A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #30
Welcome to another edition of my newsletter.
The newsletter publishing went for a toss and I know what I need to do. I need to dedicate two days to this. One day for a draft outline and another day to actually complete the newsletter.
I have been running a lot lately and already ran 111 km since the beginning of this year. It’s not a lot but the biggest change I have noticed is losing weight. I am also slowly gaining muscle mass thanks to the workouts I have been doing with my personal trainer, Steve Caulfield. He is a big inspiration and gives me healthy tips on how to train better without injuries and recover quickly. On the other hand, my yoga teacher, Maria Shyla, helps me stay flexible so I can move more efficiently during my runs and remain injury free.
Since we are travelling to Japan next month I have actually been busy with booking our accommodation for the trip and finalizing our itinerary. I also looked up Parkruns in Japan and they have 32 in total. Me and my wife are hoping to do one Parkrun each. Let’s see how that works out. Also, it seems Japan is obsessed with running so hopefully it will be fun to run there.
I also saw Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. I am a big fan of Marvel films and this was a really nice movie based in the quantum realm. They introduced the next big villain, after Thanos, Kang the Conqueror in this film.
I am also planning to take part in the Our Future Health campaign here in the UK. It is the UK’s largest-ever health research programme to create an incredibly detailed picture of the nation’s health. It’s completely free and one can withdraw from the process and get their samples destroyed whenever they want.
🧍 Incredible humans
I recently watched this video and was amazed by some of the things we really take for granted. And yet, these things make us top athletes.
The video covers the following three areas where humans have developed adaptations that give them an evolutionary advantage over other species.
💪🏽 Overhead throwing - Our ability to throw objects far and high was important to hunt animals and kill prey from afar.
🌊 Aquatic apes - Our ability to stay underwater without breathing is useful to hunt fish and collect plants underwater.
⛰️ High altitude - Our ability to breathe efficiently at high altitudes helped us reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
Time to take more care of our bodies. As my wife keeps saying, health is the new wealth.
💓💪 VO2 max
My fitness journey started, more than a decade ago, when I had two back-to-back motorbike accidents injuring my right knee and undergoing knee surgery.
I started with swimming to increase the flexibility in my knee and cycling to gain some muscle mass around my knee. This helped a lot and I would have cycled close to 20000 km over the next couple of years before moving to the UK.
After finishing our backpacking trip to South America, a year before the pandemic, I developed lower back pains and started yoga and strength training. I also started running to help with weight loss. And played badminton occasionally.
Finally, my wife bought a rowing machine to exercise indoors and I added that to my fitness regime. It helps when it’s cold or raining.
I now either run/cycle/row once a week along with one session of yoga and one session of strength training.
This has helped increase my VO2 max over the years, which is currently at 48.
VO2 (Volume of Oxygen) maximum is a value which provides information on how well the heart muscle, lungs and muscles work in allowing oxygen to move around the body during exercise. VO2 max is measured in millilitres of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight (mL/kg/min).
Source - Garmin Connect app
Source - Garmin Connect app
Knowing your VO2 max is important to track how your fitness is improving with your physical activities. Running/Cycling are the best ways to increase your VO2 max. It depends on your age, height, weight, BMI, the intensity of physical activities, heart rate & the accompanying pace during any activity, and many more.
But in order to improve anything you need to first measure where you are currently at. And I use the following devices to help me stay fit and regularly track my progress.
⌚ Multisport GPS watch - I bought my Garmin fēnix 6X Pro after my personal trainer recommended it. It is a non-touch GPS watch that is really versatile with long battery life and excellent GPS tracking. I use this to track all my physical activities, my daily step count, my resting heart rate, and also my sleep cycles.
⚖️ Smart scale - I use the Withings Body+ scale almost every day in the morning after brushing my teeth and doing my morning poo. It measures not just my weight but also my fat mass, muscle mass, bone mass, water, and BMI. Basically my entire body composition.
📈 Heart rate sensor - I wear a Polar H10 chest strap whenever I run, cycle, or lift weights. It is more accurate than a heart rate sensor on a fitness watch.
I have noticed that my fitness goes down when it starts getting cold and it goes up as it starts warming up. Basically, I get lazy when it gets cold and dark 😄.
❗ NOTE - It’s important to take sufficient rest after vigorous activity to improve your performance. Without rest, your body will never perform well.
📺🎎 Japanese TV series
My wife recommended watching the following Japanese series to introduce us to Japanese culture and their ways of living.
The first series, The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House, is a really good insight into the world of maiko/geiko culture based in Kyoto, Japan. It also introduced us to the wonderful Japanese cuisine which I’m dying to try even though I am vegan 😊. Bring on ramen, bento and maki.
The second series, First Love, is a beautiful love story based majorly in Hokkaido, Japan. It tells the love story of a boy and girl as teenagers and as adults. Such a heartfelt story with the amazing scenery of Japan.
❤️ Things I enjoyed
🎬 Video - Why 97% of Namibia is Empty is a very cool video. It gives a very interesting insight into a not-so-popular country among travellers. I never knew that the entire coastline of a country could be desert and uninhabitable.
📝 Article - What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work? If you want to understand how Large Language Models work then this is the article for you. Written by Stephen Wolfram it has got amazing examples to understand the intricacies of designing a model like this.
📱 App - I have been using TV Time for many years now and it’s my go-to app whenever I want to track TV shows or any web series I am watching. It also alerts me whenever a new season of a series, I watched previously, is released.
📺 TV show - Extraordinary Attorney Woo is an amazing story of an autistic lawyer based in Seoul, South Korea. A very quirky series.
Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.
Until we meet again next week, exercise regularly, eat healthily, rest well, and binge-watch some nice TV series.