Does wonders for my motivation levels and productivity.
And no, you are not going to convince me to exercise before some routine is invented that:
Takes no time at all (literally: 0 Seconds, not "really quick if you are already in great shape")
Doesn't make me sweat
Personally I am holding out for the pill that will give the same effects to my body as exercise does (it is all just chemicals, anyway).
No, it's not. Your body has evolved with a set of chemical requirements managed by physical processes. Until the day comes when we can be just brains floating in jars, we must attend to the entire set of physical processes that manage our chemical requirements. The uptake, management and production of chemicals depends on an efficient and healthy physical body. No pill will change that.
Even if such a pill is invented one day, that day is not today. You're dragging your body around behind your brain all day long, it may as well be healthy (which means more than not sick) and not a burden.
Besides, there's joy to be found in fitness. I was a slug my whole life, did almost nothing. I started CrossFit a couple years ago, and it was really hard, but it got easier and my health and capability grew. I knew my enjoyment of the world had changed for the better the day I outlasted my thirteen year old son playing frisbee.
That pill you're holding out for probably won't be invented before you die. It may never be invented, because it's more profitable for Big Pharma to treat problems than cure or prevent them. Do you want to be the 70 year old that's rolling through the super market in a motorized wheel chair, or the one that you see in your neighborhood every day taking a brisk walk?
Whereas if I learn a new technique, read an interesting article or write some code it is still there half a year later.
That's analogous to unsuccessfully learning French by reading French McDonald's menus, then telling everyone that French is stupid.
You might've pushed too hard then, or perhaps you hate biking, which is fine. Did you commute to work and back as part of it? If so, I'd hazard a guess that that's why you might've hated it.. if I had to run to work I wouldn't feel rewarded. My opinion is that you should find something that you like. Try running, swimming, yoga, anything.
With respect to your second point... your whole body is not your mind, and it is prone to atrophy; it's biology and that's how it is. If you stop coding for a long period of time(or stop learning, for that matter), your abilities there will diminish too.
Your eating technique is likely not improving, so why keep it up? Same with sleep. Are you getting any better at breathing (actually, you would if you exercised).
I'm not suggesting that you should get back on your bike, maybe biking isn't for you. But I strongly believe that you should find a physical activity that you do enjoy. Too many people slog out in a gym as punishment for no reason, don't be one of those. There is enjoyment in physical activity.
The worst part of working out is when you feel like you have to do it.
A bicycle commute isn't fun, it isn't a game (well, I used to be a bike courier, and I'd play with traffic, so I do enjoy it at times).
Hopefully one day you'll find a sport that you enjoy and can't wait to get out and do. Your body and mind will thank you.
I'd recommend group activities. I run only occasionally, but joined a group run last week and really enjoyed it, so today I'm looking forward to running with the group.
Run, bike, soccer, ultimate frisbee, tai chi, yoga, rock climbing, tennis, squash, handball, etc.etc. keep trying until you find the one that's for you. I suspect if you do, you'll get introduced to many sports that you like.
Now, this is just a personal anecdote, but I've noticed lot of exercises (lifting weights, cardio) have a learning curve and an "acquired taste" quality to them. I used to hate running on the treadmill when I was terribly unfit and could barely top out at 8-10 mins @6 mph, but once I slowly improved and could go for about 30 mins or so at a stretch, running suddenly became a joy (I believe it is to do with the endorphin rush) and now I look forward to running. The most difficult part about an exercise regimen is sticking at it long enough till it no longer becomes a chore.
You can think of it as analogous to spending 2 weeks fumbling around with vim and its "weird keybindings" but once you get the muscle memory going you'll wonder how you ever managed without it. And remembering new key-combos will also no longer be a chore.
Edit: You should visit reddit's /r/fitness. They have a lot of advice both physical and psychological and give enormous feedback in terms of your exercise routine.
Also (disclaimer: blatant, but hopefully worthwhile self-promotion), http://www.greatist.com is a source we're building for high-quality tips, news, & general info on health & fitness.
Here are some things that I do:
* High Intensity Interval Training. Basically I sprint for 10-20secs, walk for 30sec-1min, 8 times.
* Density Training. Set a timer for 15min, do 3 pushups, rest 10secs, repeat until time runs out (once you cant do 3 pushups extend rest period to 20secs)
Best part of each of these is they require no equipment, can do them anywhere, anytime and you really only have to do them once or twice a week.
But there is another aspect you should consider. You can sit on a bike, pick a destination and have fun getting there. Have a look around, treat yourself to some of this wonderful world. Combine the geek and the mammal in you.
Also, I'm not sure about the bicycle, but if I stop now after a few years of training with weights, I will still be stronger than when I started for a really long time, like years.
Not everyone's HN history is as long as yours or others', so it's helpful to newcomers to see relevant posts and ideas that may have appeared before.
Not everyone has analyzed the world as completely as you or others, and could use a little nudge forward in many areas.
I personally enjoy embarrassingly stupid action movies, and I think that running (or elipticaling or pedaling or stair climbing or rowing) while watching both improves the enjoyment of the steroid-fueled cheesefest and the enjoyment of the exercise.
On the other hand, I'm still fat, so maybe I'm doing it wrong. Most likely, though, it's just that I've only been at it a few months and I'm still not eating right.
Running for 45 minutes might not be good for your knees (I think)
The health benefits of weightlifting are numerous, and it's arguably more effective for weight loss than cardio. (No, I don't save PDFs on this stuff--browse T-Nation for 10 minutes and check their sources).
I mean, nobody is arguing that you shouldn't also lift; more muscle mass means more calories burned no matter what your activity level. But I think lifting and cardio is going to be more effective than just lifting alone.
Mark Rippetoe's 'Starting strength" is the bible for beginners to barbell training. Guy called Mehdi has made a 'SS for dummies' -style course, that I currently follow. Its called 'Stronglifts-5x5' and is loved and hated in equal measure by elite lifters.
Saved old PDF manual from his site: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5137/stronglifts-5x5.pdf
I've gained 15kg on my 110kg frame, lost 3 inches from my 50inch gut, and turned my legs to rock in 2 months of sticking to it. I believe the gained muscle weight will be offset once i lose another 10 inches of flab off the torso. Fingers crossed. :)
My 5x5-Squat went from 100lbs to 250lbs in the same period.
My ancestors were farmers, i think.
Healthy eating comes naturally, once the the pain in the rear becomes a constant companion; and an effective reminder of why you shouldn't eat crap. I was a fat person who could never understand how to start eating right.
Like everything startupy, just get started doing stuff and push your limits more and more.
I'm just saying, 5 sets of 5 reps, repeated for 3-4 different muscle groups doesn't take all that long. I mean, maybe more than 10 minutes, but not all that much more. I mean, strength is an important component of health, but I think cardio is also important.
That said, I have never really stuck to a disciplined routine; usually I work out regularly for a few weeks, see huge gains in terms of strength (not much by way of fat loss) and then kinda get bored around the time when I am no longer able to add more weight every time I lift, so it's likely that if I stuck with it longer, I'd have a different opinion.
I mean, I'm 6' and 200# right now, and I've been around this weight since about 22-23 or so. I mean, it's been as high as 220 and as low as 190 but in that range. The fat is relatively distributed; I do enough lifting that my man-boobs can usually pass for pecs as long as you don't touch them and I don't bounce too much. It's pretty obvious if I let it go for a few months though. I've got a little bit of a belly. A spare bicycle tire, I joke. It's definitely there, but it's not really big enough to qualify as a full spare tire.
Thanks for the link though, it looks like an interesting program; I'm going to try adapting it to just the adjustable barbells that I have (I don't have an olympic bar right now due to space constraints) I've been taught 3 sets of 8 reps, but this program looks pretty good. I will try it. I've also been meaning to add squats with weights to my routine (I added body-weight squats some time ago. I believe that I have good form at this point, but I think I'll get a professional to check out my form before I move to weight. I think my form is good, but squats with bad form are probably the easiest way to injure yourself with weights.)
I mean, I am convinced that lifting burns calories far beyond lifting the bar; I mean, that's obvious from the heat you generate for the next day or two. but nearly everyone I know who has gone from being fat to being not-fat has done a significant amount of cardio (and dieting) along the way. What studies I have seen also suggest that cardio is important.
One inspiration is Marc Jacob. He transformed his body, self-image, and business dramatically with fitness.
Some of those chemical reactions likely depend on the fluid dynamics of heavy exercise -- lots of blood flow (I'd almost call this a given) and tension in muscle tissue.
14 August 2007
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