Creating a Personal “Start” Webpage to Focus and Motivate

I was listening to a recent episode of the Side Hustle Nation podcast titled “10 Foundational Hustle Habits to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness“.  The conversation with author Steve Scott was really enjoyable and I particularly liked a suggestion Mr. Scott offered regarding web browsers.

So many of us use computers today as our “workplace” and Mr. Scott mentioned that he created a page with a motivational message to be the default opening page for his browser.  I love this idea and created a simple page (current version below, I plan to revise but wanted to set up something now to start from).  The bolded item is based on Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy – a good motivational read about tackling the biggest, most important task of each day first thing.

first draft attempt at a motivational start page

I wanted to share my modest attempt at this “Start Page” idea as I think the idea is a really good one and thought you might enjoy as well.  If you’d like to use my Start Page for yourself you can find it at:

http://www.johnpatrickanderson.com/start

5 Peak Challenge at Mission Trails Regional Park = #awesome

Mission Trails Regional Park is an amazing San Diego asset.  It covers 7,220 acres and is located near Downtown and urban areas like North Park, Mission Valley, La Mesa, and others.  There are a wide variety of activities available – running, rock climbing, bike riding, hiking, and more.  To encourage more people to explore some of the less visited areas of the park the 5 Peak Challenge was officially launched on November 7, 2015 although it had been an unofficial challenge in the hiking community prior to that launch.

The 5 Peak Challenge offers visitors the opportunity to receive a certificate and logo pin if they summit the 5 major peaks in the park.  They are (in order of decreasing height):

  • Cowles Mountain (1592 feet)
  • Pyles Peak (1379 feet)
  • North Fortuna (1291 feet)
  • Kwaay Paay (1194 feet)
  • South Fortuna (1094 feet)

Cowles Mountain is the most popular hike in the park and has a constant flow of people.  I had done Cowles a dozen or more times in the past 5 years and the Fortunas once or twice but had never been to Pyles or Kwaay Paay prior to attempting the 5 Peak Challenge.  You don’t have to do all the peaks on one day and it’s probably not advised but a friend had told me about doing the challenge in under hours so I decided to make that my goal.

Using the park map (below, click for pdf copy) I decided the shortest total route from the Visitors Center would be: South Fortuna, North Fortuna, Kwaay Paay, Cowles Mountain, Pyles Peak.  I hopped on my bike in North Park and about 35 minutes later was at the Visitors Center and ready to go.

I used the Strava app to record the time, elevation gain, distance, and route for my 5 Peak Challenge.  Including a few breaks for lunch and to register the kids for swimming lessons it took a total elapsed time of 4 hours and 57 minutes.  I was scrambling up Pyles Peak to get under the 5 hour mark but managed to do it.  I hiked at a moderate pace for the most part but did jog some of the descents and a bit of the Junipero Serra Trail that is a flat, paved road from the Old Dam to the Visitors Center.  I also rode my bike from the Visitors Center to the Cowles Mountain base after the first 3 peaks.

I didn’t include any scenery shots on this post, other than the background on the selfies at bottom, which are required to officially complete the challenge and submit for a certificate.  If you haven’t been, Missions Trails Regional Park is basically Southern California natural scrub habitat – some trees in the low lying areas but primarily short bushes and shrubs.  The peaks provide wonderful views in every direction, from Mexico to the Pacific to inland mountains to the east.  The day I hiked was overcast so the view distances were greatly reduced but I was grateful for the less intense sun and heat.

I’d highly recommend doing the 5 Peak Challenge or simply visiting the park to have a picnic or go for a casual hike up one of the peaks.  It’s a great asset to the region and one well loved by many.

 

 

 

How Many Calories Do I Burn Biking to Work?

A few years ago when I started biking to work it was primarily due to a desire to improve my fitness.  I was working a lot of hours and found it difficult to find time to get to the gym.  I figured that a little moderate exercise (like walking) to start and end the day would be a good way to ensure at least a nominal amount of physical activity each day.

I’ve continued to bike since that first trial and now bike for most of my daily tasks – groceries, meetings, work, etc.  I’ve been pondering the exercise impact of the biking I do and wanted to do a rough estimate.

This online calculator is pretty handy to ballpark the calories burned biking.  There are many others but the few I tried out gave similar results.

For a typical 3 mile ride in the city I burn about 200 calories so a round-trip would yield 400 calories burned.  For a daily commute and with 2 weeks off for vacation that’d be an even 100,000 calories in a year.

If you’re looking for a way to get a bit of exercise each day, trying out bike commuting might be worth a try.  Bonus: it’s really fun.

Recent used bike purchase – hybrid mountain bike purchased for $90.

CORRECTION: After posting this I received feedback from a couple of people with more knowledge than I that calculators like the one used above overestimate the calories burned biking by quite a bit.  Per their estimates, including a tracked ride, the rate per mile for biking should be around 25 calories.

Based on this number, the total for the 3 mile ride, 6 miles round trip would yield a total of 150 calories burned and an annual total of 37,500 (not 100,000).

I’m leaving the original post and this edit in case others have a similar issue regarding online calculators for this purpose.

 

The 2016 Fitness Challenge – You’re Invited!

Friends and Family,
In 2008, an insane tradition was born in the form of a New Year’s Resolution / Fitness Challenge.  Most of you have participated throughout the years, but for any newcomers, here’s a recap of the various challenges:
  • 2008 – 8 minute abs every day
  • 2009 – 1 mile run every day
  • 2010 – The Infamous Push-Up Challenge (1 additional push-up every day)
  • 2011 – Choose your Daily Workout! (20 minutes of running, 15 minutes of jumping rope, or 30 minutes of riding a bicycle)
  • 2012 – The Daily Nutrition Challenge (1 fruit + 1 vegetable + no deep fried foods)
  • 2013 – Choose your Daily Workout! (200 Pushups, 2 Miles Running, 400 Crunches, 4000 Meters Rowing, 600 Jumping Jacks, or 6 Miles Biking)
  • 2014 – 20 minutes of continuous workout each day
  • 2015 – no challenge / lack of interest / the year which shall not be mentioned
With 2016 nearly upon us, there’s still time to assemble a group of like-minded (crazy) fitness junkies.  For the 2016 Challenge, I’m proposing a workout that takes us back to the first two years of the challenge.  A ‘Return to our Roots’ workout:
  • Complete an 8 minute ab workout OR Run 1 Mile every day.  (A suggested 8 minute ab workout is included via youtube link at bottom, but 8 minutes of planking or a similar core workout are also acceptable.  The 1 Mile run is pretty self-explanatory, and can be completed inside, outside, in an airport, in another country, or on a boat.)
Why?
  • Takes less than 10 minutes to complete (assuming you can run a 10 minute mile)
  • Doesn’t require any gear / gym membership / additional purchases
What’s in it for me?
Besides toning up your core muscles and getting in better running shape, there’s a monetary incentive to the challenge each year.  $20 per person goes into the pot, and the ‘last man standing’ wins the money.  If there are multiple winners on 12/31/2016 (or sooner, depending on when the final participants drop out), the winners split the pot.
How do I sign up?
Great!  I’m glad you asked.  To sign up, simply send an email with your ‘verbal commitment.’  Then send in $20 – email for details.
Other important details:
  • The Challenge begins on January 1, 2016 (aka this FRIDAY).
  • You have 24 hours (from midnight to midnight) to complete the daily requirement.
  • This operates on the honor system.  If you fail to run/do your abs within 24 hours of the day, you must email the group (or at least the organizer!) to let us know.
  • Feel free to invite others!  Mo’ participants = mo’ money in the pot.

I think that covers the essentials.  I know it’s a bit daunting to commit to a whole year of daily workouts, but half of the fun lies in taunting and shit-talking with your friends and family.  Besides, even if you successfully complete even 3 months of working out, isn’t that worth the $20 commitment?

Invite your kids, invite your wives.

Go ahead and bookmark this page so you can watch this amazing video daily.  Come on gang, you’re almost there!