Greetings fellow denizens of the woodland! Though I regret being away from home and unable to get my shit together and register before the official start of the latest 6-week challenge, I refuse to, as my DMs would say, "Let the rules get in the way of a good story". Thus, I shall embark on this 5 week challenge having already started on some of my goals earlier this week. A bit of background about this character: as I posted in my intro thread, I joined this site because I thoroughly agree with the idea of changing yourself through fantasy. I am the founding member of the Guild of Archetypical Metamorphosis and Existential Renewal (GAMER), a burgeoning Burning Man tribe dedicated to similar ideals. I have never been in terrible shape and have always let my rather impressive metabolism provide a rationale for not pursuing more assertive health goals. In addition, the demanding nature of my indentured servitude (graduate student), has always provided enough excuses to fill a bag of holding with regards to why I haven't "found the time" to improve myself. Well no longer. I come to you, fine druids, in order to seek the mind-body symbiosis I so desperately need. Though I consider my INT rather impressive, I seek control of my thoughts as well as my body so that it may become an entity greater than the sum total of its parts. I wish to improve my overall cardiovascular health, strength, and endurance, but wish to balance it with activities such as Yoga in order to achieve not just power but control ("Control, control, you must learn control..."). Though financial obligations have made my chosen discipline out of reach for the moment (Bikram yoga), I know there is a practice that I can conduct at home for free if I have the support of a community such as yours. In addition, I seek assistance in the ways of meditation that I may be able to quiet my mind and control my thoughts, rather than being a slave to them and their capricious nature. Now, on to the challenge... Current status: Skinny (135 lbs at 5'11") and somewhat fit (I bicycle everywhere as my primary form of transportation), but do not currently perform any activity that strengthens my muscles or taxes my heart/breathing rate. I tend to eat a mostly vegan diet (weekday veganism essentially) focused on whole vegetables/grains that are as locally sourced as possible. I can currently run about 1.8 miles continuously, but by the end of that run I am praying for the sweet release of death. I live on a fixed monthly income as a graduate student, but seem to always have new expenses cropping up that I did not account for. Thus, I am in debt not only to a credit card company but to mine and my wife's joint account. Finally, though I can achieve brief periods of focus and productivity, my lack of discipline and mental clarity make accomplishing even the most minor tasks a chore, let alone those that require multi-step problem solving and adaptation. Though I've been able to get by on my raw intellect until now, my lack of organizational skill and ability to focus is rapidly catching up with me and presenting a severe obstacle to my continued progress in graduate school. Goals: 1. Fitness Goal: Complete through week 6 of the C25K plan. Having experimented unsuccessfully with many running regimens that had me biting off more than I can chew and becoming defeated, I have finally found a gradual program that I think I can conquer. I am currently training for total time running/distance rather than speed. Current plan: Run Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday or Sunday mornings. Tomorrow I shall start Week1 Day 3 of C25K. XP Award: 4 STA points 2. Fitness Goal: Complete through week 6 of 4 strength training regimens (http://hundredpushups.com; http://www.twohundredsitups.com/; http://www.onefiftydips.com/). In order to increase the strength of several muscle groups, I am undertaking 4 separate exercises I can do at home with good form: pushups, roll-ups, chair dips, and half roll-downs. The pushups/chair dips are for upper body strength, the roll-ups and half-roll downs are for core strength. Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 30 minutes per evening devoted to doing the current week/day reps/sets of pushups and roll-ups. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: As above, but for chair dips and half roll-downs. The pushups and dips will be charted as to their respective websites. Since they're core workouts, I shall be using the 200 situps website for the roll-ups/downs. I am currently the lowest column of rank 1 of the 100 pushups regimen. While in the past I had deluded myself by thinking I could easily do over 10 pushups, I have come to find out that my form was terrible and that I was likely doing more harm than good. Now, having watched some videos and read some tips on this site and the above-mentioned one, I have to face the reality that I currently max-out at 5 good-form pushups. If I retain my current ranking within the regimen, that will translate to 50 good-form pushups by the end of week 6. Dips: 13 max currently. Theoretical number at end of 6 weeks: 70 Roll-Ups: 7 max currently. Theoretical number at end of 6 weeks: 75 Half Roll-Downs: 5 max currently. Theoretical number at end of 6 weeks: 75 XP Award: 5 STR points 3. Diet/Health Goal: Consume most of my protein from vegetarian/vegan sources and limit my intake of animal flesh to 10 ounces per week, preferably in the form of wild-caught pacific salmon. Otherwise, all meat must be pastured, organic, local, and raised on a natural diet for that species. Achieving this goal will require prudent shopping to stay on budget and planning all of my meals in advance for the week so that I don't end up defaulting to less healthy options. I go shopping on Sundays, so each Saturday during the challenge will require a sit-down with my wife to discuss what we want to eat for the week, whether we can afford it, and who is going to make it. XP Award: 3 CON point 4. Level Up Life Goal: Pay $200 toward credit card debt. This seems meager, but I am currently $650 in debt to my credit card and my current budget has me coming up at least $40 in the red each month due to unforeseen expenses that obliterate my carefully constructed excel efforts. I plan on scaring up the extra cash by participating in paid research studies through the psychology department at both mine and my wife's universities. XP Award: 3 WIS points I'd love any feedback or suggestions with regards to my goals. I really wanted to incorporate some form of meditation or yoga into this challenge, but I struggled with how to structure it into a specific, achievable set of goals. I'm still vacillating on which type of yoga to engage as well as which type of meditation. If anyone has any suggestions, I would very much appreciate any and all information you could provide. Though I'm sure I will edit this thread in time, I feel that if I don't post it now it shall never be posted. So, until then.... "Aure entuluva!"