Friday, November 20, 2009

Hyperfit USA Review

I've been working out at Hyperfit USA in Ann Arbor, MI for over a year now and I've been meaning to share my thoughts about it, so here it goes!
First, some background about me
I was always an active kid but certainly no savant at sports, and eventually found my athletic "home" on the track team in high school. I had a successful high school career and continued running in college at the University of Michigan and was a pretty decent college runner. My one remaining claim to fame is that I still hold a U of M school record in the 600m dash (1:17.33 for anyone who knows what a good 600 time is). I also ran 46.8 and 1:49.8 in the 400 and 800. I was actually even ranked 4th in the world in the 600 in 2001 (but admittedly, it's not a world champs event so fewer people run it)
After college
It's a weird time for a lot of people because almost all of the structure that school or college provided evaporates. I wasn't quite good enough to kid myself into thinking I should be training for a post-collegiate track career so my motivation to train at a high level kind of died. There were quite a few years there where I didn't do much of anything, fitness wise. I did still run a bit recreationally, doing a 5k here and there, but nothing serious. I may not have known it, but I was in pretty terrible shape. Here's a picture of me which has to be near my wimpiest:
Getting back into it
One day, I got struck with some inspiration to get into shape. I used to think "in shape" meant the ability to jog a 4:30 mile or run sub 50 in the 400 after being woken up in the middle of the night. But even looking back at college, I wasn't "totally fit", I was just fast at running. So, I bought a weight set on craigslist and started doing bench press in my basement. I was getting back into shape! (Or so I thought)
What's Hyperfit?
Fast forward a couple years, and I had been getting more serious about fitness, working out at a gym at least a few times a week, mixed in with running, hill repeats, etc. I started hearing from a few different friends about this CrossFit thing and my roommate started working out at Hyperfit. Since I had been working out, I think we'd both admit that I was in better shape than him, but after hearing what was going on at Hyperfit I knew he was closing the gap fast, so I had to get in on that. I e-mailed Doug, and set up my first intro session!
Some Reservations
I originally had some reservations about working out at Hyperfit... I wanted to workout like I liked to work out. In my case, that meant focusing on my "glamour" muscles to make my body look as good as possible (and ignoring the "core" and legs, because who cares?). At some point, in my aged wisdom though, I decided that I would just get into incredible shape, then whatever my body looks like would be the way it should look.
Pukey Pukey
The "intro WOD (workout of the day)" is as follows: Row 500 meters, do 40 air squats, 30 situps, 20 pushups, 10 pullups in succession, as fast as you can. I had been working out and was a college athlete, so figured I could blow this workout away. I even cheated a little by training for it before I got there. Well, the workout basically blew me away. I think my time was around 6 minutes and I was JUST shy of puking for about 30 minutes afterwards. THAT sure brought back memories. When I got to the pullups, I was trashed. At the gym, with tons of rest, I could rip of 10 pullups no problem, but after doing all that other stuff I could barely reach up to hold on to the bar. The workout made a mockery of me!
So what makes Hyperfit different?
A lot of things:
  • Group based workouts: You can't just show up to the gym and piss around on machines for half an hour then walk out. You show up to scheduled workouts and are forced to work your ass off because everyone else is working their ass off doing the exact same measurable workout and you don't want to look like a pansy. (Not looking like a pansy was my motivation through most of my 10 years of competitive running)
  • Total body fitness: Everything at Hyperfit is designed around total fitness. I have yet to do bench press or bicep curls here. (Although my chest and biceps are stronger than they've ever been). Instead more total body complex exercises are performed, like push ups, pullups, olympic lifts, rowing, kettlebell swings, wall balls, rope climbing, running, various barbell and dumbbell exercises and more (if you don't know what those are, don't worry). My "core" is stronger than it's ever been and it gives me a lot of confidence in day to day life and athletic activities!
  • Randomization: The workout you do each day is set when you get there and is always (much) different than what you did last time you came. Any fitness expert will tell you one of the keys to improving strength and endurance is to "surprise" your body and your muscles with something different. If you go to the gym and do the same thing every day you're only getting a tiny percent of the benefit out of it that you should be. This doesn't happen at Hyperfit.
  • Experts: Personal trainers are expensive. Hyperfit's "group based" workouts offer the best of both worlds. You have expert trainers there who know you by name, teaching you the moves, assigning the workouts and encouraging you to work your ass off, but the cost is shared among all of the members.
  • Measurable: While you never do the same workout twice in a row, there are a set of "benchmark" workouts that we do a lot. They're all measurable (usually time, reps or weight based) so you can look at how you're improving over time. Tracking your performance is key to improvement or you end up just not caring and plateauing quickly.
  • Photos and Video: Pretty much every workout is photographed and video taped by the trainer running it. It's fun to ego-surf the photos and videos, plus gives you a chance to take a look at your form on the various exercises.
  • It's for everybody: When I mention Hyperfit to friends, the most common objection I get is "but that must be for crazy good athletes". No, crazy good athletes are already in great shape, YOU are the one that needs Hyperfit. Everything at hyperfit is scaled. That means stronger members may be doing shoulder presses with 180lbs, but new members can scale the weight down to a PVC pipe if that's where they are at. Everything scales: pushups, pullups, weights, reps, etc. In fact, I highly recommend checking your ego at the door your first few months and going VERY light on the weights or you might end up VERY sore like I did. Hyperfit is certainly embraced by current and former athletes, but I think it's the out-of-shape non-athlete that really needs it, because you get a window into what workout out is REALLY supposed to be like while you get into the shape of your life!
  • Results! The bottom line is that the combination of the things above equal results. If you're going to the gym and doing the "elliptical" for 60 minutes while you read a magazine, you're quite literally wasting your time. At Hyperfit, you can do in 5 minutes what 60 minutes of the elliptical can't touch.
Now What?
Now a bit over a year of working out at Hyperfit and I did the "intro wod" the other day in 4:06 blowing through each exercise with zero rest. (taking 30%+ off your time is a lot). Yesterday I did 150 pushups and 150 pullups (5 of each, every minute on the minute for 30 minutes, a workout I couldn't have dreamed of doing a couple years go). I'm also having a lot of fun! It's nice to get out and see people after a long day of staring at a screen. Despite not focusing on my "glamour" muscles, I'm pretty sure my body looks better than it ever has. Here are a couple more recent photos taken at Hyperfit:



Monday, September 07, 2009

"Lens error, restart camera" - PowerShot SD750

Problem: My camera's lens (PowerShot SD750) recently stopped retracting after probably getting some sand in the mechanism from the beach. It would give the dreaded "Lens error, restart camera" warning message. I read everything I could, but nothing I did fixed it. I went as far as taking the camera apart, tiny screws and all before I finally chickened out and put it back together.


  • Try cleaning it. I tried, but nothing worked
  • Buy a new one... pricey and feeding our "throw away" mentality
  • Sell the broken one used on ebay for 80ish bucks and buy a working used one on ebay for 150ish bucks. Probably my best answer but still 70ish bucks and a lot of hassle
  • Get it fixed. Canon, apparently, charges $200 (more than the cost of the camera). I called local shops and they said they just send the camera to canon

Solution: Well, DURING my shopping on ebay for a used camera, I found a guy selling the repair for "Lens error, restart camera" for $64. He had excellent feedback (a lot of which looked like it was for this repair service). So I gave it a go. I'd rather have my own camera back anyway. So I shipped it and VERY quickly he got it and shipped it back. Within a few days. I got it, turned it on and "LENS ERROR, RESTART CAMERA". Ugh... I was a little discouraged, but he seemed responsive so I wasn't too worried. But it turned out that there was just some moisture or something on the lens and I cleaned that off and it's been working perfectly ever since!


Monday, May 04, 2009


Another weird looking item on my credit card statement, this one with no phone number:


It actually was referring to a parking ticket I paid at city hall. Very descriptive.

Maybe there needs to be a website for users to report these.

Update: A better place to look up unknown charges is on What's That Charge?!

Friday, April 24, 2009

SQL Server full text search returns no results, won't index new rows (Error '0x80040e09')

So... I just spent the last hour or two pulling my hair out trying to figure out why none of the full-text searches were working on a specific table of my database. (SQL Server 2005 Express with Advanced Features). Here's what I learned.

Problem: SQL Server full-text search will not index new rows after a certain date. After dropping and rebuilding the index all full-text searches return NO results on that table. When this happened, it was only happening on one specific table and all other tables were acting normally. I eventually dug way down into the SQL full text error log and found an error like this: "Error '0x80040e09' occurred during full-text"... This happened after switching to a new database server.

Solution: Reboot the server. (Are you kidding me?)

Hope this saves someone an hour or two.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Those looking for a high-volume, low-cost, totally useless hosted storage solution should check out Amazon S3's newest non-competitor: S4,


MAPDEMOG is DynamicGeometry

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Back in Lima, heading home tomorrow!

Jess and I made it back to Lima this morning after a 15 hour bus ride. Jess is getting on a plane tonight and I get on a plane tomorrow night at around 11. We had a great day in Arequipa yesterday and did get to go white water rafting! The boat almost flipped and when it did, Jess and I were 2 of the 3 people that sucessfully did not fall out of the boat!

Today we hung out on the beach in the hot, hot sun, and I'm hoping that my sunscreen did its work! I am TOO worn out from the sun to try to monkey with pictures, but I'll upload them all when I get back on Tuesday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Made it to Arequipa!

We made it to Arequipa safe and sound! Today we're just hanging out and checking out the city. Tomorrow, we're going white water rafting, then getting an overnight bus back to Lima for Jess' flight home!

I've finally got my camera cord so I was able to upload a few images!

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The beginning of our 4 day trek, riding bikes down a big mountain in the rain! We ran into a river flowing over the road... We had to load our bikes back onto our van which was able to drive over the water which was at least 8 inches deep or so and flowing fast!

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Posing in front of another river on the bike tour

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Jess and I during our 13 mile hike on the 2nd day of our 4 day bike/hike/Machu Picchu trek! Jess is doing something new with her hair... can you spot it?

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Day four of our hike in front of Machu Picchu! Pictures definitely don´t do this place justice!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back in Cusco, heading to Arequipa tonight!

We successfully finished our mini-trek and it was a blast! Our last day we got up at FOUR AM (I think I mentioned that last time) to hike up the Machu Picchu mountain. Other than the early hour it was really awesome. Machu Picchu is really unbelievable. In short, it's this huge Incan city made of rock and was abandoned only about 500 years ago! The Incans were living there and building this incredible city in the Mountains when they got word that the Spanish were coming to kill them and destroy their cities and build nice churches on top of the wreckage.

I think Machu Picchu get so much attention because it was one of the few Incan cities that avoided that fate. Scholars think it was because the Incans, in anticipation of the Spanish coming, burned down their own city (leaving only the rock walls, pottery and other non-burnables) and hid all the paths to the city. They did this so the Spanish couldn't follow the paths and use the city as a camp for their men.

ANYWAY, it was great. I have awesome photos, but unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera cord with me today, so they'll have to wait for another day. Tonight we're getting on an overnight bus at 9pm to arive in Arequipa tomorrow morning. We're hopefully going to do some fun stuff, like white water rafting! Then only a couple more days 'til Jess flies home on the 25th and I fly home on the 26th!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On a 4 day, 3 night trek, Going to Machu Picchu tomorrow!

Sorry for the posting delay! After I arrived in Lima, we got up the next morning and hopped on a plane to Cusco which is the biggest city that acts as a staging ground for trips to Machu Picchu. When we got into Cusco we booked a 4 day/3 night trek that ends at Machu Picchu, which will be tomorrow!

That trip started at 8am the next day and we've had no Internet access until now. There is a world famous "Inca Trail" that is a multi-day hike to Machu Picchu but that is really pricey and generally requires 6-9 months advanced booking. SO: Our trip takes us on the OTHER Inca trail. Which is just as awesome, as far as I know, but less expensive... and easier to book.

The first day, we drove in vans to the top of a mountain... I think around 4,000 meters? Well, it was way too snowy and sleety and cold up there, so we drove closer to 3,000 meters (I'm making most of these numbers up) and they let us off and we BIKED DOWN on bicycles they provided. It was really fun. It was never too steep. It was cold and raining at the top, but by the bottom it was probably 80 degrees and sunny. It took a long time for the whole bike... probably 4 or 5 hours? One girl fell off her bike and sliced open her arm, but luckily one of the 12 people on our trip is a medical student from Argentina and SHE did the stiches to help the girl!

The NEXT two days were long hikes... 13 miles and 10 miles or something like that. We ended up at some awesome natural hot springs buried in the mountains last night. The trails are incredibly cool and incredibly rural. We passed a lot of native Peruvians and it's amazing to think how our lives would be different if we lived in these tiny huts seemingly hundreds of miles from civilazation. Despite being hard to imagine how different our lives would be, we've tried and here's what we came up with:
  • We would watch fewer YouTube videos
  • We would go on more hikes
  • We wouldn't care as much about Obama being president
  • Fewer facebook friends
  • We would have more pet dogs and cats (they're everwhere)
  • We wouldn't care as much about who will be the next American Idol
  • We would care way more about who will be the next Peruvian Idol

So tonight, we're crashing in Aguas Calientes, and tomorrow at FOUR AM we are hiking up 1600 steps to Machu Picchu. (Apparently in South America they have a four AM in addition to the more traditional four PM)

I didn't bring my camera cord on this mini-trek, so this is all for now! Hopefully I'll have pictures later

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Arrived in Lima, Peru! Heading to Cusco

I have officially arrived in Lima and successfully found Jessica, making the most difficult portion of my trip complete! It was a fairly uneventful travel. A guy from the hostel even came to the airport with a sign that said my name to pick me up and take me back! Pretty lucky. I´m kind of a big wig around here. Jessica also missed a boycott of some sort that shut down all busses between Ecuador and Peru. That would have left us stranded in different countries, EXCEPT the boycott luckily started a day after she got through!

We´re headed to Cusco which is the city closest to Machu Picchu, which we´ll hopefully see in the next day or two!