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Everything posted by AvatarAbe

  1. Hey everyone! I'm Abraham and this is my second NerdFitness challenge. I did one back in October, and it was great. Love the community here. However, I really, really suck at staying an active participant in forums, so once the challenge was over, I kinda dropped off the face of the earth. But I still read the site and have done a pretty decent job of keeping up my fitness goals. Now that a new challenge has started, I've decided it'd be good to try and get back in the swing of things here. I even ordered a couple of NF shirts and everything! Last time, being my first time, I was an Adventurer. They were a pretty awesome group. But for this challenge, I think I'm going to come over to the Rangers. I have a good bit more experience with exercise now, and have a better idea of my short- and long-term goals. Plus, what with having recently started CrossFit, it seemed like the group to join for me. Here are my four goals for this challenge: 1.) CrossFit at least 3x per week. I've just joined CrossFit as of a couple of weeks ago. Wicked intense, and certainly more difficult than anything I've done in the physical activity space, but I love it so far. Technically, this goal is sort of invalid for this week. It's my last week of the on-ramp "Elements" course at my box, which is just 2x a week. But after that, I have free reign in my schedule. I definitely want to go at least 3x per week. As I go on, I'll see about possibly doing it a bit more, maybe 4x, but for now, I think 3 is a good place to start. Attributes: STR + 3, DEX + 2, STA + 3 2.) Eat a home-cooked meal at least 4-5 nights per week. I do Paleo (well, technically Primal) and I'm pretty good about following it, even when I eat out at restaurants. But I eat out way too much. I'm leaving some leeway here because I always get dinner with my friend after work on Sundays, and there will probably be social events 1 or 2 nights per week. What I really want to ensure is that, if I'm not at a social event, I'm not eating out. There's really no reason to do that, and my budget will thank me for dialing it back. Note I said eating a home-cooked meal 4-5 nights per week, not cook 4-5 nights per week. Leftovers are perfectly acceptable and in fact encouraged! Attributes: CON +1, WIS +1 3.) Get more and better sleep. I live in New York City. We go out a lot. Which is fun. But I have a problem with staying up late at night and wasting time on the computer, even if I'm not out doing anything. That needs to stop. Aiming for at least 8 hours of sleep per night. This should also help cut back on going out late at night, waking up early for work the next day, and feeling like crap because of it. I'll be more energetic and personable as another benefit. Attributes: CON +1, CHA + 2 4.) Finish the Codecademy Python course This is my "level up your life" goal. Several months ago I started the Python course on Codecademy, and got maybe 40% of the way through before various excuses got in the way. Python would be a great asset in my career field, and coding in general is a good skill to have, so I really want to buckle down and finish this in the next few weeks. Attributes: WIS +2 Well, there you have it! Looking forward to getting to know people on here.
  2. All right, it's the end of the challenge! So it's time to grade myself. First, starting stats: Height: 5' 10" Weight: 183 lb BF %: 17% And ending stats: Weight: 173.5 lbs BF%: 14.9% And now, on to my goals: Goal One: Adhere at least 90% to the Paleo/Primal Diet, trying at least one new Paleo recipe per week. Attributes: CON +3, STA +1 This is definitely the goal I did the best on. "Cheated" on very few meals, definitely less than 10 percent. And I successfully made at least one new Primal/Paleo meal per week. With that in mind, I'll give myself an A here. Attributes awarded: CON +3, STA +1 Goal Two: Lift weights 3 times per week Attributes: STR +3, STA +1 I'm a little torn on this one. For the last two weeks, I switched to bodyweight work instead of lifting weights. Part of me feels like I should be docked for that, part of me feels like I shouldn't, since it's not like I stopped resistance training, but rather re-evaluated my goals and shifted to something that works better for my level and goals. That, combined with my pretty regular adherence to the 3x/week goal (only missed a few), makes me give myself a B. Attributes awarded: STR + 2.25, STA + 0.75 Goal Three: Be able to do at least one pull-up with good form by the end of the challenge. Attributes: STR +4 Um....yeeeeeah. This one didn't go so well. Still a long, long way from being able to do a pull-up. But I did reduce the amount of assistance needed, so I'll give myself a D, since I made a smidgen of progress. Points for effort! Attributes awarded: STR +1 Goal Four: Spend at least 30 minutes per day working on my novel series. Attributes: WIS +3 This one started out shaky, and for the first couple of weeks I barely did any writing at all. However, for the last 3-4 weeks I was very consistent about it, and have made some good progress in writing character backstories and doing mythology research. I'll give myself a B here as well. Attributes awarded: WIS +2 So, that leaves me with the following gains: [table=width: 500] STR: 1 +3.25 = 4.25 DEX: 2 +0.00 = 2.00 STA: 2 +1.75 = 3.75 CON: 3 +3.00 = 6.00 WIS: 4 +2.00 = 6.00 CHA: 3 +0.00 = 3.00 [/table] And now I'm level 2! Looking forward to the next challenge....and I will do a better job of posting regularly!
  3. Hehe, of course you can! Though that won't be for a couple of years probably haha. Anybody going to do the Morning Mile Challenge that was just posted on the main Nerd Fitness page? I'm planning on it! I live in New York so I do a good bit of walking already, but there's no such thing as too much in my opinion. And this will help me with one of my biggest challenges....waking up on time!
  4. Well, I have successfully made it through the storm. My part of the city didn't get hit too badly, but as many of you probably know, Manhattan below 39th street was rendered almost completely without electricity, and the subway is just (partially) coming back online tomorrow, after being pre-emptively shut down on Sunday evening. On the challenge front, this week I've started my bodyweight routine. The wall pushups were harder than I was expecting them to be, hah....did them on Monday and had a surprising amount of soreness the next day. In honor of the cooler weather, my new recipe tomorrow will be....bison chili! Beanless, of course, to keep it Primal, though I'll probably top it with some sour cream. You can't go wrong with sour cream. A couple of my friends are doing National Novel-Writing Month this November. I won't officially participate, but I'm using it as a boost of motivation for my writing. My internet history looks rather strange lol....exorcism rites, Shinto legends, random bits of geography and history....the joys of writing a modern fantasy novel Now, a question, if anyone reads this....I haven't been updating my thread 3 times per week, so I know that I'm out of the running for winning any of the contest prizes. However, since I've still been working on my goals, do I still get to level up at the end of it?
  5. It's a good thing I decided to do this bodyweight thing, heh.....hurricane Sandy is probably going to keep me cooped up inside and gym-less for the next couple of days....good time as any to start with the new program! To anyone else in the path of the storm....stay safe!
  6. Thanks for the encouragement! My experience with bodyweight stuff mostly comes from my brief time doing hapkido. For the warmups we would do lots of bodyweight things...the basics like pushups and situps, but also lunges, weird ways of walking, handstand pushups (not that I could do those), wall sits, and my favorite/most dreaded, shrimping, which basically involved curling yourself like a shrimp and using that motion to cross the training room. I tended to enjoy the activities, even if I wanted to pass out by the end of it haha...and that was before we got to the actual martial arts training!
  7. Today at the gym was....okay. After a week off, pretty much all the exercises were at the same level as before. My weight went up a pound and a half after all the bad eating with my friends, but that should hopefully go away pretty quickly. I'm honestly looking forward to getting back on the Primal/Paleo train....I really feel so much better when I'm sticking with that way of eating. Pull-ups probably aren't happening this challenge....still need a ton of assistance to do any. On the exercise front, I'm mulling over maybe trying some sort of bodyweight routine (I've heard good things about Convict Conditioning and a few others). My wonky student + retail working schedule, added in with the gym's general smallness and crowdedness and not being open until 7, can make it hard for me to get in a workout, and I hate struggling under a relatively low weight with a bunch of beefy bros waiting for my spot. Given that and my low level of strength starting out, I feel like doing bodyweight stuff at home might be a better strategy, at least until I build up enough strength and stability and balance to lift heavy without falling all over myself. Plus, people who do the activities that interest me most (martial arts, parkour, etc) seem to favor body weight exercises.... I dunno...the logic seems there but I'm afraid I'm just making excuses because I prefer body weight stuff to heavy weight training. I do know that one--or possibly several--of Steve's articles here on Nerd Fitness says that if you try the same way of getting fit several times and it doesn't work, you should try something else. And I've tried lifting weights before but never given a bodyweight progression a chance. At any rate, since lifting weights was one of my goals, I should probably stick with it at least until the end of the Six Week Challenge. Maybe I can do a body weight thing for the next one.
  8. Hey Yeah, I've been out of the loop for a while. Had a bit of a stressful week and then hosted two visiting friends for 5 days. Had a great time, but wasn't too great about the diet and exercise. I'm going to the gym tomorrow for the first time in a week, and I'll post a more detailed recap then. Just wanted to pop in and say I haven't died!
  9. All right everyone, it's time for the Week Two Progress Report! I hopped on the scale this morning and weighed in at 176.9 pounds at 15.3% body fat. That's a loss of 2.7 pounds. I'm not sure I believe the body fat thing, though....looking at pictures online, people who claim body fat around 15% certainly look slimmer than I do, with a flatter stomach. We'll see though. Using those numbers, while the majority of the weight lost was fat, there was a not-insignficant portion of it that was muscle. I guess this means I have to push myself harder in the gym and lift heavier. I've done a better job since starting this challenge, but I still am not very confident in the gym and pull back from going all-in. As for my four goals: Goal One: Adhere at least 90% to the Paleo/Primal Diet, trying at least one new Paleo recipe per week. Attributes: CON +3, STA +1 Once again, very successful. Only had one real cheat meal, which was yesterday, actually. Was at a friend's house and she made chili, with about eight kinds of beans. It was very good, but my stomach is still complaining about those legumes. I haven't had beans in two months (I started eating Primally in mid-August, well before this challenge). Goal Two: Lift weights 3 times per week Attributes: STR +3, STA +1 If we're going by calendar weeks, I missed one workout, but if we're doing it by 7-day blocks since starting the NF challenge, I'm still on track here. However, as discussed above, I think I need to focus on going heavier....with the deadlift in particular, I know I could lift more, but the exercise intimidates me. I know I'm not going to be able to pack on tons of muscle during this, but keeping it steady, at least, would be nice. The success story about Steve's friend Saint, while admittedly a standout case, is kind of my general model, and his lifting heavy was cited as a key reason why he underwent body recomposition and not just shriveling away hehe. Goal Three: Be able to do at least one pull-up with good form by the end of the challenge. Attributes: STR +4 Getting worried about this one. I've only dropped 10 pounds of assistance so far, so I'm doing them with 80 now. To be fair, this is for 3 sets of 5 pull-ups. If I did just one all-out effort to do a single pull-up, I could likely do it with less. I may try that tomorrow (which is not pull-up day, but I may just throw in one at the end to see how much assistance I need to do a single pull-up). Goal Four: Spend at least 30 minutes per day working on my novel series. Attributes: WIS +3 Despite this being the easiest goal on the surface, having a bit of trouble with this still, though I've spent some quality time in the last couple of days doing some outlining and character sketches. Well, that's the report! Going to Target later to get a jump rope
  10. Hehe, no worries. Yeah, know-it-alls are annoying. It's one thing if they have real, constructive criticism, like if I had bad squat form or something. But to show up just to mock me for being a weak kid trying to deadlift....not cool. Though I did get to laugh as he wasn't exactly in stellar shape himself....I'm guessing he just does brotastic biceps curls all day, does no other exercises, doesn't watch his diet, and ended up in the state he's in.
  11. Well, I've been out of the forums for a bit but I've finally caught up here....great progress, Tiff! Cravings suck, but I know you're better than them
  12. Thanks! And you've been ridiculously awesome. I've been terrible about replying to other people's threads, especially in the last couple of days, but don't think I haven't noticed ;-)
  13. Yeah, my knees sometimes hurt when I run. Not sure exactly what the cause is, but I do know that I have ridiculously flat feet, which can't be helping. Wasn't able to go to the gym today--it doesn't open early enough for me to have gone before work--so I did some body weight stuff today, as well as a bit of sprinting. Every little bit counts!
  14. 1159 meters (after dividing by two because of using the elliptical) this morning! After squats. Oy.
  15. Sometimes, yes. Thankfully not a lot of that around here So.....interval sprints. I'm going to die. But then, I said that with the burpees and managed to do 200, so.....let's do this!
  16. I did hapkido during my last semester of college. I really liked it because it had a little bit of everything--strikes, grappling, throws (and thus falls and rolls, a nice overlap with skills I'd need for parkour), and my favorite, joint locks. However, I haven't really been able to find a hapkido place here in NYC that I like. I dabbed in aikido for a bit but it was a little too zen and relaxed for me--I didn't feel pushed and challenged in the same way I did in hapkido. For the moment martial arts classes are out of my budget anyway, so I'm focusing on basic skills and strength-buidling so I'll be more prepared for the physical demands of a martial art once I'm able to afford classes again. There was a Krav Maga class that used the studio right before our hapkido group. Looked intense. Very direct. I'm more of a soft art guy--using the opponent's force against them, etc. Enjoy the seminar!
  17. So, here we are folks, my Week One Recap: Goal One: Eat 90% Primal and Make One New Recipe Per Week Smashing success! Definitely kept 90% Primal--I really only had one item all week that wasn't. And I've been great with the recipe goal: made a zucchini lasagna last week and already this week made a "one pot chicken" recipe which was basically chicken drumsticks (skin on, of course!) with various vegetables in my wonderful cast iron dutch oven, which is catching up to my iPhone as my favorite material possession lol. Goal Two: Lift Weights Three Times Per Week Also a great success. I did have this experience today though, which annoyed me but also kind of made me laugh. A guy with fairly beefy arms but a huge beer gut approaches me: Guy: "Why are you putting the bar on the floor?" Me: "I'm going to do some deadlifts." Guy: "Uh, isn't that going to be kinda hard for a scrawny guy like you?" Me: "Yes....that's sort of the point, you know." I could be mad that he was sticking his nose into my business but instead I'll just chuckle to myself. Seems healthier. Goal Three: Perform One Pull-Up With Good Form: I still had to use 90 pounds of assistance this time Though it was a little easier, so on Saturday I should drop it down to 80. Still have a long way to go. Goal Four: Work at Least 30 Minutes a Day on My Novel: Hit or miss. I'd say I did this 4 out of the last 7 days. Also, a weight update! I'm down from 183 to 179.6 pounds, and 17 percent body fat to 16.1 percent (according to the impedance thingy, which of course has a margin of error...0.9% in one week seems like a lot.). This means though that about 1 of the 3 pounds I lost was lean body mass, not fat, so looks like it's time to stuff my face with more protein! Yay meat! I could probably use to eat a bit more in general, but that should take care of itself as my appetite increases from the extra physical activity.
  18. A Whole 30, eh? Hardcore hehe. Can't wait to see how it goes!
  19. Oh also, I can't believe I forgot to mention....thanks many burpees last night while waiting for dinner to cook, and a few this morning (despite having, erm, a headache), I reached my secret personal goal of 200 burpees! Nothing like your epic performance, shoobie, but hey, we can't all be Brazilian ninjas.
  20. Indeed. I'm trying really hard to convince one of my friends to join Nerd Fitness for the next six week challenge. I'm already thinking of a couple of goals for myself.
  21. Thanks. Man, should've joined this forum earlier.....the encouraging spirit here is so helpful and motivating! I only have a couple of friends who really care about health and fitness--the rest range from apathetic to talking about how bad they feel for me since I don't eat stuff like pizza--so it can be a bit rough out in the real world sometimes
  22. Hehe thanks! We'll see. I'm about to head to a birthday party at a bowling alley. I'm pretty tired from working out, but we'll see. One burpee for every pin I knock down? I suck at bowling so that should give me a manageable number of burpees
  23. You've just got to keep chugging on through and focusing on the big picture. If over the course of the challenge you do well with your diet overall, that fettuccine alfredo won't seem like such a big deal, and certainly not worth beating yourself up about. And see, you're already doing better today. Just keep that momentum up! As you said, the more small successes you have, the better you'll feel.
  24. For those wondering how the lasagna came out....it was awesome! I added full-fat cheese to the recipe, so it's technically not paleo, but still counts as Primal (which is technically what I'm following anyway). It falls apart much more easily without the large, flat noodles to hold it together, but it was absolutely delicious! I tried to upload a picture but am having problems....oh well. First weekly new recipe in the bag! And definitely one I'll come back to in the future. I think for the next one, I want to try something with fish, as I've never actually cooked seafood besides shrimp.
  25. I watched both. Loved 'em both. I picked Tenzin as my avatar because his personality reminds me of me--always trying to be the serious, leader-like, and mature one, but secretly enjoys having fun. Plus airbending is my favorite of the bending arts...and its acrobatic grace combined with the fact that it's a martial art I think well represents my interest in the assassin and monk skill sets...but that's a couple of challenges down the line at least lol...need to work on the basic foundation! Thanks for all the tips! I definitely want to master the pull-up. It's intimidated me for my entire life....time to conquer it and put it in its place. And once I get a solid handle on pull-ups, if I'm really daring, maybe I'll attempt the infamous muscle-up. But that's definitely outside the scope of this 6-week challenge hehe. But hey, one step at a time!
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