One of my favorite blogs is Lifehacker, a site devoted to all kinds of ways to do things a little smarter and essentially “hack” your life, whether it is cool software, better ways to get organized, design your office or even exercise.
So today they had a post about how to build a stand for your cardio equipment so you can mount your laptop to it. They link over to a snazzy YouTube video that demonstrates how.
OK, as you might see in the comments section of the post, I am not a big fan of any of this approach. Why?
I cannot imagine you are providing any real focus or intensity or effort in any kind of exercise activity where you are using your damn laptop at the same time. Now, some people in the comments counter that this is meant more for a situation where you are doing work first and getting in the extra benefit of some extra exercise at the same time. To that I would counter, you are probably not all that focused on your work then.
So to put a fine point on it: I really dislike multitasking. I think it’s just an inherently flawed concept where we feel that we can get some kind of good product as the end result of a scattered level of attention and focus. Personally, I know when I try to accomplish 3 things at once at work, I end up with 3 mediocre results… and umm, no one wants that. Certainly not me.
And what about in your fitness? I think that some steady-state cardio has its place, but generally, if you are talking on your phone or… for the love of God… working on your laptop while exercising? My mind is boggled right now at how that can be of much benefit.
OK, OK… I can hear people saying “Well it’s better than nothing…” but so is doing 3 toe touches and call it a “stretching routine” when compared to just sitting on your butt all day long. It’s not exactly setting the bar too high, wouldn’t you say?
I think this is why I am enjoying the new focus in my own training/lifting/conditioning program right now because I am trying to whittle away all the extraneous stuff I don’t need so I can be committed to doing the essentials and doing them well. Not only is it a hell of a lot more enjoyable, it’s actually more productive too.
A perfect example is how I shun pretty much any kind of “regular” cardio these days. You know the kind… shuffling into the gym, setting up on an elliptical or treadmill and slogging through 30 mind numbing minutes where I walk out feeling maybe a little bit better than when I came in. Ehh.
My solution? Intervals or this lovely little thing called the Tabata protocol which is 4 minutes of fun. Yes, you read that right… 4 minutes. How does it work? Very simple, really. Pick your exercise (and not anything will do mind you) to perform. In this case we will go with a piece of cardio equipment – a stationary bike. You will do 20 seconds as hard as you possibly can. All out. Then go light for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times total. That’s it. It’s not easy, believe me. The science behind it is not about burning calories while you exercise because it would be very small for 4 minutes… however, you have basically amped up your fat burning furnace, so to speak, for hours afterwards. Hard work, focus and incredibly efficiency. Gotta love it… seriously. You HAVE to. There’s no choice in the matter, so stop trying to debate me.
So I am begging you… pleading with you… but not groveling (seriously, even aspiring bloggers desperate for more readers have to have SOME limits, my friends)… knuckle down and do one thing at a time. You might even find you do that one thing really well. Crazy talk, I know, but that’s just the kind of nutty guy I am.