Push-ups, burpees and running during the quarantine

Newsletter #22

Howdy friend. Here’s the first ever newsletter on consecutive weekends. In light of the quarantine and increased time spent at home, I thought I’d change up my publishing cadence a little. Instead of fortnightly, I’m going to write short newsletters every week and perhaps a longer one every month. Let’s see how this goes.

I started working out again this week. The last time I regularly exercised was in November, so it took a little doing to get back into it.

As with other newly formed habits, this one began because of the quarantine.

Stuck at home, I naturally watch a lot of Netflix. And when I’m not, my productivity outlet is baking cookies and brewing kombucha. Unfortunately, my mother also enjoys baking. If I didn’t do anything about it, being surrounded by Netflix, baked goods and kombucha in a lockdown would mean I’m well on my way to becoming a round boy.

Not cool.

At first, I started walking. This was an excuse to do something out of the house. But on some walks, I’d get bored and run for short stretches. This went on for a couple of weeks – Occasional walks, with a smattering of runs. Despite what you might think, this didn’t actually help balance out my sedentary lifestyle. I still felt lethargic and unmotivated.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to workout. In fact, I often looked enviously at my wonderfully fit and motivated friends sharing their workouts on Instastories. I wanted to be like them. Unfortunately, all those videos didn’t drive any change, they just intimidated and guilted me.

Finally, after watching a hundred of these stories, I decided to do something about it. But instead of doing something crazy and unsustainable, I decided to start as small as possible. Specifically, I wanted a workout so easy, I’d be able to do it daily even if I didn’t feel like it. A workout I could even do while Netflix-ing. Here’s what I came up with:

The COVID-19 workout

19 push-ups

19 split squats (per leg)

19 burpees

1.9km run

How’s it going?

Screenshot of my COVID-19 workout streak spreadsheet

After the first day, I added some social pressure by asking some friends to join me. In particular, friends who are in a similar lethargic boat.

I created a simple spreadsheet to track our progress. Every day, we workout and mark off what we’ve done. As you can see, we don’t always manage to do every single exercise every day. But the point is that we do something.

So far, I’ve managed to run (and do most of the workout) for the past 4 days. I plan to do it for 19 days in a row. At which point, I might switch up the routine.

Sidenote on how to calculate 1.9km using Google Maps

In case you’re wondering how I calculated a 1.9km running route, it’s easy. Google maps has a feature for calculating distance.

  1. Simply tap and hold down your starting point (like your house),
  2. then tap the thumbnail image to expand the options.
  3. You’ll see, where I’ve circled in red, the option to Measure distance.
  4. Just tap on that and start measuring 1.9km. Easy!

Exercise is my keystone habit

Earlier this week, Khe Hy of RadReads talked about keystone habits in his weekly newsletter (btw, it’s one of my fav newsletters).

Simply put, a keystone habit is something you do that helps everything else click into place.

For some, this might be waking up early. Or carving out time to play with your kids. For me, it’s exercise.

When I exercise, the rest of my day magically improves. My body and mind feel lighter. I feel healthier, more awake, less lethargic and more motivated to work. Most importantly, my metabolic rate has increased, which lets me eat more cookies ๐Ÿช, with less guilt.

Join me in my keystone habit

If you want to exercise but are finding it hard to start, this workout was specifically designed for you. I say this because this was my exact position just 5 days ago. This workout successfully got me off my butt.

I really hope you’ll consider doing this. Here’s what I suggest:

Start with the push-ups.

And ignore the burpees, split squats or 1.9km run.

19 push-ups a day is incredibly easy to do. Don’t even worry about doing them in one go, I don’t. I do them in sets of five while watching Netflix.

Then, once you get started, you can consider adding more exercises until you’re doing the full workout.

Also, I encourage you to copy my spreadsheet and start a streak going with your friends. It’s always easier to start something like this as a group.

If you need more motivation or help, feel free to email or text me. And if you successfully start a COVID-19 workout streak of your own, definitely let me know!

Good luck! This shit is hard to start, tricky to maintain, but incredibly rewarding.

You’re awesome. Now go do the thing.


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Fresh From the Interwebz

I just finished watching The Big Short, during a COVID quarantine, so you can imagine the sort of mood I’m in right now.

So for today’s link sharing, here’s a bunch of articles about bubbles bursting. We’re already in the next recession, so it’s definitely worth learning about this stuff. I chose articles that are genuinely interesting and easy to read, so please don’t feel intimidated!

The fall of Mic was a warning

This is a long piece on the rise and fall of online publications whose business model was built around social media. Publishing is changing, but I have no idea where it’s going to end up. Early days yet. Link to article โ†’

Judging people based on pop-psychology and pseudoscience

A book, Surrounded by Idiots, became a corporate bible in Sweden that led to organisations ordering personality tests and making HR decisions based on pseudoscience. Learn more about the book, its theories and how it took Sweden by storm. Link to article โ†’

The new dot com bubble is here and it’s called online advertising

This in depth article explains how the online advertising industry started, and how no one actually knows how online advertising itself works. Link to article โ†’

Taboola, Outbrain and the Chum Supply Chain

I shared this article in Newsletter #4 but think it pairs well with the dot com article above. Learn how the “You might also like” or “Recommended for you” sections of publications work. We all know they’re ads, and most of us never click on them. So who does? And how do these companies make money? Link to article โ†’

The Big Four (Facebook, Apple, Amazon Google), post COVID

A post on the financials and futures of these companies and what this means for us. It’s written by a marketing prof. For me, that means I got to read a financial article that I actually understood for once in my life. Link to article โ†’


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