The Fitness Grind

Fitness Grind

This picture will make sense in a minute... maybe.

When it comes to modifying your life to cut the flab and shape up, there are normally two main paths you can take:

  1. The Balanced Approach – Incorporate fitness into you current lifestyle, maintaining a healthy balance.
  2. The Fitness Grind – Stop work on your current lifestyle, and dedicate all of your time to becoming healthy.

If you have ever read my site, you probably know that I am a huge fan of the first option. I believe that you have to maintain the activities that you love to keep your mental health, even if they might not be the best for your physical health. Slowly incorporating healthy changes into you life, in a way that changes your habits and patterns, will give you the best results.  The catch: This often takes a long time.

So, what about the fitness grind?

Recently, I have made some aggressive goals that have “forced” me to go down the second path.  I have cut out video games, stopped working on web development projects (except for this blog), and let my DVR fill up with episodes of Fringe. I have put a hold on almost all of the recreational geeky things I normally do.

Well, this has worked out really well for me.

I never thought that this was a good, “healthy” approach for achieving and maintaining overall health. But my mind has been changed due to a single mind hack, which I thought I would share.

Think of the Fitness Grind like an MMO Grind

All of you MMO junkies know all about the MMO grind.  You set your goal: “I want the Epic Helm of Whoop-Ass that you get when you become exalted with the M.F. Face-Crusher faction.“  Well to get that, you do your daily quests, you wear the faction tabard and plow through dungeons, you put aside other endeavors temporarily to focus on the task at hand.

Well, why can’t you apply this to fitness?

I had never thought about applying the mindset I had for years of playing World of Warcraft to my fitness endeavors.

For a short time, switch your primary focus to fitness, and let other things go undone for a while.

This means no World of Warcraft (which is ironic), a minimized workload, blogs going unread, etc. Once you put all of your focus on fitness, be persistent. During the grind for the Epic Helm of Whoop-Ass, would you make extra time to finish the daily quests and make a few dungeon runs? You betcha!  So do the same with fitness.

Never miss a daily fitness quest.

Be vigilant – after all, the more days you do your daily quests, the faster you will meet you goal, right? Do extra workouts to get you to your goals faster.

One of the biggest ways this mind hack helped me, was how I thought about the end-game. In my previous attempts to dive head-first into fitness – my eye was on the goal, and nothing else. This caused me to be short-sighted and I often burned out if I didn’t get the results I wanted. Well in our make believe MMO, our immediate goal may be to obtain the Epic Helm of Whoop-Ass, but the real goal — the long-term goal — is possessing the helm and having the ability to equip it in all future battles – well beyond the immediate goal of current grind.  In the fitness world, you may set a goal to lose 20 pounds, but the big picture goal is the benefits you get after losing 20 pounds.

Focus on the immediate goal for the current fitness grind – but always keep your eye on the big picture!

When you meet your immediate goal, the fitness grind is over. But the fun is just beginning – you now have new tools in your inventory that you have free reign to use. Don your Epic Helm of Whoop-Ass and wave good-bye to the M.F. Face-Crusher Clan and reap the rewards of your hard work.

Enjoy the benefits and rewards of the fitness grind!

It is amazing how small changes in mindset can affect your life. This may not work for you, but it has kept me motivated to lose weight for the longest period in my life. Not because I want to weigh 200 pounds, even though that is my current goal, but because of what I will be able to do as a 200 pound person:

  • Be able to keep up with the kids.
  • Look good in a T-shirt
  • Run a 5k

These are the rewards of meeting my goal, and they are well worth the fitness grind.

Are you in the middle of a fitness grind? What are the immediate and long term goals of your fitness grind?

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Coffee Grinder Photo courtesy of tonx

Geek Into Shape Podcast Episode 1: A Hero’s Origin.

Well, it is here, the first episode of the Geek Into Shape podcast! The goal of this podcast is to give you quick tips, advice, and motivation to get you fit, GEEK STYLE! Each episode should be short, between 5 and 15 minutes. I plan on starting with some solo podcasts, and I will hopefully add in interviews and videos as I go. Like this blog, I am doing this purely for fun, experience, and to help others, so I don’t expect me to be Johnny on the spot every week, but I will try not to go more than a few weeks without a new episode.

I am brand, spanking new to this whole podcast producing thing, so the audio quality isn’t the best, but I hope to explore and learn as I go and always improve it.  Let me know if you know any good tips!

 

I will get the feeds submitted to iTunes soon, but until then, you can subscribe manually if you like using this feed.

UPDATE: iTunes page is now up!

Episode 1 Show Notes and Overview:

Six Steps to get started on your fitness journey:

Step 1: Know your past – Make a list of the things that led you to the unhealthy point you are today.

Step 2: Discover Your Powers – Take a fitness assessment: President’s Challenge Adult Fitness Test. Take critical measurements: Weight, height, waiste size, arm size, leg size, BMIBody Fat %Lean Body Mass

Step 3: Set Your Goals and Build an Attack Plan – Make a list of all goals. Start by attacking the most attainable goals first.

Step 4. Gear Up – Make a home gym or get a gym membership.

Step 5. Build your alliance – Get gym buddies, online support, etc.

Step 6: Monitor the battle – Start a fitness journal.

What’s Up With George (Oooooooo-wheeeee)

I said whaaaat’s uuuuupppp… with thaaaaatttttt?

I haven’t posted in a few weeks so I thought I would write a quick update about what’s going on in my world and the world of Geek Into Shape.

I’ve lost my age in weight this year.

January 1st of this year I weighed in at 236 lbs. This was not a good thing.

But no worries!

This motivated me to hit fitness hard again this year, and this year, I found my click. I weighed in at 209.5 lbs last week, which means I have lost 26.5 lbs, which also happens to be how old I am, since the beginning of the year.  This is about the only time I wish I was 50 years old. This is also the lowest weight I have been in sevenish years.  I give myself a whopping boom-shaka-laka.

Birthday Goal

My birthday, which I share with the American flag, is coming up in a few weeks.  I would like to be down to 200 lbs by my birthday.  With my current schedule, I don’t know if I will be able to make this goal, but I will sure as hell try.

I have also been thinking about only asking for healthy things for my birthday. I was originally going to get a the Droid Incredible, but I’m not up for a phone upgrade until the end of the year, so my new – healthier – wishlist looks like this:

1. Vibram Five Fingers

I’ve heard so many good things about these. Which kind should I get – KSO? Sprint? Classic?

2. Daily Burn Pro Membership

I really just want the cool profile banner, plus I would probably use some of the Pro training plans

Shake Weight

This is is for the Mrs. *wink wink* *nudge nudge* *say no more* *say no more*

New Socks

Because you always have to get socks as a gift, and this time, I actually need them.

Geek Into Shape News

So I have been putting some thoughts into new ideas and projects for Geek Into Shape.

I have a few post ideas floating around the ol’ noggin’.  I haven’t had as much time to sit down and write these ideas out the last couple of weeks, but I hope to get there soon. So thanks for being patient!

I have also been playing around with some Android development.  I really want to make a fun fitness application that incorporates a game aspect (like Farmville/Mafia Wars) and an achievement system to fitness and nutrition.  I have a few ideas, but time is the biggest limitation.  I do love hacking away at code and learning new systems, so I really hope to free up some more time to work on this.

I am working with an old high school friend to get a couple of fun drawings and graphics for the site. I have been wanting to create a Geek Into Shape logo for a while, and I would love to use some of the drawings she will be doing.  I’ll unveil them as soon as I get them. So pumped!

The final update is that I have been working on a top secret Geek into Shape project that I can’t talk about yet… expect an announcement soon though…  Ok, it’s a Geek Into Shape podcast and it should be released this weekend. Man, I suck at secrets. More information coming soon!

So what’s up with you?


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

Fitness Achievements, Where Are You?

Why is it we spend so much time on this mundane game mechanic known as achievements?  Wait, I know the answer…

BECAUSE IT’S MY CRACK AND I WANT MORE ACHIEVEMENT POINTS THAN YOU NOOB!!!1!

While I have limited myself in the last few months (I just earned the Father of Two achievement), I always seem to get stuck on this simple game mechanic.  Achievements in World of Warcraft and Mafia Wars, Medals in Farmville, traits in Lord of the Rings online, the mayor-ship and badge system in FourSquare and Gowalla.  I will kill the Eff out of some boars just to get the next achievement, and I will spend waste a lot of time doing it. Which led me to a realization that there is a total lack of this addictive mechanic in online fitness tracking world, where it could provide a big benefit.  Daily burn has medals that display on your profile when you win a challenge, which is similar, but it is not as autonomous as I would like to see. If I and many others will happily do nothing to get a little “ding” that means nothing in a game that (let’s face it) means nothing, why wouldn’t the same psychological boost help motivate me to do a little extra during my workout?

So I think I will use this post to propose just a few fitness achievement that would fit in great in the average fitness tracking site.  Of course you will have your basics: lost 10 pounds, lost 20 pounds, ran 5k, etc), but I prefer to take the World of Warcraft approach in coming up with these, which means that there are a few achievements that are obvious, but most try to throw in humor and pop culture references. Also, some of these are negative achievements that you don’t want to get.

  • A Friend of Tortoises – Walk one mile or less  in 30 minutes or longer
  • Go Speed Walker, Go! – Walk a mile in less than 10 minutes
  • A Proclaimer Part 1 - Walk 500 miles (does not have to be all at once)
  • A Proclaimer Part 2 – Walk 500 more (that’s a 100o total) Da-da-da-da.
  • Girly Man – Bench press exactly 45 pounds (that’s the bar alone)
  • Lost My Sit! (-ups) – Do 6 sets of sit ups with the following rep counts: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23,  42
  • Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it – Eat more than 4000 calories in a single day
  • Noob – Win 1 fitness challenge
  • 1337 – Win 25 fitness challenges
  • Cylon Prototype – You weight 87 pounds.
  • Greg Kinnear Would be Proud – You ate a bowl of soup
  • John Henson Would be Proud – You ate a second bowl of soup in the same day
  • Joel McHale Would be Proud – You really need to lay off the soup

These are just a few silly ideas, but I was having fun coming up with them.  The more I thought about these for this post, the more I wished that someone would implement this system, because I would love to be surprised these pop-up as I logged my work outs and food.  It would give me a reason to log more.  It would even give me a reason to change up my workout, or give it that extra umph to earn an achievement.  I love these little bits that might lighten up the tough process of losing weight, while at the same time, gives you a reason to work harder.

Do you have a fun fitness achievement ideas?  Leave me a comment.