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Doing Things When You Don't Want to Do Them

I'm sitting at my desk in my RV. It's nice out, but the RV is in direct sunlight, so it's hot inside. The fan is on maximum speed, which cools me down a little bit at the cost of it being really loud. Two seconds ago I checked my email. I also checked my email ten seconds ago. Thirty seconds ago I thought about how I should make lunch, even though I've already eaten lunch. In other words, my mind is doing everything it can to avoid writing.

I'm not really in the mood to work, but I'm even less inclined to write. When my mind is in programming mode, I find it very difficult to switch from talking-to-computers mode to talking-to-humans mode. Last week, as you may have noticed, I didn't post anything. I slapped together a post, read it over, decided it was really crappy, and just skipped the week.

Now I'm writing, though, and I'll tell you why. 

Blitz to fitness; a 6 week challenge

On Radical Reader Chinese

I'd like to introduce a secondary project I'm working on, which is a health one. I've been living a relatively sedentary lifestyle as of late. I haven't been shoveling down ice cream and hiding in my apartment, but I have been spending much more time sitting than I used to. The weather is very cold here in Zhengzhou, so my old habit of going on periodic walks has fallen off. Also, going out to get groceries or food has been hard to summon energy for as that requires bundling up and braving the cold. This has had the positive effect of keeping me from eating out all of the time (which my wallet thanks me for), but in search of convenience I replaced that food with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Only PB&J, with a banana or apple here and there, is hardly a balanced or healthy diet. My one saving grace up to this point has been my teaching job, which keeps me up and active and supplies me with more variety in my diet at breakfast. Nonetheless, the time has come for me to make some changes to eat better and get more active. Here is my plan to become healthier over the next six weeks. I figure action is better than conversation so I actually started this little up two weeks ago. I'm currently in week 3, but I thought I'd share my plan in its entirety.

Week 1: Start cooking for myself Quite a while back I had a friend who was a body-builder. "90% of your workout takes place before you ever go to the gym," was his mantra. Your exercise and health are built on what you consume, so this first week focused on getting my diet back into shape. The primary rule for this period was no PB&J. This has helped me seek variety in my diet and break me out of my existing rut. Also at the beginning of this week I set a goal to cook for myself at least once and shoot for at least one hand made meal every week. This target was incredibly easily me, which was the point of setting the target so low. I've picked up two extremely simple recipes that have become new staples and replaced PB&J entirely. I couldn't be happier with how this side of things has been going. Multiple times over the last week and this one I have had either an egg and tomato dish, which I picked up from local cuisine, or a cauliflower lower mash pulled from the 4-hour chef. So, right out the gate I'm getting more, complete protein and veggies not to mention healthier carbs. My only issue here in week 3 is that I'm craving even more variety and so need to figure out another simple staple dish. Quite the good problem to have since I'm looking for variety in my diet ;)

Week 2: Shaking the dust off Week 2 was all based off of the Zenhabits approach to exercise. Zenhabits is all about starting small, fitness is a part of life that is helped by this more than anything. The blog's writer Leo Babauta suggests doing a simple set of an exercise at random intervals through the day. The idea is to do them whenever they pop into your head. Been sitting for a while? Do ten squats. Just get up? Do ten pushups, etc. Following suit, this week has been dedicated to seeing little opportunities to get my blood pumping and doing so. As I've found myself in a marathon session in front of my computer, I've jumped up and done ten squats or ten pushups. Just yesterday I did twenty squats and forty pushups, all scattered throughout the day in bite-sized portions. Judging by how my arms felt this morning I'm doing a little more than breaking even when weighed against all of the hours of sitting in my off-time.

Week 3-6 The blitz The first two weeks were designed to laying the ground work for the main event of this project, which is a physical blitz. This will take the form of one of those get-fit-quick video series in the vein of the Insanity program. I have always wondered if these things really work, and if my run-through this morning is any indicator, they make for quite the workout. I have always had more interest in functional fitness (such as that which builds stamina) over aesthetic fitness (that which makes you cut), but I am very curious to see how the program makes me feel by the time I reach the end. The exercises only take around half hour a day for 4 weeks, so the exercise won't dominate all of my time. I'll simply follow a workout schedule and enjoy the ride through a workout regimen I don't have to think about too hard. After starting today I'm excited to see where this monkey-see, mokey-do method of exercise gets me.

After the blitz After this little blitz of mine I'll attempt to take my running habit back up. The weather here in sunny Zhengzhou is at its lowest here in January, so by next month it should be more bearable to workout outside. I'm very interested to see how the video series effects my stamina as well as my muscle tone, so trying to go for a long jog after a day's break will do a great job of that. With taking my endurance training back up I'll set some targets, goals, time frames, etc. but for now it's time to blitz my way back into running shape!

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