Protocol: How to Channel Lab Frustrations Into A Productive Workout

Letcher, S. et al

Piles of failed experiments leaving you with pent up energy and frustration? Are you looking for a way to get toned but find it hard to balance workouts and all your experiments? Here is a quick lab-inspired workout regime that you can implement anytime, anywhere. Just grab some space, a couple of heavy objects (that stack of unread papers on your desk, or the crushing weight of inevitable climate change), and follow along:

Warm up

Picture your most recent failed experiment. Now, picture making six figures while working reasonable hours with cold brew on-tap at a biotech company. Are you angry? Is your heart rate up? Great! Recall this feeling every time you need motivation throughout this workout.

Sprinters (3x 2 minutes)

Here comes your PI with another grant proposal for someone to write. Outrun your labmates so that you don’t have to do it – bonus points if you shout “computational analysis is really Christina’s strong suit!” while you run. 

Side Project Side Steps (3 sets of 10 per side)

Remember that long list of side projects you keep pursuing because “maybe it’ll pan out and I’ll get a publication out of it”? Spoiler: it probably won’t! Get back on track by holding your weights while side squat-stepping right over them.

Undergraduate Mix-ups (5 solutions)

Oh no! Your undergrad messed up your reagents, now you have to re-mix everything, and fast! Pick up that stock solution and shake it around. If you’ve started to sweat, use the heat to accelerate the mixing.

Graduation Hurdlers (3 sets of 10)

Think about all the times you said “well I would have defended my thesis by now if I didn’t have to XYZ.” Make an obstacle course with all the instruments and coworkers who have held you back, then jump over them with reckless abandon!

Supervisor Squats (3x 30s)

Uh oh, your PI is walking past the lab and you forgot to send in the manuscript draft you promised to finish last week. Squat below their eyeline behind the bench so they don’t see you and ask you about it — aaaaand hold it… hold it… 

Rotational arm holds (60 rpm, 5 minutes)

Centrifuge in use or broken? Balance your samples in each hand and spin until your arms make scary noises!

Revisions (indefinitely, forever)

Your manuscript revisions just came back. Repeat everything you just did, but with more replicates. Also, give better justification for why you’re doing this. How are you sure that channeling lab frustrations into exercise is a productive workout? The mechanism isn’t really clear. Ah screw it, do you even care enough to keep going?

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