Tag Archive: Exercise


Quotidian Manifesto

Changing course is easy. Never reverting is hard.

Half way through the year and I find myself teetering on the edge of relapse. Some old habits are creeping back into my daily routine. I’m trying to fight them off. As part of that effort, here is a reminder of what I set forth to quit, start and substitute.

Quit

Being Ignorant – In this information age there is no legitimate defense for prolonged stupidity; you are a Google search away from insight and intelligence. Therefore, immerse yourself in books, online articles and videos focused on the long term effects of diet (good vs. bad) and exercise (regular vs. none). If nothing else, you’ll be smarter and preemptive guilt will help you avoid indulging late night cravings or spending the night in front of the TV.

Excusing Neglect – Tired. Overweight. Dispassionate. Lethargic. These things are not okay and should not be tolerated. Stop rationalizing your current state under the guise of more pressing and important concerns—spouse, kids, work, house, finances, etc. Your performance in all these areas is directly affected by your mental and physical health, so don’t ignore your daily diet and exercise requirements.

Eating Sweets – Most often sugars provide nothing than empty calories and momentary gratification. In exchange for this you incrementally give away your waistline and long-term health. It’s a bad deal. Give them up. Completely. It will be one of the hardest daily changes to maintain, but will pay out big over the long term. To ease your pain, allow one exception each day: a 30 calorie 85%+ cacao chocolate square.

Mindless Snacking – Whenever hungry outside of meal time, force yourself to wait ten minutes before heading to the kitchen; odds are the desire will pass. If it doesn’t, go ahead and snack on fruit. And after dinner, no eating. Period.

Start

Creating Accountability – Establish clear consequences (positive and negative) for your behavior. Whenever possible, make them visual and emotional. Weigh yourself everyday and display it on a Post-It stuck to the bathroom mirror. Use smaller plates and dish at the counter rather than the table so you have to physically get up for more food. Publicly track your exercise activity, books consumed and ideas generated. And don’t leave yourself an easy return to the past—throw out or donate clothes once they become too big or oversized, pay the fee and update your drivers license photo and weight, and blog about your successes and failures.

Thinking Big – Work on building or creating something bigger than yourself. Don’t worry about accomplishing it, just focus on the pursuit and know achievements will follow. Identify others with whom you can partner, collaborate and create. Give away your ideas, especially to those who are more capable of implementing them. Maintain an innovation wall. Practice edge craft. Plan, book and reserve your next vacation at least 9 months in advance. Create a life list.

Exercising – Incorporate at least 30+ minutes of physical activity into your day five times each week. Elliptical is fine, but mix it up; do some running, basketball, swimming and weight lifting as well. In addition, adopt a daily routine that includes stretching, sit ups and push ups.


Substitute

Productive for Busy – Get things done and ship everyday. Identify fixed commitments, tasks that cannot be delayed without rapidly increasing penalty (cooking, exercise, If it can be completed in under two minutes, do it. If not, list it. Don’t browse the internet during lunch. Instead, watch one TED or BigThink video (20 minutes and your out). Limit email checks to three times a day—morning, lunch and 30 minutes before end of business—and advise everyone of this schedule and your cell number. Blog everyday for at least 30 minutes and publish whenever a post is 90% finished; if you work on it for more than three consecutive days, move on to a new idea.

Nutrients for Calories – Mind your portions, but don’t starve yourself. Instead, swap out high fat, high sugar and low nutrition foods for lean, nutrient rich superfoods. Consume more fruits and vegetables. Lots of them. Don’t skip breakfast. Drink unsweetened iced tea in place of soda; cut out red meats and use portobello and shiitake mushrooms in their place; snack on frozen grapes and fruit smoothies rather than ice cream. Be sure to start every morning with a cup of green tea, a hard boiled egg and some fruit with non-fat yogurt and a little granola. And supplement one of your meals with a capsule cocktail that includes multivitamins, fish and flax oil, turmeric and curcumin.

Books for TV – Instead of ending the day falling asleep on the couch in front of the television, conclude by reading a book in bed. Trade out mental sedation for intellectual stimulation. And when you do want to watch something, do it while on exercising.

There are many more things to quit, start and substitute, but this list will do for now.

Burn Rate

Quick math problem: while camping, you decide to start a fire. You have five logs. Three are needed to start the fire. Each log will burn for roughly one hour. How long will your fire burn before more logs are needed?

The answer is your burn rate. It’s a simple measure of how fast you consume available resources. And it greatly affects your professional and personal future.

In a business context, burn rate refers to negative cash flow that is usually experienced as part of a startup enterprise. Whether you plan on making something, provide a service or some combination of the two, you will need money to get up and running. And if you exhaust your cash reserves before turning a profit, you’ll need to obtain additional funding (take a loan, sell equity, offer stock, etc.) or shutdown operations. Thus, your firm’s burn rate determines how long you can survive without making a profit.

Businesses with excessively high burn rates require a lot of cash, which is problematic for entrepreneurs, worrisome for investors and potentially terminal for employees. Out of control burn rates plagued my career for the better part of a decade, particularly during my final months with a dying dot.com. Many believed the Internet would universally increase gross revenues (when it in fact would universally decrease transaction costs), and my employer had capitalized on the feverish race to the Internet and speculative investing to artificially inflate the wealth of its VPs and executives.

But when the bubble burst and more venture capital was nowhere to be found, we began laying off sales and customer service associates with regularity. In my new role as “Director of No Sales”, I repeatedly explained the layoffs using the company line: “…necessary restructuring in an effort to lower the corporate burn rate.” Eventually I placed myself on the chopping block, took my small severance and moved on. I was young and inexperienced, but the situation was not unique.

In a health context, burn rate refers to how many calories you consume over a period of time for a given activity. Whether you plan on running a marathon, play some golf or relax in a hammock, you will need some fuel to keep your body operational.  And if you burn less than you take in, your body will convert the excess to fat and store for future use. Thus, your body’s burn rate determines how much you can eat without gaining weight.

Individuals with morbidly low burn rates require a lot of restraint, which is problematic for dieters, worrisome for spouses and potentially terminal for food lovers. An imbalanced burn rate caused me to gain 70+ pounds over the course of a decade. Most of it was acquired during times of stress and anxiety, such as the two years spent attending night classes in pursuit of an MBA.

I had no interest in a four or five year endeavor that slowly acquired credits; I preferred to get it done as fast as possible and therefore attended classes four nights a week while working full-time. It left little opportunity for much of anything else, especially exercise. A ridiculously low burn rate coupled with lots of fast food and late night snacking eventually bloated my midsection. I was older and more educated, but the situation was not unique.

So know your burn rate. It significantly affects your long term health—both professional and personal.

A few brief notes on three books consumed during March…

The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs – We are living in an ever-expanding ocean of knowledge that we will never be able to fully explore. Nonetheless, everyone should jump in and swim around as much as possible; it is one of the many adventures life offers. One man went to extremes and read all 33,000 pages of the 2002 Encyclopaedia Britannica. This is his story.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – Conventional wisdom is that sustained success is the product of talent plus hard work.  Gladwell adds two more variables to the equation: opportunity and legacy. Bad news: three of the four are entirely beyond your control. Good news: you can still be successful.

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner –  Eat in moderation; heavy on fruits, veggies and nuts while avoiding meat. Make physical activity part of your lifestyle; consistent but not strenuous. Live with purpose; it doesn’t have to be world changing, just meaningful to you. Surround yourself with a support network; relieve stress, anger and anxiety constructively.

Exercise

Fitness Room at The River House Resort & Spa | Chiang Rai, Thailand

I consider this entry my final “test post”, as the site is is now fully functional and I have a pretty good command of what is needed for content creation.

And so far I am finding little joy in writing this blog.

While I get some satisfaction publishing a new post, the process is more work than fun. Perhaps that will change. Probably not. Regardless, I believe blogging about the development of 2MinuteGenius.com is necessary to build momentum, shape ideas, tone content and maintain focus.

In short, I need the exercise.  But how much?

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends healthy adults (ages 18–65) should be getting at least 30 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise five days of the week.  Or if this is too much to fit in your schedule, you can do “vigorously intense” exercise 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week.

From a physical standpoint, I am not hitting either of those marks.  That needs to change as well.

So moving forward, the goal is to hit the elliptical machine five times a week and this blog at least three times.  In order to create some accountability, I have added a blog post calendar to the footer of the site, as well as a link to my physical exercise log (scroll down).

I’m tired already.

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