100 days fitness challenge: week 8 and 25th birthday

this time i start describing the previous week a little bit later than usually. today is wednesday and a national holiday in my country – a very good time to sit down, think a little bit about the near past and write the most important concerns of days 50 to 56.

psychology

i have already mentioned that one week ago. however this idea that appears in my mind is so important that it would be just wrong to miss mentioning that. i hope this should encourage other people to start achieving things they would like to achieve. the idea is very simple:

after certain period of time the challenge turns into usual daily routine.

by saying that i mean that things which are being done every day now do not look neither special, neither difficult, nor unusual. if at the very beginning of the challenge i felt a little bit crazy while running around in the city at 4 am, now it is just as usual as brushing one’s teeth in the morning. now i do not care about what other people might think of me as soon as they see me jogging in the dark at a time when majority of city population is sleeping. but i used to care. a lot. i am happy to admit that feeling is gone now. all difficult actions have become common.

on the one hand i feel extremely happy about the development of new habits. i consider these habits highly beneficial to my mental and physical health and therefore i am glad they appeared. on the other hand sometimes the newly established feeling of commonness makes me think that step by step i am falling asleep and losing concentration. it feels like i am being brought back to my old bad habits which i always wanted to avoid. however when i slow down a bit and try to think again i understand that i am being brought back only in a sense of doing something in a regular way for quite a long time. for example i used to consume tons of junk food constantly and for a long period of time. now i have been following a nutrition plan of much higher nutritional value. and the only similarity between these two patterns is that they both have been applied for a long time in my life. therefore the latter fact keeps me calm and means that everything is indeed fine. i am not drifting back to the darkness that i have escaped from.

one more important thing is the attitude with which i do daily tasks. yes, the routine has become common, it is not a torture to get out of the bed as soon as the alarm clock goes out at 4 am in the morning. but when the process of progressing is taken into consideration i must admit that every time i start a workout i have to attack it with a new and fresh some kind of a primal attitude. i have to fight my spoiled brain when the mind begs for comfort. the progress in my daily fitness activities does not happen automatically. pace of the jog does not increase in time, more weight does not pick up itself from the ground just because it is another week and i think that i should be improving. it does not work that way.

i mean that every workout has to be uniquely planned and approached with a fresh and new attitude. of course it is possible to just show up at the gym, to just escape the house for a usual run. but in order to improve in these activities i have to grind and hustle every time i meet a difficult situation. if i do not, the progress simply will not show up. therefore i try to update this warrior attitude and do not let the fire to be put out.

i have never thought before that the mindset plays such a major role in some performance. for me a competition between two persons was nothing more but just the realisation of the different data sets describing physical qualities of these competitors. the better the data – the better the performance. however i would never have thought that things which appear in minds of these two can be so important. the data sets describing physiological factors does not contain that kind of information. and therefore not always everything depends only on that. maybe one of these two competitors comes to the start line with a mindset that he or she is worse than the opponent. in such case the mind power and ambitions are turned off even before the beginning of the competition.

i am not stating that if someone has a really aimed attitude then he or she will definitely outrun usain bolt in the 100m distance. i do consider cases when both competitors are at some similar state of physical form. if so, then the psychology running inside their heads might play the main role in process of shaping the result.

therefore i can describe the latter idea in my case. when i train to run or lift weights there is no other opponent. the only opponent is me a day ago, me a week ago or me a month before today. in such case as i have mentioned before it is essential to set the mindset high and be ready to outperform myself and do better than i did some days ago. it is obvious that the state of fitness is very similar when measured in myself today and a week ago. it does not happen in a way that one sunday i run a 4 hour marathon and the next sunday i do it in under three hours. no. i can become better than the old version of myself only if the following condition is fulfilled:

when starting packs are similar, the attitude decides who is going to win. therefore succeeds the one who is willing to stand the pain and uncomfortable conditions for a longer period of time.

by applying this in my daily training i observe that things which look hardly possible appear to be actually doable. you just have to work a little bit more with the mind and thoughts. therefore every time when a workout is being planned i say to myself:

i am going to stop and fail doing this only in case the consciousness will be lost or some other external factor which i do not have the control of will occur.

for example when the high intensity interval training is being done on a treadmill i always set my mindset high and put a sticker on my brain with a note. and on that note it is written that i am either not stopping and succeeding to perform all the sprint intervals or falling down from the treadmill.

it is extremely important to stress that such attitude is valid only in cases when the goal being set is actually physically possible. possible, but demanding a ton of effort. and i want to repeatedly stress that it does not mean that if you really really want to walk to the moon on your feet you will definitely do this because of the right warrior attitude. no, because this is not physically possible. what i talk about when setting such mindset is only achievable goals. for example it is clearly possible for anyone to live an alcohol-free life for a year starting from tomorrow. however for some individuals this decision might be extremely difficult and insisting on putting tons of effort and will. but the equivalent of my training attitude in such situation would be that the only scenario in which i would not refuse to drink a glass of beer would be the one when i am unable to move and someone just spills that liquid into my mouth.

with such attitude quite a straightforward path to success is being built. it is possible to achieve things which from the first sight look impossible to do. this kind of mindset works like a magic spell when someone starts applying it sincerely in any field of life. it does not necessarily have to be sports.

however there is another side of this way of thinking. i have mentioned that when i push myself in such way, during the hardest moments the mind starts producing thoughts and questions such as

what is this all for? why do i do this? why do i put myself into such uncomfortable state? why should i perform one more repetition? why should i run faster? why?

and the worst part is that when someone is really exhausted and tired, the mind is only capable of throwing such questions. however it is far from being able to think in some constructive manner and develop a well founded answer. therefore during these hardest moments after the attack of my spoiled brain i sometimes start tending to fall into some space of doubts and unclear reasoning. in such cases i try to scare away these hurtful ideas and concentrate only towards the process that i am in at that moment. for example if it is the third hour of running and such considerations appear, i always try to clear my mind and think only about things that can help me to sustain an economic way of moving. i then think of moving my elbows, putting feet one in front of the other and not losing the pace. not a bite of information more. it helps a lot. however some times it is hard to implement.

the most interesting part of this phenomenon is that all doubts disappear as soon as the finish line is crossed. then there are no unclear reasoning, no questions why and no doubts that the activity which has just been finished was amazing and bringing some joy, experience and confidence. therefore i enjoy to conclude that all these questions are nothing else but just an another trick of the brain which tries to put the body to some comfortable armchair and disconnect from all processes that cause any kind of suffering.

the 25th birthday

during the week 8 there was a day when i turned 25. it was an amazing and well spent day. before starting the 100 days challenge i remember a thought that it would be so amazing to actually succeed at least until my birthday. i knew it would have been approximately the halfway of this journey at the time of my birthday. i wanted to give myself a present which is nothing else but a package of newly developed habits and a different approach to life. it is not necessarily about achievements in sports. this is a more general concept which is applicable in a more general manner.

to my great happiness this has happened. 

it is amazing to learn new things, explore myself and overcome different difficulties as the time passes. it brings so much joy to move forward and improve at different spheres. in my case the only necessary condition in order to achieve this was to ignore the crave of comfort which is constantly being omitted by my mind. only that much. and the attitude is new, the everyday life gets a completely new colour. despite being 25 now i still feel as if i was a 5 years old kid who is so interested in why the sky is red in the morning, blue during the day and orange in the evening. and so on.

it is amazing to know that despite the age it is always possible to find something new. and if you are 50 years old and think that your development has stopped some years ago, oh my dear how wrong you are. i am sure that an acceptance of some new habit or some learning of new things in life can be a very beginning of your journey which you would have never thought actually existed. of course it requires a lot of your own effort. rainbows and candy mountains will not appear in your sight automatically. you will have to find them on your own.

i am not even talking about 25 year olds or younger people who in general do not actually understand what do they want to achieve and how they would like to spend their time on earth.

daily routine and nutrition

monday, as during the last week, was a day off from sports. i was resting and recovering from the sunday’s long run of seventh week. starting from tuesday early mornings have begun. i used to wake up at 4 or 5am depending on the planned activity. still cold showers, still early running, still weight workouts at the gym.

a bad change of the daily routine – i have stopped doing stretching exercises again. in the past i have mentioned many times how beneficial and good this activity is. however some kind of dumb procrastination appears at the time when it is the time to start. i have to fix this issue somehow.

nutrition was really rich this week. there were days when food consumption was as high as above 4k kcal. the main principle i follow is the same – first of all i provide the body with enough protein in order to repair the muscle tissue and help the recovery process. i aim to get at least 120g of protein a day. and my current body mass is 82.5kg. the rest is filled with lots of carbohydrates and fats: tortillas, peanut butter, fruits, bread, oatmeal, pasta, dumplings, cheese, almonds and so on.

a certain category of people bring a smile to my face. also they make me feel sorry about them. i am talking about the phenomenon when people want to lose some fat and suddenly restrict all kinds of meals containing carbohydrates from their diets. in my country it is popular to eat meals that contain a lot of potatoes. many people like them. many people struggle once these become forbidden. unfortunately i have lost the will to change their mindset towards the wonderful thing – the potato. in my opinion it is completely fine to eat them. i have stopped arguing and just remain silent every time i hear an opinion that

  • as soon as a gram of carbohydrate touches one’s tongue it turns into four grams of fat on one’s belly.
  • fruits if consumed at bedtime will definitely end up in one’s fat stores.

and so on.

in such cases i say nothing and make myself another tasty sandwich with bread, roll another tortilla made from flour with some peanut butter and a banana inside, boil some dumplings stuffed with cheese, chicken and boletus or eat a delicious juicy and sweet peach before bed. and by the way at the same time i successfully reduce the body fat level.

i am going to write more about this topic once i end the challenge and have results from the body mass analysis which tells the fraction of lean muscle mass, fat body mass and other characteristics.

sports

during the week 8 everything was moving forward. in both areas: running and lifting weights. i managed to do an additional rep of deadlifts, one more set of weighted lunges or more front squats than a week before. it is amazing to observe that despite decreased body mass the amount of power and force appears to be unchanged or even increased.

i have been doing both high and low intensity runs successfully during that week as well. however the best thing and definitely one of my best runs so far was the long run of sunday, week 8. i decided to cover 30km that day. it was some kind of an imitation of the marathon race to which i have been preparing. i have been trying to keep the race day pace.

to my huge surprise i was not only able to keep that pace as expected. i could exceed it by a half of kilometer per hour. weather conditions were perfect. there was not a single thing i could complain about. hard parts appeared only sometimes and for short periods of time. heart rate was also in a good range, not too high. i finished by 20 minutes earlier than a week before when i tried to cover the same 30 kilometers. it is important to mention that a day before this long run a hard workout at the gym was done. it contained some heavy deadlifting with another personal best result. actually i am pretty surprised by how fast the body recovers and responds to my actions with progress.

this run has created a lot of confidence. now i am sure i am capable of maintaining the planned marathon pace on the race day.

ideas for the future

in conclusion i can point out a few things.

first of all everything that at the very beginning appears to be impossible with some discipline and effort can become as usual as changing a pair of socks.

secondly, the attitude is a greatly important aspect in any activity. therefore it is very important to always have in mind that despite something being very hard it is not impossible and actually you are capable of achieving this. just stay on the track for a little bit more. step by step.

also, the only thing which appears between you and the fulfilment of your plans is you. not the environment, not the lack of time. not someone else. after some hustle you build the muscle. speaking generally, not a muscle, but the ability to overcome difficulties.

last but not least, do not be afraid to search for something new. do not think about who and what will think when you come back home soaking wet because it has been raining cats and dogs while you have been running outside.

i wish everyone a great week,

remigijus

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