Tag Archive for exercise

On Idle Time

Sometimes we need a break. Even writers will spend some idle time to unwind, relax, and attempt to let plot problems solve themselves.

There is, however, a right way and a wrong way to do this.

I find tuning out is the wrong way. This is the couch potato method: sit down and flip channels or surf Netflix until the wee hours of the night. Sure, it’s relaxing, but the brain isn’t in motion, it’s in pure sponge mode. Even if the writer’s internal editor is analyzing the plot of the flick or anticipating a climactic twist, all the effort is going into what’s on the screen rather than what’s in the writer’s notebook or on his hard drive.

Disengagement is much better. The subtle difference is disengagement is the result of doing something physical, something that is so automatic that the brain isn’t required to take command of things. Showers and walks around the blocks are popular examples from many writers. I’ve recently found going out for a run or hitting the weights is just as effective, and there have been several times I used my phone to email brief notes to myself during walking intervals on the track.

The body and the hands are on autopilot, so the brain is free to wander. Plots move in new directions. Characters rise and fall, or bring new dialog. Short stories and novels unfold.

In short, writers, choose your idle activity wisely. Don’t let the one-two punch of the desk and couch take its toll on your body. Get out and get some exercise and use that time to brainstorm. It will be good for you and¬†for your work.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Big Loser

The Biggest Loser contest at work is going much better this time around. I’ve cut 3.5% of my body weight since we started, and we’ve got two more weeks to go. A lot of people haven’t been weighing in so I don’t know how my team is doing, but there are a lot of people grumbling about not losing anything so hopefully I’ll at least win my money back on this.

I’ve now lost 32 pounds since I started studying Shuri-ryu with the Academy of Okinawan Karate. Next week I’ll have been at it for nine months, and I will likely earn my blue belt. I’m celebrating both milestones by buying my Xmas present early: a sturdy, 14-ounce cotton gi to replace the ghetto gi the school issues for free. A seamstress co-worker altered the sleeves and pants for me and I can’t wait to try it out tonight. (I rolled the cuffs and practiced in it Tuesday night. The sleeves held, but the pants came loose with kicking and were a nuisance.) If this continues another year, I hope to be able to purchase a gi according to my height and still have it fit my torso properly. The sleeves may still need to be altered for my stubby arms, but hopefully not near as much.

Jeans are almost as difficult to fit. This week, however, I learned I’m just about down another pant size. The legs and seat fit fine in relaxed fit, but the waist is just a hair too snug. I imagine they’ll fit by Xmas at the rate I’m going, and I’ll probably be replacing yet another belt at the same time. I’ve even had to tighten my watch, and my wedding band is easier than ever to take off.

A friend of mine likes to joke that I’m wasting away. I don’t see any danger of that happening anytime soon, but the difference is becoming more and more obvious. Lesson learned: whatever gets you off your ass and keeps you moving is a good thing.

If I can do it, anyone can.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Heeding My Own Advice

My Yoda

Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.


The wife read yesterday’s blog post and says I’m full of crap. She then challenged me to try it myself.

So I did. At lunchtime, I tossed the Squirt up on my shoulders and did some karate. The Wife snapped this pic.

Two moves later, Squirt started screaming “I’m falling!” and decided my eye sockets made perfect handgrips.

The Wife touted it as proof of a bad idea.

Bah. It just needs a modification: a proper baby-carrier backpack.

I wonder if Men’s Health would be interested in a “Yoda Workout” article…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

She Never Takes My Advice

The Wife, that is.

This morning she came downstairs wearing her workout clothes. I naturally assumed she intended to get some exercise, either practice her Tai chi or follow along with her workout video. With the elder rugrats off to school and preschool, she has only the Mistress of Pain for two hours.

She says no, she’s just dressed comfortably to clean the house. The Mistress of Pain climbs on her and prevents her from getting her workout in.

I told her she needs to strap the MoP to her back, like Yoda. Just think about that, the MoP riding along as she’s busting out those ninja Tai chi moves. Hells yeah, that would be bad ass.

She gave me The Look. The one that says “You better shut up before I call the guys in the white coats. Again.”

I reaffirmed my assertion that she could indeed pull it off. The MoP is about the right size, and if Luke Skywalker can run through the forest and levitate rocks with Yoda on his back, then she should have no problem parting the wild horse’s mane or spreading the white crane’s wings with the MoP mounted up. I even offered to teach the MoP to say things like “Getting stronger you are!” and “Squat lower you must!”

Something happened to The Look. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it changed. Subtly. I thought maybe the brilliance of my suggestion had temporarily dazzled her, and she would at last take a piece of my advice and find that it was good.

Instead I got kicked out of the house and sent to work.

Women. Go figure.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.