Workout/work balance

Here’s my notes from last week.

“we’ve also been getting more walking exercise because our well is leaking & the driveway is dug up. We are parked at the neighbors and go back and forth 1-4x a day with 5-gallon jugs of water – hopefully this ends soon.” Dear Reader, it ended late Wednesday. Could have been worse.

Monday: 45-min walk end of day, with a short little lunchtime stroll around, and lugging some water. (here’s the Apple Watch rings data)
Move 557/550 | Exercise 62/60 | Stand 13/12 (the first number is what I did, the second is the goal for the day)

Tuesday: 45-min walk, 2-3 test sprints (hill) in the backyard, 6:30am 100 KB swings as a set over several minutes with breaks.
Move 660/550 | Exercise 82/60 | Stand 14/12

Wednesday: 6:40am KB swings 100, with rest / 15 KB deadlifts – (I think I need a heavier KB).No walk today.
Move 473/550 | Exercise 31/60 | Stand 16/12

Thursday: 100 KB – minimal rests – cycle – walk.
Move 661/550 | Exercise 82/60 | Stand 10/12.

Friday:  walk.
Move 621/550 | Exercise 51/60 | Stand 15/12.

Saturday:  – rest day, but lots of chores.
Move 512/550 | Exercise 25/60 | Stand 14/12

Sunday: light workout -cycle – walk (today, so no ring data just yet).

Overall reflection on the week:

Thursday’s 10 sets of 10 kettlebell swings was decently challenging, so I’ve been super sore since then. Shows how the element of time between sets really makes a difference in stamina and recovery! I dropped several minutes from the first session to the second, and then took only 15 seconds or so between 20-rep sets for the final 100, and I’m still feeling them on Sunday. Maybe I don’t need a heavier KB yet, lol.

Will this work for others? I think everyone will have their own formula of what works and what doesn’t. You can see from my Move/Exercise/Stand numbers what a motivated week looks like now. A typical Wednesday with a night shift had similar numbers, but contained 7-8 miles of walking vs 4 miles on Tuesday. I’m not sure what the ramifications of less mileage will have, or even if it does, but it’s an area for future research – I’m also trying to be very careful about using myself as a study, since that’s not possible. So, when I say ‘research’, I mean I’ll use my experiences to look for any peer-reviewed studies that look at similar questions. And I’ll share what I find with you.

Otherwise, I’ve done some improvements to my home work area – I got an adjustable swing arm for the monitor to help with standing position and me jutting my head forward when I concentrate – I can pull the monitor closer to me, and my keyboard can sit naturally on the table, since there’s no monitor stand in the way. To support more standing, I have an inexpensive, large foam pad under my feet – I can shift from foot to foot, keep moving a little bit. I wear shoes when on the thick foam mat, because I have some hypermobility in my forefoot. If I don’t wear shoes, the thick padded surface actually makes my toes/forefoot hurt. If you are looking to take on standing at a desk for work, there’s a lot of stuff going on from your head on down to your toes that doesn’t map to sitting at a desk, but I find it’s worth the hassle to do them, and buy a couple of tools, like a $20 foam mat.

Since strength training positively improves flexibility, I have a ToePro for foot/toe strength improvements – but this is not something everyone would want or need. It’s just to help with the too-flexible toe situation.

So, the work area? It’s getting fairly cushy. It’s possibly the most luxurious it’s ever been (which isn’t saying much). One big expense I don’t plan on: I’m not getting a comfy chair/stool. Because I’m not looking to encourage more sitting. So my chair is really the same old hard metal stool I’ve had for years – the one change I might make is to swap to a wobble stool.

If I had this whole set-up to do from scratch, it might have been fairly expensive. But we live in a small cottage, and I used to work at this stand up desk pre-Covid, and it also doubles as our kitchen table. So the only new expenses were the monitor, swing-arm for the monitor, the foam pad (since my old one had worn out). In fact, if I get a wobble stool, I won’t have room for my work stool-which-is-also-my-kitchen-table-stool, so it’s got to be pretty amazing to even consider.

Why do I talk about the work area when I’m talking about workOUTS, you ask? Because for people who have to work sitting at a desk (a position of relative privilege), the time spent sitting is like an anti-workout. The evening shifts I’ve done at the gym were 5 hours long, and I usually averaged 1 mile of walking every hour of the shift. So I’d get 5 miles in, that night. In contrast, if I didn’t squeeze in daily standing time, fidgeting time, pre-work exercise, lunchtime exercise, and a walk after work, I’d not really get anything like that level of activity. So the smaller chunks of exercise distributed throughout the day keep me from feeling deskbound and sluggish.

What I do need more discipline around is mindfulness practice, and I have no excuses, so just need to allocate 5 damn minutes a day with no exceptions, until I stop treating that as optional. Wish me luck!

On that note, let’s look at this whole experience, all of it, from a gratitude perspective – I’m unbelievably grateful to be able to model my daily activities with a fair amount of personal choice. I know very well this is not something everyone can do. Having one (and a half) jobs, instead of 2 or 3 makes a lot of this me-focused time possible. So does having a supportive partner, and family in good health.

And this is how I want to look at it: this is a point in time, it’s not the way things will always be. Times may get much harder, and this is a time of luxury – simply because I’m not struggling. So I need to enjoy it, not think that I deserve it somehow, and not think I’m entitled to always have it. It’s a point in time, and if I just sit in this minute and feel gratitude for how lucky I am right now, I feel a tiny rev up in my internal energy supply – because my body knows it is in a good place right now. I hope you are in a good place right now, too, and if not, I hope it changes very, very soon.