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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Geek Fitness

Battlestar at the Gym

by Ken Newquist / February 6, 2007

I swore I'd never do it. I said it was pointless, watching video on an iPod at the gym. The screen's too small, the iPod's too far away, and there's plenty of better stuff to listen to that doesn't risk the iPod going flying across the gym after an inadvertent tug of the earphones sends it bouncing off the elliptical climber.

Yet there I was, at the gym, iPod balanced carefully on the stand in front of me, tiny screen flickering with all the science fiction goodness of Battlestar Galactica's "Eye of Jupiter" episode.

Desperation led me to this moment. Sue had yoga, I had a Knights of the Dinner Table column due, Heroes was on at 9 p.m. and I had to get caught up on Battlestar before Tuesday's lunch hour, when I'd be getting together with friends to watch Part 2 of "Eye of Jupiter". I had too much too do, and not enough time to do it. So I did what I swore I wouldn't, loading the episode onto my iPod and heading to the gym.

210 lbs: Upticking

by Ken Newquist / January 17, 2007

I didn't hit the gym nearly as much as I needed to in December and early January, but the good news is that despite eating quite a lot of good food during the holidays, I only gained about two pounds. I'm holding steady at 210 right now, but I'm hoping to start making downward progress again once the start-of-semester crush is over at the day job.

CNN: Do TVs, iPods help or hurt your workout?

by Ken Newquist / January 15, 2007

British researchers say that wearing music players or watching TV during a workout can help provide the sort of distraction people need to keep going to the gym, according to this AP article on CNN. At the same time though, hardcore athletes do better when they're able to listen to their bodies, and avoid such audio and video distractions.

Personally, if I'm at the gym, I need my iPod. Whether it's a podcast, an audio book or just some Huey Lewis, I need that brain fix to keep my mind occupied.

Joystiq: Wii Sports Training and Fitness

by Ken Newquist / November 14, 2006

Gaming blog Joystiq looks at the health and fitness mode of Wii. Like BrainAge for the Nintendo DS, the Wii's fitness mode runs you through a series of tests (in this case physical, using the Wii's motion sensitive baton-like controller), gauges the results and then awards you a "fitness age" based on your scores. Seems like a pretty cool use of the Wii platform, and all the more reason for me to get one come springtime.

208 lbs: Down with the Sickness

by Ken Newquist / November 13, 2006

I spent the last week coughing and hacking (and taking care of equally sick kids) instead of going to the gym. The upside to all the phlegm though is that I didn't have much of an appetite, and as usually happens when I'm sick, I lost some weight. In fact, I'm now down to 208 lbs., which officially puts me at halfway to my goal of 190 lbs.

Usually I tend to regain the weight I lost while sick over the course of a week or two, as my body reaches equilibrium, but I'm hoping my return to the gym this week will allow me to keep some of the loss, and provide at least the slightest silver lining to the last week of hacking.

215 lbs: 9 Down, 25 to Go

by Ken Newquist / September 21, 2006

The headline pretty much says it all: according to the gym scale, I've now 215 lbs. It was something of a surprise -- I haven't been hitting the gym as hard as I should have been the last week (going something like 3 out of 7 days) but I've still been watching what I eat and walking to working so I was still able to make some progress.

I'm switching to rabbit food (with an occasional helping of humus and some Triscuits) for lunch, which is undoubtedly healthier than my normal roast beef sandwich. Combined with drinking water instead of Coke, I've probably cut 350 calories out of my daily diet with that change.

218 and Falling

by Ken Newquist / September 13, 2006

In the two weeks since my last fitness post I've started to see some improvement as measured by the gym scale: I now weigh 218 lbs., down from 224 on August 30. I'm approaching the eagerly anticipated "36 Waist" threshold.

This isn't quite the monster milestone it may seem; my 38 jeans were always a little loose, but the 36s were always a little too tight. Six pounds doesn't seem like a huge amount, but it's been enough that I've had to go to a new notch on my belt, and I think that if I lose another 4-5 pounds I'll be able to easily fit into the 36s.

The Death of an iPod Shuffle

by Ken Newquist / September 4, 2006

My trusty, usually dependable 512 MB iPod Shuffle died a slow, tortuous death this weekend. It ended a year-long run of iPod-augmented home-impovement and exercise, and I'm exceedingly sad to see it go.

What killed it? I'm not sure -- one day it was working just fine, the next it continued to play its store of MP3s, but could no longer connect or draw power via USB. I tried it on several machines, including my G4 PowerBook, G4 Power Mac and even my Windows XP desktop machine, but none could see the device, nor would it draw power. Resetting the Shuffle had no effect, nor did leaving it sit for 24 hours.

The Quest for Geek Fitness

by Ken Newquist / August 30, 2006

Douglas Adams died at the gym. If geeks ever needed an excuse to avoid the gym, the death of the grandmaster of science fiction humor would do wonderfully. But geeks have never needed any excuses to avoid the gym, having come up with dozens on their own.

After all, we're not athletes. It's not that we don't love games. We'll play anything -- card games, board games, role-playing games, war games even live-action role-playing games -- as long as it doesn't require some sort of physical activity on an actual turf playing field. The reasons for this are legion, though for me personally it’s a combination of bad habits picked up in high school (where a nerd in the gym was a ripe target for ridicule), laziness (after all, I used to go biking every morning when I was a teenager) and a sincere desire to do something more intellectually compelling (in this, I am not alone).

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