PUSHING YOURSELF During Exercise [Delaying Gratification]

Boy not thinking of delaying gratification as he pushes himself to run on the beach in the heat.

Delaying Gratification is the fifth article in the PUSHING YOURSELF series which is designed to help you get the most possible benefit out of your exercise session.

My PUSHING YOURSELF Series Covers:

1. Getting Out the Door to Exercise!
2. Visual Imagery!
3. Shaming Yourself!
4. Positive Self Talk!
5. Delay of Gratification!
6. Coaching Yourself!
7. Competition!

This is a series on pushing yourself while exercising. It can be applied to any exercise, but in this series I’ll talk about running and walking/running up steps. Those are the two exercises that I do daily – one or the other.

Delaying gratification is something I use whenever I feel really strong and I know my exercise session is going to be a heroic effort. You know those days when you feel on top of the world as you start exercising and it doesn’t get worse – it just gets better? So you push, and it still feels great. You push more – still great.

I use this technique of delaying any gratification I allow myself to feel on days just like this so I can keep the level of effort high and stretching out as long as possible.

What this means is – I don’t let myself feel happy about what I’ve already accomplished. I stay level-headed and rational about it. I recognize that I’ve done well so far, but I concern myself more with the next push and what it will entail than focusing on the how great the effort I’ve already made was.

In this way I’m able to stop the mind from saying, “Ok, good enough! Wow, that was great… let’s take it easy and call it a day. We did a good job.”

On those days when I have an abundance of energy, strength, and endurance I want to get everything possible out of my session. This happened on the steps about three weeks ago. I usually have my notebook computer, battery, charger, camera, phone, some shirts and sweatpants as shock padding for the notebook, water and a carton of milk for the mangy dog that’s at the top of the hill some days. On occasion I have a kilogram of rambutan too – if you haven’t ever tried rambutan fruit you must see if the asian market in your city has some. It’s the most delicious fruit in the world…  I digress.

So I’m usually on the steps with a backpack that weighs ten to thirteen pounds. I can go up the stairs with the backpack twice with no problem, but I’ve only done the steps three times if I didn’t have the bag with me. On this day I had the bag but I felt good at the top the first time. I went down to the bottom and I still felt good – so I went up again. I rested about ten minutes and went back down. I still felt great. I had some time so I thought, ahhh, do it again. I did it the third time and I STILL felt good but had run out of time.

I don’t think I would have gone a fourth time anyway, better to do 3x a few more sessions before I try four times up and down. The problem with steps is that it’s easy to pull a muscle going more than twice. Usually it happens on the way down I notice a little twinge of pain in my foot or behind my knee cap.

The reason I was able to do three times that day (3,711 steps up and 3,711 down) is because I didn’t let myself feel the satisfaction of doing it the first or second time. Even after the third time when I thought I might give it a go the fourth time I still hadn’t let myself feel good about the effort yet. Once I feel good about what I’ve done I notice that I’m less inclined to push myself much more.

Delay the gratification by not letting yourself feel the satisfaction that is due until you are completely done with the session. Then – bathe yourself in compliments for pushing it so hard!

Best of Life!

Vern

My PUSHING YOURSELF Series Covers:

1. Getting Out the Door to Exercise!
2. Visual Imagery!
3. Shaming Yourself!
4. Positive Self Talk!
5. Delay of Gratification!
6. Coaching Yourself!
7. Competition!

Create Your Own, “Breakfast of Champions!”

I’ve been here in Thailand for about 42 months. As you may know, Asians don’t eat like us in the west. It’s really different and a bit tough getting used to, but once you’re here for a while eating hot spicy pork noodle soup or sliced chicken breast over rice with some ginger/garlic sauce in the morning this will seem like normal operating procedure. At this point to me it even seems natural.

Occasionally though I get these wicked cravings for oats, wheat germ, peanut butter and other protein rich, grainy foods. I guess I’m lacking protein in my diet – or maybe types of amino acids or something because my protein intake is primarily pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Occasionally, say twice a week, I’ll have chicken.

Twice I’ve bought overpriced Mueslix and some Muesli from Switzerland in a western type store, but it’s more expensive than it would be in the USA – and that’s usually a no-brainer. I avoid anything more expensive here than the USA.

I decided yesterday that I was going to create a breakfast I really love and save some cash. I started having this breakfast in Hawaii after a friend from Sweden made us some muesli with fresh fruit for breakfast before we went on a killer mountain bike ride through the mountains. Christian is living the dream doing Hawaii appraisal on Oahu, Maui, Big Island and Kauai! The trail was a walking trail that was even tough to walk on during some points. I fell off my bike 3 times and that was being VERY careful! Roots would stick in my crank, path would drop away down the hill as I rode over it… a series of stones bounced me right off my seat and sideways off my bike.

Anyway, let me get on to talking about the breakfast of champions… Muesli!

My friend whipped us up a batch of muesli with sliced banana, some plain yogurt, and some papaya if I’m remembering correctly. Papaya is everywhere on Oahu and it was either that or mango. No matter – any fruit you like will do. I’ve had it with pineapple, mango, oranges, apples, rambutan, longan, grapes, raisins, and 15 other fruits.

I went to the “Makro” grocery store in Thailand which is their version of “Costco” and I bought 3 things to create my muesli masterpiece, my “Breakfast of Champions!”.

The first was a bag of, guess… MUESLI! It was “Tilo’s” brand muesli from Belgium. Their email is: info@muldernaturalfoods.be so you can write to see where they distribute this stuff maybe near you. If you’re in Colorado, some parts of California, Maui or Canada I think you should be able to find things like this pretty easily. The date on the bag shows it good for 6 months from the time I bought it. Perhaps it lasts a year or more. That’s plenty long to ship to America from Belgium. I’ll bet someone has it imported. The ingredients on this bag were, in order: Wheat flakes, oat flakes, barley flakes, raisins, hazelnut pieces, sunflower kernels, sesame seeds. In 100g there are 11g of protein, 61g of carbs and 4g of fat. I bought a 1000g bag for 80 baht which is almost $3 USD.

Second item was a box of “Hahne” PREMIUM Muesli from Germany! This one is High quality muesli with 40% dried fruit content. I bought 375g for 90 baht (3 dollars). The ingredients are: Dried fruit (sultanas, banana chips, coconut oil, sugar, honey, flavors), pieces of apricot, plum peaches, appples, dates, figs, pears, strawberry, raspberry, whole wheat flakes, whole oat flakes, cornflakes, whole rye flakes, apricot and maracuja fruit powders. 100g gives 7.8g protein, 63.5g carbs, 5.4g fat.

Adding a certain amount of dried fruit like in this premium muesli is pretty key as you’ll need something to be sparking your saliva glands to keep working so you can easily swallow a bowl of this. Grains are very dry stuff even with cow or soy milk – and this mixture had little sugar. If you add sugar or honey to yours instead of fresh or dried fruits – easier to swallow!

The next item I bought tells something about my American background. Unfortunately Kellogg’s company has had an ongoing advertising blitz since the early 1970’s (or before) in which they crammed into our heads that we need CORN FLAKES to better our odds at longterm survival! Apparently that’s still in my subconscious because when I saw the bag of Hahne cornflakes for 60 baht (2 dollars) I grabbed it without thinking. Damn I hate advertising campaigns. You could probably do without this item but it does add some bulk and is low fat! Ingredients are: corn, sugar, cooking salt, barley malt extract. In 100g protein was 7.3g, carbs 82.4g and fat at 1.2g. Vitamin information not listed. Maybe there isn’t any!

Now, I needed something to wash it down with (mix with it) so I bought 12 boxes of my favorite vegetarian soy milk mixture, Lactasoy, from a smaller grocery. 100 baht for 12 boxes of 300ml capacity. Ingredients: water, soybean, sugar, vegetable fat, vitamins and minerals. It has no cholesterol and one 300ml box of it breaks down as: protein 8g, carbs 23g, and 8g of fat. The vitamin content is pretty impressive… Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin E all at 30% of Thai RDA. Vitamin B1 is at 25%. Vitamin B2, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6 all at 20% Thai RDA. I drink this stuff like water – even mixing it with my instant coffee (at room temperature, if hot – the soy milk clumps up and goes bad.) If you’ve heard bad things about soy milk please don’t write me, I’m happy in my ignorance at the moment and I have a hell of a lot of it to drink. 🙂

Total spent: 330 baht. That’s about $10 USD.

As I mixed them all together and stored it in a 6 liter plastic water container I counted out 42 scoops of muesli cereal. Then I grabbed 2.5 scoops and put it in the bowl for the first taste. So – this mixture will last about 14 days I’m guessing. Sometimes I’ll eat more than I did this morning. For somewhere around 70 cents I can have an amazing breakfast with lots of nutritious grains and probably the whole spectrum of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Just in case I’m missing anything I have a daily multivitamin that covers most things. The pharmacy sells them for 1 baht each (about 3 cents), buy as many as you like.

So – that’s my Breakfast of Champions! Yes, there’s some fat in it – I think you can’t go through life without it – so why try? If you’re exercising daily – at least walking 2 miles you can afford to eat 10-20% fat in your diet. For your health you need to eat 5 or 10%.

As a side benefit to eating all these delicious grains I noticed an immediate stirring in an area below the stomach just 30 minutes after finishing my first bowl. Oh, this truly is – THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS!

Aloha!

Vern