Establishing Standards – Week 8

Previous Posts:

Check out the Intro post to get an idea of what this blog is about.

Week 7: I look at little closer at my body goals with tape measurements.

Week 6: I give a voice to my introverted side by focusing a little on books.

Week 5: I look more in-depth at my workouts using the assistance of some apps.

Tables:

Weekly Report Feb 19-25 2016

Description of the Week:

Feb 19: Started off the day with some breakfast before heading to work. Got some lunch out. After work we went to the dog park. We had a little dinner and relaxed to some Netflix and Hulu. Stayed up a little late before reading and bed. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 20: After breakfast, packed up to visit the in-laws. Had to stop by work briefly. Starting feeling a little queasy at this point and it lasted most of the weekend. Grabbed some lunch on the way. Helped with a little housework. Then relaxed most of the rest of the evening with some TV and reading. Grilled out for dinner.  Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 21: Woke up during the night because my stomach was upset, but slept okay the rest of the night. Had some breakfast before heading to church. Got some lunch out and some new tires for the wife’s car. We drove back home and I took a nap in the passenger’s seat. The puppy got a little car sick and we had to address that, but overall he’s been better. Made some dinner at home, stopped by work briefly, and watch a little bit of TV before calling it a night. Energy Level: 4/3

Feb 22: We woke up early to get the puppy his last tapeworm shot. Then got ready for the day and had a normal day at work. Came home and had dinner before getting groceries. Spent most of the night up working on my presentation for the morning. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 23: Slept in a little bit later. Got ready and went to work and gave my presentation, which went relatively well. After coming home had dinner out, watched some Netflix, and spent some time on the stationary bike. Read some before bed. Energy Level: 4/3

Feb 24: Slept in a little bit again. Move some furniture around after breakfast before heading to work. After work, had dinner and game night with the brothers. It was the first in a while. The puppy peed on the bed to remind us why we don’t put him up there. Oh well, shame on us. Did my body measurements before reading and bed. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 25: Slept in a bit. Did my body composition before breakfast. Had a standard work day. Came home for some dinner, a nice walk, and some weight training. Relaxed for the rest of the day and read a little bit before bed. Energy Level: 4/4

Weekly Energy Level Average: 4/3.7↓

Book of the Week:

This week I finished up Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. Many of the things that I mentioned last week still stand true. While reading the book, I was continually evaluating my mindset to various things and to various relationships. I used it as a lens through which to see what things could be improved. I would encourage most everyone to read at least the first couple of chapters as it does start to get a little redundant with examples, but she really hammers the points home.

Workouts:

Feb 23: Stationary Bike; Active for 16:49; 17 calories burned; Average heart rate of 94; Heart rate range of 79-123
Feb 25: Weight lifting; One arm row (25 lb x 12 reps x 3 sets), Bicep curls (25 lb x 12 reps x 3 sets), Russian twists (25 lb x 12 reps x 3 sets); Active for 27:00; 22 calories burned; Average heart rate of 94; Heart rate range of 63-124

Body Composition and Measurements:

Weight: 153.8 lb 

BMI: 22.1 

Body Fat: 13.6%

Body Muscle: 47.5%

Body Water: 63.3%

Bust: 37 inches 

Chest: 34 3/4 inches 

Waist: 31 1/8 inches 

Hips: 36 3/4 inches

Thighs: 21 inches 

Calves: 14 5/8 inches 

Upper Arm: 11 1/8 inches 

Forearms: 10 3/8 inches 

Analysis:

My resting heart rate for this week is pretty much unchanged from last week  except for my evening resting heart rate being higher on a couple of nights. The first after being sick for the weekend and the second after using the stationary bike in the evening.

I spent less time in each of my heart rate zones this week. Likely because I have less step activity throughout the week as well.

My total sleep is slightly decreased from the previous week but the sleep quality is still good and maybe a little bit better actually. I did not quite hit 8 hours on average, but I was short one night so it’s expected. For REM, light, and deep sleep I have switched over to percentages, because I think that is more important than actual time spent. I am shooting for a REM range of 20-30% or better and a deep range of 15-30% or better.

I was short on my step goals pretty much every day. It’s funny how quickly some of those things fall back. I was short on my number of workouts but at least did not have less than the previous week.  It was still difficult to get my heart rate up on the stationary bike even with increased duration. I might consider switching over to running as it starts to get warmer.

My body composition by weight was the same as the previous week, though you can see some differences in the tape measurements. The hip measurement is largely different because I am measuring around my buttocks rather than my hip bones. I don’t want to make any conclusions on that yet because I don’t know what sort of variation I can expect. But if I continue to see trends in the same direction then I will know it’s real.

Modifications for Next Week:

Now that I have some conditional formatting setup to better highlight values relative to certain goals, I can focus in on those values that are outside of that.

I will double down on my step and workout goals. So 6500 steps/day and 3 workouts a week.

I think I want to try and provide some weekly perspective in the form of weekly news highlights just to provide a worldly context to things and I think it would be interesting when looking back on these.

Feedback from You:

What are some good news sources that seem to have adequate coverage of areas outside of the USA?

Become a subscriber to get exclusive stuff that won’t be posted on my blog. As a bonus receive a free PDF, 5 Steps to Start Your Quantified Journey.

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Clearer Picture with Body Measurements – Week 7

Previous Posts:

Check out the Intro post to get an idea of what this blog is about.

Week 6: I give a voice to my introverted side by focusing a little on books.

Week 5: I look more in-depth at my workouts using the assistance of some apps.

Week 4: I start exploring my energy levels throughout the day.

Tables:

Weekly Report Feb 12-18 2016

Description of the Week:

Feb 12: After a full night’s sleep, I finished Traction in the morning before heading to work. I came home for lunch and went to the dog park. I happened to run into a retired chemistry professor too. Small world! After finishing at work, I came home for some dinner followed by groceries, cleaning, and a nice evening walk.Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 13:  Woke up a little earlier today in preparation for my parents to arrive. They helped us with some yard work in the back. It’s basically a forest back there. We got some takeout for dinner and gave the puppy a bath after they left. Then we soaked ourselves, watched a little TV, and had some tea before heading to bed. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 14: Slept in a little later today. Cleaned up the backyard a bit more. Ate out for lunch. We went hiking for a couple of hours in the afternoon since the weather was still nice. After dinner, I dropped by work for a bit. We finished the night off with some TV and caramel pot de creme that the wife made. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 15: I slept in a little later and went into work on a rainy day. Came home for dinner followed by some grocery shopping and a little bit of cleaning. Had a nice evening walk.  Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 16: Had a regular work day. Went to the mall after dinner to get the wife a birthday present and a new computer because her current one is on the fritz. I tried to do a little bit of stationary biking but the puppy really wanted to catch my foot. A nice evening walk and some reading before bed. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 17: Had some tasty protein pancakes for breakfast. Had a late day at work but lucky came home to some fish tacos prepared by the wife. Read some before our evening walk. Did my first set of body measurements. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 18: Slept in a little. Did my body composition measurements. After a normal day at work, had some dinner out and walked around. Did a brief weight workout in the evening to start building some strength up. Watched a little Hulu and read before bed. Energy Level: 4/4

Weekly Energy Level Average: 4/4

Book of the Week:

This week I am in the middle of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. I don’t know if this book has been looked at from a quantified self mindset, but I think it is highly applicable in that regard. In brief, there are two mindsets: fixed and growth. The fixed mindset believes that abilities, characteristics, and potential are innate and unchangeable. The growth mindset on the other hand believes that with enough effort anything can be improved.

Another key feature of the growth mindset is the desire to quantify, so as to be able to gauge the current situation and continue to grow. I will give a more complete assessment when I finish, but that is my initial take on it. It’s definitely word a read for anyone that feels like they’re in a rut.

Workouts:

Feb 16: Stationary Bike; Active for 8:56; 23 calories burned; Average heart rate of 103; Heart rate range of 86-127
Feb 18: Weight lifting; One arm row (25 lb x 12 reps x 3 sets), Bicep curls (25 lb x 12 reps x 2 sets, 10 reps x 1 set), Russian twists (25 lb x 12 reps x 3 sets); Active for 26:21; 42 calories burned; Average heart rate of 83; Heart rate range of 67-105

Body Composition and Measurements:

Weight: 153.8 lb 

BMI: 22.1 

Body Fat: 13.6%

Body Muscle: 47.5%

Body Water: 63.3%

Bust: 36 1/2 inches

Chest: 34 1/2 inches

Waist: 31 1/2 inches

Hips: 34 7/8 inches

Thighs: 21 1/4 inches

Calves: 14 1/2 inches

Upper Arm: 11 1/4 inches

Forearms: 10 1/4 inches

I based my body measurements off of this guide. I wanted to start looking at this too because I feel that weight, body fat, body water, and body muscle do not tell the full story. I will continue to monitor this to see if my suspicions prove true. I will perform measurements on a weekly basis every Wednesday night.

Analysis:

My resting heart rate for this week is pretty much unchanged from this week and seems to be close to baseline for me. I think I can continue to monitor my resting heart rate relative to that and see if I can bring it down lower as I start to increase my workouts.

I tweaked how I measure my heart rate zones again to include all times when I’m awake rather than just when I’m taking steps to better include excursion from other activities and potentially stressful situations so that is up this week.

My sleep is slightly decreased from the previous week but overall pretty good. Now that I seem to be pretty consistent with that I would like to focus in on defining what a good range is for me, so that I know when I deviate.

I met my step goals, but was a little short on my number of workouts. I found it hard to get the desired intensity that I wanted doing the stationary bike, but maybe when I increase my time eventually my heart rate will rise too.

My body composition appears to be moving in the right direction, so I will continue it as long as doing measurements to see how I am progressing.

Modifications for Next Week:

I think for this next week I do not want to add another metric just yet. I want to continue refining how I analyze my current data to transition over from just pure quantified self to qualified self.

Shooting for a step goal of 6500 steps/day and again 3 workouts with one of them being higher intensity.

Feedback from You:

What data and readouts have you found to be the most useful? Obviously there are so many things to look at but only so little time.

Become a subscriber to get exclusive stuff that won’t be posted on my blog. As a bonus receive a free PDF, 5 Steps to Start Your Quantified Journey.

Books on the Brains – Week 6

Previous Posts:

Check out the Intro post to get an idea of what this blog is about.

Week 5: I look more in-depth at my workouts using the assistance of some apps.

Week 4: I start exploring my energy levels throughout the day.

Week 3: I start measuring my body composition to track macroscopic effects on my body.

Tables:

Weekly Report Feb 5-11 2016

Description of the Week:

Feb 5: After getting a full night’s sleep, I had a relatively easy day. I went to work. Got some lunch out with the wife and then went to the dog park. I finished up a little more work and came home for dinner and some Hulu. We finished the evening off with a nice walk. Energy Level: 3/4

Feb 6: Today was mostly about the dog. We lounged around for an extra hour in the morning. After breakfast we went to one dog park, followed by lunch, and then to a different dog park. He can definitely hold his own now even though he’s barely over 10 lbs. We got some takeout for dinner and relaxed inside for the evening. I briefly had to stop by work. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 7: I was a little sleepier in the morning, so I took a nap after breakfast. We made another trip to the dog park. Got some lunch out. Ran a few errands including groceries. Had dinner at home. Made a quick trip to work. Energy Level: 3/4

Feb 8: Slept well. In the morning had the pest control guy come for our quarterly treatment. The wife took our puppy to the vet to get treated for his worms. Poor little guy, hopefully he gets over it quickly. Had a regular day at work. Came home for some dinner. Went to the library to pick up some new books and spent a little extra time reading in the evening. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 9: The pup managed to sneak out of his crate at night. Luckily after going to the bathroom he went back to sleep pretty easily. Had a regular work day. It was puppy graduation tonight and he passed with flying colors. We came back home, watched some Hulu, and finished the night out with some Yoga. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 10: The pup decided to wake up during the night, but it didn’t upset my sleep too much. Had a couple of lunch meetings during work. Left for a haircut and took the pup for a brief visit to the dog park. Came back for a little more work and an evening meeting. After dinner, we spent some additional time reading. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 11: After a regular day at work, we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day a little earlier by treating ourselves to a nicer dinner. It wasn’t quite as good as we had hoped, but maybe we’ve gotten pickier since we spend so much time preparing things exactly like we like them. We came back and walked the dog, enjoyed a little bit of tea, and soaked in the tub. Energy Level: 4/4

Weekly Energy Level Average: 3.7–/4

Book of the Week:

This week I read Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. For the past several months I’ve actually been on a business/startup book kick and this one fits pretty squarely in that. Traction in particular talks about 19 different channels in which one can grow their business and get more people involved to start to build traction. I believe I got some good takeaways from it and might try to apply some of them in the future.

In part, this blog is for selfish reasons; I like to create things. Especially things that people find useful. I hope to be able to help out others just starting out that also want to quantify their lives. Hopefully I’m on the right track and people are already taking insights away from this.

I wanted to start including books that I read to highlight the fact that the mental is just as important as the physical, so it should also be acknowledged.

Workouts:

Feb 9: Yoga; Active for 28:56; 38 calories burned; Average heart rate of 88; Heart rate range of 65-107

Body Composition:

Weight: 153.4 lb 

BMI: 22.0 

Body Fat: 13.6% 

Body Muscle: 47.5%

Body Water: 63.3% 

Analysis:

My evening resting heart rate for the week was decreased while my morning resting heart rate was mostly unchanged. This was likely due to better sleep throughout the week, but also not pushing myself as much activity-wise.

My peak heart rate was down because of slightly less intense activity even though my average was slightly elevated. My maximum heart rate throughout the day was also decreased with my minimum heart rate being about the same.

My heart rate zones painted a similar picture to the above. I ultimately spent very little time in or above the fat burn zone.

My sleep was overall much better, but I did have a couple mornings where I was still more tired. It seems like it is not directly related to the quantity of sleep I get the night before, but I can’t rule out a lag effect. It might be more related to the strain accumulated over the day as evidenced by my higher rest heart rate on those days. Something to continue to monitor further.

I came a little short on both my step and exercise goals, so I will have to be more mindful of them next week. My yoga session was not very intense with an average heart rate of 88 bpm.

Lastly, my body composition went back to basically what it was 2 weeks ago, so I will have to put a little more effort towards that if I want to see some changes.

Modifications for Next Week:

As far as habits go, I want to shoot for a step count of at least 6000 each day again and to increase my workouts to 3 times a week with at least one of them being higher intensity. Everything else I think is in line with where I want it.

I plan to incorporate body measurements into my weekly body compositions, so I can get a better breakdown of my physical self. I don’t feel like weight and body fat, water, and muscle percentage paint a very clear picture, so maybe this will help.

Additionally, I have 4 different heart rate subsets that I’m currently looking at and they all seem to say similar things, so I’m thinking to cut it down to the minimum necessary. All of this goes towards trying to cut down on noise and focusing on what is truly significant.

Feedback from You:

Have you had any success with body measurements? Also what sort of workouts do you find work the best for you?

Become a subscriber to get exclusive stuff that won’t be posted on my blog. As a bonus receive a free PDF, 5 Steps to Start Your Quantified Journey.

Zenobase for Visualizations – January in Review

Previous Posts:

Check out the Intro post to get an idea of what this blog is about.

Week 5: I look more in-depth at my workouts using the assistance of some apps.

Week 4: I start exploring my energy levels throughout the day.

Week 3: I start measuring my body composition to track macroscopic effects on my body.

Monthly Data Points:

burn-(kcal) Dailyburn-(kcal) Hourlyheart-rate-(bpm) Dailyheart-rate-(bpm) Hourlyskin-temperature-(f) Dailyskin-temperature-(f) Hourlysteps Dailysteps Hourly

Now that I have been quantifying for over a month. I thought that I would look at the month as a whole in more detail using the awesome visualization tool Zenobase. The first set off figures you see above are all of my data points from my Basis Peak for the entire month. In order, calories daily, calories hourly, heart rate daily, heart rate hourly, skin temperature daily, skin temperature hourly, steps daily, and steps hourly.

Daily and Hourly Analysis:

To begin examining trends, I took the same monthly data points and turned them into polar charts that examine the average on a daily and hourly basis. Both interesting and obvious things arise from this representation. In order again, calories daily, calories hourly, heart rate daily, heart rate hourly, skin temperature daily, skin temperature hourly, steps daily, and steps hourly.

I seem to burn more calories overall on Wednesdays and Thursday, which is also when I make more steps on average though this same thing is not reflected on Saturdays. My heart rate and skin temperature are pretty consistent on a daily basis.

When you break it up into hourly averages, I make the most steps on my way into work, shortly after lunch, and again in the evening before I settle down to relax. My heart rate and step count seem to mirror that. My skin temperature, on the other hand, is highest when I am in bed and lower at all other points throughout the day, which would make sense since it’s wintertime here.

Hourly Scatter Plots:

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There are even more insights to be learned when seeing if there is any correlation between the various data points.

There is a strong positive correlation between calories burned and heart rate, which is a good confirmation that the Basis Peak’s algorithm works appropriately. Without any data points excluded, there is a negative correlation between skin temperature and calorie burn. This is a little unexpected but might be somewhat deceptive because again my skin temperature is the highest while I am sleeping. There is also a positive correlation between calories burned and steps, which again serves as confirmation for the algorithm.

Heart rate vs skin temperature shows a negative correlation similar to calorie burn vs skin temperature. Again this was unexpected but is probably affected by the inclusion of data points while I am asleep. Heart rate and steps have a positive correlation, which is expected especially compared to being sedentary.

Lastly, skin temperature and steps are negative correlated, which is no longer unexpected when you look at how skin temperature relates to heart rate and calories burned.

Summary:

You can definitely get a lot more insights with the proper visualizations. Go check out Zenobase and see what you can get out of your data. A lot of the insights were expected and confirmed that the Basis Peak works as it should. A few, however, were unexpected, such as seeing that I was most active on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Also, my skin temperature was negative correlated with being active.

Next time I will try and do some of the same comparisons and visualizations breaking it up into wake and sleep phases. I have a feeling that the correlations will be slightly different during those two time periods.

If you think there are any comparisons or breakdowns I should look at in more detail, feel free to let me know in the comments, by email, or by Twitter.

Take a Look for Yourself:

If you’re interested in playing around with some data and need a sample set or think you can do a different sort of analysis than I have, you’re in luck because my data for this month is available on Dropbox. You can also access my Basis data on Zenobase. Let me know if you have any questions about it.

Lastly, if you want to generate reports for yourself but are looking to save a little bit of time and to support my efforts here check out my Basis Peak Weekly Report Generator.

Become a subscriber to get exclusive stuff that won’t be posted on my blog. As a bonus receive a free PDF, 5 Steps to Start Your Quantified Journey.

Tracking Workouts in Detail – Week 5

Previous Posts:

Check out the Intro post to get an idea of what this blog is about.

Week 4: I start exploring my energy levels throughout the day.

Week 3: I start measuring my body composition to track macroscopic effects on my body.

Week 2: I start logging my going-ons for each day to get a better context for my readings.

Tables:

Weekly Report Jan 29-Feb 4 2016

Description of the Week:

Jan 29: I had a full night’s rest and started off the day by walking the puppy. I went to work and ended up eating out for lunch with the wife. After work we walked around the park a little bit, grabbed some Thai food, watched some TV, and did a little bit of Yoga. Energy Level: 4/4

Jan 30: I slept through the whole night. We took the pup for a quick walk after breakfast before heading to the vet. He had a little bit of puppy pyoderma, so they gave us a spray for that. We then spent a while at the dog park since the weather was nice. We came home for some lunch and a nap and then did a few things around the house. After dinner I stopped by work briefly. We relaxed to some TV in the evening. Energy Level: 4/5

Jan 31: No problems during the night. We woke up and had some breakfast before finishing cleaning the house. The in-laws stopped by so we could celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. We went out for lunch and tootled about a bit before coming home to hangout and eat some cake. We then briefly went to the dog park to get some of the puppy’s energy out. Leftover lunch for dinner, followed by a few hours at work, and staying up a little later. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 1: It was a normal Monday with work followed by grocery shopping and a nice evening walk. We stayed up a little later again. Energy Level: 4/4

Feb 2: I woke up a little sore and tired and it mostly went downhill from there. Missed lunch and work and had to stay late, so the wife had to go to puppy class without me. We had dinner together and did some Yoga which definitely helped with the soreness. Put then I was up late working on a presentation. Energy Level: 3/3

Feb 3: I headed into work today a little tired, but the presentation went okay. After dinner I took a little nap. After waking up a enjoyed some tea and leftover cake before working on my second presentation for the week. There would be no sleep tonight unfortunately. Energy Level: 3/4

Feb 4: After a quick shower and breakfast, I had my presentation in the morning, which went fine. I finished up a little work and left home early to nap for a few hours. We went out for some dinner and walked around the mall. Then we can home to relax to some Netflix Energy Level: 4/3

Weekly Energy Level Average: 3.7/3.9

Workouts:

Jan 29: Yoga (tracked by Google Fit); Active for 25:49; 43 calories burned; Average heart rate of 93; Heart rate range of 71-112

Feb 2: Yoga (tracked by Under Armour Record); Duration of 33:48; 41 calories burned; Average heart rate of 93; Peak heart rate range of 118

Body Composition:

Weight: 154.4 lb 

BMI: 22.2 

Body Fat: 13.8% 

Body Muscle: 47.5%

Body Water: 63.1% 

Analysis:

My resting heart rates were elevated for the week likely because of my lack of sleep towards the end, but really only on the 4th when I was napping to recuperate some. We will see if any long term effects bleed into the following week.

My heart rate during workouts was down even though I took more steps throughout the week, but maybe it was balanced out by some of the low impact yoga. My minimum and maximum heart rate were increased on the other hand.

As expected the amount of time I spent in pretty much every heart zone decreased by a considerable amount, but I think only looking at the time that I was active rather than throughout the entire day gives a more appropriate number. I will still go back later and see if instead it’s better to include all of my waking hours instead.

My energy level was down for the week because of some tiredness later in the week, which resulted from not getting as much sleep. But, on the 2nd I still woke up tired and sore for no apparent reason. If I can get a few more occasions of this happening, I should be able to investigate it further.

My body weight increased again some this week, with more of it being fat while still maintaining the same percentage of muscle. I think I will continue this until I get closer to 160 lbs.

This week I also tried out two individual apps to investigate my workouts. The first was Google Fit and the second was Under Armour Record. Both allow you to track activities and provide similar information of time, calories, and heart rate. I think I liked Google Fit a little better because it gives you a range for your heart rate rather than just a peak value, so I will continue to use that moving forward.

Modifications for Next Week:

I was mostly able to meet my step goal of 5,500 this week, so I will bump it up to 6,000 and see how I do.

Additionally I think next week I will include what book/books I’m reading and provide some brief thoughts on what sorts of things they bring to mind.

Feedback from You:

I would like to begin examining my mental capacities either on a daily or weekly basis to get an idea of what my concentration is like, memory, etc. If you have any suggestions for this, feel free to let me know!

Become a subscriber to get exclusive stuff that won’t be posted on my blog. As a bonus receive a free PDF, 5 Steps to Start Your Quantified Journey.