41K calories and 99 workouts: One Get Fit challenger crunches the numbers

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2014 Get Fit Challenge, a spinoff of IB’s popular Fittest Executive Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 22. This week, IB checks in with Sally Greenwood, a data architect with TDS Telecom, who is competing in the individual challenge.

I’m a data architect by profession. I love statistics. I’ve found they’re even more fun when they apply to me. I’ve been keeping a detailed spreadsheet since I started at Hybrid Fitness on March 31. I’m in Grant Brooks’ class every weekday morning at 5:30, and I also work out at Hybrid on the weekends. At the end of each workout, my bright green heart-rate monitor displays how many calories I’ve burned, my average and maximum heart rate, and other interesting facts.

In the 16 weeks since I began, I’ve burned a total of 41,000 calories during 99 workouts. My Google sources claim that you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Those 41,000 calories would account for roughly 10 of the 30 total pounds I’ve lost. The other 20 pounds are due to the much-improved eating habits I’ve learned. Jen, one of the registered dieticians at Hybrid, asks me once a week if I’ve reverted to hiding bags of M&Ms in my desk. I can honestly and proudly say no.

I’ve learned things about myself by analyzing the numbers on my spreadsheet. When I work out for an hour in a supervised class, I burn an average of 430 calories. But when I work out on my own for an hour, I burn only 345 calories. That’s 20% fewer! I’m motivated enough to go to the gym on weekends, and I thought I was doing pretty well. But the difference is the structure and accountability of working with a qualified trainer.

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I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I was never an athlete. No competitive sports in my youth. (Music was my thing.) So this experience has introduced me to a whole new way to live. I enjoy going to the gym, especially a small club like Hybrid where everyone from the owners to other trainers to my favorite FitFresh food cook knows my name and says hi. I like seeing who’s going to show up each day, and all the creative functional exercises we do. I feel good when I start out my day with exercise, and when I eat food that makes me feel energized instead of putting me into a “lunch coma” at about 2 every afternoon.

I recorded other fun anecdotes on my spreadsheet, too. I made a note each time I dropped a clothing size (a total of four so far), when I had to make the band smaller on my heart-rate monitor (twice), the first time I was able to do a full pushup, and when I could jog on the treadmill without gripping the frame for dear life. These have been big accomplishments for me. I am counting on making even more progress before our check-in at the end of August.

Meet all of the competitors here, and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference.

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