Join the Resistance – A Hacker’s Guide to Health & Fitness

March 2, 2013

Join the Resistance - A Hacker's Guide to Health & Fitness

“This is everything we asked for but not what we wanted.”

– Any random user

Let’s get one thing out of the way early.

Programming is an intensive way of life.

  • We work long hours on tasks that require absolute concentration.
  • We’re constantly searching for solutions to our issues.
  • We pour over thousands of lines of code, hunting bugs, code smells and any other issue that might cause even the slightest bottleneck in our beautifully crafted masterpiece.

But the one factor we ignore is the most important cog in the entire process…

Ourselves.

The Resistance

How often have you ploughed on long into the night, forgetting to eat, drink or even use the bathroom?

How often have you skipped dinner, choosing instead to grab a coke and something from the vending machine, hero-coding yourself to oblivion?

It’s addictive, isn’t it?

It’s also the number one way to get soft in the middle, and no one wants that.

None of us is as dumb as all of us!

The other day as I was finishing up my work, it hit me!

I want to help 100 of my fellow programmers lose weight, gain strength and create a life of awesome.

Why?

Because we can!

“They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!”

– Mark Twain

Let’s start at the beginning.

We’ll nail our diets, conquer our health, demolish fitness and increment our strength.

Let’s create a movement that’s proud to call itself nerdy coders but also one that can live exciting, healthy, active lives.

Iterate your way to success

If we all aim to make small improvements, constantly investing in ourselves over time then we’ll soon make huge impacts – not only the quality of the code we produce but also in the way we live our lives!

We’re going to do it:

  • without spending hours doing boring cardio!
  • without resorting to minging, dull ‘low-fat’ meals!
  • without spending hundreds of pounds on a gym memberships, equipment and supplements!

In short, we’re going to do it our way!

It won’t be easy and we’ll need focus, but we can get there.

Just keep your eyes on the prize. You’ll be more alert and you’ll feel great!

The Fitness Hacker

My aim with this site is to provide guidance, help and support for every single programmer out there.

I’m not an expert (not even close!), but I’ve felt the massive effect smart eating and regular activity has had on my life and I want others to benefit from it too.

Common Goals

First up, I think we all have some common goals:

1) We want it to be as efficient as possible

Hitting deadlines, learning about the next big technology AND getting in sufficient Xbox365 time is difficult enough without having to bother with exercise, right?

How many times has someone told you that the only way to lose weight is to spend hours punishing yourself on the treadmill?

Let’s clear one thing up early: This is NONSENSE!

Cardio is always the first form of exercise people try when they want to lose weight.

You only need to look out of your window and compare the amount of joggers you see in January with the ones still pounding the streets in March.

It’s not fun. It’s not effective. It won’t be a resolution that you stick to!

Few people have the time needed to get results from cardio.

Not only is it inefficient, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it boring!

We’ll use workouts that will hit our entire body and be done in less than 20 minutes, three times a week.

In short, we’ll get more done in less time. Beautiful.

2) We don’t want to spend lots of money

While we’re at it, let’s destroy another fitness myth.

  • You don’t need an expensive gym membership to make the fitness gains that you want.

Let’s use short, total-body workouts that can be done in your own home (or even the office) without investing in excessive, expensive gym equipment.

Exercising using your own bodyweight will not only burn calories, it’ll prepare your body for more exercises as your strength develops. And best of all, it’s free!

Done right, it’ll also help you avoid the joint wear and tear that often comes with beginners starting out with cardio.

At most you’ll need one or two pieces of inexpensive equipment (think a pull-up bar and some dumbbells).

What you don’t need to do is spend 25 minutes driving to a gym to spend 90 minutes using every machine in there.

We’ll use old-fashioned, uncomplicated workouts that’ll include:

  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Squats
  • The simple pleasure of running flat-out as fast as you can

Why? Because they work!

You wouldn’t improve your code by throwing more lines at it, so why improve your lifestyle by doing excessive amounts of cardio?

We’ll focus on three, high-quality, time-saving bodyweight workouts each week.

You’ll be free to stay active on your off days, taking part in fun activities you might have given up or even take up something new with your new found fitness!

3) We need all the support we can find

Like no other profession, programmers have harnessed the power of the Internet to share knowledge, support and ideas.

Why should our approach to health & fitness be any different?

Everybody has goals, regardless of where they’re starting from.

Whether you’re fifteen stones over your target weight or your two stones under, the support and accountability you get from others is vital if you are going to achieve all that you want to achieve.

  • Get a friend or colleague to join you as your workout partner.
  • Convince somebody to join you in improving your diet.
  • Let me know your story! My own fitness battle needs all the support I can find!

It’s amazing at how many people are crying out for somebody to take the lead and get things underway.

Be that guy!

We’ve got work to do, gents! Who’s with me?

Related Post: Four Health Essentials for Programmers in 2011

I’ll be posting bi-weekly updates covering health & fitness from a programmer’s POV.

If you liked this post, I’d love for you to share it with others too.

You can also receive future updates by joining the Fitness Hack feed.

  • http://fixx.yolasite.com mcnemesis

    dope one there! am in for it, as i’ve personally been doing my own hacker-workouts from my room every once in a while. normally, i just point rythmbox at some trance or hardcore techno from last.fm and dance myself to fitness for like 30-45 min. sometimes i love it so much i just decide to continue dancing for fun for an extra 30 min! we all need it :)

    • Anonymous

      Hi mcnemesis,

      Thanks for reading!

  • Luis Antón

    I run from time to time and I like it, but I’m curious about your method! Looking forward for the next post! ;)

    • Anonymous

      Hi Luis,

      Thanks for reading. The next post will be up shortly!

  • http://twitter.com/_tejaswi Tejaswi Yerukalapudi

    Was wondering about this for a while, Tim Ferris seems exactly this kinda guy. Anyone have any thoughts on him? Did anyone try his routines from the Four hour body?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Tejaswi,

      I’ve read Tim Ferris’ latest book and loved it. I haven’t tried his methods yet (I will, I want to improve my sprint times), but they do seem to produce some impressive results!

      Thanks for reading!

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