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  1. Hi! Long-time lurker, first time poster. I'm Tanner, and I'm on a long-term quest to lose a lot of weight I put on during a challenging time in my life. Picture Thor, halfway through Endgame, beaten, broken, lost his hammer, lost most of his emotional support system, hit some major failures, surviving on a diet of Cheetos and self-loathing. While my mental health and personal life are in a much better place now, I'm still working on the midsize-child-worth of sad-Thor weight I'm carrying around. So far I'm focusing on diet, with a mix of Peloton spin (I know, cardio is heresy, but my endurance really needs work) and barbell training for exercise. My biggest challenge is that I've got a pretty serious chronic pain condition that rules out most upper body exercises. Inverted rows are ok, but any pushes like overhead or bench presses make my chest feel like fire for days. Anyone else dealing with some major limitations? How do you compensate for imbalances? Is it dangerous to deadlift and squat heavy if you can't train your upper body? It would really help to know some other people, particularly young people, facing down what feels like an insurmountable challenge by making themselves stronger.
  2. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good fight lightin' it up, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "I Need to Know How to Wield It" [No Spoilers this time for The Last Jedi] Everyday the human body changes. Old cells die and new cell are formed. I read recently that in 7 years, the skin cells of the human body have been completely replenished with new ones. One could argue that the person you are in 7 years is a completely new one. I'd say that the person you have become in 7 years a slightly modified replication, with natural aging appearance, augmented with new experiences and memories to enhance skills. Those new experiences are the ones which help us grow challenging ourselves in new ways. Occasionally, those new experiences will awaken a new passion or bring out a new skill. This can be an exciting or scary time as our comfort zone, status quo, personal priorities, etc are challenged and changed to make room for the awakening. Personally, I have a few new awakenings. I am interested in playing more Magic: The Gathering outside my close friends. The passion I have for the game and the newest release is pushing my interest into doing more than just playing the game with purchased or thrown-together decks. After playing in a Prerelease event, I feel confident I can recognize synergy among cards, use that synergy to build a strong deck, and play socially and competitively without making judgment errors or game play mistakes which would result in embarrassment or upsetting my opponent. These events are not free and require time; therefore, I'll have to pick and choose my battles and balance my other priorities. There is a Cosmic Encounter (my favorite board game) tournament in May which I am very interested in; however, I am also intimidated by the scale of it. One could prop up the other. My IJRS Jedi Novice Training and Karate Brown III training are in the final stages, which is exciting, but I am facing the question about what do I do with it. For both, the natural progression is to teach others. The IJRS may ask that I help tutor Novice students. I want to put together a website to put my knowledge and philosophy out there for others to learn from (I do that here a bit with these lessons). For Karate, I sempai classes, leading small groups. As I progress, the leading will progress as well. When I reach black belt, I may be asked to lead classes. I have to ask myself, what is my personal goals for teaching? How much commitment will it take? Where does it fall on my priorities? There is also Epic Nerd Camp, which I want to be more involved with, but I don't see myself being able to commit the time necessary to do it and meet expectations. I have a lot of desires and commitments which I keep trying to fit in. I keep on looking at my evening Toastmasters club thinking that I will need to step away from it to make time for these other things. But that is such a small commitment compared to the things I am looking to expand on. What else will take a backseat? The scariest part is that is all MY stuff. What about my wife's stuff? My kids stuff? My life is their life which means it is all OUR stuff. The priorities and commitments will be sorted out one way or another. The stuff which doesn't fall on all our lists is the stuff which falls to the bottom. I need to ensure that every voice and passion is heard to craft my stuff to fit the others. Because we share our lives, how I wield my awakened passions is integral to how my family will wield it. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 8 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. 2 Sprints (10 reps), 2 Jogs (30 min), 2 Bikes (10 min), and 2 Racquetball sessions. Track time and distance. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 800 min total, 200 weekly. STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. Track reps for push-ups and sit-ups AMRAP and daily total. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 1000 min total, 250 weekly. Track progress towards belt. Track improvement on all material. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. CON +2 Keep on cutting out the crap - No CheezIts, limit snacking at work, 6 Dr Peppers a week, and limit cheese to 6 meals a week. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 72 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 18 hours each week. Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge) Dishes (15) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (25) Yard Work (2) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($140.90 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 16 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $20 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PENALTIES: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in. Lose $5 for CheezIts, more than 6 Dr Peppers a week, and more than 6 meals with cheese a week. Lose $1 for each snack.
  3. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "Light. Darkness. A Balance" [WARNING! The Last Jedi and Karate Kid SPOILERS below] When Luke begins training Rey, he has her sit on a rock eyes closed to reach out and sense the Force: Balance is everywhere. It is in the duality of nature, opposing forces and laws of conservation in physics, and in Star Wars, it is in the Force. The Original Trilogy deals heavily in the duality of the Force with Light versus Dark, Jedi versus Sith, Good versus Evil. The Prequel Trilogy muddies the water a little with the Prophecy claiming a chosen one will bring balance to the Force, which can be argued is fulfilled by Vader, first reducing the Jedi order to two Jedi, then killing the emperor, but is the Prophecy real? How many Force wielders exist in the galaxy which we do not even know about? And so on... The Sequel Trilogy is playing with the duality of dark and light, but it is appearing less about the confrontation between the two and more about how the two complement each other. One cannot exist without the other. Snoke says, "Darkness rises and light to meet it," then explains, "I warned my young apprentice that as he grew stronger, his equal in the light would rise." Here's a great article about the lines: https://medium.com/@AliyaSmyth/the-most-important-line-in-the-last-jedi-no-one-is-talking-about-2af5996d1b8 There is more to learn coming in Episode IX about this relationship, but back on Earth, we live with balance everyday. Most are physical elements working with and against each other, which are easy to see and understand, but the mental aspects take a bit of experience to begin to construe the cause and effect elements which influence the balance. In exercise, balance is extremely important, like "don't skip leg day" because strong legs are just as important as strong arms. My back muscle and spine issues are a testament to balance. My body was grown for downhill running and forward momentum power playing football and rugby as adolescent. I neglected to strengthen my lower back or gain flexibility in my hips or abdomen. My body was a rolling boulder which could take hits and keep moving. With all the time punishing my body and neglecting proper exercise balance, my spine and back worsen. These days, I'm learning more and more about proper exercises to help build these problem areas and maintain a proper balance. Karate has been awesome for building balance as well, but even before I started taking karate, I always liked to refer to the original film series "The Karate Kid" to describe this concept of balance. I'll stick with only the 1984 first film in the series to keep this post short (well, shorter). If you haven't seen it (It is on cable constantly! How could you not?), then let me explain it quickly. The first film in the series is a straight forward story about two characters. The main character is a teenage boy named Daniel who moves clear across the country from New Jersey to California. In his new school, Daniel has trouble making friends being bullied by a group of kids from the same karate dojo, the Cobra Kais. The second character is a handyman martial arts master named Mr. Miyagi who agrees to teach Karate to Daniel to help him with his bullying issues. While teaching Karate, Miyagi demonstrates that there is more to the martial art than fighting. He taught Daniel many concepts for better living: the main one being balance. After Daniel learns to block, his next lesson is to learn to balance his body. Daniel is eager to learn to punch, but to quell Daniel’s eagerness Miyagi dispatches this wisdom, “Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home.” Daniel learns to keep his body balanced for his karate moves to efficient and effective without giving his opponents opportunity. Later, the night before the karate tournament Daniel admits his nervous and scared, Miyagi helps Daniel see the bigger picture by saying, “Remember lesson about balance? Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better.” Daniel gets it at the end of the movie after he is hurt in the tournament, he is given the option to forfeit the final match. Miyagi feels Daniel has proved himself to win respect from the bullies going further than anyone expected. Daniel sees the injury and forfeit as the Cobra Kais getting a cheap out. He explains to Miyagi that forfeiting won't give him the balance between himself and the Cobra Kais, nor with himself and his girlfriend, Ally, who is a friend of the Cobra Kais. He has to finish the fight. Win or lose, it would show he is not going to let anything keep him down. That warrior mentality along with his prowess as a karate student is something the Cobra Kais will respect. Balance is the key for everyday living. For diet, you have your "balanced breakfast". You should have three "square" meals a day. Of course, there are other moderate diet options with snacking through out the day, 5 small meals, etc. Your workday and home life needs to be balanced to keep both your employer and family happy. Your body needs to be balanced to stay upright. Your body weight and muscles needs to be balanced to avoid back problems. I see this balance lesson at Toastmasters as well. A Toastmasters participation in meetings should have a balance. There are several different roles, each with their own specific lessons. Prepared speeches teach you how to prepare and formulate a speech. Table Topics teaches you to think on your feet. Speech evaluator teaches you to give encouraging feedback. The leadership roles teach you organization, scheduling, problem solving, coaching, listening, improvisation, and encouragement. To get the full benefits from Toastmasters you need to experience each role. Your Toastmasters experience needs to have a balance. Your whole life needs to have a balance. Weigh things to compare, contrast, and compromise. Use moderation in all things to avoid extremes. Find the light and the dark, then understand where the grey is. [SPOILERS Over] My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 5 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 720 min total, 180 weekly. Updating to challenge current routine. STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. Adding a nightly exercise routine. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 880 min total, 220 weekly. Adding nightly karate practice with family. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. Keep on cutting out the crap. CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 60 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 15 hours each week (reducing for the school year as I need time to help the kids with homework). Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($107.25 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 15 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. MORE WRITING! STOP LOSING EASY MONEY! CONSEQUENCE: Lose $20 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $2 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $10 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  4. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you'll never make it through the night." Hope is something which comes and goes. Like motivation. Or passion. Or love. Each of these need attention to be maintained or it will fade with time. Motivation needs to be refreshed. Passion needs to be re-energized. Love needs to be nurtured. Hope needs to held close to the heart. Hope is attached to these other concepts (motivation, passion, love) as well as others, like dreams, beliefs, etc. Hope is a theme in The Last Jedi and will lead to the epic conclusion in Episode IX. In health and fitness, hope is part of our goals. We hope to our plans work out and we meet our goals moving closer to our dreams... When things go off the rails, our goals are obstructed or appear to be out of reach, those are the moments when hope is most important. It has to be held onto through those moments, return with you to the drawing board, and make it to a positive achievement. Hope in something better is what can get us back up after a failure. If we let even a little hope go, then it can all slip through like sand in your hands. Maintaining hope is best done with priorities. We prioritize our lives by what matters to us. Most of us would say that family is our number one priority. Tie your hope for your goal to your number one priority, then it will never fade. My hope is to be a Jedi who influences the world to make it a better place for my children and their children to inherit. That drives me to coach, mentor, and teach others. It drives me to make changes in my life to be a proper role model for everyone who may look up to me. Another hope I have is to maintain a healthy body so that I can take care of my family, and give them as much joy and happiness as I am able. My back injury made me grumpy and sedentary due to pain and discomfort. I committed myself to fixing it. Part of that was financially through doctor visits, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and a spinal injection. The other part is making changes in my daily life to correct poor posture and spinal issues through exercise, diet, and better sitting practices. Hope is your life line. Without hope, your life may be lost. Keep that life line strong with prioritization. With hope, you will always be rescued. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 4 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 800 min total, 200 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. Cut out the crap. Eat salads, not burritos. Eat fruit, not cookies. Eat carrots, not Cheez-Itz. Eat less, not more. TURN UP THE HEAT! TURN DOWN THE EAT! CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 60 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 15 hours each week (reducing for the school year as I need time to help the kids with homework). Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($294.35 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 17 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 15 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $20 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $5 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $2 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $10 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 149.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  5. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care for my spine, hitting the high ranks at karate, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, World 4 feels like something new everyday. I just keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "This is NOT going to go the way you think!" - Luke Skywalker, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi {I avoided spoilers this time!} We can plan and schedule everything in life. We can make assumptions, predictions, and estimations. We can set expectations high or low. None of it may amount to a hill of beans. There are always outside factors, randomness, errors, and poor judgement to throw any perfect plan off track. For each of these, we just reset, re-plan, reschedule, and go again. But nothing every goes exactly how we think. Worrying about it, getting frustrated with it, or crying about it is a waste of time and energy. It is a waste of life. Killing time is not murder, it's suicide. In this spirit, I decided to focus on a few items in different ways for this challenge. Chores and Maintenance I have a lot of control over my time. Others Life Categories are effected by how my free time gets chewed up or manipulated by outside factors. Instead, I'll have those tie into my incentives to push me more in those areas. I upped the stakes on my IJRS Lessons. There have been a lot of things keeping me from doing that, most of it on my shoulders for not making it a priority over other things. After Epic Nerd Camp, it'll be time to get it done. The things I prioritized over it, namely Toastmasters, needs to take a backseat for a bit. My evening Toastmasters club may be folding in September. It just has not gone well. I could go on and on about the new Toastmasters education program and it's online platform, but I already vented about it in an email to another Toastmaster. I feel it has a direct correlation with all of my clubs recent struggles with member retention and recruitment. Even I am having difficulty using it, which just shows how poor the user interface and program design is. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 3 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1, STR +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 800 min total, 200 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions for 24 of 28 days. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly for 24 of 28 days. TURN UP THE HEAT! CON +4 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 80 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 20 hours each week. Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge Dishes (10) Laundry (8) Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (20) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (8) WIS +1, CHA +1 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($257.20 carried over) REWARD: For each week in which I complete 20 or more hours of Chores and Maintenance, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE: For any week where I complete less than 20 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD: $5 for each Personal Project hour (Epic Nerd Camp, Extra Life, Jedi website, VHS-to-DVD conversion project, etc) CONSEQUENCE : Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD: $50 for each completed IJRS lesson. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $10 for each week without completing an IJRS lesson. REWARD: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD: $1 for each morning or night of brushing and flossing. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each morning or night I forget to floss. Lose $2 for NOT flossing for the full day. BONUSES: Life: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training (mentoring, reading/writing, charity, meditation, IJRS lessons). $2 for each hour working on Toastmasters including meetings. $2 for healthy grocery shopping or healthy meal prep. $2 for each Home Renovation or Auto Maintenance hour. Workout: $5 for each cardio session over 30 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 150.0 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any day. Lose $5 for each morning not weighing in.
  6. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and a crooked spine causing nerve root irritation and pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With Chiropractor, Back Pain Injection, Purple Senior, starting the new Toastmasters program called Pathways, a new Toastmasters year with less club leadership responsibility (I need to stop carrying clubs on my back to reduce my stress levels), and working to complete my Novice training at IJRS, this next challenge is going to feel like a new world. I'm not planning to relive my youth by playing rugby or football again, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility of achieving other amazing fitness goals... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: "The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is" - Yoda, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi {The Last Jedi spoilers below} Before viewing "The Last Jedi", many thought Luke would act as Rey's Yoda, dispensing incredible wisdom to the young padawan and train her to be a Jedi knight, making "The Last Jedi" a parallel to "Empire Strikes Back", which it is in many ways and even parallels "Return of the Jedi" in some instances. Instead of Jedi Knight training and memorable philosophical quotes, we get, as one might expect from someone who voluntarily exiled themselves over a traumatic experience which may have doomed the galaxy, a damaged and defeated Jedi Master Luke refuses to teach Rey because he failed in teaching Ben Solo and failed to protect his other students. His failure was not necessarily against Ben or the dark side of the Force. His failure is against fear. In the scene described above, Luke goes to "burn it all down". He is driven to do this through fear of what he and future Jedi would lose should they be trained to oppose the dark side, which is the true Jedi calling. He is ashamed again for acting impulsively, as he did when he ignited his lightsaber to strike down Ben Solo while he slept. Then Yoda invokes the lightning to "burn it all down". It ends up being symbolic as Rey took the ancient Jedi texts. The entire scene and exchange with Yoda boil down to Yoda extending one of the first lessons he bestowed on Luke. Yoda says, "Skywalker, still looking to the horizon. Never here, now, hmm? The need in front of your nose," which is the same lesson from Empire Strikes Back where Yoda says, "This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing." Luke's greatest failure has always been that he is reckless in the moment. He looks at what might be and allows it to cloud his judgement in the moment. Yoda explains that Luke's failure needs to be taught to the student, as failure is the best teacher. Until this part of the film, through Luke's entire life, he never learns from this failure and it is left unclear if he does, but it is assumed by the viewer. His sacrifice at the end is intended to be the spark for a new generation of Jedi and Resistance. The film ends with it unclear if Luke learns from his failure and will part the knowledge on to Rey or other Jedi, except for a hint of a return in what he says to Kylo Ren, but I'm leaving that for another lesson. The lesson today is not Luke's lesson (been there, done that), but that of learning from failure. I'm sure I've been there and done that too, and I'm sure anyone reading this has too. Nerd Fitness creator Steve Kamb writes about it constantly. There are numberous quotes with the sentiment. He's a Google Image search for quotes on the subject: One of my favorites is from Batman: "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up." There is so much more to learn from a failure than a success. First, you learn perseverance and determination. Second, you learn how NOT to be successful. The list can go on and on. Maybe later I can write some more. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 4 Level 1 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 600 min total, 150 weekly STR +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 240 min total, 60 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 560 min total, 140 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 150 weekly. (120 min for Karate test on May 27th) DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 220 Hours of various Tasks or Projects, with at least 55 hours each week. Tasks and Projects are the following areas (goal hours for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8) Leadership Practice (16) Speech and Training Development (4) Jedi Training Padawan Training and Mentoring Others (10) Reading and Writing (18) Meditation and Reflection (7) Completing IJRS Lessons (1) Church and Charity Work (13) Personal Projects (12) Chores and Maintenance Dishes (7) Laundry (8) Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (26) Yard Work (4) Animal Care (32) Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (12) Happiness Self Preservation (23) [includes hot tub, doctor and dentist visits, video games, or anything else I do just for my own sanity or health] Family Activities (16) Adventuring (8) WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($138 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week in which I complete 60 or more hours of Tasks or Projects, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 55 hours, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Personal Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion project CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Personal Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD 6: $1 for each night I brush and floss before bed. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each night I forget to brush. Lose $2 for voluntarily skipping brushing. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $2 for each cardio session over 25 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. Lose $5 for not weighing in each morning
  7. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and a crooked spine causing nerve root irritation and pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: Maz Kanata: Dear child. I see your eyes. You already know the truth. Whomever you're waiting for on Jakku... they're never coming back... But... there's someone who still could. Rey: Luke. Maz Kanata: The belonging you seek is not behind you... it is ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes... Feel it... The light... it's always been there. It will guide you. The saber. Take it. Rey: I'm never touching that thing again. I don't want any part of this. Life will present you with situations which are difficult. Like Finn running from the First Order, you will want to run away from it all. Like Rey, after the horrifying Force Vision, you will want no part in it. Whether you are afraid for yourself or others or whether you just want to stay in your comfort zone, you will find regret in your inaction. Through avoidance and denial, humans tend to lock themselves to behavior and habits which become overwhelming and appear inescapable. Maybe it is a dead end job too difficult to leave, or a family situation too sensitive to handle, or maybe an addiction or habit that is easier to dismiss as inconsequential rather than really seeing the effects it has on yourself or others. Instead of seeing the difficulty, look at it as if life is presenting you an opportunity to challenge yourself and to grow. Growing does not stop when we reach adulthood. Growth can happen every day. You just have to seize the opportunity. The Past is a history lesson from which to learn. The Future is undetermined and can be whatever you choose to make it. The Present is your opportunity to apply the Past to make a brighter Future. It is a gift to be opened every moment. Do not wait for a special occasion. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 12 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 480 min total, 120 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 600 min total, 150 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. CON +2 LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 300 Tasks or Projects, with at least 75 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (12), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (10), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (24), Reading (24), Church Work (8), Job Work (20), Business Projects (12), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (24), Other Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (60), Home Renovation (6), Auto Maintenance (6), Family Activities (12), Adventuring (6). WIS +3, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($207 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week, I complete 80 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 75 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. REWARD 6: $1 for each night I brush and floss before bed. $0 for just brushing. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $1 for each night I forget to brush. Lose $2 for voluntarily skipping brushing. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $2 for each cardio session over 25 min $10 for doubling any weekly minimum PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. Lose $1 for each night I skip tooth brushing Upgraded to Reward 6 Lose $5 for not weighing in each morning
  8. The last challenge was a brilliant flame-out. I went in with the idea that I was going to leap directly into training for 2018, but due to work stress, illness and just lack of personal dedication, the entire challenge cycle was basically a bust. I feel like I'm turning into Luke Skywalker, retreating from the universe to basically hide on a personal sorrow planet of sulky solitude. Anyone who knows me knows that while the Master of the New Jedi Order may be the hero of that galaxy far, far away, he's not the man I want to be. I find him fragile, whiny, and sulky. A man who runs away to hide on Ahch-To after the fall of his Jedi Order to the Knights of Ren is not the kind of Jedi that I would want to be. Sadly, I've only run twice in the past month when my goal is at least three times per week, and I've gained eight pounds since Worlds due to poor fitness habits and eating like the fat man I used to be. Following that path won't allow me to reach my personal goals. Main Goal I am, in theory, training to qualify for the 2018 OCR World Championships, which will be held in England in October. I'll be going regardless - I should be able to register as a Journeyman qualifier by March - but just like 2017, I want to earn my spot through competition as an age-group competitor, and I'd love to post a better finish this coming year as well, now that I have an understanding of what it takes to qualify and what I'm up against when I get there. That said, I'm fighting a couple pretty imposing opponents: age and arthritis. This year, I became part of the "50 and over" age group. Advancing age does crappy things to recovery time, and I can't ignore this. But I can't use it as an excuse. I know several men in my OCR group over 50 who make me look absolutely sedentary. Also, in July of this year, the psoriatic arthritis that I've known was lurking around the corner decided to jump out and attack my knees with a vengeance. I'm at the point where I can tolerate the symptoms and still get in my work, but I will have to be smart, and take care of myself, in order to reach my goals. And while I want to take care of my body and train toward my goal and enjoy racing until I can't do it anymore, I need to remember that I am one 50-year-old man, and not a small army of people half my age. I am scheduled to the absolute max even on non-event weeks, and if I don't do something to take care of myself both mentally and physically, things tend to get very bad very quickly. Goal: Swifter I made a ton of progress here in 2017 and I hope it hasn't all been lost over the past three months. My gains were due to volume (mileage) and programming (speed work). My most obvious issue with remaining consistent here is due to knee pain. Pavement running is painful enough that I don't even want to think about it, and treadmill running is objectively horrible. I love running on trails - I enjoy the quiet and the chance it affords to get away from the rest of my world, and the softer ground hurts less - but now it's winter in Minnesota and I hate winter. I either need to suck it up and get on the treadmill, or I need to suck it up and get on a trail, and I need to do it four times per week, with an absolute minimum of 17 miles per week. Goal: Run four times per week per training plan. Goal: Stronger I attend three classes per week at my gym: two Boot Camp classes and one weightlifting class. This has continued to be a challenge goal as most races happen on Saturdays, and one of my boot camp classes happens on Saturday morning. It's easy to decide to drop While I would perhaps program each of the classes differently, the fact that it's out of my hands is a good thing. I wind up doing things that I wouldn't choose for myself (burpees, box step-ups, lunges, etc.) and so it remains a goal for this challenge. I will be on vacation starting the middle of Week Two, but I have a Personal Training background and can come up with a plan for the Thursday workout. Goal: Strength training three times per week. Goal: Smaller This is my battle against the Dark Side. I have struggled with my weight and my waistline for my entire adult life. Five years ago, I weighed 260 pounds at just under 5ft10in. Through exercise and proper nutrition, I lost between 60 and 70lbs, depending on where I am on a given day. I know what my macros are and I know what the good, whole foods are that make them up. I need to stay on this, every day, and to help with this, I'm going to really simplify things until I get into a groove I can handle. I've been stressing over daily micro-management of macros between run days, strength days and rest days for months, and I've been working at a calorie deficit for the majority of the past three years with very little to show for it around my waist. I'm going to take one stress item off my plate by standardizing my plate: KCal: 2,100 Protein: 125g Carbs: 175g Sodium: 2,800mG Goal: Stick to my macros. Log daily. Goal: Saner I need to keep this on the list for the foreseeable future. Meditation, prayer, alone time, whatever, but it needs to be 30 minutes per day, every day, and cannot be a workout or a run. I NEED this to keep myself centered and sane when my schedule gets overloaded and I get stressed-out and things go sideways. Goal: 30 minutes of quiet time per day. I've got two 10k road runs coming up during zero weekend that I am absolutely not looking forward to, and I've got a Spartan Beast in Florida after Week Two. The Spartan will close out my second Spartan Trifecta of 2017 and will be my 9th Trifecta in three years. For all the whinging I feel like I've done over the past month, I need to keep sight of the fact that I've changed myself from morbidly-obese, borderline hypertensive, borderline diabetic into something else entirely. Here's to a better challenge.
  9. Main Goal On October 14, 2017, I participated as an Age Group competitor at the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships. It was an amazing experience, an emotional high, and the hardest thing I have ever done to date. The mountain climbs were excruciating, the descent in the rain treacherous, and the obstacles appropriately difficult for a world-championship event. While I'm generally pleased with how my run went, I'm not satisfied. I finished the course and attempted every obstacle. I failed several on the back third of the course due to both poor weather conditions and poor physical conditioning. I can do better. And I'm not waiting until 2018 to start. Next Year starts now. For the first time this year, I have no scheduled events during a challenge cycle. That means it's time to set specific, concrete training goals that will help me to perform better in 2018 than I did in 2017. I'm fighting against a couple pretty big and imposing opponents: age, and arthritis. This year, I advanced to the "50 and over" age group, and in July psoriatic arthritis decided to rear its ugly head by attacking my knees with a vengeance. I'm at the point where I can tolerate the symptoms and still get in my work, but I will have to be smart, and take care of myself, in order to implement my goals. Finally, I need to remember that I am one 50-year-old man, and not a small army of people half my age. I am scheduled to the absolute max even on non-event weeks, and if I don't do something to take care of myself both mentally and physically, things will get bad very quickly. Goal: Speed At 40 I had the cardio health scores of a dead man; now at 50, I have decent cardio health, but am still working on speed and endurance. Arthritis makes this hard, but it's still something I can do. Road running just flat-out hurts afterward - I am NOT looking forward to my two Thanksgiving weekend 10K runs - but trail running is much softer on the joints and I absolutely love the quiet and serenity. I have a training plan, given to me by my teammate and coach, Josh. We talked about it this last weekend riding the gondola to the top of the mountain at OCRWC. It works. It's made me faster than I ever have been. It's time to get back to focusing on the plan. Goal: Run three times per week per my training plan. Goal: Strength OCRWC showed me that while I am generally strong enough for most events, I still need work on grip strength, strength endurance, and upper-body strength. Fortunately, I love my strength classes at my gym, and getting back into the habit of maintaining a more consistent schedule will help me with the results I want to see. Goal: Strength training classes (weightlifting, boot camp) three times per week - Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Goal: Small I made progress here this year, but I've got a ways to go to get the body I want. Running consistently will help, but if there's a singular truth that applies to fitness and weight loss, it's this: I can't outrun my fork. I know my macros, and while macros are pretty accurate at getting me to where I want to be, I've been playing fast and loose with the composition of those macros, and it has shown. Cheap proteins and simple carbs make me bloat and get stored as fat by my body really easily. Aside from sticking to my macros, I need to make solid food choices as well: lean proteins, complex carbs, and plenty of steamed vegetables. Loosely-based on IIFYM calculator Goal: Log all food intake, and report daily Goal: Sanity I'm over-scheduled, Period, Full Stop. I use my gym routines and the running routine I want to establish to take back a bit of that sanity, but as a training regimen starts to form, it will just be one more thing on my plate. This means that every day, I will need to carve out 15 to 30 minutes of time for just me. Away from the work pager, away from my computer, social media, away from my phone, away from my gym shoes and my running shoes and my kids and my GF and the stupid cats and just everything else. That may be a short walk in the evening or a small meditation or something similar. Goal: 15-30 minutes of solitude daily I actually thought long and hard about just maintaining a Battle Log going forward since the last year was mostly what you see here as far as goals and the next year will be just a continuation of the same, but running a challenge at least keeps me moderately accountable to my amazing Rebels and if it's not broke, I'm not fixing it. Thanks for helping me stay the course.
  10. Main Goal This is it. At the end of this challenge, I'll be traveling to Blue Mountain, Ontario, 12 October to 15 October for the 2017 OCR World Championships. I qualified as an Age Group competitor during the Spartan Sprint in Illinois in June, and will be competing in Saturday's 15k Standard Course race in the 50-and-over Age Group. I spent almost a full year building toward this race, but like in years past, I am coming into the fall season at less than my peak. Unlike previous years, however, my issues are not due to injury, but to my now-constant running companion, knee pain of varying intensity due to psoriatic arthritis. I'm coming to grips with this development, and learning when to be smart and back off, and when to push through. First, according to my doctor, the best thing I can be doing is moderate exercise. Now, he and I have a differing opinion on what constitutes "moderate," but that's a different argument. Second, I almost never experience pain while I'm exercising (especially if I'm smart and use KT tape on my knees). Pain comes later, so what I'm really dealing with is post-activity pain management. Knowing those things, and knowing that I now have five weeks until I step into the gate, here's my challenge: Goal: Run so that I don't finish last I've used my knee pain for a crutch for a good two months now, and either I need to come to grips with finishing dead last at Worlds and potentially being pulled from the course as a DNF, or I have to start running with intent. I have five weeks to build up some proficiency here, and I'm not starting from scratch. Goal: Run a minimum of four days per week. Must include a long run (7+ miles) on the weekend. Goal: Work Out so I don't lose my grip This is a World Championship course. They are bringing in signature obstacles from literally all over the world (Dragon's Back, Urban Sky, others I won't know about until they are confirmed) that will include at least one long, miserable uphill carry. Last year's race included a half-mile Wreck Bag carry up and down a Black Diamond run and the US OCR Championships at the beginning of this month had a Yoke Carry that people said was a quarter mile of misery. I need to keep up my strength. There will also be a good five or six rigs. I'm pretty proficient at rings and bars and whatnot but vertical grips get me. I've got five weeks to fix the fail here. I haven't abandoned my Grease the Groove pull-up work, but I need to modify it to include towel pull-ups: Goal: Strength Training Classes 2x per week. This includes both weight training and boot camp. Goal: 16 pull-ups per day, at least 8 with the towel Goal: Eat so that I look good in my jersey This may sound ridiculous and vain, but I'm really worried about this. I ordered one of the USA team jerseys from Legendborne, because while I plan on being able to compete in this sport for a long time, age and arthritis are catching up with me and who knows where the event will be held next year, whether I will qualify, or whether my body will be physically able to handle it. So I dove in and ordered one of these. All reports say that they fit tighter than my North Star Spartans jersey, and I have two of those and my GF doesn't prefer my tight-fit style. Legendborne doesn't have a loose-fit option, so I'm going to get something that fits tight like the above, only it won't come with the pre-sculpted six-pack as shown in the image above. My jersey will be here before the start of this challenge and I'm worried it's going to fit like a sausage casing. I'd be completely screwed, but I know what works for me as far as macros and weight loss, and I will be focusing on cutting weight over the next five weeks in order to meet my goal of not looking like I'm going to burst the seams on this thing: Goal: Be at or under my macro goals every day. Goal: Be accountable and Don't Give Up This challenge will be bracketed by Rugged Maniac on the Saturday of Week Zero and end with OCRWC on Saturday of Week Four. I have to stay accountable or I will not meet my goals for this year. This means no disappearing from the boards here. Y'all can't hold me accountable if I ghost out of here. Especially since my challenge recap should conclude with me holding one of these: It won't be gold as that's a podium place... but I want mine. Five Weeks of No Excuses.
  11. Main Goal I'm still training toward my 2017 goal. I'm going to Blue Mountain, Ontario, 12 October to 15 October for the 2017 OCR World Championships. I qualified as an Age Group competitor during the Spartan Sprint in Illinois in June, and will be competing in the 50-and-over Age Group. I've been waiting since the beginning of November 2016 to say I'm one of them. I will have eight weeks between the start of this challenge cycle and my date with Blue Mountain. That's about the right amount of time for me to be able to concentrate on a goal, and follow through. As part of my training, on August 12, I am running my first-ever Half Marathon. I would like to not finish last. I am still slow as a road runner and suck at distances. These are weaknesses that I can train in tangible ways. This is more or less the training that has got me here, so in order to continue 2017's successes, I'm pretty much keeping the same goals as always: Run Lift Heavy Things Don't Eat Stupid Adding in a fourth that makes sense: Self Care That's going to cover not only things like "Don't abuse those knees and take a break if you need it when I'm working out" to "Take a day to myself and avoid literally everyone if I feel like I'm crashing." I'll add in important stuff like my weekly workout schedule and my specific macros later. Still moving forward toward the goal. Can't wait for the reveal on this year's bling.
  12. I'm 5'5, 120lb (maybe, I could be more or less. I don't own a scale) female, 21 years old. I've always fluctuated between 105-130lbs, and I generally eat pretty healthily. I have 7 autoimmune disorders, and have been diagnosed with 5 chronic pain illnesses. One of my chronic pain illnesses is JIA - idiopathic arthritis. I have been diagnosed with JIA since I was 8 months old. Because of the arthritis, I have permanent joint damage in both elbows, both knees, and my left ankle. I cannot fully extend or bend my elbows and my knees. I've been on prednisone for most of my life, and relied on it whenever I would exercise, because it helped manage swelling and pain. But I cannot take it anymore because it had negative effects. Anyways, I would like to focus on strength training. I've been tracking my calories for the past week and found that I was only getting about 900-1100 calories (I'm an engineer, and we don't usually get much exercise in the office), usually because I forget breakfast, then eat a handful of nuts during the day, and have a bowl of rice for dinner when I get home. So, I've been increasing my calorie count and started trying to remember to eat a lot of protein. I do not want to lose weight, I want to gain muscle and strength. I have been going to the gym for about a month, about 5 times each week. Mostly I do 10 minutes of the elliptical, then stretch, and then I work through the machines for a full body work out on M/W/F, on my off days I usually just go and do 20 minutes on the elliptical and some ab exercises. I can lift from 20lbs-40lbs, but only using the machines. But I have only lost more weight, and I do not feel like I am gaining much muscle at all. There are not a lot of resources available for someone my age with arthritis on how to work out safely. The few resources that are available, do not recommend strength training and usually tell us to "maintain a healthy weight so daily activities aren't difficult." I would like to be capable of much more than just existing! I do not have access to a pool, so those exercises are not possible. Sorry, this post is all over the place. What are the best *beginner* strength training exercises I could do that won't damage my joints further? I would like to eventually work my way up to the dumbbell, but it seems like that's a long way away.
  13. Good morning! Welcome to the Battle Log of Simply4Awesome. Please place your belongings in the containment unit in front of you. Just a reminder that arms, legs, small children, and other appendages should be kept inside the vehicle at all times. Why this log? To keep track of what I'm doing and the progress I am making. I currently don't have any means to measure/weigh-in/count calories so I can only judge success by the number of reps I can achieve. Knee Circles - 100 rotations clockwise 100 rotations counterclockwise Squats - 25 Wide Squats - 10 Planks - 2x30 seconds forearm 1x30 seconds straight-arm Toe Taps - 7 on each side This is my current work-out plan. Eventually I want to add in push-ups (my wrists aren't quite strong enough to handle my body-weight yet) and increase the number of toe taps to something more impressive than 7. I also want to add a "guest exercise" starting December 1st. The guest exercise would be in addition to these and I would do it for a month and then start a new "guest exercise". Feel free to suggest guest exercises to add to my regimen!
  14. Taking Down Demons Everyone's got their demons. Mine happens to be a 1950s housewife in pink and pearls who always says "yes, dear" and raises 15 perfect children (all natural, home births). I call her "The Princess" and I've already gone one round with her, rather successfully. Time for round two. As an incurable tomboy raised in a culture of high expectations for classically feminine, stay-at-home-mom, domestic women, I've always felt wrong. Out of place. Even broken at times. I've stood in front of the mirror and hated myself for my boyish posture, my penchant for short haircuts, my loud voice, my absent maternal instinct, and my complete inability to keep house. No more! Since being with my completely amazing husband who thinks I am, in his words, "worth a lot of shits," I have begun to find my worth. This challenge is about holding onto that and being ever more confident in who I am. Emma Stone is my spirit animal for this challenge because, well, she's awesome. Still Dem Abs Yeah, I still want a six-pack by summer. So I'm going to continue to work on it, but I'm raising the bar. This time, I have to work abs for a full 20 minutes, 5 times a week. I can split that 20 minutes into smaller segments as I have time, but by the time I sleep I have to have gotten 20 minutes in. I'm also going to squat along with this. Now that I can, I want to all the time. At the end of the last challenge my legs were finally the same size for the first time since I was probably 10 years old. This is brilliant progress for me and I don't want to stop working leg strength just because I'm not in the gym anymore. A: 20+ min of abs/squats 5x per week B: Miss 1-2 C: Miss 3-4 D: MIss 5-6 Fail: Miss 7+ Yoga Bear Arthritic joints like variety, so I'm going to lay off the weights for this challenge and do some stretching and strengthening yoga-style. I've done yoga the last couple days since the last challenge ended and I can already tell that this will be more difficult than my last challenge. Which is good, because my last challenge proved too tame. There are definitely going to be balance issues thanks to vertigo, but I think that's good. I've had a real flare-up of dizzy spells lately and I need to re-train my brain and my inner ear to communicate. I think the focus and relaxation required to hold poses in yoga will help my eyes and my ear re-adjust to reality again. It actually feels pretty similar to the therapy I went through last year. In regards to my overall goals, I think a calm, strong center will help me to balance all the stressful feels I have about myself. It will give me a space, 30 minutes per day, to forget about all the noise and just really focus on myself. I'm not into all the spiritual side of yoga, but I have been to chiropractors enough to know that when tension in muscles and joints is released, it can make mental and emotional stress much easier to handle rationally. Yoga just gives me instructions and ideas for how to string those stretches together. I'm hoping that by the end of the challenge I'll be able to chuck the videos and just string together flows of my own so I don't have to listen to yogis go on about weird spiritual stuff. A: 30+ min of yoga 5x per week B: Miss 1-2 C: Miss 3-4 D: Miss 5-6 Fail: Miss 7+ Swing, Swing I may be eschewing most weights for this challenge, but I'm going to keep at those kettlebells! Since I started using them so recently, my joints haven't had time to get bored and weird about the movement, plus, I love them. Swinging kettlebells makes me feel so powerful, which fits in with my overall goal nicely. I'm going to keep a minimum of 10 minutes of kettlebell swinging on my daily routine. This brings my total daily exercise time up to 1 hour. Which is all I have time for, as I walk the dog for an hour a day also. 2 hours is plenty of time to devote to exercise in my life. A: 10+ min of KB 5x per week B: Miss 1-2 C: Miss 3-4 D: Miss 5-6 Fail: Miss 7+ Life Goal: Clean Up Dat Book A couple weeks ago I got my manuscript back from an editor. I wrote the book in November, did the first pass of edits in December, my editor marked it up in January, and here we are halfway through February and I'm doing the next round of cleanup. Ideally, I would finish by the end of the month, but the arrival of my marked-up manuscript concurred tragically with my discovery of and subsequent torrid romance with CivilizationV. Tragic. I need to get on that book. I need to edit at least 10 pages per day to get it done in a timely manner. There's no deadline outside my own mind, but my mind is a harsh taskmaster. The biggest hurdle to this work, after Civ, is that my confidence in the work is very inconsistent. Objectively, I could say it's the best full-length novel I've ever completed. But I worry. And I talk myself out of loving it. And I convince myself that no one else will love it. And that needs to stop. A: 10pg of edits 5x per week B: Miss 1-2 C: Miss 3-4 D: Miss 5-6 Fail: Miss 7+ (Unlike the other goals, this one allows catch-up. Ex: if I only edit 7 pages one day, I can do an extra 3 later to make up.) In Conclusion: This challenge is all about confidence, mental strength, emotional stability, and six-pack abs.
  15. I'm back, sort of. I miss the challenge. I've been watching via WildRoss...but, I have not been able to do much of anything, because of more surgeries, moving, and blah blah blah(cue Charlie Brown's teacher voice here) It's time. The time is NOW. I have lost 25 pounds since Jan 1, and I only have about 100 to go. I have lost much muscle strength, but that can be regained! The time that I have wasted eating wrong and not exercising, to the degree that I could have at whatever time and place I was at, cannot be regained. But I can say right now, right here, NO MORE! I will not be 100% paleo to the detriment of friends and family...and our times together, but I will be 100% paleo to the best of my ability, and I will make mindful choices for leaving this protocol that has brought so much health. I have been given some limitations for my exercise...main caution? listen to your body....if it hurts, stop. recoup. start again. I made some friends here a long time ago, and I dropped off the face of the earth. Well, not really, I had more surgery. I was embarrassed that I couldn't do any challenges. And, I felt like a loser. That stops NOW! I don't know where I can get to, I don't know what long term goals to set, but I do know that I have to do MORE today than yesterday...and that has been my goal. If I have to take a day of rest so that I can go further tomorrow than yesterday - THAT IS TAKING CARE OF ME TO GET STRONGER! A day of rest, or a week of rest after long stressful events, is going to be important...and, I was afraid to put that on here. I am here again, in order to be inspired by my husband, and our daughter...and anyone else that chooses to be part of the rebuilding of Lady WildRoss. I'm glad to be back...
  16. Challenge: Core of Steel Last challenge, I blew it. Just a few days before the end, I peaced out of the forums, stopped replying to threads, completely disappeared. There were a lot of reasons for that but the simple answer is that when your brother gets married right in the middle of the holidays, family tensions run high. Add a Lyme flare and you have no time for forum-ing. I did, however, stay in the gym. In fact, I've worked harder than ever. I'm there for an hour 5-6 days a week at the moment and still building muscle and joint stability like a boss. If the honorable assassins can find it in their cold, dark hearts to give a novice a second chance, I'd like to return a bit late for this challenge. My husband has kicked my butt in this direction saying, "Those nerds are why you started caring about fitness, you need to go back." So here I am. Here are my humble goals: Abs, abs, abs STR +3 A: Work abs 4x per week B: Miss 2-4 ab sessions C: Miss 5-7 ab sessions D: Miss 8-10 ab sessions Fail: Miss 11+ ab sessions Pull, pull up DEX +4 A: Accomplish 1 unassisted pull up B: Practice pull ups 4x per week C: Miss 2-4 pull up sessions D: Miss 5-7 pull up sessions Fail: Miss 8+ pull up sessions Eat, eat, eat CON +3 A: No more than 3 treats per week B: 2-4 extra treats C: 5-7 extra treats D: 8-10 extra treats Fail: 11+ treats (Treat = dessert of any kind, any dairy except greek yogurt) Rubric, partially begun as these are my standing goals for life anyway: Abs: 4/4 0/4 0/4 0/4 0/4 0/4 | 0/24 Pull: 5/4 0/4 0/4 0/4 0/4 0/4 | 0/24 Eat: 4/3 0/3 0/3 0/3 0/3 0/3 | 0/18
  17. Main Quest: Lose 5 lbs. Side Quest 1: Do 30 minutes of yoga 5 days each week. Side Quest 2: Drink 80 oz (calculated based on weight) of water per day. Side Quest 3: Go on at least 2, 20 minute walks each week. Life Side Quest: Write for 30 minutes 5 days each week. I have finally gotten fed up with this mortal shell and have decided to shuck it off for a new one- and by that I mean upgrade this one, because apparently Wal Mart doesn't sell those. Weight control is especially key for me due to my wonderful companion, arthritis. Getting those first five pounds (well, last five pounds, they are leftovers from my last weight loss, very successful, but those damn five pounds are like the dirt at the edge of the dust pan) will hopefully be the tipping point for my weight loss part two... erm... three, it's been a journey! Spreadsheets are my specialty and I made a cute little one with smiley faces to track my successful completion of objectives and am ready to begin- albeit a week late!
  18. Hey everyone! I am determined to get fit again after I let my own back issues get the best of me! The problem is that I have no clue what some good strength training exercises I can do without killing my back (until I can get my strength up). For your info in answering this, I have hip bursitis, sciatica and lower lumbar arthritis, but it's not going to rule my life anymore! If anyone has/had the same issues and can give advice on where to begin so I don't hurt myself I would GREATLY appreciate it!!
  19. With one challenge under my belt, I think it's time to start a battle log and follow a few others. Background on Max: Diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 4, went into remission at 12, symptoms recurred at 15 and suffered in sheer confusion until finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease just this past March. I've spent most of my life sick and/or in pain, without much drive to work out or strengthen my body. With a fatalistic, "oh I'll just flare again and lose all my progress" perspective, I've spent a lot of time on the couch, and no time at all in the gym. With my diagnoses in hand and the examples of heroic fellow Lyme sufferers to follow, I've decided to take control for the first time since high school. There may not be a place on a soccer team for me anymore, but there is a possible future of greater strength, stability, and fewer incidents of falling and being unable to get up off the floor. In July when my doctor told me there was nothing more he could do for me, I knew I had to start doing for myself. Within a few weeks I had begun seriously exercising for the first time in years, starting with movements taught me by a physical therapist. I joined Nerd Fitness around that time and did my first challenge. It hurt. Tears were shed, blood was spilled, sports bras were purchased. And I finished. I completed my challenge with a great score and I have baby muscles to show for it. I can even walk up the stairs without using the raiiing for the first time in years. Moving forward: I think I will use this space to woot about success and be honest about failure. I'll post my daily workout, and probably some pictures of my dog. If I see progress, I'll post pictures of it. If any of you have experience with Lyme or other inflammation-related diseases, I would very much welcome ideas or advice. Especially on how to stretch with limited range of motion in joints. Here's to a fantastic journey. Peace.
  20. Does anyone have experience wearing Vibram FiveFingers with inflammation in their feet? I read about FiveFingers in one of Steve's posts and was intrigued. Turns out my absolutely favourite slippers (which are sandals in real life) are Vibrams and they feel excellent. Working out completely barefoot can be hard on my feet sometimes, so I'm hoping FiveFingers might have just enough support and cushioning while still giving me the feeling of being barefoot. Any thoughts?
  21. Hi there, rebels! Just thought I'd say hello and introduce myself. You can see me below, doing my best 2-D impression. I'm a young nerdling, just a few years down the road of Sy-Fy originals, D&D nights, and video game release date countdowns. Still haven't been to my first comic-con, so I suppose I'm not a true nerd, but I'm working on it. I'm also new to the land of fitness, as evidenced by the flabby arms in the aforementioned picture. Hoping to join the Assassins Guild after my first challenge to build some strength, agility, and joint stability in recovery from years of arthritis. Speaking of which, any other chronically ill folks here? It's going to be a rough road thanks to my health and I'd love to walk it with nerds in the same boat. Excited about what this community will add to my life! And pleased to meet you all. Max Curtis Baby Nerd
  22. Since age 17, I've had a mild arthritic condition (which acts like RA, but apparently isn't exciting enough to officially call rheumatoid arthritis). Does anyone have any experience with exercising despite an inflammatory condition? My dream is to study dance or parkour or martial arts, but I'm afraid to commit in case I don't feel well enough to carry through. Any advice?
  23. Despite not knowing a thing about gaming (is that blasphemous?), I have quirky tendencies all the same, such as reading excessively, cooking everything from scratch, and spewing obscure historical information to uninterested audiences. In the last couple of years, I went from the high end of a normal BMI, to underweight, to the low end of normal. Now I want to build muscle, increase my flexibility and improve my endurance. Essentially, I want to be the ultimate Assassin (with the occasional meanderings into Druid and Monk territory to round out my deadliness.) My major barrier is the fact that I've been diagnosed with an arthritic condition. It's pretty mild, but it still puts a damper on things. No excuses, though! I do all the cooking and food shopping in my family, giving me complete control of the kitchen (cue evil cackling). My diet is completely unprocessed and plant-based, but I sometimes struggle to remember "hara hachi bu" - eat only until 80% full. That's what Okinawans remind themselves before eating. Maimonides wrote something similar - overeating even healthy food is tremendously damaging. Problem is that when I was really careful, I lost too much weight. As in everything balance is key, I guess. Long-winded intro over. You can now go back to whatever you were doing before.
  24. Hi, everyone! I'm new to the site - spent a lot of last weekend enjoying the archives. Time to jump in. Background: I'm from the northern Great Plains of the U.S., now living in the high desert western Rockies, hence my user name, roughly "rain hope". I miss rain and green! There are perks to being out here, though - lots of good hiking and no mosquitoes, for a start. Three years ago I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis after a long and miserable saga, of which I will spare you the details. Anyway, by the time I had a correct diagnosis, my latest "flare" was over and the insurance co. wouldn't support any treatment. This turned out to be a blessing, because I haven't had a flare since (my doc says that's unusual) and am so far med-free. This challenge is a good fit with my efforts to maintain my health and ability as much as possible through lifestyle. So, goals: 1. Twenty minutes of yoga every morning. This will probably end up replacing my early morning email/facebook check-in. Not necessarily a bad thing. Also, it will help get my spine moving first thing. I'm a yoga newbie (unless watching Lilias as a kid counts), so I'm going with a Rodney Yee beginner's video to start off. 2. Be able to complete 30 stair push-ups (fourth step) by the end of the challenge. Right now I can barely do five. Yup. I hope this is a realistic goal, but I really have no idea... 3. Eat 9 servings of fruits/veggies every day. I'm pretty consistently at seven already, so nine is the final hurdle. I've found by focusing on eating enough fruits & veg I don't eat as much other junk, and I end up feeling pretty good. For now I'm not worrying about how many of the nine are veg and how many are fruit - just going for the total. 4. Be outside 15 minutes each day, walking, playing, bird-watching, or whatever. This is my meditation/lifestyle goal. Sometimes I forget that there's a lot of beauty here to enjoy, be it up in the mountains or in my own garden, even in the cold and snow. Looking forward to getting to know everyone. Peace. R
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