The 1000 Rep Month: Day 3

Today’s workout was recorded first thing in the morning so lighting was a bit of an issue, but you get the idea. Improvisation was necessary to accommodate Isla’s desire to absolutely dominate me on the pull-up bar (and with me lifting her that many times, definitely contributed to the workout). Also, at the end of the video I thought Isla was concerned about me doing pushups (she’s never seen that before) but actually she was in the middle of shitting her pants.

 

 

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 2

Today I woke up dreading another hour long workout, so much so that if I wasn’t publicly committed to doing this (and posting the video) I’d probably have skipped today altogether. So instead I’m going to change the program slightly to make it much more flexible and achievable.

Instead of doing 50 of one movement, I am now making it so I can do 50 of any movement. In my head, I was going to do 25 dips and 25 pull-ups today, and that was far more appealing than doing all 50 pull-ups only, or all 50 dips only. Doing different exercises also cuts down on the time needed between sets because you’re not necessarily using the same muscle groups. This of course cuts way down on the total length of the workout. Yesterday I was lifting for about an hour. Today I was done in about 6 minutes.

This flexibility is going to go a long way in ensuring I stick to this program long enough for it to become a habit (which, according to Google, takes 66 days). I’ll commit to posting a set of 70 videos, then deciding whether I’ve established the habit and can stop the videos or whether it’s still a struggle and I need to keep going.

Here’s today’s (much shorter) workout… with a tangent about how squirrels stay warm in the winter thrown in as bonus material:

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 1

I’ve been thinking about how I don’t want to get fat and weak in February when I cut way down on sports in order to help make time for baby #2. Until now I’ve been playing sports 3x per week. I’ll be cutting down to only one sports night per week, so I need to recover the deficit if I’m to maintain my current physical state(ish). Reasons for wanting to do this range from the superficial (I don’t want to lose muscle/feel like I’m getting weaker) to the emotional (I get cagey if I don’t exercise every day).

When change is necessary, simple is good. Complexity, for me, has often become a barrier to following through on past efforts to change my behaviour. Enter a dead-simple workout schedule – one that is also flexible enough to tolerate days where I’m feeling low energy (keep in mind the inevitable sleep deprivation inherent to every new and repeat parent).

1000 reps per month breaks up nicely into 50 reps/day chunks and lets me take the weekends off. It also allows me to choose easier or more difficult movements depending on how I’m feeling. I’m also locking myself into the routine by committing to posting each workout online. This way I’m socially obligated to keep going with it or face looking like that asshole who does plenty of talking and not enough of the god damn.

Enough rambling, here’s Day 1 of the 1000 Rep Month:

Post Workout Review

That was way harder than it needed to be. To be truthful, I had initially dreamed up a 3000 Rep Month routine but changed it to 1000 when I realized how much god damn time it can take to do even 50 reps of anything. Better to keep the reps lower and play with the intensity instead of struggling to make it to 150 reps of something every day (and probably doing a shitty job of it). 50 reps also felt like a nice intersection of quantity and quality in my head, whereas 150 reps simply scared the shit out of me.

Also I had a brutal energy drop after, probably due to a precipitous plunge in blood sugar levels, highly caffeinated blood and an early wakeup. I recovered by drinking juice, but for tomorrow I’m going to drink juice before and during the workout to see if I can prevent the post-workout energy slump.

 

The War of Monday: Me Vs. Myself

Only a fool wants war. But once a war starts, then it cannot be fought half-heartedly. It cannot even be fought with regret, but must be waged with a savage joy in defeating the enemy. – Derfel Cadarn (Excalibur, Bernard Cornwell)

Some things fucking suck, but we still gotta get them done. How we do these brutally painful things probably says more about us than how we do the easy stuff, the stuff we’re good at and the stuff we love.

The idea of committing to something painful and refusing to stop is well illustrated in this video of Gary V eating increasingly spicy chicken wings:

I’m always getting sucked back into my own comforts. For my family, Sunday is about comfort, taking the day slowly, and relaxing. Often we do that so well that shifting back into gear on Monday is a huge challenge. Caffeine and epic music can help grease the gears:

Then it’s a matter of getting down to the work. I’ve found that the thing I dread doing the most is the thing I should be doing. On days I’ve done well, I skip looking at emails and I go straight into doing the hardest thing. On days I don’t do so well, I end up wandering through emails and end up on chat support with an Amazon support rep trying to return a book for $8. The question I ask to determine whether I’m being productive or not is, “Does doing this activity bring me closer to where I want to be in 5 years?” If the answer is “No” the best thing to do is abandon the task and start doing something I can foresee contributing to a more successful future.

Sometimes that thing is studying a new technique or skill that will contribute to my work. Sometimes the activity is simply doing good work for a client I expect to be working for in 5 years.

Right now, the war I didn’t want is the war of Sunday Ryan vs. Monday Ryan. Monday Ryan cannot fight half-heartedly. He can’t fight with regret. He must wage war with a savage joy in defeating himself.

How To Get Depressed Because Summer’s Over

Fall is my favourite season, but I do get depressed when the daylight hours shorten. While I don’t necessarily suffer from full-blown Seasonal Affective Disorder (I don’t think!) I do get a little blue when I’m getting less exposure to the sun/nature/outdoors in general.

The colder weather means going outside is more of a pain in the ass. Snow and ice force me to use footwear which needs to get put on and taken off every time I indulge in some outside time. It doesn’t sound like much of a barrier – but those little inconveniences, for me, can be the difference between hours spent outside and zero time outside for days in a row. Most of the time, I just don’t do things unless it’s really fucking easy to start doing them. “Start” is the important word here, because the activity itself can be difficult. I don’t mind exercising, I maybe even like it. But if starting it is difficult, there’s little to no chance I’m going to do it. Any of it.

I used to have one of those suspension workout systems that you brace in a doorway and use the straps to do various exercises. It lived in its box, and that box lived somewhere in my closet. I never used it, and it wasn’t practical to keep in a doorway because every time I opened the door the thing would fall out and scare the shit out of me. So now I have a pull-up bar above the stairs leading to the basement (where our only washroom is). I drink lots of coffees and so I walk under the pull-up bar many times a day. I do maybe 8 pull ups a day, every other day, if that. But the difference between 8 and 0 isn’t 8. It’s fucking infinity. You can’t multiply anything by 0 to get 8. And that’s because 0 is the most worthless number in the world. People live and die by 0s. If you smoke more than 0 cigarettes, you’ll probably fucking die of lung cancer because once in a while you get drunk and smoke a pack of cigarettes and do irreversible damage to your already shitty lungs. You do that a few times a year, for your whole life, then you retire and smoke more out of sheer boredom and yep, you die of lung cancer. I don’t smoke but the above story certainly applies to me for drinking. There’s a blog post on here about me only drinking one beer or some bullshit, and I solemnly swear to you that that nonsense is over. I like to drink, and when the stars align for a night on the town, I drink like I mean it.

Zero to one kid is another infinite difference. If you have zero kids, you’re going to be pretty fucked when you get too old to take care of yourself (unless the future supplies us with free robots to change us when we shit ourselves). No amount of paid nurses will ever do as good a job of a genetically obligated successor at giving a fuck about your senile ass when dementia turns you into a wrinkled puppet for the hedonistic spirits to play inappropriate and very public sexual pranks with.

I got a bit lost there, let’s get back to talking about why fall makes me fucking miserable. I believe my daily happiness depends in large part on the inclusion of (in no particular order):

  1. Exercise
  2. Spending ANY amount of time outside, other than “none” (huge boost to happiness if I can absorb some sunlight into my skin and eyes)
  3. Experiencing the sensation (even the illusory sensation) of “progress” in something (anything) … (this is why I’m always cutting and stacking firewood)
    stacks of firewood in my backyard
  4. Socializing / spending time with other humans
  5. Not being hungover (this factor is definitely increasing with age, and impacts several days at a time) / getting quality sleep

The above checklist seems pretty attainable right? It should be easy to do ALL of those things EVERY DAY if it means damn near guaranteed happiness every day. But no. I get “busy” with some bullshit on the computer and before I know it I’m redlining stress hormones and haven’t taken a real breath since waking up. I’m tense. I’m irritable. The sun has just set, it’s 5pm, and I’m depressed. So I go to volleyball and get drunk after and don’t sleep well and that fucks me for the whole next day.

Anyway this post is probably less useful than it is satirical, and I hope I made you laugh. And please, don’t feel bad for me. This isn’t me complaining, it’s just me writing openly. Today I’m happy because I actually respected my checklist. I even got some sun on my face while taking a piss in the backyard (to avoid the pull-up bar) and I got to spend lots of one-on-one time with Isla (Lia’s away for a girl’s weekend). You can’t really get too depressed when an ass-naked 2-year-old is tearing circles around the dinner table, tiny fists full of peanuts, belting out wheels on the bus for the 5000th time.