Since discovering the Seven Minute Workout (7MW) several years ago, I have used a variety of timer-tools to help pace me through its drill-pattern. Just as when I wrote that article, my favorite timer has remained the one built in the Cardiio iOS app. (And when my iPad isn’t handy, I fall back to a free web-based timer.)

I power through these exercises about twice as much as I did back then, closer to six days a week than three. This increased pace, though, made me start to chafe against the ways that none of these tools exactly match up with my personal 7MW preferences. And so, inevitably, I took the opportunity of a short road trip last weekend to write my own.

Here, then, is Brickfielder, currently in the very same state that it stood after I bashed it out in a Bangor, Maine hotel room between 11 PM and 1 AM one night. It does just what it claims, calling out instructions and time-ticks using the Mac’s native text-to-speech capabilities, and throwing in a couple of twists indicative of my own personal 7MW preferences. Quoting its README file, its features include:

  • A minimal, speech-centered UI. Brickfielder guides you through voice alone (with a simple text transcription in its terminal window).

  • Shuffling the drills a bit beforehand, for variety’s sake. While you still get three rounds of aerobic, lower-body, upper-body, and core drills in that order, Brickfielder will randomize the order of the three drills within each category.

    In other words, it will always start with an aerobic drill, but that drill might be step-ups, jumping jacks, or high knees. It will then move on to a lower-body drill. You will always receive all twelve drills exactly once per workout.

  • Breaking the side-planks drill into two sub-drills, separated by a very short pause to allow for switching sides.

Named after a hot and dusty Australian wind, Brickfielder represents the first “wind series” project I’ve released since Bise, way back from the top of the year. As such, it serves as a personal reminder how much non-business travel tends to inspire me to finally deliver highly specific software-tool projects that may have been semi-consciously gestating for months prior.

I tapped out Bise while sitting on a ocean-overlooking balcony in Tampa, Florida, and I continue to make use of it every week (via the Fogknife regular-readership summary it automatically mails me every Sunday). I have used Brickfielder every day since writing it, and plan to continue this pattern. I would love to add all sorts of fun and extremely opinionated features to it, as time allows. We’ll see what developments the upcoming holiday breaks bring; any worth noting shall find mention here.


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