Monday, August 31, 2015

Smoothie, Diet Coke, Spin Class, Hard Boiled Egg, Vitamin Water Zero...

I hate logging my food and exercise.  It’s time consuming.  It’s boring.  It’s repetitive.  And that is just the paper kind of logging.  The available software seems to be worse unless I eat the exact same thing all the time (Apparently, most people eat about 100 foods.  I haven’t yet tried to figure out my 100.).


I know when I do stop and write down what I am eating and what kind of exercise I am getting it helps.  Some of the help comes in the form of a well-known effect:  I won’t eat the 27 cookies if I know I have to write it down.  I will do the workout when I don’t want to because I don’t want a blank space on my chart (I don’t really believe in the Great Gradebook in the Sky, and yet I act like I do…).

Wriggling away from the truth does not count as exercise.  Let’s write it all down.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Do Be Do Be Do

“Civilization” comes from surplus.  I believe that is a reasonable summary of one of the premises of grade school social science as I learned it in the dark ages.  At that point, I think there were tinges of cultural superiority with overtones of colonialism, but I was about nine and my consciousness had hardly emerged, much less been raised.  It remains true that when we have to struggle for pure survival, we are perhaps less likely to develop elaborate architecture, write sonnets, or create action movies.

We have all read or heard or seen articles about how the end of the world is coming because of (choose any of the following or invent your own) greed, environmental destruction, new math, population growth, reality television, violent video games, cell phones, and the proliferation of kale.  We live somewhere in the tension between the fact that the world will, eventually, have to end and the fact that it hasn’t ended yet.  Some version of this hamster-wheel of thought invades all of us from time to time as we dash from work to grocery store to dry cleaners to soccer practice.  We are surrounded by things to do, varieties of stimuli, thoughts, feelings, events.

We get stuck in our heads.

One of the most precious gifts of exercise, from my point of view, is focus.  All the whirl of too much to do, too many thoughts, too many challenges can spin away with the bike tires.  I, and maybe all of us, can benefit from the emphasis on breath that aerobic exercise brings and the concentration on muscle coordination that enables heavy lifting.

Fight existential angst:  go out and play.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Action movies don't count as exercise, either...

The last few days, getting enough sweat has really not been an issue since the weather has been so, well, summery.  Unfortunately, breaking a sweat lifting the glass of iced tea doesn’t count as exercise, even though it may feel like more effort than it should be.

What to do?

Hydrate.  That means water, water, water, and more water.  Maybe something with added electrolytes if the workout is long, but mostly water.  This means before, during, and after the workout.

It doesn’t count as hydrating, but swimming is a great option for hot weather.  Also paddleboarding, surfing, splashing around, and water balloon fights.  Extra bonus points when we need to run away from a successful balloon bombing. 

Another option involves advance planning:  getting up early enough to work out before the scorch.  In theory, after the scorch also works, but I find that it takes an awfully long time for things to cool down in the evening.

If all else fails, find someplace with air conditioning, like a gym (ideal) or mall (power walking, anyone?).

Then again, we can always just think of what we are doing as Hot Workouts.  That’s because we all look so hot in our gym clothes, right?