What started as an experimental workout routine has become a rather interesting way of looking at life.
I had a theory when I was working out heavily about a year and a half ago: rather than one ‘big workout’ everyday – alternating between legs one day and upper body the next – break it down into a workout schedule that continues throughout the day. Pick, say, once an hour and work out a muscle group till they fail (focusing on heavier weights rather than lots of reps), then go back to working for another hour. Most people can’t do that – if you’re a programmer, people are gonna look at you funny if you start grunting every hour in your cubicle. However, I work by myself – I can do something like that!
I’m “training” for the Wichita Highland Games – I plan on throwing the caber in the amateur division (along with doing all the other stuff, but the caber is the main thing I wanna do. Long story made short – I was going to do it last year, then got kicked in the leg by a horse Friday night before the event. I had actually tossed the caber outside of competition, just to make sure I could do it, then got hurt.) I started way too late – my schedule was making it hard to do a real workout schedule, and I was reading an article that reminded me that I should be getting up from my desk frequently to keep my metabolism up (ahem… after looking pretty good for a while, that soft squish area around my middle as getting rather large again because of my sedentary lifestyle.)
I tried it every hour for a week, but honestly it didn’t feel like I was getting the maximum out of it. So I started setting my phone for every half hour – and what a difference that made in how I feel.
I’m rather impatient about workout gains – everything needs to be NOW NOW NOW! Weight loss around the middle and bulk gains in my muscles should happen within, oh, say, a day. Of course that’s not how it works – it’s a slow, patient process to build muscle and loose that squishy part around the middle. And of course after two weeks I’m grumbling about my slow progress, until I remember: in two weeks I’ve thrown a bit over an inch on my arms (part of that is what I consider to be “re-inflation” – if you’ve had good size muscle, then quit, and pick back up again, the body seems to rebound and puff up the muscle size quickly at first), a couple inches across my chest, lost some size around the center, and definitely feel better. For two weeks, that’s pretty good results.
But there’s a side-effect – I have to stop what I’m doing every 30 minutes. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the grove on a project or what – I stop what I’m doing and workout. The only exception: If I’m not in the office I can’t do it, and if I’m chatting with someone (phone or real life) I’m not allowed to break the conversation to work out. One other exception: I take 1 hour for meals – time enough to eat, then time enough to let it settle. Otherwise, from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, my day is now sliced into 30 minute segments.
Hm. After the first week of 30 minute segments, it got me to examining how my day runs a bit more. I’m weird – some days I’m like ADHD central, and everything distracts me. Some days I’ll have a laser-like focus on what I’m doing. Working out break my “ADHD” problem (which, I may actually have ADHD – my little sister was diagnosed with ADHD, and Dad was talking to his Dr. and discovered he had very similar symptoms. Guess what? It runs along family lines, so I probably do to ;-), and moves me into the high-focus range. Handy for getting work done, not so handy for remembering to keep up with everything I’ve got going on. And I’m not just more productive because I’m keeping focus – keeping the metabolism up allows me to think more clearly and intelligently, IMO.
Suddenly, I now have to stop what I’m doing – since I’ve stopped and worked out, I can take a couple of seconds to review in my head what needs to get done. Since I’m already getting more done faster anyway, I have time to hit all the things I need to get done. Plus, I can even get a little leisure time in without screwing up my day: want to play a game? Sure, I can – for exactly 30 minutes. Then I need to work out and get back to work. Handy for when I’m dealing with a brain melting problem.
But it goes even further than that – throw in 30 minutes to get some time with my Hebrew studies in every other day. And since I take an hour off for meals during the day, why not spend 30 minutes of that time slice to kick my blogging projects (both personal and professional) back into gear while I eat?
I didn’t really generate more time during the day, and I’m not really less busy, but I actually see more stuff getting done, all because I found a way to subdivide my typical 14 – 18 hour workday into manageable pieces 🙂 I’m really liking this so far – and I’ll probably blog about it a bit more later as I find ways to make it more “optimal” 🙂