Chapter 9. Randomizing Fitness and the Importance of R & R

Consider an imaginary world where your job is to move the cream puffs off the assembly line. I seem to dimly recall an I Love Lucy episode along those lines. Anyways, the crux of your tasks could be reduced to “cream puff... cream puff... cream puff.” What do you think your brain would be like at the end of the week, or the month, without any other stimulation? You might be wearing one of those T-shirts that reads “My brain on cream puffs.” Do you think your brain would grow and thrive? Obviously not—our nervous systems and neural networks need constant stimulation of a varying nature to sustain themselves and grow more robust. A little math here, some programming, a new language; finally, you get to a complete reading of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

The brain needs to be surprised and challenged, along the lines of a Lumosity test.


You can access this “exercise your brain” online site at

Shock the Monkey

Your body and physique require constant shocks and challenges, too, in the form of surprises and new techniques to learn. The idea that surprising your body with good stress, as in a hard and/or explosive movement that you’re not accustomed to, has gained a lot of traction lately in the fitness world. Art De Vany, an impressively fit economist in his seventies, the “grandfather of Paleo,” and one of the first to apply Chaos Theory to health and fitness, is a big proponent of shocking or surprising your ...

Get Fitness for Geeks now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.