Ben Brooks on Compassionate Tools

Ben is a nerd, so naturally he took his discussion on compassion versus fairness in a software-based direction. Midway through the article though, he talks about paying taxes:

We should strive not to be fair on a whole, but to achieve fairness with each person. If paying taxes means you will go homeless, there should in fact be compassion there to analyze the situation and make a decision on a person-by-person basis. Fairness be damned.

This is a pretty damn good point that I wonder if we've ever considered as a society.

Fairness could be equated to arbitrariness, compassion to opinionatedness. I'm with Ben here; give me the latter any day.


The Relationship between Physical Activity and Compliance

This looks like a pretty solid study: equip people with accelerometers and tell them to walk for 30, 60, or 90 minutes per day. What they found:

A 30-min prescription of extra walking 5 times per week was well tolerated. However, in order to increase total PA further, much more than 60 min of walking may need to be prescribed in the majority of individuals. While total exercise 'volume' increased with prescriptions longer than 30 min, compliance to the prescription decreased and greater compensation was evident.

This isn't an especially shocking conclusion. I consider long-term compliance more important to a physical fitness routine than its efficiency or its effectiveness—if it's so difficult that you give up after a few weeks, it's not effective. "Difficult" doesn't even have to be the defining negative characteristic; it could be too inconvenient, too time-consuming, too expensive, etc.

A lot of people, in their attempts to go out and "be fit", go too hard and too heavy too early on. They run until they're tired every single day, get burned out, and give up. As with anything new, it is more important to low-ball one's initial efforts, allow time to adapt, and think in terms like "gradual" and "long-term." Don't set yourself up for failure.

Record Yourself Exercising

I cannot stress enough the importance of recording yourself exercising—yes, even you runners out there. Form matters more than just about anything else, and while you might think you are doing just fine, it always helps to go back and analyze your workouts from other perspectives. A similar option might be to have an experienced coach with you, but even in that case, videos help. I've been coaching Kristin as she works towards her first powerlifting meet, and record just about every set of everything she does.

The two videos below are from Wednesday of last week—Kris and I have programmed that day as a sort of "light day" to prepare us for the heavy activities to come Friday. You'll see me squatting 225 pounds and Kris squatting 135 pounds, both for two sets of five. Technically speaking, they're some pretty damn beautiful squats. And they should be; after all, a "light day" should mean no excuses for anything less than stellar form. We take this day as a chance to perfect what we already know.

Also, here's a video from this morning of a decent clean and jerk. I've been on a long powerlifting kick for a while and am now beginning to play with weightlifting instead—it's fun, but I have a long way to go. Looking back at this video—which, keep in mind, was not my heaviest set of the day—I can find a myriad of form and execution issues that I will know to work on again on Thursday.