# Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) - Company Cardio Challenge Conundrum

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Mithrandir
05-26-12, 03:02 PM
So my company is having its annual fitness challenge. They give pedometers out to everyone and the challenge is for each team to reach 30,976 "virtual" miles on average (which works out to about 235 actual miles). At the end of each day you're supposed to enter in how many steps you've taken and it updates your distance. The 30,976 miles is supposed to represent a trip around the world, visiting each of our company offices along the way.

For people who don't want to walk, they offer various "step equivalents". So for example cycling is 2,499 steps per 10 minutes. Today, I biked 150 minutes, which they consider to be 37,485 steps, or 29 miles.

So you can probably see how this may be an issue already. Just one day of effort and I've already done "29" out of "235" miles, or more than 10%. The contest runs for 2 months, and my team is already first place with 3.5x more distance than the 2nd place team. I figure if I keep my current rate of cycling up, we're going to sail past the finish line less than 25% into the contest.

I'm worried that other teams are going to cry foul. Should I worry about it? I'm just following the rules that the company set forth, and it's not my fault that I average 10-15 hours of exercise a week. But at the same time the rules seem to give quite an advantage to cyclists...

dehoff
05-26-12, 03:41 PM
Don't worry about it. If they are that concerned about you "taking advantage" of the rules, absolutely nothing was preventing them from using the same advantage you have.

I would think that a more fair equivalent would be just to take the time of activity and use that, possibly converting it to an average of walking in the same time period. It seems like they're using more of a distance equivalency which gives a good advantage to a cyclist.

goldfinch
05-26-12, 06:09 PM
What an outrageous conversion factor!

If there are any prizes involved I can see people getting pissed. I can see either your team po'd at you if you bring the problem to the employer's attention, or the other teams getting irritated because the measure is bizarre.

Mithrandir
05-26-12, 06:30 PM
Yeah, there's only a few activities with higher conversion factors:

Running @ 10mph = 4000 steps/10 min
Running @ 8mph = 3375 steps/10 min
Skating, Inline = 2999 steps/10 min
Spinning = 3001 steps/10 min (not sure why this is so different from cycling to be honest)

Doubt anyone's going to be skating.
Spinning... sure I can see people doing that. But not for the number of hours that I do cycling.

So that leaves running at 8mph+. Again, something I doubt anyone is going to do for multiple hours a day, for multiple days a week. So really, cycling = winning.

People had grumbled about this during last years competition; I had only taken up cycling halfway through the contest and ended up 2nd or 3rd place overall (they never specified for sure, only that I "placed"), with my team finishing 2nd place. Back then I was doing maybe 3-4 hours of cycling a week. Now I'm easily doing 4 times that amount of exercise, and I'm doing it for the entire term of the contest. I don't mean to toot my own horn here, but I really don't see anyone at the company coming anywhere close to me this time, given last years results.

Rhodabike
05-26-12, 06:35 PM
This reminds me of last year's commuter challenge. For some reason, the people setting up the website decided that 8 kilometers of cycling burned off something like 600 calories. If only!

vesteroid
05-26-12, 07:49 PM
All I can say is good luck finding average Joe's that ca run anywhere near 10 mph

nkfrench
05-26-12, 07:55 PM
Wow, we don't have a conversion factor on our company pedometers. About all you can do is adjust "stride length". I am lucky to get 5,000 steps for riding 17 miles in one hour. The pedometers seem to miss steps. The smoother your pedal stroke, the more steps the device misses.
My recent 70 mile ride (3500 feet climbing) netted 20,000 steps.
What does help is that they also let us use heart rate monitors, and they use the 220-age formula so 120bpm is "intense" exercise. I max out the points in 45 minutes.
Still, some of the challenges are by "steps" not activity levels/points. And the \$400 company-approved "multisport" HRM I bought does not work while swimming. There is a flat conversion of 10 points (equiv to 2,000 steps) for a swim workout.

The challenges aren't really motivating but I go ahead and enter them just to earn participation points. There are some \$ incentives this year and I believe the stakes will increase in the future.

Mithrandir
05-26-12, 08:56 PM
Wow, we don't have a conversion factor on our company pedometers. About all you can do is adjust "stride length". I am lucky to get 5,000 steps for riding 17 miles in one hour. The pedometers seem to miss steps. The smoother your pedal stroke, the more steps the device misses.
My recent 70 mile ride (3500 feet climbing) netted 20,000 steps.
What does help is that they also let us use heart rate monitors, and they use the 220-age formula so 120bpm is "intense" exercise. I max out the points in 45 minutes.
Still, some of the challenges are by "steps" not activity levels/points. And the \$400 company-approved "multisport" HRM I bought does not work while swimming. There is a flat conversion of 10 points (equiv to 2,000 steps) for a swim workout.

The challenges aren't really motivating but I go ahead and enter them just to earn participation points. There are some \$ incentives this year and I believe the stakes will increase in the future.

Wow, really? With beta-blockers my HR is pretty much limited to the 120-130 range during all my workouts, maybe 140 if I do some mega (for me!) hill climbing. I can't believe that's considered intense.

Anyway, the prizes last year were:

1st place individual - \$50 amazon gift card
1st place team - \$25 amazon gift cards for the team (given to the 2nd place team as well because the 1st place team kicked off all of their members except the highest achiever, to achieve a higher average than everyone else in the company)

I mean it's nothing incredibly spectacular, so I doubt people will raise too much hell about it. But still, I'm afraid of being called a cheater, especially when a 400-pound dude is currently winning the "fitness" competition. Everyone looks at me and thinks "there's no way that guy does anything but sit and eat cheetos all day". Or maybe it's all in my head. IDK. That's what I think of myself when I look in the mirror (so I don't anymore! Look in the mirror, that is. Nor eat cheetos. Nor sit on the couch.)

Argh. Why am I freaking out about this.

goldfinch
05-27-12, 08:05 AM
Don't freak out about this. Obviously the company hasn't given a lot of thought to the rules, given prior year's experiences. I hope you win for the C/As!

yesthatsteve
05-27-12, 09:41 AM
Dude, you're a hero! You're 400 lbs and spend more time on a bike than a lot of people spend in front of the TV. That, good man, is awesome!

If anyone accuses you of cheating, it's put up or shut up time. Simply say, "You're welcome to join me on my next ride, IF you can keep up..."