Kyle's Fitness 2021

December 31, 2021 6:53 pm

This past year I decided I wanted to be a bit healthier than I had been. Back in the before-times I would at least walk from the parking lot and up 2 flights of stairs to my office a couple of times a day, but with the pandemic and now only being on site one day a week I was not getting even a token amount of exercise.

I had bought Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2020 when I found it in stock, but had only been playing it sporadically. So I engaged in a plan to try to do Ring Fit Adventure every work-day with a goal of losing about 1 pound a month over the course of the year.

I coupled this with slightly modifying my food intake. Simple things like not refilling my cereal bowl at breakfast. Having a lunch of half a sandwich (meaning, a slice of sandwich bread cut in half, not, like, a 6-inch sandwich from Subway) with yogurt, fruit, and/or cashews. And generally eating until I wasn't hungry instead of eating until full.

I still ate plenty of desserts and treats and snacks. And I'd still eat my fill on occasion when a meal was something particularly good, but these small changes were enough to reverse the slow trend of weight gain to instead be a slow, but steady trend of weight loss.

Ring Fit has you do warm up stretches, exercising (which counts time when your muscles are engaged), and then cool down stretches. My goal was to log at least 10 minutes of timed exercising each time I played which, with stretches, usually took about 30 minutes.

I used Wii Fit to track my progress by doing a weekly body test:

Orange line is my goal of 157.0 pounds, BMI 22. "Normal" is describing the whole yellow section.

My goal was about a pound a month which would put me at 22 BMI. I technically hit my goal in early October, but you can see from the graph that was a bit of an anomaly. However, my progress has been steadily moving in the desired direction (ignoring the week-to-week noise).

You can see the unfortunate jump in the penultimate body test of the year which I'm sure was a result of no exercise that week while we were in Utah and two days of sitting in the van eating junk. But I'm back on track now.

Ring Fit, oddly, doesn't provide graphs (that I can find). Otherwise I'd show a graph of my daily exercise amounts or difficulty level progression or something. Instead I only have cumulative numbers which aren't entirely limited to 2021, but I didn't do very much in 2020.

The star indicates that I've completed all the levels once (i.e., I "beat the game."). I think I started at difficulty level 12 and worked my way up to 24. I exercised almost 56 hours total. That's certainly nothing compared to avid exercisers, but it was 56 more hours of exercise than I was going to get without playing Ring Fit.

I can tell that I've actually developed some muscle mass which means that my weight loss is somewhat masked by muscle gain. There's no great transformation story here. Just slow and steady progress with a small, but consistent, level of effort.

Ring Fit is engaging enough as a video game that I haven't gotten completely bored with it after a full year. It added just enough of a layer of story (such as it is) and common video-game mechanics on top of the Wii Fit concepts to be a nice push forward for the genre of exercise video games.

I'm hoping they release some DLC or a sequel or something to renew the interest level. I'm sure I'll eventually get bored with it even though the point is the exercise and not the game as a game. I'm pretty sure it's been worth the price in terms of improving my overall health regardless.

New Camera!

December 18, 2021 1:59 pm

I've been saving up for a few years and waiting for Pentax to release a new flagship APS-C DSLR. I wanted to see what they came out with and decide whether to upgrade to it or decide to leave the Pentax brand for something else. This year they released the K-3 mark iii, which got reviews like "The last great DSLR?" (tom's guide) and "A Great Camera Nobody Will Want" [because it's a DSLR] (fstoppers).

I like the DSLR experience and much of the reviews discussed how enjoyable the K-3 iii is to use. So after months of waffling and thinking and waiting for a discount, I bought one in order to have it before Christmas. And it's an excellent camera. A major upgrade from my K-7 and a joy to use. The auto focus is fast and accurate, the low-light capability is magical, and the shutter click sound is very satisfying.

I'm very pleased to discover that the K-3 iii can operate my 35mm lens perfectly (Pentax DA 35mm f/2.4 SMC AL). It always had focusing issues on the K-7 and I wondered if the lens was defective. I attached it to the K-3 iii, though, and it's fantastic. I'm really glad I'll get to use this lens now. With a f/2.4 aperture and short focal length it's very good for in-the-house shooting with less-than-ideal lighting. This was a big reason I bought the lens, but its performance on the K-7 was very disappointing. It had very inconsistent focus issues and calibration didn't resolve it.

But enough chatter, let's see some images.

Here's a wide-open shot using the 35mm focused right on the door handle as desired:

And a comparison shot of Phoenix using the same lens on the K-7 (top) and K-3 iii (bottom):

K-7, 35mm f/2.4, 6400 ISO. Back-focused and noisy
K-3 iii, 35mm f/2.4, 8000 ISO. Perfectly focused and no noise.

Phoenix will not stay out of the tree, despite our best efforts:

The girls' school had a "Light up the Night" event on Friday which I used as an opportunity to test out the camera in real-life conditions:

I am quite pleased with its performance. Those shots were outside at night with very little lighting, but still crisp and usable.