Old content alert!
Thanks very much for visiting my blog. Always happy to have people read my stuff but just thought I should point out this post is years old. If it's about technical stuff there is a possibility that it is no longer relevant, if it's a bug report/fix I'm hoping that it should now have been fixed.
Of course if this is what you're looking for and it does work then great, just don't say I didn't warn you...
I’ve been out and about in recent months at some awesome events (MozFest and Full Frontal) which has again put me in touch with some fairly amazing people who I’ve certainly not seen as much as I would have liked to and in general they’ve all asked me the same thing – “so what did you do?”. It’s always a question that I struggle to answer as I certainly did do a lot and at times I never can never really remember them all so while this may not be everything I hope there might be some interesting things in here for everyone to pick up on.
In general if you want to start improving you need to get your metrics in order. I focused on 3:
- activity (I went for a fitbit)
- food intake (I tracked my daily meals in myFitnessPal
- weight/body fat %age (I use the fitbit aria scales)
Initially these numbers might be a shock, but for me that was largely the point; change is more about knowing where you are currently so that you’re better able to plan where you want to get to. With these initial measurements I was able to set myself short term and long term goals allowing myself the motivation of smashing the short ones and the focus to work methodically work towards that once reached is an epic achievement.
My focus on exercise has been in two forms – increased daily activity and working the time to head to the gym into my weekly routines.
My activity of choice is walking and my fitbit keeps me in check with that. I made my walk to work longer by getting off the bus early and use apps like Google maps and city mapper to show me the walking paths by default. While it’s not always the quickest option if it’s less than 30 minutes I’ll walk it (you’ll be surprised at how far you can get in that time); and when public transport is acting a fool I have been know to walk home!
Walking is amazing but I also wanted an additional fitness boost of going to a gym, and I’ve been so happy that I did. I went all in, found a gym I liked and paid for a year up front to give me the additional motivation of not wanting to waste the money of the membership. I find the times that it’s least busy and go then; this was especially important when I was new to the gym and getting into the swing of things.
I booked up a number of sessions with a personal trainer (another bonus of yearly membership is that you might be lucky and get some free ones) as otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue what exercises to do or how to use any of the equipment and that first session was an eye-opener and it nearly finished me off and I realised early that I was getting no benefit out of any of the harder exercises because I was so out of breath the whole time so took a couple of months focusing wholly on cardio work. I’ve never been a runner or a cyclist (I can’t even ride a real bike) so decided that the rowing machine was for me – it works the arms and legs at the same time and had the bonus of being one of the least popular machines. I started off slow and for rowing as long as I could do – 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes until I could do a straight 30 minutes and at that point I knew I was able to start seeing what else the gym had to offer.
I go three times a week (Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning) and have never been any more than this as I think it’s good to keep a maintainable routine that I’ll actually be able to stick to for as long as I need it.
This was the big one for me as the one that I had grown fond of was really appalling for myself; long and inactive hours of work followed by a skin-full of booze, some form of super rich meat-based food with the occasional burrito dropped in for additional sustenance. The good news for me was that I decided that I would still do these things but I would simply have to do them far less often, I don’t think if I had cut them out totally I would have been able to enjoy things all that much and I would have to exclude myself from a number of activities that I really wanted to be a part of.
For me everything was about routine so I needed to snap out of my bad ones and into some new ones using the metrics I now knew about myself. It was out with the sugary work snacks and in with the work coffees, out with 6 pints on a night out and in with a delicious whisky; most importantly it was out with the 9 hour work plus days and in with more standard hours (got to find time for the gym!). It’s hard to break out of something that you’ve been doing for a number of years but it got there soon enough, and now my new routine has took over.
Vegetables have became a large part of my diet now and replaced meats and pasta as the things I now eat everyday; of course I still do have meat and pasta but no means as often, and no means as much; where I might have had 125g of pasta I now have 50g and the difference to my appetite is nothing! Also beans – I love beans and good news is they love me (beans are awesome). Buy Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall it’s an awesome book and one that I think everyone should own regardless of whatever life changes they’re looking to make.
While the changes might have been rather forced on my I never regret making them, and hopefully because of them I’ll be able to enjoy their benefits for longer. I track the stuff I do in the open online (I’ve got a few updates to make but I will do, little bit out of updating things after the honeymoon) so if you want to see how things have gone and what I’m doing have a peak.
- http://diabeties.thecssdiv.co.uk/ – my hacky weight tracker
- gym tracker (Google spreadsheet)
- rossbruniges on fitbit
And while this turned out to be rather a longer blog that I had hoped I could probably have missed some important stuff, if you want any advice I’m happy to give it – get in touch via email@example.com, tweet me, find me in the pub (on a whisky night).Tweet