Earlier this week I posted an article about not cheating in FitBit challenges and that you should earn your steps. I’ve been in tons of challenges and have won some and lost some. I’ve been in challenges with people who bust their butts in order to keep them active and moving, and I’ve been in challenges with people who do whatever they can to earn first place…including cheating. These people freely admit that they cheat (well, some of them freely admit it) and find it humorous to knock each other out of first place on an ongoing basis. I really couldn’t care less if I’m in first or second or seventh place, as long as I know I’m doing what I can do to keep my activity up and earning my place – wherever it may be.
Unfortunately, I’ve received some backlash in relation to that post, and one woman in particular has taken great offense to the post. A woman I have never met, do not know, and likely will never meet in my lifetime. Here’s what happened: I created a challenge earlier in the week. I invited a friend (we’ll call her Bonnie) and she invited a friend (Clyde) and Clyde invited this woman (we’ll call her Jane). When I shared my post to my Bonnie’s Facebook wall she tagged a few of her friends so that they could also read it. I got a lot of positive feedback from her friends, as well as from others I shared the post with (and from the blog itself**). However, this one woman, Jane, commented something along the lines of “no cheating here if that was implied”. Since I don’t know Jane I did not respond. My post was shared with Bonnie and others simply because we were currently in a challenge together and thought it might be of interest for her to read. I should also note that Bonnie is a BeachBody coach and inspiring people with her own fitness journey.
Shortly after her comment, Jane removed it and added something else about her weight loss – which I commend her for. From there, it seems all hell broke loose. As I continued on with my day, my step count continued to go up. My coworker and I have been walking on our lunch break since the winter. I will note that my current coworker Boo Boo is filling a maternity leave for my BFF/coworker Spanky and for a good portion of last year and thru most of her pregnancy, Spanky and I would run on our lunch breaks – so lunchtime fitness is nothing new. In addition, since the start of the summer and since I began physio for my ongoing back injury, I have been dragging my butt out of bed bright (not quite) and early every morning and walking several kilometers before getting ready for work. Since race season is starting back up, I need to condition myself to get back into running after stopping for several months to allow my back to heal. And in addition to all of this, I have been doing a lot of dog-walking/hiking with another friend Dora since the Spring when there was still snow on the ground. This is all on top of my regular gym time and teaching boot camp and fitness classes. Therefore, my step count each day is pretty high. That’s just my life.
When I went to bed Wednesday night, I had a high step count. I had gotten in several walks that day, taught my boot camp class (in 34 degree heat, mind you) and finished the night off with a near 10k hike with Dora, not arriving home until after 10:30. I don’t keep data turned on on my cell phone and I turn it off at night (I have a house phone) , so when I turned my cell phone on in the morning, I was about 10 or 12 thousand steps ahead of Jane. Apparently, Jane did not like that my step count was higher than hers as she posted in the challenge that I was a “looser” (eep! Loser?) and a cheater and then she quit the challenge.
But Jane took it further. She called me out, indirectly, of course so that I had no way to defend or explain myself. She posted some nasty stuff about me on her private Facebook page – naming me specifically, calling me a cheater and saying it was disheartening because I’m a fitness coach and saying that I didn’t like that she had blown by me, etc. Of course, since I don’t know, therefore am not friends with Jane, I had no way of seeing these posts publicly – until others starting sending me private messages with screenshots of her post and comments. My blood pressure went through the roof! Thankfully, severally people came to my defense stating that perhaps I don’t sync my steps at night and yadda yadda yadda. And, Bonnie and Clyde totally defended me and shamed her for her comments about me. They both commended me on my abilities as a trainer and as a fitness professional and that her very public comments could hurt my credibility as a trainer. (Thank you lovely ladies for that!)
Jane also made comments that I joined the challenge and took it over and that she never would have joined if she knew it was all trainers. Clyde responded that Jane was wrong – that I, FB, created the challenge and that she, Clyde, invited her, Jane, and that it wasn’t all trainers. In fact, I, FB, had only invited a few people – most of us who have sedentary jobs – in order to motivate each other to keep moving. It wasn’t until Jane had joined the challenge that it turned into something so freakin’ dramatic. I believe Bonnie or Clyde may also have pointed out to Jane that she had had no problem with this challenge and the step count while she was in the lead and it wasn’t until that morning with my additional 10,000 steps that she had lost her cool.
I also want to mention that, after Jane called me a “looser” and a cheater that I sent her a message stating that I work my ass off each and every day to achieve my fitness goals and that I had not cheated and I invited her to spend a day with me so she could see first hand how I earn my steps. Of course, however, I received no response.
It’s unfortunate that a FitBit challenge and a blog post could cause such hoopla. And, admittedly, perhaps my article comments went too far, but I meant no offense to anyone and if anyone took offense to my writing, then for that I apologize. That being said, Jane was the only person from the many my WordPress stats show who’ve read the post who became defensive. My theory on that is if you’ve done nothing wrong (ie. cheat), then why are you getting so upset. Again, if I am wrong, I sincerely apologize.
Any challenge I’ve created as a fitness professional – or just as a regular Joan – FitBit Goal Days, Boot Camp Bingos, etc, have been meant to be kept lite. They’re supposed to be fun ways to motivate yourself and each other to stay on track and get up and move. They’re not meant to bring anyone down. For Heaven’s sake – it’s a FitBit Challenge!! I shouldn’t be receiving hate comments (I expect those only in my boot camp classes and only in jest).
So, for those of you who’ve defended me, thank you. For those of you who’ve participated, thank you. And for those of you who continue to support each other, thank you!
Keep it lite, folks.
**One positive outcome from all of this incredible drama is that it caught the eye of a company in the US and they have asked me to write a guest post for their online site. Stay tuned later this week for the upcoming article.