Thanks for checking out the Monthly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, monthly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this month.

It’s a motley assortment of tips, resources, and links that will hopefully give you a bit of inspiration for the upcoming month. Enjoy!

What I’m reading —

Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think by Tim Urban via Wait But Why

A classic blog post about why letting our “social survival mammoth” run our lives will lead to an unfulfilling life. Learning how we can tame our instinct to follow social pressures and norms and crafting our own ideal life is something I’m learning to do everyday.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes that I enjoyed last month —

Reverse engineered approach to human longevity by Peter Attia at MIT’s Whitehead Institute

Dr. Attia is well respected voice in the medical community for his insights around human health and longevity. This 90+ minute video gives a really good overview of his thinking around not just improving our lifespan but our healthspan (i.e. the number of healthy, productive years we live) and how we might go about achieving a higher quality of life. It gets pretty in-depth so if you’re a novice in this subject, you might get lost when he deep dives into a couple of topics. Either way, it’s a great watch if you’re curious about this kind of stuff.

Quotes that are inspiring me —

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

— Ian MacLaren

Behaviour change of the month —

Checking in: gaining 10 lbs of lean mass

Back in August, I wrote about my goal to add 10 lbs of lean mass in 2 months. I just want to share a quick update since then. My average weight back in July was 142 lbs with an average lean mass of 120.7 lbs and a body fat percentage of 14.9%. Today, my average weight is 151.9 lbs with an avereage lean mass of 124.3 lbs and a body fat percentage of 18.1%.

I must admit that this is not quite how I imagined this all to work out! Yes, I’ve upped my lean mass by 3.6 lbs but I also added 9.9 lbs of fat — clearly not good. There’s a couple of things that didn’t help.

1) I was consuming a lot of milk that my body wasn’t able to digest effectively. Specifically in Canada, all milk is pasteurized which leaves no probiotic bacteria to help with digestion and protein synthesis.

2) I needed a better strategy on the road. I was traveling almost half the month in September & October leaving me out of a proper, health “bulking” routine.

To me, this was a really good experiment and a learning lesson. Bulking up is hard (duh!) but only you can figure out the right strategy that matches your body. And it’s no wonder that people do this over the course of a one-month “sprint” because the amount of attention you need to put into your diet and exercise.

I’ll be experimenting again – likely in January or February – and will report back on findings then.

Product or service I’m loving —

S’well Onyx Traveler water bottle

I’ve been using this water bottle for my strength training workouts and it’s been the perfect companion. It’s got a wide base so it doesn’t tip over easily and there’s a bit of a rough texture on the outside which makes it easier to grip. The wide mouth also makes it easier to pour in electrolytes or other workout powders. It’s become a huge staple to my workout gear.

Featured image by Craig Adderly.

As always, thanks for checking out this Monthly Learnings Roundup!