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  1. Alright, due to some arm twisting gentle encouragement from @Mad Hatter @KB Girl and @starpuck I'm back to the forum for an actual challenge. I've been toying with the idea of a class or two at the local circus studio to get back to my assassin-y habits, but the call of the iron has been irresistible for the past few months, so this assassin will be spending some time attempting to blend in over at the warrior's camp. My roots are there, since I lifted for about a decade before all my silks and rope shenanigans, so I shouldn't stand out as too blatant a tourist. For this challenge I'll be continuing my lifting according to the free Stronger by Science templates. If you aren't familiar with the Stronger by Science folks, you can check them out here https://www.strongerbyscience.com/newsletter/ Their free templates are fantastically well thought out, free, and just smart. Their newsletter is excellent and science based (as you may expect) and also highly recommended if you like to get into the how's and why's of training, exercise, and nutrition. I started with a couple runs through their beginner templates (starting in April-ish). At the end of August I finished my second run through their intermediate templates. I took a de-load for a few days then promptly came down with the mother of all head colds (no positive rona test, though). As of today I'm about 90% back to normal so should be able to get back to lifting in the next day or two for my third (and final--probably) run through this part of the program. The template runs for four weeks at a time, so given some of the unforeseen circumstances that inevitably come up, that's an ideal training bock to fit into a challenge. Once complete, I will likely swap over to a program out of their paid bundle ($10 for 6 different 21-week programs including a Program Builder to create your own--excellent deal), with the intent to bulk. It'll be my first real bulk and I'm slightly terrified of it, but that is an issue for FutureSylph (and also gives current sylph 4-6 weeks to come to grips with that). Background-y intro stuff: Oh, and I suppose I should have some sort of goal thing, eh? Lifting The way I have my SBS templates laid out currently is to bench 2x week, squat 2x week and deadlift 1x week, split into three different workouts. So the goal is 3 lifting days per week. Sometimes life stuff happens and this gets pushed to only 2 per week but I'm okay with that. If I start the 4-week program tomorrow or Monday and finish it by the time this challenge is over, cool. Think About Bulking As mentioned, I've never done a proper bulk. I know I will have Feelings about that as a good part of my identity is wrapped up in being a smol person. I will likely spew some musings about that here. Show Up for Myself I tend to get too caught up in other people participating in my thread and get sad when it's just me talking to myself or reporting progress and as such my participation in my own thread goes down. I love you all, but you shouldn't have that much control over my mood. So, I will continue to report out here and will make an effort to be less of a silent lurker in everyone else's threads as well. I guess that's about it. My head's still a little stuffed up and my voice sounds like I'm a pack-a-day smoker (better than earlier this week when it was more like six-packs-a-day) so depending on how all of that resolves, either tomorrow or Monday will be lifting day 1 on traversal 3 through my SBS Intermediate templates.
  2. The sun shone brightly as Juliebarkley enjoyed her walk. Today felt much like all the other summer days before, but the calendar said otherwise. The time of warm summer days was quickly passing, and though it was hard to believe in this moment, the cold and snow would soon be here. She smiled a sad smile as she thought of how many of these lovely summer days she had wasted indoors, and began to run through the tasks and errands she wished she had done while it lasted. No use in regretting what's past, she thought with a sigh. Enjoy what's left of summer, but it's time to prepare for winter too. Besides, who knows what new adventures the winter will bring? That thought lightened her step as she continued on her way. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (I need more exciting character segments. ) This challenge encompasses the gradual cooling-off time that leads into winter. While it is still warm and pleasant outside I want to make the most of that, but I also need to squirrel away energy and good habits leading into winter. This is going to be particularly important this year, because my little family is going through a big change. My son has more or less decided to enrol in the local high school for his final year of schooling, both for the experience (as it is his last opportunity), and in order to make the university application process easier. (We still have to talk with the guidance staff to make sure it'll work out, but it's looking good.) Since we've been homeschooling up until this point, this is a major change for both of us. He's going to need support, and I'm going to need to be able to provide it. Which means I also need to work on supporting myself. So with that in mind, the goals for this challenge. STR/DEX: Mostly I just want to do some exercise every day, but for a change, I want to do it outdoors. I've got skipping ropes and other fun stuff that I just never use, so let's have a little fun! I also have a library book out on parkour, so this might be a good time to look for things like rails of appropriate height to practice things on (since I now live in a place where these things exist). INT: Continue my plan of 1 non-fiction and 1 fiction per month. I haven't picked these out yet for this month, but I now have a nice organized pile to choose from, thanks to my success last challenge. WIS: I let my faith practice slide again the last couple of months, so I'd like to brush it back off and improve it. Participate in a weekly service OR watch one recorded. Read a small amount of scripture by stacking on already established habits. Daily prayer in some form. I'd love to get some formal prayer in; we shall see. CHA: I've been lax in my volunteering. Four hours a week is hard. I've been getting too tired by my scheduled time to do it, then I do nothing. But something a week at whatever time should be doable, and would break the cycle of "not perfect, so do nothing". Log in and do something at least once per week. Occupational: This is also lax, and another thing where I fall into the "if you can't do everything, do nothing" trap. Either do something in front of a microphone/editor or something with books every day. No time requirement, just something to break the inertia. Organizational: If you feel like it, do something from the paper pile or try pile. Just an extra, not a requirement (as long as the piles aren't being added to). Language: Continue current habits. Find a new Big Goal for French this year. I was going to find a one-shot D&D session to play in, but I'm in a lot of TTRPG games right now and I don't want to add another. Suggestions welcome. Other: Make a list of things that really should be done while it's still warm out (ie. things I will absolutely not do if it is cold) and do them. These can be important things or just for fun.
  3. *looks at calendar* Yikes. School has started, the fall and winter holidays are fast approaching, kids sports are starting up again/getting added, and I have an actual roller derby bout in the not-too-distant future (exact date set, but not public yet). I am going to lay out some stretch goals, but will be happy with surviving. With any luck I'll land somewhere in the middle. First - during zero week, I will finish assembling my exercise equipment so I can actually start lifting. It's been sitting in the basement half-built for too long. After that... Sleep! I need to get up at 6am now to get breakfast around for the kids before school and then start work early enough that I can be done around the time they get home. Which super sucks, because my body is not a fan of that schedule. So I'm going to do my best to get to bed at a reasonable time (10:30ish) most days of the week. Eat! Going to continue my quest to get to 80% healthy. I've got a meal plan I like, I just need to do a better job of following it. Move! This is going to be a mix of roller derby practices, RDA workouts (with the weights), and running. Yes, running. I still hate it, but it will help with derby, and Little Bug has expressed interest in the NF 5k training that's running now (no, didn't intend that pun, but I'm leaving it), so we're going to hop in on that a week late. And then hopefully run a 5k on Halloween!
  4. Week 0 Mini Walking Challenge Goal - complete all 5 days 5-Week Challenge ***of Exploration!!!*** It's been a minute since I've done a 5-week challenge. Consistency, small steps, building habits - none of those are my strengths. My word for 2022 is "Forgiveness," mostly for myself, so I'm just gonna remember my achievements and keep moving forward. So for this challenge, it's going to be a little nebulous but be a space for finding what I like to do and when. I keep trying to wake up at a certain time (never happens) or work out after work (fall asleep instead - thanks fatigue issue!). I've completely realigned my life to better match my values so I better take advantage of this! Goals: I asked myself what activities I really like doing. Walk, belly dance, yoga, Les Mills workouts, and roller skate (though I can't stand up on roller skates anymore ). Finish the 6 week online belly dance beginner class strong. I have 3 more classes left as of this week. Try these different activities at different times with the GOAL of regular exercise (even if once a week) by end of challenge. Eat the stuff in my pantry. I'm really bad at nutrition and overeating, but I think working on the pantry will get me out of my little box, too. Use my pantry goods as the inspiration for the grocery list Drink more water. (Not drinking water is practically my current challenge: how long can I go without waaaaater.) Track water and drink the cool new turmeric & ginger tea before coffee. Me trying to wake up before 7am
  5. One of the things I enjoy most about parkour and freerunning is the mental aspect, like problem solving/dealing with fear, etc. With flipping, I sometimes just need to put in reps, which lacks the mental aspect and can get boring. Pursuing other things like staff spinning, diving, tricking, etc can keep my mind working and makes my life more interesting. Main quest Keep it fresh Side quest Read one issue of Scientific American a week
  6. No, not that kind of axe. This kind of axe: Yes, this is going to be a do-over for my last challenge, because basically I got hexed and: 1) I dislocated a rib in my upper back and could not even take a full breath without a world of pain, which meant I spent most of my none-work hours laying on a heating pad. 2) It took 3 WEEKS of chiropractic work to get said rib back into place because apparently my spine curves in ways it is not supposed to. 3) My hormones lost their shit, probably due to the sudden drop to zero in physical activity for three weeks. 4) Minor depressive episode, probably triggered by all of the above. 5) A close relative of Aries passed away. So, we are going to try this again. Mostly as an excuse to use that pic again I am going to work on slowwwwwly incorporating some training back into my routine (the injury happened five-ish weeks ago), but this is gonna be a DEX and CON heavy challenge in terms of fitness. Goals: [STR]: Aim for light workouts 2x per week (optional as injury allows) [DEX]: Stretch/yoga at least 3x per week [CON]: 50,000steps/week during weeks in office, 30,000steps/week when wfh [INT]: Stay on top of work and MBA homework and don't die [CHA]: Practice guitar/bass for at least 5min/5x per week
  7. I know it's been a while since I did a challenge thread, but I haven't been on hiatus exactly. I've just been lurking while distracted by life. But after a week recovering from Dragoncon, I think I'm past due to get back to the forums. This challenge is going to be very laid back as I focus on rebuilding the habits I still haven't gotten back to. Current goals: -Do a dedicated workout 3x a week. Most of these are just going to be 30min walks to minimize barriers and excuses. -Be mindful of my eating habits. No actual diet goals, just paying attention to what I put in my body and not eating just because I'm bored. -Be more active on the forums. I'd like to get back into the community here, and maybe get some mini-challenges ready, since that was always my preferred interaction. -Start costumes for Pensacon (Feb). Plan is anthro fantasy OCs, OC Mandos, and Dr Who characters.
  8. My challenge time is split this challenge between before UK/IIK, during UK/IIK, and after UK/IIK. I'm not sure how to plan for this. I'm expecting to be on the internet precious little during the week of the conference(s), and there's no point trying to do habit-forming things when I'm about to head off for a week. So, I'm planning to spend this pre-conference time (about a week) on goal-related things, and after that I don't know. We'll all find out together later. Present pre-conference goals: send at least one box of books to FBA (assuming a suitable box can be procured; if not, get them ready to send) prep a module of D&D for possible play at the conference. This involves translating a poem, looking up/inventing terms, and getting a bunch of pregen character sheets ready (and translated) so that I can just hand them out to people who have never played (and may never have heard of) D&D. Not intimidating at all (why did I agree to this!?) get my phone plan activated tidy my room up again go through and return as many library books as possible, because they are taking over my floor maybe other things; we shall see.
  9. HELLO FRIENDS! I disappeared again. Long story short - my PM crossed the line and I fucking rage quit. But what started off as an explosion has turned into a slow burn. Slooooow, slow burn. In fact I made a deal where I'll technically stay until the end of the year, which I'm pretty sure makes it the slowest rage quit in history. The good news about this arrangement is that I'll only have to work 2ish days a week until the end of October. And then HoboLife will begin. It will be glorious. I'll finally figure out what the hell to do with my life. Or you know, I'll play computer games until I'm broke. WHO KNOWS? What will I do with this challenge? WHO KNOWS? Probably mostly hang out because I don't know how to set goals. Let's be real. But this it the most important goal: STOP FIXING THINGS AT WORK. People need to learn to live without me. Rather I need to fix my own mess, aka my flat. My energy has been reaching rock bottom (rage quitting and disappointing a long trail of people has been unexpectedly difficult) and my flat is gross from neglect. I have a pole project though! I asked my pole teacher to suggest something and she said shouldermounts. I used to be able to do them when I climbed more, but to get them back I'll need to put in some extra effort. Now my long term pole project is to not look like a goblin in heels, but currently if I can do literally anything outside of class it's a win. That's good enough for now. Part of me is like ooh so much free time I want to paint, and dance, and skateboard, and fix my eating, and learn things and do projects and figure out life etc etc! But realistically it's a win as long as I manage to not sink into book/game oblivion for all of my free time. Hopefully the rest will come soon!
  10. I'm channelling Black Widow assassin Yelena Belova for this challenge because, after almost eight (!) years as a Warrior, I've switched my primary guild allegiance to Assassins! The badge has been swapped for a few months now, but a fun Assassin-themed challenge got side tracked by moving and new house craziness. I'm still duel-classing as a Warrior as I'm a strength-focused Assassin, but my goals have definitely shifted to cool bodyweight movements. Side note: WOW some Yelena gifs have big spoilers. I'll try to put any gifs with Endgame, Black Widow, and Hawkeye spoilers in a spoiler box if I use them. Bit about me for any newcomers: GOAL 1: Practice my posing Training session at least 2x/week, aiming to build up to 4x/week. Some of this training will actually involve the characteristic Black Widow fighting pose, as one of my aims is building squat strength and mobility for pistol squats. I'll also continue walking regularly, but probably won't track walks this challenge. GOAL 2: Don't blip You know that feeling when you get distracted by something and suddenly 5 years go by? Time management goals: Start work by 10 am and finish by 6 pm Start training sessions by 6 pm Start getting ready for bed by 10 pm, no phone in bed at night except for Kindle and alarms, and (from Monday, Week 1) shut lights off/put phone away by midnight GOAL 3: Make macaroni and cheese (minus the macaroni) Do some sort of food prep 2+ times a week (counts as long as I make at least 2 servings) Limit grains to white rice, rice noodles, and oatmilk. Let's goooooo
  11. An Oblivion Crisis! The main quest of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is to find and close all of the oblivion gates that have been popping up and pouring the evil Daedra into the land. As this game is my current addiction of choice, it makes perfect sense to build this challenge around the theme. My mission is to close oblivion gates by entering the gate, defeating the daedra inside and recovering the sigil stone that keeps the portal open. Each gate will have a specific goal tied to it and by meeting the requirements of that goal I can successfully close the gate. I don't have to close all of the gates, just enough to get things under control. The gates are The Kvatch Gate: Exercise - I was originally planning to have the seccess threshold for this be an average of 3 park workouts per week over the course of the challenge. I think that may be aggressive so I am going to say I need to get in 15 workouts at the park over the next 5 weeks, which comes out to be 2.5 workouts per week. I think that should be doable. The Anvil Gate: Cooking - Following on from the success on my last challenge, I want to continue here as well. To close this gate I need to cook 20 different meals (no repeats) over the next 5 weeks. The Bruma Gate: Food - I have discovered that cooking good foods is not a key indicator of my pant size. It helps, but not nearly as much as controlling the consumption of said food. Or, more accurately, the consumption of food beyond the meals I cook. I have discovered that I am most likely to fall of the wagon in mid afternoon, just between lunch and dinner. I suspect that my problem is having too small of a lunch (especially as I am not eating breakfast). In order to close this gate, Ineed to eat a real proper lunch everyday and then no snacks in the afternoon except 1 single protein bar. I can accept 5 variances from this rule over the next 5 weeks to still acheive this goal. The Skingrad Gate: Flexibility - I have really been slacking on this recently and I don't have a good excise for it. I have purchased a very good program (2 in fact) but I am not getting any benefit from them if I don't even use them. To close this gate I don't need to be great at this but I need to do something. The specific something for this challenge is going to be at least one MyFlex session per week. The Chorrol Gate: Scripture Study - Ghostlet asked me to teach him some Old testament stories because he feels like he has no idea what it is even about. To close this gate I need to have one evening per week in which I spend time with him going over Bible stories The Cheydinhal Gate: Ukulele - For this gate I need to identify and learn 1 new song each week. I don't have to memorize it but be able to play it (and sing along) The Bravil Gate:: Xbox - I am going to be doing this anyway so I might as well make it a challenge item. To close this gate I need to finish at least two side quests by the end of the challenge. I expect these will be the Theives Guild and Mage Guild side quests. The Leyawin Gate: Piano - In order to close this gate I need to memorize and be able to play relatively smoothly the first 9 measures of Kiss the Rain The White-Gold Tower Gate: Jewelry - Ah the White Gold Tower, home of the Emperor and Seat of the Empire. This gate cannot be allowed to remain open. Ghostess has recently gotten herself addicted to pearls. She first started buying loads of them, and then went even deeper and started learning about the different kinds and qualities and then moved on to making her own pearl jewelry. This led to us havong way more pearl jewelry in the house than she could ever wear, so she has expanded her side gig (a beauty salon) to include jewelry sales. This new libe of business for them starts today. She has been feeling very overwhelmed by how much there is to do and I offered to help by seeing if I could learn to make the jewelry as well. In order to close this gate, I need to make an item of jewelry and have it be purchased by a customer at the shop. I will need to close at least 8 of the 9 gates to be considered the Champion of Cyrodil. 7 of 9 will make me the Hero of Kvatch and 6 out of 9 will make me the Grey Fox. Anything less than 6 and I am just an escaped criminal from the imperial prisons.
  12. I banned myself from the trampoline park. I'm hoping that this, along with conditioning/strength training, will fix whatever is going on with my knees. Main quests -Enjoy summer -Pass a driving test
  13. I am back! I have a slight lull in the crazy that is my life, so hopefully I can use that to get enough of my good habits established that they don't completely fall apart when the crazy hits again. What am I going to do this go-round? -Eat 80% healthy. I currently have a slightly fuzzy definition of this, but I am ok with that right now. Aiming for lots of veggies and not too much sugar. And no fast food. I have a new tool to make tracking that easy, and am currently sitting at 67% on track, so I've got some work to do here. -Exercise every day. This time, to include weight lifting a couple times a week! (Hi Warriors!) My "gym" in the basement is starting to come together. Literally, as I have a bunch of stuff I'm working on assembling (goal is to have it all done by the weekend). I have added a super cheap squat rack with a pull-up bar, that's currently halfway assembled. It joins the (not yet assembled) bench and elliptical machine my grandma-in-law gave us. What I am most lacking is weight plates, but those are super expensive. I think I currently have 35lbs total that I can add to my bar, which puts the most I'll be lifting for a while around 70lbs (I have a 33lb "women's" bar, because I like the smaller grip size). So, no huge gainz anytime soon, but hopefully I can gain some consistency. Other days are going to be a mix of roller derby, pilates, and/or swimming. Super simple, but hopefully effective and at least slightly crazy-proof.
  14. This is my battle log. Herein I ponder and investigate the following: The battle to work out three times a week and not get bored and keep getting stronger and keep working hard every time with info on my current routines & equipment and why? The battle to feed myself the highest quality fuel possible and not attach moral meaning to my food choices and understand why I want the foods I do and keep drinking boring drinks so that eventually fuel becomes just a thing, not an obsession with info on my current habits and future ideas/goals Investigate/modify current mental models (my paradigms) about food about my most important people relationships about any internal thought pattern I encounter which is limiting me somehow I pledge to: Be brave face my thoughts/feelings get aware of numbing/distraction practices (taking responsibility for reality-avoidance techniques), w/self-compassion Be compassionately curious about current habits/behaviors I'd like to change/progress in, such as: current housekeeping practices my tendency to resist outside suggestions/criticism (independent vs stubborn;) and Be honest. ...And many other topics, to be discovered.
  15. I did a short interim challenge, but here is my first full NF challenge since ... *mumble mumble*... I've been in a period of pretty substantial depression. I've had this on and off all my life, and it doesn't seem related to circumstances. I take meds, which keep me fully functional most of the time. Right now, not so much. Two of my big issues are laying around feeling miserable for most of the morning, and living on breakfast cereal and peanut butter sandwiches. I have a standing commitment to do at least a little yoga asana every day, so a goal to do it in the morning should help jump start me. For diet, I've got the usual 5-10 extra vanity pounds, which I COULD try to loose, but I KNOW I will be happier with my body if I put on a little more muscle. More protein will facilitate that goal. Veggies are good for me, and we get fresh organic veggies delivered every week, so I have no excuse not to eat them. Also, I have found in the past that relatively heavy weight training often dramatically improves my mood for a while (maybe 4-8 hours, starting a few hours after the workout). I'd been doing something like Starting Strength (3x/week. 3x5 squat, 3x5 OHP, 1x5 Deadlift) on and off for a while, and it often does the trick when I can manage to do it, but it takes me over an hour (loooong rests) and weightlifting is really not my jam. It is hard to add anything FUN when I am wiped out from the weights. So in the name of SCIENCE, I am going to be tracking my mood, and doing either squats or deadlifts, or both. AM YOGA. Five sun salutes. GOAL: Avg 5pt/day Before 9am: 10pt. Before 9:30: 7pt Before 10am: 5pt. Before noon: 3pt. At any time: 1pt. Extra Credit: +5pt for each 5 days in a row. (EDIT: before noon) FOOD: Increase protein and veg. Water for extra credit. GOAL: Avg 10pt/day PROTEIN: 1pt per 10g protein, to a max of 10pt/day. (1c milk, 1 scoop prot powder, 2oz or 1/4c lean meat, 2 eggs) VEG: 1pt per 1/2c veggies. (raw greens 1c, cooked greens 1/4c), to max 10pt/day. 1c cooked legumes is 1pt each towards veg and protein goals. WATER: 1pt per 0.5l water, to a max of 5pt/day. LIFT: Do something heavy every day. Max 20pt/day. Include warmup sets. GOAL: Avg 10pt/day Deadlift. 1x5: 10pt Squat. 1x5: 5pt. 3x5: 10pt Other options possible? SCIENCE: Track mood! GOAL: 5pt/day. At least once each, morning and evening: 1pt. At least once every 4 hours: 5pt. At least once every 2 hours: 10pt. No points for retroactive tracking. It is a lot of things going on at once, but they are all small goals that I have had at least moderate success with in the past, and I've set the bar pretty low. I'm already doing mood tracking 2-4x/day for the past two months. I'm already doing a bit of food tracking, and eating more veg. Lifting is the only big push, so this seems really doable.
  16. Last Challenge Review Achieved Did all my planned exercise every day and noticed improvement in my strength! I'm almost repping at my old bench max! Completed the following Nerd Fitness Quests: Find a coach: Started with a Nerd Fitness Coach and even went through a switch over to a second coach when they left to start their own business. Film your main sets for one workout Learn to do a Backward Roll: Completed some Assassin quests even though I had convinced myself I couldn't. Learn to do a Forward Roll Complete a line of 20 Walking Lunges Complete 50 bodyweight squats in 2 minutes Learn to do a Cartwheel: I can still do one! The 50/50 squat challenge: Plucked up the courage to use gym exercise equipment I had been to shy to use before and learned how to use it by myself or asked for help. Squat .75x your bodyweight Complete 5 Assisted Pistol Squats (Each Leg) Deadlift 1x your bodyweight Work with a coach on a personalized program Get an A on your 4 Week Challenge Complete 3 4 Week Challenges in a row: this is my 3rd in a row! Stuck to my nutritional routine. I was ordering food from a healthy delivery service, but it got me on track Re-introduced carbs into my diet and upped my calories to 1600 daily without gaining weight Cut down my caffeine intake massively Getting a hold of my anxiety through a really tough start to the month Started work on medical check-ups despite my fear of them. Started new work contract despite stress around it and I'm doing well at it. Attempted Research historic lifters and their style: I started reading Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encyclopaedia of Modern Bodybuilding, but I ended up not prioritising when worked started, but I would like to keep reading. Bench press .5x your bodyweight: Still improved my PB by 3kg. The journey continues. Farmer’s walk with .75x your bodyweight: Didn't get a chance to re-test. My dumbbells at home don't go high enough so have to try at the gym. Complete a Wall Walk: I got to the point I could walk my feet up the wall but was too scared to bring my hands in closer. Need a spotter. No progress on this. Pick a program and stick with it! Waited for my coach plan. I'm going to consider this achieved by the end of next challenge cycle. Take a Hip Hop Dance Class: I researched this but covid kept getting in the way. Maybe I need to find an online solution. Didn't finish renovating the office Didn't Work Fitness: Pushup: Still a while away from this but going to keep trying! + Fitness: Double Unders: Didn't attempt- still seemed such a bother + All the snatch, squat jerk, overhead press, clean, clean and jerk, push jerk, split jerk, and push press quests- on pause until I gain more muscle and can attempt all these safely. + Learn to do a One Handed Cartwheel: feels like my body weight is too high still at the moment so on pause Bedroom ended up being a mess. Remembering to take my multivitamins every day. Change Up Ended up entering my meal planning into here, and Nerd Fitness Coaching app, and MyFitnessPal. Too many places to update and yet still didn't feel across it each day. Challenging myself to exercise every day including rest day walks. With my current fitness level- walks or stretching could be optional for less pressure. + Noticed some joint issues by the last few days. Need to starting using my rest days more efficiently. Upcoming Challenges Have to get an endoscopy and colonoscopy on Aug 2 for cancer checks. (I'm probably fine.)
  17. No, not that kind of axe. This kind of axe: Goals to come. I just got done with a bunch of Econ homework and a case study for my business law course, so I am kinda brain dead. But I needed to get this thread started before I spent the whole challenge not starting my thread like I did last time (for any of you who perhaps some me lurking but noticed the absence of a thread, lol). And no, my theme is not just an excuse to use that awesome pic, there will actually be guitars involved in this challenge because someone (being me) has been deprioritizing some things for way too long. And it is time to change that.
  18. My 2 fitness goals for the month: 1. Complete a 7.3 mile hike on a canyon trail near my house (0.9 miles away), starting from my house, at the end of the month. 2. Exercise weekly I put together the exercise program I'll follow to include strength training, stretching, and walking. I'll start strength training with a playground workout posted by Nerd Fitness and take it a day at a time, seeing how I feel, and adjusting my routine as needed. My objective for starting strength training is to do exercises for 15 minutes, 2x/week. I'll stretch for 20 minutes, 2-3 days/week after exercise. And, I'll choose a location one mile from my house and walk there or walk for 30 minutes 3 days/week. Oh! I'll warm up and cool down by choosing an exercise from a separate video I found on a Nerd Fitness post.
  19. Hi, my name is V In Night City, the main center of activity in the game CyberPunk 2077, the ultimate goal for all mercs is to become a legend of the Afterlife, the Afterlife being the main bar/hangout for top mercs and fixers. I may be just a regular merc now, but like Jackie and all those other legends before me, I am going places and by the end of this challenge will become a legend of the Afterlife, and even have a drink named after me. Unfortunately, I also have the psyche of dead terrorist Johnny Silverhand uploaded into my brain, so I am going to have to deal with that along the way Workouts: Being a merc is dangerous work, and you have to ready for physical violence at any moment. I don't have any training bots to get me ready for the streets of Night City, so I will have to create my own workouts I was hoping to be at the park already from this week, but a new covid outbreak means I will still be working out from home for a while. This means that some of the items I was planning to work on will be on hold until such time as the park reopens (gymnastics stuff, human flag, iron cross, etc.). I will focus on 5 calisthenics skills with a specific focus each workout. However, I don't want to ignore the others so at the end of each workout session I will continue to do at least one progression of each of the other 4 that were not that day's focus That leaves me with the following workout schedule Monday - Front Lever Tuesday - Planche Wednesday - Pistol Squats (+Leg Day) Thursday - Back Lever Friday - Handstand Pushup Food: Consumables are a big part of the game and can make or break your chances of success in some tight spots. I am in a tight spot now with my weight and BF% hovering around my all time highs. Getting my eating under control is going to give me the edge I need in all of the tight spots popping up on the horizon. Figuring out what I am going to eat for dinner takes away a lot f the uncertainty around food, and getting rid of the uncertainty makes a world of difference when making good food choices. I often end up in the late afternoon trying to figure out what I am going to make for dinner. Not this challenge. I sat down with Ghostlet and we picked around 25 meals that I am going to make at some point over the course of the challenge (Mon-Thu for 6 weeks, with a buffer for weekends if I end up having leftovers that need to be eaten). Fridays are always pizza night. For accountability, the foods I am going to make are listed in the spoiler below, in no particular order Music: Jonny Silverhand was a famous for 2 things: 1) being a rockerboy and frontman for the band Samurai and 2) being a terrorist who dropped pair of tactical nukes on Arasaka Tower. For this challenge I will emulate only one of those two I have left my ukulele idle for too long and it is time to get back at it. As part of that, I have agreed with @juliebarkley to put on a special ukulele/fiddle duet for the fans here. We anticipate the performance to be hilariously disastrous, so please set your expectations accordingly The performance should be posted here before the end of the challenge. In addition to the Uke, I also want to keep working on my piano stuff. I have selected two songs to work on the course of the challenge, but I don't expect to be proficient in either after just 6 weeks (They are both well above my current ability level) but I do hope to suck less at them. Rewards: I have never done a challenge with actual rewards before, but you can't run all over Night City and not expect to pick up at least some loot. If I do well on this challenge I will reward myself with either a new keyboard (one with a full 8 octaves) or a replica Johnny Silverhand Samurai Leather Jacket. Or both. Or something else entirely, we'll see how I am feeling at the end of the challenge
  20. The next month is going to be crazy with social activities, so I don't want to really commit to any interesting goals. Instead, I will take a moment for myself to actively relax and/or reflect every day. This can be in the form of a walk, a yoga session, bullet journalling, etc. I'm not going to put on strict rules here, just do what feels "enough". Other things that I'll keep doing: play the clarinet (our orchestra has 2 performances during this challenge) go to the gym for body control/strength/kettle bell classes go on hikes Things that I want to do more of, but I'm not going to rate myself on: eating more protein bullet journalling stretching/mobility work/yoga cooking adventurous food
  21. Some heavy shit in the spoiler. Since I feel like I'm stuck in a Groundhog's Day comedy very often these days, smacking my head against the same problems I've been smacking my head against for the past 10-11 years, I want a Russian Doll theme for my challenge. And what do you know, I'm the boss of my challenge's theme! This challenge I have three rules. Three is a good number. I only know one right now, but I'm learning how to think as I go these days. 1. Yes, you do have to learn to accept you're going to make the same mistakes over... And over... And over again. Yes, really. You won't move forward unless you do. They might start getting less and less over time, but STOP wasting time wishing you didn't. 2. Don't sweat the small stuff. It's all small stuff. 3. It's okay not to be okay. Don't wallow in it. Feel it, but keep moving. Huh, I didn't even rewrite those too often. Good job, Athena. Later edit: I did rewrite them later on. Also, there's nothing to "good job" myself on when writing an entirely new thing for fun. Who cares if I rewrite it. Now, for my challenge goals. I'm going to trick myself. Like Kvothe, in the Name of the Wind that I'm reading right now. One part of my brain is going to hide most of my challenge goals: Another part of my brain, which I'll put in charge of executing my goals, is going to only see two connected goals: - Train my attention span to be able to work 2 x 45 minutes without taking a break longer than 15 minutes, feel and zoom in on fulfillment. (Overarching goal: work while you work, rest while you rest, have fun when it is time to have fun.) Might be a bit on the late side with this one since I start working (part-time) on Thursday, but hey. Better late than never. - Do my fysio exercises every day. Do not miss more than 2 days in a row. I will do them before and after my study or work time. (For work: when I get up from bed and when I finish dinner or the dishes. If my feet ache I'll do most of them on my desk chair. No excuses. Feeling what I feel, and solutions.) For easy access:
  22. As Julie finished unpacking and settling into her new home, started exploring the nearby landscape, and made an effort to take care of herself, she felt herself brightening again. And the crows watched. She walked home, grocery bags in hand, enjoying the beautiful summer day. It's not the swamp, but this too is a beautiful place. And the crow did say that I would need to spread my wings, so to speak. She smiles to herself at the pun. I'm sure there are lots of weird problems to solve here too. I just haven't found them yet. Though I should probably.... She stopped, taking a seat on the kerb. Her arms ached. She didn't remember groceries feeling this heavy before. She caught a flicker of motion above and to the right. On the big Giant Tiger sign, above the proud declaration that canned corn was but 88¢ this week sat... a crow. She squinted. Was it... what had Master Tun called him... Sparky? She watched as he pecked at the logo. No, just one part of the logo. The eye. Of... the tiger. She laughed as she put it together. Of course, just what she needed! A training montage! She picked up the groceries again and continued home, a spring in her step. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I've been reading bits of the story I wrote when I first started out on here. I had a lot of fun with it. I'm not sure why I stopped. The story arc I wrote at that time was leading up to the Big Walk I'd been planning, so it would have ended anyway. But no reason for the adventures to stop! In a shocking turn of events, I'm actually going to focus on fitness this challenge. My exercise habits are very lax, I have an itch in the work-on-a-cool-human-trick direction, and I'm still hoping to pull off, if not the walk across Ottawa (might be a bit much with a weeklong event not long before I'd have to set out), some other big walking goal. STR: My annual goal says, more or less, exercise daily and make a list of interesting moves to work towards. Sounds good for this challenge round. Might pick one to work on before I make the list though. DEX: Is also about building a list of skills, and a skill tree to build up to more challenging moves. Let's do it. CON: Walking. Food. Both good. Keep walking every day, unless there's a really good reason not to (like a thunderstorm). My current step count averages at about 5000 steps per day, with wild variance between days I don't work and days I do. Goal: get the weekly average up to 7500/day, and break 10,000 twice a week. Oh, and I'll also need to buy new shoes. INT: Continue on my reading plan. Currently reading Just One Damned Thing After Another. Non-fiction title for the month still undecided. (Mostly dickering between The Border by Erika Fatland and How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil.) WIS: Continue to work on making scripture reading a daily habit. Trying to link it with my Duolingo, which is a solid established habit at this point. CHA: I have a mental health type book. I think it will be useful. I'm also in an online CBT program. Do something from the book every day (reading or an activity), and the readings/activities my program assigns me. Occ: Respect the work/practice time I have set aside for myself by actually doing them. Art: my paperwork stack is two feet tall, and my try pile is cluttering up my closet. One item from each per day acted upon. Also, daily fiddle practice. @WhiteGhost and my long-planned mini-concert is going to be a beautiful disaster, but I want to hold up my end as best I can. Might pick a goal song this challenge too. Depends on how much of a struggle the daily practice is. Lang: Just keep on keeping on.
  23. I'm a simple woman. I want handstands, and I want food. I started my year of internships on Monday and I want to be like my amazing supervisor, who always brings in her own food which looks delicious. Now I don't have much time to cook in the evenings/weekends because I still have to work two jobs and play Guild Wars and DnD. So I need superfastfood. (I mean really fast, today I made porrige with apples and berries in the morning to bring with me and declared that my lunch. It was nice, and it was enough, but I don't want to do that every day.) If anyone has any tips, they are greatly appreciated. I have a fridge there and a microwave and that's it. xD Zero-week will be for searching recipes and ideas while eating whatever. xD Thursday is a holiday here, so that helps because 1 less meal and 1 more day to prepare. Other than that I want to continue doing handstands every day. Not necessarily while cooking, but who knows... xD (and of course, as always, there will be pole and bellydancing classes. )
  24. An so I enter the final chapter of the grand quest I've been on, climbing to the top of 6 pack mountain. I've now been in an overall state of "losing weight" since last March, at 240 lbs, when I got rd 1 of the covid vaccine and return to the office clearly became imminent (lol). That's when I decided to really buckle down. I'd been off and on again trying to lose the gut for a few years, that time it stuck. Now the goals of this epic quest were not formed until well into the journey, it was in fact at a stopover on the journey that the destination came into focus. I fell off the effort wagon at the end of last year, as you can see by the gap in the weight chart. Along the way during our family vacation at the beach I decided it was time to level up and beat the game again. Being shirtless in public was ok, I had dadbod going on, bit soft but clearly work out. But I could do a lot better, and really the part I did in 2021 was the hard part. So returning to the quest, the full journey now apparent, I returned here to NF. Regularly stopping by to add thoughts about what I was doing, and more importantly thinking about what I was doing has really helped propel this journey. As where it appears Obi Wan is headed, I've found the Force again. Here were my overall goals from my first challenge post this year: So where do I stand? I've stuck to the plan almost perfectly. I refined my goals a bit (switched to tape measure from scale as primary judge of progress). I cut the surplus period back to 3 weeks, more of a long diet break, then began an undulating diet pattern of 3 weeks cutting, 1 week break afterward. The cut periods have been rather intense, the breaks I've tried to eat a surplus each day. I'm now at the end of the 3rd cycle, changing the pattern to 2 weeks cutting : 1 week break as I'm lean enough that hormones drop fast, right at 2 weeks last time it hit hard. I tried doing a refeed, which helped for a bit, but its effects were too short lived to be useful going forward. Scale recently has gone bonkers again, it was as low as 200.8, but since a refeed I did 2 weeks ago and a diet break this week its been around 205. For a couple months there the scale had been following the tape perfectly, settling down after a crazy period. However I definitely gained size in my muscles across the board this week (unlike last diet break), so crazy scale looks like its explained by muscle gain. I had been expecting/hoping for another gain like this; I've "gained" quite a bit of muscle mass since the start of the year, really regaining what I had a few years ago, rapidly during diet breaks. I wasn't expecting to much when I started, but I didn't think things had atrophied so much until I started comparing to old data and measurements. I started doing measurements of my muscles (again), which I have a ton of historical records of, and realized I still am a few pounds of muscle mass down from where I used to be, so figured another jump might be on the horizon, and it was. On the tape I'm at 32" on the waist. Each undulation my goal has been 1". Going forward 1/2"-5/8" is more realistic for the shortened cuts. My first time measuring I was at 36.5"; overall by the tape measure I've lost 14 lbs of fat. You can always see hints of my abs now, the outer wall is always there, and they show up pretty good when flexed. But there's also a little spare tire. My belly button flattened when under 31.5" previously, that's one of the last things to happen before the abs show all the time. I think I'm going to make it this challenge. The timing works out perfect. I'm just finishing the break at the end of a cycle, ready to jump into an intense 2 week cut. I'll have time then for a break and another 2 week cut, which should be where I achieve my overall quest goal and rock a 6 pack. What I need to fight against is the horseshoes and hand grenades effect, the closer you get the easier it is to say well its close enough to count, good enough, and call it quits too early. Anyways, this is a challenge, let there be goals. Goal #1: Stay on Target The challenge now for me is to not call it good enough and quit early. Which is one of the big reasons I'm coming back to doing challenges from my workout log; now I've got to finish the challenge. Just a few more weeks of cutting to go. I was not very specific when I said abs, but I tend to think of it as the point where you can always see all 6. Maybe my body's different than it used to be and I have to lose a bit more, so next challenge is where I make it. Either way, don't give up until I reach that point. This one is all or nothing. When I get there, I'm going to take photographic evidence. Keeping me on target is that I decided upon successfully completing this epic quest, my primary weapon, the broadsword of the modern warrior, aka my barbell, will be upgraded to max level. I have my heart set on a 28.5mm Rogue Ohio Bar in black oxide without center knurl. It is, I believe, the perfect bar (for me). Maybe I'll buy more bars in the future and change my mind, but for now, it seems to be the one. But I can't pull the trigger on it too early, stay on target. Goal #2: Workout Time Begins at 10:30 This was a subgoal of one of my goals from the first challenge this year, and really the single most valuable bit of mindfulness that I stuck to. Since then this has slowly begun to drift later, starting as late as 10:45 way too much, which hurts my available workout time. I work out 6 days a week, 4x strength and 2x cardio, on the same schedule each day (wife does similar). The grading will be A-F, just like school, in 0-100% blocks of 20% each (thus 40-60% compliance = C), yes no each day. Goal #3: Run Faster I guess I've made it no secret that I don't particularly enjoy high effort running, which generally includes efforts to run faster. However my running workouts are split speed/distance and now the distance workouts are pulling their weight, over 5 miles lately on Saturdays. Wednesdays I run ~3 miles, I should be speeding up. And I am, I can run faster without even trying at times, push up the effort a little and I should be able to speed up a good bit. Problem is I like to just zone out, and I totally forget that I'm supposed to be running faster. A challenge goal should help me remember to push a bit more. I always run the same course, 2.92 miles, 310 ft of elevation gain. This past week it took me 33:57, a pace of 11:37. This is about the pace I've been doing lately. Ultimately I'd like to get the pace under 10:00 (which is still a rather pathetic pace), that would be the highest score (A). Under 10:30 would be great (B), under 11:00 pretty good (C).
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