?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Ph.D and weight training - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Ph.D and weight training [Jun. 30th, 2008|10:48 am]
Arvind Narayanan
[Tags|, ]

The best thing you can do at the start of a Ph.D program is take up weight training.

I mean, just consider the similarities. Both require you to put in months of effort before you make any progress at all, and years before you can achieve significant goals. When everyone else is out having fun, and you're slaving it out in the gym (or the lab), you need to have the inner strength to hold out for something better. But the reward of reaching a target that you've been working toward for several years.. there's nothing at all to compare to the rush you get from that.

At a less metaphorical level, there are going to be times in your Ph.D when nothing is going right. On the other hand, as long as your diet and sleep are ok, you should be able to improve your personal best on at least one exercise by at least one rep every single time you hit the gym. That might not mean much to you if you don't weight train, but if you do, you know how big a motivation improving your personal best can be. Having something to look forward to when you get up in the morning is a huge boon during the times when you're feeling the Ph.D blues, and can sustain you until you can get back on your feet research-wise.

(Note: if you're thinking that none of this applies to women, I recommend hanging out in gymrats and getting made fun of until you change your mind, or checking out stumptuous.)

This post was brought to you by the fact that I blew past my previous best squat 1RM yesterday. I'd been stuck since last August.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: smriti
2008-06-30 05:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm getting used to coming back to school at the end of summer and seeing at least one random 4th year student with out-of-the-blue-rippling-muscles. Not kidding. Has happened every year for the past 3 years!

(Brings back vaguely hilarious memories of going back to (high) school after summer break and suddenly hearing deeper male voices in the classroom :D)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-06-30 09:57 pm (UTC)
hmm.. maybe i can be that guy this time :) unlikely though, given that i'm traveling a lot.

oh well. i still have a year left.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: jakespeak
2008-06-30 05:44 pm (UTC)

hey

Another thing about weight training is that it (much like any sport one suspects) creates a positive feedback loop. You slave, then you stop, you feel good, not just after the workout but for the rest of the week, even if its just 3 days a week, and then you go back harder. Its awesome. Pavlov did not know nothing :)

But I have always had juggle just hitting the weights hard and really pushing myself each time (and its amazing how much one can lift/push with conditioning) versus doing many more reps of relatively lighter weights. Each has its own benefits I suppose. Sustaining heavy workouts and the muscle mass and the same intensity of workouts each time is hard. Your diet, sleep and virtually your lifestyle has to be shaped around this.

That 'stumptuous' seems pretty good. Do you have any that are not specifcally targetted at women? Also if you have any that go into the science of the thing (the physiological, mental effects, yada-yada)

Do share.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-06-30 05:49 pm (UTC)

Re: hey

the wikipedia article is a good starting point. also, gymrats. go to the userinfo page there, lots of links.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-07-01 05:07 pm (UTC)
good for you! i used to run before i started weight training. problem was, i had to push myself to do better everytime, and soon i could run for an hour and a half, and i realized that it wasn't sustainable. i needed something where i could keep setting tougher goals without having to spend all day on it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)