Unexpected Consequences


By Adam Turteltaub

As I shared previously, back in April I took a nasty fall from my now former bicycle. Since then, I have had two surgeries and become the proud owner and user of a Peloton, which has not, thus far, turned into a very expensive place to hang my clothes. I ride it multiple times a week, and my wife and youngest son have taken to it as well. My oldest son would be on it, too, but he lives in another state and rides one there.

The Peloton may now be the most popular member of the family.

In many ways, all is good, if not better. My arm is healing quickly, with full range of motion almost restored. The Peloton is providing me with a very intense cardio workout that I enjoy. Plus, I no longer have to put on sunscreen, helmet and gloves. Nor, more importantly, do I have to worry about getting struck by a car or hitting broken asphalt and taking another fall.

By most measures, problem solved.

Except, I have gained four pounds. Not riding for a few months post-surgery and a trip to Nashville for a conference – the food in that town is amazingly tasty but good for you only by 1930’s definitions of healthy eating – have had a lasting impact.

Before the crash, I doubt if I would have gained any weight. I was riding my road bike six days a week and going as far as 40 miles on a Sunday. I was probably burning 7,000 calories or more each week. I could eat with relative impunity, and when I overdid it, I was able to lose the weight quickly.

As great as the Peloton is, a typical 30-minute class is only good for about 300 calories and leaves me feeling pretty spent. There is no way I’m sitting there for several hours to get up to the burned calorie count I was used to achieving.

So, why am I sharing this and inviting everyone to comment on my weight? Because it’s an example of the fact that every solution may come with problems of its own. I figured out how to maintain cardio fitness while successfully mitigating the risk of further injury, but I had missed the risk of gaining weight because of less overall exercise.

Similar successes and unanticipated new issues can happen in compliance programs. Reducing access to sensitive data may reduce the risk of unauthorized access, but it may lead to authorized users printing out more data that ends up getting lost or disposed of improperly. Tighter controls on client entertainment may lead to employees calculating whether it’s worth it to dip into their own pocket to buy that improper gift or pay for that too expensive bottle of wine.

In many ways mitigating compliance risk is like squeezing a long, skinny balloon. Pressure on one place can end up creating additional pressure elsewhere and, potentially, a very loud pop.

So, the next time you put in place new controls, ask yourself where your solution may be creating a new problem.

Also, watch what you eat in Nashville, and don’t fall off of your bike.