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Maintaining a Healthy Nerd-Life Balance? (2015 Repost)

Maintaining a Healthy Nerd-Life Balance? (2015 Repost)
March 6, 2015 wfire3

New “Nerd-Life Balance” Training Videos Coming Soon!

Now, don`t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do! Running around, taking photos of strange stuff here in Tokyo and meeting new people are some of the things that get me up in the morning (on most days). But between being an IT professional, father, business trainer, creative director, web designer, technology geek, anime, manga, video game, cosplay nerd ( and too many other titles to list here); maintaining a healthy daily balance can sometimes prove to be a challenge!

Especially during the cold and rainy seasons here in Japan, I usually find myself too sluggish and lazy to get up and do anything active. Also, when I`m working on a creative project, I`ll often find myself sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end while I`m blogging or editing videos for upload to Youtube (which can be a long and tedious process). Because of these things, it`s actually pretty easy to lose my flow for other important stuff (like eating healthy meals, sleeping, physical training and hanging out with the family). There`s not really a good gym close to my house and the parks tend to be full of small children on most days, so how does a guy who is either constantly on the move or tied up with his computer all day stay in shape and create a good nerd-life balance?

Well, here`s a few things that I do personally when I don`t want to/don`t have time to go out and spend cash just for training. This list is nowhere near complete. I will be adding a lot more to this blog post later!

Physical Training:

I try to train 3 times per day whenever possible. Three times per day may seem a little excessive, but the way that I train is actually pretty practical and effective. I simply go by “The Rule of Fives“. What this basically means is that I try to divide my workout times and reps of various exercises into multiples of 5. For example:

– 5, 10, 15 minutes (up to a maximum of 1 hour) per training session.

– 5, 10, 15 (up to 100+) reps of each exercise that I may choose to do for that particular day.

 

For beginners and people who have not done any real physical training in a long time (or us geeks who find ourselves slumped over a computer for anywhere between 5 – 15 hours per day), I recommend starting off with a simple and light regime. You can easily add, switch and replace exercises with different ones that suit your daily training requirements at your leisure. Of course, if this menu is too easy for you, you can simply increase the training time/ number of reps per each exercise.

I personally have a much more intensive “maximum burn-out” training menu that utilizes a deck of playing cards and is no joke! I`m not going to post that one here for safety reasons as I only use it when I`m overly energetic of need to burn off a ton of stress… 80`s movie style! Hahaha!

But remember, the purpose of the morning training session is not to do too much or burn yourself out to the point of becoming tired and sluggish during working hours or interrupting your daily routine. Take it slowly and go easy on yourself until your body gets used to the flow.

For complete beginners, I recommend keeping the same time limit and number of reps per exercises for 2 weeks to 1 month before jumping to the next increment of 5. So if you`re going to start off with a light menu of 5 minutes x 5 reps each for this month, you should continue to do that (while switching exercises) until your body feels comfortable enough to jump to 10 reps the next month. Training is a process that happens over time, not overnight.

A standard training day for me looks something like this:

I generally wake up between 4:30 am – 5:30 am every morning. After waking up, I`ll do 5 – 15 minutes of intensive cardio training, just to shake off the dust, stretch out and get my cardio burn going before I head off to work. I don`t do any heavy lifting or anything too strenuous. Instead, I focus on light calisthenics, stretching and intensive cardio (or martial arts training) just to get my blood pumping in the morning time.

 

 

 

Because of my current working style, I tend to have a lot of free time outside of the office between 10 am ~ 3 pm. I normally use this time for my private business, blogging, traveling around, making YouTube videos, working on other creative projects (like iOS game programming) or maybe even catching up on missed sleep from the previous night. However, I do try to slip in another intensive training session before I head off to my night job.

 

 

 

Now, if you`ve noticed so far, I haven`t really mentioned any hard-core strength training or training that is specifically designed to build muscle. That`s because, again, I don`t want to do too much or wear myself out before I return to the office at night. I tend to save my most intensive workouts for my night time training sessions.

 

 

My work generally finishes anywhere between 8:30 pm and 10:30 pm. After heading home, I usually do my strength training before I eat dinner (unless I`ve skipped lunch or am simply too hungry to wait). These workouts are pretty intense 10 – 30-minute sessions that use high reps of body-weight and natural resistance oriented exercises. We`re looking at things like multiple variations of situs, push-ups, dips, squats, and stuff with reps of 35 – 100+. Again, if you`re just starting off as a beginner, 10 -15 reps of each exercise is good enough for you. I`ll include some videos of my night training sessions in the upcoming“Videos” section below.

That`s it for my basic daily training schedule, but since we ended on the words “eating habits”, let`s look at my diet.

Diet:

Mornings: Personally, I don`t really eat much during the daytime. On most days, I prefer brunches to breakfast after I finish my morning job. However, if I do decide to go for breakfast, I normally don`t eat breakfast or drink anything before training. Instead, I wait until after I`ve showered and rested for a bit.

My breakfast/brunch menu usually consists of:

– A green smoothie mix (loaded with fruits, yogurt, and my favorite green vegetable)

– Oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit (especially during the cold seasons)

– Egg omelets for protein and resistance (I tend to mix a lot of herbs and spices into my omelets).

– Ham or bacon (for vitamin D and other nutritional value)

* I`m also a sucker for yogurt and granola loaded with fruit!

 

 

 

Lunch & Dinner: I generally prefer warm cooked meals with lots of vegetables, so I`m naturally more into Asian-style dishes. I`m not a vegetarian (yet), so I do eat meats (mostly chicken), but as I simply don`t crave beef or pork meat too much these days (probably because I`m getting older), I tend to keep my meat portions moderate. In Japan, we eat rice with every meal.

 

 

I also like eating homemade Mexican food like tacos & chicken fajitas.

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, I like eating home-cooked noodle dishes (like Pad Thai) or noodle soups like ramen, or Vietnamese Pho. When it comes to noodles, I prefer Asian rice-based noodles to egg or flour-based. I don`t eat Italian-style pasta very often (although I love cooking Italian style foods) because they`re too heavy for me on most days.

 

 

One of the advantages of eating warm noodle-based soups after training is that my body tends to feel much better in the morning! That`s probably because of the fluid and nutrient replacement properties of the bone-broth based soups and the warm fluid`s ability to relax my muscles from the inside. Also, these soups do tend to have oil from the meat, which I`m pretty sure is good for lubricating joints and tendons while I`m sleeping. The vegetable content probably helps as well.

Either way, I always feel a bit more refreshed and rejuvenated if I eat warm noodles after an intense training session before I go to bed.

 

I do love eating pizza, but that`s because I`m an American geek and gamer! Occasionally I may venture into the local burger shops like Burger King, Kuaina Burger or Freshness Burger to grab a pound of beef. But I normally only do it on days when I know I`m going to be focusing on strength and muscle training later on that night. I never eat heavy red meats, especially beef, for dinner unless I have to (although I do have a secret technique that I use for that when necessary. I`ll tell you about it in the “Drinks” section). But realistically, most days for me are chicken and vegetable days for me (or maybe a little fish and pork). I used to eat a lot of sushi until I got sick from eating bad shrimp! So now, my fish diet consists of cooked salmon, tuna or other whitefish. I still eat (cooked) shrimp and crab, but I tend to shy away from anything that`s too raw nowadays.

 

 

 

 

 

Snacks:

I am a snacker, no lie! On days when I`m sitting down and typing away on a computer, I tend to keep something light to snack on nearby (especially when I`m doing creative work or something that requires a lot of mental

energy). My snacks generally consist of small packets of nuts and dried fruits, with a piece of dark chocolate thrown into the mix every now and again. That`s my normal snacking menu.

 

 

Dried fruits and nuts are cheap here and can be purchased in bulk. Plus they have a variety of uses and can be tossed into almost anything! The chocolate is a must as well, but I try to stick with the dark & bitter types and I don`t eat that much of it at once.

 

 

 

 

Drinks:

My favorite drinks are actually Apple Cider Vinegar and Japanese Green Tea drink mixes. For those of you who are curious about the various health benefits of these mixes and which ones I regularly drink, read the section below!

Apple Cider Vinegar in itself has a lot of health advantages and it tastes great when mixed with just about anything! Green tea is also a staple of mine, but I like to try mixing it with different things as well.

Secret Tip: I like drinking Apple Cider Vinegar before I consume heavy meats because of the acid assists in quickly breaking down food for digestion. It also helps your body to absorb more nutrition!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don`t drink too much alcohol nowadays. It`s not that I can`t drink a lot of alcohol anymore, it`s just that I don`t see the logical value of doing so. I`m still a casual drinker when it comes to social events and such, but I`ve pretty much given up on beers and hard liquors (except for medicinal purposes). I do regularly drink fruit-based stuff such as red and white wines, apple ciders, plum-based alcohols, berry-based drinks, sangrias, fruit-based cocktails and such; but I do so in moderation (normally). I may have 1 ~ 3 glasses of wine on any given day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress Relief & Relaxation: 

All work and no play makes me slow, lazy, depressed and sluggish. You have to remember that resting, both physically and mentally, is a necessary part of daily life and training. Stress is literally a killer for a lot of people. This is why maintaining a healthy work-life balance is very important, regardless of your career. However, for people who are busy, actually finding time to relax can be a problem.

 

As a general rule of thumb, I think that people should just forget about the concept of “finding more time“. You only have 24 hours in a day, so it`s hard to create any extra minutes from that perspective. But what people can do is focus more energy on “utilizing the time they do have” during the day to have fun and relax! I personally do a lot of my private business work on my computer or iPad on the train while commuting to and from the office. This way, I don`t have to worry about it when I get home and will have time to focus on more important things… like relaxing and having fun!

 

Some things that I might do to have fun while out on the town here in Tokyo are:

– karaoke

– bowling

– billiards

– watching a movie

– hanging out at the local game centers

 

But the problem is that those activities cost money and Tokyo`s not exactly the cheapest place to live. Plus, these places can quickly get crowded after working hours or you may have to wait in line for long periods of time (which I`m naturally not good at). So I tend to find fun & free stuff that I can do around the house or within a simple train ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite relaxing hobbies are:

– reading manga

– listening to lots of music

– watching anime

– playing video games

– aromatherapy & Indian style incense

– late night yoga & stretches

– watching American TV dramas online (sometimes)

– writing

– meditation with Chinese “Baoding balls

– getting a Thai-style massage

– taking a hot bubble bath

– drinking Jasmine tea

– evening / late night walks around the city or parks

Thee are some of the small things that I like to do in order to keep myself somewhat mentally balanced and physically in shape through the busy

Tokyo weekdays. There are many more things that you can add to this list and I highly encourage everyone who is reading this to find their own Nerd-Life Balance groove and get into it!

Like I mentioned before, for a hard-working nerd like me, finding time to do the things that you need to in order to satisfy all areas of your life can be quite a chore at first. But it`s well worth the effort if you can find a flow that works for you!

If you`re reading this article and watching the video series included, please feel free to comment below, rate, Like and Subscribe on my Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Channels. I`d love to hear how other super-geeks manage to keep healthy and stay nerdy at the same time!

Best wishes to you all! 🙂

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