Nike+ FuelBand: I'm not an athlete, but I play one on Twitter.

This post is about a free thing I got. I think I'm supposed to disclose that so that FTC doesn't come after me. Neither Klout nor Nike held me at gunpoint to make me write about it, nor did they even expect me to. They gave me free things out of the goodness of their hearts. Aren't they nice?

Even after training for months and riding my bike 200 miles over two days, I don't really consider myself an athlete. Go figure. It's probably because, in my fat-kid heart of hearts, I know I'd still rather count a brisk walk to Little Caesar's to pick up a Hot 'n' Ready sausage pizza and bag o' Crazy Bread as my physical activity for the day (not that that happened yesterday or anything) instead of dripping and stumbling my way through a CARDIO BLAST EXXXXXTREME (!!!!) workout.

Pay no attention to the poindexter behind the FuelBand.

Still, Klout, in its infinite wisdom, recently decided I was not only an athlete but an influencer in the world of athletics. To the point of inviting me to participate in a Perk program that entitled me to a free Nike+ FuelBand. I didn't even know what it was, and I was lusting. This was easily the sweetest Perk I'd been invited to, though the "Life of a Freelancer" poster was inspirational, and I'm quite enjoying my bottle of sparkly blue Essie nail polish.

But this Perk wasn't just about the free FuelBand. It was an entire evening of fittings and fitness at the NikeFuel House in Lincoln Park. The team messengered over a set of new workout clothes — including the Legend tight capri, which I want to wear every day for the rest of my life — and told me to deck out before joining them at the Fuel House one sweltering August evening. I looked like a sausage in the top, especially after seeing the other girls, pretty and perfectly plastic for the most part, who were selected to attend. A real trip for the self esteem!

We got the expected spiel about the company's improved Nike+ technology, which is admittedly pretty cool — I like it because it tracks all your upper-body motion, not just intense workouts, so I actually did get a bit of cred for my brisk walk to Little Caesar's Grease Emporium — got fitted for our FuelBands and SHOES OF THE FUTURE then headed outside to try out the new kicks with the Allyson Felix "Fast Lane" Nike+ Training workout.

It's a series of 18 tiny workouts, about 30 seconds each, and it was the hardest 10 minutes of my entire life. I'll keep you posted after childbirth about whether it still holds the record.

But what do you know…I actually felt like an athlete. For those 10 minutes, I could put the encased-meat feeling of self-hatred on the shelf and just enjoy my workout.

I take my FuelBand off now just to shower and sleep, despite the fact that it looks completely ridiculous.  There are days when it's a struggle for me to reach my daily goal of 3,000 Fuel points — but there have been others where I blast right through and more than double it. (That was Saturday, when I went to hip-hop dance class at my gym, walked to the grocery store then spent the afternoon making corn chowder.)

When I hit a goal, there's a little dancing guy that does flips and generally goes nuts on my phone. And I can bombard my networks with my achievements, which definitely fuels the attention whore that lies deep, deep (deeeeep) within me. Gamified fitness totally works on me.


The bottom line: If you have $150 just lying around, the Nike+ FuelBand is a great, fun way to get motivated. And if you just want to see what the Nike summer fitness craze is all about, head down to the NikeFuel House for free workouts every week!

Now, if only that little dancing guy could reach up from my phone and slap me when my GPS puts me anywhere near that Crazy Bread…