project: treadmill desk

Project: Treadmill Desk, the First Two Weeks


On Friday, I completed week two of Project: Treadmill Desk.  Let me share some stats with you.

  • Total Miles Walked:  98.69 miles
  • Total Weight Lost: 7 pounds
  • Total Time: 35.6 hours
  • Total Cost (minus shoes): $189
  • Total Cost (with shoes): $312

I'm averaging roughly 50 miles/week, or 10 miles/day.  According to RunKeeper, I'm burning around 1,200 calories/day at the pace I've set.  My walking pace is averaging between 2.6 and 3.0 mph.  During that time, I've worked on iOS apps, spent a lot of time on a special project for work, written blog posts, handled the day to day demands of my job and even had meetings.  I'm quite pleased to say that my productivity has not fallen off at all and may even have increased, though that is a subjective statement.

I'm doing something really awesome for my health

Add to that the knowledge that, as I walk so many miles a day, I'm doing something really awesome for my health.  That knowledge has become a very serious motivation.  I recently had a conversation with my wife about a close friend that may be having heart problems.  In the back of my mind I realized that it would be very easy, if I chose to continue my sedentary lifestyle, to be having that conversation about myself.  Conversely, I realized that if I continue walking each day I could be around for a really long time (assuming an asteroid doesn't hit the planet and wipe out the human race...).

So, how does it feel, you might ask?  What kinds of things have you noticed?

First off, I sweat a lot more than I thought I would.  I mean, I'm only walking, right?  But man, you get going at ~2.8 mph for 2 hours and you're going to sweat.  A lot.  I work at home, so that's not a huge issue, but if I worked in an office I would probably need to walk slower.

I've also been surprised at my energy.  I am typically a 3-cup-of-coffee per day kind of guy.  Two in the morning, one after lunch.  That's changed.  I can take or leave the second morning cup (though I normally have it because I enjoy it), but the afternoon cup is getting moved to 3 PM.  Why?  If you're walking for 4 hours and controlling your calories, you can get tired in the afternoon.  If I have a cup of coffee around 3 PM, that can help push me through the rest of the day as I transition from wrangling code to wrangling children.

The more I do this, the more I realize that the human body is designed to move

Besides that late afternoon slump, though, from an all-day energy perspective, I feel awesome.  I definitely have more get-up-and-go and simply moving is easier.  The more I do this, the more I realize that the human body is designed to move.  I can walk all day easier than I can sit or stand all day.

I've also learned that this is pretty extreme, and I had better take care of myself.  Most folks don't log 50 miles a week of anything.  50 miles is a lot of wear and tear on your body, even if it's something low impact like walking.  Something I've learned:  Your feet are important, don't #&*% them up.  Three days into it, I realized that my shoes weren't cutting it.  I had bruised my middle toe on my left foot and was rubbing a blister into my pinky toe on my left foot.  If that kept up, there was no way I was going to be able to keep walking.

Your feet are important, don't #&*% them up

So I went out to my local running store, told them what I was doing (which they thought was cool) and got some proper footwear.  The difference has been phenomenal.  Hurting while you're doing anything just pretty much sucks.  Having the right footwear relieved the stress on my toes and has made my hips and lower back feel better.  Night and day difference.  I'm still getting the occasional blister, which I expect will continue for a while, but they're manageable.  If you're going to do something like this, make sure you have the right equipment.

All in all, I've really enjoyed the last two weeks.  I feel better, I look better (well, I'm not so sure that's entirely possible, but I like to think I look better!) and I'm being both healthy and productive.  it's a bit extreme, but this is really one of the best ways I've ever found to work.

Project: Treadmill Desk, Day One


Today was my first day of walking while working.  I have to say, it was kind of anticlimactic, but the results were awesome.  

I had a goal of walking for 4 hours today at a sedate pace of ~2.5 MPH.  Mission accomplished!  Without calculating my current walk, I've logged 9 miles in 3.4 hours.  This walk will take me over my 4 hour mark.

According to my FitBit (pictured above), I completely crushed it today.  Over 30,000 steps, 14 miles and 4,000 calories.  For a dude that has had to work to get 10,000 steps in, that's nothing short of freaking amazing.  

I'm also tracking my daily diet, and I struggled to get in 1,700 calories.  If I keep up with this deficit, I'll be losing ~4 lbs/week.  Though, I expect that in a day or so, my body is going to make known its need for calories.

Which brings me to my motivation for doing all of this.  Besides the fun of exploring something and the pride of building it, I'm doing this to lose weight.  I'm sitting at a solid 220 lbs right now and I'm 5'11".  That's after I spent the first 3 months doing P90X 3!  

220 would be cool if I was 6'4", but I'm not (sadly!  I would even love to claim 6', but alas, God or nature or both denied me that last inch).  I haven't felt really good about my size in at least 3 years, and even then, it was grudging.  I was 180 when I married my lovely wife, and, let's be honest, I felt like a complete stud back then.  I mean, I was 23 and I had just married this really awesome girl, so maybe one would expect me to feel like a stud, but I'd love to see the comparison of 180 at 23 and 180 at 36.

Now, there are other benefits.  I'm cutting my risk of heart disease, diabetes and a host of other diseases significantly.  The daily recommendation is 30 minutes of physical activity a day.  I logged 228 minutes today.  I'm checking that box.  Just being healthier would be huge.  But hitting 180 for our trip to Hawaii in July would be pretty awesome, too.  Perhaps I'm shallow, but I've found my motivation, and it's extreme...  Just like I like it to be!

Now, how is it walking while you work?  Did I get stuff done?  Was I productive?  Was I distracted?

In fact, I found walking and working to be better for productivity and focus than sitting.  When I encounter a problem, I really like when you get to that place where you become so consumed with the problem and its possible solutions that the rest of the world fades away.  The problem becomes everything.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I log that day as a good day.  It happened twice today!  I also knocked out half of my weekly todo list.

I'm not having any difficulty adjusting to typing while walking, and while I'm having a bit of a problem with the trackpad (getting the cursor exactly where I want it is a bit tough), I don't expect that to last.  Most blogs and articles I've read have said that it takes a few days to get adjusted, so I should be just fine.

At any rate, a mile went by while I was telling you all this, and I really didn't notice.  Tomorrow may tell a different tale, though, as it's possible I overdid it a bit today.  If so, I'll tone it back some.  But I have thoroughly enjoyed day one of my experiment.  Let's see what day two brings!