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Archive for January, 2011

Goals are pointless without frequent tracking

I remember back in high school we would do goal planning in our Career and Personal Planning classes.  Teacher said that if you write down your goals you are more likely to achieve them.  I thought great, I want to play junior B hockey (I wasn’t a very good hockey player).  The next year another class on goals … great I want to play football after highschool (I quit hockey that year to focus on football).  Nothing I ever wrote done became important enough for me to do something about it.  Why?  Because the goals were to vague, too subjective, too big, and not measurable.

If you have read the first few chapters of The 4-Hour Body you know how much Tim emphasizes tracking something that is measurable.  Weather it is weight, navel circumference, bodyfat percentage, or strength, if you don’t measure it daily (or frequently) your won’t do anything about it.

The reason for my post is from a recent set of comments that I had on a quora answer here http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-smallest-simplest-thing-an-average-person-could-do-to-be-healthier.  I am a bit of a quora whore and was doing some self promotion but giving good valid answers as well.  The comment by Trapper started with

Being Healthy is not a goal. But is it a state of being. Which is equally worth striving for as a goal.

Wha Huh? Goal, State of Being, whatever you want to call it, of course it is worth striving for.  The point is how do you know your getting there?  What is motivating you on a daily basis to do something about it?  Trapper follows my rebuttle comment with

There is a certain readiness that people require to embark on behavior change. To even accomplish this readiness often means connecting with subjective statements about yourself that you yearn to be true. “I want to be happier”, “I want to love myself more”, “I want to be excited about my life”. They aren’t goals, but they signal a readiness to start making goals.

Sounds to me like he is talking about depression?  People need to yearn to be happier, love themselves more and be excited about their life?  Even if someone has issues and is at a low point in their life, I don’t believe that small subjective statements are going to do anything to help them on a daily basis.

Trapper continues to say:

But I believe the spirit of this question thread is trying to get at something more fundamental.

More fundamental then measuring progress and staying motivated?  The question was “What is the smallest, simplest thing an average person could do to be healthier?  Again, I’m looking for things that an average person can do easily. The health industry is looking for solutions, desperately. Most old approaches to better health don’t work for average people (they never did work, but now orgs have data and must face reality)”

Fundamentally the reason most things fail is because people make vague subjective goals and don’t measure anything, that is THE reason.  When you have something tangible, something you can see right now that is when you are motivated to take action.   When the scale read 2lbs less than it did the day before I was ecstatic, and that progress made me believe my goal was achievable.  When the scale went up again I knew I had done something wrong and had to be more careful and focused on my eating and exercise.

As Tim says in the book the best ways to stay motivated:

  1. Make it conscious.
  2. Make it a game.
  3. Make it competitive.
  4. Make it small and temporary.

I have been reading quite a few 4HB blogs lately and trying to be active the new 4HB community.  I find that not many people are posting their goals, and everyone talks a lot about their cheat days.  I did find one blog that had an awesome graph and daily data points but can’t find the blog now (I’ll update the post when I find it, if it is your blog post a comment please).

So I have said a few times in my blog that my first goal is 10% body fat.  My scale currently says 27% which is crazy but it is just measuring BMI base on my weight and height.  I haven’t been to the local bod pod yet and I haven’t got the pinch test either.  When I was younger the pinch test I was around 14%, right now I am probably around 20%.  The picture of the scale above is the scale that I am using.  Some other products you can use are Withings Wifi Body Scale, Omron HBF-306C Fat Loss Monitor, or the Orbitape Body Mass Tape Measure.

My next goal will be to work on my speed and strength, I will be focusing on the Effortless Superhuman: Breaking World Records with Barry Ross Chapter trying to get my 40 time back down to 4.8 or faster.  The 10 and 40 yard sprints will be my main tracking tool for this.

After that my goal is to get my 10K under 60 minutes.  I will be focusing on the chapter Ultraendurance I: Going from 5K to 50K in 12 Weeks. I  will be easily able to measure and track my training for this.

My last goal will be to do a triathlon, I’ve always wanted to, and probably could train for one now, but I don’t have time right now to train that much or that hard, I am hoping I will in a few months though.  The biggest issue for me will be the swimming but there is a chapter for that.

So what are your goals?  What are you doing to track them?  Have you blogged about them yet?  Would love to hear about them in the comments.

Also for anyone that is reading I am going to start trying to focus more on the quality of my posts, so will probably be posting about once a week.  If you have anything specific you want me to write about please let me know.

I will be adding some recipes that I find on the internet and try to cook as many of them as I can.

[newsletter]

Vibram FiveFingers Suck

Update

I have found that water shoes can also be used as barefoot shoes.  Here are some on amazon that look decent for $20, they are called Cuda Voyage Water Shoes. I will be picking some up soon and will give a full review.

No they don’t, it just sucks that I can’t afford to buy a bunch of them so I don’t have to wear normal shoes.  My Bikilas have arrived and they are AWESOME.  The fit is a bit odd because my left foot is a bit bigger than my right so the left foot fits perfect and the right foot is about 2mm too big in some parts.  The other part is my toes are so curled up from wearing shoes that have a small toe box that getting my feet into them it tough and my toes feel awkward for the first few minutes.

I went for a 20 minute walk and a 15 minute run in the them and WOW.  Its not exactly the same a when I ran barefoot in a nearby field, the feeling is different, but it is the same type of mechanics.  I also really notice that my left leg is about 3-4mm longer than my right which is probably what is causing my hip pain.

I will try to get to a treadmill soon so I can record my gait and stride in my Bikilas VS my addidas runners with my orthodics in them.

Update 1:
Being 6 days total since I got them, still only went for 1 run, been wearing them to work and getting lots of questions.  Going to be giving a presentation to my work Toastmasters club about barefoot running.

As a newbie to this barefoot and VFF thing I have found that:

  1. Getting them on is hard at first but after 5-6 days your toes straighten out and it gets easier
  2. My small toes looks funny because it goes in then back out.  Damn you small toe boxes
  3. When walking it still hit my heel and hear my foot flap, until it started to push my hips forward and hold my head up more.  Correct posture helped a lot.
  4. Its fun to explain to people what they are.

Watch for more updates.

4HBTalk official Forum is up and active

Tim finally got one of his outsourced lackeys to get a forum up at 4HBtalk.com and there are a quite a few posts there already.  I have also updated my old post with a list of other blogs that are similar to mine here http://www.myfourhourbodydiary.com/2011/01/04/other-blogs/

There is a new post on Tim’s blog about the book as well. http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2011/01/21/housecleaning-and-clarifications-blog-content-4hb-corrections-competition-winners-slow-carb-mistakes-and-more/ discussing some questions that people have been having.  Here is a summary:

  • Bonus Material now here
  • List of all gear from the book here
  • Do not eat the following, except for cheat days:
    Yams
    Sweet potatoes
    Quinoa
    Dairy (this includes cheese and yogurt of all kinds)
  • Post-workout carbs – If your goal is fat loss, and assuming you are not training for endurance competition:
    If you male and not 12% bodyfat or less, no post-workout carbs.
    If you are females and not 20% bodyfat or less, no post-workout carbs
  • If you have to ask, don’t eat it.
  • The most dramatic weight loss is weeks 4-6
  • The entire goal of 4HB is to make you a self-sufficient self-experimenter within safe boundaries.

Cheatsheet from the 4HB Couple

The blog at http://www.fourhourbodycouple.com/ where Luke and Kat are tracking their progress has an awesome cheat sheet for the 4 HB weight loss here http://www.fourhourbodycouple.com/2011/01/06/cheat-sheet-accelerated-fat-loss/

Something I could have used when starting out for sure.  Hopefully this helps people find it and make use of it.

Cold bath delivers KO | My Four Hour Body

New job today which meant that I had to get up extra early And go to bed extra early. I have always struggled to get to sleep so this was my chance to try a cold bath. The water temperature was probably 11-12*c I didn’t have ice to use but damn it was cold. I could not kee my feet in the water it just hurt too much. I was in for about 15 minutes. I ended up getting a great sleep and getting to bed 3 hours sooner than usual.

4HB on TechCrunch

For a startup you know you made the big time when you’re written about on TechCrunch.  So what does it mean when TechCrunch writes about a “self-help” book.  Its a pretty big deal, but specifically a big deal to the tech community.  Here are the links to the TechCrunch article and interview

http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/13/keen-on-tim-ferriss-how-to-turn-your-body-into-a-startup-tctv/

http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/15/4-hour-body-review/

Cold bath delivers KO

New job today which meant that I had to get up extra early And go to bed extra early. I have always struggled to get to sleep so this was my chance to try a cold bath. The water temperature was probably 11-12*c I didn’t have ice to use but damn it was cold. I could not kee my feet in the water it just hurt too much. I was in for about 15 minutes. I ended up getting a great sleep and getting to bed 3 hours sooner than usual.