Since December, I have been getting regular exercise. On three to four mornings a week, I get on a rented ($40 per month) spin bike and use my online subscription ($13 per month) to do a 20-45 minute workout.

A lot of it is HIIT – high-intensity interval training. Over and again, you get to your maximum power output. In between the effort, you lower either your cadence (leg speed) or resistance with a knob on the bike. The entire excitement comes from getting better at recovery during the breaks – while still pedalling. It is possible to recover by lowering your output just a little, without stopping.

And then there is the way I feel for the rest of the day. In the beginning, a draining workout in the morning had me feeling washed-out for the next couple of hours, to the point where sometimes I felt a little sick. A couple of weeks in, though, my body learned to recover much faster. Now once I get my post-workout shower and eat – and by the time I start my day at my desk – I feel fresh and energised.

As of April, I have been with the same company for three years. Longer than with any of my three previous employers! I have had some high-intensity times, but I managed to get over them without burnout or quitting. My capacity for sustained high effort has not grown much. The capability to recover? Definitely.

That includes putting myself in a minimally-stimulating environment. Spending most of the day working with code does the trick. It feels a lot like turning the resistance knob to the left.


Subscribe to READ|WRITE and never miss a post.