Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Touching Base With My DirectLife Coach

The folks at Philips recently sent me a DirectLife activity monitor to try out. What's more, they hooked me up with my own coach to guide me through boosting my activity levels. I think we're off to a great start...

Hi! I'm Jen, your DirectLife coach. What would you like me to call you? Your email address is Jack - shall I call you Jack?

You are just about done your Assessment and I wanted to touch base as you begin your Plan. Sometimes people are surprised by their Assessment results and if this is the case for you please do let me know so that I can ensure it all makes sense as you get started.

I notice that you indicate that you are already active 5 times a week (at least). What activity do you currently do? You also indicate that you would like to increase your activity. What do you envision adding
to your days to increase your activity? Taking a look at your goals you wrote that you want to challenge yourself, control your weight and become fitter. Do you have more specific goals that you are working towards?

Do let me know when you have some time to write and I look forward to being your coach in the program.
Have a fun and active day!


Hi DirectLife Coach Jen,

Sure, you can call me Jack, since you now know more about my activity levels than anyone on Earth.

Yes, I put down my goals as "challenging myself, controlling my weight and becoming more fit" but my master plan is to become the most active man in the history of the world, so you've got some work to do! (unless my assessment shows that I'm already the most active man in the history of the world, in which case... go help somebody else!)

What activity do I currently do? I lift weights. I run. I play basketball. I do laundry. I take the stairs. I ride my bike. I root around on my hands and knees looking for the remote. I play with my daughter Pisa. Pretty damned active I'd say...

How will I get activer? I mean, more activer? Wait, that's not right... I don't know, DirectLife Coach Jen. I guess that's where YOU come in. Your challenge is to find some way to make me the activest person I can possibly be.

One question: is it a problem that I hooked up my activity monitor to my dog Dip's collar one day this week to try to bolster my numbers? It seemed like a good idea until Dip got out of the backyard and I wound up chasing her all over the neighborhood. I wish I'd been wearing my activity monitor, let me tell ya!

Well, thanks for getting in touch, DirectLife Coach Jen. I hope this is the beginning of a beautifully active friendship!

Take care,


Hi Jack,

Game on! Your master plan is....hard to measure. Who is currently the most active man on earth? Well, it could be you - I can't tell yet as you have not docked your device to upload your activity data. But, let's just say it's not you, then who are you aspiring to beat? Taking a look at some of the Tour de France riders' training schedules may mean that you will have to drop your day job and train, train, train.

However...I imagine that you would still like to keep some consistency to your current days so what my task with you is figure out how to help you become more active in your day to day. Of course you will keep up your current routine of basketball, stairs, weights...(this will help maintain your baseline) so what else is possible? Certainly putting the device on your dog (or daughter) will generate activity when you are sitting watching, but this is not really how this

It's not about the score Jack, it's how you play the game. So, please keep the device on you, in order to get a real read of your activity.

Have you heard about treadmill desks? A few DirectLife participants spend all day working from those. Others have standing desks, take walking meetings, pace when on the phone change their mode of transport from car to bike to really get activity in. They bike on a stationary bike in front of the TV, never take the stairs, (or the moving walkway at airports), and purposely move things from downstairs to upstairs one item at a time to make themselves do more stairs.

Are any of those ideas already part of your daily routine? If not, do any of them sound adaptable to your current routine? I must admit Jack, I am trying to gauge your intent. Are you planning on adding all this activity to your days right away...or have you given yourself reasonable time to become so active? If you do begin to be as active as you can at all times, there is a risk that you will 'crash and burn', meaning that you will start out strong, but then your ability to keep up the activity (or your motivation to do so) will wane and then you will fall back off of the routine. It is much more sustainable to set small achievable tasks to gradually make your way up to being the most active man on earth.

I look forward to seeing your data when you dock and to hearing back from you about the above.

Until soon,


Dear DirectLife Coach Jen,

Thanks for saying I'm "hard to measure", DirectLife Coach Jen. I like to think that I'm an enigma, rolled up in a riddle, locked inside a mystery and twisted up in a taffy wrapper.

And way to throw cold water on my "most active man in earth" goal, DirectLife Coach Jen! When I said that, I meant in the USA, which disqualifies all the Tour de France riders. Besides, they're all doped up. Is it really fair to compare my activity levels with people taking performance-enhancing drugs? Do I need to pee in a cup, DirectLife Coach Jen, because I'm prepared to do just that.

My old basketball coach (Coach Sam) said that same thing to us: "it's not about the score, Jack, it's how you play the game." Well, the Spartans beat us 117 to 14 that night, so I'm not sure I quite agree with either one of you. That's one strike, DirectLife Coach Jen (not that I'm keeping score).

I'll agree with you that putting the monitor on the dog was a big mistake. He just naps in the sun room most of the day anyway...

Treadmill desks? Pardon me for asking, but are you drunk, DirectLife Coach Jen? That's just crazytalk. What's next? Elliptical beds? Stairmaster fridge? Fred Flintstone car? C'mon, I live in the real world...

We don't know each other very well yet, DirectLife Coach Jen, so it doesn't hurt my feelings that you suggest that I could possibly "crash and burn" by setting my activity goals so high. You don't know that I weighed nearly 300 lbs last year and have been on a mission to change my life for the past 13 months. I've cleaned up my diet, incorporated a great deal of exercise into my daily schedule and even blog daily about my health journey. I'm down 90 lbs and feel as though I have a new lease on life.

Maybe I can't really be the most active man on the planet, but let's at least see what we can do about getting me in the top 10.

I'm pumped up! Let's do this! Nothing's gonna stop the Jack-DirectLife Coach Jen team!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.



  1. Hilarious - although I'd like to know what she recommends instead of taking the stairs? Flying between floors?

    "They bike on a stationary bike in front of the TV, never take the stairs, (or the moving walkway at airports)"

  2. You are just too much! IF I moved half as good as your mind works...I would be the fittest old broad around! :-)

  3. I loved this. You crack me up!!! You gotta show us Jen's response letter. Keep us informed! :)

  4. Is it sad that after reading all of that, the most important thing to be was that you said the word "taffy?!"


  5. Jack, strap on your monitor and come run that Telluride mountain race (Imogene Pass). You can totally do it now that you have Jen! Its the perfect goal! Mark your calendar for September 11 (that date can't be a coincidence).

  6. A treadmill desk? OMG what was that inventor thinking?

  7. LMAO this was great!

  8. Julia - the taffy stood out for me, too, and I don't even LIKE the stuff! LOL!

    You're as amazing as ever, Jack.

    Off to do Day 1 of the JSC25K now ...

  9. i love your conversations... you crack me up :)

  10. Great post... definitely gave me a laugh!

  11. That was great, poor Jen, she won't know what hit her when she deals with you!

  12. I'm surprised Jen didn't suggest climbing Everest. Oh wait, that is out of the USA!

    Too funny at any rate! Though some how I missed the free taffy.

  13. I have missed you Jack, so glad you came to share in my excitement and for the record I'm an only child and have always wanted a brother - welcome to my family ;-)
    oh and as always thanks for bringing laughter to my day!

  14. poor Jen, YOu've got to give it to her for inserting a little snark into her second letter that you "drop your day job" and 'train,train,train'. I think I am like this Jen.
    I also think Jen may snap and get in trouble.

  15. Oh, I am so getting me a fred flintstone car, that's a great idea! Thinking about the elliptical bed makes me feel very tired though.

  16. Hilarious. Treadmill desks...that's just nuts.



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