Re: Not hardcore.

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Maybe you're not drinking enough liquids.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:16 AM
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I generally don't think that it is a good idea to undertake something virtuous using sheer discipline to keep you going.

This seems very smart. Unfortunately I don't have a better workout suggestion.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:16 AM
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1: Still bitter?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:26 AM
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I feel certain there's a commenter here with strong opinions on core exercise.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:32 AM
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I have been doing to stupid Wii fit yoga and strength training stuff. It has worked to a degree that I'm embarrassed about my own ability to self-motivate and prior fitness level. Anyway, I can now balance on one foot and my running has been improving because I now have working feet/calf muscles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:34 AM
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If you're like me and hate the excruciating long-duration more than the exertion itself, there are core exercises that don't involve that kind of horrible slow grind. I hate crunches and situps, and all other forms of low-intensity ab exercise. But I found that just like my other muscles, my core benefits from short, high-load things like ab-pushups:

Lie down on your stomach with your arms fully extended straight up past your head rather than down toward your sides. Here's a bad illustration:
]=[
Try to arch forward to lift your midsection (from knees to chest) off the ground, keeping your hands and feet in contact with the ground. This should involve lots of ab tension.
3-5 sets of 3-5 reps 1-2 times per week should be more than enough. I did a lot less.

When you get good at this, you can try doing it with only 1 leg, or only 1 arm. I worked my way up to 1-arm 1-leg. As a bonus, this got me able to do conventional 1-arm 1-leg pushups too, so I can pretend to be hardcore even though I developed that skill by being too lazy to do crunches.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:35 AM
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Looked at the Mayo Clinic online guide to core exercises. Basically in consists of all the exercises I was assigned in physical therapy for my back pain. And I agree, they are all boring and stupid. I should do them though.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:35 AM
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Free weight training also works your core if you use proper technique; if you're doing any of that you probably don't need to worry about core exercises.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:36 AM
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Here are some fun core exercises:

http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/core-exercises-for-kids.html


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:37 AM
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Unless of course you have particular phys ther issues. I didn't see 7, didn't mean to contradict it.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:37 AM
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I generally don't think that it is a good idea to undertake something virtuous using sheer discipline to keep you going.

Unfortunately, making yourself do things you'd rather not do seems to be the key to success at damn near everything.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:37 AM
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Nope, not doing any free weight training either! In the past, I've gone on weight-lifting regimens that puttered out about a month in. I like the results. Just don't like the actual lifting of the weights.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:38 AM
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Actually, we've been taking Hawaii to Baby Gymnastics lately, and I'd love a Baby Adult Gymnastics course. It all looks like so much fun. Unfortunately, when I asked about it, they said they don't do such things. I'm sure I could coax them into private lessons, but I'm guessing it would be expensive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:40 AM
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Snark was asking me about Pilates the other day, and the resulting conversation has led to our telling each other "Activate your core!" a lot. It's splendidly inappropriate for all kinds of situations.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:41 AM
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I am a commenter with strong opinions on core exercise! I don't think they'll help Heebie, but I won't let that stop me.

We never "strengthen our core", rather we think of a strong torso as a requirement and byproduct of doing full body lifts. If you could get interested in the full body lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, or better yet, the olympic lifts), which are very cerebral and technique-y and in the moment, your torso strength would follow without any independent effort. No sit-ups or crunches, ever.

This sorta moves the problem over, since you'd have to find the time and interest in a whole new endeavor. But it does solve the discipline problem, since if you got into it, you'd be interested in the lifts and doing them for themselves (and fun and strength gains).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:41 AM
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13.last. That's because they have to buy a bigger bounce house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:42 AM
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6: Just because I find it amusing, the name I know for the exercise you describe is Supermans.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:42 AM
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15.2: Are full body lifts cerebral because they are so inherently interesting or because if you do them wrong you get disabled?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:43 AM
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17: My googling was unable to find the name of that exercise. Thanks, LizardBreath! You are better than Google!


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:45 AM
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I have this trouble with pushups. If I do pushups regularly, I see a very noticeable, very fast change in my strength level and in what my arms look like. I should be doing pushups all the time -- they don't require any equipment, and they don't take long. Yet I just kind of hate doing pushups, more than I hate other kinds of strength training.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:45 AM
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18: When you exceed your muscle capacity, the telekinesis kicks in and you push the weight with your mind.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:46 AM
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Thanks, LizardBreath! You are better than Google!

If I only had a back cover, I would print this on it. Maybe a tattoo. In that Thug Gothic font.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:46 AM
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I've tried the 100 pushups thing like 8 times. I can never get past week 3.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:46 AM
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23: Same here, but getting to week 3 does a lot of good for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:47 AM
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Unfortunately, making yourself do things you'd rather not do seems to be the key to success at damn near everything.

I'm not convinced I've ever done anything I didn't really want to. Rather, I think I've always been real intense about some sports, serene about chores, mostly intrigued by my job. When I do come up against something I really don't want to do, I find that I have almost no skills for the situation. Those times are rare, though.

Beyond that, I think that discipline is a limited skill set, one that gets diminishing results. If you've been applying discipline to all your problems for a few decades, the remaining problems (weight loss, temper, addictions) are the ones that discipline cannot solve. People always want to double down on discipline, but I'm with Heebie. I'm all about systems.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:47 AM
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If I had a back cover, I could print a phrase about myself too, if I only had a phrase about myself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:48 AM
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With the Wii, I've gone from being unable to do 6 side planks to being able to do 26 of them (not all at once).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:48 AM
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20: What about them do you hate?

For some reason I hate bicep-intensive strength training; it just feels ughy when my biceps are sore. I think they are sensitive or something. No idea why.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:49 AM
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It seems bizarre and hilarious to me that the link in 9 is trying to promote core strength primarily so that kids will be able to "sit still at a desk".


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:49 AM
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"Engage your core," we say too. Engage your core!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:50 AM
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3: 1: Still bitter?

Sure, I find that it there are few physical demands in being bitter so indulge it in frequently.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:51 AM
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Because they're so inherently interesting (if you are a person who likes technique).

Aren't Supermans the inverse of what Benquo described? Superman has feet and hands off the ground, back in compression, stomach in tension (if one were an I-beam, face down). His exercise has feet and hands touching, stomach off the ground (if face down, back in tension, stomach in compression).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:51 AM
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I just did some Supermans for all of you. Core engaged!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:51 AM
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28: I'm not quite sure, I just notice that I avoid doing them in a way that I don't avoid doing other things. I think some if it may be the feeling that my face is going to explode, if that sounds familiar to anyone else from doing pushups.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:52 AM
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32: You're right, and I misread him. I never saw the things he's talking about before, but they're not Supermans, which are as you described.

LizardBreath: worse than Google.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:53 AM
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26: Your problem is that you keep being cool in ways that don't necessarily suggest summarization with a flattering quip.

32: The first non-youtube Google result for Superman Pushup suggests that LizardBreath has correctly identified the exercise I was trying to describe.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:54 AM
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Ohhh, but I did not do the reverse Supermans. That will be a lot harder.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:54 AM
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36: Huh, but apparently your things are also Supermans. Neat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:55 AM
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That will be a lot harder.

By which I mean completely impossible. Yow.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:56 AM
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Hee. The two opposite exercises about both named Supermans! The one with your stomach planted and your back arched is clearly because one looks up through your lifted arms and imagines yourself flying over Metropolis.

The push-up version must be named thus because you'd have to be fucking strong to do it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:57 AM
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34: Hmm, could be the prone position bringing too much blood to your head. Have you tried doing them on a positive incline? (i.e. hands resting on something higher than the feet)

This would reduce the intensity of each pushup, but you could increase the load by keeping a leg in the air.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:57 AM
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Actually, we've been taking Hawaii to Baby Gymnastics lately, and I'd love a Baby Adult Gymnastics course. It all looks like so much fun. Unfortunately, when I asked about it, they said they don't do such things. I'm sure I could coax them into private lessons, but I'm guessing it would be expensive

Have you tried contacting a gymnastics facility that isn't designed for babies? The stuff they do is basically similar, and most of them do have classes for beginners.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:57 AM
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I'm not convinced I've ever done anything I didn't really want to. Rather, I think I've always been real intense about some sports, serene about chores, mostly intrigued by my job.

Do you think your experience is the norm?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 10:58 AM
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43: I think it's the norm that most people are incapable of doing something optional through sheer determination. If they categorize it as "mandatory" - ie, the kid has to get to school, the boss will be mad - then they can do it. But if it's just determination and it's something they hate, then no.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:03 AM
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13: I think you're actually looking for an Adult Baby Gymnastics course. Baby Adult Gymnastics sounds like you want them to teach your baby how to do adult-level stuff.

Alternately, you could try to pass as a large baby, like a more extreme version of Never Been Kissed.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:05 AM
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Your problem is that you keep being cool in ways that don't necessarily suggest summarization with a flattering quip.

This seems reasonable. Have I mentioned that I like your website?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:05 AM
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Never Been Burped?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:05 AM
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46: Thanks! I really need to update it more, I've kinda stalled.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:06 AM
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Have you tried contacting a gymnastics facility that isn't designed for babies?

Our gym for babies is in the same building as the organic food co-op, the rock climbing wall, and the fencing school. It's a dilapidated warehouse converted to SWPLness.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:06 AM
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I've been doing the bodyrock.tv workouts for a few months now and I really enjoy them. It hits all the necessary criteria for me to keep doing it long term; I can do it at home, with minimal equipment, it's free, challenging, but only takes about 15 minutes to complete. There's definitely a "working out is sexy" vibe to the whole thing which I found off-putting at the start but once I got past that I've found I enjoy it more than any other exercise routine I've tried.


Posted by: scantee | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:08 AM
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47 to 45


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:10 AM
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No, of course I'm ridiculously privileged. But I also think that among equally privileged people, there aren't many aspects of their lives that depend on discipline (getting up early to catch the commuter train = routine, not discipline). People erroneously ascribe a lot of things to discipline, but if you aren't practicing a musical instrument against your will, I bet there's an different underlying reason people do stuff.

Further, I'd be willing that people who do use discipline to go to sucky jobs exhaust their supply of discipline and have undisciplined leisure time.

Unfortunately, making yourself do things you'd rather not do seems to be the key to success at damn near everything.

I think this is a vast overstatement and taps into a myth that sends people (of our privileged class, at least) down a demanding dead-end. It isn't the way to do stuff. Routine, systems, support, collaboration, flow. That's the way to be a sucess at stuff. Discipline, especially for people who think of it as the first option, has almost certainly run out its returns by the time they hit 30 or so.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:11 AM
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52.last: I certainly never went to discipline as my first option, but I'm also much more disciplined than I was at 30.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:13 AM
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For example, I am completely nicotine free and not eating or murdering.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:16 AM
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It will surprise no one that, on this topic, I agree completely with Megan. Just do some kind of lifting or other program that requires core strength (like gymnastics, that would be fine too if you could find a class) and the core strength will follow.

I don't think I'm capable of just going and exercising on my own, at least in any kind of exercise that I find unpleasant. That sucks! But if I can find a way to do it in a group setting and make an event and socialization and fun, so that it doesn't seem like mindless drudgery, it turns out I can get into it. For me, getting over the embarrassment of sucking at something while exercising with others was the key to exercising.

Did I mention that I tried the 100 push up thing recently, and got two straight sets of 50 right away? It turns out that just mindlessly doing pushups isn't the best way to train those things. In your face, internet.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:16 AM
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I think it's the norm that most people are incapable of doing something optional through sheer determination. If they categorize it as "mandatory"

The mental framing is definitely important. I'm pretty good about staying in shape but I stopped viewing that kind of thing as optional a long time ago.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:16 AM
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56: Because meth addicts don't catch themselves?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:19 AM
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I think this is a vast overstatement and taps into a myth that sends people (of our privileged class, at least) down a demanding dead-end. It isn't the way to do stuff. Routine, systems, support, collaboration, flow. That's the way to be a sucess at stuff. Discipline, especially for people who think of it as the first option, has almost certainly run out its returns by the time they hit 30 or so.

I'm all for deemphasizing discipline but, as somebody who's temperamentally inclined to think the same way that you do, there are weaknesses to that approach.

I'm very bad at doing things in pursuit of an abstract goal -- I have to internalize a criteria for success, and a situation in which I can see the benefits of my actions.

Honestly, this isn't a bad way to live life but there are times when it would have been good for me to do things that fall into the category of, "just do this, it will be important later. It's worth doing even if it doesn't seem fun or relevant now, trust me in this."

At least I think that's the case, counterfactuals are always tricky.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:21 AM
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I'm not advocating any kind of brute force of will plan for life or holding myself up as some kind of example of iron discipline. I just think that for a lot of people it might actually be more helpful to just view it as something that you might not love but something that has to be done and plan accordingly.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:23 AM
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It will also surprise no one that I recommend yoga for core strength. Any of the poses involving balance or holding yourself up in odd contortions are made immensely easier when you remember that your stability is actually coming from your core.

The goal is to be in Mula Bandha for the entire course of your practice, which is the state of having all the muscles from your perineum up to your navel engaged and pulling upwards. Various boring preparatory exercises help you identify and engage the different muscles, but then it's one of those things where you later realize what the prep was for and everything falls into place nicely. (Later as in months later, for me.) There's a bunch of new-agey explanation about locking in your prana and such that I mostly ignore, but in the end, it works really well.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:31 AM
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The more I think about it the more I think that 58.2 is a pretty good way to define motivation: do you have criteria for your goal, the floor that you will accept, and unacceptable, and do you care about the outcome.

It often will involve "discipline" to do what it takes to reach the goal, but that doesn't depend on discipline as the motivating element.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:32 AM
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Did I mention that I tried the 100 push up thing recently, and got two straight sets of 50 right away?

Sweet, a new reason to hate Halford! The LA sports & IP law stuff was kinda played out.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:33 AM
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I am, of course, projecting, and holding myself up as the way people act. But the thing is, I see people trying discipline as their first and only option all the time. "I'm just not going to eat cookies any more and this time it will work." But it doesn't, and feeds energy into a shame cycle. But the premise was false! They needed different systems for food in the house, a buddy who has the same intentions, some self-awareness about emotional eating, a set of rewards. None of that is discipline. They shouldn't blame themselves for insufficient discipline, especially when it isn't really the way people work.

(I'm sure there is a large subsection of people who could start off with a dose of discipline. But I'm talking about people like us.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:39 AM
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Because meth addicts don't catch themselves?

These days the job is definitely part of it. People visibly size you up and mull the fight and/or flight thing all the time. I'm kind of amazed at how many guys in this profession are blase about things like strength training.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:40 AM
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By which I mean, people who have been told and tried to practice discipline their whole lives. At some point, the engrained stuff is engrained and more discipline gives no new gains.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:41 AM
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But the thing is, I see people trying discipline as their first and only option all the time.

Me too. Also with organization and tidiness tasks. I will just never stay organized and tidy out of sheer discipline. It was a big breakthrough for me when I realized that and started trying to figure out creative solutions that I can actually stick to. I know I've preached this before, here.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:43 AM
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65, 66: I think this is semantics and self-image. Some people like to think of themselves as disciplined, so when they come up with a system they can stick to, they call it discipline. Other people like to think of themselves as free spirits and tricksters, so they say that discipline didn't work, but they found a way around it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:50 AM
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Also with organization and tidiness tasks. I will just never stay organized and tidy out of sheer discipline. It was a big breakthrough for me when I realized that and started trying to figure out creative solutions that I can actually stick to.

You know what I hear is the answer to this? Lifehacking.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:51 AM
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I'm mostly worried about the people who never think beyond discipline and think they're failures.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:57 AM
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69: Maybe you could hand out copies of The Secret?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:00 PM
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67: I don't think it's semantics, because it felt like a shift when I switched modes of thinking from discipline/failure/redoubling-my-resolve to a what's-within-my-laziness criteria.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:07 PM
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DE-ACTIVATE YOUR CORE! DISENGAGE YOUR CORE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED FUKUSHIMA ENGINEER | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:11 PM
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71: Within my laziness is another, smaller laziness.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:11 PM
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Like lazy Russian dolls.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:12 PM
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Heehee to 72. I was trying to think of a Star Trek joke, but this is better.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:14 PM
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I had a voice lesson recently from a great teacher who explained the fundamentals of breath control and vocal production in a clearer and more insightful way than I'd ever heard before. And the key is, guess what, engaging the core. I'm beginning to suspect that the core is where it's at for basically everything. Pity me, for I am weak in the core.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:33 PM
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to the OP: If it's the time and the grind, maybe try burpees and tae kwon do pushups. It's a trade-off.

But if it's just determination and it's something they hate, then no.

I believe this is variable-- I certainly live this way, so does my father and so did his father before him, so there are counterexamples. Partly it is an issue of semantics-- I would never set a goal like "don't eat cookies." My main goal now is to do a good job raising my kid, which entails a bunch of other things I don't like, some small and some large.

I also disbelieve that discipline generally runs out at 30. Larger-long term goals really help; I do not think that these can be set with a quick act of will, though.

Lastly, Rob Halford is the name Judas Priest's guitarist. Did everyone else know this already?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:37 PM
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I knew it was some sort of heavy metal thing. I was thinking Metallica, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:39 PM
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I was going to write a contrarian, quasi-Taoist argument for core weakness(we should strive to be shapeless like water), but I didn't have the self-discipline to actually write it out.

I'm a failure!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:55 PM
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I didn't say discipline runs out at thirty. I said the returns on a discipline-based strategy run out in your thirties. You've reached the level of domestic neatness you're going to reach. You got through college and got a job. You've brought fitness into your life or not.

From then on out, I think more discipline won't do much. It did what it was going to do. The other strategies will get substantially better results, but people won't think of them if 1. they believe that being even more disciplined is the answer, 2. their reserves are exhausted from doubling down and 3. they think they're failures because they can't even be more disciplined.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 12:58 PM
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Rob Halford is the formerly-camp-looking leather-wearing singer of Judas Priest. Not the guitarist.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:00 PM
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There was somebody not camp-looking leather-wearing in Judas Priest?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:04 PM
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Semi-OT: I'm about three-quarters of the way through Independent People which is* one of those books that give you a chance to temporarily get way outside of your personal experience of things like "discipline".

*recommended


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:05 PM
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Independent People is fantastic.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:05 PM
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Lastly, Rob Halford is the name Judas Priest's guitarist. Did everyone else know this already?

No one has ever known that. You don't even know it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:06 PM
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The pseud seemed like a better idea at the time. Although I guess it now serves as an implicit argument in favor of the "Opinionated" usage.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:07 PM
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"Wry Cooter Halford" is still available.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:09 PM
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It's funny how stress saps the ability to do difficult things for me, even if they're things I enjoy. The mess at work I've been bitching about (which, to explain why I'm commenting at this rate, is not a panic-stricken-turning-out-workproduct problem, but a fraught-negotiations-over-what's-going-to-be-done-problem) has been sucking the life out of me since the end of last week, to the point that I'm not riding my bike in to work, even though I like riding my bike. It just seems too hard and I'd rather huddle on the subway crocheting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:10 PM
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88 is so true. I'd like my life to feel less like it's dependent on positive or negative momentum, but when one thing starts to slip or get difficult it feels like everything does.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:14 PM
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I generally don't think that it is a good idea to undertake something virtuous using sheer discipline to keep you going.

I do this sometimes with eating but not exercise (people always say "just choose a form of exercise you find enjoyable" and I blink at them in disbelief. Ok! I'll take unicorn polo! EXERCISE IS NOT ENJOYABLE!) because there actually is some weird, inwardly directed sadism I can engage, by means of which I can get some satisfaction out of self denial and keep going. When I described it in slightly different terms to a shrink one time, I became aware, as I went on, that I sounded like I had an eating disorder.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:15 PM
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91

Last wednesday I went swimming, or anyway was in a pool, for the first time since (if we're talking about swimming) the summer of 2003 or (if it's a pool that's in question) even earlier, and you know what? It was fun, and tiring! Maybe I should go swimming!

OTOH maybe I found it enjoyable in part because of the delightsome, but spoken-for, company.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:19 PM
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92

when one thing starts to slip or get difficult it feels like everything does

And then the email inbox starts to get out of control. Oh man.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:19 PM
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93

delightsome, but spoken-for, company.

Ogged is such a tease.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:20 PM
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94

90: I agree with that to the extent that I find it far easier to give something up than to start to do something new. But, I like some types of exercise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:25 PM
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95

at thirty. ... You got through college and got a job.

This may not apply to those who made bad decisions re: grad school.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:54 PM
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96

Regarding Blume's statement about balancing above, I found the various balance-related tasks I've been assigned in my physical therapy regimen (none of which seem to be affecting the problem, which is largely confined to my right big toe) to become markedly easier once I started to just relax.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:58 PM
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Grad students are the worst of all, in terms of believing that discipline is the answer. It got them this far, didn't it?

When I quit grad school I vowed I would never delay gratification again ( a vow I couldn't completely keep). At that point, I'd delayed gratification for some staggeringly high proportion of my life. I'm still working that down, but boy howdy. When the choices are gratification now v. gratification later, I deliberately counter my puritan upbringing by choosing gratification now.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 1:59 PM
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98

Megan is the worst lover in the world.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 2:00 PM
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99

95 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 2:03 PM
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100

98 suggests both a death wish and possible confusion over how the organs work, different gender-wise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 2:07 PM
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101

It's called "negging," Moby.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 2:12 PM
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102

At that point, I'd delayed gratification for some staggeringly high proportion of my life. I'm still working that down, but boy howdy. When the choices are gratification now v. gratification later, I deliberately counter my puritan upbringing by choosing gratification now.

And one of the manifestations of this vow was that you took up power-lifting. I think this suggests that your preferences are not, as they say, typical.

By the way, is there any news about your neighbors?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 2:27 PM
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103

98: she didn't say "self gratification." The fruit! It hangs!


Posted by: annelid gustator | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 2:36 PM
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104

80 is in no way universally true in its particulars.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 2:52 PM
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105

It's funny how stress saps the ability to do difficult things for me, even if they're things I enjoy.

This is very true.

I am finally getting a bit of a breather at work, and it's making me realize that since last Spring I've basically always had an high-priority, high-visibility project that I have to work on.

It's never been terrible, but it never slowed down either, and I feel like I've put a bunch of things in my life into "maintenance" mode.

So it's nice that things look like they're slowing down a bit.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 3:19 PM
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Well, I took up Ultimate first, which has a high fun-quotient. Then powerlifting, which turns out to be nerdy and gratifying on a pretty short timeframe. But holy crap, am I not doing stuff I don't like, like running, just 'cause it is supposed to be good for me.

Nothing new from the neighbors. Haven't interacted with them once. I hear from their landlord (my old neighbor) that they threaten to move over it, but I think when they face the prospect of doing it, they back off. My old neighbor is still sanguine, still says that she would just find tenants who don't mind, since it never bothered her. I'll tell you guys if there are any new developments.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 3:37 PM
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107

104 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 3:41 PM
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Well, if you never applied discipline before, it'll get you some good results (although I still say those are finite and diminishing). If you have been disciplined your whole life, being extra-bonus-special disciplined when you've reached an young-to-mid-adult plateau isn't going to get people the results they hope for. Because people can't really amp it up that way.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 3:44 PM
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(people always say "just choose a form of exercise you find enjoyable" and I blink at them in disbelief. Ok! I'll take unicorn polo! EXERCISE IS NOT ENJOYABLE!)

My brother.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 3:49 PM
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It was a big breakthrough for me when I realized that and started trying to figure out creative solutions that I can actually stick to.

Don't worry, embrace your messiness? Works for me.

I know exactly what would get me exercising regularly: getting the Alps transplanted to the New York metro area.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 4:17 PM
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That would be a lot of exercise.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 4:18 PM
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Don't worry, embrace your messiness? Works for me.

There are limits, teraz.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 4:52 PM
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113

You people abandoned the trenches thread, and now I get no sympathy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 5:03 PM
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114

My sympathies, BG. That does suck.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 5:06 PM
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Sorry to hear that BG. Maybe a grant fell through and they don't have the position or have to use somebody already there and now without funding


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 5:35 PM
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I was just impressed that they sent a rejection notice.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 5:41 PM
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117

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Guess who's employed.
Sorry, not you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 5:44 PM
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118

That's what I got last time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 5:44 PM
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119

It was the automatic thing which probably goes out when they hire. It was grant funded through 2013. I got all my materials in, but they did say that they had two promising candidates who were interviewing elsewhere and might make a quick counteroffer; they were hoping to move fast. The prof was off in China for 2 weeks, so he must have come back on Monday. They had read my initial cover letter and recommendation very carefully which surprised me too.

Anyway, working for a single-payer person with tons of international experience as well as in the US would have been extremely awesome.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 5:54 PM
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getting the Alps transplanted to the New York metro area.

Our mountains are local and a lot more Alp like than anything in New York. The city is no New York but OTOH that means you can buy a little house in a quiet neighborhood for 135K.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 6:07 PM
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...a quiet neighborhood...

Booooo!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 6:12 PM
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But would the quiet neighbourhood accept the extension of my apartment upkeep practices to my yard? And would I have to get a driver's license?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 6:50 PM
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i'm coming more and more to the position that you should do occasional, intense exercise, and then as much 'activity' as you can manage.

"Unfortunately, making yourself do things you'd rather not do seems to be the key to success at damn near everything. "

i think the key to success is to enjoy whatever it is a particualr activity demands, and not try to make hte activity conform to your preferences. most 'persperation/work ethic' is post-hoc self-congradulatory bs. sometimes its amphetamine.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 7:07 PM
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i think the key to success is to enjoy whatever it is a particualr activity demands

See 90. I think mentally framing this kind of thing as "not optional" is more useful because people are used to making themselves do things they perceive as necessary that might be satisfying in the accomplishment but aren't necessarily fun (jobs, dissertations, aspects of parenthood, etc.). Which isn't to say it's impossible to incorporate some enjoyment. I personally like strength training much better than distance running and so do little to none of the latter. I do incorporate some cardio intensive stuff into the weekly routine but it's pretty much something I have to make myself do. Sex, going out for coffee, and flyfishing are "fun". Circuit type cardio, not so much. If you find something you like that gives that type of benefit than milk it for all it's worth because of course that's going to be loads better than the alternative.

Our gym has an elevated indoor track with concrete stairs leading up to the track. If you jump the stairs two at a time you make it to the top in 7 jumps. So one of the workouts I make myself do at least once a week is three cycles of (fast as possible, minimal rest, stopwatches are for geeks, that touch of nausea is how you know you're pushing yourself)

.4 miles running (four laps on that track)
28 stair jumps
30 air squats
30 pushups on a medicine ball (feels better on the wrists, at least for me)

Now as a workout it's fairly effective and quick, the sort of thing you see crossfitters and such do all the time. It accomplishes the lofty goals lessening my odds of getting killed at work and furthering my delusions that I might look good naked (which, truth be told, is totally a huge factor in why a lot of people work out). But only a psychopath finds that shit enjoyable.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-21-11 11:19 PM
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my delusions that I might look good naked

Post a photo; we'll let you know.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-22-11 6:29 AM
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I guess that I mostly meant that discipline is not an endogenous quantity to be regulated like tapwater without regard to source. Major events ( a new job you really like, sudden fear of destitution or other real disaster, parenthood) at any age can completely change the amount of stamina or focus available. For some people, a considered reorientation of goals can do this too, but it takes time, not at all like the stereotypical new years' resolution.

One other huge benefit of regular exercise is as emotional ballast. To me, exhausting exercise is necessary for this to happen, but it's the main reason I don't slack off.

Independent People is indeed a great book-- I'm about 1/3 of the way through. Who knew that Bjork's grandfather could write so well?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-22-11 6:42 AM
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In related news, I am ever-closer to being ULTIMATE MASTER of the hill I ride up when I want a quick morning ride.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-22-11 7:29 AM
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For the people that loathe exercise - I loathe it too, until I do enough of it (doesn't much matter what it is; have enjoyed running, lifting weights, soccer, tennis, rugby, ultimate frisbee, bicycling, and yoga at various points) and am in shape and all of a sudden whatever the exercise is becomes both recreation and unthinkable to miss (kind of like eating) and I feel obnoxiously delighted with life and even just walking up the stairs is a kind of joyous meditation in how my body works and I wake up each morning greedily anticipating what way I'll make myself sweat that day - the problem is that it takes a difficult combination of vanity/stubbornness/external circumstances (i.e. having a friend group that encourages this sort of behaviour) to get there. The long hard slog from couch potato to in-shape person is the WORST, but being on the other side of it is the BEST.


Posted by: julia f | Link to this comment | 06-22-11 7:55 AM
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128: This is not quite the same thing, but I found that once I became even a little bit in shape due to strength training, lots of other physical activity became much less excruciating, to the point where if I'm not walking with someone I will sprint up staircases (or the metro escalators, a nontrivial feat where I am) just because I can.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-22-11 11:12 AM
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Seconding 128. I have liked the "long hard slog" when it was paired with a learning curve about a new sport, because the wonderful steep part of the learning curve feels good more than exercising when out of shape feels bad.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-22-11 11:24 AM
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I greatly enjoy the feeling I get when running regularly, and I've kept up a routine of running around 4-5 days a week for almost a year now. But it takes so much time. If I lolly-gag a bit, I can easily suck up two hours with running, post-run water-drinking/cooling-off, and showering. I can't imagine finding the time if, for instance, I had kids.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-11 3:34 PM
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128: I can't speak for the other exercise loathers, but even when in shape I have never, ever felt like that. And I kind of find it annoying* when everyone says that you'll get that exercise high, etc, - you just have to keep at it. For some of us, it just never happens. (Well, I suppose I should say, hasn't happened in nearly 30 years of varying attempts at it. Maybe something will change in mid-life.) That isn't to say that there isn't physical exertion that I enjoy, just that never will I wake up thinking about how awesome it'll be to make myself sweat today. (I'll think about say, how awesome it'll be to see the views on the top of that mountain, or to enjoy early mornings on the river, or whatever, but not the pure pleasure of sweating.)

*I don't mean this as chastisement, not at all - everyone just wants you to be able to share in what they enjoy and feel as good as they do. Just, you know, not everyone agrees that the same things are the best things in life.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-22-11 3:47 PM
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34: You should try punching 3-year-olds on the elevator instead. You could call this exercise Batmans.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-23-11 7:41 PM
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For some of us, it just never happens. (Well, I suppose I should say, hasn't happened in nearly 30 years of varying attempts at it. Maybe something will change in mid-life.)

That's what happened with me.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 06-23-11 7:52 PM
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Ignoring my 30# of extra gut, or at least trying to and doing nothing about it, I decided to work on my upper body. Using what I had around already: two 10# dumbbells and two 15# dumbbells (that I found thrown out in an alley years ago) and the floor. You know, curls for my puny middle-aged biceps (that never amounted to much when I was young) and pushups (of which I used to do 60 at a time when I was 15).

Keep in mind that I have always been too ethereal a creature for my own good, O fellow men, when you laugh at my weakness. Anyway.

At this point I'm ignoring the 10# dummbells since I can consistently do a few dozen reps with the 15# ones; I know I should increase the weight and build the muscle, but that would mean spending money on the things and transporting them back across town on the bus. You try it. I don't even like buying canned goods.

Pushups are getting easy too: I've graduated to the kind with my feet in the chair, the ones where if my arms suddenly give out I'll break my fool nose. I figure that increasing the incline is tantamount to increasing the weight so when those get too easy I'll get my feet on the table, and the step after that would be climbing the walls upside down. ("That's not a real bald spot, that's friction from the carpet.")

What I have little hope for is my always-skinny legs. Just waking don't do much and with my spinal problems I won't be running unless I'm being chased by something REALLY scary, so I'm considering figuring out at way to hang more weight from my hips while I do my usual walking. Even I world find walking the dog with 40# of dumbbells bungeed around my waist slightly embarrassing, so this might take money: I've just found out they actually sell weighted belts online but they're like $100-135 depending on how much weight you buy at once.

I know, I could probably get a cheap YMCA membership but the closest Y is all the frigging way downtown, 1.5 miles away or 10 minutes by bus ("times are approximate"), and I'm already spending $54/mo. on DSL because I'm too damn lazy to go downtown to the library (a two blocks past the Y) and use their computers for FREE. (And porn has nothing to do with anything, I swear.) Plus I'm an arrogant American, I want things to be convenient and on MY natural schedule. So if I didn't walk the dog, run errands in the neighborhood or shlepp to the library every week or so (to use that buck for booze instead of the bus) my legs might atrophy completely.

And the ex tried to get me into yoga, even bought me a video, but that takes too much damn self-displine and concentration. And it's BORING. Hell, pushups are boring but at least I get to fondle my pumped-up pecs afterward.

But walking the dog, ah, that's motivating: I'm happy when he's happy, and among other thing he especially loves finding little girls to jump up on and lick all over. (If I were a pedo this Pom wuld be great bait.) And he thinks nothing of dragging me a mile or so down the road because he's caught a fascinating scent, like shit from a police horse.

It's too bad they won't let the dog in the Y.



Posted by: Defunkt | Link to this comment | 06-25-11 10:44 PM
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