I know, I know, I don't write as often as I used to. I have an excuse or two for this week though, I swear. Between helping a friend move, drinking some Puzzled Pints, volunteering with Destination Imagination, trying out (and struggling with) yoga and swing dancing (not at the same time), celebrating the Chinese New Year, and biking 50 miles to watch the Super Bowl with friends, I've been a reasonably busy bus bum. I also have a ton of half-finished posts that are just waiting for me to get my act together and polish them off, so stay tuned.
Anyway, people seemed curious as to how my daily routine plays out, so here is a play-by-play of what my (surprisingly normal) work week looks like.
5:00 - 6:00 am Wake up. I use an alarm clock app called Sleep as Android, which I talked a little bit about in this post. The gist of it is this: I place my phone on the bed next to me, and it takes accelerometer measurements while I sleep. Based on these measurements and some combination of magic and science, it can try its darnedest and guess if I'm in light sleep, as opposed to deep sleep or REM sleep. If it's between five and six in the morning, and it catches me in light sleep, the alarm will go off. If I sleep soundly til six, it'll wake me up then. Considering sleep cycles are anywhere between 70 and 120 minutes, it's likely that I'll be in light sleep somewhere in the hour. In my experience, the alarm normally senses my wakefulness around 5:30, at which point I get up feeling pretty grog-freeif that's a real expression. I blink a few times and stretch out before rallying myself onto my feet and stumbling around in the dark. Eventually I find my best (read: only) pair of athletic shoes, normally by tripping over them. I work my way over to the back gate and hit the lights, then remove the vice grips I use to keep the door locked. I toss my already-packed gym bag over my shoulder, and (quietly) open up the back gate to head over to the gym.
6:00 - 7:30 am Exercise. I've mentioned before that I'm doing three-week cycles of a modified 5/3/1 routine. This means that Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are press, squat, bench, and deadlift days, respectively. Wednesday is a toss up, but it usually involves me sleeping in, forcing myself to do cardio, or targeting core and underutilized muscles (calves, trapezius, lower back, etc). Normally, I set aside the last 10-20 minutes for stretching, foam rolling, and the inversion table. At some point in the near future, I'll have a week exclusively for working on personal records and one-rep maxes; my goal is to have a combined bench, squat, and deadlift of 850 pounds. I'll follow up my attempts with a post.
7:30 - 8:00 am Making myself pretty. By the time I'm done with my workout, I'm normally a hot, sweaty, angry*, solemn mess, which doesn't translate well into maintaining positive relationships with coworkers. Sounds like something that could be (and is) perfectly solved by a hot shower. My morning prettification looks something like: shower, brush teeth, throw on the carefully folded clothes from my gym bag, send a few "you got this" looks to myself in the mirror, and head over to my office.
8:00 - 8:30 am Breakfast. Normally I'll grab the undisputed most important meal of the day with a coworker or two. I do my best to refrain from talking about truck stuff unless someone explicitly brings it up. Even though the cat is oh-so out of the proverbial bag at this point, I recognize that most of my life outside of work is still weird as hell to reasonable people. Even if they can understand why I do it, there's no reason to constantly remind them that I make highly questionable decisions — it's really just self-preservation for when performance reviews roll around. As for the food that I spend a continuous half an hour shoveling into my face, I spring for some combination of scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and a bran muffin. Boring yes, but not unpleasant, and it's way better than dying of any number of maintenance-related ailments before I have a chance to travel the world.
8:30 am - 4:30(ish) pm Work and more food. My actual day job consists me arguing with computers and being aggressively indecisive about which mode I want my sit/stand desk in, which I'm sure annoys my coworkers. I take breaks for lunch and occasionally to have a cup of tea on the roof if it's particularly nice out, because it's important to stop once in a while and recognize all the wonderful things we have in our lives. I make a conscious effort to make sure I'm not working too much, and head out when my work has reached a logical break point.
4:30 - 8:30(ish) pm Everything else. After work, I'll usually have some event planned for myself, like checking my mailbox, grabbing dinner with friends, or any of the things I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I like to have things figured out in advance, because I'm sure as hell not sitting in a small metal box for four hours on top of the eight I already sleep there. If I haven't planned anything, I'll grab my bike and find a quiet place to work on this blog or any of my other pet projects.
8:30 - 9:30(ish) pm Bed time. I share a bed time with toddlers and the obscenely old. I'm a morning person, and I have been for the past four or five years. It works particularly well with truck life, because it means I'm normally not accidentally scaring the hell out of poor, unsuspecting passers-by when I crawl out of my truck-dungeon. The obvious downside is that when I want to go out on the weekends, I find myself nodding off at the bar, passively grunting to feign engagement in a conversation like the zombified, half-conscious shell of a human being I am by 10 pm. Anyhow, when it's time to hit the hay, I'll grab my gym bag from my desk, wash up in a (preferably single-occupant) restroom, and head over to my truck. My nightly truck-routine consists of me tossing the old gym clothes into my laundry bag, loading in new clothes for the next day, calculating and filling in the weights for tomorrow's workout in my log, and measuring out protein powder like a discount Walter White. Once everything is in order, the vice grips go back on the back gate, I plug my phone into my battery pack and open up my alarm app, and curl up under the warmth of my cozy blankets and heat-reflective mattress pad. I've actually ditched all the gear from this post, as my blankets are far more than warm enough.
9:30 pm - 5:30(ish) am Sleep like a small child. Unless I'm sleeping in an unfamiliar place, I normally pass out pretty quickly and sleep soundly through the night.
Analyzing the Routine
What would be the point of having a routine if I wasn't content with it? Sure, it's nice to have structure and regimentation in your daily life, it undoubtedly makes things go more smoothly. In the end though, it's all utterly useless if you aren't enjoying it. To me, finding comfort and complacency in a monotonous rut sounds like the most efficient way to watch your life pass you by. Luckily, I don't feel that's my case, and overall, I'm pretty happy with my routine. Waking up early minimizes the likelihood that I'll somehow annoy someone with my truck activities, and my nearly non-existent commute means I spend more of my time doing things I actually care about, like this blog and hanging out with friends (as opposed to simultaneously killing the environment and my ability to enjoy life). Not having a shower or place to safely store food means I'm forced to be consistent with my diet and exercise. I normally come back every month or two and make sure my life is still aligned with my goals, and make changes as necessary. From where I'm standing (err, sitting) right now, life is good and exactly where I need it to be.
*Hey, workouts are a great way to channel all your negativity into something productive, maybe even cathartic.