What practice means to me

For those using a RSS reader, subscribe here: rss.xml

Currently my life was never impossibly hard; it is only hard because I chose to make it hard. The area where this shows the most is in exercising, working out. I could be a couch potato every day, programming is not physically challenging in any way. So I like to mix it up a few times a week.

It can feel like an obsession if you keep yourself to strict rules to do something daily. That also blinds you for what you are pursuing; progress. It is not that you practice so you can say you tried every day. You practice so you can achieve a goal and have fun along the way, who cares how much effort it took.

Sometimes it is easy to forget this if you only look at metrics, for programming this can be the amount of commits or the days with coding activity. To make progress also means changing what you think you are capable of because you can do more after making progress.

Because let’s be honest: If you had other areas in your life where you did hard stuff because you wanted to, you can do more than just “ow lemme do 2 more pushups, phew done it, almost sweated” That would just hold you back by pretending you are a complete beginner constantly; use the skills you have to enhance the advice. The best heuristic for physical exercise I have found thus-far is the 40% rule. What you are physically capable of is like a battery that gives warnings when it is being depleted. The 40%-depletion warning is when you get the thought “i am so done, i can’t do any more of these”. You surely know how to extrapolate this, but just in case: if that thought pops up at 20 pushups, your target for that set is 50. It is just a warning, a thought, a notification, letting you know where you are at. Because in nature, you would not survive by draining yourself to 0 for simple task; you would be too easy of a target for predators.

“But what if I go to far?” Well, have you, and if so: did you not recover? Injuries aside, which risk can greatly be reduced, finding the upper limit is a good way to set a baseline. Exercise is a fine balance, discover both sides to know the meaning of the signs your body gives you. How this upper and lower limit discovery can help, here is what good isolation of the two can do:

Let’s say you want stand on your hands. Analyze for a second what exerting too little and too much means:

The first case is what will probably happen. A good exercise before starting the training is forcing yourself to the last case: just go full power and fall over, learn to fall as best as you can. Now that you have fallen once, and you have seen that it wasn’t bad at all (assuming you fell on a soft-surface ;D).

This simplifies it, mentally prepares you, so you can now start the training. It is also part of setting up your learning environment, be it mentally. From there the training can begin.

Same with stamina:

From there the training can begin.

We gaan door / We persist

We gaan door / We persist

Ook al weet ik niet waarom / Even if I don’t know why

Ook al weet ik niet waarvoor / Even if I don’t know what for

Maar we gaan door / Yet we persist

We gaan door / We persist

We gaan door / We persist

Youp van’t Hek