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How Do Geeks Exercise? 1806

An anonymous reader writes "I have always been thin but all the sitting in front of the PC is taking its toll now that I'm getting older. I have begun to get a little heavier around the waist. I don't eat a lot but the weight seems to stay on these days. Most of the time I don't have the luxury of just getting out of the house/office. And being an introvert, I'm not enamored of the idea of exercising in full view of *shudder* people. I regularly do press-ups (60 per night) and sit-ups (30 per night) and some fetching and carrying, but that is all and these days it isn't enough. I need a solid and effective routine that will tone all my muscle groups efficiently. Do any Slashdotters have a regular workout routine that can be performed in the privacy of the home to stave off those pounds?"
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How Do Geeks Exercise?

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  • Bike to work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evw ( 172810 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:14PM (#24394639)

    Bike to work. (Make living close enough to bike a priority.)

    • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Informative)

      by letxa2000 ( 215841 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:27PM (#24394837)

      Agreed. I bike 30 miles every other day and that was enough, along with a sensible diet, to get me from a peak of 180 pounds down to a more healthy 155. Now I'm steady at 155 but can still eat more than I normally could without the exercise. Plus it's good for the heart.

      Maintaining weight is a matter of how many calories you consume and how many your burn. Weight training will build muscle but doesn't burn a lot of calories. Things like running, swimming, and biking are the kinds of things that burn calories.

      I'm sorry you're an introvert. Make time for your health and enjoy the great outdoors. You can always get a stationary bike but, having one of those that I use in the winter, I can assure you that a real bike out in the real world is MUCH more rewarding and it will help you relax mentally as well as keep you in shape physically.

      • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Informative)

        by NickHydroxide ( 870424 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:37PM (#24394989)

        Weight training will build muscle but doesn't burn a lot of calories. Things like running, swimming, and biking are the kinds of things that burn calories.

        You'd be surprised. Not only does resistance training burn kilojoules at a sufficient rate to lose weight (depending on your eating habits), but also the increase in metabolism (due to increased muscle mass) means that your BMR will be higher than if you only engaged in aerobic training. In other words, you'll burn more kilojoules at rest.

        • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Informative)

          by letxa2000 ( 215841 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:58PM (#24395313)

          A good mix is obviously best. But if he wants to burn calories, I stand by my assertion that traditional exercises such as running, swimming, and cycling are more efficient at burning calories than weight training unless you're doing some ungodly effort on the weight training.

          As an example, this link [healthdiscovery.net] suggest that at 155 pounds and 60 minutes, I'd burn about 744 calories per hour cycling at 14-15.9mph. Meanwhile, general weightlifting comes in at 223 calories and vigorous weightlifting comes in at 446 calories. And it's a lot more reasonable for most people to do an hour on a bike than a constant productive hour of weight training.

          If he wants to lose weight, he should do these kinds of activities (biking, running, etc.). If he is looking for muscle mass then obviously weight training is an obvious choice. And if he wants both, well, he's going to have to do both.

          • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Informative)

            by letxa2000 ( 215841 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @10:40PM (#24395899)

            Following-up, I found this link [pponline.co.uk] which says:

            he estimates that the increased lean body mass associated with exercise can increase total daily energy expenditure by between 8% (143 cals per day) for a moderately active person to 14% (286 cals per day) for a highly active person.

            If this person dos moderate weight training then over time (the increased MBR is not immediate) he might burn an extra 143 calories per day. That pretty much supports my position that if he wants to lose weight, he needs to be on a bike burning 400-740 calories per hour rather than 223 calories per hour of weightlifting. So if he does two hours of weight training to my two hours of biking, he'll burn maybe 223 * 2 + 143 = 589 calories per day in his exercise while I burn close to 1,480 even if I don't get any increased muscle mass from biking (which I do, albeit to a lesser extent than a good weight training program).

            If you want to burn calories: Run or bike, or similar cardio exercises. Of course a balanced workout including weight training is obviously the final goal. But if the immediate goal is weight loss, weight training isn't going to accomplish it nearly as fast as running or biking.

            • Re:Bike to work (Score:4, Insightful)

              by sir fer ( 1232128 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @02:25AM (#24397675)

              A lot of good suggestions here, but what you people are also missing (amongst other things) is the number of calories that get used up building extra muscle. It takes something like 24 calories to build a gram of muscle which would only yield 4 calories if eaten (insert cannibal jokes here), so there's a lot more to the weight-training-picture than all of the above posts take into account by focusing on the number of calories that get used in the activity.

              Also, people who only focus on calories are missing 90% of the nutrition picture. If calories were the only thing that mattered when it came to body composition, then we could all drink vegetable oil and eat sugar without any worries. There is a lot more to the nutritional picture than calories, such as vitamins, minerals and the "side effects" and chemical interaction of any food upon the body. For example one can obtain amino-acids from nuts or tobacco leaves but I can guess which one we would all prefer.

              When it comes to diet, just try and eat "clean" i.e. stay away from food you haven't prepared yourself and learn to read food labels. This will generally keep a lot of hidden crap out of ones diet. Learn to like rice, lean meats/fish, raw/lightly cooked veges and fruits. Eating a good deal of fibre and nutrient-rich food will go a long way toward moving ones body composition in a favourable direction, and in my experience will solve 90% of the problem

              • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Insightful)

                by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @04:54AM (#24398447) Journal

                There are some great ideas here as you say but there are also some dangerous ones from my learning experiences. I will quantify/qualify...

                I went through about 13 years as a NON-PROFESSIONAL body builder. Not a weight lifter. (spacing intentional) At my peak I managed to hit 198 pounds with a 3% body fat. (For those interested in the perspective I'm a hair under 5' 10" tall.) At that time I was spending two to four hours a day in a gym and actually striving to get in a couple hours a day of some other heavy physical activity such as running or playing a sport. It was an obsession, prior to this I had been fat.

                I will NOT say that I know what I'm talking about because at 33 years old I suddenly started getting chubby but, by that time, I was already down to 172 pounds, not muscle, but chub. If I'd chopped the chub off (cardio) I'd have been nothing but 152 pounds.

                There are reasons at both ends of the spectrum for me.

                The first is diet and exercise. I ate well, I ate a lot. I ate healthy. During build cycles I'd consume 10k calories a day and think nothing of it. (I still love me some peanut butter.)

                The second, latter days, is due to lack of diet and lack of exercise.

                Today I've gotten to a healthy weight of 165.5 pounds (went to the doctor's this week) and pretty much sit there. I'd estimate that I engage in some sort of low impact exercise two to three times per week.

                However, I only eat two meals a day and only have two snacks per day. My caloric intake from beer is enough to maintain the weight and my limited activity keeps me from sagging.

                I would say that diet, nothing else, is more important than any other aspect of weight control. For each person it WILL be different. The idea that we, as geeks, can apply metrics is patently absurd because the human body ranges in scope from person to person to such wildly different degrees that we simply can't.

                This being said, I'm not a doctor and a doctor is the best choice to start with. Look to see what you're healthy enough to do and to find the best methods to achieve your weight control goals. To put it into geek terms there is no right choice nor a better choice for an OS/app but the one that works best for you. In my case it has always been diet constraints/allowances as the single most important factor.

                For anyone else it may be different.

        • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Flapjack ( 60755 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @10:02PM (#24395387) Homepage

          That's simply not true. Muscle mass burns calories all day long while aerobics only burns while you perform that particular exercise. Metabolic rate is increased around 11hrs post-resistance training & only 1 hr aerobically. You really need to do both to be fit though, as well as the 3rd piece of the puzzle - flexibility.

        • Re:Bike to work (Score:4, Informative)

          by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @12:33AM (#24396919)

          Some of this isn't really a specific reply.

          Unless a person is really out of shape he or she isn't going to be losing weight during resistance training. It's not going to happen typically unless you're doing something wrong. It's definitely possible to put on 20lbs., of muscle without losing even 1 lbs., of fat.

          The thing to sort of watch for is that the body composition should be changing to favor muscle over fat. A person can still carry quite a bit of fat whilst still weight training if they aren't careful about caloric intake. The natural tendency is to increase calories by enough to offset the difference.

          Weights are a great invert exercise set, just as long as there are no barbells involved. A good set of dumbbells can more than do the trick when used properly.

          The ultimate dumbbell guide by Myatt Murphy is probably the best guide book I've ever read. It's quite to the point and leaves little to be desired in terms of the actual lifts.

          Depending upon the situation cardio work tends to be the more difficult thing to do without a gym. I say depending, if a person is able to get outside to do things like running, biking or handle jump rope, that's going to be a good choice.

          For the rest of us it's treadmills or trainers in doors.

          In terms of diet, one doesn't typically need to add much protein at all in order to gain weight. The general rule is protein before and carbs after. The reason being that protein eaten after a workout isn't broken down and into the muscle while it's still building the bulk of the muscle. The carbs are mostly there to ensure that you're not burning protein for energy.

          Typical water consumption is about 1 oz., per pound of weight. I don't really know how that translates to the metric system. Specifically, I'm not feeling like doing the conversion there.

          The more accurate method is do a weigh before and after and then drink the amount of water necessary to make up the weight difference. It's not exact, but it'll typically be pretty close.

      • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Insightful)

        by u.hertlein ( 111825 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @10:10PM (#24395495)

        I'm sorry you're an introvert.

        Don't be sorry for us (you insensitive clod!)

        It's not like it's a disease, bad in anyway, or meaning that one does not enjoy being outside.
        It's probably different for everyone - for me it means that I don't like being in crowds and
        am more likely to relax being alone or with (a few) close friends.

        But I digress.

        • by mxs ( 42717 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @05:47AM (#24398711)

          It's not like it's a disease, bad in anyway, or meaning that one does not enjoy being outside. It's probably different for everyone - for me it means that I don't like being in crowds and am more likely to relax being alone or with (a few) close friends.

          You know what would be great ? All us introverts should get together some time. No party people allowed. And then we'll have a party. In other news, I may need medication :P

    • by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:28PM (#24394857)

      This way my left leg/foot gets more exercise when driving an automatic, otherwise a heavy clutch does the trick.

    • I second that. And also check out Rippetoe's program [bodybuilding.com]. It requires a bit of equipment (barbell + weights), but it's probably the best full body exercise you can do. I cycle to work every day and it's fun, relaxing, and makes you better than everyone else.
      • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:47PM (#24395135)

        and makes you better than everyone else.

        I laughed at this, but why do some cyclists have that attitude? I'm talking about the type who scream at motorists to "share the road" because "bikes have the same rights as motor vehicles," and then proceed to run the next four red lights.


    • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JakeD409 ( 740143 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:34PM (#24394949)

      Bike to work. (Make living close enough to bike a priority.)

      I want to start doing, but I work in an office where they'd care if I came to work sweaty and stinky. What's the solution to this?

    • Re:Bike to work (Score:5, Interesting)

      by $random_var ( 919061 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:50PM (#24395189)
      I bike halfway to work - in California we have these "park and ride" lots, where you can drive to a transportation hub and catch public transit the rest of the way. My long commute and lack of bike trails near home make biking all the way to work impractical, but there's a beautiful bike trail along the 56 freeway that I can take once I get to the park and ride lot.

      Other than that, I stretch, do crunches, and do pushups every morning when I wake up. This is not only stay-in-shape exercise, it's also wake-me-up exercise - double benefits! On the weekents, I ride my bike to In N Out - the benefits may cancel out with the calories, but at least I'm getting exercise. :-)

      To speak to your specific questions, you may want to consider pilates in the home. That gives you a pretty full body workout. You can get private pilates lessons (about $40/hour around here) to help you build a routine, and then go from there exercising at home. I tried that, but frankly I didn't like putting in half an hour to an hour per day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I went from 250 to 180 after biking to work. The weight has been off for several years. I'm 5'11" and 31 years old. My BMI is 25.00 (measured today).

      I bike about 45 minutes a day and my bike route is primarily trails. There are minor sections on low-traffic roads.

      I've also been using a Wii Fit at night. I've lost an additional 5 pounds since starting that routine a month ago. (Today was day 30.)

      As for working out in front of people, gym memberships are almost always a rip-off. I had to close a bank account

    • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @10:47PM (#24395965) Journal
      Generally I send my orc hunter out on foot instead of using his epic mount.

      Oh, wait...

  • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:15PM (#24394647)

    Pretty much what the title says. Leave the car at home if you can. If you take public transportation, walking to the bus stop (rushing so you don't miss it =P), running down the stairs of the subway station (not using those fancy high tech automated ones! /cough), and so on, the pounds go away quite fast.

    That is if you live somewhere where its possible. I've melted a lot doing that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nimbius ( 983462 )
      i tool a pretty proactive approach as i headed toward 200lbs of IT Flab. when my apartment lease was up, i moved downtown and limited myself to 1 tank of gas a month. i bike 2 miles to work every day. i dont take the elevator at work so i hike up 6 flights of stairs twice a day. "wanna get lunch?" has been a killer for me, as the office lunch is nothing but fat, but ive found sticking to something like salads at fast food chains or something light generally works. turn your office into exercise.
  • Get outside (Score:5, Funny)

    by colourmyeyes ( 1028804 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:16PM (#24394655)
    Seriously. It's actually pretty nice out there, or at least it was the few times I've had to go out.
  • by AnimusF6 ( 765091 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:16PM (#24394659)
    Wii Fit. If you're a geek looking for a half-way decent workout at home, that'll fit the bill quite nicely.
    • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:20PM (#24394727)

      #1 - Yourself Fitness. PC, PS2, Xbox all options for it (and the ps2 and xbox titles are both compatible with their "upgraded" counterparts).

      #2 - Wii Fit. Surprisingly effective if you discipline yourself to doing it. Downside: not as organized.

      And now we get to some of the better stuff.

      #3 - Find a local swimming pool, strap on a pair of rollerblades, get a bicycle.

      #4 - Join a sports league. Your local parks & recreation department is a good start here and can steer you to local team sports if nothing else. This will also help with your "introverted" problem.

      #5 - Once you take care of the "introverted" problem... get a girlfriend and do a lot of the world's #1 calorie-burning exercise.

  • by Tau Neutrino ( 76206 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:17PM (#24394671)
    Hindu push-ups, Hindu squats, back bridge. For more information: http://cbass.com/Furey.htm [cbass.com].
  • Sex (Score:5, Funny)

    by sir_eccles ( 1235902 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:18PM (#24394691)
    It's even more fun when you have an exercise partner.
  • Kayaking (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moray_Reef ( 75398 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:19PM (#24394705) Homepage

    You have to get out of the house, but to suit the introvert, you can go where most people can't. You also get to wear PFD as well as and a baggy dry suit to cover up the unsightlyness if you need it in your area.

  • Aerobics Necessary (Score:5, Informative)

    by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:19PM (#24394707)

    You very much need aerobic exercise to supplement your muscular-oriented exercise. Aerobic exercise works the heart, lungs, and circulatory system--very critical subsystems.

    I'd recommend a treadmill or a bike with a trainer hooked up to it. Have a TV in front of you. After reading a couple books about it, use a heart rate monitor to keep from pushing too hard or too easy.

    Try to build up to one hour per day. Don't discontinue your calisthenics. Read about exercise.

  • Martial arts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fry-kun ( 619632 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:19PM (#24394713)

    They're cool enough to do in front of other people, no matter how bad you are, and you have something to show off to your friends. It's a win-win scenario.

    • by Paradigm_Complex ( 968558 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:28PM (#24394863)

      They're cool enough to do in front of other people, no matter how bad you are, and you have something to show off to your friends.

      You've never been beatten up by a twelve year old girl, have you? Say, while testing for my yellow belt. Err, your yellow belt.

    • Re:Tai Chi (Score:5, Informative)

      by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:32PM (#24394925) Homepage

      Tai Chi is essentially a form of Kung Fu slowed down to maximize the exercise potential and lessen the strain on your body.

      Once you have learned the essential 108 movements (its all one long cycle that puts you back where you are started, but is learned as 108 or so individual moves), you have a routine that will exercise pretty much every muscle in your body, looks cool, and requires no equipment to perform in, any stretch of ground/grass/parkinglot with a roughly 15x15 ft area free would probably do.

      Its been very popular in China for centuries and obviously works quite well, given the number of old people you see doing it in droves there.

    • by shawnmchorse ( 442605 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @10:00PM (#24395349) Homepage

      The primary reasons martial arts are my preferred form of exercise:

      1. You have to actually think about what you're doing quite often. You're not just doing mindless aerobics.
      2. The group situation pushes you farther than you'd normally push yourself, and encourages you to reach new plateaus.
      3. Classes are generally directed at all times. It's kind of like having personal trainers with you at all times, in that there's always a series of directed activities and you're not casting about for what to do next.

      With that said, there are MANY bad martial arts schools out there. I generally avoid any place that doesn't seem to have any women or older men participating, that sees fit to display huge numbers of trophies on entry, or that has a master whose personality I don't think I could get along with. There are a lot of arrogant pricks in the martial arts world, and there's no need to pay for and encourage them. Similarly, there are plenty of schools out there that seem to exist so that young 20s males can beat the crap out of each other. Let them... and go somewhere else.

  • by problah ( 174691 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:20PM (#24394723) Homepage

    I went and picked up a cheap yet sturdy bike ($500.00 Specialized Hard Core Comp), and I take the train to work. from train stations in either direction it's about a 10 minute ride (20 total one way), however I can bike down to farther train stations to get a real benefit from it.

    So the next train station from my work is about a 45 minute bike ride away, while the first one is ten.

    The one after that is about an hour and a half away, and so on an so forth.

    You can do this with bus stops too.

    It's uncomfortable at first getting used to the bike, so pick up Mtn Bike shorts (They aren't the spandex ones, they look like regular shorts), and get used to it, then have at it. I love it now, and I royally hate working out in front of people.

    Good luck!

  • Wii Sports (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:20PM (#24394725) Homepage Journal

    If you play it right, it's a workout. You won't get as good scores at the weenies who sit on the couch and twitch the controllers, but who cares?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Riiiiight...You do realize you get more of a workout doing 50 or so jumping jacks (takes about a minute) than you do playing Wii Sports for 5 or 10 minutes. Or to put it more succinctly, if you're getting a workout from Wii Sports then you are horrifically out of shape.

      To the OP, I'd suggest both biking and running. I'm an introvert and I have no problem doing either of those things (of course, everyone is different). I mean, once you get out there and start moving, it's not like you're actually around th
  • Rowing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hemogoblin ( 982564 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:21PM (#24394749)

    If you live in a city with a rowing club, you could take up one-person sculling. It's non-impact, relaxing, and you get out in the fresh air. Unfortunately, you can't do it in the winter, and it's really difficult to carry the boat to the water on your own, so you have to have some social interaction. The solitude out on the water is nice though.

  • Treadmill + Laptop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Paradigm_Complex ( 968558 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:22PM (#24394763)
    Get your own treadmill in a basement and out of site and do techie stuff while on it. Videogames that you... *huff, puff* ...that you can get sucked into are the best. I can easily walk miles while staring at a DS or PSP or TV screen with a wireless controller for my console. It doesn't have to be video... *huff, puff* ...doesn't have to be videogames, though. A properly mounted laptop could be used actual work or just... *huff, puff* ...or just for web browsing.
  • Two things... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Binary Boy ( 2407 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:23PM (#24394785)

    Ride a bike as much as possible - if you need to run a local errand, hop on the bike. After a few weeks it's easy - often much easier than dealing with a car.

    For more regular workouts, 3-4 years ago my girlfriend discovered Yourself Fitness - she hates gyms, is in good shape, but wanted a more structured way to work out at home - like the gym, but in private. Yourself Fitness is an Xbox title - not sure if it runs on Xbox 360 - and is like having a personal aerobics and yoga instructor at home. I was little shy of aerobics in general at first, but once I got into it, learned the various moves without looking like an idiot, I was hooked. In the first year I lost 30 pounds (which was my target) and I felt 1000 times better.

    I'm sure similar results could be found with any aerobic exercise, but as someone who hates the gym scene, and for whom time is tight, Yourself Fitness was a godsend.

    Both of our old Xboxes are dying, the disc itself is a bit scratched up and sometimes flakey, so we're just hoping for a new release on one of the current consoles. We've got a Wii and Wii Fit too, and like it a lot, but don't think Wii Fit is as convenient - a lot of time just navigating the app, haven't found a really good guided training mode... we use the Wii Fit to break up the routine of Yourself Fitness now and then, and it's a blast too... but at least for us, nowhere near as effective as YF on Xbox - and these days you should be able to pick up both items for $100 or so total.

  • Walk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:23PM (#24394787) Homepage Journal
    Is not a heavy activity, helps you to relax, give problems another point of view and enjoy fresh air/view/whatever, even know *shudder* people.
  • by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:26PM (#24394825)

    Here, I can attest that this routine was what worked while I was with the Marines; there's no reason you couldn't do most of it indoors. Find a doorway in your home where you can hang a pull-up bar. Do the pushups and crunches at the recommended intervals and train up. You might even work in reverse crunches while laying facedown halfway off the bed with your feet secured by a friend.

      The only thing you might have to do in public is running. For me, there's no better exercise than running.

    http://oneweb.utc.edu/~semperfi/physical.htm [utc.edu]

  • All Muscle Groups (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:31PM (#24394903)

    Unless you've got the luxury of a huge amount of space, the only way you're going to come close to exercising all groups is via free weights.

    Multi exercise machines don't even come close (more on that later). Treadmills/stationary bikes are great for burning calories which'll do most of your weight loss goals but you're asking about all muscle groups. BOSU balls, steps, jump ropes are all more limited in application. The other great full body exercise, swimming, isn't really an option in the privacy of your own home unless you're rich enough to have a good sized pool.

    The problem with free weights, and this comes from being married to a physical therapist who's also an ACE certified personal trainer, is: You're doing it wrong.

    Don't feel bad. Just about everyone does. From the Navy guys I've watched prepping for their PRTs by holding a dumbell in one position and flapping their elbows like chickens to those who swing weights and let the momentum carry them through the weak spots to those who only really focus on a few core groups.

    This is what a good personal trainer will do for you (and, yes, I hate the idea of paying the meathead ones too). A good one will slow you down and perfect your form: meaning you're actually building the weak points not just swinging past them. A good one will start you on machines (really good for isolating the exact form you need but lousy at exercising all of the supporting groups) and then slowly move you over to free weights (really good at exercising a lot of supporting groups, lousy at teaching you good form). A good one will also teach you a whole range of exercises so you're not just bulking your biceps with no work on your triceps, strengthening abs without matching your lats, working on your upper body with no attention to your chicken legs (yes, you, 95% of guys in gyms).

    Look at it this way...

    How good of a coder would you be if you never learned from other people's code and never had anyone review yours? Sure, you might be a prodigy and do some cool trick most people have never thought of. More likely, you'll write messy, inefficient code that seems like it works while leaving memory leaks everywhere.

    In the same way, you might manage to learn everything about lifting from message boards and videos. More likely, you'll get a fair amount right but still be doing a few gastly things that it never occurs to you they're wrong.

    This is why we suck it up, venture in to a gym, find a good trainer (being willing to fire the bad ones until we get that one we vibe with), and learn the technique first... so we can then get it right in our splendid isolation.

  • by anwyn ( 266338 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:32PM (#24394915)

    If someone has not patented it already, I put the Idea of an aerobic keyboard and aerobic editor into the public domain! An aerobic keyboard's keys are huge, can be activated by arms an feet and require large leg and arm movements to press them. Such a keyboard will allow a geek to continue to edit while doing his exercises!

    Of course specialized editors will be used to take advantage of the aerobic keyboard. I can hardly wait till emacs is modified for the aerobic keyboard, but I expect some atheists will want to use vi.

    How do I publish this idea so no one else can patent it? Or is there prior art?

  • by rickward ( 25813 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:43PM (#24395079) Homepage

    So you're an introvert. Big deal! Exercise in front of people anyway.

    Look, no one's going to make fun of you for going to the gym; in fact, they are more likely to make fun of someone who needs exercise and doesn't go to the gym.

    The gym isn't Counter-Strike. No one cares if you're an exercise n00b. In fact, in my experience if you screw up at the gym, someone who knows what they're doing will show you the proper way to exercise so you don't injure yourself.

    If you can afford it, and if you really care about your fitness and attractiveness, there is no reason not to go to the gym.

  • Hacker Diet? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bdcrazy ( 817679 ) <bdc_tggr-forums@yahoo.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:44PM (#24395101) Homepage

    How come nobody has mentioned this one yet? I mean, come on! It has fitness tips as well as diet since you really need both to get the pounds off.

    Hacker Diet [fourmilab.ch]

  • by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:45PM (#24395117) Homepage

    What turned me on to regular, healthful exercise was to have the right gadget. I worked for an outfit that makes consumer-grade heart rate monitors, so I got to keep one for myself while I wrote out the documentation.

    I was very impressed with this gadget. It did wonders for getting me off my duff and tracking my exercise.

    Seriously. It's the toys, guys. Having a little bleeping widget on my wrist made a huge difference.

    So, even though I don't work for them any more, I'll totally shill for the Polar F11 HRM [polarusa.com]. It figured out an appropriate exercise schedule for me, it monitors the intensity of my workouts to keep me on target, and it tracks my progress over months. It's geared toward cardio, so it really excels at aerobic stuff like cross-country simulators and standing bikes. The pounds just melt away, though, and I'm toning up nicely.

    If you're interested in getting one, I recommend going to your local gym to see if they have a partnership with Polar, because the personal trainers there will help you learn how to use the thing to maximum effectiveness. The thing is pretty simple to use anyway, though.

    Okay. Done.

  • by localroger ( 258128 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:48PM (#24395151) Homepage
    Weight gain that does not respond to exercise is diagnostic of syndrome X. Get a blood glucose meter and check your resting blood glucose; if it's over 90, take a drink of orange juice or eat a snickers bar and check your glucose level about 45 minutes later. If it's over 140, you are poisoning yourself every time you eat.

    There are no drugs that can fully fix this, though metformin can help if your syndrome is advanced. You mainly have to adopt an atkins-like diet which avoids anything that spikes your glucose level over 140 mg/dl. That will cut out just about all bread, pasta, potatoes, and other starches. But in my case the gout was also a consideration, so I'm highly motivated to stick to it.

  • by daybot ( 911557 ) * on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:48PM (#24395161)

    Do any Slashdotters have a regular workout routine that can be performed in the privacy of the home to stave off those pounds?

    I literally just got back from a cycling workout - for me this means thrashing around town for an hour during the evening/night. OK, so it isn't in the privacy of the home, but regular cyclists know too well that nobody pays much attention to them :)

    Cycling is familiar territory for geeks since it involves a machine that's easy to tweak and upgrade components for performance and a lot of technology surrounds it. Cycling also suits introverts since it doesn't require much human interaction or a gym.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:51PM (#24395215)

    Until the start of 2008 I was about 90 lbs overweight and morbidly obese. Throughout the year I have lost 70 lbs, and I am on my way to having a healthy BMI.

    Here are my thoughts:

    You don't have to go to a gym, but it really helps to have access to nice array of equipment. Get over your fear of going to the gym. No one gives a crap about you --except for when you may be using equipment they want to use. If you want to avoid socializing, wear headphones or go during off hours. If you are afraid of the locker room (that's normal it takes sometime to get used to), then don't use it.

    Now on to to the technical stuff: You need to do a moderate to strenuous aerobic activity at least ~30 minutes a day 3 days a week (5 is better) for the rest of your life. I like to run, row, hike up mountains and occasionally use the elliptical machine. This is necessary for good cardiovascular health, and will help you in your later years. It will also as a side effect help you loose weight.

    You need to do some basic weight training. You seem to favor body weight exercises, keep doing push ups, try increasing the reps, or difficulty by doing them on an incline. Learn to do pullups/dips also. Finally buy a few dumbbells, going up to 35-40 lbs in weight. Learn to do basic curls, and some presses. Later on read some fitness books, or go to a couple of fitness blogs to learn how to do lifts and presses that work your big muscle groups --think squats, and dead lifts. Doing this won't make you a huge muscle guy (believe me the gains are not that great) but you'll be happy with your increased strength. It will also help to keep you from looking flabby.

    One more thing. The key to loosing weight is your diet. Good weight loss is slow, and steady. Cut 500-1000 calories from your diet, and you'll loose 2 lbs a week. However, you need to combine it with exercise or you'll have to keep "dieting" for the rest of your life to maintain your weight. That won't happen, so creating a nice caloric deficit through working out 3-5 times a day will help you maintain a healthy weight once you've reached it.

  • Battle of the bulge (Score:5, Informative)

    by blueforce ( 192332 ) <clannagael&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:54PM (#24395261) Homepage Journal

    Personally, I go to a gym. But then, I live in a small town so I don't see very many *people*. Incidentally, I've always gone to a gym, even when I lived in a slightly larger town of Philadelphia.

    The key to the middle parts is: it's the last fat to go.

    You don't say how old you are, but the fact is you're getting older and your metabolism continues to slow each year. You can combat that by moving (aka exercise) and eating. Yes, eating. If you don't take in enough calories - the right calories - your body will react by storing what it can, usually in your middle. Unfortunately, your middle is the last place you lose from.

    Muscles burn calories. You can increase your resting metabolic rate by building muscle. Just having more muscle mass == more calories burned sitting on your butt. It's a vicious cycle though, if you don't maintain the muscle (aka exercise) you'll lose it through catabolism (body breaks it down for energy).

    There's a godzillion things you can do at home, but the easiest way to start is with push-ups and sit-ups. Buy an exercise ball, one of those big funny-looking rubber balls. There are dozens of different exercises you can do with those. They're cheap and they're extremely versatile. You don't necessarily need weights if you're a beginner, or even intermediate. You just need to use your body as the weight and do _something_ to trick your body into building some muscle mass. (You won't build a ton just doing pushups, but you'd be suprised how quickly it works) Consistency is key - 3 times per week on the "weights". You need a day in-between to allow your body to recover and actually build the muscle.

    This one goes without saying: Eat healthy!

    If you have the means, i.e. space and money, get a treadmill. Use it 30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week.

    The bottom line is, you have to burn calories and build some muscle. The only way to do either one is to _move_ a lot.

  • Yoga. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rdsingh ( 643439 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @09:54PM (#24395269)
    Get a good book on Yoga and practice at your own. Or, gather up some courage to go to a Yoga session and learn.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @10:02PM (#24395395) Homepage Journal

    Somewhere in fourmilab.ch, there's a free book about weight loss from a geek perspective which includes an exercise program which is
    o quick, under 15 minutes to complete
    o private
    o works with no special equipment
    o is not suitable if you have back problems, get professional advice if you do.

    If you live in a hilly area then walking can get your heart rate into the aerobic training range. Aerobic exercise has cognitive benefits too.

    Lots of people have reported good results from Dance Dance Revolution.

    Sounds like you've solved the #1 problem, motivation. It's a miracle that any geeks retain any interest in fitness after the physical "education" classes in school. But you're already familiar with the fact that your brain feels better in a body that goes when you step on the gas. The other way to look at it is that your body is like a Swiss Army knife, it's the tool you always have with you, so it might as well be functional.

  • by 404 Clue Not Found ( 763556 ) * on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @10:07PM (#24395451)

    You're probably going to get a lot of responses about various stay-at-home routines, so I'm not going to parrot all that. Instead, this is going to be a cautionary post. There's a good chance you won't want to hear this, and even if you read it, you may choose to ignore it. But try to read it anyway and keep a little of it in the back of your head; maybe even bookmark it and come back to it in a few weeks'/months' time if you feel like it.

    Anyway, here goes. I want to ask you something: Would you ever consider going outside? Just consider?

    Yes, I know. Sunlight. People. Fresh air. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. It burnses us. Believe me, I understand. I once spent literally a year locked up in my room without venturing outside. I did situps and such every night, but that wasn't enough to stave off the effects of my otherwise immobile, glued-to-MMORPGs life. Suffice to say that I grew to very closely resemble the ogres I was so busy slaying.

    Now, I know your situation isn't that bad. I just want to make sure it never gets there. The thing is: For me (and many others, from secondhand stories I've heard), it's extremely difficult to start and keep an exercise routine going that way -- alone, at home, and only because you feel like you have to. A lot of people start out strongly motivated, but two weeks later, they begin to feel just how difficult true exercise can be and take a break for a couple of days. Then those couple of days turn into a week, and two, and before you know it, exercise is just a twice-a-week thing. Then the excuses build up -- "Too tired. Too much effort. No time. No results. It's not that bad. I'm not that young anymore. Etc." -- and soon enough, they go back to their much more relaxed, exercise-less daily lives. That's why so many gyms charge a hefty initiation fee or make you pay upfront for long contracts: They know that most people will simply stop showing up after the first month or so.

    Don't make that same mistake. Try the at-home stuff for a while -- maybe you're one of the lucky few who actually have the discipline to make it work -- but if that doesn't turn out the way you hoped, maybe you'll give the rest of this post a shot.

    So (finally)... my suggestion? Go outside. Not so much for the sake of simply being outside, actually, but because it'll give you more opportunities to explore. Instead of simply looking for a workout, try to look for a new hobby that just happens to be active. Try out different activities:

    • Sign up for a trial membership at a gym. Yes, I know, there's people. But I'll let you in on a secret: Nobody cares what you look like there (unless they're looking for someone to pick up). People are too busy with their own workouts to be concerned about what you do. There are many advantages to a gym versus working out at home: The atmosphere (music, lighting, other exercisers) helps motivate; there's more equipment (most gyms have a variety of weights and machines that would cost thousands of dollars to get on your own); there's specialized stuff that mostly isn't practical to have at home unless you're filthy rich (courts, pools, etc.)
    • Try out aerobic/cardio activities until you find one that you enjoy: Jogging, swimming, cycling, hiking, spinning, etc.
    • Join a local sports league or find pickup groups (craigslist and meetup.com are great resources): Soccer, ultimate, football, rugby, baseball, tennis, badminton, capture the flag, whatever...
    • Learn Kung-Fu and kick some ass. Or Karate. Or Judo. Whatever; they're all great for fitness, strength, and mental discipline.
    • Do something outdoorsy that you've never done before. Hell, do them all: Rock climbing, kayaking, surfing, backpacking, skiing.
    • Do something girly that you're much too masculine to try -- just because. You're man enough to at least give it a shot, aren't ya? Yoga. Pilates. Dance. Let them snicker. Who cares? They're all great workouts and great ways to maybe even meet somebody
  • by vorpal22 ( 114901 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @10:55PM (#24396061) Homepage Journal

    I have a health condition that makes it extremely difficult and stressful for me to leave the house to exercise... I do enjoy a good cardio workout, and was feeling quite unhappy about being unable to engage in a regular routinized exercise session that I enjoyed (because aerobics, yoga, pilates, etc. tapes just aren't that much fun to me), so I decided to see what the hype was about last Christmas and I picked up a DDR game.

    Now I'm an avid DDRer, and I must say that it can be a fantastic workout, especially if you play doubles (i.e. two mats) as you move your centre of gravity much more often, and if you work yourself up to the harder levels, which get you moving faster. I can burn an estimated 1000 calories per session, and those sessions just fly by because I'm really enjoying myself. You don't only see your improvement in the game, but the improvement in your appearance, too. My stomach is trim now, and I have that nice abdominal V that some fit people get.

    If you haven't tried DDR, I highly recommend it. Get a PS2 game, get a couple cheap mats, and give it a go. If DDR isn't your cup of tea, find an exercise routine that you can do at home that you enjoy so that you actually feel inclined to do it more than a few times. You'll never keep up a regime that bores, intimidates, or embarrasses you.

  • by nukey56 ( 455639 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @04:01AM (#24398183)

    Self-resistence [angelfire.com] isometric and isotonic training. Costs nothing, builds muscle efficiently, surprises your friends and balances your life. Also, you can do it while posting to /. from your basement ;)

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard