6 months ago I started committing 3 days a week to a strength training program which I've strictly followed since. Making gains in the gym has motivated me to sleep better and eat better which both have had huge effects on every aspect of my life.
Not only that, but the exercise has helped a ton with anxiety I've had throughout life and even the few gains I've made have been a huge boost in confidence.
I urge everyone here to take up lifting as a hobby and stick with it.
It's less easy to quantify your progress than with weight lifting (whose easy conversion into numeric growth I wonder isn't one of its attractions when you're a data-driven kind of person) but has further reaching benefits beyond basic physical strength.
After 3 years of fairly regular yoga practise (3-4 sessions a week), even when combined with a fairly poor diet/lifestyle alongside it (way too much fun), left me feeling stronger, fitter, calmer, more centred, more energised* than I ever had before.
For those of you who, like me, are put off by the more 'hippy' aspects, I'd say it's a question of finding the right teacher rather than writing off the entire practice (my teacher at the time was nicknamed 'El Sargento' for her, shall we say 'strict' approach -- she taught Iyengar yoga with is a lot about details. This didn't suit everyone but suited me down to a tee).
There is an awful lot of pseudo religious bollocks that surrounds it but within that there's a really solid method for improving the quality of your life.
I bet Christian yoga will eventually become really popular in the US. I'd imagine it would keep the physical elements of yoga but infuse light Christian meditation into it, rather than the vague eastern spirituality that's currently everywhere in the industry.
What I'm saying is that I think there's an untapped market of people in the US that would be more likely to commit to regular yoga if the spiritual component adopted traditions from Christian meditation. This is based on discussions I've had with family and friends that say they mostly enjoy yoga but find the spirituality component or 'a little silly,' off-putting, or distracting.
Many US yoga studios and instructors are not dogmatic and are quite experimental and creative in their craft. There are already a number of relatively popular disciplines that de-emphasize the spirituality and focus on the fitness component (i.e. power yoga). My belief is that as yoga continues to evolve and grow in popularity in the US, some studios will reintroduce the spirituality component by fusing traditional and Christian beliefs, and that these studios will succeed in reaching a broader audience.
Unfortunately I see too many people in my job (academia) who don't exercise despite the huge potential benefits to their productivity and life. So this makes me wonder: what is it about exercise that turns people off? Is it a communication issue? Is it the lack of confidence? Lack of knowledge? It seems that there are constant pushes in the media to be more healthy and exercise but it never seems to stick.
1. Convenience. If I have a gym in the building I live in, I'm about 10x more likely to use it. If it's a block down the street, I might go once a week. If it's two blocks down the street, it might as well be in Algiers.
2. Knowledge. I don't know how to lift weights, and I'm afraid I'll do it wrong and end up injuring myself. Apparently even running isn't trivial to do without potentially hurting yourself. If you don't have a friend who can show you how to do things right, it's not as easy to get started with confidence. (And let's face it, most of us here are probably not super likely to ask a stranger at the gym for help.)
3. Laziness. I've got work to do and video games to play, man! Working out isn't fun. I like riding my bike, but I'm not doing it in 30 degree weather, or in the rain, or in the snow.
This kept me from lifting for a long time. This year, though, I hired a personal trainer for 5 classes to specifically teach me proper form of a few lifts I wanted to learn well (squat, bench press, deadlift, strict press). We spent most of the classes reviewing the nuances of where to place hands, wrists, legs, knees etc. He would then watch me try, and correct my posture on the spot. It really helped me develop the muscle memory I needed to do it correctly.
If you need help, check out http://fitnessblender.com and start at a difficulty level you can manage.
More like a strategy game than lifting, which is like, I dunno, Cookie Clicker?
"Knowledge." - no need to ask strangers. Everything is just a google away. There are plenty of YouTube videos which show proper form (but read the comments, because there are a few which are actually terrible). bodybuilding.com is a treasure of wisdom.
"Working out isn't fun". If someone told me 10 years ago that I could not wait to go to the gym and lift heavy objects, I would be rolling on the floor laughing. Go figure.
And you might find it fun, but I don't. Every time I jog, I do so on a treadmill so I can zone out and not focus too much on what I'm doing (other than making sure that nothing obviously hurts) - jogging outside means I have to be present for it :P
Probably best to start with pushups / situps at home, cardio at your local park at a deserted hour. Then once you get that confidence start at a cardio-focused gym like 24 hour fitness. Once you get the hang of gym'ing go to one that is more focused on your style, weight-lifting, cross-fit, etc.
Many people say that and I am always puzzled why.
Over the past 10 years, no one has ever looked at me funny or laughed at me - and I was in my early 40s when I started. Supportive crowd, eager to help if asked (spotting, etc).
It's not an unfounded feeling either, when I first started going, I got ejected or talked to for rules I didn't know about yet: no jeans, no open toed shoes, don't touch those machines, you don't do that with dumbbells. And that's just the formal rules, then there's the informal: how long can I occupy a machine? Can I take the dumbbells into the other room? what's "switching in"? how much is talking allowed? Can this injure me? Is that guy really advanced, or should I tell him that he's going to hurt himself?
I got started in the collage's free gym, with lots of other beginners and rule breakers. But I'd never have shelled out $150 in initiation and membership fees to try out this weird new sport I wasn't comfortable with and might not like.
Probably some level of social anxiety, and fear of being judged/mocked. The reality that none of that won't happen doesn't make itself obvious until you go once, and you don't go because you're anxious, etc., etc.
The lessons could have been better. For instance, starting with making one run as fast and as far as you can (and repeating that every few months) meant only that I wanted to puke my guts out. If we were following a running program of increasing difficulty instead, I might have noticed my stamina increasing and maybe would have liked it. Though our teachers probably assumed that we're doing sports after school anyway, and not e.g. sitting at home learning how to write video games.
I'm older now and I see it's about feedback. If something makes you feel miserable, then without strong sense of purpose about it (encouraging it is something school universally sucks at) you're likely to avoid it and hate it even more. OTOH, if you started your PE lessons relatively fit, they were probably pleasant for you and thus the feedback loop worked in your favour.
We immediately enjoy entertainment. We clean because we see a mess, clean it, and see a nice clean area. We enjoy food right now.
Even if enough time has gone by to see the ill effects of neglecting health, it's still only a (strained) mental connection. We give up eating junk food and we go to the gym, but we still feel lousy two days later.
The feedback from healthy habits is generally slow, so you need some kind of form of lasting motivation or, more helpful, grit.
Start with grit. Determine that you'll do something miserable for 21 days before giving up. If that thing provides positive feedback within 21 days, you might actually stick to it.
For that reason, a combination of efficient workouts (full body / chain movements with sufficient loads) as well as the necessary sleep and diet improvements can work within 21 days.
We often "pick 1" when it comes to changing habits, but this is a case where you might want to pick 3 or 4 that all work well together, and try to stick to them for 21 days. But it all starts with grit.
Yes, yes, audiobooks, I know. Audiobooks/podcasts are great at lower intensities.
You use 5 compound exercises and work out 3 times per week. Recommendation is to start as light as possible.
From what I've read online, the 5x5 structure often leads to quicker stalling in progression for some than doing 3x5 like starting strength has you do for squat, overhead, and bench.
Also, some people really don't need to start as light as SL will have you starting on. Anecdotally, a friend of mine with an athletic background says when he starting weight training for college sports, he could bench over 200lbs for one rep having never seriously trained before. Starting with just the bar like SL recommends would be a big stall in his progress. On SL it'd take him about 53 weeks to bench 200 for 5x5 if starting with the bar and increasing by 2.5 pounds each bench exercise (1.5 times per week).
Also, Mehdi has no proper training in the background. Someone like Rippetoe, author of starting strength, has years of experience in powerlifting and coaching.
Quick article for further reading.
It mostly looks at SL from a powerlifting perspective, but much of the criticism is still valid.
For specifics, Mehdi doesn't insist everyone start at bar weight. From the site:
> If you’ve done the Squat, Bench and Deadlift before, with good technique, you can start with 50% of your five rep max.
It's worthwhile for any novice lifter (or someone getting back into lifting after a long hiatus) to start low in order to (re)develop form and strengthen support muscles. Mehdi describes what to do when you stall, and points out that once you're stalling with any regularity, then you're not a novice and Stronglifts is not really for you. If you stick with it, at some similar point neither 3x5 or 5x5 will work, and you'll need to switch to something like 5/3/1.
Starting with greater volume gives the beginner more time to work on form.
Furthermore, if a lifter already has some training, it can absolutely make sense to increase the weight from the recommended start with the empty bar. Do 5x5, and if you have any left in the tank, add reps to the last set. If you get a set of 10, then increase the weight by 10 lbs on the next workout instead of 5. If you try to estimate an effective working weight, you're apt to overestimate, and end up plateauing too early.
I don't think beginners should be pushing a high squat number if they don't squat properly. This goes double for more "dangerous" lifts like deadlift etc.
As someone who started early in life, I'd recommend a "workout progression" of 3x10 -> 3x5 -> 3x8 -> 3x5, with the 3x8 usually representing a "cutting" cycle (caloric deficit focusing on fat loss, with lifting thrown in to maintain current number as much as possible). First you learn form, then push for numbers, then push for leaner muscle, then push for numbers again.
To each his own, but form is important!
1. they are bascially identical except one starts with a warm up and has you do 3x5 and the other the warm up and 5x5.
2. The major difference between them though is strong lifts switches out the beginner starting strength's power clean with a barbell row.
The power clean is really hard to get right without coaching. Everything else you can watch youtube videos for and do fairly well.
3. Stronglifts has a great app for iOS and Android that makes it dead simple to track your progress. I'm still looking for one as good and focused for starting strength.
By all means once you get to a decent weight on all the lifts reassess you routine but I think stronglifts is a better starting point for absolute beginners.
Given your goals and which lifts you prefer, I think it's totally reasonable to trade out some squats for deadlifts.
I think that yes, higher reps at lower weight in the 8-12 rep range will generally target hypertrophy more than strength. You wouldn't necessarily want to do a strength program with higher reps to build hypertrophy however, as things like recovery will differ at higher ranges. I want to say that there would be diminishing returns fast if you only did compound exercises at high rep ranges.
I also see many hypertrophy programs will incorporate more exercises which isolate muscles at higher rep ranges than strength programs. I'm sure that this has to do with recovery, since you'll often see split programs like PPL (push pull legs) which offer more days in the gym split up between different muscle groups.
Because those exercises are "not made" for hypertrophy. Of course they will cause some hypertrophy due to the natural process of overcompensation
But a lifting regime like that is a bit apart from a hypertrophy program which usually involves more isolated exercises
(btw 5x5 means 5 sets of 5 reps each, so if you try to replace that with 12 reps you're taking the program in another direction)
It depends on what you find more adaptable, really.
Everyone I've spoken to got into lifting because they think it gets girls. They won't admit it directly or perhaps realize it themselves, but a series of questions leads to women: Of all types of exercise, why weights? -> So then why do you need to be toned? -> OK, then why do you need to look good in a T-shirt, or at bars, or in your profile pic? -> Because women like it.
Probably there are some fraction of women for whom this is an important factor in choosing men. Since I see many beautiful women choosing men with average physiques, I'm going to say that being highly muscled is not an important factor for most women.
NOTE: I'm not questioning exercise in general, cardiovascular fitness, being healthy, being free of disease, and not being overweight. All those are very important. I'm saying that of all the efficient ways of exercising, many people seem to pick lifting because of the misguided agenda that it attracts women.
Why be stronger? Many reasons, but it boils down to health and being strong enough to do activities that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do, both now (such as hiking or cross-country skiing) but also 30-50 years from now (not breaking a hip bone when you fall in the shower, for example).
For me, lifting heavy weights is a great counterpoint to spending time sitting still in front of a screen. Humans weren't made for that, and most humans nowadays are, to put it simply, weak (compared to what we were evolutionary selected for). As much as we would like to, we aren't just brains on a stick, we are also animals with physical demands.
While lifting weights is better than no exercise at all, it is not that effective. There are certainly many people who enthusiastically lift and are still fat and unhealthy. The same cannot be said for running enthusiasts.
Anyway, it's your right to do whatever form of exercise makes you happiest, but if someone is legitimately concerned about their health, they should start by running/cycling, etc.
That's mostly because running when you're overweight is murder on your joints. There are, on the other hand, plenty of overweight cycling enthusiasts.
I've rarely seen truly overweight people who spend much time lifting weights. Overweight people in general are not exercising much unless making intentional and significant progress toward the not-overweight category.
With that said, some people do lift enthusiastically and are happy to stay an a somewhat higher weight because they prefer to be "bigger", but these are not typically obese people. They're generally on the upper end of normal or slightly into "overweight" BMI, which is misleading/inaccurate for people carrying significant muscle anyway. Carrying some extra fat is also less of a concern for people who are doing significant amounts of exercise (cardio or strength). Sedentary and skinny is probably not healthier than active and chunky.
It's also worth noting that you can lift "enthusiastically" for 30-60 minutes 3 times/week and accomplish a lot. If you're a running enthusiast, you're sinking a lot more time in it than that unless you're actually doing sprints (which is more similar to weight lifting than it is jogging). Running enthusiasts are doing things like training for marathons/half marathons, which is a huge time sink.
Did some resistance training a few years ago - felt good, lost fat while doing it.
Shifted to cardio for a few years with an employee sponsored cardio-centric wellness program. Experienced a gradual fat gain and knee and back pain, although I was running 20-30 miles per week, using far too much time per week.
Shifting back to weights the last few months. Not being very rigorous, but doing the exercises in "Starting Strength". Back pain* and knee pain now very infrequent. Strength is increased. Some muscle definition improvement (though lots of excess fat still).
* Lower back pain actually made me very hesitant to do deadlifts. I started with the bar and the very lightest weights and gradually progressed, being VERY cautious about strain on the lower back. I'm only dead lifting ~200 lbs at this point, but my back is much happier.
Run one day, lift for upper body the next day, HIIT the third day, abs and light cardio the fourth day, lower body lift the fifth, rest day and go for a bike ride on Sunday.
Sites like fitnessblender.com can help you get there. (I've been mentioning them in these threads because I love them, the changes in my body and most importantly, in what can I do with my body have been nothing short of amazing in a relatively short amount of time)
I occasionally run/cycle/hike/shovel snow/etc. as well, but working for the three weight lifting workouts per week. I'm not faithfully "doing the program", but incorporating elements that work for me into my life.
I agree rest days should be rest days. I've paid the price of not resting a couple of times too many already.
As a tall guy, it feels much more natural and 'safe' for me. I've also switched to doing more warmup sets for my deadlift with increasing weight ranges. If any of those lighter weights feel 'off' that day, I abort the heavy sets. I also avoid testing my 1RM frequently...I'm content to add 5 pounds every time I can get through 3x5 at my heavy sets weight. I'm in my mid 30s, so safety is the name of the game for me.
We are hard-wired for this.
That said I utterly agree with the other poster's assessment of the benefits of exercise - less stress, better sleep.
Being muscular is neither a necessary or sufficient condition for being physically fit. And in fact most beautiful women are beautiful despite not lifting weights, so why should lifting weights be a factor in the attractiveness of men. (I will grant that some women do want muscular men, but I don't think it's that big a factor for most women.)
> benefits of exercise - less stress, better sleep
Note again: I don't dispute that exercise is very important. I'm commenting only about the motivation for lifting as the choice of exercise.
This discussion is just silly. Most men don't like fat women and most women don't like fat men because they will get caught by predators / can't catch food. Like most men you trotted out the "beauty" bit because men never see the asymmetry in women not seeing fat men "for who they truly are" whilst wanting the babe themselves.
"Fit" for men is fairly muscular, because moderate amounts of physical effort by a man will result in some muscles. "Fit" for women is not muscular, because women do not put on muscle easily the way that men do.
Fit for men doesn't mean looking like a body builder, but it also doesn't mean having the same muscle mass as a woman of equal height.
> so why should lifting weights be a factor in the attractiveness of men.
Because strength is masculine. The standard for masculine attractiveness is basically unchanged for millenia. Look at ancient Greek statues. The idealized male physique is muscular and lean. This physique indicates health and athletic ability, and therefore good genetics as well as good ability to provide and protect.
> I will grant that some women do want muscular men, but I don't think it's that big a factor for most women.
Women will marry physically unfit men, and ugly men, and also mean men, and men with all kinds of other negative traits. That doesn't mean that these aren't factors in women's choices. It means that 1) you can't generalize from "some women" to "most women" just because it fits with your narrative, and 2) women can look past any factor if other factors outweigh it (men can do the same).
I'm short. I don't pretend that height isn't a factor in attractiveness to women, though. It's a huge factor, despite the fact that some (even many) women marry short men.
You could run through the same questions for cardio and land at the same result. Of all types of exercise, why running? -> So why do you need to be thin? -> Ok, then why do you need to look good? -> Because women like it.
Getting fit is, for most people, an issue of both health and attractiveness. People who chose weights might be leaning more toward the attractiveness issue, or they might believe it's the healthier option, or they might simply enjoy it more.
For me personally, I lift weights (though I've really slacked off again lately) because it makes me feel better in ways that cardio does not. My back feels much better. My posture improves. I'm stronger. These are the main reasons I prefer weights to running now.
I think it's common for a lot of guys to start lifting for that reason, especially when they're younger. Lifting helps immensely with posture, confidence, overall happiness, energy levels, etc. etc. which does actually help "get girls", even if you don't get "jacked".
As time goes on, that becomes less important and all the other benefits shine through. The reason I've been lifting for 10 years is because of how it makes me feel - I walk out of the gym feeling a million bucks, I sleep like a rock, and my neck/back never give me trouble.
Most people seem to find it moderately to extremely difficult to exercise regularly. So I think you're looking at this wrong. Any time someone manages to stick with a regular exercise routine, my default assumption is that they stick with it because, for whatever reason, that is an exercise they are _able_ to stick with. The reasons they exercise are all the benefits you listed, the reason they choose a particular exercise is because they can find the motivation to do that particular exercise.
Maybe in your social group, being able to fantasize about being toned and hooking up in bars is a key component to being able to lift regularly, but -- and I know I am hypothesizing about people you know and I don't -- I would guess the first reasons they want to exercise regularly are all the benefits you listed, and the reason they stick with this particular exercise is because they are able to. So, OK, perhaps they are able to stick with it only because of the vision of being toned -- that's roughly your conclusion, as far as I can tell, but I think the perspective matters.
However, you also listed leading questions that lead directly to your conclusion that it's just about hooking up. Ask about what exercises their friends do, and you might find they have friends that lift, that it's a social commonality that helps them to keep exercising, or that they lift with friends. Ask about metrics and it might be that they find the metrics they can keep on lifting to be more motivational than they find metrics in other exercises. Ask about how they got started and you might find that this was just the first exercise where they found good information or a good mentor to start with that helped them feel competent and accomplished and helped them form a habit. What keeps people doing something is a lot more complex than can be divined by asking a few leading questions and coming to a conclusion that the interviewee won't directly agree with.
I personally started lifting in college because I thought it was fun and was sick of being super skinny (6' 130lbs). I wanted to be stronger and healthier because lord knows the rest of my time was spent programming, playing video games, or drinking. And I think that's the key, you should be working out for yourself not for others. Do it because you want to look better for yourself, do it because you want to be healthier.
(Anecdotally, I didn't notice that girls found me any more or less attractive after working out and putting on 20 lbs of muscle. That would be have been shitty if that was my end goal.)
I think you are just hanging out with the wrong people if all (or even most) of the people you know who lift are doing it for "girls"
When I've discussed the motivation with weight-lifting friends, they bring up that very point. Then I ask them to give an example of something they did with their strength today or in the last month, that I couldn't have done just as easily (I'm average strength).
After long thought they come up contrived examples like, I had to lift my motorbike to change a tire one time, or last year I gave my daughter a piggyback ride for an hour at a parade so she could see better.
FWIW, my motivation for working out is to be better at parkour. It's helped a ton for that, but most people don't do that sort of thing regularly. Being good at shoveling snow is just great.
Probably because you put them on the spot. I can give you several examples off of when additional strength would be useful to me in day-to-day:
* Loading jugs of water onto the water dispenser
* Loading my daughter's stroller into the back of the car (somewhat heavy, very awkward)
* Carrying large/heavy boxes to/from the basement
* Loading heavy items (e.g. stand mixer) into overhead cabinets
* Pulling salal from my flower beds (deep, extensive roots make this a major chore)
* Carrying an Aeron chair up/down the stairs (I've done this several times)
* Moving heavy furniture
* Moving wooden sheet goods (plywood, MDF)
* Hanging my bike overhead for storage
* Holding heavy light fixtures overhead for installation
Less often in day-to-day life. Hitting your limits in the gym means that you don't hit your limits in day-to-day life as easily, so when you need to move a loaded bookshelf, or pick up your spouse and carry them across a threshold, or whatever, it's not a problem.
It's exactly like running so that when you need to run, you can. Want to make it easier to sprint when you need to catch the bus? Sprint more in general. Want to make it easier to climb the 5 floors of stairs to your office? Climb 50 on the weekends.
It's also exactly like anything else you would ever practice for. Need to do complex math at work that you don't understand? You should probably study. Annoyed that you suck at the piano? Spend time practicing at night. Is your broken Italian not satisfactory to you? Spend time speaking Italian.
It's not absurd to spend time and effort improving an area you want to improve. We practice specifically so we can perform when we need to.
(Also, the muscle mass put on when younger has a huge impact on quality of life when older. Strong people hold up better to aging in general. You might not have trouble lifting a 45lb jug of water now. Do you want to have trouble with that when you're 65, 75, 85? Putting on additional muscle early makes it easier to retain a healthy amount of muscle later in life.)
Finally, I'm better at taking all my groceries in with a single trip.
Last week I was moving 150lb barrels of chicken feed.
This month, shoveling snow for myself and multiple elderly neighbors.
Mid-forties, desk job. Weight lifting helped.
The daughter piggyback example is interesting - my initial experience with back pain came when playing with my toddler daughter several years ago. "Threw out my back". Yes, strength helps with everyday tasks.
Guess what? Could lift it up, picked the dropped item, found a couple more that had been lost months ago, and put it back into place.
Additionally, the feeling of accomplishment is awesome, being able to do things you could never do before is just incredible.
Oh, and c), I heard it helps with depression.
Me personally - I climb, bike, run, and lift. I like variety, and I usually only do one of those activities a day. I find yoga to be too slow, with little mental engagement, and thus boring. My wife, however, loves yoga. And we run and climb together when we can.
It's all about finding some form(s) of exercise / physically-intense-activity that works for you. I found that I'm attracted to things that engage both my mind and body. Rock climbing is incredibly hard physically and mentally engaging; each boulder problem is like solving a puzzle. And for the progression minded, each route or climb is graded so one can measure progress and overall fitness improvement. Mountain biking is fast, furious, and mentally demanding because you have to pick the right line to stay rubber side down. I tend to ride as fast and as hard as I can, both up and down trails to keep it demanding and fun.
Cross-training is important as it forces you to work different muscle groups, which promotes overall better body awareness and health. I also find that when I take breaks in the middle of the day to do these kinds of activities, I find I'm able to focus better and get more done. I've also found that when I'm stuck on a particularly thorny challenge, be it a defect or algorithm / design problem, taking a break and getting some exercise usually opens up new avenues of thought and ideas I hadn't considered previously.
No more back aches at all. I never realized just how much and how constant the back pain I had was. Even when I was sleeping - tossed and turned all night.
I think it is also worth looking at kettlebells and gymnastic rings. Here are some good exercises using gymnastic rings. They're a bit challenging at first, but worth the effort, I think.
The inner conflict went FROM $60 gym membership/long-term health vs going home TO $175 gym membership/long-term health vs going home. I chose the gym a lot more often then, and I am much more healthy than 1 year ago.
Just my 2 cents, if you enjoy your gym all the better for you. But I also think that many people give up because they find it boring.
That said, not everybody has exactly these goals, so if learning construction skills is more appealing to you than spending time in a gym, by all means.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that a gym is much more accessible than construction projects.
If you don't want to be serious about fitness, because you just want to be healthier, just do the lifting. This will already be a great improvement. If you become used to it, feel better about yourself and feel like there's more room for improvement, then start watching you diet.
seriously though... most of us tech types here on hn start lifting only after our body starts to decline after years of abuse, in our early 30s. my productivity really took a hit. which is as good a reason as any to start.
I've heard some people get pretty good advice posting form check videos on reddit's fitness board, and 4chan's /fit/.
Per the original article, minimizing the frictions that make it less likely you'll do something was really important for me. Not every exercise works for everyone - I found that I prefer a group, or solitary, environment and that mainstream busy gyms don't work well for me. Since I can't afford 1:1 coaching, I do the group stuff, but I'm picky about my gym and coach.
When I moved, I did seek out a local weightlifting gym and met with a coach occasionally, but finding a local gym with even a proper squat rack (not a smith machine) was a challenge. I enjoyed doing the Starting Strength program, though dealing with setbacks from illness, travel etc got annoying (I felt like I was always retreading the same ground) and I missed doing more rounded cardio/plyo/flexibility work, so I've since gone back to Crossfit for a while to get my base fitness back up again.
If I had to make a recommendation for a beginner who might feel stressed out going while being overweight or skinny, I'd suggest you do some research into a program to follow strictly first, then go with a good plan. I recommend reading through Starting Strength for your first time.
Also like everyone says, no one is going to fault you for trying to get in shape. Most people are actually willing to help out if you talk to them and let them.
Edit: I'm surprised by the downvotes, I was just asking for a clarification, "committing 3 days per week" could mean dedicate 3 days just to that.
I didn't, and was fine for over ten yeares, before I started to have bad RSI problems. I managed to get well, but it took a lot of effort and time: http://henrikwarne.com/2012/02/18/how-i-beat-rsi/
I really like Awareness. Stand is good too, but I prefer having 5 minute breaks every 15 minutes, which Stand doesn't allow.
Some other ergonomic changes that I have found helpful are to use a standing desk with a monitor arm and placing my monitor so I'm looking slightly up.
I was fortunate to have started my career in the embedded world. I eventually got in to the habit of bringing my laptop and prototypes with me to the lab every morning so that I could stop all of the back-and-forth walking when I needed to attach a lead to a pad, etc...
Not based on any of the articles you cited.
 is simply a study that compares mortality rates of sitting vs standing behaviors, and is counter to a number of other studies that found the opposite.
 and  suggest that ONLY standing can be harmful, and that one should combine sitting and standing for the best outcomes.
 is similar to  and  but points out that poor posture while standing - not standing itself - can cause problems.
* First one is only about sitting/standing and mortality.
* Second one is about using standing desks wrong, and has nothing to do with whether using a standing desk correctly can improve your health.
* Third one seems to support getting a standing desk (...?)
* Fourth is a) anecdotal and b) also seems to support getting a standing desk.
burning more cals is better
Yes, that's actually how Fitbit started. From http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223780
Fitbit got its start after founders James Park and Eric Friedman sold their peer-to-peer photo-sharing company Windup Labs to CNet in 2005. While pondering their next move, Park, a former cross-country runner and avid swimmer, realized two things: that years of startup life had left him in terrible shape, and that he had the resources to come up with a solution. In early 2007, the two launched their fitness gadget company in San Francisco's Financial District, with Park as CEO and Friedman as CTO.
I set this resolution for myself last year, and have been able to work on three projects via http://socialcoder.org/ - feels very fulfilling!
[As an aside, it was really depressing to see how smaller charities without adequate tech knowledge or budget get taken for ride by scam artists.]
If I might suggest an alternative way of thinking, I would argue that even if your day job is figuring out ways to entice people to click on ads, it can still be important because it allows you to make arseloads of money which you then turn around and redistribute to the charities of your choice. Me, I like my work and like to think my work makes the lives of the people that use it just a teensy bit better. But like my work or not, when the local charity says "help, we're in a crunch and need money for $GOOD_CAUSE" I can whip out the checkbook, write a $1000 check and still make the mortgage payment.
And this isn't theoretical, I've actually gone through this mental exercise with the local animal shelter. Is it better that I do a job that doesn't have quite as high a hiring bar as software, for less money, but doing "good work"? Or continue pulling down fat stacks in software, physically volunteer when I can, and write big checks? I chose the latter. As Tyler Durden said, "you are not your job." You are, however, what you do with the fruits of your job.
Time just makes more sense that way. Otherwise you get weirdness like this: 12:00 AM occurs before 11:00 AM on the same day.
I too prefer a 24-hour clock, but when I don't use it I always use 'midnight' and 'noon' (or, sometimes, '12:00m' for 'meridiem'), just to be completely clear.
Let's make a day be 86400 seconds (already a SI standard), and then you can divide that into tenths, hundreds or whatever. One thousand of a day is 84.4 seconds, which is close to a minute (which is (/ 60 (/ 24 one-day))).
We have metric for measurements in space, but something as simple for day-to-day time measurement would be nice.
I'm sorry I'm making fun of you, but I just can't help myself as this happens all the time -- somebody comes up with a reasonable idea, and then the next commenter takes it so widely out of proportion, willing to re-engineer the whole society just to marginally improve his own comfort.
It's not a bad idea in principle, but the massive cost of switching wouldn't be worth the marginal gains.
Why not keep the day as it is, which can be conveniently divided into halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eights, ninths, tenths and twelfths, as well as any multiples of those you like?
It's expensive, the benefits are minor, and our system is fine (it could be better of course: a switch to nautical miles would be nice, and making a gallon 256 cubic inches would be great). I've never seen a compelling reason to convert — and neither have Americans in general.
> Every other country faced the same expense and learning curve.
If every other country jumped off of a bridge, would you? The French system really isn't as good as it's cracked up to be.
French units optimise for abstract unit conversion (e.g. inches to feet or millimetres to kilometres); standard units optimise for concrete manipulation (e.g. dividing a gallon into cups, or a litre into decilitres). The thing is, unit conversion really isn't that common compared to manipulation (after all, what do units of measure exist for if not to manipulate objects?).
It was imposed on much of the world by Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin (much like right-hand driving, as it happens); one can't really say that many folks had any choice in the matter.
> Standardization is so prevalent in many aspects of our world for good reason - suggesting that the metric system is somehow immune to these benefits is ridiculous.
I'd never deny it. There really are benefits to standardization. The rest of the world is free to standardize on feet and pounds any time it wants grin
One look at any news site is enough to help you avoid the first 12 resolutions.
I recently read the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and he has some great exercises called Comfort Challenges that really push you to go outside of your comfort zone. Some examples include
* Maintain eye contact for a long time
* Approach attractive males/females and get their numbers
* Lie down in the middle of a public place
Should I get my wife's permission first?
I'm getting an itch now, I think I'll give Prolog a second go this new year.
But Prolog is really something different. I only know some basic ideas but definitely want to dig deeper in the future.
3D maths and game development worked out somewhat in the past (I forgot most of it though, and as that was the DOS days it wasn't really more than high school level geometry). But I doubt that I could find enough real noticeable application for e.g. category theory.
(Just being the basis for something often isn't enough. You don't need to know much about physics to hop on a trampoline.)
I'd love it if people had suggestions for other engaging ways to apply math while programming!
My current job has me messing around with linear algebra and statistical analysis on occasion, though I've found the cobwebs in that part of my brain are rather thick :)
Switch to emacs + evil, or alternatively to Spacemacs: https://github.com/syl20bnr/spacemacs
As a text editor, I find vim's paradigm to be absolutely superb. As an editing environment, emacs offers so much more in terms of extensibility and functionality.
I tried for a long time to love readline's vi-mode, but the level of customization to get a bad vim experience (I know vi and vim are different beasts, that's part of the problem) makes this not too valuable a task. On the other hand, with emacs + evil, I get emacs in any REPL I want, and in a pretty capable shell, with evil editing everywhere, which is much less painful to configure than readline.
I'm currently waiting to see what comes back from fsck on a 4TB drive connected to a Raspberry Pi (don't ask). Drive is 390 days old according to SMART and reporting unrecoverable read errors.
Most of the stuff was in other locations but I know there was one repo I was waiting to push... waited too long, I guess.
root@kiwi:/media/files2# ls -lah
drwxrwxrwx 3 nobody backup 4.0K Dec 22 22:19 .
drwxr-xr-x 5 root root 4.0K Dec 30 20:19 ..
drwx------ 32 root root 4.0K Dec 31 00:54 lost+found
Holidays are almost over and new SSD/W10 install went rogue. Old HDD got somehow damaged so bad sectors appeared. Spent good part of holidays playing with Hirens boot CD, dd and other tools.
This year they have a Mac and everything is automagically backed up to a USB drive.
I typically type ~90 wpm, and using Dvorak I was up to ~110.
That's great and all, however I am very seldom typing words. More often, I'm inputting key-bindings and pressing shortcut combinations. Some programs offer Dvorak-based keybindings, but not all, and unlearning all those keybindings on top of the typing instincts provides yet another layer of frustration. Not to mention the fact that every time I used my wife's computer I was effectively crippled ;)
Overall, I would say learn Dvorak if you just are really curious or do a lot of very serious word-based typing. Otherwise, it's just a waste of time.
I used Dvorak for ~2 years and then switched to using colemak for the last 3+. OS support for both is widespread.
You can get back up close to your QWERTY speed in about a month or so (maybe less if going from QWERTY straight to colemak).
I switched to the alternatives to reduce RSI rather than speed and found it helped me with both.
Read more carefully. I merely said that people mostly do it as a challenge or as a cargo cult, doubtfully because it is a useful skill (unless you happen to spend an extremely large amount of time writing, which likely only applies to a small percentage of those that get told to learn Dvorak).
When I first got a computer, in college, my father recommended I learn Dvorak instead of Qwerty for ergonomic reasons.
My keyboard was one of the typical 80's/90's beige color, so I took a black sharpie and wrote the Dvorak equivalent on each key. When I was typing, I focused on trying to remember which finger had to move where for each character. If I couldn't remember it for more than a second or two, then I could look at the keyboard.
It only took a couple of weeks to get the basics down, and it was several weeks after that that a friend pointed out I had worn off the sharpie for my most frequently used keys (I hadn't even noticed) and I was typing at a speed comparable to all the Qwerty keyboarders in the dorm.
I really like Dvorak. I don't type much faster, but typing requires much less effort. If you know someone who types Dvorak, take a look at the wear patterns on their keyboard. It's pretty much the home row. Contrast that to qwerty, where the top row (especially the E key) gets an inordinate amount of wear.
It does take a minute or two to initially set it up. Here's an old listing of ways to do it on a wide range of operating systems - https://kb.iu.edu/d/aepk And I would recommend setting up a keyboard shortcut to switch between them.
Once you have it set-up, including a keyboard shortcut, switching your keyboard is just a shortcut away.
I only type in Dvorak, so I can't speak to the ease of a single typist switching back and forth. I have pair programmed quite a bit with Qwerty typists and other than occasionally switching keyboards and momentarily forgetting to switch it, it has never been a problem.
- Relearn what you already know.
> 1. Go analog.
Hahahaha NO. I get paid to solve problems, not be happy or healthy.
> 2. Stay healthy.
"Stay" healthy? Heh, for me and a lot of programmers I've known, that ship has long since sailed. Maybe "become" healthy would be more appropriate.
> 3. Embrace the uncomfortable.
Well, if more people did this, we'd probably not have religious conflicts.
> 4. Learn a new programming language.
Yes. Usually a good idea.
> 5. Automate.
Yes. Automate more, hire less.
> 6. Learn more mathematics.
This could be useful for most people.
> 7. Focus on security.
I already do this, but I agree that most programmers should focus more on security every day.
> 8. Back up your data.
Ditto with security.
> 9. Learn more theory.
> 10. Engage the arts and humanities.
Ugh, hell no. That's for other people to enjoy.
> 11. Learn new software.
> 12. Complete a personal project.
Wait, you mean to tell me that "start a personal project and actually finish it" is a thing people are capable of?
> that ship has long since sailed
> that's for other people to enjoy.
> is a thing people are capable of?
You seem very unhappy.