Wednesday, May 1, 2013



Poppy. What the hell. Is that.

Ha ha, welp! I was curious! About how much time I actually spend sitting versus standing and, ideally, moving around on a daily basis. Don't you get curious about things like that? Yeah, you don't. That's what you have me for, I counted this for about a month.

It was the simplest possible count, binary. Zero and one, zero for sitting and one for standing in fifteen minute increments from 8:00 AM to midnight. I got a zero if I sat for the entire fifteen minutes. If I stood up at all, I got a one for that increment; if I stood up and shook out my legs for a minute, that counted the same as being on my feet for fifteen minutes and, for that matter, the same as being on my skates sprinting for fifteen minutes. All I was counting was up or down.

It was demented but reasonably easy for me because 97% of the time that I'm sitting down, I have a laptop within arm's reach. So I set one as the default, and entered zeroes when I was sitting down.

Some fancy technical notes: I conditionally formatted the cells so that ones would be orange and zeroes would be gray and wrote a count formula to count them up and express them as baseball averages. Because that's fun.

I can't imagine that anybody is actually going to try this at home, so none of that is important.

So what did I get out of this.

I Don't Think Batting 1000 Is the Goal Here

First of all, I'm an active person, i.e., I do more than 30 minutes of more than moderate-intensity activity for more than three days a week. Roller derby, right? And two, I have a sedentary job except for about four hours per week training folks, and the other main thing I do is writing. Which I do sitting at a desk, or sitting on the couch. Okay so, for the four weeks I counted, ONE week got up to 500 or fifty percent standing to sitting, two weeks were in the forties, and one week was below forty.

So that makes me think that batting 1000 is not the goal here. Maybe I'm the only person who thought that, being such an A-student. But like in actual baseball batting 500 is phenomenal, right? Or if that's too sporty, let's go back to the idea of binary; the idea of binary isn't 1111111111, how binary works is 0101010101. Or let's go back to everything I've ever said about training and recovery, yin and yang and whatnot.

Let's Say That Batting 500 Is The Goal

I actually think that 500 is sorting balanced, and something to work up to. Maybe 350 is pretty good, and 250 is minimal? Or if you have a job where you work on your feet all day and your BAMF score is way over 500, you might think about coming at this from the other direction.

But just for example, let's solve this for me. Since that's who I have the data for. The point of this, really, is Know Thyself and take it from there.

Different Things That I Do Are More Or Less Active

I know, duh. Honestly though, I think I did think of myself as divided between working out (rock star) and not working out (potato). Which is the wrong binary: it counts high intensity activity as something, and moderate and low intensity activity and also no activity as nothing. You get that moderate and low intensity activity is more like something than like nothing, right?

I actually identified three—no four—levels or types of activity that I do:

  • high intensity—e.g., skating
  • moderate intensity—e.g.,biking
  • low intensity—e.g., cooking, cleaning, grocery, laundry, also commuting, and also training
  • no intensity—e.g.,working, writing
And now remember that high, moderate, and low intensity all count as active and no intensity counts as sedentary. When I skate, I skate for two hours at a time. I bike between fifteen and forty-five minutes. I generally cook and clean for an entire morning, say three hours. I may sit for prolonged periods, but I'm also active for some good stretches—just somewhat short of how much I sit.

So I don't think that I have to convert my sedentary activities to 50% active. I think 25% active would be sufficient—just stand up, shake out, maybe stretch my legs once an hour. That's pretty much what you'd minimally want to do to mitigate prolonged sitting's metabolic effects. I've talked about this before, right?

I think a decent general strategy could be:

  1. Add breaks to your sedentary activities. Stand up and stretch every hour, just that will do you a world of good.
  2. Appreciate your low intensity activities! I have a new appreciation now for household chores, like they count as active and you get your food sorted for the week? Or your house. Or your clothes. Also I have a new awareness of the movements involved, like I used to be lazy about putting clean mason jars back on their shelf and now I'm all about pulling out the little step and doing a proper step up with my core engaged. Actually as a side note if no one's ever told you this, the reason you get tired cooking is because it's tiring. This is an incredibly important factoid that gets overlooked or guilted over, so then people feel bad that they're too tired to cook. Which is totally a thing, I totally think that cooking is a thing like working out; it's a thing that's worth the effort, but it is an effort. So there's no need on top of that to add pushups between egg bites, and all the more reason to practice quality movement.
  3. Add moderate and high intensity activities per your training objectives. If you're topped out on moderate and high intensity activities, go back to step one and actually try it for real. Trust me, what you need is to stretch and not so much that eight billion a day burpee challenge that you're thinking about.

Oh, why is this called BAMF! Actually well, I've been testing this get lean program and that one is called SNIKT! Because shredded, get it. And this one is called BAMF! to stay with the Marvel theme, because this is about getting up off your chair.