Our man at Stanford (bootcamp): Healthy mind, healthy body, healthy appetite

Being away from home for 6 weeks leaves no room for excuses about exercise. Dammit.

While I am no saint, I have managed to get to about 80% of the exercise classes which has been quite a shock to the system. We start each morning at 1.15am (ok, so that’s New Zealand time but it’s still really early at 6.15 local time) and alternate daily between a run/walk, or this torture technique they call ‘Bootcamp’.

If you’ve never done it, going to the bootcamp in the gym each morning is a lot like a fourth form disco (that’s ‘year 10’ for you young folk). There is initially a great deal of reluctance to go – ‘what should I wear?’, ‘what if everyone laughs at me?’, ‘what if I don’t know any of the moves?’ Then when you get there, no-one really looks at each other, and the boys and the girls don’t mix. People walk around in a bit of an embarrassed daze. It’s pretty antisocial to start. The people in charge bark instructions at you over an incomprehensible speaker system. There’s loud music playing (here it seems to be the collected soundtracks of every AirNZ flight video ever), which after a while turns the awkwardness into some semblance of rhythmic shuffling around until you realise that you might actually be sort of enjoying it, before the lights come on and you are unceremoniously kicked out.

I even went home alone and didn’t get a pash, so pretty much exactly like my fourth form disco, apart from without the first XV guys smoking by the rubbish bins.

Overall actually, the experience of having 6 weeks outside normal family/work life is quite strange. The days seem to be much longer (probably the 1.15 starts… what, still no sympathy?). The days sort of melt together with a similar cadence; Get up, exercise, breakfast, then to work for about seven hours, a short break before dinner, then work again in the evening before the guards turn the lights out and someone plays a haunting tune on the harmonica through the bars while the night patrol ensures no-one escapes….hang on, I think that’s the ‘Green Mile’, my mistake. 

The relative isolation from normal work-life has taken a bit of getting used to though. Email traffic, normally a torrent, has dwindled, much like the waters in the dry rivers of the parched California countryside. No-one is asking me for an urgent decision, or to talk to a visiting dignitary. I haven’t had to sign off on travel or budget requests and seemingly all important decisions are being made without me. I guess its good training for being a CEO.

Right – better go now, it’s close to mealtime and I can’t be late. Some of the other inmates and I are making a break – digging a tunnel to Mexico.  Wish us luck!

Total exercise this week: 6 hours. Unless you also count the time I sat in a lecture theatre learning about healthy living, then its 14 hours!

Total weight loss: +0.7kg (going down again! There’s hope!)