Archive for exercise

The Walking Dead Workout

In honor of the 4th season of Walking Dead starting up next month, we need a Walking Dead WOD!

Walking_Dead_WOD

 4 rounds for time:

- 20 “Merle” Push-ups (One handed, alternating arms)
(be a real asshole while doing this)
- 20 “Hershel” Squats (Pistol, alternating legs)
(you can cut this in half if you have an awesome white beard)
- 200m “Zombie Disposal” run (sandbag run)
(sandbags preferred over dead bodies)
- 1 “Glenn’s Escape” (Climb over Fence/Wall followed by two rope climbs)
(make out with Maggie if she’s around)

And for fun, a group cash out – “The Governor”

All but one or two people do burpees. The remaining people not doing burpees do GHD sit-ups, grabbing a water balloon when they go down, and throwing the balloons on their way back up at the burpee group. When a person is hit, they are dead (finish the workout). Continue until everyone is dead. The governor… What a dick.

Hopefully by the end of this everyone will be feeling like crazy Rick – having fake phone conversations and seeing dead relatives.

DOIT!

* Note, I am not a certified crossfit trainer and probably couldn’t even complete this WOD myself. I just did this for fun. But if a real crossfit trainer uses this, let me know, because that would be awesome.

P.S. So I blogged, big whoop… you wanna fight about it?

Titsworth and the Rebel Strength Guide Contest

Image courtesy of d_vdm on Flickr

In case you didn’t know, I am a big fan of the website Nerd Fitness. Well, last week, Steve Kamb, the man behind Nerd Fitness, and Vic Magary released a new workout/diet plan ebook called the Rebel Strength Guide. Since I have recently lost 50 pounds and I now fall in the category of “skinny fat” (not really fat, but not toned and just sort of dumpy looking), the timing of this book aimed at getting you lean, strong, and cut, could not have been better.

Along with the guide, Steve is running a six week contest.

I am going to kill this contest.

I don’t really care if I win the contest, but I am going to give it hell and fight my way to the top of the contenders. I have been fat and mopey for too long, and I now feel like I have the opportunity to be the guy I never thought I could be. The guy mowing his lawn without a shirt on. The confident guy at the party. The husband who can still get a second glance from his wife while getting ready for work.

The time is now.

So I plan on using this blog as a place to keep my status updates and measurements.

Initial Measurements:

Here is my baseline.

  • Height: 6′ 2″
  • Weight – 193 lbs
  • Body Fat %: Need to measure (will do Wed.)
  • Arms: 12″
  • Chest: 40.5 “
  • Waist: 39.25 ” (I wear a size 34 pant, so I’m not sure I did this right)
  • Thigh: 20″

And the before picture montage. As you can see. I still have a ways to go to get to where I need to be.

6 weeks to a better me:

This contest is a also being run in conjunction with the Nerd Fitness 6 week challenge, in which you set 4-5 goals and use the Nerd Fitness message boards to keep yourself accountable. Here are my fitness and nutrition goals:

  • Rebel Strength Guide Dumbbell Division Rank 1. Three workouts a week track.

  • Train for and run in a 10k Race (already registered for one on May 7th and 30th). 3 runs a week, one being 15% improvement in distance over previous week’s best.
  • Stick to the Rebel Strength Guide diet plan and log all of my food in Daily Burn.
  • No sugar in my coffee and only one “special” coffee drink a week.

And some Lifestyle centric goals

  • In bed with TV off by 11:30 every night
  • Don’t bring work home.

So here we go!

Stick with me and see where it takes me.

Fitness Mind Hacks Part 2: How Programming Helped Me Lose Weight and Become Healthy

Code Monkey want a better body. Code Monkey way too fat.

As I mentioned last week, it only took a few key changes to drastically change the way I approached and, more importantly, conquered my fitness goals.  These changes had nothing to do with learning about the the latest fitness and diet trends — I already knew all of those. The changes had nothing to do with joining a gym or buying fancy equipment — I had tried both. No, my problem was all mental, and mostly due to a lack of confidence and a lack of hope. I didn’t believe that I could tackle the monstrous project called “health” because I didn’t have the skills or experience.

Image courtesy of juco on Flickr

Well, all of that changed when I took a new approach to how I thought about fitness and diet and health. Small mental changes, little fitness mind hacks, that helped me relate my fitness journey to other aspects of my life that I was successful at. I would have to say the biggest of these mind-hacks was when I realized that I could treat my fitness related goals like I treat my software development projects.

It amazed me how closely aligned the processes I use every day when I write code or plan my software development project were to the process for losing weight and setting goals. I’ll admit it wasn’t a huge leap to make this correlation, it seems obvious in hindsight, but it was this minor mental mapping — software development to fitness — that kick started my weight loss and kept me delivering on my fitness goals.

Here is exactly how programming and software development helped me lose weight and meet my goals:

1. You need a good development environment

Image courtesy of John Wiseman on Flickr

As every programmer knows, you need a good development environment to get things done. Without the proper environment, you’ll often find yourself limited in your capability to move forward or spinning your wheels trying to get started because of too many options.

Finding the perfect environment is a can be a little bit of a task in itself.  Take the time to look at your options. The environment you choose should easily mold with your personal style, taste,  and experience.  Like choosing a software development environment, you don’t want limit yourself to the status-quo or what the “pros” say you should use when choosing your fitness development environment.

Explore, experiment, and like Goldilocks, find one that is “just right”.

Here is my mini guide for fitness development environments:

  • The minimalist environment (This is the style for all of you vi and gcc’ers): You don’t need a fancy gym membership or exercise equipment to get you where you need to go. You understand that you only need two things in this world to get into shape: you and gravity – and those things are always available.
  • The DIY environment (This is for the “best tool for the job” coders): You realize that there are some great tools that exist to help you meet your goals, so you buy a few weights and some resistance bands and you maybe even splurge on an exercise bike. But with this method, you are not limited or constrained on what you do. You build your own environment based around only the things you need.
  • The virtual environment (This is for you… virtual environmentalists?): Like the DIY environment, you have a hodge-podge of tools at your disposal, but you have an specific environment you are aiming for as a part of your end goals, so you really try to set up your training environment to match.   If you want to be a fighter, you enroll in a martial arts class where you learn critical skills you need or buy a punching bag to hang up in your garage. If you want to be a rock climber, you build find or a training wall.
  • The fully integrated environment (This is for you Eclipse and Visual Studio users): With this method, you commit to a place that offers the kitchen sink when it comes to fitness. I’m talking about a good, ol’ fashion, all-purpose gym.  You need weights – you got ‘em. You want aerobic classes – they offer those too.  You want tanning beds – most of them surprisingly have those as well. Even though you may have to pay a premium for it, you have just about everything you need in one nice, consolidated package.

For me, it was a combination of the all of these environments that got me where I needed to be. The fully integrated environment helped me figure out what was available and mold my training path. The DIY environment helped me supplement the areas that the fully integrated environment lacked. And the DIY environment allowed me to workout wherever I happened to be sitting or standing at the moment.  One, none, or all of these environments might work for you. Take time to try them all and see which gives you the best results.

2. Just get Started

Phot courtesy of ColtahMang on Flickr

The most important thing I have learned in software development is that, sometimes, you just have to get started. You can spend hours researching the “perfect” ab workout or developing a detailed 48-month fitness plan, and never move a muscle. The unfortunate thing is that there is no perfect plan. Like in software development, you can spend all your time trying to figure out the perfect framework, or the best libraries for the job, but sometimes the best way to figure it out is by diving straight in.

Start moving. Do anything. Run. Walk. Pop, lock it, drop it. It doesn’t matter – just do it.  If you need to refine you workout routine later, as you read about optimal methods for your specific goals, you can. But just get moving today.

3. Always be agile

Photo courtesy of Garrettc on Flickr

A while back, I wrote about how to Agile development practices applied to health and fitness. The concept of Agile Development comes with a host of methodologies that keep your development paths clean, quick, and versatile. Here are a few of those methods that I used to drop pounds.

  • Use short iterations for your goals: Of course you have a long term goal (40 pounds, run a marathon, etc.), but the best way to meet your long term goals is to set many short term goals that build up to your long term goal. The time frames should be short and and the goals attainable. For example: If you want to lose 50 pounds in 6 months, set a goal of 8-10 pounds a month and then forget about the big goal. Each month, put all of your focus on the short term goal. Sprint towards that goal as fast as you can.
  • Do daily scrumsEach morning, ask yourself the following questions: What have you done since yesterday? What are you planning to do today? Do you have any problems preventing you from accomplishing your goal?
  • Allow time for reflection: At the end of each sprint, take some time to reflect on the previous month. Did you meet your goal? If you didn’t, why not? Reassess your next month’s goals. Maybe something has changed – a new long term goal or a new long term deadline – that might change your short term goals.

There are so many support groups that have this model built in already. Use them. My favorite is the 28 day challenge on the Nerd Fitness message boards. Each month, you set 3 goals that you are pushed to meet within 28 days. Each day (or week, or never, your choice), you post your progress — what you did the day before, what you plan on doing the following day, how you feel, etc.  At the end of each challenge, you have a week to share and celebrate your results. If you didn’t meet your goal, there is a whole community of people ready to help you work through what you need to change and motivate you for the next challenge.

4. Use Design Patterns

Photo courtesy of Grant MacDonald

As in any field, there are problems common to all software development projects. For these problems, people have built general, reusable design patterns that can be adapted to your specific goals. Keeping a good working knowledge of some of the most common design patterns can save you time during your development. Instead of focusing on a secondary problem, you can just focus on the core business logic.

The same is true for fitness. If you have a specific goal in mind, chances are, someone has had that goal to and met it. If you are lucky, they wrote the method they used down and put it out into the public domain so you can just adapt their plan to you. You might know these as training plans. Here are a few of the fitness design patterns that I have used:

These patterns can give you a big head start towards meeting your goals, but don’t feel you have to follow these plans word for word. Remember we are all different. Use them as a guide, but you will know when it is time to start building your own custom pattern. Remember to write it down and maybe you will have your own pattern that will act as a guide for others.

A few more quick mind hacks

There are a dozen more little hacks I use, most of which are too small to give a deep discussion on, but I thought I would quicklymention a few of them.

  • Always refactor your code - You should frequently reassess your workout routines and try to remove inefficiencies and isolate the things that are working. We are all busy people, if you can get your workouts down to the most efficient components, then you will save time and get more results for your effort.
  • You’ll always benefit from better debug logging – Always keep a record of what you do. When you get to the end of your sprints, you might need to look back to remember what you have done. You need to write down all of your core stats (weight, mileage, pounds lifted, etc.) each day as well as your emotional and physical state. Did you lift more during the week you got more sleep?
  • Set up good regression tests – As you meet goals and set new goals, do forget you go back and test your overall fitness levels. If you successfully ran a 10k and set a then new goal to be a backup dancer for Usher, make sure you don’t lose your ability to run a 10k. At the end of every fitness sprint, you should pick a few things that will test your overall fitness ability. Use your old goals as your regression tests.

Conclusion

Applying good software development practices to my fitness life really helped me feel like I had control over my destiny. I knew all of these processes worked. They have taken me from a white screen to a complex application many times before. Thinking about my fitness goals as just another software project gave me the confidence in myself to complete it. I hope this will help some of you too.

I’m interested in what my fellow software developers think.

  • What processes in your daily life as a code monkey have you applied to your fitness life?
  • What processes can you apply?

Let me know!

GiS Podcast Episode 3 – The World of Warcraft Workout Plan

This week, I cover one of my favorite topics: World of Warcraft. Oh how I love me some WoW! I could play World of Warcraft for hours. But what doesn’t love me playing WoW for hours on end – is my cholesterol. Talk about a cataclysm. It is incredible how much idle time this game has. There are so many minutes in the game in which I’m sitting and waiting for a Zeppelin, flying from the top of the continent to the bottom, or waiting for the stupid mage to drink some water. While this idle time is mostly unavoidable, that time doesn’t have to go to waste…

Use that previously wasted time level up your fitness!

I took note of some of the most common periods of unaviodable inactivity in the game and I created the World of Warcraft Workout Plan to fill up the in-game down-time with real-life up-time.

 

Subscribe on iTunes

WoW Workout Plan Exercise 1: The Zeppelin Burn

Did you know that most of the Zeppelins, Boats, and Blimps you use to travel between continents are on a 4 minute cycle? They take a minute to get from one place to another, and they stay at each place for a minute. This means that you can spend anywhere from 1 minute if your lucky, up to 5 minutes waiting and traveling. Well guess what: Time is money, friend.

Use this time to do a quick bodyweight circuit and give aimed at giving you +5 to strength.

*Since you need to be at the keyboard to get on the boat when it arrives, this circuit only has exercises that keep you near the computer.

This circuit works you legs, arms, abs, and chest.  Doing this a couple of times a night and will definitely get your muscles burning.

WoW Workout Plan Exercise 2: Epic Flight

The flight paths in WoW take up a lot of time – mostly with you just sitting and staring at a gryphon’s butt.  The average travel time in World of Warcraft is 2 minutes 24 seconds.  Chain a few flights together, you could be flying for 10 or more minutes.  Don’t waste that time slouched in front of the screen…

Use it to DPS your body fat % with a high intensity cardio circuit.

*Since you don’t have to be right at the computer for this, step away from the computer, give yourself plenty of room to move, and get ready to work up a sweat.

  • 30 seconds of walking in place
  • 30 seconds of running in place.
  • 1 minute of jumping jacks (do power jacks if you want to step it up a notch)
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 split jumps
  • 30 seconds of  light jump rope (no rope needed, just go through the motions)
  • 30 seconds of rest

This curcuit takes anywhere from 3 and a half to 4 minutes, but repeat the circuit as many times as you can while your character is flying. Every round should burn up to 50 calories, so if you fly four times during a night of play, and complete at least one circuit every flight – you have just burned 200+ calories! That’s definitely enough to work off that handful of funyons you downed while taking out the Lich King.

WoW Workout Plan Quick Hits

Photo courtesy of brianjmatis on Flickr

  • Scanning the auction house? Activate Aspect of the Cheetah and go do some sprints up and down your street.
  • Waiting for a mob to re-spawn? Send your muscles a lesser healing wave by doing some light yoga stretches.
  • Waiting for a ready check? Cast Tranquility on yourself by closing your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

I’ll discuss more ways you can turn you love for WoW into a way to get fit in future episodes. But don’t let that stop you from getting creative, and coming up with a workout plan of your own. There is so much more idle time in the game that are perfect to get in some much needed physical activity. You can mix and match what you do and when you do it.

Just be aware of the time you spend in-game doing nothing — and try to change that.

You will be amazed how many calories you can burn or how many pushups you can do without giving up any play time at all.

I’d like to hear your results of following this plan. I’d also like to know what other ways you stay fit while playing WoW. Post a comment here or hit me up on twitter, @geekintoshape.

Have fun, be geeky, and get fit!

Fitness Morals I Learned At The Movies

I have come across about 7 bajillion posts relating fitness to movies lately – well, more like 5 - but I have been thoroughly enjoying how each person relates the movie plot and morals to real life fitness issues.

Here are a few that I’ve really enjoyed:

The Matrix Guide to Running
halfofjess.comThis is a great article about taking the red pill, breaking out of the totally weak matrix, and becoming a running badass… The One.

007 Ways to Become the James Bond of Health
healthylifestyledesign.comThis article gives you 7 tips on how to become a bad ass fitness spy!

Make Optimus Prime Proud – Start Transforming Your Life
nerdfitness.comAnother killer post about the fitness journey is just a bunch of small transformations that end up with you being a truck.  Not sure about the end-game on this one, but it is still an awesome post.

I wanna join in!

Since everyone else is doing this, I thought I would join the fun and relate movies I like to fitness — QUICK-FIRE STYLE!

So here are 9 fitness morals I have learned from movies.

Forrest Gump - Running back and forth across the country will surely make you lose a few pounds. That’s all I have to say about that.

The Wizard of Oz – You may wake up one day, and realize you’re in a strange world of fatty fatness, having left your past, fit self behind. But at some point, you have to leave the lollipop kin — and the soda-pop-kin, and the Krystal-burger-kin — behind to follow the yellow brick road to get back home – the healthy place where you belong.  You’ll likely pick up some new fiends on the way and run into a wicked witch or two, but keep going down the path.  Just stay away from those damn poppy fields.

WALL·E – A lot of people have plenty of support, but every so often, you may be the left alone as the only one in your fitness world, left to fend for yourself.  But keep at it, day after day, as if it were the most important thing.  You never know, one day you might need to impress some hot robot chick or even shape up an entire space station of morbidly obese people.

Pulp Fiction – Like this movie, your fitness routine might seem all over the place. A jumbled set loosely related exercises. Chest here. Quads there. Throw in a dash of running. How does it all tie together? Who cares! This movie was freaking awesome. So I guess all I’m saying is: DON’T DO COKE!

Goodfellas – You may start off as some no-name fitness newb, but set your goals high.  Once you set your goals, do whatever it takes to meet them, even if that means murdering [your muscles]. I don’t remember how this movie ended, but I think it ended with you being in great shape and living happily ever after.

Rudy - Do I even have to say it?

Groundhog Day – When it comes to trying to lose weight, it may seem like everyday is the same day: wake up, exercise, work, cook, eat, clean, exercise, sleep. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Add variety.  When you get bored of the norm, do something different. Go play a game of basketball, switch from the treadmill to the track, try to save a homeless man… you know.

This Is Spinal Tap – So many here:
1. Don’t forget to document the day to day of your fitness routine.
2. Every once and a while, you might spontaneously combust, but you can always start again.
3. Don’t stuff the front of your pants.
4. Sometimes, you might get trapped in an big plastic pod of no progress.  Just keep on going and you’ll eventually bust on through.
5. Never forget to crank it up to 11.

Hustle and Flow – Move faster and drink a lot of water (which will make you pee, hence the flow)

You’re Welcome!

I know these last 9 morals will help you move forward in your fitness journey.

Ok, probably not.

But hopefully it at least made you crack a smile.  Once again I wanted to thank the bloggers I mentioned above who had real posts that made me think differently about some of my favorite movies and boosted my healthy mindset.

Do you have any movies that have taught you something new about fitness? Post a comment!

George

A Geek’s Guide to Going to the Gym

Hello, my name is George, and I am a nerd. As you might have already guessed, I look like I belong in a gym.  I fit right in. Me and muscles over there… tight. That bar thingie with the circles on it, got it under control. The girl with the tight booty shorts, oh yeah, she was looking at me doing my hip thrusts.  Oh I forgot, I’m a liar.

I have always kept my distance from gyms in the past, but in my grand plan of being a sexy bitch, I needed to step up my workouts. So, I recently signed up for a two week trial to a gym, and let me tell you, gyms are hard to walk into as  an overweight semi-geek type. I never had an issue in high school with the whole geek vs. jock shenanigans, but the whole concept of a gym reminds me of that stereotypical divide.  Muscle bound dudes. Super fit aerobics instructors. People with tans. I am not a shy person by most standards, but I was definitely a little intimidated my first time stepping through the gym doors.  I can see how a lot of people have bad gym anxiety.

However, a gym provides so much benefit, so sometimes we have to just suck it up.  And that is exactly what I did, and so far it has worked out great.

So, since I have recently been through the process of getting into gym mode, I thought I would share some tips that helped me ease the transition from couch and office chair to step class and weight bench, both mentally and physically.

Step 1: Get your mind right

You can’t begin to take advantage of the gym until you get over (or at least bury deep inside) any gym anxiety you may have.  Here are some small things that helped me:

Realize that people in the gym look the way they do because they go to the gym. A good number of the people that go to the gym are already in a maintenance mode, and are exercising at a rate in accordance with their fitness level. This makes it hard Joe McFlabbybelly, who is 30+ pounds away from his goals and gets winded from pouring milk into his Lucky Charms, to feel at home in a gym.

You have to start somewhere.

Just realize that you are on the right path.  Sooner than you think, you are going to being that guy/gal you see throwing up dumbbells that are bigger than your head. Just stick with it.

Nerd out on research and bring the knowledge! Would you start a new software project written in a new programming language without going through the quick-start guide, multiple tutorials, and a few screencasts? Would you dive right into a raid without looking at boss abilities, discussing strategy, and doing a ready check? Sure, if you expect to wipe. The correct answer is:  No!

One thing that I think all of us geeks have in common is our insatiable curiosity and our ability to gather as much knowledge as possible to be prepared for whatever it is we are obsessing over at the moment. The same applies to the gym.  Make goals and research how to meet those goals. Come to the gym prepared. Know what classes you want to take, what workouts you are going to do, and come with a purpose.

Don’t cause yourself to crash and burn just because you don’t know what to expect.


Step 2: Equip the right gear

Since I don’t know what level of geek you are, I will not assume that you know not to wear your storm trooper outfit to the gym.  So no storm trooper outfits. But don’t let that prevent you from showing your geeky side while whipping your ass into shape.

Embrace your geekiness in the gym! Don’t be afraid or ashamed to stick out from the crowd.  While most people at the gym are wearing their MMA Tapout shirts or skin tight Under Armor gear, I proudly wear my Nerds 2^2 Ever shirt to the gym.  I embrace my horn-rimmed glasses that fog up when I get sweaty.  I enjoy stripping down to my whitey-tighties in the locker room… Ok, not that last one. But seriously, don’t be afraid to let your geek flag fly in the gym, our t-shirts are way funnier than their t-shirts, and chicks dig funny t-shirts.

Make gym time your geek news time with podcasts. I assume, like me, you have blogs you read to keep up on the latest tech trends or the latest news to your favorite game(s). Well, lucky for you, someone probably produces a podcast that hits all of the major tech, gaming, political, woodworking, or Local Causal and Markov Blanket Induction for Causal Discovery and Feature Selection for Classification news your heart desires.  The last one might be hard to find, but the others are definitely covered!  So load up your MP3 player of choice with some great news podcasts and make gym time learning time as well.

Step 3: Crawl, Walk, Run

When going to the gym for the first time in a while (or ever), you are bound to get sore. But never use that as an excuse to stop going to the gym. Start somewhat easy (don’t be a wuss, though) and plan on being sore the first few times back.  If you aren’t sore, you’re probably taking it too easy and need to step it up (remember when I called you a wuss about a sentence ago?).

The burn says its working. Plan for the inevitable muscle soreness that will follow your first few workouts.  Don’t plan any major physical activities the first few days after your first trip to the gym.  My first day at the gym resulted in 3 days of pretty bad muscle soreness.  Unfortunately, not much can be done for muscle soreness.  The best thing that helped me was going for long walks to keep my muscles warm and light stretching. Take the pain lightly and don’t let it dissuade you from going back to the gym.  While it sucks, it means that your body healing itself to prepare you better for the next time.  After a few weeks, your muscles won’t be as sore after each workout, so you can hit the gym hard after that. You can even treat the pain as an immediate result from your workouts… you may not see the results right away, but you can sure as hell feel them.

Step 4: Give me a ‘C’! Give me an ‘O’! Give me a ‘NSISTENCY’!

(I ran out of header room)

Grind out reputation with your gym’s faction. Make sure you take advantage of the gym. Take extra time to get to know the gym common folk.  Make sure you know where to find a good mead (protein shake). Know how to find your (aerobics) class trainer. Know how to get to the the local smith (machine) to help craft your armor (muscles).   Use the chat channels (your mouth) to make new friends (friends). Do your gym dailies and grind your way from Neutral to Friendly and beyond. Keep at it, the rewards are well worth the daily grind.

Step 5: Have Fun!

The end goal is to get fit, but you have to have fun doing it. Treat the gym as a fun place to get fit and meet new people who are trying to (or already have) achieve the same goals. If you genuinely don’t like it, stop going… Remember that a gym is just one of many methods to reach your goals.

Hopefully these thoughts and tips might ease your transition into the gym… it did mine.

George