by Niall Doherty

I’ve been living in Bangkok for almost two months now. This city will remain my home base until at least April, and after that I’ll probably be jumping around Thailand and Southeast Asia for a bit. My priorities for these three months in Bangkok have been fitness, social, and work. Here’s an update on how things are developing in each of those areas.

Fitness

I got off to a slow start on my functional fitness goals, but the past three weeks or so I’ve been working hard on strength, flexibility, and swimming. My handstand is also coming along.

I joined a gym here in Bangkok and do weights training there twice a week. I finally got a weights belt last week and so now I’m doing exercises like squats, deadlifts and bent over rows. I’m tracking each workout and my strength is steadily improving. The goal is to be able to bench, squat and deadlift my own body weight by the end of the year.

I’m also doing yoga twice a week at the gym, and do a 15-minute stretching routine before each strength workout. Yoga is often a struggle as I’m usually the most clumsy and inflexible person in the class, by far (Thai people are quite bendy). I’ve come to understand the concept of having closed hips and shoulders, and know now that I have both. I’ll be trying to rectify that with some regular, specific stretches over the coming months.

I took two Total Immersion swimming classes in late December and have been practicing that technique regularly. There’s a pool here at the condo which is a little small for proper practice, so I’ve been going to a 25-meter public pool twice a week and doing twenty lengths there. Breathing comfortably continues to be my biggest struggle, but I feel myself improving a little each week, getting a better feel for the water. I’ll definitely be taking a couple more lessons soon though. It’s taking me several weeks to work out kinks that a good coach could fix in an hour. My goal is to swim one kilometer in open water in 20 minutes or less by the end of the year.

I’ve been practicing my handstand for almost two years now, off and on. Amazing how fast I regress when I don’t practice for a few days, and how fast I progress when I do. My body seems to have a very short-term memory when it comes to balance. I’m at the point now where it’s not unusual for me to pull off a 15-second open-floor handstand. I’ve just started incorporating these wrist-strengthening exercises into my stretch routine, so that should help. All this handstand practice will hopefully lead up to me being able to walk comfortably on my hands by the end of the year.

I should mention diet here, too. As previously mentioned, I’m back eating meat again after four years vegetarian (2.5 of those vegan). I no longer believe plant-based diets to be superior, morally or otherwise. I’m sure a lot of the meat I’m eating here in Bangkok though comes from factory farms, which is far from ideal. I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma recently and would love to be eating closer to what author Michael Pollan advocates. Why aren’t I? I plead laziness. It’s just so easy to grab a cheap meal of chicken satay at one of those grubby restaurants on the way back from the gym.

I’m still eating lots of fruits and veggies as well. I bought a blender last month and have a green smoothie (leafy greens with fruit to sweeten) almost every day. I’m also going through about four jars of peanut butter a week.

Overall I feel really good, and the body is starting to look pretty fit.

Social

I’ve become a night owl here in Bangkok. It’s rare now for me to get to sleep before 2 a.m. I wasn’t even out last night but I only got to sleep at 4 a.m. When I head out on a Friday or Saturday night I usually don’t get to sleep until the sun comes up.

I’m out four or five nights a week. Some nights I hang out with cool people like the lads I’m living with. Other nights I go out to practice pickup, sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend or two. Methinks I’ve leveled up significantly in recent weeks. Nothing to do with sex either. It’s just that I can now go out for several hours and get rejected regularly throughout the night without letting my state drop. Before the rejections would gradually wear on me, and after ten or so blowouts I’d just want to go home and cry myself to sleep. Now I just keep having fun all night long. I’ve become less outcome dependent, not needing so much approval from the opposite sex to stay upbeat. And of course, the less approval I’m seeking, the more I seem to get.

For any guys out there interested in developing similar outcome independence and having more fun on your nights out, I recommend watching this video from Tyler at RSD (step four has been HUGE for me). Take the bits that resonate with you, leave the rest behind, then get out there regularly and interact with people.

Work

My main focus work-wise for the first quarter has been to optimize, outsource and automate. I hired a personal assistant a few weeks back and I’m really pleased with how that’s all going. She’s handling everything like a superstar and making it possible for me to devote way more time to my social and fitness goals.

I’ve also been finishing up work with my few remaining web design clients. Offering web design services has been great for me in the past, but not something I want to continue going forward. It’s tough to outsource (still have to do a lot of work myself ensuring quality), difficult to automate (every job is somewhat unique), and requires me to check email too frequently (not cool to keep clients waiting very long).

Going forward I hope to first take some time off completely from work. Feels like I’ve been online and working almost every day for more than two years now. I’m hoping to take a Thai beach break in early-April, at least a week completely offline. After that I’m going to have a crack at building a software company with a friend. Lots to learn there. We’ll see how it goes.

How are you doing?

Did you set any goals for yourself at the start of the year? Would love to hear how you’re progressing. Or, if you’ve dropped the ball, let me know when you’re going to pick it up again.

Comments are open.

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