNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. She is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program. Ingrid is also committed to personal fitness and is a believer in clean eating and proper supplementation for optimal health and longevity.

Mitch and Ingrid are also the editors of WServerNews, a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that focuses on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. For more information about Mitch and Ingrid see their website.


This newsletter is designed for informational purposes only and the health and fitness information presented in it are based solely upon the personal experience of its editors and of any guests or readers who contribute content to it. Nothing in this newsletter is intended to be or should be construed to be professional medical, fitness, or nutritional advice. Always consult a physician or other health care professional before starting an exercise or nutrition program to determine if it is appropriate for your personal needs. Do not follow any of the suggestions in this newsletter if your physician or other health care professional advises against doing so. If you are exercising or dieting or taking supplements and experience any dizziness, faintness, pain, or shortness of breath, you should stop immediately and seek medical help. The use of any information presented in this newsletter is solely at your own risk.

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