Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fitting in Fitness

As the holiday season approaches, I am reminded of one area of my now year-old life as a visiting assistant professor of philosophy in which I have entirely failed: exercise. In the olden days, when my teaching duties included one class or less, I was a somewhat avid cyclist. Nowadays my bicycle has been repurposed as wall art: I think of it as a sculpture entitled, "A Constant Reminder of How Out of Shape You Are." If I'm not teaching, I feel like I should be doing something that will help me snag a tenure-track position, such as physically applying for jobs or writing kick-ass philosophy papers. And if I'm not doing that, I feel like I ought to be doing something to keep me from becoming divorced. I never, ever feel as though I have time for exercise. As a result, I hardly ever exercise. As a result, what little exercise I manage to fit in is extremely unpleasant. As a result, I get around to it less and less often. As a result, my sculpture gets more and more meaningful. It's a vicious regress.

--Mr. Zero

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't really get the "I don't have time excuse."

If I don't run, or do some kind of exercise, at least a few days a week I go nuts. Working out allows me to tolerate the stress better, to be calmer about working harder, longer.

Besides, it only takes a half hour or so to run a few miles. I dick around on the computer at least that long with facebook or this blog or the job wiki or xkcd. I mean, yeah, we're all busy. But we're not THAT busy. (And yes, I'm on the job market and currently at a VAP teaching my ass off, polishing papers in the hopes of getting published, etc.)

Of course, maybe I just don't get it because, unlike bikes, running shoes make really crappy wall art.

Anonymous said...

I would think that exercise is preeminent among divorce-avoidance measures.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:49,

Not if your spouse doesn't exercise too...then you are two non-exercising peas in rather large pod.

Dr. Killjoy said...

Let ol' Doc Killjoy give you a tip: enroll your flabby ass in useful course that just so happens to be a brutal workout (Combat Sambo, BJJ, or Boxing at legit boxing gym, not a health club). Not only will you get in top shape, but you'll soon be able to throw, choke, snap, twist, pummel, break, and all around horrifically maim anyone dumb enough to fuck with you.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Killjoy,

I like your idea: exercise and combat proficiency altogether. That could come in handy. Maybe on the first day of class do a demonstration to nip the problem of complaining students in the bud, huh? I've known a few professors who could kick every student's ass in the room. They never had any classroom management problems.

m.a. program faculty member said...

Another tip: see if you can work exercise into your daily routine in getting things done rather than as a standalone activity done just to exercise.

So if you're a cyclist, could you bike back and forth to your job, or the local coffee shop where you do your writing, or your grocery store (where you load groceries into your panniers)?

Anonymous said...

Senor Zero,
I had the same experience as you - I wanted to exercise while a VAP, but it was always a hit and miss sort of thing. My only real form of exercise was playing with my kids (teaching a 5 year old how to ride a bike is hard), shoveling snow, or riding to and fro work on my bike and I hated it - but I just couldn't get my shit together enough to exercise consistently - too busy grading, writing apps, playing with kids, working on my 'precious' manuscript, etc. I got a tt track job last year, put the manuscript into hiatus for 4 or 5 months and then went to the other extreme: almost as soon as the ink was dry on the contract got into a rigorous workout schedule (I got p-90x, which is insane but pretty amazing too) and that jumpstarted things. Anyway, just to say that I had the same experience when I was a vap and that one of the prizes of job security (beyond the notion that my kids won't die from exposure) was to get back into shape. Best of luck... it sucks (until it doesn't).

Anonymous said...

Sex is good for both exercise and divorce-avoidance. Or so I've heard.

Anonymous said...

One crucial caveat to Anon 10:35's advice: Sex is only good for divorce-avoidance if it's with your spouse.

Anonymous said...

A different kind of divorce-avoidance: it's hard to sign the papers when having sex, spouse or not.

Anonymous said...

When I exercise (jogging) every day my writing/reading productivity dramatically improves. I'm able to focus really well for much longer periods. I just cannot afford not to exercise, my research suffers if I don't.

Anonymous said...

I got to know my (now) husband by biking together. We spent this past summer biking regularly, now with a baby seat on the back of his bike. If you can find something (biking, hiking, walking/running 5ks) that you and your wife can do together, you're WAY more likely to be successful. (And yeah, women don't tend to love it when they marry a fit guy and he morphs into something entirely different. I imagine men don't love it either!)

Anonymous said...

As a VAP with an insane schedule and absolutely no time for exercise as well, I can only repeat the advice: commute to work by bike. That's the only way I manage to get any kind of exercise; I go crazy if I don't cycle, and this way I get in approx. 10 miles a day. Better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

As someone on the TT I have no advice to give and am hoping tenure arrives before my heart attack. (Biking to work here would shorten life expectancy rather than increase it.)