Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How I cheat at burning calories

What's more fun than hard work? Cheating of course. As a big baseball fan I can appreciate the fine "art" of doctoring a ball (glue, sandpaper, a belt buckle, dirt, etc), corking a bat, and friendly diversionary tactics in the field of play (ala A-Rod spooking a former friend, Howie Clark, during a game).

How can one apply this "cheating" concept to burning calories?

  • Chew gum - This gets you around 50 calories a day, depending on how vigorous or constant you can chew. Added bonus is it helps your jaw line to look better as your masticating muscles get stronger
  • Nervous habits - This one is weird, and while I deplore rude noisemaking habits in the office, if you start tapping or shaking your foot as you sit at your desk working you can burn extra calories
  • Stretch breaks - Caffeine fiends take their breaks, nicotine junkies take theirs. So why not one for those of us who are healthy? I take at least three 1-minute breaks during the day to do some light stretching. In addition to waking me up and boosting my productivity, it also wakes up your body and metabolism
  • Ban the elevator - When at all feasible (meaning, when you aren't carrying 50 pound weights at work or at home) take the stairs. An old-time IRS employee I once knew had the "1 up, 2 down" rule. He'd take the stairs to go up one flight, or down two. What an easy way to start out a beneficial habit. We've had issues with people bringing cell phones into the office (something about "corporate espionage", pfft), so our main level entrance to the elevator has been closed. Now everyone has to go up at least one flight. I'm going to organize a "take the stairs" week in the office. I'm very lame, but oh well.
  • Cubicle crunches - a very cute young lady I know (http://karaskitchen.blogspot.com) always makes sure to sit with good posture at work, which includes holding in her abs. She also will do crunches while at the desk, lifting her knees to her torso. I do this as well, and here's to hoping no one ever catches me doing it at work…
  • Commuting crunches - I take my obsessiveness to the car as well. If you ever pass me (which wasn't likely until I stopped driving too fast, thanks for the behavioral adjustment VA's finest!) you may think I'm dancing side to side in the car. Nope, I'm doing side crunches. I recommend tightening for a three-count while exhaling. Make it the hardest 10 crunches you've ever done, then work up to 20. I do one set for each side each time I get in the car.

All the above are easy "cheats". I do them, yet if you read below you'll see I'm at a whopping 18% body fat. These "cheats" are no replacement for good honest workouts.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming rec league basketball season. Going to the first game and being totally gassed after :45 will help motivate me to work out.


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