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How the gym made me a better database bloke…..

A blog post about how many reverse bicep curls or Romanian DeadLifts I can do…? As Rob Farley (t | b | w) would succinctly put it — “what the…??”

No it’s not.

But it’s related — if you’ve met me in person you’ll know that I’m tall – 6 foot 3 if I stand properly and generally within about 69 minutes of talking I’ll mention I used to be 130kg. I used to physically hurt as my back was not strong enough to carry that bulk around.

Something had to change.

I changed my eating habits, drinking habits (beer is a treat not a standard these days) and went to the gym.

I love data. More specifically I love numbers. And that was how I started liking the gym. I lift weights and do cardio and I initially record all the numbers associated with each session.

How many kilometers I biked, how much I could bench-press and how many repetitions I could do. And then — how many kgs I could lose.

I lost 16kg in 6 weeks during one period…

…..that was intense but rewarding.

Now as part of lifting weights I wanted to swap body fat for muscle. So I looked at how to build muscle. It involves tearing the muscle, which repairs itself and gets bigger.

Here is a link if you’re interested:


On 11th September this year I celebrated 17 years at Jade Software. 17 years……

Yeah. It has been a pretty cool ride and my career has changed whilst being there – which is one reason why many people stay so long there.

But after 17 years I started to think — how can I grow my technical & management knowledge more?

By tearing my established skills a little.

So I have embarked on tearing my skills, by making myself slightly uncomfortable in the sense of technology & also management (I’m an Operations Manager after all).

I also read a lot of blogs/articles/websites whilst running on a treadmill, whilst hating running on a treadmill. It helps for 2 reasons:

Makes me forget I’m running on a treadmill.

I’m learning stuff.

So over the past 3 weeks I’ve spent most nights putting myself out of my comfort zone.

I’ve installed Team City and help DEV configure it.

I’ve learned heaps about running SQL Server on Docker.

I’ve learned a fair bit about Docker in the process…

I’ve done a lot more in Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) than I have in the past year.

I’ve found out how brilliant the tools from RedGate (w )are in a DevOps Database deployment pipeline – namely Database Lifecycle Management

This is about extending myself, tearing my brain muscle to make it stronger (metaphorically bigger). To be able to extend how I use the Data Platform offered by Microsoft to:


But I’m not stopping there.

There are other areas coming up that I really want to tear it up in:

Running Kubernetes on Azure

Tuning SQL indexes like a boss (refer Rob Farley..)


Passing SQL exams — my last Microsoft certification was as a MCSE (NT4.0)

Become the guy who helps people migrate from TFS to VSTS

All of the above will benefit me.

Most of the above will benefit the company I work for.

That surely is a good reason to keep going to the gym.



The Hybrid DBA's Blog

Hamish is a Systems Management Specialist with a passion for efficient application deployment using DevOPs methodologies. He has 19 years IT experience in managing large scale databases SQL Server technologies. He has been managing SQL Server since SQL Server 2000 and pragmatic architectural design is his main focus in his current job. Educating and helping others learn is a driver for Hamish and he is a PASS User Group Leader, International speaker and a repeat guest lecturer at a local university.


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