Monday, 27 June 2011

Exercise at the Bootcamp

When I came to the Rationality Bootcamp I had resolved to make a few changes. I knew that I would actually meditate as often as I would like. I knew that I would spend time with friends who had moved out here. I knew that I would meet interesting, cool people. And I knew that I would start doing the four hour body to build muscle mass. I thought this would be hard. I would have to keep up with the routine while everyone else was playing games/getting other things done. I thought peer pressure would make this harder. I was wrong.

When I told people I was interested to do the Four Hour Body (1 boot camper) muscle-building techniques there were a people who expressed similar interest. Later on the first day when I went to get a local gym membership Cameron decided to go with me (2), he had already decided to go work out and was interested in working out and was eager to use the rigor of Tim Ferriss' method. We got a decent workout in.

The Tim Ferriss method from the Four Hour Body is based around two alternating workouts. The first is yates rows and overhead lifts. The second workout is bench press and squats. On the first of each workout you start with some weight you can lift easily and do five reps. Every time you succeed you add 10lbs or 10% (whichever is larger) and do a five rep set. Once you fail at that, you go down to 70% of the last set you completed and use that weight to failure. That's your starting weight. Every subsequent time you do the workout you add 10lbs or 10% and do reps to failure.

A couple days later we got a set of free weights. Rahul, John (our host), and Julian (5) started working out in a conventional regimen. They're working out three days a week. I assume John will post something here about their workouts if he chooses interesting.

When the free weights came Thomas, Blake and Jeremy (8) started doing the Tim Ferriss program. I walked them through the program, we looked up videos of the exercises to get the form right. Once those guys had been doing the workouts for a week, Jasen (the leader of the bootcamp) and Peter decided it was time to start. (10). Everyone's been doing a lot of work and keeping to the schedules has been a bit of a book keeping problem, but we powered through.

Last Friday we had a lecture from practitioner of Zhealth who showed us some things about joints and stretching, and KETTLEBELLS!! I had read about kettlebells in FHB and Tim Ferriss loves them. I never thought I would get a chance to try them, I never saw them at the gym. I played with them, and WOW. These things are fun. I'm not sure why, but they hold great entertainment value for me. And not only me, after playing with the kettlebell, Lincoln and Wendy decided they wanted to workout (12, all but one). The ones we saw were 16kg and I was able to do a full press with one. After some deliberation Jasen ordered a 16kg kettlebell and a 24kg kettlebell. Over the weekend I tried a 24kg kettlebell at the rock-climbing gym and couldn't get it up to my shoulder. I want to play with these things more!

So of the 12 people at the rationality bootcamp, a training center for our minds, 11 of us are doing serious physical exercise (I'm looking at you Sam). We're able to pick up the low hanging fruit that most out of shape programers and geeks don't bother with. It's awesome.


  1. Hmmm....i'm curious about the zhealth thing. Did this practioner mention any studies done on it? Also, I notice a decent amount of less wrongers like the 4 hour body but my understanding is that experts in the exercise field think think its that good. I wonder why.

  2. But the bad people at the gym will beat us up for knowing how to count to ten!