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Everything posted by sarakingdom

  1. Yeah, I've recently started thinking about averages rather than hitting my calories spot-on every day. I don't know yet how my body's liking it, but it should work out. It's probably a lot easier on the body than my calories spiking every time I have a heavy exercise day, I can't imagine that's optimal. I am going to get so much sleep. While you're running and stuff tomorrow, I will be sleeping. For science. Or something.
  2. Week 1: Day 5 It snowed last night, so I'm not regretting moving to inside workouts temporarily. I do want to spend a lot of time outside this winter, but I probably don't wanna strain my lungs right now, while they're still considering a chest cough as a hobby. In fact, that workout was exactly what I wanted. That felt great. Today I'm commuting, so long walks on the beach, and I'm going to blow my carb target something fierce in the process of trying to eat back the 1200 calorie deficit I've got today. Mostly good choices, with one small indulgence, but the volume of calories is just difficult without all the macros scaling up. (I'll probably end up carrying about 400 calories over, to spread out over the next few days.) In summary: carb target: noexercise outside: yes (+1)meditation: yes (+1)hours of sleep: 9 hours (I have reclaimed one from the void!)in bed by 11: hell yes (+1)punching and kicking drills: nosomething awesome: nobadass points: no
  3. I'm not a workout DVD fan in general, but that DVD hits an absolute sweet spot for me. Rapid intervals, short enough to fit in most days, no equipment at all, a mix of strength and cardio that I respond well to, serious exercises and drills, scope for a wide range of skill levels - just totally utilitarian for what I want out of a workout. Also, no perky personalities, no dudebro martial arts, no casual sexism, and a strong focus on practical martial arts, which is pretty rare in a market dominated by aerobics culture. It's just useful to have in my back pocket for when my brain's not up to structuring workouts on its own. Doing better today. Rested some. Hydrated. Got in a good workout before bed. I'm still a little tired, but feeling pretty good. I think the insomnia might be here to stay for a little while, and I'm just sort of mitigating it, so I might be spending a few days trying to get some extra sleep. But I think that if I keep the workouts short and intense, and try to cram in the rest, I'll end up on top.
  4. Week 1: Day 4 This is going to be a rough day on the challenge front. Last night's lack of sleep was pretty extreme, on top of a marginal week when I was feeling the lack of rest and a bit oncoming-buggy. I was in rough shape this morning, mentally and physically, so I treated the morning as a sick day: rest, more fluids, all the nutrients I could fit in. This means I'm going to miss my carb target for today, between some homemade electrolyte drink and going hard on the fruit and veg to get in vitamins and minerals. Man, I was sick with that cold over a month ago, and on the one hand, I'm totally over it, but on the other, I'm still showing tiny lingering signs of the physical stress of it. More fatigue, a little quicker to wear out physically and show joint strain than I've been since before the last few challenges, weight swinging wildly in a way that's totally disconnected from my calories or exercise, small hint of a chest cough now and then. I think I might temporarily push aside the outdoors bit of my challenge, in favor of some short high-intensity workouts and lots of rest for a week or two, to build back some resilience. I'm annoyed that it's taking this long to be 100%, and I think I need to work my muscles hard for twenty minutes, collapse in exhaustion, and sleep it off. Current plan: rowing HIIT (though I have some long walking days on Friday and Sunday, so those might turn into endurance days by default), and this DVD, which will nudge me through my pushups and squats and some kicking and punching drills while I have no brain. (DVDs aren't generally my thing, but that's the one I can't get rid of. Short conditioning for martial artists of all levels, no-equipment workouts that can be done anywhere, and a good serious encouraging dojo attitude for mixed levels. I keep it around for times when I need the virtual trainer, and this is one of those times. It's not the ideal plan, but it'll get me through the basics of what I need right now. Actually, I might rip it to MP3 so I can take it out on the trail with me in future. There are enough audio cues on the intervals that I should be able to do it by audio alone.) And, now that I'm thinking about it, both those workouts are the perfect length and intensity to make me sleep like a baby if I do them before bedtime. So maybe I should try for an insomnia cure at the same time, and try to get an evening routine out of them. Did I mention I was annoyed? I'm really annoyed. Today is basically a day of annoyance. That, at least, is in keeping with my challenge theme. I'm getting that bit right. In summary: carb target: no, but reasons and mostly good choices (0.5 points)exercise outside: yes (+1)meditation: yes (+1)hours of sleep: 3 + 5 = 8 hoursin bed by 11: yes (+1)punching and kicking drills: yes (+1)something awesome: nobadass points: sure, in a really nerdy way (+1)(And I did in fact end up ripping my DVD to MP3, and taking the MP3 player out for a workout. Which was awesome. I've been slacking on the strength training lately, but I don't seem to have lost any strength, and might even be a hair better on some of those exercises. So I did intervals of plank, horse stance, straight punches, forward kicks and some other random conditioning things.)
  5. Parkata is a thing, and it is the thing you think.
  6. Week 1: Day 3 Hydration went well yesterday: two liters of tea on top of the usual, and I clearly needed it. Bit of a slow start today, but I've got another liter of tea waiting. More sleep than I'd planned on. Again, probably needed it. Considering an unscheduled departure from work to go outside, because I'm at the stage where I'd like to bite people's faces off recreationally. I'm feeling a bit of work pressure, though, which has been partly responsible for the exercise-skipping so far this week. I'll get a little more done, then decide. I might feel better with a few more things checked off my list. In summary: carb target: well under (+1)exercise outside: nomeditation: nohours of sleep: 2? 3? The insomnia hit. It was bad.in bed by 11: Ha. (-1)punching and kicking drills: nosomething awesome: nobadass points: noBut at least I hydrated. It could have been worse.
  7. Best of luck to you. It's always tough to leave a job that way, and leave a good bunch of co-workers. You've got it right, don't get stuck in your head, keep up your workouts, take a deep breath, and think about your options.
  8. I would like some martial arts pills, please. (Congrats!)
  9. Finding a new place is such a stressful process, and amazing when it's over! Decluttering and unpacking in a new place can be fantastic for getting organized and setting things up the way you want.
  10. There may well be a day when it's push-ups and splits. First thing's first.
  11. One of the big misconceptions about meditation is that it's what happens after you quiet your mind, and lots of people feel frustrated from the start because they can't stop the thoughts and restless feelings. But that's not what meditation is, it's the practice of how to quiet your mind. The way you practice martial arts techniques over and over in class so they become second nature to your body, meditation is practicing mental focus techniques over and over until they become second nature to your mind. So it's not a bad meditation session to feel restless and have lots of distracting thoughts, it's just really good practice at recovering focus from distraction. One of the classics is to count ten breaths, just focusing on the breath, and starting over from one every time you reach ten, lose count, or find yourself way above ten. There are other ways of doing simple breath meditation with mantras or nothing at all, but I like the feedback on whether I've lost focus. If you're just concentrating on your breath, it can take a lot of self-awareness to realize you're thinking about something else, while catching yourself thinking, "Twenty-four," is a pretty clear sign. Yoga can be a form of meditation, depending on how you use your mind during it, the same way that washing dishes can be a form of meditation. I'd probably consider it not a beginner form of meditation, because it requires a little familiarity with the sort of focus you're trying to accomplish.
  12. Week 1: Day 2 First, I need more rest. Second, I need more hydration. It's getting to that time of year when hydration flips from "it'd be nice" to "my sinuses aren't functioning properly without it". So I'm hitting the hot tea pretty hard today, not because I like the stuff, but because I have a 1-liter thermos that I can put on my desk and get the fluids down in mass quantities. Thinking about morning routines. I would like to be the person who jumps out of bed and goes straight into pushups on the floor or a stretching routine, but I've found that it takes a little time to get my body warmed up before it can really do physical stress. One thing I've done occasionally that seems to make a big difference is to take ten or fifteen minutes in bed to meditate or start listening to a work-related podcast. I'm a lot more rested and focused for the rest of the day. That's not the active-fitness-rawr sort of morning routine, but I guess it comes down to which moves the needle on performance more. Maybe I should add a glass of water before my shower. I tend to wait till I'm out of the shower and starting in on the coffee to get that first bit of hydration, and that's gotta be half an hour after I get up, at least. Sometimes an hour. carb target: at 80% of target, so well under (+1)exercise outside: nomeditation: yes (+1)hours of sleep: 9 hours (wow)in bed by 11: yes (+1)punching and kicking drills: nosomething awesome: I was not awesome today.badass points: I was not badass today. Random aikido question: there's a really simple aikido exercise to practice tenkan, but are there are irimi practices? You don't really move your feet in funekogi undo or shomenuchi undo. (I guess the bokken drills I did yesterday had some irimi practice in them.) There seem to be schools that tell their students to go home and practice half an hour a day of just funekogi undo or tenkan. High-volume repetitions like that are always the kind of thing where I wonder if there's a real learning value to it, or if it's primarily serving as a dick-measuring contest for guys who want to prove their credentials. On the one hand, there are a lot of half-parsed mythologies about traditional martial arts training, but on the other hand, there are elements of internal styles that are genuinely best learned through frequent repetition. I suppose part of my doubt, aside from being unsure about the volume versus frequency argument, is that I've always felt that funekogi undo and tenkan, etc., were foundational movements, certainly, but I never had the sense that they led to transformational sensibilities. (There are physical sensibilities you develop doing aikido that transform your understanding of it and ability to do it well. Tenkan comes close. There's something about it feels potentially sophisticated, conceptually, if you take a deep understanding of that thinking about motion and momentum and proximity and redirection onto the mat. I feel something in it that feels like the power behind some of the tenkan-based techniques on the mat. Rolls are another for me, there's something about circular pivoting motions around your center that ping me as potentially transformational sensibilities in how you move and do aikido. So maybe I just haven't yet reached the point where I understand all of those foundational movements as larger concepts rather than as components.)
  13. I got a fresh bag of sweet potatoes! Part of my fave breakfast from two challenges ago. I love them. Rowing and kicking are awesome, man, but right now I just want to go back to sleep. I will kick all the things later.
  14. That's a good thought. I do enjoy a really pale cup of coffee, like, a lot. But, man, the problem is not getting rid of hunger. Quite the opposite. I'm always coming up 600-1000 calories short, because I'm just not hungry. Drinking it in the form of coffee might well be the best way to get it into me, a good cup of coffee is pretty excellent.
  15. Week 1: Day 1 aikido stretchesbokken strike practice (+1 badass point)meditation (+1 meditation point)I mean, come on, swords. (David S: "Women always get the best guns.") Today is going to be a busy work schedule, so I think the outside exercise might end up being just doing some plank and squats outside after work, because being pitch-black out won't get in the way of that. But it counts. It's outside, where the air is fresh. My sleeping habits (and insomnia) last night were abysmal. Thank goodness it wasn't part of my challenge period. I have difficulty with evening routines that work You would not believe how many reminders I've set up to get me off the computer and towards bed, and they rarely work. (Seriously, it's like ten. Nine reminders and one screen lock on a timer.) But they're not a routine. calorie target hit, 8% over on carbs (+1 nutrition point) I know the actual goal is 5%, but I'm gonna take it. A lot of this was fiber, and it was pretty darned good for a first day - especially one with a 600 calorie deficit. 600 calories of solely fat or protein is rough.outside exercise: nonein bed by 11pm: (no points lost)hours of sleep: 6.5 Not nearly enough, but I was awake-with-a-capital-A, so.something done to make my life a little more awesome: skyped into a movie night with some former housemates a few states away (+1 do-fun-shit point)Overall, a good day, apart from not enough rest.
  16. I made a banner that I can't put in my signature, so it's gonna be the weekly start/wrap-up banner. It's too delightfully colorful and evil not to use. Week 1: StartI have - ahem - cleared out the high-sugar items from Halloween. I've gotten back in the habit of making paleo scones, which are delicious. I got arugula and bacon and goat cheese to make salads for the week. So I'm coming closer to hitting food targets. My commuting days will still be a challenge, because my calorie burn is something like 1000 calories, and eating that back without carb creep is very tough. (Actually, I'm still about 1000 calories short today. I need to figure out a way to drink more calories, because I just can't face eating so much most days.) My outdoors exercise and meditation are both at about 3-4 times a week, so a touch low at the start of the challenge. But I have been getting a bit more sleep, a bit earlier. It's getting dark too early to go outside after work, so I'll have to start putting it on my schedule to get that in early, or at lunchtime. Stupid fucking winter. Give me more sunshine! Today's badass points: low. I should look for something to change that.
  17. Kicking isn't very aikido, it does leave you very unstable. But it's so tempting. Purely recreational kicking. One day I'd love to get into the heavy bag for fun. Snowshoeing would be awesome, if we get enough snow. It's always a tossup here, sometimes it's very deep snow all winter, like last winter, sometimes it's no snow at all, like the winter before that. Liking the Happiness Patrol is a sure sign of good taste.
  18. Packing lunches became a big deal for me when I had to combine food allergies and long working days, and the biggest help was figuring out what I needed to feel like I was getting a nicer lunch than if I bought it. For me, that was bento boxes, so I could pack different courses and lots of variety, tailored to what felt healthy and delicious to me, and it looked pretty interesting when I opened up my lunch. The good thing about having that sort of space constraint to fill, since they make you pack pretty tight, is that you start thinking about your lunch like a game of Tetris, and start to have standard options that fit in different sections of the box, and it becomes a lot easier to have some things prepared ahead of time or waiting in the cupboard. I even pack myself breakfast sometimes, so I don't have to think about making it in the morning, and can just get going faster and get to work. So, you know, if the fancy bagged salad you wouldn't ordinarily consider makes it quicker and more appealing to pack a lunch, it's not a bad thing. Whatever makes it feel like your lunch is better than what you can buy, or at least as good.
  19. For cleaning, I recommend Unfuck Your Habitat. A lot less glitter and nonsense, and a lot more cursing.
  20. I like the kicking, too. I wish I had more opportunity to learn it properly. Aikido... we don't so much go in for the kicking. At some point, I should dabble in a kicking art. You should watch it. It's pretty good, and more bizarre than creepy. (That's an understatement. It's mad and cracktastic, with one hell of a "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" vibe, although it narrowly misses the award for "Most Mad and Cracktastic Seventh Doctor Story", due to the quality of some of the competition.) Doctor Who is fairly gentle in its creepiness, and the low budget takes out some of the creep factor. It's one of my fave near-future social-satire SF dystopias.
  21. Re-heating them works. They're also nice cold on salads. Have your roasted broccoli in a cold salad with vinaigrette and cold sliced chicken. And you only need to wait 30 minutes for most things, I find. At least 350. Maybe 400. But only 30 minutes needed. You're in Boston. You have Trader Joe's. Get a bottle of smoked paprika. You're going to want that, too. Trust me.
  22. My work here is done, gentlemen. You're very welcome.
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