For several years, I’ve been working on my health - with goal of staying healthy as long as possible. It all started with working on sleep, which was followed by jogging, nutrition etc. where at this point it has become a part of my identity.
The goal here is to keep this post as a baseline for comparing myself in the future, how much I drifted or improved over time, and then share to the any other person who wants work on themselves.
I work from home; hence I could structure my working day around it. Times are obviously not set in stone, but it’s more or less a pattern I try to follow.
- 7-8: Wake up
- 8: Breakfast
- 9: Double espresso
- 10-11: Walk for some 20-30 minutes
- 12:30: Lunch
- 13: Read a book
- 13:30: Leafy earl grey
- 17:30: Dinner
- 18: Leisure time, often going for another walk
- 19: Gym/Side Project/Learning… or just do nothing
- 21:30: Shower
- 22: Read a book
- 23: Usually already a sleep
Few more details about how and why:
- I allow myself a lot of time for sleep - I can often get 9 or even 10 hours of sleep. But there are nights when 7 hours is sufficient. I just make sure there’s long enough window for sleep.
- The morning walk is another tactic to help with sleep, morning light resets circadian cycle which is responsible for sleep cycle.
- I don’t listen to anything while walking - it’s just me and the nature.
- I aim to walk at least 7000 steps a day.
- Gym attending 3 times a week for mostly weightlifting, often I add 4th day in a form of a cardio.
- I avoid food past 20:00, 3 hours before going to sleep.
Sleep is important, after two nights of bad sleep I can observe a performance hit on my productivity, small changes often can have huge effect on the quality of the sleep.
- Expose yourself to the morning sunlight, for at least 20-30 minutes.
- After numerous experiments with caffeine I got to the point where I don’t feel it impacting me even after dinner, but regardless I found a double espresso in the morning is all I need to get my coffee fix. Later on during a day I ten pick an earl grey tea, which seems to have a much lower content of caffeine, which is my preference.
- Walking minimum of 7000 steps seems to help me fall asleep easier, if I won’t hit that number falling asleep might be difficult.
- There must be a total darkness in the bedroom.
- Spicy or junk food often prevents me from falling asleep, or often wake me up around 3 or 4 in the morning.
- I turn off my mobile phone for the night and put it out of the arms reach.
- My phone is set to use greyscale, after one day of use like that I honestly can’t see any point of using colour phone, it’s also less tempting to use, and it seems to light is less intrusive for the eyes.
- Kindle Paperwhite reading doesn’t seem to have an effect on my sleep, so it can be used in total darkness in the bedroom.
- The first yawn is an indication that the body is getting ready to sleep, put down the book and close the eyes straight after it.
- Avoid processed food.
- Best quality food usually doesn’t have a label on it.
- Drink only water, coffee, and tea.
- Avoid anything labelled as low fat, no fat etc. Usually there’s more sugar added to product compensate for taste.
- Eat foods with a lot of fibre in them
- Prioritise food with low calory density, e.g. potato has 4 times less calories than French fries. Because of that, you end up consuming way less calories.
- Don’t bother with calory counting, focus on picking the right food.
- Eat a handful of almonds a day.
- Homemade popcorn is a great snack.
- Having proteins after workout seem to prevent me from feeling pain in muscles following day.
- Once a week have a cheat day, that is whatever you want in amounts you want. Life is to enjoy after all.
- Alcohol is a poison.
- In the morning, more consumed calories go to muscles. In the evening, more consumed calories get stored as fat.
My breakfast is often a combination of berries and nuts, with rolled oats on the gym day. After such breakfast, my lunch often is a simple raw carrot and an apple.
Resources for nutrition:
My goal with exercise is to lose fat and gain muscle - I don’t even bother with using scale. At the time of writing this I can do deadlift 100kg, bench press 50kg, squat 70kg.
- Weight lifting makes back pain go away.
- Always stretch after work out.
- Keep your water and mug far away from desk, so that you have to make a break from work to have a drink. Plus do some steps on the way.
- If you never ever used any of gym equipment, such as bars or benches, hire a personal trainer for a few sessions - they will show to you how to exercise, how to use equipment and how to make an actual progress.
- Weight lifting gets really fun when you find your weight.
- The general rule is to find a weight which can be repeated 6 to 8 times. Anything less is too heavy, anything more is too light.
- I tend to burn 400 to 600 calories per hour in the gym.
- 3 times a week at the gym is a minimum.
- Aim for at least one hour of moderate exercise per day (e.g., brisk walking). The body compensates over several days after a calorie-burning event, which can make us hungrier and slow metabolism. However, it’s only able to do this up to a certain number of calories. One hour a day seems to be the amount that works for me and is quite conventional.
Resources for exercise:
I want to emphasize that the methods outlined in this post are a result of my own personal experiments and experiences. Remember, what has worked for me might not necessarily yield the same results or be safe for everyone. I also tend to change a single element in my methods and observe results for several weeks, e.g. my double espresso, followed by earl grey, was a result of about couple of months of trial and error.
Whenever in doubt, I strongly advise seeking guidance from a healthcare professional to determine the suitability of these approaches for your individual needs and circumstances.