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SymphonicDan

Panama SymphonicDanama [level 23]

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Welcome everybody! I'm a 27-year-old British guy who likes gymnastics, climbing, calisthenics, circus, weightlifting, ... and generally try to do too much. Last August I quit my job as a software engineer to go travelling around the world, volunteering for charities, learning new skills, and generally chasing excitement :D

 

Brief summary of my journey since starting at Nerd Fitness:

  • Jan 2014: joined the forums and planned to learn backflips outdoors by February. Hahaha that did not happen, but gymnastics and weightlifting happened lots
  • Jul 2014: reached 10 seconds for handstands and recorded my progress [video]
  • Oct 2014: bought gymnastics rings and went through a phase of training lots with these
  • Aug 2015: reached so far my peak in gymnastics and made a compilation [video] in the Summer
  • Aug 2015: moved house and got lazy :( Challenged with the Warriors and I don't think I even made it to a gym haha
  • Jan 2016: decided that I needed more excitement and that in 2016 I was going to get it
  • Aug 2016: quit my job and backpacked around Slovenia and Eastern Europe
  • Sep 2016: competed in the Mental Calculation World Cup in Germany
  • Oct 2016: studied Spanish in a language school in Valencia
  • Nov 2016: competed at Memoriad in Las Vegas. Flew to Nicaragua to volunteer as a volcano tour guide for 3 months
  • Feb 2017: backpacked around Nicaragua and Guatemala - both really nice destinations
  • May 2017: spent a month in Barcelona learning more Latin dancing and learning to how to create websites - currently working on HyperBirthday
  • Jul 2017: volunteered as an Engineering tutor in a Summer School in Oxford
  • Aug 2017: competed in the Mind Sports Olympiad in London
  • Sep 2017: sailed from Spain to Panama on the Nomad Cruise

 

So now I find myself backpacking in Panama without much of a plan or routine. I've tried challenging during my backpacking trips before without much success, so I'm going to set up an uncharacteristically unambitious and unspecific challenge to ensure I'm being a healthy productive person whatever I end up doing on these travels :)

 

Goal #1: eat fruit and vegetables: the standard Central American diet is fried rice, refried beans, fried plantain, fried egg and fried chicken/fish. With artificial juice drink on the side. Therefore I'm going to need to put extra effort into eating healthily, so 1 point every day I have 3+ fruit/veg and 1 point extra if I have 5+.

 

Goal #2: workout: aside from swimming in the sea and hiking in the jungle I'm not getting much exercise, so I want to focus on the following areas:

  • core
  • upper body

Realistically this is going to be in the form of short solo workouts or maybe the occasional hostel yoga class, but that's fine. 1 point for a workout (~20 minutes). 2 points for a long workout.

 

Goal #3: Wim Hof: thanks @zenLara for introducing us to this - I'm going to do what @Mad Hatter is doing and doing the basic breathing exercises as I don't think I'd have the resources now to commit to the full thing. I'll also be mostly taking cool showers anyway because this is Central America we're talking about, not Minnesota  :P Maybe at a later time I'll add in the more specific stuff in the actual course. 1 point for every day I do a session and report the results.

 

Goal #4: purpose: at the moment I'm doing a lot of floating around (literally and metaphorically) without a plan. So each day I want to have some goal for the day decided by 11am and actually do it (or do something better, if a genuinely shinier opportunity comes along). When I quit my job travel it wasn't to sit here refreshing Facebook on the slow internet by the pool ;) 1 point per day.

 

Goal #5: bonus list: I can't help adding some random extra items to my list, so here goes:

  • learn to play + sing a song on the guitar (probably "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica, or "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin (10 points)
  • hit 60 dates/minute in calendar calculations - my target for the 2018 MCWC is 60 **on paper**, aiming for a medal (2 points for 58; 5 points for 59; 10 points for 60)
  • try scuba diving (5 points)
  • take some actual good photos of me, because I rarely have anything good for profile pictures anywhere! (3 points for one; 7 points for three)
  • find a worthwhile professional project to work on while travelling (10 points)

 

Based on a 32-day challenge, doing short workouts and only 3 F/G every day, and doing everything else, that's 160 points, so I'll award 4 points <--> 0.25 stat points.

 

Advice request from anyone with Wim Hof experience: would you recommend doing a workout immediately after, immediately before, or considerably separated from each other?

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Date: (Oct) 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 (Nov) 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08

Goal #1:        2   -    1    -   1    -    2    -    1    -    1   1              -    -    -    -      -    1    1   -    +7 (estimate)

Goal #2:        -    -    1   -    -     -    1    -     -     -   2    -               -    -    -    -     -     -     -    -   +0

Goal #3:        -    1   1   -    -     1   1    -    1     -   1   -               -    -    -    1    -     -     -    -    +3

Goal #4:        -    -    1   -    1    -     -    1     -    -    -    -               -    -    -    -    1    1    -    -    +1

Bonuses:  .

 

Total: after Nov 19 I have 38 points

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Cool Panama challenge is COOL.

 

4 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

I'll also be mostly taking cool showers anyway because this is Central America we're talking about, not Minnesota  :P 

I know your jealous of my mad cold exposure opportunities. It's ok. You're still pretty cool. ;)

But seriously, the water keeps getting COLDER. It's not even November yet. :flustered:

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4 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

learn to play + sing a song on the guitar (probably "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica, or "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin (10 points)

Oooooh. Oh oh! And post a video for bonus points? :D

 

4 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

Advice request from anyone with Wim Hof experience: would you recommend doing a workout immediately after, immediately before, or considerably separated from each other?

After or separate have worked fine for me. @zenLara couldn't sleep when she did the breathing in the evening. I have not had that problem. I haven't tried exercising before breathing. Report back with any experiments, please. :loyal:

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16 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

hiking in the jungle

This sounds magical

 

16 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

Advice request from anyone with Wim Hof experience: would you recommend doing a workout immediately after, immediately before, or considerably separated from each other?

I really feel a difference when I exercise at about 1 hour after I did the WH exercices, best time for me. Lots of focus, lots of energy. After about 3 hours later I won't feel as energized, but there is still some useful energy.

I've also experimented with taking a few breaths before my sprints and I can definitely feel it.

 

12 hours ago, annyshay said:

@zenLara couldn't sleep when she did the breathing in the evening

I still was stupid enough as to repeat the experience last sunday, and I did 4 cycles at 7 pm. Awaken until 4 am. Damn :D I was in bed trying to breath slowly, focusing on getting calmer, even did a 30' minutes go-to-sleep meditation... The only thing I achieved was to feel even more intensely how much energy I had, I could notice it running up my spine. Crazy.

 

So many Wim Hof followers now! Amazing! Wolverine is happy :)

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On 19/10/2017 at 11:41 PM, SymphonicDan said:

When I quit my job travel it wasn't to sit here refreshing Facebook on the slow internet by the pool ;) 1 point per day.

Oh yes your travels so far have been so lazy and uneventful. ;) 

 

Following of course.

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2 hours ago, KB Girl said:

I missed the mental calculation World Cup, how did you do? 

And the stuff you did in London? Was that the same? Too many mental calculation wins to keep track of...

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On 10/19/2017 at 7:51 PM, annyshay said:

After or separate have worked fine for me. @zenLara couldn't sleep when she did the breathing in the evening. I have not had that problem. I haven't tried exercising before breathing. Report back with any experiments, please. :loyal:

 

I shall!

 

 

On 10/19/2017 at 7:51 PM, annyshay said:

Oooooh. Oh oh! And post a video for bonus points? :D

 

Actually not sure - I think I want to focus on feeling comfortable doing it, and the live/acoustic setting, so not sure I want to share recordings yet. Maybe one day :)

 

 

On 10/20/2017 at 8:29 AM, zenLara said:

I really feel a difference when I exercise at about 1 hour after I did the WH exercices, best time for me. Lots of focus, lots of energy. After about 3 hours later I won't feel as energized, but there is still some useful energy.

I've also experimented with taking a few breaths before my sprints and I can definitely feel it.

 

I still was stupid enough as to repeat the experience last sunday, and I did 4 cycles at 7 pm. Awaken until 4 am. Damn :D I was in bed trying to breath slowly, focusing on getting calmer, even did a 30' minutes go-to-sleep meditation... The only thing I achieved was to feel even more intensely how much energy I had, I could notice it running up my spine. Crazy.

 

Good info, thanks :)

 

 

On 10/21/2017 at 3:11 PM, KB Girl said:

I missed the mental calculation World Cup, how did you do? 

 

New British record (36, 37 and then 42) for calendar dates, 6th in the calendar dates event, low scores in addition and multiplication but I know I'm bad at those. median scores for everything else. A couple of frustrating errors that lots me huge marks in two of the "surprise" events.

 

I also had the Memoriad (Olympics) in Las Vegas last November where I got the bronze medal and 3rd/~50 competitors for Hectoc, 4th/~20 for speed reading, 13th for calendars, something acceptable for square roots and division and binary digits memorization, and I didn't train for the number-shape association category.

 

 

21 hours ago, annyshay said:

And the stuff you did in London? Was that the same? Too many mental calculation wins to keep track of...

 

Different events, but same ideas - I was 5th/5 in speed reading (hah), 8th/8 in natural memory (hah again), 7th/10 in calculation blitz and 9th/17 in the mental calculation world championship. There were more serious people participating than I had expected from an event that also had championships in things like Settlers of Catan, and where the poker tournament started with an explanation of the rules for the absolute beginners :P

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Goal #3: Wim Hof method: 

 

July 21: did a session of 3 sets while waiting for my water taxi from Isla Bastimentos yesterday. The breathing looks kinda weird so I'd rather do it somewhere private or with other people. I found a quiet shaded balcony by the other dorms and tried it there:

 

1'25 - 2'13 - 2'40

 

I was surprised to get even longer this time than last month when I tried it for the first time. My hands go tingly after about 10 breaths in every set but otherwise fine. Tingling subsides about halfway through the retention.

 

July 22: did a session of 4 sets with a friend on the deck by the sea - perfect location :D Tested baseline of 40 seconds retention before doing any of the technique.

 

X - 1'40 - 2'23 - 3'05(?)

 

Again tingling after about 10 breaths, even on the first set. Today I also had problems with concentration in the retentions. In the first set I noticed after 40 seconds that I was still breathing (so I marked that as "X" above) so just continued the retention and disregarded the time. Then in the 4th set, I lost sense of time at about 1'40 and was surprised to see the stopwatch already at 3 minutes. So I'm a little dubious about this one.

 

Now? A little more energy, and warmer inside (not necessary in Panama haha but anyway).

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17 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Sounds good! Congratulations on the records and medal :) are you happy with those performances? 

 

Thanks - I'm happy with the Las Vegas performance, frustrated a little at the Bielefeld performance because I was close to doing a lot better, and happy with the London MSO performance despite the high standard of competitors compared to me.

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So I spent the last couple of days camping on Escudo de Veraguas, which is the most remote genuine place I've ever been... it's famous for the pygmy sloth (which lives only here) and for BBC's documentary "Planet Earth II", which featured it... but just looks beautiful:

 

16c6040fd01d2551f02ca736b9b26cd923562374

 

We didn't see the sloths, but there were caimans, Dory fish, hermit crabs, termites, some cool birds, pelicans catching fish, loads of coconuts, coral and huge frogs. And one of the group does spear-fishing, so he caught some crabs, fish and octopus and we cooked them over a campfire.

 

There is only a handful of locals on the entire island (about 2 miles / 3km wide) so everything was super wild. We did find a shelter to camp in, but there were no hiking trails, so 10 metres from sea or beach you really have to fight through the undergrowth to get anywhere. But then the sea was really clear (the photo above is not mine but representative of what the island looks like). Such a cool experience :)

 

I was going to do some Wim Hof and workouts on the island, but we were too busy playing with camping things to do that.

 

Goal #1: fruit and vegetables: was difficult to do on the camping trip, and somehow failed today despite going to the most healthy vegan restaurant on the island. This goal is pushing my diet in the right direction though.

 

Goal #2: workouts: did some on the deck by the Caribbean Sea the other day - 3 sets of push-ups and some core exercises. Nothing major but helps me get back into the habit.

 

Goal #3: Wim Hoffery: did 4 sets of the technique today with two new tourists, sitting on a random little beach at Isla Carenero. For me the tingling sensations didn't come as early as before but were equally strong. I felt very calm immediately afterwards, and appreciated the sound of the waves crashing on the beach a lot, when I didn't notice

 

(0'45 baseline) 1'40 - 1'50 - 2'00 - 2'32 (and this time I'm sure I didn't breathe in at any random points)

 

It's also interesting to compare experiences with other people I do this with. Miss I went from a 17-second baseline to a 2'13 retention (!), Mr B had unexpected feelings of euphoria at the end of his 4th retention (1'51) and Miss J got up to 1'30 from a 30-second baseline.

 

I'm still trying to figure out the science behind the technique so I can understand what benefits I'm working for, how to explain it to other people, and what are the most important parts of Wim Hoffology for me.

 

Travel: I'm still in Bocas del Toro and have no idea where I'm travelling to next! Same problem as I have every few months travelling :P I'll probably spend a day figuring it out (was supposed to be today hah but I was busy having fun) and then maybe my next update will be from Colombia or Costa Rica or Nicaragua or Mexico or Jupiter or idk

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Wow, that is so cool you went to that island!!! 

 

1 hour ago, SymphonicDan said:

I'm still trying to figure out the science behind the technique so I can understand what benefits I'm working for, how to explain it to other people, and what are the most important parts of Wim Hoffology for me.

Please share when you do! I'm especially curious about how the different components affect each other and whether there is any scientific compound effect.Though for me it's more of a n=1 experiment just to see if I feel any different at all. I don't really expect anything because I don't want it to cloud my own impressions.

 

 

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THAT IS AWESOME. I bet pygmy sloths are very good at hiding.

 

9 hours ago, SymphonicDan said:

I'll probably spend a day figuring it out (was supposed to be today hah but I was busy having fun)

Gosh, sounds like a horrible waste. ;) 

 

Loveee your travel adventures!

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43 minutes ago, raptron said:

THAT IS AWESOME. I bet pygmy sloths are very good at hiding.

 

You should watch the planet earth episode (and then all the other ones) if you haven't already!

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21 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Please share when you do! I'm especially curious about how the different components affect each other and whether there is any scientific compound effect.T

Seconded. 

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On 10/26/2017 at 2:03 AM, Mad Hatter said:

Please share when you do! I'm especially curious about how the different components affect each other and whether there is any scientific compound effect.Though for me it's more of a n=1 experiment just to see if I feel any different at all. I don't really expect anything because I don't want it to cloud my own impressions.

 

Same here - so far from just the breathing I've felt more relaxed, I've held my breath for over 2 minutes, and I've recovered quickly from workouts (although maybe I would do so anyway).

 

I've done some research but it seems the effects are quite complicated, and that there is a scientific compound effect. I'm not going to share what I've learned until I'm more confident I understand, because it helps no-one to spread bullshit science :)

 

Jul 26th: had a frustrating day when I tried to plan where I was going to travel after here (Bocas del Toro), and made almost no progress. Then in the afternoon by chance I spoke with some medical volunteers staying in my hostel, who needed a Spanish-English translator to volunteer for a 4-day trek to some remote villages where they provide medical advice. Unfortunately I heard from their manager later that they already had enough translators, and that I'd anyway need to pay a $100 non-refundable "application fee". For volunteering I have a policy that I never pay to do it (because if they a actually want my skills they won't also demand my money). So that's not happening.

 

Eventually I've decided that I am going to go back to Nicaragua to help train their newer guides for a few weeks, and then during that time hopefully I'll figure out what I'm going next. I have some ideas but they're currently all to vague to jump into.

 

I did an experiment by working out just before Wim Hof breathing - I've put the results in a spoiler so if you want to guess what happened you can. The workout was:

  • 20 push-ups
  • 20 push-ups
  • 40+ crunches (I wasn't counting)
  • 64 scissor legs somethings (laying, keeping both legs off the ground, and quickly swapping which foot is on top)
  • 10 push-ups
  • several leg raises to shoulder stand
  • 10 push-ups
  • plank for some time
Spoiler

The previous time I tried the technique I got (0'45 baseline) 1'40 - 1'50 - 2'00 - 2'32, and this was quite normal for me.

 

Immediately after working out, I got:

 

(0'14 baseline) 0'40 - 0'54 - 1'25 - 1'40,  and hardly any tingling feelings or lightheadedness.

 

What I think happens is that during the breathing, it was more difficult to remove the CO2 from the body because it was being produced at a faster rate (that's what the hyperventilation is supposed to do) and so the tingling feelings didn't arise. Then during the retention (which is designed to increase the CO2 levels again) the target CO2 level was reached faster.

 

On the other hand, I didn't get any DOMS from the workout. Maybe because the workout was light anyway, but maybe because the WIm Hof breathing increased the amount of available oxygen and aided recovery.

 

Jul 28th: today I tried the breathing exercises with another tourist, sitting on deckchairs in a restaurant overlooking the sea. My times were a bit strange:

 

(0'40 baseline) 2'00 (!) - 2'52 (!) - X - 2'15 (? forgot)

 

I'm really surprised to reach such long retentions in the first two sets. For the third set I forgot to start the timer hah. Then we immediately went swimming in the not very cold water. And then kayaking. Which was fun but nothing much to report :P

 

I've been eating pretty healthily, but it's quite expensive (averaging over £15/day for food) I should have bought groceries to cook in the hostel, but I'm about to leave so it's now too late...

 

I've also hit 56 calendar dates again, so I'm ready to start applying some more advanced techniques...

 

-----------------------------------

 

Thought experiment: if you were to organize a competition to find the healthiest person in the world, how might you measure "health" to judge the winner?

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On 26/10/2017 at 7:06 AM, SymphonicDan said:

So I spent the last couple of days camping on Escudo de Veraguas, which is the most remote genuine place I've ever been... it's famous for the pygmy sloth (which lives only here) and for BBC's documentary "Planet Earth II", which featured it... but just looks beautiful:

 

16c6040fd01d2551f02ca736b9b26cd923562374

 

We didn't see the sloths, but there were caimans, Dory fish, hermit crabs, termites, some cool birds, pelicans catching fish, loads of coconuts, coral and huge frogs. And one of the group does spear-fishing, so he caught some crabs, fish and octopus and we cooked them over a campfire.

 

Your travels are fascinating :o

 

 

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Experiment time! Yesterday I arrived in Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica and I'm staying near the beach. And yesterday it wasn't so hot.

 

So I went to the beach in my swimming shorts and lay briefly in the sea to get wet, and then did the Wim Hoffing on the beach with the evaporating water and the sea breeze keeping me cool/cold. Not the same as doing the breathing under the shower, but I wanted to try the breathing cold rather than hot for once.

 

The result? Not difference really... 1'40 - 1'50 - 2'10

 

Although the tide was coming in and between sets I had to rescue my flip flops from being stolen by the ocean, so not ideal :P

 

And then for the 4th set I tried the push-ups during the retention (breath out) and got 26, which is more than I'm usually managing these days under normal conditions, so that was cool.

 

Then I swam in the cool sea briefly and it felt comfortable but no different from without the breathing.

 

I also did a workout of push-ups and various ab exercises on the beach. Beach push-ups don't work as your wrists slowly sink into the sand and bend your hands back :P Topless beach leg raises to shoulder stand chafe the skin of the back so I just did the leg raises . Then I went for a run (2.5km) for the first time in ages.

 

Today I rented a bike and rode to Manzanillo and back, but the bike turned out to have no gears so it felt like I had to pedal ten times a second to go anywhere :( Still was a fun time... I saw monkeys in a tree, found a cool chocolate café, swam at Punta Uva, and met a friend at another hostel. Not counting this as a workout for this challenge though as it's not aligned to my personal goals.

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I wanted to see something more in Costa Rica during my swift transit through the country, so I'm spending a couple of days in the cloud forest of Monteverde, which is pretty cool but mostly just a base for tourists to do fun things like ziplining. So last night we went on a night walk with a guide who was supposed to show up some cool animals, but it was raining and cold so all the cool animals were hiding, except for a couple of vine snakes. And a worm. Exciting.

 

I'd been tired for a few days, and felt especially cold and uncomfortable on the hike, even after a hot shower... then spent the rest of the evening sick :( Do you ever get that feeling where your kidneys feel cold? I think for me that's a danger sign that I don't take seriously enough...

 

Anyway, by some miracle, today I was feeling great and went ziplining, which compared to all the mediocre ziplining experiences out there, this was actually pretty hardcore! I think the longest line was over a kilometer? And there was this 45-meter Tarzan swing, which was the first time I've felt weightlessness for a while!

 

No workouts, and had food choices, but I did have a small Wim Hof session today, with my longest-ever first-set hold:

 

(0:32 baseline) - 2:08 - 2:10+ (I forget but I know it was longer than the first set)

 

And the hot water wasn't working, but that was perfect timing for an actual cold shower (we're 1440 meters up in the mountains) and it felt great! Comfortable, even?

 

Anyway, now I have more energy than I've had for a week! Not sure Wim Hof was the factor here, but it's a nice change...

 

On Sunday I'm headed to Nicaragua for more volcano guiding (those clueless volcanoes are still getting lost...) so hopefully:

  • I'll get there safely
  • It will be awesome like before (and not some lame sequel)
  • I'll get a good healthy routine going while I'm there
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