#543 Meet My New Watch: Mr. Suunto

What Direction Are You Headed?

Today we have some very important news.

Drumroll please…

I have a new watch. (Hah.)

My old-school Timex watch has been retired to the desk where he continues to faithfully count down and beep every 1,000 seconds so I can get up and move my body; but, alas, otherwise his services are complete.

After (literally) running into the Spartan World Champion (for guys 50 and older) on my trail in Ojai one Sunday morning not too long ago, I might have stepped up my training a notch or two.

The first thing I did was search through my library for a Phil Maffetone book I knew I had. I was introduced to Maffetone’s work via Christopher McDougall’s Natural Born Heroes and I had been kinda sorta doing some of his stuff but I had an intuitive hit that I needed to get really into his work if I wanted to have fun stepping into the question of “What would the best athlete version of me look like?”

Quick context: Ever heard of Mark Allen? He won six Ironman World Championships and Triathlete magazine recently voted him the greatest triathlete ever.

His secret? His coach, Phil Maffetone.

Super short story: There are two central pillars to Maffetone’s training approach: How you train and how you eat. Specifically: 1. Train in your aerobic zone (aka quit going anaerobic all the time) + 2. Burn fat for fuel (aka quit eating so much sugar and flour).

Slightly longer story: When you train in your anaerobic zone, you burn sugar for fuel during your workout and you train your body to burn sugar for fuel the rest of the day. Enter: Cravings for sugar and carbs and extra weight/fat despite all that training. (Plus, potential fatigue and propensity for injuries.)

On the other hand, when you train in your AEROBIC zone (Maffetone calculates it via the super-simple formula of 180 minus your age for your upper limit then subtract 10 to get your aerobic range), you burn FAT for fuel during your workout AND you train your body to burn fat for fuel during the rest of the 24 hours of your day. If you ditch the sugar and flour and refined (aka junk) food, enter: Easily maintaining your optimal, lean body weight and a steady sense of energy all day every day without the injuries, etc.

We’ll be talking more about my adventures in endurance land in the months and years (and decades?!) ahead. (Including an interview with Maffetone that we’re scheduling—thank you, Ben Greenfield for connecting us.)

But, for now, all of that brings us back to my watch and the point of this +1 (beyond keeping you abreast of my adventures 🤓).

So… To follow Maffetone’s Method, I needed to start tracking my heart rate as I trained. I started using my Polar strap + watch but it didn’t quite do the job. I got a Garmon wrist-based heart rate monitor but when I tested its accuracy vis-a-vis my oximeter and my Polar strap, it was so far off that it was essentially useless.

Then I ran into a guy on the trail who raved about his Suunto and, after nearly succumbing to the Paradox of Choice looking at all the options, I found the Suunto Spartan Ultra. I thought to myself, “How can I NOT get that?” (Laughing.)

And, here we are. Meet Suunto.

In addition to tracking my training zones, precise routes, altitude gained and all kinds of other cool data on my workouts, the MEANING of the word “suunto” might be the coolest thing about my watch.

Enter: An unpaid ad. (Hah.)

The company was founded in Finland in the 1930s. The first product was a compass. Here’s what’s cool: The word suunto is Finnish for “direction.” As in, “What direction are you headed?”

So, every time I look at my Suunto and its little compass icon I think, “What direction am I headed?” “Yep. Toward the best version of myself.”

Which is a VERY long way to arrive at the point of Today’s +1.

What direction are YOU headed?

And… More specifically: What’s the best athlete version of you look like? The most energized, actualized version of you physically?

Seriously. Take a moment to imagine you at your ENERGIZED best. Know that our ENERGY is what allows us to most fully show up in our Work and our Love and, therefore, deserves a good amount of our attention.

Practically speaking, what’s one little thing you can do today to move in the direction of that most energized version of you?

Do you need to put your name on a sheet—signing up for an event of some kind? Or do you need a new piece of equipment that will both help you track your fitness and serve as a symbolic declaration of your commitment to your new identity? Or do you need to just go out on a walk today or make sure you’re getting up every 20 minutes or so?

Whatever it is, let’s honor our Energy. And let’s step forward into the next best versions of us.

+1. +1. +1.

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