Fitness Friday – Get Paid to Exercise!

~300 words, ~2 min read time

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Fitness Friday – honestly, I’ve not had much to say about it, so I decided not to.

Anyway, this week, I’ve had the pleasure at being at Mises University. This is always a fantastic time to connect with other Austrian economists and students of Austrian economics. I was chatting with another of the faculty members, and he was asking if I knew some of the other Austrian or Austrian-influenced economists that graduated from Ohio State. There’s one that works about an hour from me, it turns out, who I had met once before, about 7 or 8 years ago. Anyway, I decided to look him up to see what his current research is. Most of it is empirical stuff (probably why I haven’t seen him in Austrian circles) now, and this paper jumped out at me.

The Effect of Exercise on Earnings (abstract)

It turns out that exercise does pay. In fact, regular exercise provides something like a 6-10% boost in your wage. Now, we might be tempted to try to explain this away as a result of effects on things like obesity. We know that obesity has negative effects on earnings. So, maybe exercise pays off because people that exercise are somewhat less likely to be obese.

Turns out that’s not the explanation. The study controlled for the effects of body composition.

In other words, regular exercise itself – even if you don’t see “results” in terms of weight,  body composition, etc. – seems to have a significant impact on your wages.

Put another way: exercise pays.

Fitness Friday – Lunges are Slaughtering Me

~200 words, ~1 min reading time

So, I started a new routine about 3 weeks ago. I think it’s going pretty well. . 5 days per week, usually 20-45 min per day. Very workable. But, the new routine is putting more emphasis on legs than my previous did, and it’s introduced an exercise that I’ve not really done before: lunges.

To work myself into it, I started with very light dumbbells (5lb a side). Weirdly, the lunges are far more exhausting than exercises where I am lifting FAR heavier weight.

It turns out a lot of what it comes down to is what you’re used to. Lunges use a different set of stabilizing muscles than the other exercises I do. So, it’s the stabilizing muscles that make the exercise feel so demanding.

This routine also brings back a few exercises that I had set aside for a couple months. What I found: I have regressed significantly. I mean, I’m not back to where I started – but I’m also nowhere close to where I left off.

This is an amazing thing about humans. We are amazingly adaptable. But, to adapt, we have to be put into circumstances that require it.

Fitness Friday – New Program!

~450 words, approx. 2 min read time

Last week over on Facebook I discussed dealing with failing (to hit my reps, that is). One thing that I’m doing now – switching up programs!

Personally, I try to train in 8 week blocks. This keeps me from program hopping too badly, while at the same time giving me the opportunity to make significant course corrections when needed. I think it’s a nice balance.

So, for the past 8 weeks, I’ve been trying to do a novice-type of progression, but with changing things as I described in the previous posts – failure led to a change in the number of sets and reps. The specific rules created a really bad outcome in terms of how long it took to complete a workout, so to limit the time I’m spending on this, I’m switching things up.

I found this program which has some nice features. 5 workouts per week – better than the 6 I had resorted to. A reasonable number of sets so I can complete every day within about 45 minutes. And a good mix of exercises. I confess: I still like the idea of full body workouts 3 times per week, but I had effectively given that up anyway. I’m still hitting each muscle group 2 times per week, so I’m okay.

One of the new ideas that is being implemented here – though I saw something like it when I did HST – is using an “intermediate” wave progression for some exercises. The idea is pretty simple: as the weight goes up, the reps go down, and occasionally you intentionally lift relatively light for low reps and sets (a “deload”). To some degree the “higher weight, lower reps” is just unavoidable when you get to a certain point. So, the intermediate progression plans for it.

As I reflect on this, I realize there is a larger life lesson just from considering novice v intermediate progressions.

As a novice, the key is to keep moving forward. Always try to do better than you did before. When you fail try again. If you fail again, step back (deload!), make sure you actually have mastered the previous step, and then try again.

Eventually, though, you find yourself having to revisit what you did before again and again and again. That is: we hit a plateau. Plateaus require that we make more subtle adjustments (the equivalent of increasing weight but decreasing reps) – a little more here, a little less there. We also need to take breaks to recharge – and that happens more regularly at this level.

Now I wonder what would happen if I applied this to things like playing Civilization…