Geek Diet and Exercise Programs

Software developers aren't typically known for their superior levels of physical fitness. I'm not overweight, exactly, but I don't think I'll be pursuing that dream career in male modelling anytime soon. I charitably call myself an indoor enthusiast.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

i’m a huge ddr fan. ddrmax2 for the playstation 2 even has an exercise mode that keeps track of your calories burned (others probably do too). it’s unfortunate that guitar hero has surpassed ddr in popularity. now people will be getting less exercise and more hand and/or finger problems.

Wii fit anyone?

Of course there’s always the option to walk or cycle to work. Apart from being good for you it’s also good for the environment.

I also get health advice from a Johnnie Walker. I typically get his advice straight from the bottle. I find that it lessens the pain that I feel around the time of deadlines.

Just like anyone would, I wrote a program to track weight changes. Includes a trend line and moving average.
from the web site above…

I try to run at least once a week, and play basketball, but I’m also a leg-jiggler! I wonder how many calories that takes up…

Tom, no my comments were not aimed at you. I agree with you that walking is better than nothing and that some people should actually walk vs. run in order to keep from getting injuries or having a heart attack. It defeats the purpose to go running and then end up dying prematurely. :wink:

My comment was aimed at the folks who were saying that “exercise doesn’t burn many calories” which implies that it isn’t as important as what you eat. They are obviously both important and a well rounded program includes eating right and getting a good amount of exercise.

I’m just cautioning against looking at some numbers on the Internet and jumping to the conclusion that exercise isn’t that beneficial. As I pointed out, caloric usage statistics are always short sighted in that they only measure what is done in the lab. They never make someone walk around with a monitor all week to see what the long term benefits are because it just isn’t practical. And thus, falacies like “walking burns just as many calories as running” are born.

But again, walking is obviously better than sitting on your butt. And if you find yourself looking at the option of not eating a 200 calorie candy bar vs. doing 20 minutes on the stair machine, don’t pick one or the other. Do both! Skip the candy bar for the short term calorie savings and do the stair machine for the long term calorie savings.

One size does not fit all with exercise. I’ve always achieved more at the gym (without a training partner) rather than with team sports - perhaps that it symptomatic of being a programmer.

I work in a moderate size office that just had a massive building expansion and renovation. We expanded into what use to be some warehouse space that I guess some of the guys use to play basketball in over lunch (this is before I started). The company was cool enough to put in a half court gym with a nice hoop/basket, something you’d see in high school or college. I joined the crew when the renovation was complete and have been playing basketball over lunch for a few months now. Excellent exercise, plus it’s a great way to break up the day. I’m slimmer built guy to begin with (6’5" 200 lbs) but even I have managed to trim a a few pounds and have had to tighten the belt a notch or two sense playing. Helps offset all the beer and drinks at happy hour I figure.

I was active in my younger years but I haven’t been doing much the past few years. I forgot how much better my whole body feels just getting a good workout. It would be tough for me to leave this job just on the lunchtime basketball alone.

This is one of my bug bears too. Been chained to a desk with my PC for the past 15 years and suffered the consequences. Some great advice in this post, in particular the “only eat when you’re hungry”.

However, this fixation with calories will only end in tears. C’mon, the diet industry’s been telling us for 20 years to watch our calories and it ain’t done any good - on the contrary.

I’m gonna be controversial and humbly suggest that it’s not the quantity of food that’s the issue. It’s the quality. If you just eat less processed food instead of more, sorry but the outcome will merely be the same.

I could carry on ad nauseum, but this is a tedious subject. If you wanna find out more, see:

The first month is the hardest - commit to a month is good advice. There is no quick fix for fitness and weight loss, well none that will last.

You can use scales to keep track of your weight, but don’t jump on them every day! Fitness is not a case of jumping on a device though.

I good way to measure fitness is to go mountain biking. Head out and come back when you’ve had enough. See how long you were out for, as you get fitter you’ll be out longer and ride further. After that one month the 20 min round the block can soon turn into 3 hours exploring.

Nice article. Though I am not overweight but I still find exercising very helpful.
Exercising in the open makes me realize that there ‘does’ exist a real world and that I am not an automaton :wink:

Over the past year, I’ve watched a friend move from being solidly in the “fat” category to being thin enough that I’ve heard people describe him as “slightly built”. It’s been inspirational, and he’s done it entirely by eating less and spending several hours a week walking.

There’s obviously no one size fits all solution to weight loss, but I heartily encourage anyone trying to lose weight to consider walking. It’s easy, mostly painless, requires no equipment or membership fees, and can work wonders. If you take podcasts or the like with you, it isn’t even all that boring.

Here’s a suggestion. Join the army for a year or two. Quaranteed to make you a better programmer and quaranteed to improve your physical appearance for the rest of your lives.

Jazz, I’ve never heard of a corpse writing good code (or looking good), but maybe your standards are lower than mine. Some of us also have ethical objections to things our armies do (the NZ army is slightly better than many but still not something I’d want to be associated with).

My technique is just to live at least 15 minutes bike ride from work, and ride to work whenever I can. But since I just had a vasectomy and I’m off my bike for a month as a result… let the fatness begin.

The Nintendo Wii is a good option. There’s the Wii Fit which someone has mentioned already and Wii Boxing gets your heart-rate pumping (in fact most of the Wii Sports can get your heart beat up).

I’m sure you’ve all seen this too :-

Ok, maybe I am the exception but I work in a company full of the exception. We’re a reasonably sized company for New Zealand being about 160 people, with roughly 90-100 of those in my office. We have 2 indoor football (soccer) teams , 2 touch rugby teams, a dragon boating team, many keen cyclists. I’d say that the rate of the overweght is less that 10% here, and it is much lower amongst the developers too.

I’m of the opinion that exercise should be fun, sure if you’re not into sports then get into that recumbent cycle and play your war-crack. I’m a firm believer that workmates that play together, in any way, will work together better. Heck we even have a group that play BF2 together!

I fell victim to the sedentary job + dropping metabolism due to age + good food trap and put on 30kg (~66lb) in an old job. I’ve since shed over 2/3 of that simply by playing sports again! I’ve not modified my diet as yet, but will be doing so to help shift the last of the excess.

Not really a “programmer workout”, but I have been following this for the past 5 weeks and its going great.

Working out makes me more alert which leads to better code.

Small changes in diet can also make a bit change too. Skimmed or Semi over full fat milk, small chocolate bars instead of ‘king size’, and so on.

Martial arts! Great fun, really helps to burn stress and calories, and greatly helps your concentration levels which feeds into your programming life.