Well, let me tell you something: compared to the controversies about the most effective and efficient exercise, diet controversies are nothing.
My plan is that next week, I’ll write a piece on my more or less complete beginning plan for exercise; the last week will be something special, a minor work of science fiction as I consider what might be the outcome of the Taubes view of nutrition. But I want to lay down some markers about exercise here.
In my next 13 weeks, I’m going to document my plan; starting with the new 13 week period, I’ll report exactly how well I’m following the plan. For this 13 weeks, I said “oh, I’m going to exercise more” but I wasn’t very good about either doing it or reporting it. Now, my daily updates on the Facebook page will always include how well I’m complying with my exercise plan.
The fact is that I’m not that thrilled with exercise and don’t want to spend many hours a week doing stuff specifically for exercise. I’m going to be looking for the things I can do without spending an immense fortune, and do in a reasonable amount of time; at least at first, I’ll be looking to spend more more than two hours a week on the exercise.
I’m concerned about things I can measure. In software, we talk about SMART requirements: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Testable (yes, I know I’m changing that a little from the link. There are lots of different specific lists, and the article is a good one in general.) I’m a very big believer in the idea that what gets measured, gets managed. The question is what can I measure effectively?
I bought a Withings scale a few weeks ago; I’m using it for weight, but in the next 13 weeks, I’m going to use its body fat measurment function as well, with the intention being to see a significant downward trend in percent body fat. In parallel with that, I’ve also gotten a conventional skinfold caliper, which I’ll use every Sunday in addition to the body measurements I’ve been doing (which frankly haven’t been very effective, I think because my measurement methodology hasn’t worked.)
Added to that, I bought a Fitbit One wireless activity tracker — basically a nerd pedometer. This has several measurements I’ll be using.
The No Dogma, No Boredom Rule.
I’m looking for good research, strong validation, and frankly, plausibility. I’m not going to do CrossFit religiously, although I’m definitely going to take advice from CrossFit. But I’ll be adding in Pilates, some weights, some martial arts stuff (I was once pretty good at karate, but I slacked off as knees and ankles hurt), and also I’ve got an XBox Kinect just waiting for me, one that I bought with exercise in mind. The point will be to have enough variety that it doesn’t get boring, while still being trackable.
The No Puking Rule.
I’ve had some bad experiences with personal training, most of which have come down to this: the trainers aren’t looking at my effort, they’re looking at what they thing I ought to be doing. If I was in shape enough to be doing what they think I ought to be doing, I wouldn’t need to hire a trainer. I want to make good progress, but as I’ve learned in gyms, hot yoga places, and gym classes in the past, throwing up deters me badly from exercise.
The Five Rules Rule.
No more than five rules. This is supposed to be simple.