Welcome to my November 2014 Monthly Brain Training Report!
Each month I will write a detailed report about my brain training during the month. It will include training schedules, workouts and results. I do this report for two reasons: first, to help me keep track of my progress and detect where I need to put more effort in my training. Second, to show you what’s working and what’s not. I try a lot of new things and sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it doesn’t. I think it may be interesting for you, the reader, to learn the lessons involved in my training, as well as I do.
So let’s start. This is what happened in November…
Zen Meditation On a Real Dojo
On November the 8th, I visited a Zen dojo located at the center of Barcelona city. The intention was just to receive a class on Zen meditation and practice for a couple of hours. However, there was the chance to enroll the dojo for the rest of the month at a very low price and practice with the rest of the members. So I enrolled it, thanks to my girlfriend.
From November the 10th, I started going every day to the dojo. The schedule was a little bit tight with the additional problem of having to move up to the dojo. Every day I had to go to the dojo, meditate for 1 hour, and then return. The meditation included 25 minutes pure Zen meditation, then 10 minutes of kinin, that is, walking meditation. And then other 25 minutes of guided Zen meditation. I achieved to do the meditation most of the days except for the last week of November, that my schedule prevented me from attending the dojo…
The experience of attending a dojo and following the routine with the other practitioners was worth to be done for few weeks, but I do not feel like continuing. There is the problem of having to move to/from the dojo that takes a lot of time that I don’t have. Also, I did not find the advantage of practicing in group, since the teachers did not correct me a single time and it was forbidden to talk to the rest of practitioners, even when the practice was finished. As a final conclusion, I felt that doing so many hours of meditation allowed me to concentrate more during the meditation times.
Total meditation time in November: 13h 40 min
Memory Training For Speed Memory Championship
I am doing a daily training of memory, preparing myself for the next Speed Memory Championship… or so should I! The real thing is that lately I have been missing my mental trainings due to many projects on my side.
In theory I should do a training each day at 7:15 in the morning for half an hour, consisting on doing training for memorizing decimal numbers, binary numbers, figures and matrices. I divided the routine in the following sequence:
- Monday: train the tables
- Tuesday: train the tests of the contest
- Wednesday: train visualization of the tables
- Thursday: train the tests of the contest
- Friday: train linking visualizations
- Saturday: Perform a complete test like in the contest
- Sunday: train binaries for 10 minutes
However, I missed many of the trainings because I was exhausted in the morning. I think that this month mental training was not even OK to maintain my previous level. You can see my current results in memory training in the picture below. They have not improved at all from the last championship.
Total memory training time in November: 7h 30 min
During the month of October I was practising Freeletics (cardio) as my main training program. However, for November I thought that was too much for a daily training so I tried to combine it with typical weight training.
The plan was to do weight training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Freeletics on Tuesday and Thursday, using the coach program. Every Monday I trained training chest, biceps and abs. Every Wednesday I trained back, triceps and abs. Finally, on Friday I trained shoulders, legs and abs.
The plan did not go as I planned and I missed many training sessions. I felt that this schedule was not providing me with the increase in muscle and loose of fat that I wanted, but instead, required a lot of effort from my side. This demotivated me making me miss many sessions. As a result, I would qualify November as a moth for just body maintenance.
Total body training time in November: 12 hours
Brain Challenge of the Month
This month’s brain challenge was to participate at the Nanowrimo. This is an international contest about writing a novel of 50.000 words within the month of November. That was really a challenge for the brain in a different subject from what I am used to. I used the challenge to work in three brain aspects:
- To involve my brain in a quite different activity, such as writing a novel
- I also used the challenge to improve my typing skills. I observed that most people reach a mediocre level of typing (that is me) and then stop improving. I wanted to move beyond that and train typing with all the fingers. I improved a lot!
- Finally, I used the challenge to socialize and meet new people. There were meetings with other writers of the area every Saturday morning. The meetings were for doing sprints of writing (5.000 words in 4 hours) and to talk about our novels and projects. I met a lot of interesting people and interchanged many ideas.
As a result I can say that the Nanowrimo was a complete success. I achieved to write the novel, improved my typing skills and socialized a lot. What else can you ask?
Total writing time: 51 hours
November was not my best training month since I missed many of the trainings in all the disciplines. I will try to recover during December.
Given that the Speed Memory Championship has released the date of the next contest (May 2015), I have to increase my memory training a lot, since the goal is to obtain 10.000 points and I and still far from it (actually double my current score).
Just to indicate that participating on a mental championship is not mandatory for someone who wants to train his brain, but it is a type of challenge for the brain that I have decided I want to do. What it is mandatory for anybody is to have challenges for the brain, at least once per year. That is one for me for 2015.
During the next month, my goal will be to increase my marks on Speed Memory, maintain my meditation time along the month, to win muscle mass and to loose body fat. It is going to be a challenge since there is Christmas in the middle… we will see!