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  • Health

    This is where I write things releated to health in general and my own health in particular.

    9 articles in this category

      Finally vaccinated! time to get into shape again

      Now that I have received the first vaccination for COVID, time is absolutely here to start working out again. While I am hardly immune in any way, I have a slightly better protection against severe illness. This is good enough under the circumstances I think. I really, really need to lose weight and get more activity, so I'll risk it.
      I have always been a gym-rat, loving the pain of pushing and pulling hard cold metal so I will go back to that. While hard exercise will have positive effects on the body it will not really be what I need initially. So rather than focusing on that I will focus on reducing weight.
      I also need to get those lungs back in shape again, not just to increase oxygen to the body, but also because that will help me with SHR as well. This means more walks and more cardio at the gym. It's not what I love the most, but it has to be done. Once body fat is down a bit I can focus a bit more on adding muscle mass again, but for the first 6 months or so it will just be to reduce the body fat and trim the muscles again.
      One of the really big advantages with working from home is that I can work out in the morning again. I love that, but it has always been a bit difficult when you have to commute 75 minutes every morning and every afternoon. Those 150 minutes really drain the amount of time you have available during the day. I could still manage that when we lived in Märsta as there was a 24/7 gym available so I could work out at 4.30 in the morning. That is not really possible here, so working out at 6.30 when gyms open here is not possible with 75 minutes commute and you start at 8 in the morning.
      When you don't need to commute however 6.30 works fine. I can take a 5k walk in the morning to get to the gym at 6.30, then work out for an hour before I head home. Get a quick shower and something to eat and then start working at 8.15 or so. That sounds great to be honest.
      When things get back to more normal and working from home may not be as easy as it is now I have the options of another gym that is much smaller, but opens at 5 in the morning. There is also the option of attending a gym close to the client, like I did when I worked at H&M. It requires that I bring extra clothes, which I prefer not to do, but if it's the option available I'll take it.
      The direction is set, the mind has been adjusted for uncomfortable pain.
      Now all I have to do, is to see it through.

      90 day challenge - the most insane one yet!

      So today my son and I start a new challenge together. One hundred push-ups and one hundred squats every day is the goal for a total of 9000 push-ups and 9000 squats. This will hurt. A lot. My questions for you is this: are you in?
      A few years ago I did the 10k push up challenge so when my son wanted to work out more and my wife keep nagging how fat I am, I figured why not do something crazy? In these times going to the gym is not exactly safe, so this seemed to be a safe exercise that can also be fun to do together.
      We will not go crazy on this one, but we will do our best to hit the one hundred mark each day for both push-ups and squats. Our rules are also very simple: You can do as many or as few repetitions as you like and as many sets as you like. If you can only do 1 push-up, then do that a hundred times over the course of the day. If you can do 100, then do it once a day. Anyway you can get to one hundred is fine.
      The second thing we will focus on is quality over quantity. We don't want to hurt ourselves by doing sloppy reps, so if we fail to get to one hundred one day, but the reps are done with good form, then that is a win anyway. The aim is still to get to one hundred each day for 90 days. If I can, I will probably push another 10 days just to get the 10k. We'll see if we even get there though because this will hurt. A lot.
      So, are you in? 🙂

      I do not have COVID-19 according to the lab results

      Yesterday I submitted a self test for COVID-19 and today I got the SMS with the result. Fortunately it was negative, at least for now. That means there is another reason why I have had symptoms of a cold for weeks, so I will check that up.
      It's a bit weird making self tests for COVID-19 because it's not exactly and easy test to take on your own. Because of that I can't help but to feel that maybe I failed because I did the test wrong...
      My situation is however far better than that of my wife who is down with far worse symptoms than I am. I would not be surprised if she have been infected with COVID-19 because she have a really bad one now.
      That means that all three of us are down with a cold that seem to drag on forever.
      Fortunately it is not COVID-19 for me at least.
      ...unless I failed taking the test...

      Down with a cold...again.

      I am down with yet another cold. I have been sick on and off for almost five weeks now and it is getting a bit tiersome to say the least. This during a period where finding a new assignment is crucial is far from optimal if I put it like that. I also just upgraded this site and I have things to do, but not the energy to do get it done.
      For weeks now I have had headche, low fever, coughing and a very soar throat. I do not sleep well and had to take some nose spray for about a week just to be able to sleep. I thought things was getting better last week, but then it hit me again so I had to call in sick...again.
      In a time where I am looking for new assignments and have a ton of things on my plate it is far from optimal to be down with a cold. We are also building the new business area at work so me not being present is not a very good thing. There is a lot you can do on remote, but some things you need to be present for.
      I guess I have to see a doctor next week or at least confirm that this is not COVID-19 so I can get that out of the way.
      The upgrade of this site was also supposed to be followed up with new templates and they have been delayed. Most pressing is the block template because I do not like the current layout. As soon as I can muster some energy for it I will do a new update to the beta site and fix that. I already have the base so it's just some CSS fixes and some logic for the colors so it works for multiple purposes.
      A new template for the post view is also needed and that one also is not very hard to do. It just take a few hours if I can focus on it and it will be similar to the current design, but with a different organisation of items. I will also add conditional rules to make sure that the review tab only show for posts where a review has been placed.
      For now though I will crawl down under the covers and watch some movies. If I have the energy I might play some Path of Exile later even.
      I hate having a cold.

      Training and some issues...

      Training is about to get a bit more serious now that I have committed to it fully. It is still a bit slow as I have not really found the flow yet due to some sickness (SHR) and starting a new assignment. Last Sunday I also managed to hurt my knee a bit so it's a bit limiting as well.
      I bought a gym card now and it's feeling good to go train actually. It's slowly getting less crowded, which is nice. My body is responding well to the training, so it's nice to feel the "pain" again. I still need some new shoes and headphones, but I can live without that for a while longer.
      The biggest issue right now that is limiting me a bit is that I need to experiment a bit more about when to train. Me and my son went to the gym on Saturday and we discovered that the gym closes at 18 on Saturdays. I have never even heard of a gym closing that early, but on the upside weekdays they stay open until 22.
      This week I was planning on going a few more times, but as I started a quite hectic project this week I was a bit brain overloaded to the point where I almost fell asleep on the bus home. I also felt an issue with my knee that is a bit wobbly and stiff. It's probably from me pushing squats a bit to early so I'll rest from that for a while.
      Other that that I need to get some cardio into the mix and be better with the core exercises.
      So far so good, but I need to get the routine going...

      Am I cought in my own mental trap?

      For the past couple of years I have not had the same joy in my heart as I have had before. I have not been unhappy in any way, but in my heart there has been a feeling that I have never had before. That feeling is that I have to protect my current level of income so I do not loose it.
      It is a silly notion as I am not depending on the level of income I have now, nor has it ever been the driving force of my life. The idea that my income would somehow affect the way I feel is something I have not even considered before. I find it a bit scary to realize that I considered having the income I have right now, as I am between assignment, as a cause for concern.
      It feels strangely liberating to realize that this is that feeling I have in my heart that has troubled me for a while now. Somehow I have trapped myself into a mental image of myself as successful because I have a good income. I have become so used to having a good income that the idea of having that income lowered was scaring me. For no good reason I might add as my financial situation have never been better.
      The concept of "reducing" myself, financially or work related, was strangely troubling for me for this reason. The simple truth is that my value as a person is not in the titles or the money I make. I am not the guy that should have the ceramic cup. I am the guy that get the Styrofoam cup. The one that help others to be seen, but who will always stand in the back and watch them step into the spotlight.
      Somewhere along the way I forgot this. I forgot to listen and let others shine and I forgot to give myself the permission to fail so I can learn. Most of all I forgot that I am a student, not the teacher.  That everyone I meet have a story that can tech me about myself. That my value is not defined by the trappings of wealth or titles.
      Now that I remember, I feel a great weight lifted from my heart.

      Not so good week this week...

      This week has not been one of my better weeks. It has been filled with stress and I have pretty much been running a fever all week. Sleep has been terrible and I had to take some fluid replacements to avoid health issues since eating and drinking has been less than ideal.
      It's not often that work affect me in a negative way, but this week and last week really did.  A project that really upset me and caused me to take time off to avoid stress related effects came back to haunt me. The project itself was not the issue though, it was the communication and the planning that was really bad. An internal decision also pissed me off royally, so to get that back in my lap really frustrated me as it felt disrespectful to say the least.
      Fortunately it is resolved now (I hope) so I can leave that behind me.
      Being without an assignment also start to wear on me as it's only so much you can do with free time before your skin starts to crawl. Sure it's fun to play with this site, but the endless work of sending applications to assignments are a bit tiresome. This is where I wish there was a Demando for consultants as well. I see so many job descriptions that immediately make me cringe and say no because I can read the chaos behind.
      The work I see are pretty limited right now, which is a bit odd. Usually you find more work in January, but now it seems a bit slow. I also see that the agencies helping with matching work is in need of some work as the sites look...well, not so good. The odd ball out there is probably the relatively new Tech Relations owned by Diana Itaoui. My favorite eWorks seem to have completely destroyed their website this week, which I hope is temporary.
      Training this week has been bad as well with just one session that my son did not really put his best effort into as he was super tired. Yesterday we skipped it as none of us had the energy after a full day at BUP (Child psychologist) and then cutting our hair at the mall. I was tired since the day before even when I went to the office to help @Christian Planebrink with some stuff. Our office is still full och glue and paint residue so my SHR kicked in of course even if I was there only for 2 hours.
      Still, it's not as bad as it may sound and my life is still blessed by many standards. I'll just need some sleep and a ton of fluids and then I should be back in the saddle again. If I also can get something constructive to do and proper pay again, that would be awesome.
      So it's just to move forward and write this week off as one of the not so good ones and hope for a better one next week.

      2020 training goals

      I am going back to training again after 7-8 months off. It's not a new years resolution, but something I need to feel good. I have already started by doing the first couple of training sessions to chock the system and get the first training ache going and out of the way. Then in 2020 it's back to the gym again and we'll see how that goes.
      I am going to do a few things different in 2020 and I have set up a few goals for myself. As with my writing the biggest focus will be on consistency. Even a bad workout is better than no workout after all. I also have a few focus areas that will always be part of my training:
      Core strength Grip Strength Cardio Flexibility Core strength is there because my midsection is probably my weakest point. With the extra fat and a funnel chest my stomach look like a bowling ball. So I will strengthen the core and reduce body fat. I will also work on some mobility, even if it's a bit tricky as my lower spine is stiff due to my lower part being grown together. While this comes naturally with training I will add abs and lower back exercises in every training session. I am also considering adding thaiboxing / MMA training to the mix a few days a week for flexibility and core strength.
      Grip strength might seem a bit strange, but I want to ensure I do not end up with a weak grip forcing me to use straps to train my back. I also need to increase my endurance for grip pressure as it currently hurt hanging from a bar. As I aim to work quite a bit on my back I need to be able to do pull ups and for that I need good grip strength as well as grip pressure endurance. For this I am hanging from a bar before each training session. This let me not only slowly make my body used to the pressure in my hands, but it also stretches my chest and shoulders, helping with posture a bit. I will add leg raises later to add some core strength in there as well.
      Cardio has always been a weak point for me. As I grow older it becomes harder to do running so I will not focus on that as the chance of failure is high. Power walks however is a great option and I will walk back and forth to the gym, which is 6km. I also have a nice route just for walking that is 5km that I aim to take every day I am not going to the gym. I am going to try out battle ropes and some other exercises to get that pump going.
      Flexibility is starting to be very important as I am getting old and with issues in my lower back and with a situation where I sit most of my time I need to do some stretching. I will end all workout sessions with stretching where a big focus will be on the hips and legs. One goal is to be able to put both palms to the ground in 2020 and to do a full split in 2023. The first one I am sure I can do and the second one I am not as sure of. Still going to push for both however. I will also focus on chest mobility as it seems to have good effect of SHR symptoms.
      Right now I am planning on going to Friskis & Svettis here where I live. It's a decent gym, not to far away and I can go there with my son when he feel like working out. I can walk in about 40 minutes or I can take the bus, which makes it accessible which I feel is most important right now. The downside of this choice is that the gym does not open until 06.30 in the morning so early morning training is pretty much out of the question when on assignment. This is because I have around 1 hour commute and my work start at 8 most days.
      If I decide to start doing thaiboxing / MMA then I will probably go for Combat Academy as it's pretty close and I pass it on my way home from work. This one is a bit trickier as it has a fixed time and it's not always so easy to keep that with work. My wife also start a new job next week, which means she will do some late shifts so i will be doing the cooking on those days. Still, I can opt for 4 days of workout with both thaiboxing and MMA so that should make it possible to get at least one or two sessions each week. Still undecided on this, but I'll go there to check it out just the same.
      Planning is one thing, but execution is another. So I have already started and it feels great. It hurts a lot right now of course as I shock the system, but the me time doing power walks in the dark feel amazing. I will train with my son a few times a week is the plan, but I need to add a few sessions in just for me as well.
      I need to buy new shoes as my running shoes are pretty worn out. I also plan on buying new headphones with noise cancelling as my AirPods was snatched by my son and my old trusted sony wh-1000xm2 are way to bulky for the gym. I'll probably go for Sony WF-1000XM3 or AirPods Pro which also have noice cancelling.
      In January I will start with high reps training doing 3 sets of 12-15 reps. This so I slowly get the body used to the motions again and to avoid injuries. Focus will be on quality reps rather than strength. Last week I will do 5 sets of 8-10 reps and then in February I will go for 6-10 sets with 3-6 reps for pure strength.
      In March and June I will continue the 6-10 sets with  3-6 reps, but will mix in high reps for variation. In July and August I will go for midrange of 5 sets of 8-10 reps with a lot of super sets. September and October will be a mix of high reps and low reps trying to combine strength with blasting the muscles with blood.
      November and December will be all about strength as by the end of 2020 I aim to do:
      100kg Bench press 100kg Squat 100kg Dead lift 3x10 pull ups For squats and dead lift this will probably be adjusted since 100kg there is not that much for me. I could probably do that today if I tried, so we will see how high this goal will be adjusted. I am tempted to double them, but that would be to much I think. Maybe 150-160 is a reasonable goal, but I have to start first and see how much is a reasonable goal.
      So, the goals are set. Now it's time to execute!

      Walking the path of duality: Balancing yourself is a journey

      I am now on my third week trying to find balance again and it's a slow process. This is because in order for me to find balance I need time alone and that is very hard to come by these days. It also require you to understand what you need, which is something that comes from experience and understanding yourself. For many this is very hard as we live in a world where being introvert is looked down upon, even if it is in all of us.
      I am fortunate that I was born and raised in a way that makes me more independent than most. My self esteem is pretty high and I have little to no interest in impressing others or the need to conform to the ways of others. This is not how most people feel and I see and hear people all the time struggling with the need to fit in with the need to find balance in life.
      That balance is hard to come by as we live in a society designed by the rules of the extrovert. Our social behavior is very much based on extrovert activities and behavior related to introvert activities are not always socially acceptable. Just consider how you would react if someone you know and care for would decline a party invite from you because they feel the need to be alone instead. You most likely find that unusual at best and offensive at worst.
      The thing is however that being introvert or extrovert is not a binary thing. Everyone have both sides in them, they are just more or less dominant. You should also understand that extrovert behavior is not always the true nature of different individuals. In some cases it is used to avoid dealing with emotional issues. Others use the good old fake it until you make it even if they are by nature more attuned to the introvert side.
      Once you realize that you have two sides in you things get less complicated. This usually comes with age as you become less focused on being liked by others. This allow you to let yourself be socially awkward and by doing so allowing yourself to find a balance in life. In fact most people that claim to have found balance or enlightenment do so in some form of solitude.
      In a world where we are constantly being bombarded through our computers and phones it becomes increasingly difficult to find serenity. This is why noise cancelling headphones are pretty much everywhere as we try to find moments to be alone even among others. Others turn to walking or running as a way to clear their minds. If you look around you there will be many signs of people finding ways to be alone even if they do not even realize that this is what they are doing.
      Once you get drained of energy this constant bombardment make recovery harder. If you are drained of energy every "must" becomes an anvil that continue to drag you down into the darkness below. It can be as simple as a mail that you need to respond to or a request from your significant other to take out the trash. Even the simplest things can seem unmanageable until you get some of that energy back.
      For me this means that I need to turn off the world around me. I watch movies or read a book. The most important aspect is that if I feel even the slightest issue with something, I will not do it. This may seem egotistical, but it is necessary for you to get that first energy boost back. Spending energy you do not have is a sure way to burn yourself out and the road back from that is a very long one indeed. So if your energy is very low, then you need to be a bit egotistical.
      Finding that balance in life where you can be extrovert for work, but still have enough time to be introvert is very important for your health. If you do not have the option to be introvert at home, then make room for it at work. Have meeting free days or schedule time for focused work to make spaces in your day where you can be introvert. Take walks or go to the gym alone. Go swimming or any activity that allow you some alone time. Find that breathing hole in your daily routine and you can find balance even in hectic lives.
      Also remember that even if you are mostly introvert you will get energy from social interactions. You just need to find the type of interaction that works for you. For me helping others or learning new things are things that give me energy. Things that stimulate my prefrontal cortex are positive things, while things that does not stimulate that are of my brain cost energy. This is why encounters where meaningful conversations are limited, such as parties or where repeat conversations on topics I find uninteresting, are activities I try to avoid or reduce.
      I know many introverts who struggle with a situation where you do not want to be alone, but you also struggle with small talk as it cost energy. For you I just want you to know that it is not an uncommon combination and it's absolutely fine to not be the center of attention all the time. Just listening and not engaging all the time is perfectly ok. If you feel awkward, then use the good old question trick where you let others talk and you just add a question here and there to get them going if they stop. Most extroverts love to talk as it give them energy, so engaging them through questions will save you energy and give them energy, which is a win-win for everyone.
      Finding social gatherings that you find interesting will give you energy as well. Meaningful, deep conversation that engage you in a positive way can make wonders for your energy levels. Finding out what those are however can be a bit tricky. For me I can talk about psychology or games for days. For you it can be about cars, cosplay or politics for example. Anything that peak your interest is something that probably will continuously give you energy.
      So the trick is to find out what social activities give you energy and which ones that cost energy. Once you have that nailed down, then you can start finding that balance between the two.
      Now I am going to go back to filling up my energy levels and I will do so by shutting down this computer and do the dishes before I settle down for a good read. I might take a walk in this wonderful sunlight as well before I have to drain some energy be going to the dentist.
      I hope you have a great, and balanced, day.
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