What’s up with all this movement?

There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of moving, from health and longevity to aesthetics which are all valid, but I think there is a more interesting reason why movement, exercise, training make sense, which is:

energy management and boosting your own mood.

State switcher

Exercise is the most powerful, easiest, most sustainable and positive state switcher I know of.

It’s amazing at helping break through walls that seem overwhelming.

Meditation is nice - but I feel like it works better after exercise.

Drugs are strong state switchers as well, but cant really compare them, none of them are really sustainable. Drugs as in - from nicotine to caffeine to nootropics, to harder stuff, doesn't really matter, it’s all external, and there's no "free lunch" with these, meaning you often pay hidden prices for them that are not worth it.

Contrast this with exercise, which is essentially making your own emotional cocktail, always available, works well, and the downsides are very obvious - it's "hard" as in can't be lazy, but there's a tonne of positive side-effects to it.

Before movement aka slumps

Today I had the perfect reminders of this.

I was putting off writing this article most of the day, even though I had been thinking about it all week.

I could list 10.000 rational reasons why I shouldn’t do it right now. "Maybe in 5 minutes, let me just do this other thing." Hours passed. Almost all day went by.

The truth was, my state was fucked.

When I get these sensations I make it a habit to think on paper, write down my thoughts, and then ask myself what’s going on, what's the solution, what worked before.

"MOVE YOUR ASS"

I have to often remind myself  that when I feel resistance, it's probably because of my shitty state, and the solution for that usually is just to

“move my ass, stop being lazy”. So I grabbed my bag and hit the gym.

After moving

After all my training sessions, usually none of my previous 10.000 "rational" reasons seem relevant anymore, they become almost laughable.

Exercise, especially weights, unlock an incredible amount of vitality and drive for me, and arguably for anyone once they learn to dial it in.

Unfortunately this is something coaches don’t seem to focus much on, which is also a big reason why I’m sharing this, I think this might be one of my "things", but more on this later.

Simple, but not easy

Like most things in life, the idea is quite simple to sketch out and explain but often it’s really not easy to follow.

The short version is:

every time you move you get a positive bump in your mood, but often it’s hard to notice unless you really pay attention to it, and constantly remind yourself.

Hard to remember

I find it incredibly hard to remember this switch.

I mean I know the theory, but when I feel apathetic, anxious, stressed, irritated, all the problems, my negative side comes up and tends to dismiss that the solution might be so simple as moving.

"How could the weight of the world get lighter, by adding more weight?? Sounds reta...stupid! I don't have time for this".

But it works.

Every time.

And although I know this very well rationally, it's often still hard to talk myself into it. So I have a conversation with myself and remind myself that I need to trust the process a bit, and look at all the previous times it worked, in a multitude of situations.

I think this is one of the biggest reasons why people quit movement routines, they think the struggle magically disappears, or that it's supposed to be effortless. It doesn't work like that, it does get easier to manage though, with systems.

I’ve been playing with this idea for years now, at some point I even started making an app for it called goodbumps, but I became comfortable with my routine, I thought I had it locked in, until of course I stopped paying attention to it, life got more difficult, and I lost the ability to run the switch on.

When things are good we tend to not think about them. But then inevitably after a while I would drop the habits, and I’d have to re-educate myself, almost starting from scratch.

My instagram account @csonotes is partly a reminder for myself that

1 - I have a switch

2 - it worked countless times.

I really recommend recording your own in some way, become your own hype person. All it takes is a few moments of extra attention, and the ROI on it is yuuuge.

Lately I accepted that remembering "the switch" will be a constant uphill battle, but there are ways to make it easier. So I’m starting work on the app again, and also sharing more of all this.

Overall it’s the best way to “get out of my head” that I know of.

And I think that’s the main motivator, all the rest, the health benefits, longevity, aesthetics are byproducts.

Notes:

Hydration:

The times I don’t get a mega boost from working out is usually when I’m dehydrated, but even then once I workout the thirst really kicks in and my body knows how to fix it, but ofc better not to get there.

3L of water a day, about one cup every hour in your first waking hours according to #science, check out Andrew Huberman on water.

Also electrolytes. If you drink too much unmineralized water it can just wash out your electrolytes. About a pinch of salt per liter of water should do, (depends how much you sweat) and squeeze a bit of lemon in it if you want to be all exxxxtra. That's already way better than 90% of "hydration" sports drinks out there. "more on this later"

Lack of sleep:

if you haven't had enough sleep, that's exactly when you need to exercise. Dr Rhonda Patrick has some great videos on the data that supports this, "more about this later" too in upcoming articles.

What to do

There’s countless things and I’ll go into details later, but these are some of the ways I make my own emotional cocktails and how I think about them.

Likely you’ll have to search and make your own recipes though, this seems to be highly individual:

Walks 

best way to get the day started and the to contemplate during the day.

I have a new rule that I don't allow myself to ruminate too long inside the house, if something is on my mind I get out, it's amazing to clear your head. (+go write after)

Also, if you’re not a "sports person" (debatable) try walking.

It’s simple, always available. If it rains, get an umbrella. If it's cold dress up. Your body temperature will rise after about 15 minutes and everything will look nicer.

Weights

Amazing for creative work, and overcoming hard things. Task difficulty levels drop from 10, to 2-3 when I do them right.

HIIT

great vitality boosters, I like to pair this with boring admin boring. Can be circuit training, sprints, etc. - my go to when I want to get ready for accounting.

Martial arts

Amazing boost, pumps up my aggression though. Especially good when I'm feeling weak or helpless about certain situations. Maybe it’s social conditioning and all the Rocky movies but punching myself out of difficulties works well for me.

Social sports

Basketball, group runs etc I use for recovery. Hand eye coordination stuff works great when I set a lot at the desk.

Swimming

Can't do these in the morning, leaving me drained compared to other exercises, but great for afternoons, especially combined with sauna.

Run

I run a decent amount, but the thing is I always hated running.

I still can’t say I enjoy it.

However I do enjoy the benefits that I get after.

Long runs are a great anxiety reliever, but very long runs can get me drained or “over pumped” after. Can’t really match it with creative work, unless I do hiit type workout, for example sprints, or plyometric aka jumpy stuff training.

Sauna

While technically not an "exercise", it gives a lot of similar health but also mental benefits. I use short sessions to relax, it literally lifts any worries or anxiety I have, sometimes to the point that I worry that I might be too chill from it.

Long sessions can get me overhyped though. Hard sessions can keep me hyped up for days (some of these are quite brutal, I wouldn't recommend unless you know what you're doing)

In the evenings I prefer shorter sessions to help me prepare for sleep, 1 or 2x 15-20 min is nice at 90+C, if you're starting out don't push it and you'll sleep better.

TBC.

Not an exhaustive list, also very subjective, and a lot of people react differently to these, again the key is to find your own combo.

I think of all this as emo cocktail recipe books, you look what others have, then make your own favorite mixes.

Famous Others

I found it fascinating besides the obvious athletes and high energy business people, a lot of notable characters had solid movement routines.

Plato

Ancient Greek philosopher, wrestler, known for his broad physique, earning him the nickname "Platon" meaning "broad". Plato was likely jakkkkkt.

Several ancient thinkers were, they'll get their own list at some point.

Meme time:

Abraham Lincoln

The 16th President of the United States, "had a notable career in wrestling. During his youth, Lincoln was an impressive wrestler, known for his physical strength and skill. Over 12 years, he is said to have lost only one match out of approximately 300, this impressive record led to his induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame."

"Lincoln's physical prowess wasn't limited to wrestling. He also engaged in other activities such as playing handball, known as “Fives,” and was known to play this during his political campaigns. He continued to stay physically active throughout his life, demonstrating his strength in various ways even during his presidency."

Ernest Hemingway - famous American writer known for his adventurous lifestyle, which included boxing, hunting, and deep-sea fishing. 

Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister during World War II, known for his recreational swimming.

Theodore Roosevelt - 26th President of the U.S., famous for his vigorous lifestyle and promotion of the "strenuous life." He was an avid boxer and practiced judo.

George Washington - First President of the U.S., known for his physical strength, horseback riding, and dancing.


Benjamin Franklin - One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, known for swimming and his writings on physical fitness.

Henry David Thoreau - American essayist, poet, and philosopher; known for his love of nature, often engaging in hiking and rowing.

Mahatma Gandhi - Leader of the Indian independence movement; practiced regular walking and believed in physical fitness.

Leo Tolstoy - The famous Russian author integrated physical labor into his daily routine, including farming, which is physically demanding.

Friedrich Nietzsche - His philosophical writings include references to the importance of physical vigor; he was known for taking extensive and strenuous hikes.

Nikola Tesla - Pioneering inventor and electrical engineer, noted for his daily walks and exercises.

Walkers

Again if you’re not a “gym” or “run” person, start with walking. I see training as a way to extend your ability to walk later in life, but more on that later.

For now here are some examples of interesting people known for their long walks. 

Ludwig van Beethoven - Renowned composer, known for his long , brisk walks, an essential part of his daily routine. For Beethoven, these walks were a means to unlock his creativity, allowing his mind to wander and explore musical ideas and innovations that would later be reflected in his legendary compositions.

Charles Darwin - Naturalist and biologist, famous for his theory of evolution; he was known to take long walks, which he called his “thinking path.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - German writer and statesman, known to be an avid walker.

Virginia Woolf - Prominent writer who believed in the importance of walking for mental clarity; often took long walks.

Albert Einstein - Physicist known for his theory of relativity; enjoyed sailing and long walks for relaxation and mental clarity.

Sigmund Freud - Founder of psychoanalysis, known for his daily walks around Vienna. 

J.R.R. Tolkien - Author of 'The Lord of the Rings,' known for his love of walking, often taking long countryside walks.

Steve Jobs - Co-founder of Apple Inc., known for his long walks, which he often used for meetings and brainstorming.

Let me know if you have other interesting examples, it’s probably worth making a longer list of them, hmu on socials.

Health , Longevity, Aesthetics chapters coming next

These deserve lists of their own, but I wanted to focus on the motivation first, it seems that’s what most of us are struggling with, as I said I consider the rest byproducts.

If you have comments, feedback or just want to say hi, hmu on socials:

instagram.com/csonotes/
I post more regularly here, daily workouts, weekly workout summaries, thoughts, stoic and inspirational stuff

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twitter.com/csonotes

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