The Afterburn Effect Applied To Personal Finance

One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld involves a plot where George puts in a furious workout which leaves him still sweating after he gets back to the office.  This leads to him being accused of stealing from his employer, as they figured he was sweating from being nervous.

In reality, this type of sweating is actually a good thing when it comes after working out.  It’s known as the afterburn effect, and basically says that after a rigorous workout, your body will still burn extra calories for several hours following a workout in addition to the calories expended during the workout itself.

I’ve actually applied this to my workouts, trying to work out harder for a slightly shorter amount of time versus a moderate workout.  After the moderate workout, your body basically wraps up, whereas after the rigorous workout, additional calories will continue to be burned.  So, even though the calorie meter might read the same, the net calories could be wildly different based on the type of workout you do.

Did you know that the afterburn effect can apply to personal finances?

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Making One Good Decision Is The Key To Everything

Monday through Friday, my alarm goes off at 5:04AM.  I have two options:

  1. Get up, go downstairs and exercise.
  2. Flip the switch, resetting the alarm for 5:39AM.

That’s a gap of thirty five minutes.  It’s thirty five minutes of extra sleep or it’s a thirty minute workout.

My goal is to work out three times a week minimum.  More would be nice but anything less than three and it’s not a good week.

I don’t do anything too intense. I have a recumbent exercise bike in the basement, so I’ll head downstairs to use that.  Sometimes I’ll lift some of the dumbbells that we have down there.  During spring and summer months, I’ve been known to walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the sunrise.

But, it all starts with that first decision.

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Why I Haven’t Started Exercising Yet

I have an exercise bike.  It’s in our new office / exercise room in the finished area of our basement.  Now that we have finished it off, added a small heater, TV, and other cool elements, there’s no excuse for me to not use it.

mb-201101runningBut I haven’t started yet.

And that’s sort of on purpose.

Why’s that?

Well, everybody makes resolutions at the beginning of the year to exercise more, lose weight, get in better shape, blah blah blah.

We’ve all heard it.  We’ve all done it.  Very, very few have actually followed through.

I think that the beginning of the year is an arbitrary time to stop exercising.  I think setting it as a big goal tied to the success of the entire year makes it a pressure filled goal that only leads to increased chance of failure.

I want to exercise.  I will exercise.  It’s just that I’m not going to do it with all the fanfare.

Besides, I’ve been getting lots of exercise with the various projects tied to getting all of our rooms ready.  As soon as that happens, I’ll start my workout program.  Chances are when I start, over half the people that resolved to do so will have already quit.