Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

November Lifehacking: The Walking Dad

Posted by Trixter on November 1, 2012

November’s lifehacking experiment is inspired by three things:

  1. I gained weight during last month’s experiment.
  2. I am winded going up stairs.
  3. My kids have never known me without a roll of fat around my neck.

I am 41 years old, 6’2″, and weight 247 pounds. That’s at least 45 pounds too much, and about 65 pounds away from looking normal. I have tried very many things, but lost the willpower to follow through with all of them: A gym membership, home calisthenics (even computer-aided), and the Couch-to-5K program. All have failed, save for a wonderful 3-month period in 2004 where I successfully trained for the Run Hit Wonder and got a front-row position at the following Devo concert.

As I discovered last month just how much anxiety I keep at bay, I was reminded of The Walking Man. Walking Man is a former neighbor of ours who used to go for several walks a day. He was a retired nuclear physicist  and had the unofficial reputation of being quite brilliant. Once or twice a day, you could look outside and see him either coming or going. However, as the years went by, I started seeing him in more places around town: The park at the end of the subdivision; the Trader Joes 10 blocks away; the bike trail near the river. It wasn’t until I saw him walking downtown, several miles away, that I realized what he was doing: He wasn’t taking several walks per day, but rather taking one massive walk that lasted hours per day. Downtown is 5 miles away, so he walked a minimum of three hours every day. Not surprisingly, he was a little on the thin side.

I hold no illusion that I am like a brilliant nuclear physicist, but I can identify with him on some level. Some neighbors told me his walking was a way for him to think and sort out whatever was going on in his life; the physical fitness was just a side benefit. I am inspired, and am going to emulate The Walking Man so that I can kill two birds with one stone (anxiety and exercise). However, to make it as easy as possible to perform, I will be doing it indoors on a level treadmill. The treadmill is in front of the television, so I will have some entertainment while I walk. Finally, I’ll be walking in whatever clothes I am currently wearing. All of the previous excuses with other methods — driving to gym, changing into special clothes, dealing with the elements — are gone. I really have no other excuses!

So what’s the plan?

  • On day 1, perform my treadmill’s fitness test with the aid of a heart monitor. Record result.
  • Walk 5K (3.1 miles) every single day for 30 days. Initial walking speed will be 3.1 miles per hour, but after the first week I will increase the speed slightly to match the duration of the TV series I plan to watch while walking. Apply “body glide” strategically to prevent chafing and welts.
  • Weight and percentage body fat will be recorded every single morning before my first meal.
  • On day 30, perform fitness test again and compare result with day 1.

What do I hope will happen?

  • More effective sleep
  • Less anxious
  • Higher performance at my day job
  • Weight loss
  • Better mood/less depression

This is a lot less pressure than Couch-to-5k and I can’t honestly see any downsides (except possibly blisters).  I start tomorrow morning with the fitness test.

9 Responses to “November Lifehacking: The Walking Dad”

  1. Nine Tenths said

    The benefits of regular exercise are not easy or quick to discover. Committing to a month’s worth of trying sounds like a fantastic way to approach this!

    Have you considered spending some of your month exercising outside? There may be benefits from that aspect of the walking man’s regime too. You could spend the second half of your month walking outside.

    • Trixter said

      I despise the cold, and the highs around here are about 45F. I won’t be exercising outside. I know the benefits are slightly higher, but right now I’m concentrating on just trying to establish some sort of habit.

  2. Alkivar said

    Good luck man, weight loss is tough. I started my weight loss August 2011… as of now i’m down around 90lbs. I wish you all the luck in sticking to your plan.

  3. phoenix said

    Enjoy! Long walks are great for clearing the mind. BTW, check out http://www.pounds-off.me/ if you haven’t already. :)

    • Trixter said

      Total coincidence, I found it about an hour before you posted. I wish they recorded weight in ACTUAL POUNDS though, considering the domain name/joke/meme.

  4. Optimus said

    I am very curious how well this will go. Well, my thought and personal experience about it is that if one does follow the plan it would most probably work, but the problem with me is that I never end following a diet or exercise for too long, also I may start exercising but eating more to support me doesn’t help it.

    Oh,. I have such a long time to update my pounds-off account and I am scared now, I have been working since 2 weeks all day in a contract based job with my brother and now this makes it more impossible to exercise in the limited time I want for myself and also too much work makes it more easy to get addicted to food. Damn, maybe I should at least bring back the stationary bike at my home and do half an hour and see if it helps a bit.

    • Trixter said

      Although I’ve already hit a setback (my body isn’t used to doing 60 minutes so I’ve had to limit myself a little to avoid injury), I’ve found that it helps immensely to have something that can completely absorb your attention. I really didn’t want to walk tonight, I have a blister and some pain, but after about 5 minutes of Avatar I stopped paying attention to that :-) Of course, I stopped when I felt that I was 10 minutes away from real damage. I hope to get up to the full hour in a few days.

  5. Jimbo said

    Good luck with this! If you can keep kCal Consumed less kCal Expended negative to the score of about 500 per day, a year should shift 60 pounds…

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