In my life, everything is a hobby. Work, bodybuilding, krav maga, girls, basketball, my blog - all hobbies. I roll up to work and step into the office each day, eager to solve a new problem, develop a new solution. I step into the gym, prepared to break a personal record. Into my krav academy, ready to perfect the latest defense. Into the bar, excited to meet a new girl. This list goes on.
When you view life as a collection of hobbies a few things happen. The most important? A natural balance emerges. No longer do I obsess over lifting weights, building computers, or playing basketball. Instead I have a handful of activities I love to do. And you know what, I am constantly making progress somewhere across the spectrum, and this is extremely satisfying.
In the rare case I begin to become consumed by one of them (for example, last week I spent hours redesigning my blog.. take a peek), it is not long before something occurs in a different area to snap my life back into balance. It is natural. Last week this took place in the form of meeting a new girl while buying a scarf. My focus was immediately shifted. And today? I just finished a rest week, and I am pumped to get back at it in the gym.
Do you view your life in a similar fashion?
For me, I like either grazing the surface and skimming, understanding enough to grasp the overall concept...or, delving in deep, and trying to achieve mastery, a la Tim Ferriss style.
If I'm going to delve deep, I commit a serious portion of my life towards it, and integrate it into my being. In my life, a great example of this would be Martial Arts training. I train primarily Brazilian JiuJitsu, and then supplement with Muay Thai, MMA, and some Krav Maga sprinkled in. I try to go 5-6x per week, and schedule the rest of my life around this (including my work schedule). By doing activities you love and want to get better at almost every day, it becomes more than just a hobby, it becomes part of you =D
I hear you. Definitely on the same page. When I say hobby, I encompass both bodybuilding which is a multi-year long deal and also krav maga which has only lasted a matter on months. Both I am serious about it the sense that I completely engage myself and constantly seek improvement. But keeping them on the same level allows me to stay un-emotional and levelheaded.
I can relate. Krav maga for example. My 6 month "contract" ends next month and I am not going to re new. I love it and have learned a tremendous amount, but I am quite focused on bodybuilding at the moment. Aside from that it isn't cheap.
What are your hobbies now?
Restoring junk computers, learning underclocking/undervolting to make systems more power efficient while not sacrificing too much performance. All started when I realized I paid too much for a refurb desktop back in 2010 (360$ for a socket 775 that maxed at the core 2 duo 2.6ghz). I was in paradise for about 2.5 years as well thinking it was the best cheap gaming computer ever until I needed to upgrade the CPU to play guild wars 2. I thought I would just pop a 50$ processor in but realized the BIOS didn't support it and the anger and discontentment from that got me on a journey of restoring my own computer from salvages for gaming. It just kinda got out of control from there :).
I'm a big underclock/undervolt fanatic atm as well since power in SF is expensive (40 cents kw/hr on tier 3 usage). I did computers in college and I wanted my perks! Cops get to speed, Event planners get front row and backstage seats, Mechanics get to fix cars, etc... I wanted to reap the advantages from what I went into for my own enrichment. Right now gaming on a 40$ quad core I've restored.
I've heard some stuff about krav maga - is it indeed the penultimate 'defensive' art? I've wanted to look into aikido since it didn't need lots of strength and it was a harmonic martial art with the intent not to hurt your attacker though I've been hearing a lot that it is not a 'practical' defensive art for street use. I like the concept though
Also how easy is it to get into bodybuilding? Did you gain muscle easily or was there a wall you had to break before you saw results? I'm one of those hardgainer types and I did skim the Anthony Ellis book but I didn't see any real philosophical insights there. The book was mostly a detailed workout plan which I think optimized rotated muscle rest/activity periods while espousing consistency. Basically there were no secrets except we had to work harder is what I got out of it rofl. I've tried weightlifting about 2 or 3 times in the past but never saw results or strength gains so I'm thinking total diet modification may be necessary for me or hormone correction.
Krav is a lot of fun for sure. Definitely practical. Every technique is taught with many real world example situations.
As far as bodybuilding it really is just making the commitment to be consistent with lifting and eating. For lifting it means tracking your progress, performing mainly compound lifts with correct form, and doing it 3-4 times a week. For diet it means counting (estimating) calories and eating at a consistent level while getting sufficient protein and fats.
I am in the process of writing a short (~15-20 page) "ebook" on the subject, and really making the bodybuilding process easy to understand and get into. It is nearly done, not sure if I am going to offer it as a free pdf or put it on amazon for a couple bucks.
I think and hope that regular readers of my blog will appreciate the variety of posts I throw up-random stories, travel tips, big life ideas, etc. I live a happy and fulfilling life, and the idea is that if I make my ideas and thought processes public, over the long term, people can take bits and pieces to improve their lives (just as I've done from other people). This has proven to be successful on some scale.
But two thirds of the visits my site gets are from first time visitors. They searched on Google, followed a link on twitter, or were emailed an article by a friend. They don't get repeated exposure, but rather a single shot. And, if I'm honest about it, a post like Yuka probably isn't going to improve their lives, other than to offer a few moments of entertainment.
This set of circumstances leaves me thinking about what major themes run through my philosophy that can make an impact in a single post. Last night, as I slept in a chilly tent with no electricity, no light, and no internet, I kept coming back to the idea of always getting better.
In the last ten years I have been a member of four gyms. They have all had the same thing in common – I ended up never going to them! I often ask myself why I used put myself through the rigmarole of joining gyms one after another – a kind of gym addiction you might say.
Here are a few promises that gyms hope to deliver:-
1. Exclusive surroundings with excellent facilities.2. A chance to meet other like minded people.3. A range of classes under one roof that you can’t normally do such as Zumba and body balance.4. A chance to have a ‘fitness’ schedule done for you by a trainer. They will tailor it especially for you – good if you want to lose weight.5. Personal training for one to one fitness coaching. Your own special motivator.6. A place to relax in the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.7. A good quality cafe serving healthy snacks such as smoothies and open sandwiches.8. Exercise done in a ‘safe’ way with encouragement. Good if you are unfit and not done exercise in a while.9. Creates more space for you if you live in a small flat in a big city such as London.
Here is the reality of gym membership:-
1. They are expensive (I paid £60 a month) and often very busy at peak times. It’s cheaper for off peak membership but the allowed hours often don’t fit into your working schedule.2. Hard to get on equipment in the actual gym – queuing for tread mills and exercise bikes! There is no wait to go outside for running.3. They take much time out of your day. If you go to the gym after work several hours or more can be washed away.4. Exercise routines designed for you are often repetitive and not challenging enough. Gyms are scared of being sued if something horrible happens to someone.5. You have a complete lack of fresh air. Running in an air conditioned space can’t be good for you in the long run.6. It’s harder to motivate yourself to go to the gym often a car journey away than it is to step outside your own front door with a pair of trainers on.7. The relaxation areas are often too tempting. I often avoided the gym and plunged in the jacuzzi instead. Came out feeling lethargic and sleepy.8. The gym cafe will probably sell chocolate bars and muffins. Again too tempting!9. You need to be dedicated to disciplining your social life. A quick offer of a drink after work can cancel out a night at the gym. A mile a day on the other had can be slipped in easily into your routine.10. If you travel or have regular holidays then your exercise routine is destroyed. One back the habit has been broken and hard to get into it again. With a mile a day I can run anywhere and do. At the minute I am holiday in Mexico and enjoying my early evening runs before dinner.