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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

Work Ethic vs. Workouts

by Ken Newquist / April 13, 2007

It's been a tough two weeks, with a lot of long hours at work, which caused me to fall back on my old bad habits ... namely skipping lunch (or rather, eating at my desk) and not exercising. The excuses are legion -- working too late, exhausted from wrangling the kids into bed, tired from a day of trying to do too much, etc. -- but all have managed to throw me off my game. Having two kids doesn't help -- they add a burst of exhausting confusion to the end of the day, and 12 hours spent with the kids can make Sue as stressed as me.

I bring up my "Work Ethic vs. Workout" quandary here because I think it's an issue that most geeks are faced with on a regular basis. Love your job or hate it, you can get into this exercise death spiral where you're too tired to exercise, but you're tired because you don't exercise, so you don't exercise ... and before you know it, you're up 20 lbs. and wondering if you're going to have to buy those waist 40 pants after all.

I said that I had plenty of excuses before, and looking back over the last two weeks, I'd say that's exactly what they are ... excuses. The gym is open to midnight, and even if I didn't make it there, I still could have taken the dogs for a moderately long walk. This isn't to say that there weren't some real time constraints -- Sue wants to go to the gym in the morning, so getting up early wasn't an option, and she has yoga twice a week during my normal work out time, which further throws me off my schedule.

So ... what to do?

  • Have more late night will power: it's hard to go to the gym at 9 p.m., but if it's my only option during a hell week, then I need to take it
  • Vary my workout schedule: I'm thinking of having one night a week be my "late" night, so I know if it's Tuesday, I'm going to the gym at 8 p.m.
  • Back to the pool: I need to get back to swimming at least once a week during my lunch hour. We have a great pool at the college where I work, and I really should take better advantage of it (even if I can't listen to my iPod while swimming laps).

Ultimately, I think it's a question of tweaking my schedule and digging deeper for a little more willpower. It doesn't have to be much -- getting to the gym/pool twice during a busy week would be good enough for me -- but it has to be more than nothing.