Exercise is a Crock of Poo - July 5, 2010

If you have read anything I have ever written about exercise, you will know that I never present it in a positive light. I am not opposed to DOING something like playing a sport. But just to exercise - on a machine, with weights, bicycle, or running is both physical and mental anguish for me. Furthermore, I never experience any of the purported benefits from this misery and drudgery. Those who feel exhilarated and energized after a fitness regimen - good for you! Feel free to bite me. I am just happy when I don't feel nausea on top of exhaustion. I have tried them all - "Fat burning" cardio, low intensity long duration, interval, and even high intensity interval. Not only do they all suck, but they don't appear to do me any good. Still I shall continue, because if being miserable for half an hour a day helps in any way to defeat cancer, I will do it. But don't be telling me how much better I will feel or how much weight I will lose. There are no data to support these fairy tales.

The latest data set comes from my international friendly competition with David F. in England. He was distressed at recent weight gain. I had never lost the 10 pounds I gained in Mexico, so I proposed a contest. He quickly agreed, and after a week it was off to the races. David's diet of rabbit food and stress (from working a start-up venture) combined with interval training has paid off for him in spades. I maintained my relatively low calorie diet, and added exercise 4-6 days per week. After 4 weeks David is reduced by 8 pounds. I lost zero, one, one, and then gained two - leaving me at net zero. The tale of the scale is illustrated by the graph below:

What can we make of all this? Hopefully nothing. Perhaps my "fat burning furnace" will ultimately kick in, and I can make some sort of showing.
I have no idea. My friend Trevor convinced me of the merits of playing squash - the only racquet sport in which the length of volley increases with skill level. He even delivered a few weeks of informal training, and I must say I enjoyed it a lot. It is a game that involves the mind completely, as well as the body. I wore my heart rate monitor and had to ask for several breathers even in our fairly light workout. Experience will teach that not every shot can be won or every ball chased! For more stimulation, a quick internet search reveals this interesting tidbit - for a few brief months in 2001, one British professional squash player single-handedly changed the entire "look" of the game. Check out Vicky Botwright here.

I was nearly ready to take the plunge, and take some formal training in conjunction with a club membership, when a toe injury combined with a back injury to delay that plan for over a year. It may be that it is time to add this sport to the mix soon. I have to take a look at calendar, budgets and so forth. Might make more sense to delay until after the next cystoscopy to ensure everything is still all clear, and get 3 more BCGs done, before making a time and money commitment to squash. I shall have to think about it.

In the meantime one thing remains constant. Exercise SUCKS!