Why the culture of exercise/fitness is broken and how to fix it

by [anonymous]13 min read10th Mar 201570 comments

16

Personal Blog

Summary

The culture of exercise/fitness suffers from a motivation (and discipline) problem. Sports turn it around and make it actually fun, lessening the need for those.

The problem

Despite the the media and blogs and forums talking incredibly a lot about exercise/fitness, not everybody is motivated to do it. Of those who do, some hate it and will stop once the motivation runs out. Some try to go from motivation to discipline to fight it, but it is an uphill fight: why exercise/fitness cannot be fun you want to do, not a second grinding job you must do? The need for discipline or motivation suggests it is no fun.  Some people try to turn boring exercise into a game with e.g. Fitocracy. However there is an old and time-tested way to do it: actual sports, not necessarily competitively.

The approximate reason

Sports coaches have used strength and cardio training as a part of their toolbox since a long time. Exercise/fitness looks a lot like basically taking out this aspect of sport trainings and leaving out the rest. [1][2]

However by doing so we lose three important motivators:

1) Playing sports - not necessarily on competitive levels! -  is fun (for some at least), and in itself they work as cardio or HIIT training. Think playing soccer or martial arts sparring or playing tennis, hard effort and rest intervals, quite HIIT-ish, and HIIT training seems to confer similar benefits to weight lifting  - it is usually considered anaerobic.

2) When doing exercise/fitness our motivation is usually to be healthier, feel better, and be sexier. When doing strength or cardio as part of a sports coaching / training, we have a fourth motivator: to be actually better at playing at that sport. One big issue with exercise/fitness is that in an comfy urban life we do not actually use strength or endurance, and this is a huge demotivator (for me at least, I suspect others too): it feels a bit like growing a pretty but useless third leg. Why be stronger, when spending that time studying is more efficient for real world success? (The worst offender is the CrossFit movement: it makes you fit for all kinds of purposes, most of which you will never pursue!) Health, mood and sexiness are good reasons, but still doing a sport where we can use strength or endurance for some real goal makes a whole world of difference - for me at least. What do you think your "inner caveman" wants: to e.g. sprint because it makes him healthier, sexier and puts him in a better mood or to actually catch that deer, which means: to motivate your "inner caveman", you better find yourself some actual deer to catch, some actual use-goal to pursue, and this is why sports work: the goal is to win a friendly match or something similar. Remember: to be fit means to be fit for something, and you need a something.

3) Commands and camaraderie. When the coach yells 25 push-ups and 20 people hit the ground and do it is a very different motivator than just bargaining with yourself to do it at home or to do a bit more before going home from the gym. Yes, you can hire personal trainers or find training buddies. But this is IMHO less ingrained (at least in Mitteleuropa) in the culture of fitness/exercise than in actual sports. Group coaching/training has a military feel to it, and militaries tend to be efficient at figuring these things out, for them it is a life and death issue.

Let's stop and reflect a bit on the weirdness of it all... for example people are using apps like Fitocracy and HabitRPG to turn their boring exercises into an RPG videogame, to gain XP and level up... when in reality martial arts belt tests have always been precisely that. Less formally, but rankings exist in sports all the way, for example just training and for fun -> allowed to play training matches against the other half of our team -> allowed to play training matches with other teams -> allowed to play in friendly matches and so on, or in boxing sandbag -> mittens -> light sparring -> full force sparring -> training match -> match or for Alpine skiers being allowed to go to green/blue/red/black pistes.

Sports are already an RPG, so why do we had to take strength and cardio training out of sports and just do these exercises without doing the sport part, then finding out it is boring and demotivating and turning it into an RPG again? Does this even makes sense? And if not, why did it ever happen so?

Why it happened so 1.

For busy and highly motivated people, exercise/fitness works. If 2 hours of sports coaching means 0.5 hour strength, 0.5 hour cardio, 0.5 hour technique and 0.5 playing, they may as well take the first hour and leave the second i.e. go to a gym, not coaching. It works if you are Elon Musk or anywhere close to making someone like him your goal model.

It obviously does not work well for people who are in this sense more typical i.e. more free time to kill (goals do not fill out time) but less willpower/motivation/discipline. I think fitness/exercise culture was generated by those highly succesful people. Esp. by fitness trainers who are almost fanatical about it in their own lives.

Why it happened so 2.

When I say "sports" a lot of people here "competing". "Being good enough to compete", "investing enough time to compete". They simply don't find anywhere near them half-serious, kinda-recreational sports opportunities where they are still pushed fairly hard by the coach, but they are not expected to compete much and not expected to be good at it.

To put it differently, we should draw a clear line between competitive sports where if you are like an "employee" of the coach and if not good enough the coach simply does not want you in his team, and recreational sports where you are a customer of the coach/trainer, you pay him to make you better at the sport than you previously were, no matter how bad that previous level was. I am talking about the second.

In Europe, anecdotally, without statistical evidence at hand, recreationally coached sports unions (Vereins in German) seems to be on the decline, body-building gyms attracting people away. Perhaps in America the whole culture is so competitive that they were never really a thing?

However AFAIK many recreationally coached sports are still available. We should make a full list in the comments but I can find two examples:

- Tennis and squash. However you will not be pushed much towards strength traning. But still, you get to the point where you want to hit the ball harder and it motivates you for strength training.

- Martial arts. Choose any you like, because liking is more important for the beginning than benefits, and it is not a final choice, learning multiple ones and later mixing them is the idea behind MMA. If and only if you think the art you chose is too easy on the strength training side, not pushing you enough, look towards BJJ, boxing or MMA, they seem to be the "buffest" ones around i.e. where coashes push you to strength training the most.

Why it happened so 3.

Back in 1960's or so obesity was not really an issue (less than half, PDF) like today is globally, or at least people were not very conscious about it. Some people did sports but otherwise exercise and fitness flew below the radar. It was roughly in in the later 70's, early 80's when people started to pay attention to exercise and fitness.  When Arnold's Pumping Iron popularized bod body building in 1977, it was not mainly about making obese men and women thinner but about making thin, scrawny men more muscular. The media bought into this new body image (fun homework idea: how Stallone went buffer during the Rocky series, reflecting the expectations of the media or the public, or how Spiderman comics changed 1960 to 1990). In 1982 Jane Fonda launched the aerobic movement, this was more directed on making overweight women thinner. This is roughly the recent origins of the fitness/exercise culture.

As of today, at least if fitness.reddit.com is a reliable predictor of opinions, "Arnold" won, "Jane" lost i.e. todays idea of fitness is more based on weight lifting / body building, including women, than aerobic in the Jane Fonda sense of the term. There are good scientific reasons for it, in a nutshell: weight lifting's effect on metabolic rate, insuline sensitivity, leptin sensitivity, HGH and T,  all having an effect on fat, and both building muscles and having them around having an effect on fat (source: book).

The issue is, people see sports like playing volleyball closer to "Jane" than "Arnold". With "Jane" losing to "Arnold", not only aerobic-cardio lost to weight training, but doing actual sports lost to going to gyms.

But let's not forget that the Arnoldian Way was originally about not being scrawny, not about not being fat, which brings us to:

Another weird factor

While todays main problem is obesity; popular, Arnoldian fitness culture is originally based on gaining muscle, not on losing fat. While gaining muscle is an excellent way to lose fat, probably the best way if you have the motivation/discipline for it (reasons see in above ref. book), the simple truth is that if a fat guy or gal just plays basketball 3 x 1 hours a week, he or she will gain muscle simply by throwing his or her heavy body around, with high enough body weight much of "cardio" doubles as strength training. For the skeptical, do you cardio while a petite woman is sitting on top of you - that is what it is like for  fat people.

Example: scrawny, ectomorph, hardgainer lifters often complain about calves being hard to grow. My cousin's "secret tip" for brutal calves is 1) be an obese 140 kg man 2) play soccer once a week.  (Don't  even think about suddenly starting playing soccer if you are that obese! Rather he went from 70kg to 140 during 10 years while playing soccer once a week and basically his joints gradually adapted to the weight!)

If a fat man or woman needs motivation or discipline to go to the gym to do boring gym stuff, but loves to play volleyball and has a chance to play 3 x 1 hours a week, he or she will put on muscle. After 3 months, being in a good, proud, and enthusiastic mood about being an active person now, he or she can easily add a push-up program (with handles, better for wrists, this but repeat every week 3-4 times over) on the rest of the days will result in respectable shoulders, pecs, arms.  But the order of things is important here, first do enjoyable activity, then leverage the good feels and pride into less enjoyable and more efficient ones!

Frankly most fitness trainers, bloggers don't really understand this. Typcially the are ex-scrawny guys desperate to gain, who consider in our example volleyball a just cardio (it is with 60-80kg but with 130kg it gives you quite some leg muscles), and push-ups not very efficient (again at 60-80 kg not, at 130 kg yes, ask a petite woman to sit on your back and try it that way and suddenly you will respect it more!).

The expanse of the problem

How widespread is the problem I am describing? Well, even here on LW, an otherwise excellently written article ignores the motivation and fun angle and talks about starting with a body weight routine then graduating to weight lifting and cardio, ignoring that 1) for many people these are boring activities 2) without having a sport goal, we do not use strength or endurance in a comfy urban existence and simply health, sexiness and good mood are not always strong motivators. I think the article can be "excused"  - quotes because I am not actually making a judgement here, hence no excuse is needed: it is an excellent article coming from a fitness / exercise culture where apparently EVERYBODY has this blind spot, I would never think about singling out the author and blaming him for it! -, anyway, this article can be explained by being written for typical "Bay Area Rationalists", wannabee Elon Musks who already have a lot of motivation and willpower and discipline but not enough free time, having a lot of goals. So they want to be time-efficient, not fun-efficient.

But yeah, for Average Guy or Gal where the opportunity cost is less time killed in front of the TV,  fun-efficient is more important than time-efficient. Making it twice as long but twice as fun makes them want to do it more. And hence it must be sports.

Solutions

If you are content with your exercise habits, you don' have a problem or not one this article can solve.

If your problem is that you are thin, scrawny (NOT skinnyfat), ectomorph, hardgainer, I cannot help you much: you need weight lifting / body building / advanced gymnastics, the only possible way out from gym culture I can think of is rock or wall or boulder climbing or parkour, basically figure out fun ways to efficiently use your low body weight as a resistance. But other than that no news here. Except one, but that would be better discussed in a separate article: why are many young men unhappy with being thinly athletic? Media image, surely, but I have an hunch it is not about looking better but about looking and feeling more respectable, and this may be a different kind of problem. I see 17 years old guys desperate to put on muscle not just to look better but also in order to be treated not like a boy but like a respectable adult man. And I see 40 years old guys who are more like, if I am not fat and have the cardio endurance to play tennis then I am OK, I am already a "someone", I have nothing to prove. Do you see anything like this?  But I think this requires a separate article to discuss.

If you are fat (or skinnyfat), and struggle with the motivation / discipline to exercise, I can help you. Forget fitness and exercise and start a sport you like.

Algorithm for deciding what sport you like

1) Do you watch any sports in TV or play them in videogames?

2) Do you watch action movies that involve one kind of fighting or another, or play suchlike in videogames? If yes, martial arts, for starters, an unarmed one, but let's not ignore the magnetic effect medieval longsword fighting tends to have on "geeks", quite possibly the only truly likable sport for RPG or fantasy or history fans. Watch this then Google "HEMA mycity" or even "Liechtenauer mycity" (He was the originator of that late Medieval tradition that produced the most often used longsword fencing books and longsword fighting clubs often mention the Liechtenauer tradition / school on their site. Other good choices: Fiore, Marozzo.)

3) Failing these, you may not want to do a sport as such, but maybe you still want to be with friends or coworkers who do it, and enjoy doing it with them, so ask around.

4) Whatever is close to your home or work.

5) If nothing helps and you are really clueless martial arts. You are an animal. There is _some_ size of fight in every dog.

6) If you are disabled, your choices are limited, from none at all to wheelchair basketball.

The motivation problem solving itself

The important thing is that you don't need motivation to do the sport, you just need the motivation to drag your butt to the training session, basically to "show up". Then you can just surrender your will to the trainer. Be a remote controlled robot, a zombie without will, executing the will of the trainer, Kadavergehorsam. This will get you through the first, sucky part of the session, cardio and strength training. Then the technique training will be more interesing and you will be glad for the rest, and finally you ge to play, spar, do the actual sport, enjoy the fun, and this sends you home with good feelings, eager for the next session. Most trainers I know in martial arts or soccer use this structure: warm up with cardio, do strength, do technique which doubles as a rest, and finally play and enjoy. This because it makes sense for the body, but also it is psychologically motivating, go through the sucky parts and then do the rewarding parts. Actual sports trainers seem to care more about motivation and psychology than the blogs of fitness trainers...

Oh BTW I purposefully formulated the robot-zombie-Kadavergehorsam part so that a lot of people shudder reading it and feel bad about it: 21st century people tend to value their autonomy... but it is a thing people like me need to face and better sooner than later. You need cardio and strength, there are some sports you can just warm up and then play it, but still you need to warm up and for an untrained person that leads to some panting. So there are only two ways: you want to do cardio and strength, or you don't but you surrender your will to someone who wants you to do it. How else you think your body will do it? It needs a control unit, and you have two choices: your will (motivation, discipline) or the will of someone else. If you hate yourself for your laziness, and I do, surrendering to someone you actually respect does not sound that bad once you get past the idea that it is in this age of autonomy "weird".

Another rule I want to recommend is one habit at one time. Exercise routines consisting of 4-5 different exercises are IMHO harder to stick to, it is easier to obssess about one thing. For this reason, if you started your sport, for a few weeks or months until you feel it is an organic feature of your life you would miss if you stopped, don't try other exercises! Keep yourself back, hold back on your newfound enthusiasm! It is similar to Pavel Tsatsouline saying (cannot find the source, sorry) to not train to failure, stop a training before you are exhausted, stop a training when there is still some hunger in you for more, so that you are motivated to do it the next time. The same way, if in the first weeks your enthusiasm makes you hunger for more, just stay hungry, do not satisfy it, let this motivation carry you until your sport is an ingrained habit.

The next step

Okay, so you are doing a sport 2-3 times a week for 2-3 months now, it is an ingrained habit now, you are getting in a better mood, being more proud of yourself, and you feel you can now do more. Look into what kind of muscles can you use for your sport, and what kind of muscles your sport does not develop enough! The answer is very often this: you jump around on your feet all the time, gravity is training your legs all right during your sport (again, I am talking about fat people, jumping around with 130 kg is different than with 65 kg), you are probably twisting and turning (training the abs), but your arms, upper body is not trained enough, and yet precisely this is what you need to hit a ball forcefully, throw a ball forcefull, or to throw a punch. In other words, for many sports, time to do push-ups at home on the non-training days. This trains the right kind of muscles for this.

Two things to consider here. One, I am not talking about a bodyweight routine: only push-ups. One habit, one obsession at one time! Make the choice simple for your brain: either I am at rest, or down the floor going up and down, no third choice! This is the secret for habit forming for me: don't fatigue your brain with having to choose to do 4-5 things, just 1 thing! Second, I am recommending to start the push-ups only months after you started a fun sport, not before, you will have way more motivation that way: now it is not just about health, sexiness and mood but about actually using that kind of strength for something, plus you are in a better mood and you have more self-respect, you are more in a can-do, want-to mood!  As above: with handles, better for wrists, this but repeat every week 3-4 times over if you are fat.

Parting thoughts

From that on - you are on your own. Once you hit the 100 mark, and do your sport 3 times a week, and all this coupled with a good diet, you probably have everything you need psychologically to go on your own way.

And be aware that we knew all this in the 1960's or so. People - well, at least boys - were pushed to do sports. I hope we can bring it back, and for people who do not have unusual amounts of motivation or discipline, body-building or weight-lifting will not be seen as the alternative to being a couch potato, but rather both as separate, special sports for those who specifically like them, and for everybody else just a part of their sport training that aims, primarily, at being fit to play or spar or  occasionally compete in stuff that is fun.

For people with alcohol problems

You probably want to both stop drinking and start a sport or exercise routine. Being hung over is a huge exercise demotivator, and exercise makes it easier to deal with the depression / bad mood of cravings. Where to start? For me, stopping drinking then starting sports or exercising did not work, I could not deal with the bad mood. Joining a boxing gym while still drinking, dragging my hung-over ass to the session, using my own volition only to go there than handing it over to the trainer, cursing myself while the trainer made me sweat and burp it out, yet being in a better mood the day after and feeling more proud of myself and not like a worthless piece of feces, made me - fingers crossed - gather the strenght to quit. It is only a few days ago but I mention it as a form of public commitment. So if stopping first then doing sports or exercising did not work, the other way around may still work for you, and remember, with a coached recreational sport, you don't need to have the willpower, motivation or discipline to do it! You just need enough motivation to show up, and then simply you surrender your will to the trainer, you need to make no more choices.

UPDATES/EDITS

Adamzerner makes a good point about how skill differences cause problems in team sports, suggesting, to me, to better start with an individual / pair one practiced in group settings (martial arts, tennis or squash courses with other people, dancing and so on) at least until your motoric skills, coordination, speed, cardio picks up.

* * *

Footnotes remarks:


[1] Not actually historically / chronologically so.
[2] Yes, weight lifting, body building, running are actual sports as well, but they are used by many, many more people than those who wish to compete in them either for sports training or just exercise/fitness.

16

70 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 5:25 AM
New Comment

I had always modeled part of the appeal of workout/gym is that one doesn't need to coordinate with other people.

0Curiouskid6yPickup basketball games require some coordination once you get to the gym (getting a game going can be somewhat difficult, but is usually pretty easy), but, you can just go whenever you want.

Have a rant....

The reason the exercise culture is broken is because it's framed as the will triumphing over the body. Movement isn't for pleasure, and it isn't for self-maintenance. The thing that really gets praise is proving how tough you are-- that is, your ability to ignore your evolved safety signals.

Here's someone who's sensible on the subject: http://www.moveandbefree.com/blog

5passive_fist6yI usually don't participate in these discussions because it's all too easy to commit the typical mind fallacy. The implicit assumption seems to be that working out and lifting weights must be uncomfortable for most people. I offer myself as a person for whom this is not true: I take pleasure out of lifting weights in a way that I haven't yet experienced from most other sports. As for 'toughness', well it's true that if you start experiencing extreme pain you should stop doing what you're doing, but any kind of medium-intensity exercise is always going to come with some mild discomfort. Some people tend to exaggerate this discomfort. Just because something is uncomfortable doesn't mean it's an 'evolved safety signal.' You could just as easily argue that it's the body merely trying to conserve energy because in the past energy was hard to come by. Evolutionary explanations don't hold water here.
0[anonymous]6yPersonaly story, hoping you can make head or tails of it or come up with an idea: A) at 17, traditional body-building stuff felt well, by that I mean doing one composite and one isolation exercise for every major muscle group. B) at 35+ I learned about these new powerlifting oriented trends, squat-and-deadlift, SS, SL 5x5, and it felt really bad, my whole body felt stiff and inflamed. It is probably hard on the joints, and one needs to take more care about doing it gradually and make sure about correct form. A) was better because those exercises are simply less dangerous, if you e.g. do dips and cable extensions for triceps, you rarely if even get any problems even if you are impatient like me and not warm up, take too much weight, use momentum, cheat using shoulders, not stretch afterwards etc. at least with a 17 years old body and not doing it long enough to use massive weights (say, unweighted dips and cable extensions with 30-40 kg) it was safe enough to be an impatient fool at it. And all this made me feel the pump, which has little to do with hypertrophy, but it is a fast dopamine reward and motivating. Doing the powerlifting stuff at 35 is the opposite, you must be very careful, you have to do it absolutely right and not be impatient at it, and you (not at the beginner level before joints and stabilizing muscles catch up to major muscles) don't get the instant reward of the pump. So basically you go there for weeks and do it and nothing really happens. No reward. So every time I started this I quit after 3-4 weeks because it was just work, work, no reward. The reason I did not go back to the original kind is twofold, I was too fat to see the pump and get the instant reward, and ultimately being old (yes, 35 can feel old if you are not fit in the sense of flexibility and cardio and all), stiff, groaning when getting up from sitting on the floor and knees cracking... at this point I just did not feel being a stronger and stiffer mofo does me any good. I
0[anonymous]6yDon't do squats. back squat...it’s one of the most dangerous exercises for your low back, hips, and knees, even when done with perfect form. Check this out [http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/save-your-back-by-switching-to-front-squats] . Id repurpose any leftover bars and weights as a barbell and dumbells (or kettlebells). I haven't checked if that is safe, but I assume it is. If anyone knows better, please chime in.
0NancyLebovitz6yI agree that there are a lot of people who like exercise better than I do, and there's a reason I said I was ranting. However, there are also a lot of people who damage their connective tissue and bones, and possibly their hearts [http://www.drjohnm.org/2011/03/cw-that-exercise-has-an-upper-limit-makes-perfect-sense/] without being at short-term risk. Reasons that the studies might not prove much. [https://evidencemag.com/cardio-heart-disease-4]
0passive_fist6yThe type of damage you're talking about only happens with extreme levels of exercise that less than 1% of the population ever attempt. For the vast majority of people, "exercise more" is always good advice.
2[anonymous]6yThere is a long list of exceptions. [http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/when-not-to-exercise]
2Lumifer6yIsn't that subject to a lot of caveats? Most would be common sense, but I'm sure there are nuances. For example, if someone inactive and obese decided out of the blue to run five miles every day, I would expect it to end badly.
0[anonymous]6yIt is nearly impossible for a low-willpower (obese and inactive) person to suddenly get so much willpower. He will be panting at 300m, feel his legs are made of lead at 500 and the rest would be sheer will? Nope. Okay there are always outliers and some drug users, but generally, no.
2NancyLebovitz6yI'm pretty sure you're mistaken about joint damage. How could we check this?
0passive_fist6yWe first have to define terms. What do you mean by 'joint damage'?
4eternal_neophyte6yI can't speak for everyone, but this is not the case in my experience. I used to attend my old university's boxing club and anyone caught ignoring his evolutionary safety signals would have been told to go home, safety was extremely important there, primarily because the university could potentially be legally liable for anything that went wrong. There certainly was an element of machismo in being able to grit your teeth through the last fifteen minutes of an intense round of cardio, but it's about defying the voice in your head that tells you to give up, you're kidding yourself, you're too weak to be doing this, rather than defying the voice that tells you that you are seriously in danger of cardiac arrest if you don't stop skipping rope. A large part of the experience is learning to separate those voices out, know which is which, and know what your real limits are, and what you are in fact capable of as opposed to what you think you're (in)capable of.
0[anonymous]6yHow can they tell that, and how is that even possible that there is not for ever 1 such case a 1000 cases of people just being lazy or weak-willed and over-react? I usually do 1.5 hour box trainings mainly consisting of sandbagging as I am not yet good enough to reliably to hit the mittens as of yet, without having been in any sort of shape except round before that, didn't run, can't jump rope, and at 35 I know all the excuses my laziness and weak will wants to throw at me, and yet, despite it all, the only signal that looked more serious than bathing in sweat with a red face was pain in the front shoulder, from keeping my hand in the front and high position all the time, but it felt like just muscle pain and using diclofenac [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diclofenac] (brand: Voltadol) gel every evening seems to keep it in check. Just what kind of survival signals are 20 years old people who are fit supposed to have from this? It is IMHO not that hard. When I am occasionally allowed the mittens or spar (with trainer only) that is actually easier as I don't go as hard on them as the bag (I like to prove my strength by making the heavy bag swing 1 m and hit the wall behind it with a back hand straight or hook punch. Ego thing. And tiresome.)
0eternal_neophyte6yWhen you state out loud that you think you may have injured yourself, or if you show outward signs of such (e.g. clutching your chest during cardio) or if you're sparring too heavy, mainly. Ofcourse trainers aren't psychics and anyone can be ignoring his safety signals and concealing it, but in that case the trainers could hardly praise them for doing it any more than they could be telling them off. Well everyone is there of his own free will and his for his own sake. If you under-train you're only cheating youself, so there's an incentive not to be a molly. And the fact that you bother to show up to training means it's probably an effective incentive - at least it was for me.
0NancyLebovitz6yThere's the risk of joint damage, and I think a lot of people override the relatively subtle information that they're hurting themselves.
2eternal_neophyte6yIn the absence of information about what the optimal amount of exercise for general well-being is with regards to joints or anything else, I fail to see what more could be done than to take the ordinary precautions. If you know what the signs are that you're damaging your joints or any other part of your body, and you're vigilent in looking out for those signs, the benefits seem to me worth the risk, especially since abstaining from exercise has its own associated risks, e.g. heart-disease. Well, why? If these signals are subtle then how can we know when we might be overriding them?
3Salemicus6yBut that framing is very appealing to some people (although perhaps not you).
0NancyLebovitz6yIt's appealing, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
1[anonymous]6yHmm. To what category of values does the value "toughness framed as the will triumphing over the body" belongs to ? Since I got a lot of these kinds of stuff from my father, my first instinct was "masculine values" but on the other hand, actually enjoying physical challenges is a part of the very same set of values, too, and in fact he spent much of his youth pursuing whatever shiny sport happened to strike his fancy - kayaking, long-distance biking, basketball and skating amongst them. So if I categorize it this way, I get some contradictions. Maybe "puritanical values" ? Although my upbringing has little if ever to do with Protestantism, it was a fairly big relevation for me to learn a thing or two about Taoism and Buddhism, starting with The Tao of Pooh, the kind of teachings that doing things in an effortless way, being "fluid" may be a good idea at least sometimes. This sounds like the opposite extreme from Puritanism. And if it was such a new thing for me, maybe I was raised a bit puritan in a non-obvious way, clearly no influence from Calvin. I remember an experiment I did at maybe 16? when I have learned a bit about these Tao-stuff. We were at the Mediterrean sea holidaying and I was lying at the inner edge of the water on the beach and toying with trying to resist the meter-high waves to not throw me out nor to move me. I did i the usual way, flexing all the muscles. Didn' work. Remembered wu-wei, and tryed to relax completely and submit, give me over to it, not resist and become one with the force of the waves, and to my surprise, it worked, it actually could not move me, because I somehow counter-acted the force with micro-movements or something. A bit later I was biking up some hill and my thigh was burning and my usual reaction was to double down hard, flex that thigh harder and grit my teeth and push, and instead I relaxed my thigh and tried to make the movement fluid, as if I was not exerting force but the pedal itself moving my leg or more like my
3Lumifer6yChristian :-) It's the typical Western mind-body dualism with the goal of the (superior) mind triumphing over the (beast-like) body.
1[anonymous]6yHmm. Is it possible at least certain kinds of socialism inherited that? Since religion had such a little influence on my upbringing...
2Lumifer6yWell, Christian ideas formed much of Western culture and Marxism is certainly a Western-culture phenomenon. Also, socialism wanted cogs in a machine and it was useful for cogs to be physically fit and overcome physical hardship through love of .
0[anonymous]6yI am probably the most religion-friendly atheist here with an interest in its history, so I have to challenge this :) Basically mind-body dualism was invented by Descartes and the Catholic Church always believed and AFAIK still does in Aristotelean hylomorphic dualism, where everything consists of matter and substantial form, basically information. So in this view, very roughly a plant consists of matter and DNA, an animal of matter, DNA and info stored in the brain, and so on. It is the substantial form or the information that was called originally "soul". The reason for the general misunderstanding is that Catholics also argued that part of the human substantial form, substantial form is supernatural, because human cognition can see abstractions, not only specific things, like it can see trianglehood not only triangual objects. For this reason they think a small part of the soul, the abstract thinking part which we may call Little Mathemathician survives death and links up after death with the Big Mathemathician, which is called beatific vision. But as this is not really fun in the longer run, to be a purely abstract thinking agent without emotions and memories and everything that died with the brain, that is why they also teach the resurrection of the body later on. But this not mind-body dualism, this is a small - if superior - part of the mind vs. everything else dualism. BTW, if not obvious, why is it wrong: because abstractions are invented, made, abstracted away, modelled, not discovered, they have a map-terrain problem here. However, it is also true that they teach that for every being a good life means living according to his nature and for a human being this abstract thinking part is a unique part of our nature, the only thing other animals don't have, and thus living according to it means overriding our instincts with abstract, general principles, like ethics or laws. So, practically yes, but not in the Cartesian dualism sense, and it is more like th
1NancyLebovitz6yTentative theory: the Puritan (or possibly Protestant work ethic) thing never went away, but at some point it got mated with gaining status through self-expression, and with gaining status through your clothes getting to seem too easy, which is why people shifted to high-maintenance bodies.. That's why running ultramarathons on multiple continents seems cool rather than weird and extravagant. This isn't about philosophy, exactly, though you may be able to deduce a plausible philosophy to explain what people are doing. It's about cultural shifts.
0[anonymous]6yReverse correlation between fitness vs. dressy fashion? Kinda-sorta of true for Europe (Sweden: fitness, France, Italy: dressy fashion), can someone compare the muscle-beaches of California and Rio de Janeiro to NY fashion?

I love sports. I've been playing basketball all my life, and play some others once in a while too. I know that what I'm about to say isn't literally true, but I think that some weaker version is.

I feel like sports are definitively fun... if a) you push yourself the right amount and b) are in the right atmosphere.

  • Physical activity (at the appropriate level of exertion) does make you feel good (from what I understand this involves endorphins).

  • Humans enjoy challenges (again, when pushed the right amount). Picking up a new skill is fun, and the right amoun

... (read more)
0[anonymous]6yI think your first three points are right. Of the second, basically it is convincing argument for individual sports practiced collectively, like martial arts or some grouped squash or tennis course, as opposed to team sports. The goal is common yet individual: get better than you were. So there is this togetherness although not as strong as for teams. There is no need for all to be on the same level, it is enough for each 2 people pairs to be on the same level to be able to practice. Also, there are way less negative comments as you are not making the team's chances to win worse with your lower skillset. Thanks, this is an important consideration. People who are beginner at moving and being active in general, clusmy, fat, slow, should not start with a team sport. Can I put a link into the article?
0adamzerner6yYes, good point - I wasn't thinking about individual sports and I should have addressed them. I agree with you that my second two bullet points don't really apply to individual sports. Feel free to link/quote me.

A reasonable alternative, compatible with all aspects of your argument, is dance. Salsa or Jive or Swing or whatnot give you some workout and lots of fun. It tends to become a lifestyle, which is always a good predictor for inherently motivating activities, but is helped by it also giving lots of opportunities for dating.

If you'd like a nerdy evopsych context / motivation for dancing - or you're a guy and need a reason why so far you haven't danced that doesn't require you to decide you just don't like it - try this long-ish but funny and very rational piece.

7[anonymous]6yYes, for people who can learn it. I find dancing brutally devastating, psychologically speaking, because it feels like it is a hard test of my masculinity in a purely sexual sense. I cannot explain it better. I tried and failed two salsa courses (I could step as long as it was just counting, but when they turned on the music the rythm made me hopelessly confused about what to do), and saw that it is not like learning to play tennis and then being a bit clumsy and taking 3x as long is okay, because I could see on other couples - even those who were not romantic, just paired at the course - that the whole thing, every movement is through and through erotic. And failing at it feels like failing at being a man in the corest erotic-sexual sense. It is utterly devastating. Actually I have found not only these more formal kinds of dances but just club fooling around is like that, a brutal test of sexual masculinity. It happened when I was young that we were at a non-music bar and talking, friends, mixed gender group, some people trying a pick-up some just chatting, but overally we judged each other on things like smarts, humor or looks. Guys who dressed well and talked well made some progress with the girls etc. Then we went to some dance club or music bar with a floor and basically... the gloves came off. Dancing even in that informal, irregular sense was such an brutal test of erotic self-confidence, that guys with more of it basically beat guys with less of into the ground - all this happening on the body language and unspoken feelings level. I have seen making 80% progress towards a girl completely destroyed if you danced hunched back and timid in a don't look at me way and some other guy came there confidently shaking out the moves and enjoying himself. I have seen long-standing couples visibly having their relationship by a dance, women being unable to hide their contempt over their smart, succesful, well-dressed man being such a wimp with competing with other men
3Ishaan6yOh no :( If you want to eliminate this, here's some unsolicited help, from one shy and awkward nerd to another: I didn't like dancing either before undergrad, but I really liked hanging out with my friends, and my friends went out dancing all the time. Now I do like dancing, and I also know why I didn't like it before. Certain cultures see things as music and dance as a Serious Fine Art, to be Performed On Stage for the Benefit of the Audience, and you have no business doing it it you're not good at it. For other cultures, music and dance are natural self expression practiced since childhood with parents and uncles and aunts, and no one cares if you're a tone deaf klutz. (This is the source of stereotypes about which groups can dance and which can't). If you were raised in the first culture, going on the dance floor is kind of like going on stage with no preparation - pretty scary! If you were raised in the first culture, you first have to unlearn the emotional association of dancing/singing with Performing On Stage. This is accomplished by drinking the often conveniently available and potently anxiolytic alcohol to remove feelings of self-consciousness. After 4-7 sessions the association will mostly vanish and you won't need alcohol anymore. (This is also why it's easier to get drunk people singing.) As a corollary to un-learning the idea that dancing is about impressing people, you must also unlearn the idea that dancing is inherently and primarily some sort of mating dance aimed at impressing the opposite gender. Salsa is explicitly heterosexual, sure, but you can dance with your male friends, you can dance with your family, you can dance all by yourself in a corner. There's nothing inherently sexual there. That's just you psychologically framing it as a Performance again...I never had this particular misconception, so I don't have any advice for unlearning it, but I think it's mostly a subset of classifying the activity under "Perform" rather than under "pl
1[anonymous]6yI think your ideas would be excellent for me 15 years ago, now we never go out to dance because our 1 year old would feel really lonely alone at home, and I have a drinking problem anyway, the last thing I need is more. At 37 I think I can do the rest of my life without it. But I think your advice needs to be gotten out to younger "mes" definitely. (To be fair, I think that is how I developed that drinking problem. It began with loosening up to dance or to approach girls. Didn't work but liked the feeling. Since I mostly ended up doing nothing just standing there, getting drunk and going home, I associated that drunk feel with "being entertained, going out like a normal person not staying home like a nerd" and then it went a bit downhill from here - and it was still at 19.) As for culture, I am just more or less standar (Central) Euro, none of that impressive Argentinian stage stuff, neither that wonderfully careless joy-dancing religious Jews do. I think, in between. Normal club stuff.
3NancyLebovitz6yThat's a very interesting link, but I'm left with at least one question-- why did a lot of modern cultures mostly stop teaching young men how to dance? I'm not talking about formal instruction-- most people through history wouldn't afford that.
2[anonymous]6yWhy, because the music changed! I am 36. My parents danced to rock and roll and beat rumba, which is something to learn. They tried to teach me, but when I first went to the clubs to try to find my first girlfriend around 17, around 1995, they weren't playing music like that, they were either playing techno-house-trance or this R&B - funky - pop - disco kind of stuff, I remember this [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryCpg8f45gc] and this [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BkYKwHLXiU] being very popular for the girls. Boys just went for the girls. Around 3-4AM, when people began to get tired and go home, the DJ took pity on the boys who could not score and played music they would like [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MNqkc7E3w0] then everybody went home. At any rate, there is nothing really to learn about these musics dance-wise, at least not on the club level, on the competition, acrobatic level of course yes.But techno is just slicing the air and this kind of funky is just swaying with some hand moves, people find their own moves and style after a while. I think if I really wanted I could remember some rock and roll moves, but for what? It is not like I will ever use them, they are not trendy anymore. Not a lot of people are buying Paul Anka records anymore. And not a lot of places play them.
2chaosmage6yDid they stop? I learned to dance, and I've seen a bunch of impromptu dance lessons at weddings.
3NancyLebovitz6yThere seem to be a lot of men who don't dance, and this seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon. I'm going to modify my comment above to make it less extreme. Second thought-- is neglecting to teach a lot of young men how to dance an unconscious way of lowering their chances of courting/seducing women? If so why would that have happened?

Good article pulling the covers from a cultural blind spot. We do obsess over exercise as though it were something you set out to do, instead of something that is part of an activity. The logic of sports has always been more appealing to me: drive to compete and do well leads to desire to hone specific skills that will unable success in the particular context of that sport. What's exercise... can you even win that game?

You never took a turn in this article towards manual labor. I hope to hear your thoughts on gardening, home improvement, and volunteer work as they relate to exercise. What 'household/handyman' activities meet the exercise threshold, or are there any?

0[anonymous]6yI consider it interesting how whenever I write about this, it tends to be a bit misunderstood. Competing is a very high level thing, and it was not on my mind really here. Going from a computer chair nerd to someone who can seriously compete is a huge move and I am not even sure if it is realistic at 30+. It takes not only strength or cardio (which are fairly straightforward to develop) but also skill, speed, accuracy of movement, so motoric control, balance, and so on. I am not sure how much it is possible to develop these later if they were left to rust at a childhood and teenagerhood. What I mean under sports is more like getting at the level where you can take some enjoyment out of playing / sparring / doing it, where what you do seems roughly correct and your movements are fairly smooth and coordinate, so it is starting to get something fun and not like in the first months where you spend most of your time cursing because you are unable to accurately imitate a movement even after 5 times of having been shown it. So this is mostly what I mean under sports, to be able to do them at all, not to be able to compete, competing is a very high level. For example, I invested about... 80-100 hours into boxing and later kick-boxing so far, at about 3-4 hours per week, and even friendly sparring seems very far as of yet, I am still at the stage where if I execute techniques slowly they are more or less correct, but if I try using realistic speeds I tend to screw them up. The next stage will be adding speed, the next stage adding strength, the next using combos, and after that some friendly sparring, which we tried actually, but I was simply overwhelmed that I am not "allowed" to stop and think after parrying 4-5 punches but there are dozens and dozens more coming. Going from there to any sort of competition, where it is not even friendly but the other person is seriously trying to win, sounds like a very high level thing and I think it is beyond the reach of people who ar
0Nornagest6yYou're not feeling overwhelmed because sparring requires a level of skill that you haven't built yet. You're feeling overwhelmed because you wandered into a completely different skill set. The only way to get comfortable with sparring is to do a lot of sparring -- although partnered kata can be helpful in drilling responses to specific situations, and a lot of weapon and grappling arts spend most of their time doing that. This actually touches on one of the big problems in martial arts pedagogy: there's a large body of skill that doesn't come without freeform competition, and you can't simply ignore that without throwing out application entirely; but the earlier you start sparring seriously, the more likely it is to build in bad habits or to lead to injury. Martial arts' approaches to squaring that circle often define their styles more than their actual technique does; you'll find almost all aikido techniques in jujitsu, for example, but their pedagogical approaches couldn't be more different.
0[anonymous]6yYes, but you don't send people to train for marathons as long as even their walking is wrong. Just yesterday we had this simple exercise to quickly hop back and forth over a pool noodle. I counted 5 different ways I was able to screw it up: not always landing on toes, sometimes landing on the noodle, being slow and stopping to think before a jump, feet not flying parallel but more like a step over, accidentally kicking the noodle away. Basically poor motoric coordination, the result of 37 years spent thinking living in a computer chair and doing some body-building to put on muscles optimized for the mirror equals "fitness". It does not, and it is a tough lesson. I think this needs to be sorted out with further practice before sparring.
0JohnBuridan6yJust so you know, I think a lot of people (or maybe its just me) use competition in a wide sense, e.g. I would consider casual basketball a competition simply because there is a winner. But the motivation for playing in the first place isn't winning, the desire is, as you say, to be actively getting better at some exercise-sport with your peers. Yeah, I guess that's true about manual labor. It burns calories, keeps you fit-ish, but doesn't build muscle (except for bailing hay, to hell with hay). Although, I would feel a lot more manly if I could restore a bathroom competently.
0[anonymous]6yMy point is that I am used to playing in a way that we don't keep score at all so there is no winner. But generally yes. People still do this manually? I spent significant amounts of my life in rather poor regions in Eastern Europe and still I see these probably machine-made, rolled-up or cubical piles of hay. The most heroic level of manual work I saw was when a guy who could not afford a car inherited a rather crappy house built of stones. He disassembled it, hauled the stones to the other edge of the village on a hand cart (why did not he rent a truck for an hour is beyond me, they were not that poor), and built a wing to their house. As his main job shift was 12 hours 15 days a month he had 50% of the days to work on it so not just weekends - but it meant no free time at all, even not a decent sleep schedule. BTW I would like working such shifts. After 8 hours of work not so much gets done in the evenings at home. Might as well do another 4 and have more free days. This reminds me of Jack Donovan's four masculine virtues, Strength, Courage, Mastery, Honor. This is the mastery part. But it is more of an inherited romantic view than something of actual utility. If we had any sense, we would not assemble houses on the spot, we would have everything prefabricated, like with every other consumer item. We don't hand assemble cars in a garage, this makes no sense. But for houses it is still like it is done in 1880. As a contrast, I saw in an old house in London converted to a hotel, where bathrooms were added to the rooms, and they were one big cast plastic item, walls, floor, basic, toilet, shower, everything part of one huge plastic shape. This was fairly ugly and rickety, like an in-room Toi-Toi [http://www.toitoi.at/fileadmin/documents/product/images/30_TOI_Cap_01_zoom.jpg] , but if low-quality prefab is possible, perhaps higher-quality prefab would also be possible.
0JohnBuridan6yFor some reason, I notice certain people, myself included, crave a certain amount of manual labor. Better prefab stuff would be great, however, you still need someone to install the stuff. And just mixing instant concrete and laying a small foundation is enough to make me feel like I'm a contributing member to the physical infrastructure of society. Despite my belief in specialization, I still want for myself what you called 'Mastery.'
0[anonymous]6yThis is very understandable. That is also why people grow vegetable gardens. There is millions and millions of years of evolution behind our feelings wrt to what feels like a job well done, and obviously it does not have a lot to do with what are actually the most productive and lucrative works today. Wifey named it all "adult LEGO". Also, assembling IKEA furniture. That is when she coined the term first. This used to be work, but today more like play that is made to feel like work.

I enjoy lifting weights at my home, with no one around. I do it to make sure I don't have to buy new pants. Sports are a good way to tear a ACL.

So, if we agree that "Arnold" mostly does win on fair and square scientific grounds (and keeping in mind that our "inner caveman's" movement repertoire included lifting heavy objects, heavy gripping, squatting, and climbing in addition to high-intensity-interval cardio)

...doesn't that mean we can do X-ball, frisbee type sports for cardio purposes, but still need gym/body-weight training to maintain hunter-gatherer levels of mobility, bone density, and strength assuming we have desk jobs? Or make new sports and dabble in "sports&quo... (read more)

0[anonymous]6yIf we are fat and beginners, not. My point is that if a fat and weak person throws big hammy arms around with the frisbee, he or she gains quites some muscle. In the longer run, when it became a habit, yes, but that is a different story, I am trying to help people who never start or start and stop, not those who reliably do it and want to improve further. Funny anecdote: I have seen some people in Eastern Europe call this half-seriously as "peasant body building", claiming that former peasant cultures really had this idea that be fat, because then you will almost automatically be strong in those circumstances. Because working all day in the fields is low-intensity cardio, with moving large hammy arms and carrying a heavy body around that actually builds strength, and then he can carry sacks of grain. Of course I am not telling anyone to be fat. I am just telling if we are already fat that frisbee-type fun stuff is muscle-building in the beginning.

It doesn't seem to me that you'd gain much strength from sports. From what I understand, you need to lift some percentage or your 1 rep max, and to progressively lift more and more weight as you get stronger. I don't see how this could be done in sports.

0[anonymous]6yThere are different types of muscle fibers. Sports tends to build the ones for stamina. And yes, endurance is a function of strength. These muscles take the longest to build up so the impact is negligible compared to weightlifting.
0Lumifer6yFirst, weightlifting is a sport. So is, for example, gymnastics and gymnasts are very strong. Second, to be good at certain sports you need to work at developing your strength -- look e.g. at American football. Of course there are sports where you can't expect to gain significant strength -- from table tennis to long-distance running.
0adamzerner6yI don't think of weightlifting and gymnastics as sports, but my definitions don't matter, so you're right. I can't think of many other examples where you actually gain strength from sport though. Rock climbing perhaps?
0Lumifer6yMost sports build strength specific to their particular task. Swimmers (other than long-distance) have pretty huge muscles. A bunch of track-and-field sports rely on explosive strength -- from javelin throw to long jump. Hard martial arts build strength, so does wrestling. It's really not difficult to come up with examples -- e.g. look at pictures of olympic athletes, notice who's ripped :-)
0adamzerner6yI should have been more specific, my bad. I've been thinking in my head about strength per se [http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/strengthtraining.html], not muscular endurance or explosiveness. I think that those examples build endurance, but not so much strength. I think that in a lot of sports, you don't build much strength (per se) by participating in the sport, but you need strength to be good at it, and so competitive athletes lift weights.
[-][anonymous]6y 0

The culture of exercise/fitness suffers from a motivation (and discipline) problem.

It suffers from an informational problem. Learn a bit about how you REALLY lose weight (and gain it, you'll learn both at the same time) and then read that ebook, or that article, or ask your friends for advice.. and you'll just notice how much crap there is about there.

0[anonymous]6yI think since books like this [http://www.engineeringthealpha.com/] got published that are based on both studies and decades of trainer experience, that is largely solved. I think it is not an issue anymore. However, the issue is that the end result of even that great book is simply "do this". Every fitness advice boils down to "do this". We don't need this. What we need is "do easy thing X to get in the mindset where it is not too hard to do hard thing Y". I largely hacked it here with sports: for example there is a huge difference between the advice "do push-ups", which gets then interpreted as "do push-ups at home, alone, for the reason of looking better and being healthier, while you hate the whole thing and would rather do something else", and in sports it is much more like "cool I am at a martial arts training with friends and we will have some really enjoyable sparring later but now we do push-ups on the trainers counting in order to punch stronger". This is like a billion times better motivation psychologically. This is what I offer here. I have not yet looked into hacking diet psychology the same way. That may be harder, everybody is lazy the same way, but wrong diet habits are vastly different. For example I always got confused by blogs that talk about snacks, candy etc. I always disliked the sweet taste. However I drank rather inordinate amounts of beer and other alcohol. And I have a cousing who does neither, just consumes traditional homecooked food - but ginormous quantities. It seem I will have to figure out different psychologies for these different cases.
0[anonymous]6yThat site is full of advertising and therefore I say the book sucks. If you don't trust my intuition then he didn't provide a single link to a study and I don't see the reason to believe a word he said. He's also making various appeals tp nonreason that you should be able to see yourself. Well, here's my "book". http://www.liamrosen.com/fitness.html [http://www.liamrosen.com/fitness.html]. I suppose you've read that book so let's see what you can say against my link that isn't covered in my "book". Do you have a bottom line, btw?
2[anonymous]6yMy bottom line? Hack the mind first. Don't simply stop at "X is beneficial for the body" but also "is X an easy choice to make" and "how to arrange things so that X becomes an almost unavoidable and joyful choice to make". Stop just telling people they should do things they dislike doing. It is almost never a lack of information: people who simply don't dislike it all are never fat even if they know nothing. (These people engage in active hobbies, they simply forget to eat, they hate feelling too full, and they are uninterested in oral pleasure and just absent-mindedly grab a sandwich between one fun activity and another.) That is my bottom line: it is the lack of motivation, not information, and largely because it is formulated so that it is not enjoyable. (Actually right now, when I finished this comment, I will take a lunch break (from procastinating at "work", yeah) and buy a slice of pizza while fully knowing the issues with it, but right now my stomach feels so that it would not feel content with a salmon on wholemeal rye bread combo which I buy on my stronger days for lunch.)
0[anonymous]6yGood.
0[anonymous]6yInteresting! Let's discuss here as this thread is newer. I am probably not understanding the theory correctly, because it seems to me that on playgrounds all over the world, kids are happy enough to play soccer. Even without scoring, just enjoying the ball handling. I suppose you mean the "serious" matches that often end with 2:1, not many goals. Interesting. For fans, that is a good thing, lots of nail-gnawing excitement and a few explosions of joy. Or grief. I would say this is why it won in the spectator range over say water polo, or basketball, scoring is just too common there to be a reason of celebration. But for players it may be different. On the playground level, they score much, much more. I find it interesting how martial arts is missing. I think it needs to be said as a basic category of biological behavior: every animal eats, every animal fucks, every animal fights, people who never fight are missing out on a whole category of life.

In my own experience I've found that finding a physical activity you like is worth far more than an "efficient" activity that just ends up sapping your willpower. I, for example, hate running. I am well aware of its health benefits, but I still feel miserable while doing it.

0[anonymous]6yAnecdotal tidbit - friends who are better at it than me and have enough endurance to do it until they get a runner's high, an endorphine release, actually saying it is easier to get with activities that involve the upper body more than running, e.g. sandbag training.

My biggest setback is needing to rely on someone else to reach the training area. I could probably have walked to the dojo before it moved, but I didn't know the way; seeing as I actually got up early enough for the morning session, this was just frustrating (I did once try going anyway, but my GPS is terrible).

I knew someone in high school who wound up obtaining some weighted training equipment--arm/wrist bands, a vest, etc... think Dragonball Z. And that was quite enough to get him frequently running the local "mountain" (The threshold for moun... (read more)

0[anonymous]6yWhile sports for blind athletes, like goalball, exist, not living in a city and having to rely on cars sounds like a huge obstacle. I have no idea what to recommend. I suppose you already tried the obvious i.e. getting together with other visually impaired people living nearby, forming a club a exploring activities together, but I suppose this did not work due to the low pop density. If you could not find a sighted running buddy who would warn you of obstacles then I suppose there are other problems here of which I have no idea so I should rather not try to give advice that may turn out to be bad.
[-][anonymous]6y -2

Exercise is a poor way to lose weight. Men, if they gain enough muscle, can raise their metabolism, and thereby lose a lot of weight, but this is only after several months of hard work before they can see results in this manner. The best way to lose weight is to change your lifestyle as this is the easiest to implement and the second best way to do so is to diet which loses weight slightly faster but is much harder to implement. Exercise should be done for health and to build muscle; not to lose weight.

Some numbers:

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis - ... (read more)

1[anonymous]6yWith due respect, you are not really understanding the spirit of my article. What I am trying to say is the whole thing is primarily psychological and what sucks about fitness culture is ignoring it. You too have completely ignored the psychology part here. Yet this is precisely I am trying to draw attention to so I must object here. Basically people don't have poor diets simply because they are misinformed. There are all kinds of psychological mechanisms here, from comfort eating to thinking you suck and you don't deserve a good body and so on. To change the diet, we need to put people into a proper psychological frame for that. There are various aspects of it how sports help. Better mood. Feeling more proud due to having physical successes, feeling proud and good about yourself for having the will to do it. Fat looks better with muscle under it, this is what people call toning up. More importantly, changing the self-image from "self-hatting glutton slob worthless jabba couch potato" to "proud active athlete who achieves goals aw yiss". Taking hedons from activity, not consumption. Not wanting to feel stuffed because it interferes with active movement. Not wanting to feel food coma, because enjoying the new, more aware, more active, less of a mind-fog existence. And so on. Of course, this could partially replaced by other sources of joy and other sources of feeling achivement. I am working from a "nothing special happens, normal office career, no challenges" assumption here. Everything you wrote is right, it is just missing the point. You are talking about how the body works. I am talking about how the mind, the psychology works. My criticism of fitness culture is precisely too much focus on how the body works and too little on how the mind. One more thing. Insulin sensitivity, leptin sensitivity, HGH and T. All having an effect on fat. This is how basic calories math is misleading: if you cells refuse to take energy, or your body refuses to deliver it to ce
1[anonymous]6yI'm not disagreeing with your diagnosis of the problem. I think your diagnosis is in part highly speculative, but I'm not too concerned with that. You are correct that motivation is a major factor. I'm disagreeing with your proposed solution, which you highlighted in italics under a section labeled solutions: Which you are proposing as a solution for: I'm saying this is wrong. A typical casual sports club won't allow most people to burn nearly enough calories to bring about significant weight loss during the course of a regular season. Most of this weight will then be gained back in the off-season. This is why many people on those teams are fat. The best solution for the office worker is to switch to a stand-up desk. The second best solution is to eat more vegetables. Sports teams require a much bigger commitment than is actually required to meet basic fitness goals, which can be done with as little as 30 minutes a week of exercise. Basically, I view weight loss like this: 50% NEAT 40% Diet 10% Exercise Your article reads like this: 98% Exercise 2% Diet 0% NEAT Anybody relying on your advice is going to have a very skewed perception on how to lose weight.
0[anonymous]6yI don't know how to explain it better. You need to feel good, and feel proud about yourself to make the kinds of changes you say. This is what sports do. Put you in a I-am-a-hero mood which enables you to change these things. The calories burned is a remote extra. Example: most of my own fat comes from alcohol and the burning hunger that creates, currently I am on day 5 of zero booze, compared to my, probably strongly addicted, 2 liter beer a day habit. I know that if I was not doing boxing for months now I had no chance to make this change, I hated myself too much and felt too bad and too weak to resist. Boxing made me find this inner strength and pride and self-approval to deserve a positive change. My example is not very typical but replace booze with sugar/choco and junk food, or overdosing on standard homecooked food until sleepiness, and now we are closer to typical cases. BTW fitness is not simply weight loss. No, the point I am trying to drive home it iss 90% psychology, 90% things that happen inside your head and the other three happens after. Sport is self-esteem training, in a way, although this is not the only psychological factor created by it.