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Under-the-Desk Exercise Equipment? 28

stoat asks: "I am a rather large man looking for exercise alternatives. I was thinking that an under desk pedaling machine might be just the ticket. Could perhaps hook it up to your computer and log total calories burned. The question is, has this already been done? It would seem to be the rather large number of 'large' people in the geek community could really use something like this."
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Under-the-Desk Excersize Equipment?

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  • Oh course, his consideration is bad from a nutrition point of view. A normal diet should have:

    Fat %30 of kcalories
    Saturated Fat %10 (incl in fat %)
    Carbohydrate %60
    Protein %10

    I'd recommend ready a good nutrition book, which will explain why most protein diets are spoofs.
  • by PD ( 9577 )
    I think the guy wants to program while he's walking. I would too. I love walking, because it's a great time to think. But sometimes I think of something cool, and I have to wait until I get in front of a machine before I can act on it. Since I like to walk a few miles at a time, that can be a couple hours before that happens. I'd love to have a wearable, not so I can write a lot of code when I'm walking, but so that I can do quick little things when I don't want to go back to a computer right away.

  • Creatine is fine, but the thing is that Cliff still needs to find the time to work out.

    My suggestion to Cliff would be to read everything he can on the Cyberpump [cyberpump.com] website. It has everything you need to know about H.I.T. (or High Intensity Training), which basically espouses the benefits of brief, high intensity weight training. Just the thing for the time-poor. If you are pressed for time, at least read the HIT FAQ [cyberpump.com].

    Also, if you're interested in creatine, check out the following article [cyberpump.com] in Lyle McDonald's Nutrimuscle on Cyberpump [cyberpump.com] for some unbiased information on creatine supplementation.

    Wocko
  • Actually cross country skiing is better than running. . .

    Although it would be nice to have some type of excersise that you could do while working I doubt it going to have much effect, and more importantly isn't going to significantly improve your quality of life.

    Got to admit I am looking for some kind way (time, and lack of inertia) to get fitter, although I have the opposite problem, I used to weigh about 28lb (?? 2 stones) more than I do now, although back then I was working for the forestry, rebuilding an old stone house and studying kung fu, now I even get tired going up stairs which really comes as a shock.

    can't someone just make the internet go away?

  • Nonetheless I will not stay silent while you malign a great art form.

    Sheesh, how defensive. I'm not maligning the martial arts; I even mention (albeit as an afterthought) that since the student of martial arts is capable of causing damage to others, there might be a reason to make sure he understands the ethical import of his situation. What I have a problem with are the pervasive hidden agendas, the constant assumption of spiritual truths. I don't feel that everybody who wants a workout without religion should be relegated to "an aerobics class". If someone wants to learn how to defend themselves (e.g. a teenage girl doesn't want to get raped, an old man doesn't want to get mugged, a football player wants to keep in shape during the off-season), they should be able to do so without having spiritual values forced upon them. To a degree ethical values are fine. A martial arts instructor can say you shouldn't hit, but the teacher who says you should love your mother and give to charity is abusing his power (even though you should love your mother and give to charity). He is preying upon people in a vulnerable state who are taking him as an authority.

    But I'm done arguing with you. Obviously I'm assaulting your religious sensibilities (I was under their spell once too, I know the seduction first-hand) and courtesy dictates I stop.

  • meant "decreases muscle recovery periods"
  • You use these terms in a pejorative manner.

    True, I do :). I find that though there's nothing wrong with Zen (legitimate practitions of it seem more at peace with themselves than your average citizen) or martial arts (taught me to kick some SERIOUS ass) many martial arts schools tend to use an ad-hoc system of ethics loosely based on Zen-buzzwords in order to enforce a false hierarchy and ensure a monthly stream of revenue. I've checked out many disciplines and found this to be the case with the majority. Students unwittingly become voicepieces for their teachers. This phenomenon is undoubtably cultlike.

    Most teachers of martial arts wind up considering themselves qualified teachers of religion as well. This is an extremely dangerous abuse of power. What's worse is that they're implicitly converting to their belief system many people who wanted nothing more than a Billy Blanks style of workout. If you take Yoga or Tai-Chi, odds are your target is some state of harmony/bliss/awareness. It's therefore expected that some spiritual virtues will be emphasized. But if you're taking kickboxing, you are expecting little more than a workout. It's therefore unfair for them to push upon you an alien belief system. What if you believe in Jesus, heaven, all of that stuff? Or in Yehovah and the splitting of the Red Sea? Or in the Big Bang, evolution, etc. To be forced to acknowledge another shape to the universe when all you wanted was an exciting workout that would teach you to defend yourself is an act of brainwashing.

    Imagine a short 10 year-old geek (give him tourette's or diabetes to sadden his plight) picked on by the other kids. He takes Karate because he's seen the movies, played the video games, and knows that it will teach him how to fight back. To not be a victim. And when he goes to Tae-Kwon-Do school, they fill his impressionable mind with yet-another-ethical-system and yet-another-belief-system. When his technique is poor, they tell him he lacks "spirit". And he's vulnerable, so these lessons stick. That kid has just lost a MAJOR part of his ability to think independently. Yes he can rediscover his freedom later in life, but he might not. Many don't.

    You can argue that since the martial arts teach a person how to become a fearsome fighter, it's vital that some lessons be given regarding self-control, etc. so this ten year-old kid won't himself become a bully. But that's no reason to fill his head with mystical doctrines. Oh well, maybe I just had the wrong teachers :).

  • Didn't the Federal Intern Agency put together something like this for the President?
  • Actually running is better than lifting free weights. Your body still has to do the same repair stuff after running and its better for your cardiovascular system then weight lifting. Ideally, you would do both but if you could only do one running or some other aerobic exercise such as swimming, biking, etc. will be better than lifting.

    running is not better than lifting, read the original message again, it says loose weight, AND gain muscle. running will help you gain a little muscle, but pretty much only in legs. running however is a great cardo program

    THE fastest way to loose weight and tone up a bit would be to find a traditional northern style kung-fu class. THAT will whip you into shape.

    kung fu is a cardo style exercise that also makes use of small free weights to give you some upper body strength.

  • Get one of those electric muscle workout things. They simulate you working out... you flex without thinking about... so you can do some real work... coding. :-)
  • Considering I started at 245 and I had a two week period where there was absolutely no way to work out, pretty good. I am down about 3 inches on my waist, gained over on my arms, and lost over an inch on my legs. It sounds silly, but one of my goals was to actually see the zipper on my pants, and I can now do this for the most part. I plan to do it again and focus even more on setting goals, this is something I have never been good at before, but I have really found it to be helpful during the program.
    Now if only he could put hair back on my head! :)

  • Wow, there's a lot of not-so-good stuff in this post.

    First, I'm a fat guy who is in the process of slimming down, so what's here is what's working for me and, more importantly, what my doctor recommends.

    If you're looking to lose weight, please don't start by lifting weights. Lifting weights increases muscle mass, which is heavier then fat, believe it or not. So you'll be industriously lifting weights, and not losing much at all. On the good side, depending on how you choose to lift weights, you'll either tone what you have or develop a lot of new muscle (the general rule is low weight and lots of reps=muscle toning and high weight and fewer reps=big muscle mass).

    The first thing anyone should do if they're want to lose weight is to consult their doctor! Losing weight involves a combination of eating properly and exersizing and you should always consult your doc to make sure that what you've planned is actually healthy for you. The last thing you want is to set off a heart-attack or some other injury because what you're doing is too much. Start slow, and stick to your plan, once you have it.

    Having said that, there are some very good general guideline anyone can use.
    • Eat Sensibly. Avoid fats and starches in general. Moderation is good, and overeating anything is bad for you. If you need to snack, snack on veggies. But if you're really jonesing, a small bag of chips won't hurt. Just don't eat a whole 2 lb bag of Doritos (my personal fave!).
    • Don't eat late. Eating after 8-9 PM is a bad thing to do because your body is slowing down in preparation for sleep. You don't demand much energy, so you body stores what you just ate as fat.
    • Walking is good. What I'm doing now, as a general plan is walking 30-45 minutes every other day, first thing in the morning. Walking (just fast enough to raise your heart rate a bit) early in the day is excellent for you because it gets your metabolism started for the day, wakes you up, and (since you haven't eaten yet) starts burning fat reserves.

      But these are things I do, and though I can't guarantee they'll work for everyone, they have worked for a lot of folks. Take it for what it's worth. :-)
  • Good post. Unfortunately, as I'm sure a lot of Slashdotters know, the I.T industry and related industries usually demand 16 hour+ days. Oh well. I guess lifting a rackmount server is quite staunch exercise and will be a fair replacement for free weights :-) (lift, up, down, lift that server). Or a 21" Sun monitor. Sheesh. I think the glass in the front must be at least 120lbs. The whole thing, slightly more.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The fastest way to loose weight, and gain muscle is to lift weight. Preferably free weights, because they offer better rage of motion than machines. It is a fact that you burn more calories resting after lifting (you body burns calories to repair the muscle tissue you slightly damage when working out). Combine this with 20 mins of cardio every other day, with one day off for both. Your body will change rather quickly. I must add that eating properly is probably 60-70% of your battle. Without eating properly, the change will not happen as quickly. Eat 5-6 times a day. This is important. 5-6 smaller, balanced meals consisting of 40% carbs and 60% protein will yield the best results. Usually the 5-6 meals are 3 regular meals and 2-3 protein shakes like met-rx (you can use any high quality protein mix, but met-rx tastes good).
  • I know some wrist execises you can do under desk, but you have to beware of chafing and I'm not sure if you should do them at work...

  • "The fastest way to loose weight, and gain muscle is to lift weight. Preferably free weights..."

    For safety reasons, you should try to have a spotter watch over you when working with free weights, in case you lose control or get a cramp. It's really easy to hurt yourself, especially when you're first starting out.

    If you don't someone who can serve as a spotter around, a machine may be a little bit better because of the limited range of motion. I've also been wondering about machines like the Bowflex -- the lack of actual weights looks like it might make it a little safer, but I've never actually used one of those.
  • Martial arts fit the bill for many people, despite the cult/fascist/zen approach taken by some schools

    While I respect your right to your own opinion, I must disagree here. You use these terms in a pejorative manner.

    If you're looking for strictly a cardiovascular workout, take an aerobics class. While Billy Blanks is an extremely skilled martial artist, this Tae Bo shit has to stop. If you're not willing to put in the time and expend the energy, you shouldn't be doing it.

    LK
  • Sheesh, how defensive.

    Absolutely. You may have had some jerks as instructors, but that doesn't mean that everyone in the field is just as bad.

    What I have a problem with are the pervasive hidden agendas, the constant assumption of spiritual truths.

    I've never encountered anyone who hid his or her motives in the field of martial arts. Teachers who wish to to insure that their pupils will be peaceful, generally good people say so from the first time you walk through the door.

    I don't feel that everybody who wants a workout without religion should be relegated to "an aerobics class".

    Then they can go jogging. It's an instructors duty to impart information about right and wrong to his pupils.

    If someone wants to learn how to defend themselves (e.g. a teenage girl doesn't want to get raped, an old man doesn't want to get mugged, a football player wants to keep in shape during the off-season), they should be able to do so without having spiritual values forced upon them.

    Have you ever heard of pepper spray? Have you ever heard of a kabuto? How about a concealed weapons permit? The efforts of the lazy or the uninterested to distill out "the important parts" from things that they have no understanding of or respect for have lead us to innovations such as AOL and the like.

    There is no one who can force you to believe something. If your teacher's beliefs contradict your own, you are free to cast his beliefs aside.

    But I'm done arguing with you.

    Fine. We're both set in our beliefs and no amount of arguing will change that.

    Obviously I'm assaulting your religious sensibilities

    I've never mentioned my religious beliefs. You are making assumptions.

    Someone who has learned the techniques without learning the discipline can be as dangerous as a 4 year old with an uzi.

    LK
  • If you want a cardiovascular workout, take an aerobics class. If your teach is going to impart upon you knowledge that, if used incorrectly, can hurt people, then he should be teaching you a system of values. Just as a parent shouldn't hand a child a firearm without teaching that child the responsibility that goes along with it.

    If you look at buddhist monks, some of them are the most amazing fighters that you'll ever see. Well into old age, many of them would be capable of clearing a bar full of drunken marines.

    I had several teachers over the years, one of whom only cared about the fighting part. He wanted us to learn to be great fighters. I learned much from him, but I learned much more from the teachers who stressed self discipline and respect.

    I had a teacher from Japan once, his family's katana hung on the wall above the mat. He helped me develop my ability to use the tonfa beyond what my previous instructor had. I watched as he had another student in the class kick him in the crotch hard enough to lift him off of his feet, and then he explained how it worked.

    I assume that you know of the tiger and the dragon. Too many people take martial arts in pursuit of the tiger. The ability of the tiger to "whoop some ass" pales in comparison to the dragon. You can spend a night in jail because you kicked some guy's ass at the bar, I'll walk home because I knew enough to avoid that fight.

    That's why it's imperitive for the instructors to teach their values along with the physical part of a martial art.

    Maybe you had bad teachers, maybe you were a bad student, I don't know about your experiences. Nonetheless I will not stay silent while you malign a great art form.

    LK
  • I'm actually in the same boat that you're in. Built like a fire-hydrant 5'10" & > 350lbs. I am an avid weightlifter and I play rugby although an injury has sidelined me for the better part of a year(no insurance). Before playing rugby I was well over 400 lbs. Even then I could do push ups, some semblance of situps, calf raises, etc. The problem with all of those things is that they are limited range motions. They involve relatively small muscles and those muscles actually get tired before any cardiovascular effect can be gained

    I think that the idea of a peddling mechanism is a good one to start. My uncles had one from the 70's, no real way to interface them, but they fit in front of a chair and pedalled as fast as you like. The resistance was provided by a wing nut and a washer tightening the connection between the support and the pedalling mech. Anyway, I think that the devices exist, but in the long run ...

    Back away from the keyboard. Muscles need room to move. You won't get any real cardio/fat burning effect until you make all the big muscles work real hard doing real world things. I agree with lifting weights as a good place to start. It builds muscle and that helps burn fat. It also doesn't hurt too much cardiovascularly. A good weightlifting session doesn't leave you miserably out of breath, but breathing hard and sweating good. After that gets comfortable, a couple of minutes (5, 10, 15 to start) on an excercise bike mixed in and then the hardest part ... eating better. I think the first thing that can be done to help the transition is to drink water instead of soft drinks. Not exclusively mind you ... that would be suicidal, but cut soda back to dinner and lunch and if you drink, try to save it for the weekends.

    As soon as I find the key to this eating right thing, I'll tell the world. I can't claim to be an expert, but if you want a pretty good starting point in a weightlifting/resistance training program, go ahead and e-mail me. I might be able to help. Good luck.

  • The fastest way to loose weight, and gain muscle is to lift weight. Preferably free weights, because they offer better rage of motion than machines. It is a fact that you burn more calories resting after lifting (you body burns calories to repair the muscle tissue you slightly damage when working out)

    Actually running is better than lifting free weights. Your body still has to do the same repair stuff after running and its better for your cardiovascular system then weight lifting. Ideally, you would do both but if you could only do one running or some other aerobic exercise such as swimming, biking, etc. will be better than lifting.

    BTW, eating 5-6 small meals a day is a great idea but having your diet composed of 40% carbs and 60% protein is not. You'll stress your kidneys with a higher influx of proteins, increase your risk for kidney stones and other nastiness. A diet of 50% carbs, 30% proteins, and 20% fats is would be better.

  • ...under the desk exercise regimens. Unfortunately there are largely prohibited by recent harassment legislation.

    More seriously, try visiting The Hacker's Diet [fourmilab.to]. It has done (and is continuing to do) wonders for me.

    Remember, exercise, while good for you, doesn't cut the weight as well as eating less (or more accurately, eating BETTER).
    --
    Compaq dropping MAILWorks?
  • Heh, the title of this story was to hilarious for me to resist posting. ^_~

    I know everyone says, "find an exercise you like!", but really, most exercise bores the hell out of me...I'm not into nature or sports or whatever... but something that did get me doing 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise every day is Dance Dance Revolution! Heheh, finally, a video game that isn't about sitting on your ass all day! It's totally addictive.

    Quick synopsis: you get a 3' x 3' dancing pad, with spots for the 4 directional arrows. A song plays, and little arrows float up the screen, and you have to step on the arrow on the pad in sync with the screen's arrows. Sound easy? It's not. You've got to hit the pad exactly on the beat, and the songs are generally dance songs, so they can be pretty fast. It's extra-challenging if you have no sense of rhythm (like me).

    The songs are pretty good too...Konami teamed up with EMI Japan to put real songs on the game. Some familiar ones are Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping" and an odd cover/remix of the Village People's "In The Navy".

    Anyway, it's out for PSX, and I think Dreamcast now too. It's an import game, with modchip detection, so you'll need a stealth mod, plus the dancing pad of course (waaay cheap, I've seen 'em go for 15 bucks).

  • Seriously. Creatine will pack on muscle mass like you wouldn't believe. And this muscle mass will burn tremendous amounts of fat. In addition, creatine increases your muscle recovery periods which means you will increase the amount of times per week you will be able to work out without overtraining.

    As for pedaling equipment: You shouldn't think about work, school, etc. when you exercise, or else you will have a terrible workout. I used to take a book with me to the gym and read between sets in order to conserve time (any other geeks out there do this?). This led to my workouts lasting twice as long as necessary, and being half as intense as they should have been.

    What you need is a sport you'll enjoy (Martial arts fit the bill for many people, despite the cult/fascist/zen approach taken by some schools). Instead of a cycling machine, you might try cycling for real. Outdoors. Wind, rain, muggers, all that stuff. That way, keeping up with your exercise routine won't be a burden, and you'll feel fulfilled throughout the rest of the day (insert sappy music here). You might even find you get more out of the day if you don't condense activities. I know I do.
  • > Basically, eat more protein than carbs.

    Um, no, that's not the way to go. From this page [bodyfueling.com] (sixth bullet down) on the BodyFueling site [bodyfueling.com] come three facts about excessive protein consumption:

    • Too little carbohydrate to run the body results in conversion of protein to carbohydrate to meet fuel needs.
    • Excess (unused) protein is converted to fat.
    • Converting protein either to fat or glucose is hard work, toxic--and unnecessary.
    > I haven't read anything regarding renal stress associated with a high protein diet.

    Elsewhere on the site, Robyn Landis points out "Eating excess protein also places a burden on the kidneys and can cause calcium and other important nutrients to be leached from the body--raising the risk of osteoporosis."

    Her recommendation (which, by the way, combined with a workout regimen lost me 10 pounds in 2 months) is for 60% carbs, 20% protein and 20% fat. She also points out that you should not think of what you're doing as restricting what you eat, because that will make you resent what you're trying to do. Don't always force yourself away from the things you like. Have them, but only occasionally, and think of them as a treat.

    All around, Robyn's book is pretty darn good. She manages to explain, in not-so-technical detail, just how the body works when fueling itself, along with a great bit of thought about why "diets" have problems working.

    rthought
    This is my .sig. Whoopee.

  • I think perhaps a lifestyle change is in order. Simple pedaling under the desk isn't the solution. Plot out an average week and see where you can fit in exercise, whether cardiovascular or weightlifting. If you can do 30 minutes three times a week, you've got the bare minimum recommended for results.

    Without going too much into the subject, I recommend doing something that you like. That could be mountain biking, stationary cycling while watching Letterman, kickboxing, swimming laps, taking a walk during your lunch break, jogging, calisthenics, basketball... Your options are endless. To begin I would focus on doing something that's enjoyable rather than a "What's Best for You" program that strictly guidelines dietary intake, and has some extensive grid of 30 different exercises for you to do.
    While the under-the-desk pedaling idea sounds good, it won't be the change you're looking for, IMO.

    (Off-topic, but informative! Those cancel out...)

  • Bravo, Cliff!
    [rant]
    I have read all that all have to say and I am not surprised at the differences in opinions. I am personally finishing a 12wk program of exercise, dieting, and supplamentation (God I hate spelling that!). I have reduced my body fat by over 10%, adding a large amount of muscle and changed my eating. I still love a good greasy burger, but I don't focus on them. It suprises me how many of us are not willing to find the time to take care of us. I work out of town for 50-60 hours a week minimum, travel to and from work each week, and still make time to make a difference. I spent a long time researching different approaches before using a particular one.
    Yes, a high protien diet can be bad for you, IF you don't counter it with a large amount of water intake (10 cups or so) per day. The body needs that protein to repair the muscles that you are going to "damage" when working out. Cut back (not cut out) on the carbs to allow the body the options to use up the fats you have now. The more mucle you have, the more enegy your body needs to keep goig, thus you burn more carbs/fat.
    Yes, Creatine is a excellent choice for a supplement (got it that time!) to you diet. Just remember that you still need to drink water! Creatine sucks up water like mad!
    Yes you need the weights, not just running. Not matter what sport you take part in, you can benefit from the effects of a structured weight training program. Why do you think that the US Olympic Track & Field Team has one of the best weight centers? Train with weight 3x weekly and perform INTERVAL intensity aerobic exercises 3x weekly. This is because the body will respond to the intense aerobics much better than low-impact aerobics.
    My suggestion would be to look at the Body for Life [bodyforlife.com] program. It is a great way to reshape your body, and who knows maybe you could win some cash?
    Just find something that will work for you, and do it. We work in somewhat sendentary jobs, and will waste away if we don't do something!
    [/rant]

  • Seriously how hard is it to get up and take a walk?

The reward for working hard is more hard work.

Working...