For the past week, I have been challenging myself with what GORUCK founder Jason McCarthy called a Functions Check. Molly and Bo from the gym joined me in this challenge. It was short, just 7 days, and very specific in nature. Stop doing things that distract you from real life, and start doing things more that get you outside and moving in nature. I really enjoyed it, learned a little bit about myself and about new topics (since I spent more time reading, more to come there), and came out of it feeling energized. In short, I recommend it.
The specific challenge was as follows, paraphrased from Jason’s description:
For 7 days:
- No alcohol or caffeine
- No social media
- At least 10,000 steps per day
- At least 3 outside workouts over the course of the week, 30 minutes each
Pretty simple, right? But right off the bat, I knew I was going to have a hard time. Over the course of a week, I can kick alcohol to the curb, and of course that feels great in the morning not to be foggy at all. But on Saturday, watching college football, I kept staring at the fridge. Growing up in a college football family, it just feels natural to crack a beer at noon when Penn State kicks off. But then the rest of Saturday is a waste! As we watched football together as a family and then I was able to do some productive activities later in the day, it felt like a great day and I was glad at the end to have stuck to my guns.
Caffeine… Coffee… wow. I drink coffee every morning. I don’t drink it because I LOOOVE the taste of it, I drink it because I want to wake up and feel like my morning is energized and I can go from my 5am morning practice right into some more mental training, or get right into work. There were two days during this challenge that I got up at 5am, did my morning practice (breathing, journaling, visualization), and then went back to bed and slept for another hour. I suppose I could have just delayed getting up until my body was ready, but I would rather stick to my daily schedule and complete my morning practice as an important part of my day. So, the lack of coffee for me was a constant source of frustration. However, even though I was so happy to drink a cup or three of coffee this morning, I was very glad I completed the Functions Check and had the experience of a caffeine-free week.
Social media. What a blessing for business marketing, and what a curse for… everything else. I very much enjoyed the time away from my phone, which I had definitely been using as an “I’m bored and my phone is right here, let me just see if anyone posted anything totally sweet,” which of course turns into 15 minutes of scrolling incessantly through Instagram. I found that I completed my “gotta get it done today” tasks much sooner during the day during this Functions Check, and had time to do other things, like read! I finished reading The Comfort Crisis, and started into a new book that I heard about on a podcast, By Water Beneath The Walls, The Rise of the Navy SEALs. Most excellent so far if you like history, especially WWII or Vietnam era.
What I’ve learned from my social media hiatus is that I enjoy not being connected and feeding the machine, but I also understand that being present on social media is necessary for business these days. So, I am committing myself to be MORE active than before in posting new material and highlights from the gym, and LESS active in following what everyone else in the netherworld is doing.
10,000 steps, and working out outside. If you work at a desk job and don’t actively think about walking a lot during the day, you’re screwed. But being active throughout the day is so necessary for staying mobile (able to move properly when you get to the gym, let’s say), and it also provides you with “sleep pressure” – basically feeling tired at the end of the day and ready to sleep soundly. I am lucky that my job is relatively active, but even 4 hours in the gym, working out and coaching, does not provide me with my 10K. I would ruck with my dog Luna for a couple miles to make that up, or on the days that I was going for an outdoor 30 minute workout, I would take her on the trail for a longer one. Either way, I felt more alive and aware being outside more, and Luna was more tired throughout the day, leading to less barking “HEY LOOK AT ME I’M A DOG AND I WANT TO DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT YOU’RE DOING”.
In the end, this is something that I will add to my yearly calendar, at least a couple times. Call it a Functions Check, or just a Stop Being a Slug and Start Being a Human reset. I loved it, you’ll love it, let me know if you want to take it on and I’ll jump back in with you. I just need to load up on a lot of coffee first.