Day 26 – Take The Marine Corp Fitness Test

Day 26 of the Better Man in 30 days challenge – Take the Marine Corp Fitness Test

Managed the 3 mile in 29.5 minutes (includes the very leisurely 3 minute warm up), 46 crunches in 2 minutes and a barely there 4 pull ups for a total of 95 from a maximum 300 points possible. Not great but better than I thought given how a certain HIIT youtube video kicked my ass on Day 24.

Feels like a KPI I should track going forward. Hopefully I can keep improving on my score as I get fitter and healthier.

Days 22, 23

Day 22 – Improve your posture and Day 23 – Learn a manual skill

I didn’t need the prompt to tell me I had terrible posture. Managed to set up my chair at work as intended – to provide better support to my lower back and at the right height. Hopefully I begin to reap the dividends of improved posture, not least a less prominent keg.

On manual skills; I installed ceiling fans for fun in my undergraduate days and still know my way with a soldering iron, a legacy of my previous pastime – tinkering with the innards of dead radios. I happen to also be the go to guy when my buddy O needs to set up a new bed or move stuff around in his house… Could use a few more automobile related skills as I haven’t changed a flat tire in nearly six years. Have to but that Z4 roadster first (and win the lottery before that or something).


Day 19 – Schedule a Physical Exam

Day 19 of the Better Man in 30 Days Challenge – Schedule a Physical Exam

I am required to get an offshore medical every two years which covers quite a few of the items specifically referenced on the challenge viz blood pressure, weight/BMI, vision, lung function and audiometry. ECGs, bloods and urinalysis get taken six monthly for other reasons hence I consider the challenge covered between both. The main exclusion is the probing and probing of the man parts for potential prostrate problems.

Out of interest I contacted one of the private health insurance providers around and got quoted a fee in the range of £590 for a full health check. One to stick in the budget for Q2 2015 then, unless someone can point me in the direction of a Groupon deal. 🙂

Small Change #3 – Get off your couch

From the 52 Small Changes book:

An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body

                                                                                    – General George S. Patton

Last week’s change didn’t exactly go down very well – my fitbit sleep data suggests I didn’t do as well as I thought I would (averaged 6 hours 7 minutes of sleep as against 5 hours 52 minutes the week before); still shy of the 7 hour target. On a slightly more positive note, my water drinking challenge continues apace, thanks to my 600ml mug perched right next to my bed it seems.

This week the challenge is to get more active, something I am already doing a lot of between walking to and from work, church and the shops and going to the gym thrice a week.

For the plan this week, two main things stand out as potential focus areas:

  1. Take an active lunch – not have lunch at my desk this week but go somewhere further than I usually do (loads of different places in Union Square :))
  2. Take the stairs at work rather than the elevator.

Currently listening to: Hope Will Lead Us On – Barlow Girl

Small Change #2 – Get Your ZZZs

From the 52 Small Changes book:

Sleep is the best meditation

– Dalai Lama

Last week’s small change went fairly well – bar the odd day on which one coffee just didn’t sort me out. By the end of the week, I was reaching instinctively for my 600ml bottle of water to kick start my day, before anything else. The slightly harder challenge was staying off the cokes, which I did for the most part except for two days – along with a green leaf salad for Wednesday for lunch and on Friday afternoon during my monthly catch up with O. at Nandos. All told there has been noticeable improvement in the quantity of water (and green tea) I drink, which can’t be such a bad thing.

Sleep has never been my forte. For as long as I can remember, I have been a terrible sleeper. My fitbit data only buttresses that fact, which makes the timing of small change #2 particularly apt.


The Plan

  1. Buy blackout blinds for my room to eliminate outside sources of light
  2. Stream smooth jazz music primarily to create a sleepy ambience as sleep time draws near
  3. Adjust my sleep schedule – I currently wake up around about 5am regardless of when I go to bed. The idea is to try to go to bed by 10pm at the latest.
  4. Drink a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea to ease off into sleep.

Currently listening to: Forward Motion – Thousand Foot Krutch


Bug Fest..

My head hurts… The unwanted gift of a hammering headache, a running nose, a sore throat and a rasping cough have laid into me – unintended consequences of open plan offices, shared spaces and recycled air laden with seasonal bugs. We have been pressed into the service of our very own macabre orchestra – our wheezing, sneezing and coughing all coming together in a bug fest.. I really wish I could call in sick tomorrow.. Sigh..

Simple Things…

Sometimes simple things can break you. Benign things repeated time and time again can finally reach a threshold that leaves a scar – scratch marks burned on the wall of ones consciousness like ravines gouged out of hard rock by the persistence of a swollen river. It is not an inherent danger of the act, but its repetition that finally wears one out.

I have been carrying a beeping device around. Every thirty minutes a faint beep sounds – a precursor to the inflation of a cuff around my arm – and then I must stretch my hand out for one more data point to be acquired. At first it was novelty and I tried to anticipate when the next beep might sound. But with each beep and straightening of the arm,a certain weariness descends. I want out of the control the little device has over me. Sadly, the only choice I had was in accepting..The consequence was chosen for me at the same time.