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Ask HN: How do I get fit and healthy as a software engineer?
131 points by throwaway091721 on Sept 17, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 208 comments
Looking for tips to live a healthier lifestyle. I am a software engineer that spends pretty much all day at my desk.

While I have normal weight, I have literally no stamina or endurance to exercise. I have tried both cardio and weights, but nothing ever seems to stick. I am battling burnout so that makes this even tougher

I mainly want become fit enough to run 5ks / half marathons by the end of this year and just feel healthy and fit in general for being able to do more outdoor stuff like hiking. (If it matters I gender identify as female.)

Also looking for tips on good diet plans or other tips for living a much healthier lifestyle.


My time to shine. I'm a partner in a gym. I'm fit. I'm a full time software developer. People think I'm an athlete.

You're trying too hard. You need to develop a habit to get fit.

Consistency > intensity. Sooooo! Here is my tip.

Go to the gym. Win the day by doing really easy stuff. Everything should be easy. Then finish your session before you are tired or sore. Go get food. A shake is perfect. You need to win.

Do this 3x a week until you really enjoy going to the gym. Typically this is a month or so. You can get it going faster if you're doing this with a buddy.

I cannot stress this enough. Consistency is so much more important than intensity that it just isn't important to even think about intensity.

Thinking you will be fit by the end of the year is also a mistake. Fitness is a long term problem. Start now. Be consistent. A few years from now you'll be in a room and notice that you're fittest person in the room. Or you'll help someone move and you'll get tapped to move the heavy stuff, because obviously you'll do the heavy stuff.

People will claim "you're just fit". You'll know you're weak compared to other people. The game will just keep going.

If you want a program, you can't beat starting strength (no affiliation): https://startingstrength.com/get-started

For running. You're running too hard. Just run slower. I'm serious. Run so slow you feel like you're not running. Do 5km twice a week to start (Or even just walk 5km twice a week!). It builds from there if you just keep doing it.

When you're starting, just be weak and slow. You're putting the pressure on yourself and it wont pay off. Be consistent at all costs.

Good luck man.

Agreed. Working out today and tomorrow is much better than working our extra hard today and then being too tired tomorrow.

Also look up heart rate zones for running. Optimal training zone is surprisingly low - the you should be able to carry a conversation.

This is a great perspective - agreed that consistency is everything.

My personal journey into fitness started with P90X3, highly recommend trying it out. If you can get past the MLM aspects of BeachBody, it's a good place to start building consistency in weight lifting, cardio, yoga/core from home. Highly recommend getting Bowflex weights, a pull up bar, and you're good to go.

Definitely agree with everything you've said here. You've got to build the habit first, and you have to make it easy enough to not give up early. Once the habit is established it gets a lot easier.

One thing I'll add is that I believe the strength/mobility side of things is generally more important for software engineers, or at least you should not ignore this as walking/running won't counteract a lot of the ill effects of sitting in front of a computer all day. This could be my bias because I always maintained some baseline cardio as a bicycle commuter, but I had some nagging RSI / back issues that didn't really get fixed until I started lifting.

The main tip I have for lifting is to find a good coach to observe and correct your form early on. I tried lifting weights here or there during my whole life, but like the poster it never stuck. Not until I was 40 did I actually find a trainer who was skilled enough to really observe and teach me how to squat, deadlift, and even pullup/press correctly. Body mechanics and how to execute the movements and engage all the right muscles are key to avoiding injury and getting all the muscle groups evenly. It's especially tricky when you have some weak muscles that you aren't used to using, so your body does all kinds of compensations subconsciously, especially if you focus on numbers. It doesn't matter how many videos you watch if you have bad habits and you don't know what it feels like to do it the right way.

A good coach or mentor is always worth it. If they're fun to be around it also helps build that habit!

This is great advice. I'm really happy to hear you found a coach that worked for you.

Great advice here. A lot of people try to get fit instantly and it's a big horrible negative feedback loop.

One thing to add which helped me get into shape - pick one main goal in fitness. Want to lose weight? Focus on that. Want to build muscle Focus on that. What to run a marathon? Focus on that. It's really really hard to manage multiple (often, disparate) fitness goals at the same time.

Hint: "getting toned" is a trap! Generally you can either lose weight or build strength. While it's certainly possible to "re-comp" it's demoralizing (ime) because it is very slow and can lead to wheel spinning.

And yes, consistency is key. I personally fell into the trap of "go really hard, get burned out, hate the gym" early on in my fitness journey. Find a fitness routine that you actually look forward to doing every day / every other day. If you feel anxious about working out, something should be changed.

5km??? Isn't this a big effort for beginners?

5km (3.1 miles) is really not very far. An in shape person who doesn't run should be able to do 5km with little training. Humans are naturally very good at running.

Start by walking 1 km every day. Do that until it is easy. Then increase the distance to 2km. Then start to jog part of the way.

Depending on your physique you should be able to jog 2 km within a few weeks. Then you can slowly raise the distance to 3km then 4km then 5km.

It does depend on your physical starting point. But people close to a healthy body weight should be able to achieve a 5km run in 3 months.

Or do couch to 5k.

Yeah. For sure. I may have gotten excited there. Don't focus on the numbers so much. 1km is better than 0km.

Walking 5km is a pretty doable though.

I'm just so dang amped at people starting! WOOOOO!

When I started running I found this guide to be helpful and realistic for my starting point as a beginner: https://i.imgur.com/iWVU9vc.jpeg

Basically working your way up from "I can't run for longer than a minute" to "I can run 30 minutes nonstop".

If you're into zombies, this is a pretty fun version of this program: https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/zombies-run-5k-training/id5665...

Couch to 5k? This absolutely worked for me as well. Don't try to do more than prescribed though, you need to have time to adapt to the stresses of running

None To Run is a gentler version of C25K that I enjoyed.[0] The plan is free, just scroll down a bit, but they also have an app.

[0] https://www.nonetorun.com/

This looks great. Do this people!

The Couch-to-5k program is really great and will get you there quickly.

There's a pretty fun implementation of it called "Zombies Run!!!" which does interval training with these audio stories where you have to run away from zombies periodically.

If it is, make it just a mile (1.6km) then, or a half mile (0.8km).

The important part is to develop consistency and not make it too challenging.

Golden advice. I would even add, do it every weekday, even if it means just walking to the gym, going inside, and walking back out again. The habit will become so much easier to ingrain if its even more consistent.

This might sound kind of forward, but would you be willing to share a body picture of yourself? With all the insta-models and steroid use, it's hard for me to gauge what an athletic physique on a normal human looks like.

This is excellent advice that can be applied to much more than fitness.

> Run so slow you feel like you're not running.

Walking is very good exercise also. There are troves of scientific evidence that walking leads to health. [0] Using 2 lbs weights and half push ups leads to muscle growth and toning also. There is no need to overexert.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo

> You're trying too hard. You need to develop a habit to get fit.

this 100% this.

I also added IF (intermittent fasting) to the mix by missing breakfast. Worked very well in spring and summer, not so well in winter. i tend to eat shit and too much of it in winter... and the cold wet weather keeps me inside.

I need to find a way to make the habit work in winter.

oh the other REALLY important thing is :

Get enough sleep.

I have been skipping GYM because of Covid.

But I do go running in the park and follow a few HIIT youtube workout. There are a lot of those in youtube. Just find the one with intensity and length you like and follow them and advance to next level in your own place.

Yeah - totally fair about skipping gyms during covid.

Same principal applies. The whole idea of "feel the burn" is stupid and doesn't get you what you want.

Just do fitness. It almost doesn't matter what you do if you do it consistently.

I'm super happy you found youtube stuff working for you.

Keep it up!

Somewhat related from today’s front page: https://simplifaster.com/articles/how-trainable-is-vo2-max/

Starting strength is a good program but only for beginners. The intensity ramps up quickly after the first few months and it's hard to stay consistent at that point.

If you give it another go, I'd recommend dropping the weight again when it gets really intense. It's very ok to drop the weight and rebuild again. I do this often.

In fact, I just rebuilt back to my pr after feeling like my form was suffering under load.

You'd be surprised how much you learn with the bigger weights and then you can apply that learning in the lower weight lifts.

That said... don't worry about he program as much as worrying about working out. Stay consistent with working out. Do some body weight work. Do some mobility stuff. Revisit the big lifts again in the future.

Just keep going! Woooo!

Well it's in the name. It should only be your first 3-6 months of training.

After that, you can move on to a more sustainable style of programming.

The usual recommendations are one of Wendler's 5/3/1 programs, or maybe Hepburn style programs.

If you're interested in both cardio and strength, the first two Tactical Barbell books will show you how.

I cannot recommend Starting Strength enough… BUT.. please consider hiring a Starting Strength coach even remote for few months. A lot of people misdo the program and then complain that they got fat.

I feel StartingStrength is biased towards the interests of profesional athletes and StrongLifts is better for the regular person.

But the important switch is realizing that your job is not who you are, it just pays the bills. Your lifestyle, of which your exercise routine is a key part IS who you are in that it actually transforms your physical being, affecting both your job and every other aspect of your life.

You don't need to use a particular exercise regime, but you should understand that taking it seriously is about keeping "you the tool" in working order, whereas a job is just one in a long line of uses of "you the tool".

I disagree that SS is geared towards professional athletes. What makes you think so? Ive done both, StrongLift is simply not sustainable especially for a beginner.

I have over 15 years experimenting with exercise routines, which has lead me steadily to the 5x5 domain, and for me the most notable difference between SS vs SL is that StartingStrength advocates techniques that are potentially more beneficial if you are already competent, or you are already engaged in a profession where failing at the StartingStrength exercises is a lesser risk than your day job.

By comparison StrongLifts advocates techniques that are less likely to result in injuries for amateurs (less ballistic, less technique sensitive). Personally, I'm quite comfortable with StartingStrength, but I have reservations recommending it to beginners.

Ultimately I don't follow either, but rather my own variation of a 5x5 routine (which both StartingStrength and StrongLifts are variations of) ... but advocating 'what works for me' without supporting documentation would be irresponsible, and I'm too lazy to write it up.

So I advocate StrongLifts.

I would say that a year plus into StrongLifts you should at least evaluate StartingStrength in case it suits you better.

Golden advice right here

Let’s not forget the contradiction of lifting more than you can to gain more, hurting yourself, and having to take time off and lose progress.

Yeah! That is a massive one. This is why going slow and making workouts easy is so important.

Never get injured lifting. Most of the time, your body will give you signals. Don't ignore them.

In my opinion you're looking at the wrong problem.

If you're burned out, you won't have spare energy for anything else, and however you approach it, fitness requires a minimum amount of energy to be sustainable, which you don't have.

Technical solutions may lower the energy threshold, but they won't stick, as they won't lower the energy so much that you will stick to them long term, if you are mentally depleted.

It's true that some people feel a certain rush by starting a fitness plan/activity. But without energy and motivation, in the long (or even mid) term, it will fade.

There are also some motivations (I want to do XYZ), but those are external motivations, not internal; they also don't last.

My advice is to tackle the burnout problem with a therapist, then start a fitness plan, or at least, do it contextually to the mental recovery.

IMO the energy you expend doing exercise is coming from a completely different place than energy for knowledge work. On the contrary, doing exercise clears your mind and engages your body -- the opposite of sitting at a desk. In my experience you will feel your baseline "mental energy" also start to increase.

I think GP isn't talking about energy used to perform an exercise, which (IMO) indeed comes from "a completely different place". I read their comment as talking about energy required to start doing an exercise, day in, day out. This, at least for me, comes from the same place as energy needed to start writing code at work, or to get out of the house and run and errand. Burnout happens when that energy source becomes depleted or unreliable.

Based on my experience (including lack of the ability to stick to any exercise regimen long-term), I second GP's post.

I also agree that doing exercises helps recover that second type of energy. It's a positive feedback loop - but the problem is, you won't be able to start it if you're too depleted on the "starting energy". Like with an ICE car - the engine does recharge your battery, but you won't be able to start it if the battery is already dead.

Speak for yourself or citation needed as they say.

It's also only anecdata for me, but I do have hobbies that qualify as sports but after an exhausting day at work I want nothing less than to also exhaust my body and this has been a theme forever.

Also doing any kind of exercise in the morning is the worst and it doesn't clear my mind, it makes me want to get back to bed and the motivation to start work is at a complete low. Some people may well feel refreshed or good after exercising, for me it's the complete opposite - but I don't claim authority.

Running was how I fought against my burnout and hatred of work. Exercise can be part of a solution to the problem.

This is certainly true - for some people, running is constitutes a significant net positive (in terms of motivation/rewards).

A few arguments, though:

1. to me, it doesn't seem the case of the OP (if it was, they'd be already doing it)

2. I know only few people who consistently run, so my opinion is that the motivation/energy balance is not positive for the vast majority of the people (at least, from the mid-term onwards)

3. regarding the "exercise" concept, it depends on what one means. exercise as functional-training-at-home-or-in-the-park is hard to carry in the mid/long term; it's terribly boring and I believe only highly motivated people can do it. if one talks about organized sport activities, I'm all for it; it's definitely something that I generally suggest, but my observations is that those who are not already doing one in the 30s/40s, don't find sport fun in general and don't stick to (or even start) one.

Have to figure out if it’s ME because if so doing any normal exercise system, even for beginners, will be a disaster.

I see this particular problem everywhere: “I spend all day at my desk.”

Well, don’t.

Block off an hour and a half in your day. Every day during the work week. Start by going for a 45 min brisk walk outside if possible or on a treadmill if that’s the better solution. Then do some basic measuring after a couple of weeks: do you feel more alert during the day, less stressed, more emotionally and mentally balanced? Do you sleep better at night?

If that’s working, speed up your walk or turn it into a slow jog. Spend a couple weeks on it. Measure again.

If that’s working, try some basic strength and conditioning exercises at home in the morning. 50 push ups. 20 pull ups. 50 sit ups. Something achievable. Spend a couple weeks on it. Measure again. And this time also measure your exertion. Are those push ups getting easier? Good. Do more. Or do them slower. Same with pull ups.

So much of this “how do I do [X] to be more fit” is about understanding that fitness requires time and patience over the long term. Yes you can do short burst exercises and get some of the same benefits, but those exercises tend to be more strenuous and can turn you away if you lose your motivation.

Schedule the time. No excuses. Do simple exercises and measure every couple of weeks. You’ll soon get over the urge to avoid putting in the work.

Instead of blocking off an hour, sprinkle it in throughout the day. It's called grease-the-groove style training and it's really effective at building strength, especially for bodyweight exercises.

The trick is to use a really sub-maximal amount of work per set and use really long rest periods. If you can do 10 push-ups, start off with 5 per set. Take 10-15+ minutes of rest between sets so you're completely fresh.

You can use the Fighter Pull-up Program [0] as an example of how to progress, and you can use it for any bodyweight movement.

This style of training can rapidly increase one's strength in a short period of time. It's not very good for hypertrophy, though you will still experience some if you are able to sustain progress for months on end. But it will take you from low single-digit reps (basically untrained) to an impressive level of double-digit reps that will serve as a sound foundation of basic strength.

[0] https://www.strongfirst.com/the-fighter-pullup-program-revis...

Very interesting, never heard of this - taking a look, and thanks!

Small nit, 50 push-ups, 20 pull-ups, 50 sit-ups is a fairly punishing place to start, especially for women. It's easy to injure yourself doing sit-ups if you're pushing yourself too hard, and for some reason most women take a while longer than men to figure out the correct form for pull-ups. (Although once they have the correct form, women tend to outperform men due to lower bodyweight.)

> for some reason most women take a while longer than men to figure out the correct form for pull-ups.

Most women lack the upper body strength to do even a single pull up. Even fairly fit women often can’t do a single strict pull up.

> Although once they have the correct form, women tend to outperform men due to lower bodyweight.

Nope. Pull ups are largely limited by strength and not form. And men are stronger per pound than women. Especially in upper body strength. Novice men outperform intermediate women on pull ups.

Unless you’re talking about CrossFit “butterfly” pull ups that are primarily about momentum control. Then maybe, but I still doubt it.


But yeah, 50 push ups and 20 pull ups is absolutely not a starting point for most people. A male would be well past intermediate strength level to be cranking out 20 pull ups in one set. The average untrained individual can’t do 20 pull ups in an hour regardless of how they split them up.

It's not a visible form difference, but women tend to naturally use smaller and weaker muscles than men for pull-ups. Men are more likely to naturally use the larger back muscles. Women's fitness magazines have articles about practicing engaging the right muscles.

I've seen intermediate women (amateur gymnasts) do 10x the number of pull-ups as truly novice men (20+ vs. barely being able to do 2). We probably have different definitions of novice.

I think we have different definitions for intermediate. 20+ pull ups for a woman of any weight is elite or close to it.

My numbers do appear to be skewed a bit. I know a woman in CrossFit with an official record or 40+. It appears that's much closer to the world record (48) than I realized.

40+ CrossFit (kipping) pull ups or traditional (static) pull ups?

This is fair. But I'm not prescribing specific numbers, just using them as examples. The point is to pick something achievable.

So, you can do this: 3 reps of each exercises (push-up, pull-up, sit-up). Perform this circuit 4 times for 2 weeks. Is it getting easier? If so, increase reps, or do the specific exercise slower (time under tension). Lots of ways to build.

A lot of programmers get bored with normal exercises, but a lot of us seem to have affinity for both dance (especially swing) and rock-climbing. The correlation is uncanny, in my experience. Both of these are more mentally stimulating than most exercises, so it makes a certain amount of sense, though dance might be difficult right now with covid.

Personally I also enjoy just taking walks. I can daydream the whole time and it breaks up the work day. It may not seem like much, but if you walk for 30 minutes a few days a week it adds up.

If you're already battling burnout, don't turn exercise into another source of pressure. Just see if you can find something physical that you enjoy for its own sake, and then roll with it.

I also get bored with normal exercise and found, when I was a teenager, that martial arts motivated me enough to do exercise. Motivated probably isn't the correct word because I wasn't thinking about becoming good at fist fights or tournaments. Now that I think about it, the key for me might be exercise being a side product of some activity, with some authority telling me what to do.

Fast forward to now and I've tried running programs like Couch to 5k and tried walking and it just doesn't "stick". Fitness trackers annoy me because I can just dismiss things. Pandemic has me in worst shape I've been in, I'll blame pandemic but really I have had ample opportunity to exercise over the last 18 months.

> Just see if you can find something physical that you enjoy for its own sake, and then roll with it.

I think this is the key for software people.

Maybe I've simply doing it wrong, and while I never went rock-climbing properly, but I've been going bouldering regularly for a long time and basically... I've not felt any change except a little bit of increase in arm/hand/finger strength, but also only for the muscles used in bouldering and nothing else. Nothing for stamina or general fitness, more like doing a single strength exercise with dumbells every day.

With bouldering routes it is almost never your biceps or abs giving in, but usually the stabiliser muscles or your forearms and fingers.

So yeah, these muscles will get used and improve a little bit, but if you want to get really fit with bouldering, you need to end your session with dips, pull ups, push ups and something for abs.

Ironically, my bouldering improved immensely after switching to a workout that had less bouldering and more targetted exercise in it, and I was finally able to crack the 7c (V9ish).

Stamina is not improved by bouldering, but having stamina improves bouldering. I think some cardio just makes your body function better in every way.

Yeah I don't think it's the best as cardio. Mainly strength, and mainly in certain muscles. But if it's the only exercise you can enjoy enough to keep doing it, it's better than nothing.

Programmers and dancing is something I have _only_ ever seen mentioned on HN.

When I was in college we had a swing dance society on campus that met twice a week and it was about 70% CS majors. As an adult in a different city I've met probably half a dozen coworkers or peers in software who are or have been into one kind of dance or another; my engineering manager at my last company was prominent in the blues dancing scene and when I told him which company I was going to, he told me my new CTO is like a master ballroom-dancer. Even Jonathan Blow has said that he enjoys swing dancing.

I have a bunch of dev friends who takes dance class like salsa. Some of them are there to date but some are really into it.

Look into cycling, you have a big range of efforts you can do from barely anything to full out and you will any ways put some km's behind you. Its less impactful on the knees and joints in general, running is relatively hard on your joints especially if its on asphalt or hard surfaces. I also sit at a desk (not all day but any way a good part of it) and my go-to is cycling (road, gravel & mountain XC). Starting is easy, find a bike and start pedalling. When you get tired pedal less hard and go home. If you feel like you can do more do a harder effort or sprint, then bring it back to a slower speed, etc. Lots of videos available on youtube.

+1 cycling. This is very contingent on the kind of area you live in (distances, hills, bike routes / lanes, general tolerance of cyclists) but it has made the difference between couch potato and relative fitness for a lot of people I know. The key for me and them is having it as your go-to transport for getting to the shops or school or the office. I think “incidental exercise” generally describes the approach.

I think this is good advice, except probably for road cycling. Both my physio therapist and Yoga teacher told me that sitting on a road bike is counter-productive to improving my flexibility, given that I already sit at a desk most of my day. Especially the hips will stay in the same angle for a prolonged time.

Edit: if OP is concerned about damaging their untrained musculoskeletal system, then swimming is a low risk activity to get started with sports.

Fair, but it’s best to view cycling as one component of a larger program that involves stretching and mobility to both improve your whole body and counteract the issues you mentioned.

Most people who consistently exercise don't do it via amazing willpower, but because they enjoy the exercise they do. If you enjoy hiking or marathon running, exercise by doing those. Otherwise, use the responses here and search through the active activities state-space for things that catch your fancy. I enjoy tennis, so I do that, but if I tried to exercise by running I'd quit by day 3.

Habit and Consistency. You’ll be amazed at what that can do.

The common troupe: Someone decides they want to get fit, so they go out and join a gym and start pushing themselves extra hard. One month later they’ve burned-out, got discouraged, and they give up thinking “I guess I’m not ‘one of those people’”. Nonsense: our bodies are built to move.

Here’s what to do instead. Find one day/time every week and show up. Do the smallest amount of “work” possible and leave. Make “showing up” a “religion” but don’t work yourself to burn out.

If you do this, the following things will happen: (1) something will feel out-of-place if you happen to miss a day, (2) you’ll start to appreciate this “special time for yourself”, (3) you’ll start to crave it and want to do more.. let yourself fo more then.. but.. don’t make yourself hate it.

Also, read books on habit formation: Power of Habit, Atomic Habits, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

You can apply these tools to all kinds of other things too. They are extremely powerful.

(I’m also a software developer who never exercised ever and was in terrible shape with back pain due to my sedimentary lifestyle. A year ago I made the change. Since I’ve dropped 70 lbs, run a 50k, and completed a triathlon)

Re running: Couch to 5k is awesome. Again, go slower and avoid burnout. Wait until you “crave” running and you’ll actually learn to love it rather than hate it.

One thing I don't see addressed here that is critically important is injury prevention, specifically as part of your workout plan. Getting injured will derail you (in some cases permanently), and I've dealt with that myself.

Climbing was recommended here, and I think that's a great idea. Hiking is usually a better idea for those just starting out though.

Look into Training for the New Alpinism and Training for the Uphill Athlete. The core tenets of these are Injury Prevention and Endurance training, not pure strength. This is remarkably similar to how special forces train. The basic idea is that you do a long, easy introduction, then strength building, then endurance. This is a 6-12 month cycle with a goal you target at the end. Workouts are made up of some long, low effort (Zone 1, so you barely feel winded) workouts that end up being walks for those out of shape, and one high effort jog/run type workout, with a couple strength days a week. None of this should be difficult; it's the volume that makes it so. One critical note: your cardio can be whatever aims towards your goal, whether that's running, rucking (hiking with weight on), swimming, biking, etc.

I'm actually preparing to start a cycle myself after some life events. I'm by no means an expert, but this system has worked for me.

Here's a training spreadsheet; feel free to copy it. I got it off of a forum a while back, so I can't easily give credit, but I did not make it so I can't take credit.


I use TrainingPeaks to track my actual data and have found that being able to parse my own data and do analysis has helped immensely. Also, Garmin Running Dynamics changed my running for the better, once I knew what the heck to DO with the data.

On the injury topic, I used to pull muscles all the time. I would probably pull a muscle every 3-4 months that would sideline me for a month or two. This seemed to stop when I started doing yoga once or twice a week. I don't do it as much as I should anymore, but if you're getting injured lifting weights, I highly, HIGHLY suggest you give yoga a try.

I'm a huge proponent of yoga. It has helped me immensely.

Injury prevention: I feel like I reached a point in my 40s where I'd recover from one injury, go back to working out and soon get hit with an equivalent injury someplace else. Usually some kind of tendonitis. I'm not sure if my form is bad or I'm trying too hard or what. I'm currently unable to do upper body for the most part because of golfers elbow (I use a wacom tablet for work so maybe it's RSI too) and I'm wondering if I'll ever be able to get back to working out regularly.

I'm dealing with RSI issues as well, and am in my late 30's. Hard career left me with a lot of small (and a couple larger) injuries.

The only thing I've found to help is stopping the actions that are unnecessary to reduce load, and training to build the tendons and ligaments. This can be difficult and has required I change how I work. It has, however, paid dividends.

I have a torn ligament in my shoulder that I'm about 18 months into rehabbing to try and avoid surgery, and I have a spinal injury that causes me major issues. I've managed to work through both but my progress is ridiculously slow and my max effort ceiling low compared to many. However I've hit points that I was told I'd never be able to do via the long and slow route.

There's nothing easy about it, and nutrition was a big part of it as well. I had to change hobbies, too, as those were using up some of the load I could use to train. Later on I was able to take them back up as I built up strength and recovered those injuries, but never to the point where I was.

If you don't mind me asking, how do you train to build tendons and ligaments? And do you stretch too? Mind sharing any useful resources?

Apologies for the late reply; I don't have any notifications here.

It's really just the long hard road of low level, slowly increasing loads via exercise. There's no magic, just hard work. Talk to any PT and they'll tell you the same thing.

I tried cardio and weights and they never sticked with me. They are kind of boring and unless you are into these things you can't stick for more than a couple of months.

Recently I picked up the hobby of fossil collecting and I can tell you it's excellent for your health (as long as you wear protective equipment):

- You have to hike, most likely in the wilderness (even in cities you are supposed to hike on riverside or hills, depending on the geological age)

- You have to use hammer a lot. Sometimes it's just fun to swing the thing the break rocks even you know there is nothing there (fossils most likely only reside in sedimentary stones and usually you can find some traces on its surface)

However I don't think it helps with marathons though, maybe in the long run it does, but not in a few months.

One thing I also found out was that, if I was not mentally engaged to the work/study, I would not have the motivation to workout.

I recently (~6 months ago) retired from engineering. I was rather unfit and had also gained a bit of weight. I started running 30 minutes in the morning every 2nd day.

It is painful in the beginning and you probably have to alternate between walking and running for a while. For the first month and half I only did 3k runs and then changed to 5k. 5 months in I can easily run 5k in less than 30 minutes and I look forward to the next run every time.

The mind does play tricks and attempts to convince you to stay in bed. I have a rule that I at least should get up, put on my running clothes and if not else go for a walk. It always ends up being a run.

Also I seem to consistently lose 2kg per month. I generally eat what I want, with the exception of sweets, cake, ice cream, etc.

I want to caution you against obsessing over solving your problems with some great fitness overhaul. Part of your problem is not being able to muster the energy and the willpower to make that kind of change in the first place. Instead - think small. What is the lowest hanging fruit on a habit level that will give you a little more energy and boost your feeling of being in control.

To give you an example, I recently gave myself a huge energy boost at hardly any cost by just improving my breathing and sleep. This is what I did. 1. Started going to bed early enough so no alarm was needed. 2. Bought air filter for my bedroom (300$). Fixed a bunch of allergy problems and improved my sleep with no added effort on my part. 3. Noticed I often wake up tired with a dry mouth. Did some research on healthy breathing patters, particularly at night, and found that I was probably mouth breathing. Fixed this problem by taping my lips at night for 10 days in a row (sounds weird, actually no big deal). I now wake up after 7 hours of sleep feeling fully awake.

The energy and clarity I gained from these small habits then actually gave me the space to try and build an exercise habit gradually. Because my schedule is such that exercise needs to take place in the morning this is helped by feeling more energised and awake in the morning. I also noticed that because my body is better oxygenated in the morning i have far fewer aches and pains than I used to.

The point is that there are some changes in life, like exercise or overhauling your diet, that, while undoubtedly beneficial, require a level of clarity and mental focus to have a chance to be successful. If those prerequisites aren't met it just becomes another stick to beat yourself with. Just examine yourself with kindness and see what the easiest way is to give yourself a boost. Good luck!

EDIT: typos

I've had dry mouth ever since I was a kid and also a habit of mouth breathing since my youth ( terrible habit that has cost me a lot today). What kind of tape did you use to tape your mouth, are there any risks I should be aware about?

I've tried a couple. In the end what worked best was some zinc oxide adhesive tape (the type you'd find in a first aid kit). Mind you, the point is not to forcefully tape your mouth shut abduction style. All you need is a small 2cm*1cm strip accross the center of your mouth. Breathing through your nose is the body default.

That said switching to nose breathing is not as easy for everyone. Chronic mouthbreathers often have clogged sinuses and a sensitivity to allergens. Making sure the air quality in your bedroom is good helps and there is a ton of other things you can do. Do checkout 'the oxygen advantage' youtube channel for some in depth material: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=oxygen+advantag...

Ah thanks! I do have sleeping problems - in that I wake up extremely tired even after a good 7-8 hrs of sleep and a very dry mouth. Will try this out.

You should consider getting a sleep test. As far back as I can remember, I have always been tired and sleepy through the years. I just attributed it to being on less sleep due to my erratic schedule. But I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea at 29, after likely having it for a couple of decades or so.

Been using CPAP for almost 5 years now. Everyday is fantastically fresh with a regular ~7 hours of sleep. Can't recommend it enough. I am also on path to see if my Blood Pressure medicine can be stopped - since it is understood to be the side effect of Sleep Apnea in my case. Should become clear in a few months.

Also, been active for a year. Started just walking in the evening mandatorily - sometimes listening to podcasts, and other times just using it as a break from everything digital. Then, after a few months, split the walk-time into a morning and evening routine. Probably been regular at it for about 395 of the last 400 days. It's a habit now. Added running to the routine but it is a bit erratic still. Want to add HIIT / Weight-training to workout routine, but that hasn't stuck at all and will try again in a while.

As to the results, I am almost 11Kgs lighter from my max weight, feel healthy, BP is almost always normal, BMI is close to normal, resting heart rate has dipped significantly, and so much more. I track a ton of this info as it can help you stay motivated on the slow, low and tiresome days. :)

Wish you all the best - experiment and find something that suits you best!

I think Dr. Greger - pretty much all his stuff, including all the free youtubes - are the bee's knees.

in short, that's vegan, low/no-added sugar, low-fat, lots of exercise, supplements, etc.

regarding exercise, i'm worried about it now that i saw a UK info-sheet that directly linked sitting with cholesterol. not a US-centric you risk being suspected of being at risk if you sit a lot-type argument, but a _direct_ argument.

and that latest study that said, every thirty minutes, get up and walk around for at least 3 minutes, and that will help keep your blood sugar in check.

and, thankfully, it and various other sources i trust (like Greger) said, even if you don't hit the ideal diet/exercise/whatever -- doing something, _anything_, is better than nothing, possibly a lot better than nothing.

so that's cool.

fortunately, i think there is a positive feedback loop. prob is starting. :)

if you're normal weight and adult, you're a 1%er - the 1% of americans (if you're us-american) - that are not overweight+++, so, good for you.

1. Cook/prepare 90% of the food you eat, meal prep for 5 days on Sunday. Mostly vegetables, some meat/protein, few carbs. Eat more or less the amount of calories you can burn in a day. Drink (almost) nothing but water. Caffeine only in the morning.

2. Don't consume any junk food (soda, beer, pizza, pasta, donuts, bagels, cookies, sweets, fast food, processed foods, etc), except once a month for a cheat day.

3. Only eat 2 meals per day, lunch and dinner, spaced out by 4-5 hours, with zero calories before lunch or after dinner.

4. Exercise moderately (walk/jog, bike, play sports, etc) 4-5 days per week, use audiobooks and podcasts to make it enjoyable. Ramp up to more strenuous sessions very slowly, over time.

5. Sleep consistently at the same hours every day of the week, for ~8.5 hours.

6. Get a bluetooth scale and monitor yourself on your phone.

7. Do bodyweight exercises like push ups, lunges, etc as much as you feel like you can throughout the week.

Even the slowest-starting suggestions here are too ambitious. If you are really starting from scratch, walking 20 min a day can be a lot. If that is too much, start walking 10-20 min per day, three days per week. You'll need the day to recover.

A key to habit formation, and motivation in general is the anticipation of a reward (not the reward but the anticipation). So have a reward planned. I usually use a piece of chocolate. Then really savor it when you are done. You might find that the next time you don't want to walk, the thought of that reward will be enough to get you out there.

Another thing missed by most of the posts is that it helps to have really compelling "why's". Why do you want to do this? There are likely many reasons both logical and emotional:

To get at the emotional after you have exercised, how is your:

- energy level

- body feeling

- breathing

- mood

- anxiety

- focus

- ability to take on the day

- well being

Think about the "why's" regularly. Motivation is 80% of it.

Get on Zwift.

Purchase yourself a smart trainer like the Wahoo kickr V5. This has been a life changer for me. Stuck in lockdown Australia, with Zwift I can ride when ever I want, and for as long as I want too. I now ride about 50km a day, and am the fittest I've ever been.

You get a great mix of cardio, gamification by playing an actual video game, and social networking as you can chat and make connections to others in the game. All from the comfort of your own home.

Zwift is great. I've been on it about three months and it really feels like the most productive training I've ever done. It's hard to get a decent ride in where I live but zwift is always available. They've managed to gamify real-world performance and it's surprisingly fun. There's a lot of different things to do in the game.

But be warned - it's a bit pricey to get up and running. All in, I'm sure I've spent at least $2k (USD) on various equipment and accessories and it's also $20/month for the service. To me it's worth it for sure, but running (for example) is very nearly free. Just make sure you think indoor cycling is something you'd be willing to stick with.

Started Zwift back in February and it's one of the best things I've ever done for myself. I love the fact that it can be whatever you want : a structured workout program, a way to casually ride around a map or a way to compete against other riders. The initial investment can be quite high, but a normal road bike and less advanced home trainer are good enough for someone just starting out.

Do you think that setup is preferable to riding bikes the traditional way? Perhaps this is just my ignorance but it seems counterintuitive to spend over $1k on a setup where your bike doesn't actually go anywhere

There are cheaper setups if you just want to test the waters. YouTube is a good resource to see how to get started for less cost than a top end direct-drive smart trainer like the wahoo kickr.

Riding bikes the traditional way is great too, but also depends very much on weather, season, and road conditions in your area. I like that the trainer removes all those obstacles.

Endurance comes with practice. The trick with exercise and eating is figuring out what you need mentally in order to do it every day. And not “will power”! That’s how to fail. Pick positive things that keep you coming back. There are a million ways to exercise and eat, so explore. I’ll share some of mine only as examples, but seek out and experiment what things work on yourself. Do you want company, or prefer to exercise alone? Many people love classes, CrossFit, spinning, etc.

For running, I personally like pace music - a set of songs with the same BPM that I can run to. Or sometimes podcasts, audiobooks, or language lessons. I prefer to run outside when I can and take different routes every day. Smart small and don’t go too big too fast, increase your time no more than 10% per week. Biking is a way to explore the city. Sports like tennis or ultimate frisbee are a way to run while playing games. There are lots of meetup groups for hiking.

Changing eating habits is very hard. I started by tracking what I ate without trying to change it. Just monitoring by writing it down, looking up macros and calories, can help you see your inputs more clearly. If I count calories, it helps me mentally to save room for a treat at the end of the day. Counting calories did help me make better choices too; suddenly carrots and pickles seem like a way to cheat and eat something bulky and filling without blowing my budget, chips and cookies become easier to avoid because of how fast they use up my budget.

I have the same/similar patterns in my life. What I do is: I use kettlebells as my main and mostly only exercise tool. I occasionally run and cycle to work although last two are least options in my routine. Kettlebell is like 99% what I use. They are a great tool to build up stamina and strength with muscles[0]. I recommend to check Pavel Tsatsuline[1] “Enter the Kettlebell”[2]. Regarding the diet/eating I do daily fasting[4] and can recommend this for sure although it expects some planning with nutrition in your meals. Now regarding food if you wanna eat healthy stop buying/eating processed foods or reduce as much as possible, reduce sugar consumption overall especially artificial one, try to make your meals from raw foods as often as you can, I for example make meals for whole week over the weekend, it saves a lot of time.





I myseld have tried swimming and running over the years. While i did not give up quickly i struggled to keep going longer than 1-2 years. Also had to force myself quite a bit.

Right now i am using nintendos ring fit adventure (2xper week for 10 month niw), really enjoy doing it and wish i had more time slots. The workouts are are challenging, i start sweating 10 min into. Done within 1h (including shower). Great if you have family. Cannot recommend it enough.

There's an exercise program called couch to 5k. Tons of people have used it, it's super easy to follow, and it works.

Download the first week podcast. Pick 3 days and times to exercise this week, 1/2 hour. Follow the program. In 9 weeks you will be able to run 5k.

Its basically music, with instruction to start running, or stop and start walking, over the top.

Theres loads of different podcasts that you can choose that implement it, here's one from the NHS:


This is how easy week 1 is:

For the runs in Week 1, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute warm-up walk, then you will alternate 60 seconds of running, with 90 seconds of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

Once you can run 5k, pick a half-marathon 14 or so weeks out. Start a 12/14 week half marathon program. This will usually be 1 weekly 5k run, 1 weekly 20 minute other cardio, 1 weekly ever increasing distance run (5k, 6k, 7k, 8k, 9k, etc.) to the point where you'll run 20k the week before your half marathon.

Then run the half marathon.

Around 15 years ago couch to 5k was what did it for me.

For years I’d battled with the perception of sports I’d been give by school - that sports were for those who ‘had ability’. I didn’t have ability, never got picked for teams, and consequently didn’t ‘do’ sport.

When it’s tried running in the past I would go out once, feel rubbish, then never run again. Couch to 5k gives you a framework to make small exertions that feel challenging without defeating you entirely, then gradually increases those exertions until you’re running 5k without difficulty.

The other switch for me was psychological. Doing sport isn’t about being objectively ‘good’ at it, or about being faster than other people. I compete against myself only, and do it for the physical and mental health benefits.

Can definitely recommend Parkrun too if you have one near you - a little bit of community can be really helpful. The times when you least feel like exercising are often the times when it’s most needed - and community can help keep the rhythm going in those times.

Some basics for anyone desk-bound:

1) Go for a half hour brisk walk every day either before work or after. If you're not getting sweaty, you're not going fast enough!

2) Do one set of at least ten pushups every 1-2 days - push yourself to failure. Do more if you can.

Since you want to run, start with 1.6K (four times around around track) 2-3 times a week, and systematically add distance every week to build up to your goal. Don't stop if you get tired - just switch to walking until you get your breath back, then continue running.

If you have (or can get) access to a pool, lap swimming is a great form of exercise and maybe fun too. You need to exert yourself to see benefit though - do front crawl and kick continuously. Don't do the 70-yr old slo-mo crawl!

Apart from some basics like the walking and pushups, the key is to find some form of exercise that you actually enjoy so you keep doing it. Skiing is another winter possibility - you are never too old to learn (I'm 60 and only learnt a couple of years ago).

Don't bother with biking. It's plently of fun, but bikes are too efficient - IMO it's not a great form of exercise.

Discipline is one way.

Interest is the other. I find bouldering is a full body exercise and involves implicit strength training while being extremely mentally engaging.

Make sure you're eating enough.

When I find myself not having the energy to go to the gym, it's usually because I'm not eating enough. A lot of people get into fitness to lose weight and you scientifically need a caloric deficit to lose weight, so a lot of reading about diet/exercise suggest low calorie diets, but for fitness exercise is more important and that requires calories to sustain. Low calorie diets turn me into a slug who can barely focus at work, let alone exercise.

Make sure you increase your calorie intake when you start exercising regularly. Don't worry too much about where you're getting the calories from at first. Drastic diet changes take time to get used to, and you need the energy to think clearly and experiment to find what works best for you. If you want to eat healthier you can make incremental changes towards less processed foods/lower sugar and work towards a balance of fat, carbs, and proteins. (A good rule of thumb I've seen is 1 gram of protein per day per pound of target weight, with 100 grams/day as a good starting point.)

2 things that worked to me:

* Harnessing my inner analytics nerd--Running was always challenging for me, but I did some research and learned that when training with your heart rate at a low range (140-150 for me) you will still see improvements. So I got a heart rate monitor and an app that beeps any time I'm outside the range. At first I had to walk most of the time to avoid my heart rate going too high. Eventually though I was able to run 11 miles non-stop. I just followed this method and it worked great for me, and the best part is that when I was finally fit enough to run non-stop it felt easy because my heart rate was low the whole time. I eventually stopped after I stopped seeing gains, which made the entire thing less motivating/exciting. But it was great experience seeing my body transform.

* Sports are really fun--this is kind of like tricking yourself into not realizing you're exercising. I play a game called pickleball and love every minute of it.

I'd say you can forget half marathons for this year, as normally you can increase your running distance by 1km per week. So if you can't do 5 today, you won't be able to do 20 until 15 weeks later.

Just start small and keep it consistent no matter what - like running 1-2km per day NO MATTER WHAT (rain, snow, cold, w/e). Just do it.

Quit the office job and work a fast paced physical labor job. You’ll lose weight and gain strength and stamina guaranteed. I mean this too I actually did it. I can’t do office jobs it’s hell to me. I lost 30 pounds in my first two years working at my factory job. I can eat nearly anything I want too without gaining weight.

Whatever activity you decide to focus on, I highly recommend hiring a coach/trainer. Getting somebody else to make your plans significantly lowers the mental energy required to do the activity, and the feeling of expectation from them creates accountability you may not be able to replicate on your own. Mentally reframing the cost from “that’s a luxury / it’s too expensive” to “that’s a small price to pay for radically improved health” helped me overcome my initial hesitation. A few hundred dollars a month on coaching can make the difference between success and failure for many people.

At the end of the day of programming, the last thing I want to do is try to put together a workout plan. My trainer puts that on autopilot for me and I just have to commit to doing whatever they say.


“Simple Sinister” is a program with kettle bell swings and Turkish get ups - it is a good basic program for general core strength when you have limited time. Look at what Tim Ferriss has to say about the swings.

Add https://stronglifts.com/5x5/ too.

Add some cardio you enjoy, preferably daily and at least 20min, but not too much you are exhausted. You should still feel quite fresh afterwards.

Eat more vegetables, try to hit 5 portions a day minimum. Dr Weils “Optimum nutrition” book is a great book on the basics.

I normally don't shill anything but I think it's worth it since it's free and there are no ads. Just Run. It's a couch to 5k app that starts from a minute or so of running (really jogging) to running a full 30 minutes. The amount of exertion at each step is manageable. All you need after the first couple of weeks is an audio book to go with it and you're golden.


Disregard if you like, but it's the first app that had any sort of schedule that I've completed. Good luck.

This is what worked for me: I didn't start exercising until my late 40s. I picked a gym that offered classes, and made it the first thing I did at the beginning of the day. After that I'm ready to work.

I now have a personal trainer once a week who makes sure I am doing the work correctly, and gives me a variety of challenges. Your body is programmed to change in response to exercise stimulus, and you will see a difference in a matter of months.

I set up a stand up desk at work, and I regularly walk away from the desk to take breaks. After a little adjustment, I practically stand for 6-7 hours a day.

If you want to live a healthier health style, you will naturally gravitate to it. Start off by trying to get your 10k steps in a day. After you have begun to shift your mindset you will start to find yourself naturally wanting to get into it.

I got into powerlifting over 2 years ago and I have not looked back since. I got myself a PT/Strength coach, and to meet my goals I had to expand my knowledge to fill my daily needs, fix my sleep habits and manage my stress.

Don't focus too hard on the exercise / food, you need to change your whole mindset. It's a journey!

I would encourage a combination of fartlek and slow running.

One day just go for a 20 minute "jog". Try and run as slow as possible with the goal of running for 10 minutes out and then just getting home. It's OK if you walk and do so when you need to!

The next day slowly jog for 5 minutes, then do 1 minute at a high pace, and jog/walk for 2 minutes. Try and repeat that 5 times. Turn around after 3, and then walk/jog home when you've done all 5.

If you do that a few times you can increase the numbers, but the difference between fast and slow running really helps!

Gym isn't for everyone, I tried for a long time to get fit in the gym and it was just never fun. Then I found climbing (bouldering), and fell in love with the sport. Trying out different things will help you find something that sticks.

If you do want to run a 5k by the end of the year, I'd recommend you get some kind of smart watch (I own a Garmin), which helps you track speed and especially heart rate. Turns out I'm not an aweful runner and do not hate it, I was just running way too fast for my level. Keeping your heart rate relatively low, which means running slowly, lets you run much further. Also, don't underestimate walking. Someone that walks 5k everyday is probably fitter than someone running a 5k once a week.

Foodwise I'm very far from an expert, but my personal take is that it is usually a good idea to have a mix of all the things, including carbs, fats, sugars etc. Lots of food advice looks for "evil" and then declares the rest as good, but usually it isn't that simple. Pretty hard too eat too many veggies though. And cooking is usually better than eating prepackaged stuff.

Lastly, on the burnout stuff... I'm in a similar situation right now, sport is one of the few things that actually helps me. And it isn't only us, so many people around me are very close to the edge or already beyond it. Times are really tough I think. No shame in getting help from a therapist, or finding help groups or something like that.

Podcasts are a great way to make boring exercises interesting. Walking or biking instead of driving is an easy way to get some exercise in. Bouldering is really fun & social.

Before corona started, I walked to work every day (1.5 hours in total). It's a habit I've had since I was a student too poor to buy a bus card.

A few months after this I started noticing how just walking the stairs got me tired, and how my general well-being deterioated.

I've certainly never been "fit", but walking to work is a great start. It also does not require much dedication , something which is hard to spare if you have a busy career.

Mix running in with your walking. Go for a walk. Jog part of the way. At first maybe it's just for 20-30 seconds at a time. That's ok. Steadily increase until you're running most or all of the way. (aka "wind sprints" aka fartlek)

Running shoes make a difference. They don't need to be fancy, they just need to fit! Pay attention to the wear patterns on the bottom. If the inside of the soles wear out faster than the outside or vice versa you have pronation/supination issues. Not the end of the world but it will affect your choice of shoes.

Running shoes wear out pretty fast; depending on your weight and usage they lose their cushioning after just a few hundred miles or less. My personal opinion is that folks would be generally be better off with two pairs of $50USD shoes per year vs. one pair of $100USD shoes per year -- better to have fresh cushioning than the marginal advantages of the higher end shoe. But, I am not an expert by far.

Ultimately of course, finding something fun is the key to sticking with exercise. For me it was tennis. I love playing it and it spurs me to make better health choices elsewhere in life. Though I am very much a work in progress.

Sounds like you're close. This is what worked for me:

1) Know what your goals are. For me it was "don't be the largest size in a typical clothes store + don't be exhausted for the rest of the day after a morning out". I think you've got your goals outlined.

2) Commit the time, forever. Never make exceptions. There's no such thing as done. Plan to be working out (whatever that means for you) 3-5 times a week for the rest of your life.

3) Find a community to support you. I like a small gym with group classes + experienced trainers -- I want to be able to turn my brain off and use their expertise. Other people like to teach themselves. Others still find a community in outdoor activity groups (like hiking or cycling clubs). There's so many ways to stay active/train/etc. Do one that keeps you engaged. This may change over time. You know you've got it right when #2 makes sense.

4) Eat a quality diet -- you need appropriate fuel to support being active.

IMO, community is the most important one. Have a reason to show up at a gym at 6:00am or whatever your commitment is. Second is having trainers/resources to help you learn and improve. Don't do it on your own.

Good Luck!

Diet and exercise. They work together, don't try to do one without the other. A good diet gives you energy for exercise, and exercise makes your body naturally want to eat a good diet.

For exercise start with something really small and easy that you will do every day. It doesn't matter if it's too small to make an impact, the point is to get in the habit of exercise every day. Once you're consistently doing it every day for a couple weeks then you can gradually dial up the intensity. If you miss a day don't get down on yourself and quit, instead forgive yourself and get back on the wagon the next day. To satisfy your software developer instincts your can use an app to track your progress. On Android I recommend Regularly and FitNotes, both free.

For diet, don't try to eat less bad food. Going hungry sucks, and bad food tastes good! Instead of eating less bad food, eat more good food. For example, stuff yourself with healthy snacks even if you're not hungry. When you're served a plate with a mix of food, eat all the healthy stuff first. Filling up on good food will leave less room for bad food.

This is what works for me.

Start small. You may want to try my game [1] for that.

Do at least some short&easy workouts and gradually-very gradually raise the bar. Your goal is to find and carefully grow a joy in yourself of doing exercises b/c of having healthy body. Just listen to your body while doing workouts and in 1-2 weeks time you'll see a slight hint of improvements - catch it and babysit it into a habit of regular exercising. If you can keep it for 2 month, you can keep it forever.

> tips on good diet plans or other tips for living a much healthier lifestyle

Proper nutrition is a huge topic by itself... There are few simple rules thought: If you don't have specific conditions (consult your doctor) than just try to eat a little bit less energy than you spend, try to get used to occasional hunger (calories deficit is generally helpful for a well-being). Also prefer a food with a low glycemic index (google that term if it's new for you).

[1] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cardio.workout...

Speaking from my own experience as software engineer with burnout and doing sport: do it slowly, everything else is an additional source of stress.

My take on exercise is the following:

- a baseline of pull-ups and push-ups. Doing them multiple times a day, basically every time I take a break. I don't do them until failure but just enough for them being taxing. I started out with 6 push-ups and 2 pull-ups in a row and increased them every one to two weeks. It takes 5 minutes and also helps me with concentration.

- I go bouldering 1-2 times a week because it's fun. Sometimes I'm motivated, sometimes not but that's fine. The boulder-hall has a rowing ergometer which I often use to counter the sitting in front of a computer lifestyle.

- I take the bike everywhere I can.

That said, it's all about consistency. It's amazing how fast one gets used to sport and doesn't want to miss it afterwards.

For diet, I just put a lot more veggies in there than before and adapted to interval fasting (meaning: skipping the breakfast). After a week, I stopped being hungry in the mornings and I lost around 6.5kg in 3 month. Now my weight is stable and I'm happy with it.

Learn about your body. I suggest starting with the autonomous nervous system. Then your metabolic states. Then circadian rhythm. Reconceptualize everything including the way food and exercise affect your body. There is an explosion of research about our biology, and it seems like that will continue for most of our lives.

But, test what you learn on your own body and ask your doc lots of questions. Run experiments on your body over 6-week or 6-month periods, 1-2 at a time, and habituate what works for you. Layer habits on habits Atomic Habits style. For instance, consider buying an HRV monitor to learn your resonance breathing frequency and what your HRV looks like when you are feeling stressed.

Imo, an easy place to get started is to remove foods from your diet that spike your insulin or blood glucose. Combine that habit with a habit to go on a 20-30min walk a day while listening to a podcast about your body. My favorite at the moment are Rhonda Patrick's Found My Fitness and Andrew Huberman's Huberman Lab - they both do a great job to distill the research for practical consideration.

Maybe look into "Coach to 5k" running program if running is what you are looking for.

My own recipe for success was just doing very standard 5x5 StrongLifts weight training routine first thing in the morning 3 times per week. I just rolled out of bed, put on my gym gear and went to the gym. It took 45-60min to complete my sets then as a reward I took ~10min Sauna, then showered and went to the Office.

> Coach to 5k

It's Couch to 5k. AKA C25k.

I only point it out because the name is what made me try it out!

Many years ago I joined a bootcamp. Military style training for civilians. All they did was push us pretty hard for 50 minutes, do 10 minutes of good stretching and let us go. Two days per week, and it changed my life. I from being slightly underweight and unfit to "really fit" within 6 months. I would take on anything. 100km cycles, 15km runs. So when I switched jobs and my new office was 10km away from home I made running my commute two days per week.

The training was all outdoors, in city parks. It was a mix of intervals (jog/sprint) and body weight exercises (squat, pushup, lunge, plank and side-plank). Depending on the props they brought we might also be dragging tires around or lifting stuff, but not often. They'd also include "fun" stuff too (stupid games). What kept me at it was actually the social thing. Once your get to know the people in your group, they know if you don't show up. I went in lashing rain and snow. Kept it up for a few years.

I don't know if you can find anything like that, but if you can, I recommend it.

You are probably pushing yourself too hard, become demotivated and quit. Think about it this way: you are never going to beat Usain Bolt no matter how hard you try. So just go for small improvements.

Run half a mile, limp another half, go home. Repeat this 3 times weekly for a month. By the end of the month you'll be running that whole mile. Now keep it up and get to 2!

>I have literally no stamina or endurance to exercise

When I started bicycling, I felt the same way.

The only way is to struggle through it. Get tired, recover, repeat.

It’s worth pointing out that stamina changes surprisingly quickly, it can be only 3 days between a hill being impossibly daunting and just a hill.

Start where you are. Start small: take walking breaks during the work day. This may even make you more productive. :) Not enough time for a walk? Do some push-ups, or planks. Jumping jacks and squats can also be done anytime, anywhere.

When you’re ready, I’d recommend checking out some fitness classes on the weekends or evenings, like yoga, Pilates, HIIT, strengthening, etc.

VR: https://www.vrfitnessinsider.com/best-high-intensity-vr-fitn...

You can burn 600 calories/hr just flying through sparkly disco wormholes. That’s comparable to running, but an hour feels more like 20 minutes.

Find a good CrossFit gym. Nothing compares as a metabolic workout. CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.

You workout alongside others, which is an incredible hack to keep you going. Typically there is a focus on weight lifting and then some kind of Workout of the Day (WOD). As a result, you will get stronger than any runner and you will have greater endurance than any weightlifter. Like all fitness, consistency is key. I found the more I worked out, the more I wanted to eat healthier. I also got better sleep.

Crossfit has a reputation as unsafe, but I find that as long as you know your limits and learn the fundamentals, you'll be find. All gyms worth their salt have coaches that should enforce good technique. Half the battle is just getting to a gym.

May be will not help you prepare for marathons, but I saw a job posting with 2 hours or so of manual work in the morning or/and a few hours before sleep. They even advertise the job as exercise. Pros: 1. doing something useful and paid 2. manual work 3. + to your social status, since you will be worker-programmer

Start small. This is what I do - Drink a large glass of water as soon as I sit at my desk. This forces me to pee within 45-60 minutes. When I go to the bathroom, I ensure I do 20 squats before coming out. Sometimes I do 10 lunges on each leg. Takes about 2-3 minutes. Back to my desk and take another gulp. Repeat!

Ok just make sure you don’t die with too much water

I work from home and I've had a standing desk for twelve years now. I also start each day with a fifteen minute routine of static exercises: situps, pushups, squats, chinups. Both the standing desk and the morning exercises are now so embedded I'd feel a loss if either disappeared.

My around-town travel preference is a bicycle, and my schedule gives me brief windows to make a quick dash to the shops when I want something. I treat these outings, usually one or two a day, as if they were a time trial. Additionally, if I'm thinking through a design issue I go for a walk around the block (or half a dozen blocks if it's particularly gnarly). My partner and I go for longer walks on the weekends.

I'm a female in my mid-sixties, I've been coding for 30 years, and this combination works well for me.

What makes a huge difference for me is having a progression plan and tracking my progress. With both running and lifting, it’s easy to set short term and long term goals and see yourself reach them week after week. That helps with building the habit, and the habit is all you need.

Find something you like to do, and start doing it regularly. Go hiking. Go swimming. Go to the gym. Go running. Find some people who play basketball, or ultimate frisbee.

I do ultimate. It's a lot of fun. It's good for people of all skill levels. And when I'm out of shape, on offense, I can let the others run down while I breathe in the back.

I only do it once a week because my legs are old. (OK, the rest of me is old, too, but the legs are where I notice it the next day.) But even once a week of intense (as intense as I can do) activity seems to be enough to keep me in moderately decent shape. And it's activity that I like. (And, as an added bonus, the read-and-react nature of the game is a complete mental break from coding.)

-Stretch -Seriously stretch every day; as an older software dev who ignored this it took months to get limber enough I wasn't getting hurt every time I would go to a pick up soccer/volleyball game -Group sports are great because they crate a schedule to follow but often aren't too much of a commitment. Often also meet people with similar interests that you would want to do other outdoor activities with -Starting from no stamina to half marathon while doable unless you have done it before is ambitious. The best bet for running would be to try the hal higdon method for beginners but don't worry when i8t says run X miles you can take that as go x miles and repeat weeks as needed

working out sucks. the only time i ever enjoyed it was a short period where i treated it like a sport and went for personal records on lifts.

Find fun active things to do, jiu jitsu, maybe yoga, water sports, if you want to hike just go hike, find some adult sports thing. Or run if you want to do marathons(sounds boring, why do you want to do them? lol)

For food just keep it simple. Diets don't work in the long term. Cook for your self, and dont buy crap when you shop. If you dont have cookies and candy in your home then you simply can't eat it. Watch our for "healthy" stuff, granola, juice are loaded with sugars. Just eat fresh stuff and cook for your self. Keep it simple otherwise it won't stick.

I like Eleven Table Tennis in VR. I am still fat but I believe it has helped my cardio a bit.

There are also a ton of other things on Quest that are great for a workout. I stick with table tennis because it's the most fun for me and so more sustainable as a habit.

The Fitbod app is good for getting some exercise based on muscle groups: you put in the equipment you have (e.g. bench + resistance bands) and then it suggests exercise programmes for you based on this equipment and your availability (e.g. 30 mins or 45 mins).

For food I have had some good experience with InstantPot: very little effort to prepare most recipes (chop something and put in pot; wait 20 mins; eat for two days). Also, try to avoid bread or at least cheap supermarket bread. You can buy a small loaf from an artisanal bakery since they will probably have better ingredients. Hint: if after two weeks your bread is not getting moldy, you need to go more artisanal ;)

I’d do “couch to 5k” (assumes your a couch potato, let’s you run 5km), it’s great program.

Been there done that. Saying that so you know I'm not full of it.

1. You have to make exercise part of who you are now. You're a runner. Runners run.

2. Think long game. It's going to take a couple years.

3. Start small, and just keep beating your previous.

4. Diet, sleep, exercise in that order.

I'd recommend classes of some sort. For me it was crossfit, but there are tons of other options - HIIT, pilates, yoga, oly lifting, cycling, rock climbing, etc.

Classes solved all sorts of issues for me. I would always go to the gym for 4-8 weeks pretty regularly, then just...get bored, lose motivation and stop. Same with running, cycling, whatever.

In contrast, with classes you: just show up regularly and will get fitter over time (taking all the effort out of building your own program), get variety, build a community, and depending on the class get education on correct form and new workout ideas / stretches / programming.

Classes were the key to fitness for me.

Same here, thin but had no endurance and stamina, 12 hours on computer min. (working and playing)

I subscribed to Freeletics a few years ago (some months in, some out), and I developed a routine where "I don't have to think". Because if you have to think, even seconds, it's over.

So I wake up at 6:45, tired and not woke enough to think, foggy brain, then I run 3km and then Freeletics session. I just follow the orders, do what the app wants me to do, cry a bit, and boom, it's over. It's now 8am and I'm full of energy. And when my brain realizes what I've done, it's too late: I won.

That was my solution: don't think. Haha.

Check out Barbell Logic Online Coaching. https://barbell-logic.com/online-coaching/

I’ve tried getting fit at so many points in my life, and this is the only thing that stuck. When you already have trouble being motivated, having a coach provide accountability and help you with your fitness goals is a gamechanger. I can’t recommend it enough.

You can also try it for free - https://barbell-logic.com/experience/

I replaced my desk and chair with a standing desk and a walking treadmill. I get at least 2 hours of walking per day out of it and it's benefited me a lot.

No longer have back pain and it just keeps the mind fresh throughout the day.

It took a bit of getting used to, but I can now type without making many errors. I walk at 2 km/h

Due to getting a bit of activity at the beginning of the day also makes me motivated to go out for a run in the evening.

you also need to take care of that burnout. Take a break, spend some time to recover and then get into the habit of moving throughout the day. Use a pomodoro timer to remind you of taking breaks

When you wake up do as many push-ups with good form in the morning as you can, then squats, and round it out with a morning walk. You can fine plans online for half marathons, I did one last year by myself and tracked it with my watch because the scheduled ones were stopped for CovId. Consistency is the key, do as much as you can without hurting yourself. In many places they have running clubs and groups so you can make it a group activity. At your desk you can find exercises to do, and do a few everything you compile or hit F5 etc.

It isn't about what you do as much as about having a routine, and doing it regularly. Make it as much of a daily standard as getting dressed or brushing your teeth.

Once you have the routine down, and do something every day... feel free to explore different activities until you find one you enjoy. Eventually, something will click.

Have patience - it is a process to get rolling, a process to find your activity, quick to start to feel better, but a long time to reach your goals. Make it a goal to keep going, and not let the slowness of it all discourage you.

Eat healthy food. Don't smoke. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator. Drink water instead of sugar drinks. Take breaks from sitting. Either walk for a few minutes outside or get a height-adjustable desk and work both standing and sitting.

Also find a sport that doesn't bore you. Maybe you need to do a team sport to get motivated? Did you ever do a sport that you liked? Maybe try it again. You don't need to run if you think it's too boring but doing it occasionally certainly is a good idea.

I was in a situation was similar to yours, suffering many years because of lack of energy. I even could not walk up stairs, because of exhaustion. It seems nothing I could do to fix it.

A year ago my friend has suggested to try Magnesium supplement.

I then took 600-800 mg daily for the first week. That has completely cured my energy levels after only few days. I felt distinctly the change and I have my life back under my control.

Since then feel like I'm a new person. I'm very glad to have found the root cause for my specific problem.

Find a sport/activity that you can enjoy where fitness is a byproduct.

I get bored at the gym lifting weights/running on the treadmill etc. I've always enjoyed tennis and swimming so I forced myself to signup for lessons. I now swim and play tennis regularly. It is something that I look forward to.

Another tip that worked for me is to start identifying yourself with an activity. I guess you could call it brainwashing yourself. Like: "I'm a swimmer", or in your case, "I'm a runner".

For me, keeping it simple - I just maintain a routine. My lunch time is for exercise and I don't compromise on that. I figure out where 1 mile is and do my best. When I was 25, it was 7 minutes at 40 I'm happy to crack 10 and then there's another mile back. That's 2/3 of a 5K. If I'm tired, sick, hungover - then I still go. I'm not reachable at lunch and my coworkers get that. I try to do some weights too, but it's the routine that matters, imho.

Just get disciplined about doing some physical activity every day without exception.

This is the epitome of one of those 90% of the results are attained just by consistently showing up type things.

Standing desk, remote job, live in a building where you have a door directly to the outdoors (not a giant apartment building where getting in/out is a hassle), take walks

Find good audio books/podcasts that you enjoy. The rule is that you are only allowed to listen to them when exercising. What you'll find is that you look forward to the exercise because you want to listen to that podcasts/book.

Also track your progress! Once you start seeing progress, it provides motivation to get to the next milestone. I've been doing weights for nearly 2 years now and have started to see real size increases (in naturally very tall and skinny).

This is how i did it:

1. Start with a morning walk, or jog or even run if/when you feel like it. Spend about 1h moving before work. Walking is great form of exercise as long as it gets your heart pumping. For me walking is plenty enough to get me on lower training heart rate zones, and that is where 90%-95% of all training should happen, no matter how fit one is.

2. Eat well. For me taking in about 1.6g of protein / kg of body weight works, as it keeps sugar cravings away. Although I've always been light/normal weight, the body composition has not been great.

3. Again, for me, a fitness tracker (fitbit) has been a great tool, as it has both motivates me (I have a step goal for a day) and the app helps me to count what I eat. I started by counting everything I eat, but found out that counting the protein has been enough, as I don't feel like eating junk after having enough protein (note: not excessive amount, just enough, or maybe even a little too much). I stopped counting when I became familiar with what works.

4. Start every meal with protein. Might be just a placebo effect, but I've seen studies that say eating protein first significantly decreases insulin spikes. So if I eat breakfast I start with something with protein in it and then eat the rest, and the coffee last. I believe this has had an effect on my diet, mood and again sugar cravings.

5. I am definitely performing better, have better stamina and brain fog is almost non existent. I think I've been in a denial about my actual shape and weight, as I'm almost back to high school weight now with absolutely no adverse effects, just better body composition and mood.

6. I think everyone has a way that suits them. I highly recommend walking, it is magical form of exercise that gets you 99% of the health benefits without demanding almost anything. All other forms of exercise are fine too, but walking is the king of low effort, high return exercises and is probably something even an avid gym goer or bicycler should do. Any human basically.

Being lighter than the average Joe is absolutely not a measurement of your health or fitness. I guess I've become "skinny fat" at some point without realizing it, and I absolutely don't care about being skinny or fat, it is just that the feeling I have now is so much better. All the best for you!

Like others say you need to build consistent good habits for exercise, diet and sleep.

As a SE you probably have discretionary $, so spend it on a trainer. Then you will be doing it several times a week & having to opt-out rather than opt in. They will work with you to meet your goals.

Other lifestyle to help your body adapt & with recovery; Eat more protein 1.5-2g per kg of your bodyweight. Eat More Fiber. Drink more Water. Get more sleep.

Habits, I didn't fully adapt to a reasonable workout schedule until I had an unhealthy 9-5 desk job. It became quite simple to just go to the gym on lunch and prep meals on the weekend. Eventually strength and physique changes added to motivation and the habit was formed It's also made the work day easier with a more significant change of pace and extra energy and focus levels.

The minimum you can do is an easy solution that doesn’t even require leaving the house(so no excuses apply): jump on a rebounder for 10 minutes. You can do it once or twice a day. After only a month you’ll have a lot more stamina and be in better shape. Get a bungee type of rebounders(without springs), it is noiseless and more pleasant to jump on. Getting a better quality rebounder will pay off

When the lockdowns started, I realized I was barely moving. I bought an affordable treadmill from Amazon and wandered around the hardware store for parts and built a sturdy treadmill desk setup. Total build cost was around $500. Now I walk miles and miles every day, feel more focused, and am in the best shape of my life.

Get some good wireless headphones. When there's a meeting and you don't have a leading speaking part, walk around the house during the call. Get a Fitbit, doing this puts 10,000 steps a day easily in reach.

Lots of coding tasks? When you start a server or compilation/build, do some pushups or curls (alternate every other day).

Look for other ways to do small exercises during 'gaps' in your day.

Good luck!

Running clubs and activity groups make things a lot more sticky. You're meeting Dolores at 6pm to jog the track- can't back out now!

Check if there's a running club near you or a triathlon club, they're generally cool and supportive peeps, meet before/after work hours, and for me the accountability of having the team support/dynamic makes it a lasting lifestyle change.

This is great advice. I’m an avid runner but joined a running club in town when I moved to suburbs from NYC. Just two weeks of track workouts made a huge difference and kept me on schedule and sense of accountability.

What is amusing to me is how well they work for not only meeting new friends, but for dating in general as well. I'm not single, but I've seen so many relationships develop and marriages happen via organic meetings in my tri club over the years, and attended their weddings! It's pretty cute and heartwarming. Turns out getting to know people over 8mile training runs or while on an 80mi bike ride etc fosters great foundations... for friendships as well. Even after moving across the country I have lifelong friendships with some people I used to train with 15 years ago.

Not to mention the health and athletic (and mental health!!) benefits.

Absolutely - you achieve very close alignment of interests without knowing anything about the other folks in your clubs, and then you make some really great friends and/or more!


20 min max / day. Helped reduce my stress level, improve endurance & flexibility, and an overall pleasant start of the day if done in the morning. Bonus: no purchases or equipment necessary beyond daily will power.

I think it's worth experimenting quite a bit to try to see what time works for you to exercise. For me early morning works best as there are no unplanned meetings etc. and I can easily do it 3 times a week.

Also as someone mentioned already in the comments C25K programme might be a good start for running as it mixes walking and running until you build up strength and stamina to run 5k.

Good luck!

The way you do it is by making it stick. Stop giving up. Accept the pain, learn to love it, and then you will gain. You know your gender doesn't matter for this goal. All that matters is eating healthy and moving. It doesn't matter what your job is either.

Fwiw, I think diet plans are bunk. Change your lifestyle now and eat healthy today. Don't plan a fantasy.

You should read the book The healthy programmer by Joe Kutner. There are a lot of resources and tips for living a much better healthy. https://pragprog.com/titles/jkthp/the-healthy-programmer/

Personally, I could never manage pure exercise (lifting weights, running), but I'll cycle or play team sports until my body gives out. Exploration and competition are powerful motivators. Riding a bicycle is also a good way to let your thoughts work their way up. It's like taking your brain to the dog park to run free for a bit.

I found a gym that has a pool and built swimming into my habit. For me it's great -- anaerobic and aerobic workout combined into a single activity. Being in the pool means I don't get sweaty or hot. Started in Jan, lost 25 lbs and have gained lots of muscle. Low risk of injury, which was an issue for me with other workouts.

You should include weight training as one of your goals if you sit a lot. Strength training is about preventing injury and maintaining your range of motion as you age. The more muscle mass you have the less injury prone you are. Focus on compound exercises like squats, deadlift, and bench pressing.

If you just want to get into good shape, start eating healthy and doing something physical regularly. I do a high-protein diet, intermittent fasting, and play laser tag often. This will be enough, but if you want to speed it up you can always start deadlifting.

Take up a martial art such as archery, judo or bjj or taichi. Exercise the mind, body and hangout with like minded enthusiasts while playing. Learn to breathe properly and keep other parameters in check in the zone while you exert yourself for lifetime best.

Try taking breaks and doing simple exercises during your day. There’s a macOS app for that, check it out - https://apps.apple.com/app/id1160131071

I do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) to stay fit. It's a really fun and intellectually stimulating (yes, really) grappling martial art. I do it three times a week and am always completely exhausted, sore, and drenched in sweat after every session!

Any other BJJ nerds here?

Don’t think about it or read about it or take friends’ advice or the advice of random assholes on the Internet (me included). Do something (anything!) that you think might make you happy. Take action—literally any action—then reflect on whether that made you feel better or worse, then repeat.

Plans, programs, therapists, tips are all good, but even better is You. Your situation, your body, your needs, desires, habits. No one knows that better than you and your body.

Plan -> motivation -> action sucks, especially for an already burnt out mind and body. You can have the BEST plan and the BEST motivation, but your mind and body won’t be fooled—or at least not for long—and they (you) will let you down. Then your mind and brain will feel shitty because obviously THEY (YOU!) are to blame, because this was THE PERFECT PLAN because 1,000 people said it worked for them, complete with testimonials and pictures!

Action -> celebration -> reflection -> repeat is better because you don’t need motivation or a plan to get started. Just do it/something/anything! Way to go, killer!! How do you feel?! Do you want to do that again? Great! Next action is…

Your first action might be buying a party-sized bag of Doritos, a pint of ice cream, and a box of wine, and staying up until 4 AM rewatching Game of Thrones season 1. Or your first action might be getting up at 5 AM for a 30 minute run. Or taking an afternoon siesta. Or buying a pair of roller skates or asking a friend to play tennis with you after work or asking to take a neighbor’s dog to the dog park or taking the stairs at work or parking in the farthest available parking spot or signing up for a charity 5k…. Each of these things has probably worked for 10k people and not worked for 50k. What will work for you? I don’t know and no one here does either. And neither do YOU right now, because if you did, you wouldn’t be asking the Internet for help! But if you try something that sounds awesome and are honest with yourself about how it went and are willing to try it or something else again, you’ll get there in time.

Good news is that exercise will cause your body to produce feel-good hormones.

So as others already said - book time for yourself, every day, and do some exercise.

It will help with your burnout, and make you healthier at the same time.

Source: same thing happened to me - and some wikipedia articles

Working out is just plain boring. Start a sport such as basketball or softball or start a martial like taekwondo. Taekwondo is heavily structured, is a total body workout that builds strength and flexibility, and is quite heavy on cardio at times.

the most surefire way to health is consistency and the most consistent path is the easiest one. organize your life in such a way that the healthy choices are easier than the unhealthy choices and build habits and rules that do not require much in the way of motivation or conscious effort to follow. i don’t keep junk food in the house for this very reason, it enables me to be a lazy asshole and still make a good choice without exerting any effort at all. cardio is an equally brainless option that is very easy to skinnerbox for yourself. if requires next to no effort to ride a bike and play mmos all day for what are effectively free endurance gains.

I built a home gym.

Over about a month I got the following equipment:

- power rack (and 1/2 squat rack)

- barbells x 2

- bumper plate 200kg

- dumbbells from 9kg -> 40kg


- etc..

I put it all on my veranda and now it stares at me while a code, it's a powerful incentive to work out most days...I spent a bunch of moolah on this I want to get my monies worth.

And it's working....

I would suggest finding something that is fun, that you _want_ to do. Something you look forward to doing!

I just started playing badminton, which is great fun! Already planning my next few matches. (It is cheap, easy & accessible.)

OrangeTheory fitness. It’s fun, great for any shape and you’ll be motivated because you pay for it. I had the BeachBody app but got bored of working out at home alone. I used to be in shape prior to Covid wfh. Used

Lots of good comments, but I think the under-appreciated aspect is having a source of motivation. From my experience there are broadly 3 for sport stuff: (1) you enjoy the activity itself, (2) other people - either social aspects or impressing people, or even peer pressure, (3) intrinsic "gamification" (increasing weights/distances/difficulty/... feels like leveling in WoW).

They feed off each other... e.g. you start going on hikes with friends because it's fun and then eventually realize that you want to hike some tall peak (objective chasing) that requires some boring conditioning or runs.

I think (3) rarely works for a beginner - didn't work for me, and you also mention giving up running and weights, both are pretty good for number chasing. So, you can find something you already enjoy doing, or find something to do with friends... if you hang out with people and occasionally do X, you will do X, and then do it more, etc. Another option is to join a running/swimming/training group or make friends with some people who already do stuff. Most people love beginners with positive attitude because they get to instruct and look impressive :) Another option is getting a personal trainer for some time, not just for the knowledge but for the peer pressure.

For an example, I used to do 0 of any kind of exercise, then accidentally made friends with some people who rock climbed. At some point I started occasionally going to the gym with them (social); then I moved and gave up climbing completely (nothing!). Then, I joined a beginner climbing group (forced social)... compared to my friends, who took care of everything for me, people were well, mostly beginners, so after a couple disappointing trips I actually became motivated to improve a bit in order to create better experiences for myself (intrinsic activity?). Then after a while I noticed that people (ok, mostly girls ;)) are impressed by my amazing upper-beginner climbing and that caused me to improve more (different kind of social). That really broadened where I can do and what I can do and so I started enjoying climbing itself much more. Eventually, the training and grade chasing also became a reward in itself. Many climbers tend to be woodsy people who frown at this kind of stuff, but after some soul searching I decided to consciously embrace it... it really helps with motivation. E.g. climbing hangboard is the most boring and lonely exercise imaginable, it's much more boring than even barbell; but I am motivated to do it because I need finger strength so I could send(complete) my goal route that would be my first "5.12b" or whatever... it's like playing videogames :)

This doesn't add anything, but I just genuinely wanted to thank everyone for all the suggestions and encouragement. The comments have helped me more than you may realize as I kick off my fitness journey!

Go for table-tennis as a hobby (cheap, easy to get started, infinite skill ceiling, can be as demanding as you want, good cardio).

I think that around 50% of people who come at my table-tennis club are in IT.

Podcast + 45' walk in the morning before work. Couch potato to 5k training plan in 3 months while listening to a podcast you enjoy.

Halve your food intake. Eat the same, just half. Don't snack after dinner.

I follow the GZCLP routine. I go to the gym four times in a week, in the morning from 7.30 am to 8.30 am. I measure and write down every calories I eat. Fixed.

The thing that worked for me was getting a personal trainer. I started training with him two times a week, I do one day by myself, and go hiking on weekends if the weather is nice.

Everyone has different tips but here's mine:

* Walk. Get a Fitbit or other pedometer and track your steps. First try to hit 10k a day and then increase that over your first few months

I'd recommend reading can't hurt me by Gogins.

In terms of diet, the easiest one is eat at home, only have real food in your home, nothing processed or loaded with sugar.

A skipping rope (jump rope if you're in the US) is how I got into exercise - skipping in time to very loud music feels like dancing, and I love it

Easy one: If you like animals get a dog. Preferably a high energy one (Border Collie, German Shepherd, Husky etc)

Mine need about 1.5 hours of walking every day

Work 8 hours a day.

Find a school and learn social dances. There are much more fun and positive emotions in social dances than in any other physical activity.

This is what I do everyday as my basic routine:

- Weightlifting (3 kg dumbbells) + 50 squats

- 10 min routine (look one you like in youtube)

- 7000 steps walk late at night.

For me that's the bare minimum.

1, Buy & use a standing desk

2, Read Art De Vany (New evolutionary diet)

3, Read P. D Magnan

4, Buy an appropriate set of dumbbells ast advised in 2 & 3

5, Feed like you have been advised in 2.

It's worth taking the time to find an activity you enjoy. I hated running until I started running slowly and with podcasts

Cultivate consistency as a habit first before trying to optimize your workout routines

More veggies and meat in diet

Get enough sleep

Consume minimal junk food and sweets

Keep it simple, keep it lindy

The only thing that has ever worked for me is gamifying it. Ring Fit Adventure, Oculus Move, Apple Watch competitions, etc.

I'm a life-long distance runner, secondarily a cyclist, and occasional 145lb. "meathead" at the gym. As such, I scoffed at games such as Ring Fit Adventure. Oh, it's fine for other people who aren't the workout stud I am, but not for me, no, no. Due to a medical emergency, I had some post-surgical recovery to do, and it would be a while before I got back to the heavy stuff. Right before the covid started full-swing, I nabbed Ring Fit Adventure (just in time, too, before they were sold out for six months).

I scoff no more. No, it's not the same as a 20 mile run in the mountains, duh. But for my off days it's a hoot, and I look forward to it. It'll never be hard workout for me without a weight vest or something, but it's enough to get some work in on areas I might not otherwise hit at all that week. And, whoo boy, I'll admit to feeling it on some of the harder ab exercises.

Start slow but stay consistent. Dedicate some time each day. Do it every day you can. Push yourself a little more each week.

For VR, I like thrill of the fight. I also like to do Space Pirate Trainer without using shields.

Personally I also find exercise very boring, my favorite activities are swimming and playing badminton.

I found cycling to be very easy to do consistently meanwhile being very relaxing.

You can't do nun' till you get in the habit

Sell your car get a bicycle or walk to work.

Try Stretching.

sleep, eat healthy, lift & run

Well, let me be honest, this sounds all a little bit too ambitious.

If you’re battling burn out, then maybe sports is not really a way to solve that. Try meditation. Is a really good method to counter burn out. Or try yoga. Or tai chi or some other relaxing techniques. Or just hang out and relax more and do less in general. Sleep enough. Maybe look for a new job if that’s the problem.

You don’t need any training to go hiking. It can be done instantly. It’s also good against burn out I think, because it’s relaxed in general, and you’re doing it in nature, which is also very relaxing. At the same time you’re getting fit and it’s fun. Start with half an hour of hiking or so. As long as you feel like. Then increase it over the weeks or months. I’ve become a totally hiking fan within the last few years.

My personal experience with sports is: Try to find something which you really like. I’ve tried tons of different sports when I was younger, with not too much success. Finally, after many years of trial and error, I found sports that I really loved: Dancing! Especially Salsa dancing! With that, suddenly it was no problem to do sports. I was automatically motivated.

About two years ago, I discovered hiking. I also totally love that. I could do it the whole day. I have some small woods close to my flat. It’s so cool to just walk there.

My second tip concerning sports would be: Take care about simplicity. If you wanna go to the gym, choose one which is e.g. closest to your flat. Take care that packing your sports bag is not too complicated. That might sound ridiculous, but it was like a big mistake which I’ve done for a long time having too much in my bag and packing it was too complicated. It’s just an additional demotivating factor before you can start at all. In some gyms, you can rent a fix place to store some of your stuff. Though I’ve never used that, I think it’s a good option.

I’ve also bought a home trainer bicycle a few years ago. A very simple and affordable one, costed just 100 bucks, bought at Amazon. Also very light and small, you can fold it together and put it into a corner. But it's decent and does its job. The good thing about this is simplicity also. I can just jump onto it whenever I feel like. But first you need to establish at least some basic routine. Just start going on it for five minutes a week or so on low level. After you have the habit, you can increase.

I wouldn't stress myself too much with diet. Just learn a bit about healthy food stuff step-by-step within the years. And apply it. It’s the simple things, too. Eat not too much sugar stuff, more full corn stuff, drink water or tea, eat vegetables and fruits. Balance proteins with carbon hydrates. That’s it. And don’t forget chocolate and chips ;-) Just don’t eat too much of it or too often.

But the absolutely most important thing about sports is: Find some sports or some way to train which suits to yourself. This was the biggest mistake I’ve done for a long long time. I’ve always tried to do things which other people told me. This has never worked. I’ve only succeeded when I started to just listen to myself (and my body). You must find your own way. Which suits to you. Even if it’s something that no one else seems to do. People are very different. Take advice always as inspiration. Then test it and try if it works for you. Or just forget about all advice and think about what you would like to do. Maybe it comes automatically to your mind.

I actually discovered Salsa dancing when I was on holiday in Poland. I coincidentally was in a bar with some friends having a drink, and there was a salsa course going on in that bar. Strangely I found this very interesting. After I returned home again, I decided to take a course in Salsa. It turned out to be the best sports decision that I’ve ever made.

With hiking, it was a bit similar. Everyone always tells you to go jogging. But jogging never really worked out for me. But strangely I liked walking. I just haven’t been consciously aware of that for a long time. Then by coincidence, I’ve moved to a new flat and there was some woods close to that new flat. When I started to walk there, I finally realized how cool walking in nature is. Walking is much better than jogging for me.

Getting fit isn't really specific enough. You say you tried cardio and weights, but those are different things, and IMO most people should be doing some of both. If you want to run 5ks, there should be a pretty straightforward path. I find weights a bit trickier, but not everyone agrees.

Start with one goal: So you want to run 5ks? What can you run now? You can't jog for 30-40 min in a row? That's fine if not. Novice runners might not even be able to do 5 min / 0.25 miles, before they burn out and have to stop.

What you do is work set times. Run / jog as much as possible, resting in between. In a few weeks you will get to 15-20 min, then indefinitely for lower paces. Try to play around with goals going for distance and watts etc. Once you get to a baseline, "I can run/jog continuously for 40min, 5km" then you can look at building distance, improving time. The Reddit /r/running sub is very good. I've been trolled by jerks, but the core community is extremely nice and supportive.

Weights are a whole different story, and in some cases excessive cardio could limit your muscle development. If you're underweight/strength you might be better off focussing on strength training, with a couple cardio workouts. Cardio doesn't have to be running, that's actually a bit of a challenging form of cardio.

However, I'm guessing most of this stuff isn't a problem, and it's more of a routine issue. There's a few things that can help. Try to view your workout as relaxing and something you WANT to do. You'll get there eventually, as it can be somewhat addicting.

Also try to bundle in with your workday. Sometime around 5-7 (morning or afternoon lol), pretend you have a meeting, or <this thing that's part of your workday>. "I can't go home I have to do this one thing". Force yourself to put one foot in front of the other and get yourself to "the place" (park, gym, ect.)... during the process try to avoid thinking that you're doing a hard thing. Imagine you're driving to the grocery store, or some fun thing.

Nutrition can be tough in that it usually requires some cooking, but this can be sped up (there's tricks which usually require sacrificing quality), and if you're very careful you can find some convenience foods. Avoid fast food, and be wary of restaurants (often much worse than fast food!). Never get the fries from fast food. If you get hungry find a healthy supplement. They sell prewashed clamshells of spinach and nutritious leafy grains (iceberg lettuce is trash, basically just water). Nutritionally it's the same, even if it's not a "real meal".

You do have to be careful as there's lots of fake health food out there. Be suspicious. At restaurants look at the portions and extras and be careful. They can hide calories places you can't see. If you're a healthy weight it's not such a big deal but its never too early to watch your sugars and fats.

I think you already know how to eat healthy. Let me list some things: - Leafy greens - Fruits - Whole grain carbs - Lean proteins - Nuts

I suspect you already knew that eating fruits and veggies, brown rice (even some things like pasta aren't as bad as many people think, in appropriate portions), chicken, fish, and other whole foods was healthy.

Just like in the wizard of oz, you had what you needed all along! You just need to execute (though that's easier said than done).

Over the course of ~5 years I went from BMI=32 and completely inactive to BMI=23 (~15% body fat) and ironman/ultramarathon fit.

I do realise that the weight loss aspect is not applicable to your case. Still, I hope that some of what I learned might prove useful to you or someone else reading this:

1. Try a bunch of active pursuits to see what you like. I find that only things that I really enjoy tend to stick, and discovering what you enjoy requires trial and error.

2. Start slow and gradually build from that. For example, to get into running, start by walking, then walking faster/farther, then jogging and so on. Partly to avoid injury, partly to only make small changes (next point).

3. Don't make any sudden, dramatic changes to your lifestyle. Instead, make lots of small tweaks over an extended period of time. I find that this is much more likely to stick and, if some changes don't stick, no biggie. This applies in lots of contexts: for example, I went from lots of sugar in my coffee to no sugar. The process was so gradual as to be almost unnoticeable; now the whole idea of having sugar in my coffee just doesn't appeal. Given that I drink lots of coffee, this makes a big difference to calorie intake with no negative impact on enjoyment.

4. What you eat is very important to the overall health. For me, simply learning about nutrition was half the battle. Now that I understand nutritional effects of what I eat, I can make better decisions: either reject stuff that's bad and has no redeeming qualities (e.g. trans fats) or at least have some idea of the enjoyment-vs-unhealthiness curve and have the freedom to pick my own operating point on that curve. My diet is now pretty balanced (not without certain excesses, but hey), I LOVE the taste and texture of what I eat (lots of fresh veggies etc) and feel that I have sufficient energy to support pretty arduous exercise.

5. For me, doing something active every single day is very important for keeping the momentum going. Some days it's just a walk around a local park, but even that makes me feel better and clears the mind.

6. For me, the ability to disconnect from work is important. If I don't, this often disrupts my sleep (next point). To this end, I operate as an extreme segmenter (two laptops and two phones: one for work and one personal). I never look at anything work-related when I'm not working (business hours on a weekday).

7. Sufficient, high-quality sleep. I think individual needs vary, but I go to bed at about the same time every night, have eight hours of generally high-quality sleep and wake up naturally (no alarm). It probably helps that I'm a morning person, and absolutely love being up bright and early. I imagine if I weren't, I'd probably have a similar stable routine, only shifted by some number of hours.

I can tell you what is working for me and what has not worked for me in the past.

I enjoy being in shape but working out for me is hard. I used to run competitively in high school and college and it’s my default workout. I admit that I hate going to the gym. When I want to get back into running shape, then I know that I want to be running 5 or 6 days a week and at 4-7 miles per day. But I can’t just start on that schedule of running, I have to start off a bit lighter, fewer miles, fewer days. So I start that. And then one day, I have to work late, so I skip it and I’ll make it up tomorrow. And then another day, I have friends in town, so I skip it and will make it up later. Etc, etc, until one day, I’m not really running anymore and I say to myself “gee, I should start running again.” and on goes the cycle. Maybe you can relate.

However there are two types of workout that have absolutely stuck. The first is biking to work for my commute. I just decided that I would no longer drive to work. And I started biking. And I did it everyday, rain or shine, no excuses. At one point I had a 16 mile commute each way, and I did it. I think that the reason it stuck is because I wasn’t “working out” I was “commuting”. It had an external purpose that was worthwhile, the exercise was secondary.

But I’ve been working from home for the past 5 years and so bike commuting isn’t really a thing for me anymore. I have a sit/stand desk and tried doing a standing desk, but really disliked it. I tried setting a 30 minute timer and having to change my stance, but I just really disliked standing.

I tried an under-the-desk elliptical but the ergonomics were really bad for me.

I tried using a stair-stepper under my desk while I worked. And it was great, except an hour of stair stepping is really quite a lot, so I’d still be sitting most of the day. And wow did it make my back hurt.

Finally about a year and a half ago I bought an under-the-desk treadmill and put it down under my desk. From day one, I’ve absolutely loved it. And I’ve been able to stick with it, because it’s really in my way and I have refused to move it out of the way, even when I am feeling sick. I can take my laptop off my desk and work from the small screen when needed, but I really like my big monitor and the treadmill is blocking my chair from being in front of my desk. So to use the big monitor, I have to be walking. This is how I’ve built it into my life and it has stuck. I now an average of 6-7 miles per work day, sometimes more, sometimes less. At this point, if I finish my workday and I’m only at 5 miles, it really feels like I’ve barely even walked at all. I have even started running a few days a week at lunch. Happy to share more about it if you’re interested.

It’s not cardio and I’m not building huge muscle mass, but the consistency of a mediocre workout is worth much more than the plans for a great workout.

By a peloton, use it most days.

Lift weights. It's that simple, you just have to find the discipline to do it. If you find that going to the gym is too solitary, and it is, try to find a team sport, in a club near you and start practicing there. Or get a running coach, specifically to prepare you to run those marathons.

>I mainly want become fit enough to run 5ks / half marathons by the end of this year

Things take time, and you need to set more attainable and smaller goals, otherwise by the end of the year, if you fail to run half a marathon it will be heavily demoralizing. Don't try to rush it.

It's hard to not spend time seated while we are working, but after work, just try to have a more active lifestyle. During the week try to walk for 30 mins to 1h. And during the weekends go hiking since you seem to enjoy it, it will be good for both your physical and mental health.

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