I’ve probably done more sports than ever before – altogether it might have been more than 250km of running, over 100 repeats of the 7-minute workout, almost 200km of cycling and roughly 5.000 meters of altitude hiking.
Looking back now on having tackled such a (at least for me) tough challenge, it makes me not only feel very satisfied but also very grateful for owning a body being capable of doing this without any major complications.
And of course, I’ve also spent some time thinking about certain lessons learned from this journey. What my key findings are and why I think they are important beyond this challenge is noted below.
1) There is no such thing as ‘no time’ – just ‘no priority’.
There have definitely been moments when I was not at all keen on sweating. But when being honest with myself, it was in particular the following truth which helped me get along: you have to make sacrifices, to see results. Exercising (at least) 25 minutes a day is sometimes inconvenient, but for sure not impossible (it requires less than 2% of one’s daytime). Nevertheless, it has to be done – every single day. Sometimes it is not a quick fix, sometimes it’s even stressful. But in case something is really your top-priority, it’s often easier freeing up time than previously imagined – that’s at least what I’ve been realizing over last couple of weeks. And for me, on personal level, the most promising approach was often to do it right in the morning before getting to work. The reasons therefor are mainly twofold: it not only gave me peace of mind in terms of having no rush later on, but also just felt great to open the laptop feeling very refreshed.
2) The Power of Momentum
When I’ve started this project, it was hard to foresee how tough this challenge really is, I absolutely had no comparable experience. Hence, the first weeks were rather one-step-after-another and I expected it to get even more exhausting over time. But, and this was gratifying to experience: that assumption was wrong. Against this background, I’ve recently read quote which might at least include a grain of truth: “Once success is a habit, then it’s all downhill.” The nub of the matter might consequently be the following: when doing/learning something new (studying a language, playing a musical instrument or practicing anything else) for so long – in my case 75 days – that it gets an integral party of one’s daily life, it might be very likely that positive momentum builds up significantly. Which means not only getting used to it from a mental point of view, but also experiencing such encouraging results of progress, that it would just feel weird not to continue building upon the former great achievements. Regarding myself, I might probably vary my loads a bit, but not substantially reduce them – Berlin Marathon is waiting in September, and I could not imagine being better prepared at this point in time.
3) Never underestimate sleep.
LeBron James once mentioned that at least eight hours of sleep every night is “the best way for your body to physically and emotionally be able to recover and get back to 100 percent as possible”. And actually, there is not that much more to add than my confirmation on this statement. Honestly, I’ve not always managed it to get 8 hours a night, but I’ve tried to do so as often as possible – and what really boggles my mind more than ever before is, how fundamentally crazy it is to still honor getting along with as less sleep as possible as a strength – because it isn’t. In particular, as this issue is not mainly about the quality of one’s sleep (which was good, but mine was also good before) but rather about one’s energy throughout the day – and thus affects everyone around. In case you’d like to get some further knowledge, do yourself a favor and watch this brilliant TED-Talk by Matt Walker on the issue “Why We Sleep”.
4) Plant-Power works great.
Most of the people who are relatively close to me might know my diet being as-vegan-as-possible. And of course, this also did not change this year – but what changed within the recent couple of months was my amount of exercising. And against this background, I honestly never felt like my body is really missing any kind of fuel for recovering quickly and performing reliably. Key is of course consuming high-quality food, which matters for carbs, fruits / vegetables as well as protein. And for the latter, the amount and the quality of plant-based alternatives (meat and dairy) is from my point of view definitely more than sufficient for substantially cutting out animal protein while exercising on a regular basis. (So, in case someone is still missing a good resolution for 2021: go plant-based)
5) Energy flows where attention goes.
I’ve not (yet) dived deep into the topic of body-mind medicine, but one thing got pretty obvious to me within the last couple of months: it is ridiculous to believe one’s mental health might not be affected one’s physical conditions and vice versa. I cannot prove it by evidence but relating to my impression, it’s been a huge while since when life felt so easygoing. Which does, to be clear, not mean everything is 100% perfect – but overcoming various ways of stress often felt surprisingly easy. No matter how annoying anything might have been, just after the next exercise, most of the issues have looked way lless worrisome. And this outflow of negative energy is in my opinion even more important when working from home by 100%, as the range of movement (and thus energy circulation) is substantially reduced by default. So, sporting habits are for sure a big deal in the short-term but might also be one in the long-term – in particular when considering, which kind of devastating side-effects chronical stress can have on the human body. Doing sports is of course not the only thing to handle this issue effectively, but I’ve come to realize which kind of healing tool it can be to get ahead more smoothly.
And 6) probably the best things about all these efforts right now: the upcoming Christmas holiday feels more well-deserved than ever before!
P.S.: And in case you’ve been reading all through until the very end here, I’d also like to let you know: have yourself a good time with your beloved ones, stay safe and let confidence rule when hopping over to 2021!