Jiu-jitsu and life in general is going to have an interesting “reset” after this quarantine. There’s going to be people who took advantage of the time they were given, and those who didn’t. I’m treating every day like an opportunity to get an edge on my opponents. About one month in, I’m approximately the same weight, 230 lbs, but there is a definite difference in my strength levels and I’m looking a little leaner, indicating some muscle gain and fat loss. This is honestly pretty good for a body recomposition goal.

Weight over first month of quarantine

The best advice I’ve heard (I think it was from Layne Norton when he was on Joe Rogan Experience) is that you want to lose weight as slow as possible. The context in which he said that was that fighters cut incredible amounts of weight in very short periods of time. He says that the body (via the metabolism?) remembers these extreme cases of starvation and successive weight cuts get harder and harder. The body wants to hold on to as much weight as possible since it knows that starvation is a threat that it had to survive before. His advice was essentially to trick your body into accepting an ever so slightly lower calorie norm. Get your body used to a small reduction in total energy over a longer period of time.

I haven’t been tracking calories or macros closely at this time, although after looking at the weight graph, seeing a 1 lb increase over 30 days makes me want to tighten things up a little bit. I do make sure I’m getting enough protein. That has been a lacking feature of my diet over the years. I enjoy the hell out of carbs. I love bread and sugar in all of its various forms. I have two ways that I have basically “bought insurance” for myself to raise my baseline of protein over time: meal prep and pre-packaged protein shakes. These two options are definitely more expensive than the alternatives of cooking for myself and powdered protein.

The problem is with the cheaper options is that I never did them. I’m a lazy software developer; it is a feature, not a bug of my profession. I hate the process of cooking and having to clean dishes afterwards. Pretty much the same kind of reasoning follows for having to “prepare” the protein shake, gulp it down as fast as possible, and then having to clean the shaker cup afterwards. Do these sound like minor, child-like complaints? Absolutely. Am I spending more money than others for similar results? Yes. Have I been stronger than ever due to better adherence as a result? 100%.

I’m willing to invest in my sports performance and ultimately my health now because I have a limited time window to compete in jiu-jitsu. Also the convenient side effect of being healthy now means fewer medical expenses later on in life.

Oh, and by the way, I’m also holding down a demanding full-time job as a software developer. There are certain times where work interferes with my training schedule, but that does not happen often. Having a full time job, health insurance, and disposable income enables this whole sport to happen for me: gym dues, tournament entry fees, travel, etc. I wouldn’t say at all that it really ever gets in the way. I can always work around it.

Why did I just sketch out the different aspects of my life like this? I’m setting up parameters for my personal Quarantine Hyperbolic Time Chamber

Quarantine Hyperbolic Time Chamber

If you were a kid growing up in the early 2000s, at some point, you watched Dragon Ball Z on Cartoon Network Toonami after school. I have fond memories of coming home from school on Friday afternoons, and sitting on the floor eating Pizza Hut pizza while watching Toonami with my brother.

Dragon Ball Z is a show about the hero’s journey, cycled over and over again. There’s always another big bad guy looming in the shadows when one is defeated. The stakes are raised constantly. In order for the heroes to keep up with the bigger, badder antagonists, the show introduces the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. The Hyperbolic Time Chamber has a special property where 1 year in the chamber is equivalent to 1 day in the real world. Therefore, it is place where heroes go to get massive amounts of training done in a short period of “real time”. The chamber acted almost like a “fight camp” for protagonists Dragon Ball Z before they go and fight the next bad guy.

There was also an isolating factor to the chamber; only two characters could enter at a time. The characters would experience an entire year of time with each other, and each other only. I don’t remember any character arc details at this point, but I’m sure they were there. This is also very similar to quarantine because you get to know whoever you’re quarantined with very well in that short period of time since they are the only people there.

We have an opportunity right now during this quarantine to step in our own Hyperbolic Time Chamber, because on the other side of this, we’re going to get back to the “real world” and we’ll have to pick up where we left off with whatever next “big bad guy” we have to fight in our lives. What specifically do you want to accomplish?

My days mostly look like this:

5:30am - 7:00am Wake up / write

7:00am - 8:30am Strength and Conditioning

8:30am - 9:00am Shower and breakfast

9:00am - 12:00pm Work

12:00pm - 1:00pm Have lunch with my girlfriend

1:00pm - 5:30pm Work

5:30pm - 6:00pm Swing some clubbells around

6:00pm - 10:00pm Dinner and spend time with my girlfriend

10:00pm - 5:30am Sleep

Each block of time is building an aspect of my life that I want to be prepared for after the quarantine. I get up and write first thing in the morning because it gives me mental clarity and direction for what I’m working towards: my “why”. Next I make good on the “why” I contemplated in a very tangible, physical way by training my body. After training hard, I refuel by eating a good breakfast and I’m ready to take on the challenges at work. I get a midday respite from solving challenges at work by spending time with my girlfriend, which refuels me for the remainder of the workday. I shake out any feelings of tension left over from work by practicing something I’m fairly new at in swinging clubbells. Then I relax into the evening with my girlfriend, recharging me for the next day of hard work.

As you noticed there’s a bit of a yin and yang to this. There’s push and pull; I exert energy, then I recover. I feel very balanced and that I can sustain this for as long as the quarantine lasts.

What does your Quarantine Hyperbolic Time Chamber look like? Let me know if I can help.