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Everything posted by Mirlith

  1. Awesome mini-challenge! Definitely something I need but didn't get to work into my first challenge. A quick question to the group: anyone know any links to some beginner level meditation practices I can use for my 10 minutes? There are a staggering number of options, and I know they have common themes (consciousness of breathing, etc.) but am crippled by indecision. So I'm wondering if anyone has something I can start with that they've had success implementing. So glad I'm part of this guild! -Mirlith
  2. 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!"
  3. Salutations to all you fine and fancy geeks of self improvement! My name is Adam, but within the safe confines of these walls I shall go by my preferred elven name of Mirlith. Before I get started I just wanted to say the following: This website and the idea behind it is something that I've been noodling for awhile, but never knew existed. The greatest passion in my life has always been roleplaying games. As I grew older and sought to explore why these flights of fantasy were so integral to my soul, I realized that it came down to one simple thing: If I could create an entire being, a personality, a history, a background, a character from the ground up and play that being for upwards of 12 hours per week; then I had within myself the power to do the same to my own existential character sheet and become whatever type of person I truly desired to be. Until now that dream and the philosophy behind it has been something that I have only tinkered within in my own head and considered bringing to the other community that I have known and loved (Burning Man). However, upon finding this website I cannot express in mere words how happy I am that other people have not only embraced this philosophy, but have created such a loving and knowledgeable community around it. I know I am new, but I already feel at home. Now, with all that sentimentality out of the way, a little bit about me: I am diligent student of the arcane who has specialized in unraveling the intricate link between perception and action (RL translation: late 20's neuroscientist who has the mind, and unfortunately the body, of a typical wizard). Though I shall always identify as a wizard first and foremost, I feel that I have committed a sin that many here can identify with: emphasizing INT at the expense of all other stats. This min-maxing has left me not only with a physique that I desperately wish to change, but has eroded my WIS and CON to the point where I feel I have very little discipline. I join this community with the goal of not only improving my body, but instilling in my mind (for the first time) the discipline to stick to my goals and truly transform myself rather than simply paying lip-service to the player. In addition, I feel that the RPG mythos so awesomely embraced by this community can help me attain other goals in my life while at the same time allowing me to provide support and insight for others who share similar quests. During the brief period I was able to afford it, I found that Bikram yoga instilled in me a peace, calm, and jedi-like intensity that I seek to return to. Therefore, I feel that the path of the druid is the one for me. However, I seek to supplement that with some at-home strength training as well as the cardiovascular exercise that I was never able to achieve with Bikram (my heart-rate was often taxed, but never my breathing). Being the student of empiricism that I am, I apologize in advance for any skepticism that I exude regarding particular diets or their scientific basis. It will be a goal of mine to become more open minded to such new ideas and provide peer-reviewed information whenever I can rather than simply nay-saying. That being said, please feel free to call me out on my own bullshit. I could go on, but this character intro is already turning into a mighty tome. I look forward to exchanging ideas and dreams with all of you and cannot wait to start racking up that XP! -Mirlith
  4. Greetings Druids, I'm new to the rebellion, so I apologize if this topic has been raised before, but I'm hoping I can find like minded folk of the wood who can help me in my quest for the mind-body unity that I so desperately seek. There was a time in distant months past where I was able to afford the glory that was Bikram hot yoga. Though I had never really bought into the whole paying for fitness thing, the proper form required for such a potentially injurious form of exercise made me break down and get a monthly membership. Though my attendance wasn't always stellar, every evening that I returned from that humid hellscape I felt I had gained mad XP and achieved a level of visceral and mental peace that I hadn't felt in some time. However, fate and circumstance has rendered $90/month an unattainable luxury for the time being. Has anyone had any success with at-home yoga practices or free yoga collectives? I miss the flexibility, control, and simultaneous meditation that yoga afforded me, but I'm wary of simply practicing on my own (especially since my form was nowhere near solid when I discontinued). Also, I'm wondering what others' experiences have been with other forms of yoga and if they've found similar satisfaction. I'm by no means married to the Bikram dogma (thought I do very much enjoy the heat and the jedi-like intensity that it evokes), so I'd be quite interested to hear what others have found especially in the realm of DIY fitness. Many thanks in advance! -Mirlith
  5. Curious about paleo and the science behind it. Anyone have any links or citations to the lectin content of beans before and after cooking or the inflammatory effects of lectin in vivo? Plants produce a lot of nasty secondary compounds to avoid being eaten, but cooking and fermentation can go a long way towards denaturing those proteins.
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