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  1. This has been the story of my life for the past 6 months... So my life has been a bit hectic. Unemployment, lots of interviews, getting injured, suddenly losing a roommate, losing unemployment insurance, finding a roommate.... I'm really in need of having some stability in my life. Things aren't looking up for the next month, unfortunately, so I need to work at making my own stability. Because as today has been going, the universe is just going to keep lobbing shit at me. 1) Python, 10 minutes a day: I finished my Automate the Boring Stuff python course that @The Most Loathed had pointed out to me a while back the other day. I feel like I can at least look at Python code and understand what it is aiming to do, but not confident enough that I can actually use the code. So I dropped $15 on another udemy course that's a more project based thing, and want to start working my way through that. The 10 minutes is a minimum goal, and I suspect that when I set up I'll do much more coding/learning than that. But figuring it's better this way to keep it small and easily movable in my schedule. Okay, it's not the gif I had imagined using, but Hunk getting eaten still relates to food 2) All about the Food: Okay, this is my most.... questionable goal. I've been eating pretty regularly 2800 calories a day, regardless of workouts. Little more on lifting days, little less on aikido. I'm being pretty stable at 211 pounds, and my gut measurement is also fairly stable. I'm currently torn on if I'm going to be doing a mini cut this challenge. Just two weeks, take measurements and photos, and see how the chips fall. It would be nice to see myself get a tiny bit leaner, as a few of my hallmark "I'm thinning out" traits have been hidden since I started eating more. Of course, I might also just keep eating where I'm at, and try to change my workout plans instead. I'm going to talk to a few people and see what they think I should do or how to best tackle things, physically and mentally. 3) Time to Fight: I'm testing in April. That's 2ish months away. I'm not actually worried about the exam, because I'm definitely well versed enough that I should breeze through it. I seem to be one of the few soon-to-test 2nd kyus who is confident in their ability to have a range of techniques. But that aside, I'm going to do something that scares the crap out of me. I'm going to go ask my various sempai what they want to see me nail on the first kyu exam. A lot of it is going to be answered by "do all of this which is going to take a lifetime," so I need to make sure I ask for semi-reasonable things. I'll report back here and then just keep writing about my aikido classes about how things are going. 4) Go. Be Great (at Adulting): I have more than a few adulting tasks I need to do before the end of the month/challenge. So I may as well keep myself accountable here. Ongoing: 3 "UI" unemployment tasks a week (Job hunt, job applications, networking, interviews, phone calls, etc) Ongoing: 10 minutes of tidying things away before bed (dishes, mail, junk on the counter, etc etc) Ongoing: Remember to take your medicine Get my UI paperwork squared away Send UI paperwork to MassHealth so I can keep MassHealth Coverage Get a new script for my anti-anxiety meds Schedule physical/doctor appointment if needed to get the meds Clear out Basement of junk Clear out Pantry of old items Organize the Pantry Clean apartment before new Roommate moves in Make sure the Landlord doesn't hold up the new roommate moving in Contact all apartment applicants and let them know they weren't selected February 28th: If I didn't get the good job I'm banking on, start applying to bank teller/mover/grocery store positions So. That's the plan for this challenge. Hopefully it keeps me sane. Or at least fills the days with something to do. We all ready for this?
  2. Mistr

    Mistr ramps up

    Mistr ramps up I have a firm date for my nidan test: April 8. I want to be in the best shape I can possibly be by then. My goals are pretty much the same as they have been for the last year or two, with the addition of more aikido training. 1. Practice as much as possible. This means going to the dojo five days a week. Saturday and Sunday training is no longer optional. Which dojo does not matter. Seminars count. There are several friendship seminars coming up over the next month. More training with more instructors is great. I have never met the senior instructor who will be supervising my exam. I'll just have to show clean technique and hope he doesn't care about style. 2. Meditate. Every day would be ideal, six days a week is more realistic. Meditation helps me cope with stress. Maybe even the stress of multiple people attacking me with weapons. 3. Strength and endurance training. Strength training makes me feel better overall and helps my knees. Endurance training will keep me from dying during randori. I barely kept up a maintenance level while I was travelling last month. Get back on track with working out five days a week. I just started doing a round of physical therapy to regain range of motion in my left shoulder. Those stretches count here as well. 4. Sleep. Be good about going to bed on time, especially on weekends. Getting enough sleep has been a problem for a variety of reasons. My knees have been cranky from lots of aikido after a long break. I need to get the chores done early in the evening so I don't have them as an excuse to stay up and get one more thing done. 5. Food. I finally got down to my target weight. I want to stay at 150±2 lbs. I can see that I still have some extra fat on my hips and thighs at this weight. Eating healthy is more important than appearance right now. That said, I have a terrible nagging fear that I am going to gain back all the weight I lost over the last three years. I need to get my family on board to keep good food in the house. Dumbledore has said he wants to improve his eating habits too, but he does not have a cooking plan yet. I just talked to Elf about helping getting that going. With all the extra aikido time, I won't be home enough to cook as much as I did last fall. I may need to find some backup prepared food to keep at work in case of the guys not doing their part.
  3. Four years ago I started my first challenge here on NF. To my best accounting, this is going to be my 28th challenge thread. And for once, I think I'm going to keep it simple. Like, mostly one challenge goal per, well, goal. And I'm a fan of the Expanse series, just started reading Book 6, and the second season on Syfy is about to start. So it seemed like a good theme. That, and isolation in space doing weird things. Anyway. Meet The Rocinante: A Martian Navy Corvette class attack ship, less-than-temporarily borrowed by the central characters of The Expanse series. Those 4 crew members are the only crew who pilot the ship, though it's been known to take on passengers, willingly or otherwise. Each crew member has a primary job, and I figured I'd use them as guidelines for my challenge goals. Also because it just makes it more fun. 1) Holden The Captain of the Roci, Holden has a slight problem with keeping his mouth shut. He also often acts as the conscious of the crew, and holds them together more than they often realize. I'm using him to represent my self care this challenge. I still need to focus on it, but I think I need to be more open about it as well. I've not been well really since November, and either this month will make or break me in either direction. So selfcare blogging is going to be happening a lot. 2) Naomi Genius engineer and software writer, Naomi is the XO on the Roci. She has written miles of beautiful code and seen it all go to shit before. I'm just starting this coding thing and I'm about half way through my course, so I'll be aiming to do one Python lesson a day. Bonus points if I find a way to get some homework or something with an answer behind it so I can practice without going totally insane. (Or if we have programming Nerds who want to assign me a task in a bit and would be okay with looking over my code afterwards, also cool.) 3) Amos The mechanic on the ship, but also kind of the powerhouse. He is the attackdog of the crew, strong and able. I'm strong, but working towards being stronger. In this instance, I'm focusing less on the direct strength, and more on the feeding of the strength. I'm still working on eating well above what I've grown accustom to surviving on, and this goal is going to make sure I keep on that path for at least a bit longer. Eat according to how active I've been each day, and don't eat less than 2400 calories in the off chance I take a rest day. Take some progress photos each week. Bonus points if I can nail down a program that isn't SS or SL or 5/3/1 to help push me forward. 4) Alex Alex is the pilot of the Roci, and he makes her fly like no one else. I've been injured since early/mid-November, and have really been bad at doing the PT stretches suggested to me. So I'm going to make sure I do them every day, when I get up to fill my water bottle. That.... will make me do them a lot. But it's one of those "better to overload" things. TL;DR? 1) Holden - Selfcare once a day minimum, openly blog about selfcare and anxiety issues. 2) Naomi - One Python lesson a day. (Bonus of finding "HW" to get more practical coding experience.) 3) Amos - Eat according to my activity level and take progress photos. (One aikido class ~2700 calories, lifting and stairs ~3000, mix of aikido/Stairs/Lifting AT LEAST 3200 calories, no less than 2400 calories on rest days.) 4) Alex - PT stretches for my shoulder every time I refill my water bottle. I have very few major goals this year. The biggest is making sure I'm ready and uninjured by the April exam to test for 1st kyu. The second is that I lift, by December 31, a total of 1,000 pounds in my big three lifts (Squat, Deadlift, Benchpress). I'll need a 315 squat, a 445 deadlift, and a 240 benchpress. The only one of those that scares me is the squat, and I'm working on that. After that, I really just have a few go out and travel/adventure goals (Races and seminars and Nerd visits that aren't in Massachsetts/the Boston area), but those are on hold until employment happens and I have disposable income again. But in any case. Let's start 2017 with a bang, shall we?
  4. Challenge 26 - Mistr keeps it together My last challenge was to make more slack. That was largely successful. December will be a test of all my balancing act skills. Normally I get worried about the holidays. This year I'm worried about being out of the country for three weeks in January. I need to make sure that my usual responsibilities at work and home are all covered. Not to mention planning part of a vacation to exotic locations. The holidays get to take a back seat this year. Goals: 1. Maintain a positive attitude. I can do this. Be nice to my family and coworkers, no matter what. 2. Meditate when I can. Exercise when I can. 3. Be strategic about holiday sweets. The world will be full of sugar for the next month. Eat lots of veggies and healthy food. Work on coping by methods other than sweets. Invest in some flavored teas. 4. Take some time to do fun things. There are more than enough tasks to occupy every minute of my day. Keeping my sanity is more important than getting everything done.
  5. I really should have been screaming into the side of a koalasheep more the last few months So, Selfcare challenges. I apparently have the habit, after looking over my old challenges (this is my 27th challenge on NF, by the way), to really need a self-care focused challenge every, eh 5-6 challenge rounds. Given how stressful the last couple of weeks have been and the fact that the holiday season is on us, it's probably good if I force into my brain that selfcare is an every-day thing, and not a "sometimes" thing. Add in that I'm also kind of injured (shoulder, foot doing a bit of planter facitis or something), and I should really zone in on those things to get better. So, the goal isn't quantity right now, it's quality, and focus-on-me levels of it (that'll come into play in a bit, you'll see). Just gotta do ONE thing. Per day. But ONE thing. 1) Self Care: Perform one of these tasks, once a day. · Meditation (10+ minutes) · Reading · Early bed ( 9.5+ hours sleep total) · Extended no-electronics time (4+ hours) · Walks (unweighted) · Hermit DAY · Cooking experimentation · Python lessons? These are all things that destress me. You'll note that the dojo is not there. That's because while I love my Mat Therapy, it still involves interacting with people, and while I love them all, sometimes it is a bit much (looking at you, OG...). I never regret going to the dojo, but it does sometimes require me to drag myself there and the effort required to ramp myself up to movement is really hard when I'm feeling low. So I'm not discounting it as a selfcare act, but I also don't want to be selfish with my mat time and make it all about me. The other oddball thing here is the Python lessons. I've wanted to learn some programming/coding for a bit. When I was picking hobbies, I had options between coding and wood carving. I went woodcarving because it's off the computer, but I'm currently buffering up against the fact that a lot of the things I want to do carving wise require some more tools and equipment. If I have ideas I want to be able to implement them, not get frustrated with subpar tools when I can get my hands on them otherwise. It's just the otherwise is Christmas, so the carving is on hold. So I'm going to start coding. I'd like to say it would be an hour or a lesson, but I'm not sure which I'm doing. When I floating programming ideas, @The Most Loathed suggested I look into the book "Automate the Boring Stuff" and so I already grabbed that book and downloaded Python and started playing. I don't feel like the lessons in the book are super hard, but it's early. And then I might try to find a class to audit on Python. So. That's just stuff to do. Anyway, doing these tasks once a day should help maintain my sanity. 2) Workouts: Do one Workout Per Day · Aikido (one class) · Rucks · Lifting · November Project · Stretching/Yoga In all likelihood, since I've included aikido in this, I'll probably still make 2 workouts a day. But I want to get it into my brain that if I only do one thing I'm not a giant waste. Which is why self care is there - to take up the time the second workout would have. 3) Eating: Primal Holidays Okay, not exactly a "One" theme here. Goal is to eat mostly primal, or well measured non-primal things (like oatmeal and rice), hopefully mostly veggies. I want to be able to go to the couple of holiday parties I have without feeling like I blew everything that week, and stricter eating will be key on the non-social side of things. So only crappy eating when at social parties. And thankfully, I no longer have any wiggle room in my budget to be social, so I can flat out refuse going out now because I have no money! Unemployment is fun! That about covers it. Mostly focusing on taking care of myself. I sense I'll need to do a lot of that in the coming days.
  6. One Hundred Floors. Each one more challenging than the last. It's like our Challenges here, each one incrementally getting more difficult, more straining than the last. But we will conquer them all in the end with persistence and skill. 1) Kirito - Strong, persistent, and sometimes stupidly stubborn. He keeps moving forward. I need to log a great deal of hours in training before December for my exam. I also want to get stronger. So right now, Kirito is going to represent going to aikido 6 days a week, Stairs, and two lifting workouts. The only way to get better is keep pushing forward, and at the moment this is the way I will push. 2) Asuna - Calm, focused, multitalented, and a damn good chef. Asuna is as much of a figher as Kirito, but rather than always spend time fighting she has also maxed out her cooking skill. She's going to represent a more solid focus on my food intake. I have done well with my Mostly Primal, but I think I am going to buckle down and go more-or-less full tilt on it this coming challenge. No more than 5 non-Primal treats a week. The except to this will be oatmeal , which I'm still counting as a treat, but only half of one. It's a comfort food for me, as well as actually good for you, and,. a good source of carbs for heavy training days. It's silly to completely remove. In addition, I want to craft a new meal each week. And I'm not talking about changing the spices, I mean a whole new meal. Something besides my typical starch/steamed veggie/meat combo. Something that will in fact take a little while to make, but should be delicious and yummy for that effort alone. 3) Yui - Mental Programming Unit for Players Benefit. When introduced, it's assumed that Yui is a small child in the game who lost her parents. It's later revealed that she is in fact an AI, tasked with trying to help the players' mental states when needed. The holidays means a lot more social interaction, which means I will need my alone time, as well as be mentally prepared for being asked how the job hunt and unemployment is going. So I need to spend time being okay with answering those questions. This self-care goal is multifaceted. Try to get into bed by 10:30PM, read for a bit, and lights off around 11PM. Wake up at 8AM (except on Stairs Days), and start doing functional things by 9AM (ie - don't sit and sip coffee until 10 or 11AM, and then try to rush and do everything). Work on wood carving (blade sharpening, pattern thoughts, actual freaking carving) because I need some physical, hands on craft hobby at least one hour a week. And so, I have a lot of things to work on, in a very busy month: November 11th - Nerd gathering and my 30th Birthday GORUCK Novermber 19th - ACTUAL birthday and probably gathering with folks November 24th - Thanksgiving Hopefully somewhere in there will be a job start date. But I won't hold my breath. Short version of the challenge: 1) Aikido 6 days a week, lifting twice, Stairs once. 2) Primal eating, no more than 5 non-primal treats per week, one new meal a week. 3) Self care, self care, self care. Time to log on, Nerds.
  7. Challenge for November, 2016: Make more slack I marked my third Nerdversary (along with @Teirin!) back in September. Lots of things are better in my life because of the challenges and support here at NF. That means I've done most of the easy stuff already. Now for the really tough ones. Very most important goal: Make slack in my life. My typical mode is to do All the Things. I convince myself that Bad Things will happen if I don't get everything done. In truth, most of the things I need to do are not time critical. Sure, we need food and clean clothes, but we could eat cheese and crackers and wear those annoying clothes from the back of the closet every now and then. Recent conversations with my family made me realize that me being busy all the time is causing problems. Clearly I have been more of a stress bunny than I wanted to believe. The whole point of all this is to have a happy life. I need to get my focus back on that broad forest and not on the trees. Implementation 1. Take time every day to do something fun, relaxing or creative. Reading novels of dubious quality counts. Reading the newspaper at the kitchen table does not count. Spending time with family and friends totally counts. 2. Meditation. I'm relaxing from the you-must-meditate-every-day-or-else pressure. Sure, more meditation is good. That doesn't have to mean more time. I talked with my Zen teacher about the stories that feature monks meditating for years without a break. He said that the goal is not to sit all the time, but to keep the same concentration one can get from sitting zazen in other activities of daily life. Zen while driving is a good example. We worked on breathing exercises in the most recent class. He suggested doing them while commuting. You have to breathe anyway, so why not concentrate on keeping a wide focus on the road and do tanden breathing? 3. Sleep. I will continue with the Black Ribboners. Sleep is key to a happy life. I learned in my last challenge that giving myself some slack on sleep times made me less stressed. It's okay if I get 7.5 hours some nights instead of the holy grail of 8 hours. I'd prefer to make up the sleep deficit during the week and not wait until the weekend. That said, my goal is 56 hours of sleep for the week (or more). Naps count. 4. Aikido. Throwing my friends around the room and rolling on the floor makes me a happy camper. I was buying into the standard martial arts advice that one must train like a maniac before a test. Some people may find that a good method. I'm on the winding trail that takes the scenic route to the top of the mountain. I will go to class as much as I can, but not stress about it when I can't. For the last couple months I've tried to go to Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday classes. Plus the class I teach on Wednesday. That might have been helping my aikido, but it eats too much family time on weekends. I'm going to back off to just doing some of those classes, flexible depending on what else is going on. I'll make an effort to get to advanced class on Saturdays and other more intense classes in preparation for my nidan test. 5. Exercise. Keep up regular exercise to keep my knees and the rest of my body happy. This is already a habit. I may do more hiking instead of inside things as we get into the last weeks of above-freezing weather.
  8. This challenge, I am going to do the dreaded thing...a sleep challenge. The thing is, I sleep OKAY. Most nights I manage 7 hours, sometimes 6 on bad nights. But when I sleep naturally, I sleep 7.5 hours. I read all these things about how important getting your FULL amount of sleep is and how it affects just about everything. I'm often really groggy. I'm alert for maybe 2 hours after waking up, and then I get sleepy. I am a napper who could easily take 3 naps a day if schedules allowed. And I pretty much only have the mental clarity to really talk well with other people when I'm NOT tired. So in theory, if I get enough sleep, my workouts will have more energy, I will have more willpower to resist junk food, and I'll be better at talking to people. That's why I'm taking this on. Here are the goals: Goal 1: Get enough sleep (7.5 hours a night is my natural pattern) I already get up fairly early, so I have to work on inching back bedtime. I struggle with that, so I've avoided doing a sleep challenge up until now. But with constant travel and running around, it just feels like time. So on most nights, I'll aim to... Sign off of my computer at 9ish Meditate, do any chores or reading I feel like for a while to unwind Try to sleep by 10ish but it's ok to stay up doing non-screen things if I can't sleep. On bootcamp days when I wake up at 5 instead of 6, it will be more like 7 hours of sleep vs. the ideal 7.5. I won't worry about that for now...I'll just try to stick to the routine above. Travel's going to fuck me up because my boyfriend is a night owl, so I'm just going to ignore that can of worms for now too. Goal 2: Do whatever the hell exercises I feel like. Do them with love. Do a lot of them. Last week I added in an extra workout (4 vs. my usual 3) and I LOVED IT. I'm generally aiming for the same 3 workouts per week, but I'll try to get in that 4th workout when I can. I'll continue running once a week, with at least an hour of yoga required before I'm allowed to run again. I'll continue working on focused flexibility. If I get through my Aikido test in November without crying, I can buy a sledgehammer and I might start doing some shovelglove. Yadda yadda. I'm not tracking or scoring any of this. I've done 3 workouts per week since January, and I have no intention of breaking my streak now with the end of the year so close. ...And that's IT. "What??" you say, "You usually have like 20 elaborate steps for every goal!" I decided enough was enough for now. I don't need to lay out the workout goals, because I've got those down. As for food, my food vibes have been terrible since July. But last week I just suddenly hit the right buttons and started getting back on track again after watching some meal prep videos on YouTube. I think SEEING healthy food and reminding myself what a healthy diet looks and feels like did more for me that scoring or tracking or any of that nonsense. If there's anything I've learned by experimenting with different kinds of tracking this year, it's that I KNOW when I'm eating healthy and when I'm not. I don't want to keep fighting myself and feeling guilty, so I'm just going to go with the flow while I'm feeling it. If the switch turns back off, I'll go back to scoring food. In the long run, this makes sense. I don't want to track food for the rest of my life. I generally want to eat paleo/primal because that feels best for my body, but I'm going rogue and not setting any goals about it for a while. There are times when variances make sense, and it's hard to capture that in a scoresheet. So I'm just going to keep learning how to eat in a sustainably healthy way. Let's do an icebreaker! Do any of you have any weird sleep habits or sleep experiences? I'm a cuddly sleeper so I have to hug either a stuffed animal or a blanket or a pillow when I sleep
  9. Mistr rides the line - Challenge #24 The line in question is the one between the two tomoe (comma-shaped sections) in the taijitu figure. The line is where the forces are perfectly balanced. Sometimes it is 90% yin/10% yang, sometimes it is 30%/70%. Or in Chinese numerology, 1+9, 2+8, 3+7, 4+6, 5+5. It does not matter what force is presented, the martial artist must accept it and balance it with the appropriate response. Goals: 1) Balance sleep and wakefulness. I vill join de Black Ribboners led by @sarakingdom. Dat means I vill get 7.5-8.5 hours sleep every night. Riding the line: sometimes that may mean going to bed by 9:30pm so that I can be up at 5:00am. Other nights I can stay up later and get up later. No running a sleep deficit. 2) Balance motion and stillness. Meditation helps me stay on the line. Make time to meditate before I do chores at home. Experience has shown over and over that I care more about the dishes than anyone else. I can leave them and no one will get mad at me. Someone else might even wash them. Take initiative on meditating and let go of guilt. 3) Balance exercises Knee exercises, strength training, HIIT, walking, stretching, swimming, yoga. Do what I need to so that my body stays functional. Once my knees stop being cranky my goal will shift towards getting more fit. Right now I am still in recovery mode. 4) Training and tango Aikido as much as I can plus tango once or twice a week. My sensei asked me to share my Wednesday night class with one of the new shodans. That means I will get at least one night a month to join Elf at tango class. I can go to classes on Tuesdays. We agreed that we would compare notes and practice on weekends. I want to take tango lessons to learn how to relax and let go while practicing body awareness. In aikido I am practicing relaxing and taking my partner's center. Lead and follow. Follow and lead. My longer term objective is to get ready for my nidan exam. Current projection is for February. My family is supporting me in this by taking over more of the cooking and household chores. I feel like I am already riding the edge of what I can do in a week. I have less free time than any time since grad school. The difference is that I am not stressed out about it. I keep looking for an extra 10 minutes to sit and spin. I did not find that last weekend. I am choosing to spend more time with my family and friends. Monday night I gave a friend a ride to a reading and went out to dinner afterwards. (She just got her first novel published and is on a book tour! Go check out Everfair!). My time at home barely overlaps with Elf's and Hermes', so I take time to talk with them when I can. Dumbledore's schedule has gotten more complex. We are planning ahead to spend time together and making more effort to keep other things from impinging on that time. I am continuing to work on making good choices so that I am doing my part at home, staying in touch with people and maybe even sneaking in some down time.
  10. So I got to Camp Nerd Fitness early, even though I'm not a helper, and trying to be helpful. While waiting to be helpful, I figured I'd toss up my thread since I know what's going on. In two months, November 11th, I have a GORUCK challenge. How much training have I done for it you ask? Precious little. On top of that I want to test for first kyu in December. And on top of THAT I recently hit my fabled goal of a stable 200 pounds, so I want to try and transition my diet to a much more reasonable maintenance level. So how to approach these things: 1) GORUCK training 3 times a week. @raptron pointed out the GORUCK challenges have a 6 week training course. They assume you do nothing but train for this, so it's a bit crazy. I'll grab two of its workouts each week (or merge some together and create two), and then Wednesday at November Project ruck instead of whatever workout they do. I also aim to over train, rucking probably 45-50 pounds / 8-10 bricks instead of just six. Make those six bricks feel crazy light. 2) Ikkyu Prep The general consensus at the dojo is I'm going to breeze through the exam. My only (loose) barrier is I need to acquire 90ish hours more before I can test. At the moment, I'm unemployed still, so I can train ALL THE TIME. And if I do get a job, I have plans to still get a good chunk of hours in. So the goal is to get 10 hours a week. That's both classes on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, plus another two hours between Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Very doable. That said, I may have a goal of asking Sensei to test even if I fall short, because everyone says he would tell me I can test. But let's try to get the hours first. 3) Mostly Primal i recently realized my body stabilized at 200 pounds. It's a goal I've had since I started here at NF, and the few times I've seen the number it's been fleeting. I spent the last week pretty solidly at 200-point-change that I'm okay with calling it a win. So time to up my food intake and see what happens. Few plots for this -Going mostly primal. So meat, veggies, fruit, some yogurt and cheese. -Starchy sides like rice, lentils, quinoa are allowed but only twice a week. -No weight measurement during the challenge. Just before and after. But keep measurement of my gut. -No calorie counting. I can estimate fine these days, so let's try to not go crazy there. And that's it. Simple, busy challenge. Starting immediately after CNF. Huzzah!
  11. Mistr rocks randori - Challenge #23 The main event for this challenge is a 4-day randori intensive over Labor Day weekend. For those who are wondering what on earth aikido randori is, there are videos here. Short form: multiple attackers - 5 attackers for open hand or 3 attackers with weapons. I might have to stay on the ground and work from kneeling with the attackers upright (hamni handachi). The title of my challenge is totally inspirational. I am terrified. Goals: Interval training twice a week for the next three weeks. 6 sessions, 20 minutes each. I might get killed in randori because my skills are lacking. I should not die because I get winded. Meditation - sit at least 10 minutes every day, more is better. Maintaining focus in the eye of the storm is an essential skill Sleep - get at least 7.5 hours a night Being tired will not help me deal with stress. I need to keep reminding myself of that. The chores can wait. Cook vegetables and travel food. Cumulative total of batches made. Eating healthy will help me feel better and keep my weight down, which will make it easier for me to move quickly. For those just joining this saga, the cast of characters in my household are given here. Oh yeah, just to spice things up a bit, I have a dance demo at a local music festival a week from Saturday. I'm the demo coach. I expect I will have to be dancing because I don't have enough dancers. I will count it a success if we all keep smiling and no one gets hurt. Especially me. As icing on the cake, friends are coming from England to visit for a week. They are flying in the same day that I leave for the randori intensive. Dumbledore insists that he told them I'd be out of town, those were apparently the dates they could get vacation time and cheaper flights. Our house is not in what I would consider clean-enough-for-guests condition. More like We are going to have a party so that they can see all our mutual local friends. That means I need to get my part of the cleaning done over the next two weekends. Did I mention, I'm going to an aikido seminar with a 7th degree blackbelt from Japan? This weekend? At a dojo 90 minutes away? No? It looks to be a calm and relaxing next several weeks.
  12. Hi! I'm NTB and my special talents are oversharing, bop-it extreme, and getting headphones really tangled in a very short time. Let's do an icebreaker! What are your special talents? And also, will you remember that I asked this by the time you get to the bottom of this post? I was planning a slightly different challenge for this month, but after my post-vacation struggles with food last challenge, I haven’t been feeling as aggressive. So. I read an article a few years ago that mentioned a culture where people consider anything that is too perfect to be an insult to the gods, because only gods can be perfect. I thought that was neat, and the idea stuck with me even though I remember literally nothing else about what I read. I’m not a perfectionist like some people around here, but I do get frustrated easily when I start to backslide. My only benchmark is myself, but I have had some pretty awesome challenges in the past, so there’s still a lot to live up to. Last challenge I tried to be a king, and that failed miserably. So I guess this challenge my goal is still to do pretty much all the same stuff as usual, but also to remember that not every week will be my best week, and that’s the way it should be. Goal 1: Food Goal 2: Maintain Fitness Workout 3x/week (usually two at-home bodyweight workouts and 1 bootcamp class) Run 1x/week - After the Spartan is over, I’m going to resume experimenting with sprinting. I also get points for remembering to do ankle alphabets before and after each run. Walk. My walking is usually really strong, but that’s suffered lately too. So instead of walking 16 miles/week this challenge, my goal is just to walk deliberately every day, even if it’s just a loop around the block. Goal 3: Movement Focus I don’t actually have any formal goals this time. This is just kind of a mishmash of things I want to do and might potentially get around to: Leading up to the Spartan: prioritize frequent yoga, excessive walking, miscellaneous burpees, and trying to climb stuff September: I’ve been daydreaming about trying out a GMB program for months now, so I am thinking of trying either their elements or flexibility program. I have 0 plans for integrating this into my current exercise schedule and complete #doallthethings rangerbrain about it. I would still like to haul the bike out and get riding, even if it’s just in the parking lot next door. Goal 4: Life Goal - Swimming This should be the easiest life goal ever. I’ve been wanting to take swim lessons for ages since I never learned to tread water. I don’t even have to sign up for anything yet. I just have to contact at least once place and get moving on this goal already. Bonus Goals: I get a bonus point for each week I accomplish one of these goals, but I cannot complete these goals at the expense of others: Meditate daily Yoga 4x/week Clean the sink 4x/week Go to bed around 10pm on Sunday nights
  13. Greetings fellow Monks! As I wrote in the Rebels Introduction thread, I'm planning to continue my aikido practice after several months out of training. This time I hope to find a more balanced way... But the Dark Side is always there, so wish me luck, please ) The timing of this 4 Week Challenge is perfect for me, because the dojo reopens on the 23rd of August after the Summer holidays. So my 1st Challenge will consist of the following: Training: Attend 3 aikido classes a week (bonus points if I attend more) Nutrition: No buying alcohol (I really like good French wine... but I'd better use the cash for seminars and wellness-related things) Level up your Life: Begin working at about 8.30 a.m. (I work at home and I am a night owl, so my working/sleeping habits tend to get messed up) I'm intentionally keeping it very simple so as not to crash and burn as I have so often done in the past. Good luck to everyone else with their Challenges!
  14. Hi everyone, And thank you for creating such a warm and welcoming place here (as far as I can tell, having been reading the forums for a couple of months). I am looking to change my approach to training and a bunch of other things in my life, and joining your community seems like the right thing to do at the moment. I have always been more of a lone wolf in my life (and a lurker on forums and such), but it seems to me now that walking the way together is actually much more fun, so to speak... I am rather anxious now, trying to step out of my comfort zone, but that's the whole point of it, anyway To cut a long story short, in June 2015 I passed my black belt test in aikido after about 5 years of training. I had spent a year and a half before the test attending 4-6 classes per week (sometimes it was 7 per week when there were seminars on week-ends). I enjoyed it immensely, but in fact, without me really noticing it - giving all my energy to this all-consuming passion for aikido - I left a whole lot of work-related issues unattended (I am a freelancer), which led to quite a disastrous professional situation later on (meaning that I REALLY slacked on marketing my services and hunting for gigs, and at one time found myself almost without work for several months in a row). It took me some time to recover from that, find new clients, etc (actually, still recovering, but it's much better already). I've been almost completely focused on work for a year since then, and my aikido training suffered a lot. I've been out of training for several months (coming to the dojo 2-3 times a month doesn't count as training for me). It's obvious for me that I have to find some kind of balance between work and training, but my all-or-nothing attitude really makes it much more difficult than it should be, I guess. So I hope to establish some kind of accountability here which should also help me to see things in a different perspective (well, if I attend aikido classes 3 times a week, it's definitely not 6 as I would like, but already much better than 0! LOL). I will also post in the 4 Week Challenge thread - Monks Guild, I guess? Or should I post in the Rebels Guild since it's my first 4 Week Challenge here? I am definitely a Monk though, and an aspiring Padawan returning to the Temple... I mean, to the Dojo. Thanks for reading, and if any of you have aikido-related questions that I can answer (given my humble level), I will be glad to be of service P.S. Sorry for my English, it's not my mother tongue. P.P.S. Oh, and by the way, I am currently living in Southern France.
  15. Ayup. Not a damned clue. I suspect I'll just be rambling. Maybe crosspost my workout logs in here from my battle log. But since I got tossed into FUNemployment last week, my brain is just focused on surviving. For the moment, I made a few key decisions on how to tackle my current predicament. One, I still need to watch what I eat - my goal is to be below 200 pounds or 15% body fat by the time Camp rolls around. Totally doable. So eat well, work out. Goal is two workouts a day, barring either a heavy workout (read: Stairs) or holding back because of an injury-feeling thing. Two, I need to get some adulting out the way. Like getting my car inspected. You know. The car I've been saying get inspected for like, 8 challenges now. I also need to clean the apartment and prepare for a new roomie, and cleaning my room would be great. Three, the actual job hunting is going to be a bit more lax this time. I burnt myself out job hunting last time, looking/hunting for 10 hours a day most of the time. So I'm going to tackle it one search engine at a time. Exhaust them for things that look interesting, and then call it a day. My goal is to keep sanity moving. Not burn out. And maybe come out in a better, slightly more stable place than before. Oh, and get a bunch of aikido classes in. Or maybe the phone call I have scheduled on Friday is a job offer, and I don't even really need to worry about this stuff. Like I said. No idea what's going on. -------- Some Guidelines to follow for myself during the challenge: -Two physical activities per day -At least one productive Adulting task -Drink at least 4L of water during normal work hours, excluding water consumed during/immediately prior to working out -Eat ~1300 calories prior to aikido
  16. First off.... Ha, word pun. Second of all.... How weird is this? An all (mostly) aikido-based challenge? What is this nonsense? Well, the reasoning goes like this. I have a lot of things I need/want to work on. I have a whole bunch of training I need to do, all for various things. I decided that most of the is going to go live in my Battle Log (which is apparently almost 2 years old. Whaaaat?) for the foreseeable future. It's lots of stuff I want to do regularly, but at the end of the day, it's really just extra fluff for me. I'd rather keep it semi-low key and then not be stressed about it. I have enough other things in life to stress about instead. So what is this challenge about? Mainly getting myself in the mindset to test relatively soon for first kyu. Ideally, that'll be in December. Realistically, I think I may have to test in April 2017. That said, I may, provided I'm close to the number of classes required and feel confident enough, I may dare to ask Sensei if I can test missing a few classes. Rule I'm setting for myself is that I'd have to have less than a month's worth of classes remaining. And actually feel comfortable with everything. And I have to run it by successive levels of senior people before I actually ask Sensei. That's the current State of Aikido address. For the Challenge, it's pretty straight forward. 1) Weapons practice once a week I'm really bad with weapons. Like. really bad, guys. I kind of know the long jo kata. I want to get the actual kumi-jo kata (both parts) organized in my brain. My bokken work is shoddy at best. So. Just grab a weapon and find someone who knows what's going on at least once a week. 2) Self Care Stretching every day + 1 day of solid mobility work. PLUS Get freaking insurance. I'm currently in the middle of a "Dear gods, knots EVERYWHERE" type thing. Which means it's been a few months and I started slacking on my mobility work and stretching. Lets try to fix this with say, 5 minutes of stretching right out of bed. I can do 5 minutes, right? And one day a week, do some major mobility work. I'm talking LaX balls, foam rollers, pain canes, car buffers. I'll probably be talking to my PT friend and he can give some suggestions, too. Also health insurance. I should probably get some. 3) 60 minutes of extra mat practice a week. What it says on the tin. Assuming 4 days of class a week, that's 15 minutes of extra practice after class. That's not a crazy amount, and I'm totally willing to count the weapon work in with this stuff to make it count. 4) Create a list of all tentative techniques to be performed on the exam So the exam for first kyu isn't dictated to you. You're just told to do 5 techniques out of every attack. The reality/safety is that you should have 10 techniques that can show up without much thought. I do, for the most part, have that. But I want a nice, organized list for these things so I can really start sitting down and polishing the crap out of them. Biggest things for this goal is I 1) need to describe any kokyunages (literally: Breath throw) so I know which one I'm talking about and 2) I really need to learn the specific names for the koshinages. Onwards and upwards then, right?
  17. Challenge 22 – Mistr works on ninja skillz Ninjas specialize in focused sneak attacks. No frontal assaults or massed battles. I will be going on vacation the last week of this challenge and the following dead week. That does not leave much time for any major goals. Instead, I will award points for every attack on any goal. All those little bits of time add up. Mad ninja skillz: Sitting zazen. The new technique my teacher demonstrated this week was sitting with a boken. You may be familiar with suburi practice. The student does 100 cuts to ensure that she is moving the sword properly and not using the shoulders instead of the core. Sitting with a boken is similar, but motionless. You will rapidly realize your mistake if you try to hold a sword still for 30 minutes with poor alignment. Double ninja points. Open-hand zazen counts for normal points. Two sword practice. My weapons partner and I are at the polishing stage on our required katas. We will ask sensei for two sword exercises to mix things up. Boken vs jo katas also count. Sleep. Ninjas never doze off while waiting for an opening. Points for 8+ hours a night. Aikido. Work on using focus and musubi all the time. Especially when practicing slowly with beginners. Support and logistics: For all their awesome powers, ninja have to eat, sleep and wear clothes. These mundane tasks count too. Points for adulting.
  18. And in three gifs, I sum up how my life over the past two months. I decided to quit my job to help my mental health. I experienced a whole lot of chaos with last minute job interviews, a nail biting, down-to-the-wire job offer. A much needed vacation. More chaos as I watched the perils of small start ups interfere with if I had a job. And finally, a beginning to settle down into a new circumstance, at the core the same, but now with some definite new quirks to figure out. So clearly I regenerated, and I need to learn to live with a dislike of my kidney color. Added to this, I have three major physical activities coming up at the end of the year. Camp NF from September 21-25. My 30th birthday Ruck November 11th. And I plan on testing for first kyu in December. All of them are going to push me to my limits in some way, shape, or form. I want to up my strength and PR my big three lifts at Camp. The Ruck is going to involve me having to embrace the suck and work on my endurance. And the first kyu exam is going to require a build up of a good library of techniques reliably, including being healthy and mobile enough to perform them well. So, how's this challenge going to go? I'm thinking something like this: 1) Wibbly Wobbley Timey Wimey Stuff: Figure out a new work and exercise schedule. Aim for 5-6 classes aikido, Stairs on Wednesday, and two lifting sessions. So right now, my goal is to attend 5-6 aikido classes a week, plus Stairs on Wednesday, and I would like to lift twice a week. The complicating factor in this is I'm also taking public transit to get to work now, rather than my car. Which changes the dynamics of some things. Notably the "I need to have everything packed before I leave the house" part. Aikido is probably the easiest. I was given permission to park at the dojo during the day on Monday and Tuesday (not allowed usually), where I can then walk a mile to work, do what needs to be done, and then walk the mile back to the dojo to train. I then get to leave class with my car waiting for me, and not have to stress about trying to take make two buses to get home. Sunday and Tuesday are two classes, Monday and Saturday is one. The Saturday class I'm willing to skip, provided I'm doing something worthy in exchange. Mostly more workout things, sometimes social stuffs. Stairs just happens. It's ingrained at this point. If I can find a way to optimize my timetable getting to work this challenge, cool. At the moment, it's looking like I'll get to work at around 9:15 in the morning, which is practically on time for most scientists anyway. It's super late for me, but hey. Whatever. The lifting is the hardest for me to fit in right now. I have to take a different bus to my gym, work out quickly, shower, and then another bus closer to home. In nice weather, I could also walk home, but if I'm working out hard, that may not be something I want to deal with. Really I need to see how much I'm going to do the lifting, and how miserable I am trying to catch a bus that is different from my usual route. Also I need to figure out a new lifting program. Because I think I'll be lifting Wednesday and Friday, and I'll do an upper body workout on Wednesday and a lower body workout on Friday. Suggestions welcome. So yea. Figure out how to schedule all the things. 2) No Fish Fingers and Custard: Limit caloric intake to 2200 most days. A limit of 2500 on Stairs or lifting days. Limit snack foods taken from work. So, new job is going great so far. The building we are working out of has a lot of perks, including a LOT of free snacks. Most of the snacks are things I'm not sooo thrilled with, so I'm not too worried this time. The stuff I do like is also hidden in a giant cabinet, so one of my major problems (RP sees food. Suddenly food is gone because RP ate the food) is definitely curtailed. We do have some giant cereal containers, but even then most of the time I'm not thrilled with the choices. So the goal is to no eat like an asshole, do my best to pretend that the cereal things do not exist, and also limit my smartfood popcorn intake to only 3 bags a week, and we have string cheese that I want to limit to only 6 a week. Really, my vacation caused me to gain a few extra pounds, and I feel it on me. The difference I feel at 206 (where I current am) and 203/4 is amazingly large. I feel bloated, and I'm currently sitting at a point where previously I would be quite pleased. But I can do better and feel better at a weight around 200, even if my body loves the 206-208 range naturally. I want to see if I can train it to like the lower 200's more. 3) Universally Recognized Mature and Responsible Adult: Do the adulting list. Car oil change Car Inspection Figure out health insurance things (cheaper to buy own or get through the contract agency) Track all money using Mint to figure out how being an hourly worker influences me Input 4 book series into my library inventory Some other stuffs that I forgot? Just a general adulting list. Things to do. The car stuff should be easier since I don't need it ALL THE TIME any more. The health insurance I've already taken the first steps, I just need a bit more info. Mint I already use, but I need to try and pare down the extra purchases, or at least label them in Mint so that I know they are atypical. And I need to keep up with my library inventory. I was lazy about starting it. I'm sure I forgot some other things, so I am sure it'll get updated soon. But these things are the major goals over the next month. So lets get started, yea?
  19. Challenge 21: Motion and Stillness I have all my habits in place. After 20 challenges, I would be disappointed if I wasn't getting closer to my goals. Some still need tweaking (sleep - I'm looking at you). My overarching challenge is to make good decisions on use of my time. As Teirin pointed out, I tend to do ALL THE THINGS and not take enough relaxation time. On the plus side, I've been feeling considerably less stressed about things falling apart if I don't attend to them. I credit that partly to zen and partly to the household changes we made when Elf moved in. For those new to my saga, here is the cast of characters: Motion: Aikido - Continue training for my nidan exam. I am not going to any special aikido events this month. My goal is to attend weapons practice on Monday morning and Fridays as many times as possible and advanced class on the weekends when I'm in town. Exercise - keep doing knee PT exercises in rotation with upper body and shoulder/core exercises. Work in HIIT on knee days twice a week. My goal is to do one set of exercises on the weekend for bonus points. Dancing - I'm going to two dance events this challenge. As long as I keep up with knee exercises and HIIT, these should be pure enjoyment. My goal is to learn the dances and make good choices while I'm travelling to the balls. Chores - I realized that I should give myself credit for these when I spent over an hour raking and cleaning out the garden last night. I have not kept up with the dusting, which is my designated household task. I used to be responsible for cleaning the cat boxes. Now I need to scrub them out for the last time and store them in the garage. Cooking and grocery shopping count here too. Stillness: Meditation - Zen is hitting the spot for me. My teacher told me that with steady application, I can move up to koan practice soon. Track sessions and time. I would like to meditate every day. That requires that I make good choices about how I spend the rest of my time. Sleep - Stop doing things in the evening and go to bed by 9:30pm on weekdays. Plan ahead for food so that I don't need to eat within two hours of going to bed. Also try to figure out what the heck is making it hard for me to fall asleep or wake up in the wee hours. I never used to have this problem. I've cut way back on caffeine. WTF? Piano - I signed up for a music workshop on April 16. Learn the music. This is trickier than it sounds because my piano is in Elf's bedroom. I need to practice while he is at work or out doing things. No excuses. Creative things - Spinning, knitting, embroidery; all forms of sitting still and relaxing. Listed here to encourage myself to take time for them. Taxes - Goal is to finish these in week 0, must be done by the end of week 2. (Not really still, but require sitting :P) Practicing zen and aikido is taking up almost all my free time. Thankfully doing zen makes me more mindful and less resentful the rest of the time. I want to spend quality time with my family whenever I can. Dumbledore and I sat down and planned so that we would do fun things together. Elf and Hermes both have unpredictable work schedules. I'll be flexible to do things with them when opportunities arise. No points, just tracking what I manage to do.
  20. It's the Godwin's Law of Anime...at some point, somebody's gotta break out this reference. Three, two, one--LET'S JAM! Now with NO food-related quests and NO measurement tracking requirements throughout the challenge. How will we cope?!?! Spike (STR+3) Let's keep this short and sweet, shall we? Spike takes many jobs as a bounty hunter throughout the story, but his one drive is chasing after Julia and Vicious. He has great perception and fighting chops to help him get the job done. My one job is to help my 3RM chase after my 1RM lifts while I work on building up my squats and figure out what's going on with my deadlifts. I'm probably very close to being forced onto Texas Method on yet another lift, we shall see! My lifts look like the below, the number on the left is my current 3RM for the respective lift while the number on the right is my 1RM. I'm only going to aim for closing the gap by 15lbs, pretty sure I can do that and then some: Squat: 157.5 > 169.5 BP: 81 > 85 OHP: 60.5 > 65 DL: 205 > 207.5 The plan: 3RM Gains: 0/15 The grading: 11-15+lbs = A, 8-10lbs = B, 5-7lbs = C, else F Faye (DEX+4) Talk about someone who takes setbacks and hard knocks, Faye is an amnesiac in space. That is the worst place to be with no real memory, methinks. She had to take care of herself while on the run before growing attached to the crew of the Bebop and eventually confronting her past. Not to quote a Chumbawamba song, but this quest is all about getting knocked down and getting up again. Put it another way: Every Day Is Ukemi Day. That's right, I'm falling down (reeeeeally gently) every day that isn't an already scheduled day at the dojo, where presumably I'll be doing a bit of that there, too. Hence the quest title. Also, to compliment the falling down, there's that nagging need for full body mobility sessions. That time is now. I'm breaking this daunting task in half--on lifting days, I roll my hips to ankles. On non-lifting days, it's all about hips to scalp. Simple as that. The plan: Every Day is Ukemi Day - 0/20 Full Body Mobility: Upper - 0/16, Lower - 0/12 The grading: Every Day is Ukemi Day - 18-20 days = A, 15-17 days = B, 12-14 = C, else F Full Body Mobility: Upper - 14-16 = A, 11-13 = B, else F, Lower - 10 - 12 = A, 7 - 9 = B, else F Jet (WIS+1, CON+1, CHA+1) Ah, the responsible one. He cooks, he minds the money, he adopts a child and dog. Pity about the fridge... Ah well, I won't be making that mistake. Because I'm going to Clean Something around the house five days a week. Dish-washing and laundry don't count, because I already do these things and they're basically mandatory. Anything that adds up to >10 minutes counts. The curfews make a return as well, because #recycling. I'm tweaking the drink curfew to be defaulted to 8:30 OR two hours' space between my last drink and lights-out. The plan: Clean Something - 0/20 Drink Curfew - 0/20 Anti-Curfew - 0/24 The grading: Clean Something - 18 - 20 = A, 15 - 17 = B, else F Drink Curfew - 18 - 20 = A, 15 - 17 = B, else F Anti-Curfew - 21 - 24 = A, 18 - 20 = B, else F
  21. Challenge 20 - Mistr HIITs it again More of the same as last challenge, plus cardio. I did randori at aikido on Saturday. The two times I did not get killed by my ukes, I had to stop because I was winded. Bad sign. I am adding interval training to work on my aerobic endurance. Exercise Intervals 2x a week on knee/core days Knee/core exercises 3x a week. I was getting through the whole series in three days a week. I expect that I will only have time for a couple exercises on interval days. I can do extra on weekends for bonus credit. No pressure to get them all done every week. Shoulder/upper body exercises 2x a week. Aikido Go to the chief instructors classes as much as possible in March. She will be out for knee surgery in April and May. Go to one class each weekend. Ukemi class and yudansha class are already on my calendar. Go to advanced classes the other two weekends (usually taught by the chief instructor). I am training for my nidan exam. Three days a week is about right. Four days a week is great for training but not so great for the rest of my life. Sleep and meditation Meditation everything is a lot more fun when I’m not falling asleep. Go to bed on time. Work on increasing the number of days with 8+ hours sleep from last the January challenge. (>15/28) Last challenge was even worse. We're not going to talk about those numbers. Ideally I would like to meditate every day. Shoot for more than last challenge (>19/28). Creative projects and backlog Do fun stuff. Piano, embroidery, knitting, spinning. I want this to be all positive. Writing it here helps me choose to do creative things instead of more dishes. Adulting: Get my taxes filed by the end of the challenge.
  22. So, this is a bit of a lame challenge again. These short turn around times plus the fact that I'm slowly moving into much longer-term goals means that I really don't fit well into 4 week challenges. Probably a liklihood of me just hunkering down in my Battle log soon, unless some major changes happen to the challenge set ups. But then I feel like I can hunker down more easily into people's threads that way. We shall see. I'm just rambling. The challenge here is based on the Three R's. Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmatic. Rest, Refeed, and Randori. Rest: I need to instate my night time routine. Goal is to get 8-9 hours of sleep each night (wow, I get/need a lot of sleep - new medication makes this kind of needed, though), and to be in bed for at least 30 minute prior to lights out reading/no tech. Besides maybe a phone call with the girlfriend. Those are allowed and encouraged. If I can stay awake long enough. Pretty simple Refeed: So I've kinda been challenged Kyellan to race to sub-200 pound body weights. The biggest thing, though, is my straight caloric deficits haven't been too effective the last few months. That said, I found out about refeeds doing things besides refeuling glycogen, which seems worth investigating. By which I mean I tried a two week stint and saw my weight drop pretty effectively with very little effort. So I'm going to try and do that. Goal here is a lower-carb diet, with a cheat jar for every junky food item I have at work. Hopefully that helps drop my calories down to ~2100 calories per day. Also once a week I'm going to do a refeed. Goal is one day to spike calories to 2800-3000ish calories, with ~280 or 300 grams of carbs, and 170 grams or more in protein. This, if past history is an indicator of future success, probably involves me eating a pint of ice cream in a single sitting. Last two times I did that I had surprisingly good results, so don't fix what ain't broke. Current weight: 206.6#. Randori: Practice Randori once a week. I need to work on a 3-person randori scheme for my eventual 1st kyu exam, that EVERYONE KEEPS ASKING ME WHEN IT WILL BE. So my goal is one day a week grab 2-4 willing participants after class to work on randori movements slowly. Only way I'm let off the hook for this one is if I can't get people to practice with. In that case, I reserve the right to change that week into a straight up "Practice for 1st kyu" goal. Another simple and straight forward challenge for me. Something to spend my time on. Things may change shortly, however, so I may have to alter things.
  23. So, another round of 4WC format, huh? Won't it be interesting to see what they tweak for the next challenge format? In the meantime, I'mma abuse the privilege and return to a well-loved franchise... Oh, yeah, Breath of Fire 3. Ryu and the gang are back and this time...it's personal. Or something. I dunno. Let's go rob some guy so we can eat tonight. Ryu (STR+3) Ryu returns, and in rare form. He's got to fight giant unseen forces and uncover the truth surrounding the Brood, and he's only just been blasted out of his chysm hiding place as a little Whelp. It's going to take some quick thinking, mighty battling, and good friends to get him through this adventure! It's a big push to 275 Wilks, but not without keeping an eye on my mobility. No gains can be made forever, especially not when you have knots all over the place. So here's the deal: I want to get to 275, but I'm not sure how much longer my novice phase is gonna hold out. I might not even make it into this challenge with the advanced novice program I've been running during challenge 2 of 2016. So, to compromise and still motivate myself, I'm going to set the bar at 260 265 Wilks based on my Day Zero weigh-in. While I'm shooting for the heights of Gainshala, I also need to keep up with my mobility. Not having it as part of my challenge is an excellent way of ensuring it gets pushed to the back burner. Thus I will be focusing on TWO areas with which I struggle: my neck and my knees. I have knots that form there on a daily basis, I need more than one attempt per week to address them. Combined with bimonthly massages, this should help combat tension. I assume I will be doing my hip flexibility routine in the dojo during aikido and will be logging when I do that to help keep accountable. Below is the tentative schedule for accomplishing my goals of strength and mobility--subject to change up until Day 0. The plan: Lifting Gains - 0/15: Lift a total of 461 lbs @ 112.2lbs bw Neck Mobility - 3/wk: Smash shoulders/neck with barbell Knee Mobility - 2/wk: Roll ‘dem quads The grading: Lifting gains: P/F - P = at least 12lbs of gains , else F Knee Mobility: A = 2, B = 1, else F Neck Mobility: A = 3, B = 2, else F Garr (DEX+2, WIS+1,STA+1) Good old Garr. He's a Guardian who is tasked with protecting the Urkan people from the Brood by order of "God"...but just who is his real enemy? As it turns out, not Ryu. He seeks to understand the truth of what has transpired these many centuries, and protect everyone from the smothering embrace of safety over freedom. What else is Aikido about but protecting the Aikidoka and the attacker from the consequence of said attacker's dangerous foolishness? I'm going to train like I mean it and get that Yellow Belt. It's going to be a hard push, because I do not have very many classes left to make this happen! Every day must count or it'll be a loooong wait to the next test opportunity. The plan: Aikido - 2/wk: Train for Yellow Belt The grading: Aikido: A = 2, B = 1, else F Momo (CON+1,WIS+2) Momo may seems like she's lost in space sometimes, and she can't hit the broad side of a barn with her cannon, but she's wicked smart. Without Momo, Ryu and the gang wouldn't have gotten past two unicorn brothers, much less cross an ocean and confront the Goddess. It pays to have someone on your team who is handy with all things mechanical. Momo is smart--she doesn't do stupid things like tank up on liquids before bed and screw up her next day by using the bathroom multiple times at night, sleeping in, and throwing the rest of her plans out the window after that. Lol. So I'm going to try to make my days more productive by sticking to my drink curfew on nights I'm not at Aikido--for those nights, I will only drink with dinner if it ends up happening after 9, as it usually does. This time, I'm going to add an anti-curfew that requires I be out of bed by 8. I need to be more productive and I need to take advantage of all the hours of the day available to me, even without the impetus of work. Normally I get up 9:00 - 9:30, so this really shouldn't be that painful to manage every day but Sunday, which I give myself as time to prioritize recovery as needed. And finally, as an "incentive" to stay closer to my macro target, I will require myself to stay under 2500 calories more often than not, i.e. 5 days on target, 2 allowed offroad eating days. This of course would float if my macros change, for now 2300 calories with 200 calories of clearance should be perfectly reasonable. The plan: Calorie Ceiling: 5/wk: Stay beneath 2500 calories Anti-curfew - 6/wk: Out of bed by 8:00 AM Curfew - 5/wk: No Drinks after 8:30 PM The grading: Curfew: A = 5, B = 4, else F Anti-curfew: A = 6, B = 5, C = 4, else F Calorie Ceiling A = 5, B = 4, else F Starting Stats FTW: Weight: lbs Waist: " Hips: " Biceps(L/R): "/" Forearm(L/R): "/" Thighs(L/R): "/" Calves(L/R): "/"
  24. Another simple challenge for me, because straight forward seems to be the name of the game for these 4 week challenges. I realized this weekend I tend to view things in a manner of "I need to do at least X" to feel accomplished. More is good. But I have a set level of things I like to do in order to feel accomplished. So I figured, why not make a challenge of At Least Accomplishing things? If nothing else, it lets me do a small word pun. 1) At Least... One new veggie a week I'm pretty boring with my veggies. Typically some broccoli or cauliflower or asparagus for the green/fiberous veggie, and then a sweet potato or a squash for the more starchy one. I should branch out a bit more, especially since I do like cooking. So one new thing when I go to the grocery store each week. Veggie suggestions welcome. 2) At Least... One non-aikido workout a week Yea, this will likely be a lifting workout, and therefore is an extension of the last challenge. But I'm also a bit gimpy right now, so I figure demanding a lift session a week pigeon holds me a bit too much. This at least allows me to do some rucks, yoga, or BW work. This was going to be a work out at least 6 days a week challenge, but then I realized I don't want to go crazy. Er. Crazier. 3) At Least... One aikido post per week Okay, I kind of need to get this one approved first, but... I'm a co-admin on the dojo's Facebook page. One thing that page needs is some more lift, particularly emphasizing things that are more central to our dojo. A lot of the other dojo pages I follow post semi-regularly, and I want to try and do that to see if it helps improve the page and/or nets us new students. I need to talk to the senior instructors tonight about it, but assuming that they've liked my Facebook prowess in the past, then this should be all set. 4) At least... Finish reading two books So I have two self-help/philosophy books I'm in the middle of right now. One is Level Up Your Life. The other is Walking the Way. Both I have been enjoying greatly, but I'd like to finish reading them both by the end of the challenge. So this also is the first challenge I've had in a while where self-care is not explicitly a goal. People are more than welcome to run in and double check that I'm still doing that too. Yesterday was a bit rough, but I managed to survive, so small reminders to calm the fuck down are welcome. In the mean time, expect the same rambling thoughts and processes that normally pop up during my challenges.
  25. Challenge 19 - Mistr keeps on getting on My last challenge was a success so this challenge I want to keep doing the same things. Not very exciting for you. I really like the part where I can fit in clothes I haven’t been able to wear for ages. Exercise Knee/core exercises 3x a week. Shoulder/upper body exercises 2x a week. Aikido Weapons practice once a week. My training partner is in town for the next several weeks. I want to take advantage of that. Continue cleaning up boken katas #1-11. Maybe learn #12 if sensei is agreeable.Go to one class each weekend. Ukemi class and yudansha class are already on my calendar. Go to advanced classes the other two weekends.I will also be going to classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. I am one of the instructors for the beginners’ course. I need to see what the other instructor is covering each week. This is more of a requirement than a goal. I’m just putting it here for completeness. Sleep and meditation Meditation is a lot more fun when I’m not falling asleep. Go to bed on time. Work on increasing the number of days with 8+ hours sleep from last challenge. (>15/28) Ideally I would meditate every day. Schedule constraints make that unlikely. Shoot for more than last challenge (>18/28). Creative projects and backlog Goal: finish one mending project (probably socks) and get the curtains done for the kitchen. The rest of my creative time is open. I can do a variety of spinning, knitting, embroidery and piano. Maybe even get out the quilting if I get crazy. Adulting: Enter financial records and file the papers every week. (Pass/fail)Figure out Gnucash reporting by the end of week 1. Put together reports by week 2.Bonus for getting my taxes filed by the end of the challenge.
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