Programming, moreso than many related jobs (e.g. Project and Line Management), involves being sat on your bum for most of the day. What is the best way to avoid getting a beer belly through a programming job? Preferably without cutting out the beer.

+15  A: 

Ok. Since no one wants to have fun, here's my "serious" answer.

Last year I lost about 50 pounds (227 -> 177). Here is how I did it:

  • Walk to work every day. About 1.5 miles each way.
  • Eat breakfast. Oatmeal.
  • Totally cut out visits to the "snackery" at work. You know, chips, ice cream, etc.
  • Be less of a pig at meals. Don't ask people "Are you going to eat that?"
  • Buy some free weights and exercise with them fifteen minutes each evening

Uhh. That's it. Besides cutting down portions, my actual diet changed very little. I feel great, but I had to buy all new clothes which I hated.

Dave Ray
That's both correct and useless, like "buy low and sell high". It's also flawed: calories that I convert in to muscle or bone mass are consumed but not burned, and are usually good for my health.
Jay Bazuzi
Cute. But he didn't say that calories converted to muscle mass are burned.
I also thought it was cute :)
Dave Ray
Dropping 50 lbs is great, congratulations!
Ed Griebel
You can't actually "convert" calories into muscle guys...
@joshcomley: In C++, you can. Only thing is, you'd end up with muscles containing random garbage and crash as soon as you'd try to use them.
+34  A: 

Eat less, exercise more.

Read The Hacker's Diet.

Greg Hewgill
Although, of course, the "eat less" is optional. The more you exercise, the less you have to worry about food and caloric intake. I'm a former Sr. Dev and quit to run the biz behind SoCalBodyFat.com. The fittest just exercise, an hour 7 days/week and don't pay as much attention to what they eat.
+1 for the reference to The Hacker's Diet.
Jeffrey Hantin
+7  A: 

Why are you posting on Stackoverflow and not exercising or consulting with a doctor. I mean really what's the point of asking how to stay fit - on an internet forum. If you want to stay fit you have take action. Pretty damn simple.

Oh I get it, you want us to motivate you? err... no you want us to stay fit for you? err... really dude it doesn't take much to go to the gym for an hour after work every day, does it?

This question needs to be closed.

The same reason you'd post any question on SO. Other programmers are likely to have run into the same problem.
Bill the Lizard
Oxymoron - Internet Exercise.
Try to be less of a Nazi, waves. You've never found valuable advice on the Internet before, or on a forum? Then why are you even here?
I think questions like these are valuable because you can sometimes find new interesting ideas from other people in a similar situation.
So you're telling me that intelligent programmers *don't* know they should exercise and eat right? Yea... I believe that one... Hey thanks for promoting your business Chris... phhhht. Looks like the insurance companies love you.
i find it useful as people provide alternatives here, it might be something new for a dude who's already doing something else :)
I think you are being too hard with the guys, it's understandable that a programmer asks for help to fellow programmers since we share the way of living therefore we have some inside information and tips.
+6  A: 

I suggest getting out of the office at lunch time. Walk, run or cycle (to the pub); your choice.

+21  A: 

Cycle to work. I'm sure I'd pile on the pounds if I didn't.

Sometimes though it is too dangerous to cycle to work because of the road rage of motorists such as myself :P
sub zero (fahrenheit) weather and roads clogged with ice and snow for 4 months out of the year can make this tricky, too. :(
Greg D
40kms for me a bit of a trek !
+10  A: 

If you don’t drink beer, you won’t get a beer belly.

Yeah! Drink Vodka instead! Vodka belly FTW!!!
Paulius Maruška
+3  A: 

software which ensures typing breaks + skipping rope = 3 minutes raised heart rate/hour.

(walking up and down stairs is also an option if skipping doesn't fit with your working environment)

Pete Kirkham
jumping with 2 penicls in both hands is a good skipping rope sim :-)(it works .. out)
It also has the side benefit of keeping coworkers from disturbing you, lest the weird guy stab them with a pencil.
Dave Sherohman
+6  A: 

Take the stairs.

Eat multiple small meals rather than one big lunch.

Flex your center (abs) while sitting.

Drink water.

Drink tea or coffee rather than soda.

Take on the most challenging bugs (thinking hard burns calories).

Haha, love your last suggestion.

I'm in shape! Round is a shape!

Seriously I prefer the don't give a **** mentality. Programming as a career is one of the few areas where you are judged on your ability instead of appearance.

Staying healthy is not all about appearance. You'll feel better, be happier, and live longer if you stay fit.
Josh Hinman
With colleagues who puff and pant just walking about the office, it kinda puts you off their rotund figure.
Seriousl Spence, that attitude is bad and its viral. Someone will happen to stumble on this page look at your answer and think: Hey a really smart guy with 2 silver badges gave that advice. I'll drown myself in work, ignore my family and have a heart attack while I am at it.Dave, this is indeed a very serious problem and the earlier you accept it and start getting some exercise, the better for you.
Bobby Alexander
+1  A: 

German Volume Training

5-6 meals a day totaling 500 calories less than your daily usage = 1lb of fat loss a week

+9  A: 

Technically, programming doesn't cause a beer belly.

...programmers do! *ba dum tsh*
beer does *ba dum tsh dum*
Chris B.
drinking the beer does _ba dum tsh_
Tor Valamo

It wouldn't hurt to visit t-nation.com and read a couple of articles by Berardi and Waterbury. This one by Chris Shugart ain't bad either

Starting a training and diet log would be nice for this goal too.

+3  A: 

I wrote a blog post on this. I'm sure some of it sounds like basic knowledge, but Dale Carnegie was famous for pointing out the obvious too. Just try to make the right decisions (eat right, exercise) and you'll be better for it.


Kyle B.
+4  A: 

Personally, I do a pushup for every compile error. Keeps me fit ANd I try to avoid the errors at the same time. Works great all around.

Six pack abs FTW!


+1  A: 

Less stackoverflow per night and more exercise will help

Oscar Cabrero
+3  A: 

Go running while listening to the Stack Overflow podcast.

That is one thing I've never been able to do, listen to an audiobook or podcast while running. I think I need the beat to keep up a decent pace. Do you struggle with that at all?
Wally Lawless
Interesting point, last time I went 'running' to the podcast, it was more of a trudge through the snow than a run. Play it fast and all squeaky? :P
I use music for fast runs and podcasts for my weekend long runs.
+6  A: 

I cycle to work to get keep the pounds off. Cycling is the ultimate fitness regime for a geek.

It's a fast mode of transportation. In cities, it is often much faster than a car.

It's energy efficient. Humanity has yet to build a machine as efficient as the bicycle.

It's cheap. The running cost of fixing my bike is probably less than a hundred pounds a year.

You don't get hot. Sure, you do sweat but the airflow over your body evaporates it quickly. Compared to the kind of sweat you build up running, cycling is much less stinkier.

I also find that regular exercise in the morning makes my brain ready for the day. I can think more clearly in the morning and the ride home at the end of the day resets my brain for my personal projects in the evening.

All, in all, Cycling is as excellent a hobby as it is a fitness regime.

Simon Johnson
For those of us in the USA, saying that the bike takes "less than a hundred of pounds a year" doesn't imply quite what you want. Here its a unit of weight, not money.

For starters, stop drinking all that soda. If you have to sacrafice something, toss the sugar water. Beer is too previous to let go.

Second, implement exercise into your daily routine. I ride my bike to work everyday. And not only does it keep me in shape, it gives me time to decompress after a long day of writing code.

If you don't have a bike, walk to work, or take the bus and get off a few stops early. They main thing is to make sure you are spending time throughout the day doing things that don't involve sitting on your bum.

+1  A: 

The more you sit, the less you eat and drink. Sometimes this means I have two big meals a day and a snack instead.

If you have a munchie problem, eat lots of fruits and veggies. Go for a walk when you need to do design.

Jas Panesar
The upvote is for the last sentence. That's exactly what I do. For some reason, solitary walks are just awesome for getting the brain in gear. The only problem is that you'll often find yourself in need of writing some insight down while you are several minutes away from a peice of paper or whiteboard.
Do you find over time your mind has become accustomed to going for a walk and letting answers come to you? A Voice recorder is handy on walks if you don't take a small notepad with you.
Jas Panesar
+1  A: 

I rock climb twice a week, not only am I much stronger for it which helps to increase metabolism, but I also get to exercise my mind in figuring out how to get up the wall without killing myself.

Wally Lawless

Fellow dude and dudette programmers,

the simple answer is..., To always drink more beer :), then go work out ;)



I have attempted to squeeze my belly in an attempt to ooze out fat out of my belly.

It works to some degrees.

But the caveat is that, it's hard to get the symmetry of your belly shape right...

Sung Meister

Get one of those distorted mirrors and the beer belly vanishes!

Robin Day

Tons of great information, advice, and motivation no matter what your fitness goal can be found at http://www.bodybuilding.com/.

Dana Holt

Drink more beer. You'll still have a beer belly, but at least you won't feel so bad about it.