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Using Fitness “Algorithms” to Stay in Shape Without a Rigid Workout Plan

April 2nd, 2009 · 7 comments

The Fitness Guru ReturnsAdam Gilbert

Way back in the early days of Study Hacks, I introduced you to fitness guru Adam Gilbert. I was drawn to his story because he had left his high-prestige job at Ernst & Young to start My Body Tutor, a web-based company that has Adam, and his team of trainers, work daily with clients to help them stick to their fitness plan. I like stories of young people following innovative paths, and Adam’s path was certainly fascinating.

Since then, Adam has become my go-to guy for fitness advice. I recently asked him to help me put together an article I’ve long envisioned: a collection of simple fitness algorithms that can help a college student stay in shape without requiring a rigid schedule or complicated, finely-tuned workout. I was inspired in these efforts by Michael Pollan’s famous simplification of eating advice: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Adam came through. Below are his simple fitness algorithms. (Of course, if you like what you hear, or are interested in becoming more serious about fitness or weight loss, check out Adam’s site.)


Adam’s Fitness Algorithms

  • Exercise 4 times per week for at least 30 minutes. Don’t worry about a specific, super-focused, perfect workout. Anything active counts: Basketball, jogging, weights, push ups, etc.
  • Follow the two day rule! You can’t miss 2 days of working out in a row. You can skip one day. But not the next.
  • Don’t let the “Exercise Monster” build up. When I don’t do laundry for a while it becomes what I like to call the ‘Laundry Monster’. It builds up in my head and I avoid doing it at all costs. Until finally, I have to. And it’s never as bad as I think it’ll be! Don’t let this happen to you. Follow the two day rule.
  • Don’t focus on exercising at a certain time. Just focus on making time to exercise!
  • Make it fun! Listen to music; join a nice gym; etc. Bonus: If you love working out with music as much as I do, only listen to your favorite music while you workout. I’ve actually gone to the gym just to listen to my music.
  • Focus on how you want to feel. We always feel energized after we workout. Yet, we usually skip exercise when we’re feeling tired! Remember: Exercise will give you energy. Want more energy? Exercise more!

“Warren Buffet said it best,” Adam told me. “‘The best investment you can make is in yourself!'”

7 thoughts on “Using Fitness “Algorithms” to Stay in Shape Without a Rigid Workout Plan

  1. Ilham Hafizovic says:

    I like the two day rule, I think this has been one of my worst habits when trying to start exercising. I usually end up skipping a few days which end up becoming weeks.

  2. David says:

    I more than agree. If you’re tired, exercise. It’s amazing the energy and focus that you can get from eating mostly right and being on some sort of an exercise routine. Something that motivates me as well is having a race to work toward. Just like goals in school help us stay on task, having an end exercise goal with the money on the table gets you out and working/playing.

  3. The two day rule makes me think, when did I did my last workout for the 200-situps challenge?
    Hmm.. That would be a week ago, Oops!
    Going to do it right now 😉
    Thanks!

  4. deepikaur says:

    Thank you and Adam for this awesome post! Definitely going down in the bookmarks.

  5. I have to agree with you about staying consistent with your workouts. I think that the plan that you have set up is very motivating. Also, when I’m working out I have to have my favorite music pumping to keep me motivated. It makes your workouts so much better when you do.

    That’s what I use also is the 2 day plan which keeps me in shape, that way i have no time to get back out of shape.

    Thanks!

  6. suvarna says:

    It’s amazing the energy and focus that you can get from eating mostly right and being on some sort of an exercise routine. Something that motivates me as well is having a race to work toward.

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