Those who care about code should care about their health

I’m 34. I weigh far more than I would like. I hate exercise. I love carbs and fats, preferably in combination. I struggle with staying focused, thinking clearly, and being energized. I’d basically rather sink in my couch watching Lost reruns and eating chips than almost anything else in the world, despite the fact that it doesn’t make me happy.

But a few weeks ago, I changed things. My quality of life has already radically improved. And I find myself wondering how I ever lived the way I did.


It’s hard to say what got me to change my lifestyle. I think it’s a culmination of things: poor health, low energy, poor focus, and seeing others reap the benefits of their own changes.

I guess it wasn’t hard to say after all.

What I Changed

This is not medical advice, but here’s what I changed:

  1. I started a ketogenic diet.
  2. I started showing up to the gym 5 days a week (before work), with a focus on high-intensity weight lifting.
  3. I started taking a daily ECA stack.

Again, not medical advice. My doctor would probably not be happy about the ECA stack, which stands for Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Aspirin.


In 3 weeks, here’s what I’ve found:

  1. I’ve lost 10 lbs. No big deal. I could plateau any day now. But it’s nice, anyway.
  2. When I walk by a mirror, I catch myself wondering things like “did I always have those muscles?”
  3. By 9 p.m. I crash, hard. I’m ready for bed. No more insomnia. And my sleep quality is great.
  4. When my alarm goes off at 5:50 a.m., I actually spring out of bed. This used to be the lowest part of my day.
  5. I can focus like never before. I honestly don’t know how much of that is the keto, the exercise, the improved sleep, or the Ephedrine. But the mental fog that I used to deal with has been lifted.
  6. My cognitive load capacity has gone way up. If you write code, you know that cognitive load is the #1 constraint on our abilities.
  7. My productivity has sky rocketed. Rather than feeling constantly unable to stay on top of my work load, I’m frequently running out of things on my todo list. Which allows me to invest my time in other ways.

In Short

If you write code, you need to take care of your health.

I always thought of diet and exercise as drains on my time. Who has the time, I would ask. I’ve got two kids, a full-time job, and a freelance career. As a rule I avoid anything extra because I have no room to add to this list of responsibilities. And yet, now that I’ve found an hour a day for exercise, I’ve found I have more than enough time and energy for everything else.

For some, that may seem obvious. To me, it’s counter intuitive.

I’m never going back.

Written on May 18, 2018