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Why are geeks so unhealthy?

By SpookComix in Op-Ed
Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 08:31:20 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

When you think of a technology geek, how do you picture him or her? For me, it's one of two extremes: gangly and undernourished, or obese and unkempt. My bias is justified, though, when I see pictures of some of the more famous geeks...

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comments (24)
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  1. Eric "esr" Raymond
  2. Richard "rms" Stallman
  3. ...even Slashdot's well known CowboyNeal
Now, keep in mind that my observations on the health and appearance of these people does not at all reflect the respect I have of their work, where respect is due. Many of these geeks and hundreds more have made stunning contributions to the world: especially to the world of technology.

Are they unhealthy because they are geeks, or are they geeks because they are unhealthy? I venture to say that it is the latter. Let's face it, if you are unhealthy and/or unattractive, you are likely to develop a more introverted personality. That, by it's very nature, will estrange you from the public eye. Technology is a wonderful haven for people who are hiding from the general public, and as all of you know, the more time you spend with technology the more profecient you become, and the more likely you are to make a significant contribution to the public through it.

As an example, let me ask a question: Would Stephen Hawking have made the same advances if he had not been confined to a wheelchair and so severely disabled? He is one of my true heros, but he has since he has chosen not to give up and let his handicap destroy him, the only way he has to fight it is to use his mind--so that's what he does, constantly. I daresay that if he were not disabled, he would have spent more time in social situations, with family, etc., and would have had less time to explore the universe with his mind and report the results.

Unfortunately, under- and over-nourishment is dangerous, and a serious detriment to anyone's health. When this is the staple that geeks swear by, how can we expect to stay healthy?

What we need to realize is that, while we should praise the endeavours of geeks around us, and even those of ourselves, we should come to an awareness that our health needs to be our number one priority, regardless of our social status (ascribed or percieved). Personally, I've begun to work out on a daily basis (I gave up on gyms...get a Bowflex, they're worth the money, and it's yours to keep long after a gym membership has expired!), watch what I eat (lay off fried foods, cut back on caffiene, cut out most beef and pork), and get plenty of rest.

It may seem futile now, but a lifestyle altered for the better will likely extend your life for many years, and make those last years good ones. It's time to spread the word, but most of all, to heed it yourself. The following are some great books and articles with more information:

  1. An interview with a "fitness guru" on Fatgeeks.com.
  2. An eating guidebook by two computer geeks with a child and active careers.
  3. A website dedicated to "Yummy teen and geek nutrition...
  4. A discussion on Slashdot about this very subject.
Promote Healthy Geeks!



Voxel dot net
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How healthy are you?
o Just fine, thanks 26%
o A little underweight 15%
o A *lot* underweight 3%
o A little overweight 33%
o A *lot* overweight 12%
o Optimal Health! 7%

Votes: 202
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Eric "esr" Raymond
o Richard "rms" Stallman
o CowboyNeal
o Stephen Hawking
o this
o staple
o swear by
o Bowflex
o interview
o eating guidebook
o geek nutrition
o discussion on Slashdot
o Also by SpookComix

Display: Sort:
Why are geeks so unhealthy? | 61 comments (46 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
Slashdot Troll! (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by core10k on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 01:43:21 PM EST

But who am I kidding, I'm a troll too on Slashdot. +1 FP tho.

Yeah, but... (4.66 / 3) (#7)
by SpookComix on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:03:52 PM EST

Funny you mention that. My initial idea for this article was indeed more "trollish", but the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to make it a "mission".

We're surrounded by unhealthy people in our profession. I think more attention needs to be given to our health. This is just one more way to call people's attention to *themselves*.

But this article isn't a troll. There's no need to troll K5. I like it here! :-)


[ Parent ]

um. no. (3.44 / 9) (#2)
by Defect on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 01:48:43 PM EST

Geeks aren't always unhealthy, they're just more often than not fucking ugly.

See now, if esr, rms, and cbneal were healthier, no one would care because they'd still be disgustingly ugly.

I personally think ugliness is a much more important matter to tackle. Who would think that beloved theR was a geek, look at him, he's fucking hot. Or what about teen heartthrob rusty? Clearly not healthy, smoking 5 packs a day, but still damn sexy.

Who gives a shit about health, a much more important question would be "Why are geeks so god damned ugly?"
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Sexy motherfuckers (3.80 / 5) (#6)
by Ludwig on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:01:32 PM EST

Yeah, I'd do hurstdog in a New York minute! If I were gay. Which I'm not. Really.

Really, I'm not! Come on, he has an El Camino!

[ Parent ]

Ludwig ain't kidding (2.00 / 2) (#10)
by core10k on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:07:36 PM EST

Daaaaaamn, someone won the genetic lottery.

[ Parent ]
What? (4.00 / 7) (#8)
by theR on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:05:21 PM EST

While I generally take everything you say as gospel, I have to point something out. It's obvious why I am not only hot, but also healthy. I am not a geek. If you need to be provided with proof, consider the following:

  • I have sex regularly.
  • The sex involves another person.

I could go on, but I think that more than covers it.

[ Parent ]
theR... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Defect on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:19:28 PM EST

I consider k5 and irc to be a very good indication of someone's geekiness, not to mention the fact that your pic is up with a bunch of definite geeks.

Don't deny it, embrace it.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
actually... (4.00 / 3) (#3)
by jeffy124 on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 01:48:47 PM EST

There was a story on CNN some months ago about geeks not being like the sterotypes there were decades ago. I tried submitting that to the other site, got rejected. See CNN article: http://www.cnn.com/2001/CAREER/trends/06/27/geeks.pass.time.idg/index.html
You're the straw that broke the camel's back!
Interesting link, but... (none / 0) (#36)
by defeated on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 08:01:02 PM EST

Tech enthusiasts include U.S. adults who accessed the Net in the past 12 months, own a home computer and have two or more of the following devices: DVD player, digital camera or handheld computer. The individuals must also say they like technology, find technology important to them and are likely to purchase new technology products. Source: Mediamark Research, Spring 2001

I don't think "tech enthusiast" translates to "geek" in this context. They should have used a different criteria for selecting geeks to survey - the above description fits any number of yuppies with money to blow on the latest fad.

[ Parent ]

Bah humbug (3.60 / 5) (#5)
by notafurry on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 01:54:34 PM EST

Sure, the stereotype of a geek is as you say, unkempt and obese or skinny and gangly. Of course, the stereotype of a California girl is blonde, big-breasted, dumb, and fond of the phrase "Oh my God!" That doesn't mean either one is true. I'm a geek, have been most of my life. I'm average height, average weight, and spend a fair amount of time in summer hiking and canoeing; I'm not "built", but I have reasonably good upper-body strength. I'm married to a true California girl; brunette, decent build, just as smart or smarter than I am, and loves to make fun of dumb blondes.

Sure, the examples you site fit your theory - but how many others don't? Stephen Hawking has made great advances in the field of cosmology while confined to a wheelchair. On the other hand, Kip Thorne has as well, and he's a normal, healthy-looking man.

Basically, all you're saying here is that appearance is important. In some cases, for some things, that's true. It is *not* true all the time, nor is it "important" that we call attention to this "issue". The majority of the geeks I know eat fairly well, if oddly; more dairy than the average member of my age group, considerably less red meat, and far less "fast food". The average geek, as I know them, is more likely to take an hour for lunch or dinner and go to a sit-down restaraunt for a salad and solid, well-cooked meal than to go to McDonald's.

Sure, teenage geeks are a bit less likely to do things this way. Teenagers in general eat crap, don't exercise, and take poor care of themselves. They survive. Geeks tend to rationalize their behavior earlier than the average, however, and switch to a more healthy lifestyle. That doesn't mean they all "work out" or strive to look good on the beach. But the idea that looks are the same as health is just plain stupid.

Half empty, half full (4.00 / 4) (#11)
by maroberts on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:08:04 PM EST

You're a "glass if half empty" type of person aren't you ?

For every example of a unhealthy geek, I bet you can find a healthy one, just like any other job. I suspect Linus, with several kids to chase after and married to an ex-Finnish athletics (fencing?) champion, is not totally out of shape even if he hasn't got steroid enhanced pecs!

Stephen Hawking does not lack for a social life, and does spend time with family, friends etc just like the Rest Of Us. He's not a god, just exceptionally good at coming up with novel concepts. Stephen Hawking finds time to get divorced and remarried, argue about god with the Pope and plenty of other activities apart from just sitting in a wheelchair moping about how the universe works.

One of the problems for geeks, is that sitting at a computer all day is not a profoundly social activity, so to make up for it we're hardly likely to make up for it by pumping iron on our own. We'll want to do unhealthy things like go to a pub/club and drink beer and pizza with friends to make up for it.

The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
Finnish athletic champion? (none / 0) (#16)
by ubu on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:24:00 PM EST

Please link to pics of Mrs. Torvalds.


As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Mrs Torvalds' sport... (none / 0) (#23)
by panum on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 03:08:33 PM EST

... is (was?) karate, not fencing. She was the champion for six years running in Finnish karate kata competitions. The kata is purely a technical form of karate, i.e. the moves are done alone, not against another person. I'd guess she would be able to kick your ass anyway ;-)

For some pics of her (and Linus too):

The indepencende day party. This is taken at the Presidential Castle (our version of the White House), a very elegant party for the cream of the nation.

The Doctorial Promotion 2000. Just search for Torvalds, the second hit is the couple.

Something from Uniform '97.


-- I hate people who quote .sigs
[ Parent ]
Why geeks are the way they are physically... (4.50 / 4) (#12)
by atreides on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:15:19 PM EST

Let's face it. Most traditional geek pastimes (RPGs, LAN parties, pouring over code, comics, etc.) involve either being physically sedate for long periods of time or demand mental focus or attention which is lessened by physical movement. If one is focused too deeply, they can forget to do mundane things like eat or sleep properly ("Just one more turn of Civ2! Just one!). Once these things begin to take a toll on the body, it's harder to become more physically active AND the main pastimes don't require it anyway. It's a circlular dilema.

Of course, not all geeks are like this. Some get into working out or outdoor activities, but that's a more recent thing (in the last decade or "so). I think that as it's become more acceptable to be a "geek," more types of people have gotten into geekly things. Many of these new people weren't into the traditional geekly things growing up and therefore didn't have the same stigma attached to physical activity. Some geeks have the real world change them and make them more active.

I myself was a lump until I went into the Army. I'm no longer cut like a greek god, but I am much more conscious of my physical condition now than I was before so I keep myself from turning into a lump again. But I still spend a bit of time sitting in front of the monitor or sitting around gaming with friends.

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Atreides: The psychedelic visionary doesn't crave stardom.

Wow (none / 0) (#15)
by Nawak on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:21:04 PM EST

I'm the only one "A lot underweight" that voted so far...
By "A lot underweight" I mean 65kgs for 1m90 (For those who didn't adopt metric system, well it's... I don't know but... a lot underweight!"

Hong-Kong Phooey! (2.80 / 5) (#17)
by jabber on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 02:55:54 PM EST

/me looks to the left
/me peers to the right

You know, I don't think I know a single 'geek' that fits your stereotypes. They're all relatively healthy, fit and well rounded (in the intellectual sense) individuals. They're all quite sociable people as well..

Granted, geeks are heavy into tech, and spend hours upon hours in front of a CRT, but they're also into many other things, most of which involve some sort of physical activity. One geek friend builds his own furniture, another does a good deal of gardenning. The first is an accomplished cook who makes great sushi, the second is a devout vergan, though not a health-nut. Another geek friend is an avid snowmobiler (which, believe you me, is a pretty strenuous activity) and another still is in the Reserves and gets at least a weekend's worth of workout each month.

Most of my geek friends are not members of a gym, sure, but they do have an exercise machine of some kind at home, and they use it. They bike, they hike, they climb rocks and frozen waterfalls, they lift weights and dance ballroom, they do martial arts, judo, yoga, tai-chi and they fence. They are aware of their body as a complete system, and they are fully cognizant that the Garbage In-Garbage Out principle applies to themselves as well as their code..

If nothing else, they hoist boxen onto desks and sheves and wrestle them down again, they bend, twist and shimmy under desks and between server racks to snake CAT-5 to where it needs to go. They get their aerobics by way of sneakernet, when the LAN barfs..

So, in conclusion, if you're feeling inadequate in your geekness, get off your duff and do something about it. Just because you have a desk job, and a desk hobby, doesn't mean you have to have a desk life. ;)

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

you rang sir (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by Hong Kong Phooey on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 03:01:37 PM EST

what you say?

[ Parent ]
Bwaahaahaa! (none / 0) (#32)
by jabber on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 03:56:31 PM EST

You have not chance to survive make your time!

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

poing (none / 0) (#48)
by Amazing Proton Boy on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 01:25:27 PM EST


[ Parent ]
I do. (none / 0) (#37)
by UncleMikey on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 08:29:35 PM EST

I fit his stereotype almost perfectly. I'm alarmingly sedentary and decidedly overweight, altho' I've successfully maintained a weight for many years, now. As someone who never developed a habit of exercise as a child (undiagnosed asthma didn't help any), I have a hard time developing one now that I'm 32.5.

That said, I have to admit that most of my colleagues over the last few years tend, if anything, toward the skinny side.
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]

rms (3.50 / 2) (#22)
by Hong Kong Phooey on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 03:06:34 PM EST

What about is so unhealty about RMS? The hair and beard gives a somewhat unkempt appearance, but I don't thinks he looks any more unhealty than the average 49 year old male.

My fault... (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by SpookComix on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 03:47:45 PM EST

I'm finding that the article is meeting with some pretty negative reactions, and it's my fault. I used RMS because from pictures I've seen, he appears to be overweight, and because he's a popular geek, for the same reason I used Eric Raymond and Coyboy Neal. (Out of all the pics of RMS, I chose this one because it was kind of fun. He seems like a pretty cool guy.)

The article needs some serious revision, because it's not intended to be inflammatory or insulting. My intent is to get people to look at their lifestyles (in this case, the "geek" lifestyle") and determine if it's healthy or not.

We only get one shot at life. Over the last six months I've become more aware of my mortality. My goal is to be alive when my kids are my age (I'm 27, my youngest of three children is 1).


[ Parent ]

Mentally unhealthy? (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by alge on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 08:55:45 PM EST

He does look kind of, urm, yeah, you know.. (=

vi er ikke lenger elsket her

[ Parent ]
Fit geek here (4.50 / 6) (#31)
by rusty on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 03:53:13 PM EST

Much as I hate the term "geek", I probably fit the general image. Work on the web all day, dig on technical stuff, etc etc.

I'm not the most fit you can possibly be, but I'm not in either of your categories either. I climb mountains in snowshoes in the winter. I rock climb. I snowboard. In high school, I was second-highest scorer on my school's undefeated lacrosse team junior and senior year. Well good lord, if we lived in magic stereotype world, I'm probably a jock!

I know quite a few geeks, and most of them are in better shape than I am. Why, hurstdog is practically studly. He can easily get away with not wearing a shirt! Arkady is as geeky as they get, and could kick my ass any day of the week. Probably. I could go on...

I'm actually voting for this, but mainly because I like how the comments are disproving the theory. C'mon fit geeks! Show us your stuff.

No! I meant that metaphorically! Sheesh. Put your stuff away now, please. :-)

Not the real rusty

Studmuffins of Science (none / 0) (#57)
by Arkady on Sun Feb 03, 2002 at 07:09:28 PM EST

Did you ever see the calender "Studmuffins of Science"?

I'm not sure whether they're still doing it (and, being quite hetero, I was never _that_ interested in it), but it also rather disproves the assertion that those of us with primarily intellectual work tend to be slovenly and unhealthy. Those lads were _buff_.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.

[ Parent ]
Buff (none / 0) (#58)
by rusty on Mon Feb 04, 2002 at 01:10:54 AM EST

Those lads were _buff_.

That just made my email .sig quote list. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

FWIW... Geek recipes (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by jabber on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 03:58:04 PM EST


[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

It's all because of k5. (4.33 / 6) (#34)
by demi on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 05:32:52 PM EST

Oh, I used to be perfectly healthy, with a sun tan, a bright smile, a 5-second 40-yard dash, and clean close-cropped hair. Now I fear sunlight (ph34r t3h sUn!), drink red Mountain Dew and eat nachos, add unnecessary encryption to every electronic transaction I can, compile linux kernels for fun, and scour the web for that elusive, perfectly witty link that my 'peers' will approve of. I never even knew what geek angst was until I had been robbed of my good health, social tact, and all remaining free time in my life by the ka5al (which does not have the temerity to admit its own existence).

Only since donning the tinfoil helm of inner tranquility +3 have I been able to start drinking V8 Healthy Request as a snack, turning TV channels without using the remote control, and reading printed newspapers and books in bed, all without hearing their distant daemonic voices. I rebuke thee foul ka5al! I cast thee out of this computer!

Countergeeks (4.25 / 4) (#35)
by vambo rool on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 07:24:42 PM EST

Your hypothesis needs a reexamination.

I think the two of you define "geek" dif (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by skim123 on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 08:34:03 PM EST

I think the submitter of the story is defining a geek as an introverted asocialite who turns to technology instead of embrassing social situations. Is Larry Ellison the quiet guy at the party, lingering in the back of the room to play with his Palm Pilot? No, he's standing on the table telling people he'll pay them a million dollars if SQL can beat Oracle perf.-wise. Very atypical of a "geek," IMHO. Same with the rest.

One more thing to note: Steve Wozniac is a geek, a very, very gifted one who's made tremendous contributions to personal computing. Steve Jobs is the hype-man, the sales pitch guy, the face of the product, not the brains. Nothing wrong with that, many successful tech companies have done well with the introverted geek-boy and the more outgoing salesman, whose computer skills were likely underpar. Just think classifying Steve Jobs as your typical geek is a bit of a stretch.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
I take your point but (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by vambo rool on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 10:08:28 PM EST

taking what the poster said at his word,

When you think of a technology geek, how do you picture him or her? For me, it's one of two extremes: gangly and undernourished, or obese and unkempt.
I don't see anything there that defines any attribute of a geek other than physical ones. All of those I listed are either certifiable techo-geeks in that they are either evangelists or creators of technology. In my view, you don't necessarily need to be a creator of technology to be a "geek." Look at your typical gamer. They play lots of games, but are they geeks? If you ask them, they'd probably say, "yes."

I'm just giving a few examples of those who do not fit the stereotype the poster is trying to convey. Even if you take away the geeky salesmen like Jobs, Ellison and McNealy and take away the geeky journalist Cringely (although he was one of the original Apple employees, number 14 if I remember right), you're left with Bricklin, Berners-Lee and Fanning and you can't get much geekier than that.

[ Parent ]
Unhealthy Geeks? (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by Allusion on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 11:00:52 AM EST

Personally, I think that the main drawing factor of technology, k5 etc.. is the opportunity to show off more intellectual muscles, which generally attracts more intelligent people. Likewise do sports attract the more physically gifted.

I think the one common thread throughout these circles is an above average IQ, not a social dysfunction, not a bad hair style or a flabby waist ...

The main reason imho why we dont see more "geeks" with the physical traits mentioned in this article can be contributed mainly to the genetic lottery (can't win 'em all) and to a lesser degree the lifestyle in which physical appearances arent required to be socially accepted.

I am 100% certain there are plenty of "geeks" with great looks, and in great shape that come to forums like this one seeking (hopefully) intelligent conversation and alternate viewpoints that aren't usually easy to find in real life. (on the reverse side, not all jocks are dumb, but they've already won half the genetic lottery, few people are fortunate enough to win all around.)

AIM: Allusion420
ICQ: 61966358
"Normal" people (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by ucblockhead on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 11:06:37 AM EST

I've worked with many, many people who you could call "geek" without causing confusion and on the whole, they seem to be as likely to be as "fit" or "unfit" as the general population.

Yeah, I've worked with "geeks" that aren't in great shape, but I've worked with some that were in great shape. What a "geek" is is, of course, impossible to say, but I worked with one computer programmer who held a world record with the frisbee, and another who won bicycle races and went to the olympic trials one year. I've also known fat managers and skinny managers, fat QA people and skinny QA people, fat marketters and skinny marketters. I'm not at all convinced that the averages are any different for any group. After all, fat is a huge problem in our society in general.

Personally, I'm not in as good a shape as I'd like to be (who is?), but I'm not fat either. (ok, well, 5-10 pounds, but not visible so. Damn Christmas!) I hit the gym 2-3 times a week, hike weekly and am generally active. I'm not unusual.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

The more pressing question is ... (none / 0) (#50)
by Kalani on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 04:32:54 PM EST

... why have you got a baby in a box on a sled?

"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
baby no sit up by self (none / 0) (#51)
by evilpckls on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 05:28:37 PM EST

then baby fall out, fall in snow, mommy get mad, Ugg no sleep in cave tonight.

"This is proof that fish geeks are just weird. You look like you've wet your pants, and I have a fish in my coat." --nstenz
[ Parent ]

It looks more like some primitive ... (none / 0) (#53)
by Kalani on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 07:11:22 PM EST

... Alaskan shipping system. They don't have much to eat up there, and ever since that Swift guy came through they've been partial to baby flesh. I was just wondering if that's what the guy was doing.

"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Normal weight == Healthy? (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by DigDug on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 12:17:38 PM EST

I won't try to disprove the rest of the article, since that has already done by others. However, I haven't seen anyone comment on the poll yet.

Since when is your weight:height ratio the only factor that determines how healthy you are? Sure, it's a factor, but it is certainly not the only one!

But I guess it makes for a nice article title...

Yavista - if you haven't found a nice homepage yet.

On geekhood. (4.50 / 4) (#47)
by mindstrm on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 12:41:57 PM EST

You know.. I thought it was cool at first. The Internet sort of brought the geeks to power.
People who used to piss me off and harass me were becoming jealous.. I was the one with life going well, not them.

You know what? I hate that geek stereotype now. Get a bit older.. there is no FUN in being a reclusive out of shape person with 'intellectual muscles'.

I'm starting to regret the number of years I've spent in front of a computer. You don't get those years back.

Sit in front of the computer when you are old, crippled.

For now.. go out, have fun.

Everything in moderation (none / 0) (#60)
by Jel on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 09:59:21 PM EST

I could echo a lot of that. OTOH, I try to live by the rule "everything in moderation". Essentially, to be fit, healthy, vigorous, sharp-witted, and wise, all at the same time.

Succeeding a little in all of these goals, is, generally, more important than excelling in any particular one.

Now, having said that, there have been times when I've been super fit, going to martial arts all the time, and feeling so "wired" by health that I wanted to train all the time. Right now, though, I've been sat at a machine, working my butt off for way too long (like over a month).

All things have their place, and having an overall vision of goals is important. It's OK to occasionally try new directions though, or simply to walk straight off the path, as long as you can promise yourself to get back on when a super-important task is done. As luck would have it, I read this article just as I was wrapping up the hard slog I've been involved in for a while, and am beginning to plan a much more balanced regime again. Chances are, this "spurt" will be the best yet.

[ Parent ]
Bowflex? (3.50 / 2) (#49)
by der on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 01:32:37 PM EST

Bah, there's no motivation to actually do anything on a machine in your house, because all the nice little comforts of your house are right there. If you go to the gym, you are at the gym and there's only one damn thing to do - work out. I'd say if you don't have the motivation to haul your ass to the gym you surely don't have the motivation to have a descent work out at home.

There's a good reason I've never met anybody who has had an exercise machine for a long period of time and still uses the damn thing.

That said, as far as performance goes, nothing compares to free weights. It's been shown over and over again, but people still take forever to figure it out. Machines suck. Machines that don't even use any form of weight at all (ie bowflex) really suck. Trust me - I worked out on machines for a little bit and then one day decided to try free weights out.. "Holy Shit" is the best way to describe it, I had never felt that worked out before. No comparison.

The best equipment is... (none / 0) (#56)
by vanguardAnonymous on Sun Feb 03, 2002 at 11:29:54 AM EST

The best equipment is the one you actually use. I've joined gyms only to quit six months later. I've bought execersie equipment only to stop using it in two months.

If this guy likes his bowflex because it is cheaper and easier to use (no travel) then more power to him. For my part, I've choosen to join a handful of men's sports leagues. I play ice hockey and basketball.

I'll admit, if you want body sculpting free weights are the undisputed king. However, if you want to keep in shape almost anything will do.

[ Parent ]
I agree.. (none / 0) (#59)
by der on Tue Feb 05, 2002 at 05:36:46 PM EST

But from my observations and experiences, it's a whole hell of alot easier to go to a gym than to work out at home. However, it's a stereotype to get a gym membership and never use it too, so *shrug*.

You're right though, what works for you is what works for you, plain and simple.

[ Parent ]
Who ate all the pies? n/t (none / 0) (#52)
by m0rzo on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 05:38:24 PM EST

My last sig was just plain offensive.
Most Americans are unhealthy / Focusing... (none / 0) (#54)
by tz on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 07:38:52 PM EST

Michael Fumento has written about the general problem with obesity in the USA. Look at some of the film of people waiting in lines. They aren't all geeks.

As far as true geeks, I think clothing follows Steve Job's guide to sartorial practice. "Don't bother me, my mind is too busy with more important things".

I rarely get any feedback on what I wear. Generally I don't want to feel my clothes, and when I do it is normally unpleasant (hot, itchy, etc.). I will dress for more formal settings only when there is something more important than the discomfort.

But that brings me back to my more general point. Discomfort, be it hunger, fatigue, or hair-shirts interfere with thinking. You don't eat or drink to live, you do so to suppress extraneous neural input. The most effective suppressive foods aren't the healthiest, or if you learn to ignore it you get mild anorexia.

I've not figured out how to exercise and work at the same time. Perhaps I need an ascii carillon simulator. I do have velcro on the stair climber with the complimentary velcro on my iBook, but I keep pausing. The exercise itself isn't bad, but the next day I feel drained and tired and can't code. Coding feels good - near immediate gratification. There is a natural tendency to repeat good things and avoid bad things.

If you are a true geek, you have more than once have felt more uncomfortable from pressure in your urinary system trying to code that last line for a successful build than you have when in a car and the next rest stop was over 15 minutes away. Or you have a laptop with wireless access.

Time to code (none / 0) (#61)
by vectro on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 10:13:56 PM EST

Actually, as John Walker noted in The Hacker's Diet, exercising will extend your lifespan -- thus actually giving you more time to work.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Define Geek... (4.66 / 3) (#55)
by alpinist on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 07:59:01 PM EST

I consider myself a geek/nerd/whatever, though I hardly fit the 'Revenge of the Nerds' stereotype people like to apply to geeks. I'm a successful competitive road cyclist for one, certainly one of the more intensive endurance sports out there. I'm certainly not fat, and as my doctor told me at my last checkup, 'You couldn't be healthier if you tried.'

First, I'm going to use the term geek interchangeably with nerd, while I consider the two slightly different things, it will just simplify my language here. Anyway, what is a geek? Is it just someone who is into computers, science, math, et al? Or it is someone who gets really into anything? A lot of my friends aptly describe themselves as 'bike geeks' or 'racer geeks', and I would fit that profile too. We spend lots of time discussing training and equipment right down to what's the best type of pre-race food (and why) to what's the best grease to use in wheel hubs (often with friction data to support their view). On usenet, go read rec.bicycles.tech. There's a lot of engineers in there debating various mechanical aspects and doing watts to speed analysis with complex mathematical models. Geeky? Puts the chess club to shame.

So, I think of a geek as a person who is a big obsessive-compulsive about things they like, often to the exclusion of other aspects of what people consider 'normal life'. So, the car geek spends endless weekends working on their '69 Mustang, the food geek holes up in the kitchen making exotic cuisines, or the hiking geek spends his or her weekends far, far from civilization. While they may usually be called gourmets, motorheads or backpackers, they're geeks, one and all.

Why are geeks so unhealthy? | 61 comments (46 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
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