I have a super love-hate relationship with my Active Link. At about this point, you’re either nodding your head because you know exactly what I’m talking about, or you’re wondering what the hell kind of gibberish came out of my mouth just now.
Well, Active Link is this little gadget from Weight Watchers, which tracks every up-and-down, back-and-forth, and side-to-side movement. It looks like this:
And you can put it in your pocket or wear it on your belt, bra, or around your neck (a few people have thought that it was a clothing tag when I clip it on to my sports bra and am wearing a burnout tee). It unplugs and has a little USB drive so you plug it into your computer and the program will tell you how much activity you’ve done that day.
But the thing about Active Link is that you don’t just put it on and have it monitor your activity.
This thing sets goals for you. (If you look at the top image, you can see how the Active Link goal for me is to increase gradually the amount of activity I’m getting every day.) You get it, hook up the software, and then wear the sucker for a week during “assessment.” Once you’re assessed, the program asks a few questions about your current activity goals, and then you go.
Now, I was warned about Active Link. My friend/leader Jennifer told me before they even came out that for someone like me, the Active Link might piss me the f off.
Because I work out. I mean, I weeeerk out. I go to WOD four times a week, and then I do a kettlebell conditioning class once per week additionally. But at the end of the assessment week, doing everything normally, the Active Link showed that on most days I didn’t even meet my baseline. (This is something that’s cool about Active Link: Using your age/height/weight, it calculates how much activity it takes for you to simply maintain/be alive.) And since I was barely making baseline, I wasn’t earning any Activity Points. Which is what initially pissed me off. Because before, even if I didn’t eat my Activity Points, I would record between 12 and 15 APs for ONE Crossfit WOD, and at the end of the week, I’d accumulate something like 70 or 80 APs. I knew it was probably wrong, but Active Link (a) confirmed that, and (b) gave me little or NO Activity Points for my workouts!
This is what my first week looked like:
As you can see, I earned an average of 47% each day toward my GOAL of earning ONE Activity Point. This coming from someone who thought for sure she was earning 12 to 15 PER DAY.
Now, a note on Active Link: While it tracks movement, it obviously doesn’t take into account many of the pieces of Crossfit that make it more intense than other exercises. For example, if I’m doing deadlifts or thrusters, it won’t register a difference between me lifting 200# and me lifting 50#. Savvy? So often, I get only a few minutes worth of “moderate” activity registering for most WODs.
Like I said, I was initially quite…QUITE salty about this. I mean, how DARE Active Link tell me that I work my ass off at the gym and not earn APs? How DARE they?!
Simultaneously, I know that part of the goal of Active Link is to get you to move around when you’re not at the gym. So, parking a little further away (or taking the bus to campus), running up and down stairs doing laundry, etc., all contributes to your daily activity. And that was something I had to start to deal with. That my everyday motion contributed significantly—not just the WOD. Like, there’s a HUGE difference in my day if I (a) only WOD, come home and shower, and then lounge around, vs. (b) WOD, go grocery shopping, come home and change, take the bus to campus, and walk around school.
Once I saw that very first week at 47%, I knew that something HAD to change. I needed at least to earn 100% to be satisfied. Or, you know, make that stupid baseline. After assessment week, I started taking walks EVERY DAY.
This helped. It helped A LOT. But soon, I was getting burnt out. Not only that, but the weather wasn’t always nice, and I frankly didn’t have time to do another HOUR of exercising every day.
That’s when I talked with Dean, and we tweaked my eating and exercising habit.
Now I’m doing the WOD on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Kettlebells on Sunday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work on running. Yup, you heard. Running. (And I’m getting a lot better at it!)
To give you an idea of what that’s done for my chart, this is what my last week looked like:
Yeah. Big difference. As you can see, I’m almost always above goal (the days that I’m not, I try to at least make baseline). The Crossfit workouts contribute to the Moderate Intensity checkmarks, and the running contributes to the High Intensity checkmarks.
And while it might seem tedious to do what I do, I will say that this has DEFINITELY jump-started my weight loss. Which, after a full year of plateaus, is definitely welcome.
Am I still pissed at Active Link?
I get annoyed with it, yes. Because sometimes I feel like I work so hard at the WOD for very little recognition. (I do take THAT with a grain of salt, or I at least try.) But then again, I really enjoy (a) getting a more accurate reading of what kind of activity I’m doing (and you can itemize it my MINUTE, if you want…it’s pretty cool, really), and (b) finally dropping the LBs. And you know…it can’t be all that bad if it’s forcing me to really work on one of my biggest sucks (i.e., running). Who knew?!