Putting it All Together
This is how I'll take what I know now about health, fitness, mental toughness, spirituality, and creativity and modify my system so I can optimize and enjoy the whole adventure.
1. Fitness (Resistance Training)
Already lifting weights seriously for >3 years. Great foundation. Taking that to the next level to continue to build lean muscle mass that will support my fitness foundation for the rest of my long and fruitful life. Grip strength and core strength are huge indicators of future health and potential.
2. Fitness (Stability and Balance)
I've incorporated balance practice into my daily routine. I do the one leg balance test with both eyes open and closed and see how long I can hold the pose. Eyes closed minimum is 20 seconds, but as long as possible. Balance declines with age and contributes to falls and other problems. Not me.
3. Fitness (Cardiovascular)
I've dabbled in zone 2 training paired with high intensity, but after reading the book "Outlive" by Dr. Peter Attia, I now have a more structured way to engage in zone 2 / VO2 max training. I also am planning to get a proper DEXA scan (for body composition, which will help me dial in my workout routine with my trainer) and a VO2 max test to see where my baseline is and work to improve that over time. I want to get into the "elite" range for my age group and make sure I'm always shooting for "elite, but for a person a decade younger than me".
4. Nutrition (Eating)
Instead of tracking every single calorie every day, which is a crushing thing to do, I track for short periods. Mostly, I'm concerned with getting enough protein in me to fuel muscle growth and other important metabolic processes. There's work to do here, but the key is, with any system, to not make myself think too much about it or I'll never feel like doing it. Bare minimum, I need to supplement with low fat protein powders. I simply can't approximate my proper intake without it. The trick is - this has to be permanent. I used to do this for short periods, then do something silly like drink too much and lose my system focus. Those days are over. I'm now, to paraphrase Dr. Peter Attia, playing the sport of longevity.
5. Nutrition (Supplements)
I take regular series of simple supplements like a daily multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin C, and I've been toying with some additional reportedly beneficial compounds like nattokinase. There is a sweet spot for me between having enough to compensate for potential diet and environmental deficiencies and going overboard and trying to pump myself with all these substances, probably to little effect.
I used to meditate a lot, but I sort of lost the taste for the practice. I probably listened too much to people who insisted it didn't work or that if you do it too much you lose your mind. Well, yes, if you meditate for 6 hours a day for a week you might detach or something weird can happen. That's not how much I was meditating. Those are extreme cases meant to warn against anything taken to excess. 10-20 minutes a day gives me energy, a sense of calm, and allows me to process any thoughts or anxieties that arise. Some insist that nothing real happens until you're doing 60 uninterrupted minutes a day. Maybe. Maybe that's not where my best stuff comes from.
I'm not saying they work, you have to try them for yourself. I'm saying when I do them, and my subconscious allows me to engage with the vision and feeling of my affirmation, I'm able to achieve those results with some degree of certainty. The trick is finding the right affirmations. That can sometimes take a while. I am working on a new set of affirmations right now.
I stumbled on some journals I wrote about 3.5 years ago and I can't believe how incredible that look into my mindset from then was. It's like past Matt was sending future Matt a gift of perspective and clarity. I can't guarantee I'll love doing this, but in recent research and listening to smart folks on their podcasts and in their books, I see that journaling is a way to unlock pent up trauma, doubt, and to help you keep track of your wins and challenges over time.
I've spent more time creating things: art, music, software, experiences, games, woodworking stuff; than almost any pursuit in my life (maybe sports when I was younger, but I was also playing a ton of music so on balance music and creation wins). It is my nature to build and enjoy the process of building and creating. I do not function when I'm not creating. I do, however, need to identify the priority or niche of this creation.
I have tried throughout my life, mostly my adult life, but even when I was younger, to be a helpful individual. That is, I like to know that my friends and family and people who are in need can rely on me. My father taught me this well: I watched him take care of his whole family and friend group, and parts of the community, when I was growing up and I wondered why he did it. He felt obligated to make sure people were safe and happy. He knew that when you took care of people, they would take care of you when you needed it. There's a limit to this. You can't give yourself 100% to everybody or there's nothing left for you to give to yourself in the end. I have been charitable to people who were basically using me or just needed a warm body to do something. Fair. If I go back to my spheres of influence, I see that I'm obligated to help my closest of kin and then through my work and creative pursuits I'm able to help even more people outside that sphere. That's the trajectory I'm on.