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  1. Hello everyone. I am back again, and again with a very easy going challenge. About 3-4 weeks ago I came down with the 'rona and it really took it out of me. I'm still having issues breathing, so what I was doing fitness-wise before I got sick is a bit out of the question for now. I did lose about 10 pounds over the 2 weeks I was sick, and while it was not the way to do so, I'm looking at the positive in that it helped get me closer to my goal, and this challenge I am going to focus on not gaining that weight back, and hopefully losing a little more in a safer and more productive way. Goals: 1. Follow my meal plan at least 75% (3 of 4 meals a day) I am currently using the Eat This Much App to plan my meal plans for the week and grocery lists, its really nice, and has taken a lot of the stress off of me in trying to figure out what to eat and how much to stay healthy. It also has been pretty good at giving me meals I actually don't mind eating and can actually afford which has made it better than the other meal plans I have tried to use in the past. 2. Continue doing water weights/water walking at least 3x's a week, but also end it with breathing exercises. I have been going to the pool 3x's a week and running on the off days, but I can't run yet, as I can't get full breath yet, especially after a full night of work. I will continue to do the pool work, as I can scale that down enough that I'm not dying, and spend the last 5 minutes or so just taking deep breaths with my chest underwater to help work on my breathing more. 3. Use my CPAP every day for at least 4 hours a day. I am trying to use my cpap more and improve my sleeping, as well as the last time I spoke with my sleep specialist we discussed switching to a biPAP instead as my CPAP has been giving me problems with air swallowing, but since I don't currently use it enough, my insurance might not pay for me to switch until it is shown that I'm using it consistently and that the therapy is not working properly for me. Stats for the beginning of this challenge: Weight: 261.2 CPAP usage in the past 30 days: 11/30 CPAP days used 4+ hours: 5/30 CPAP average hours used: 4.3
  2. This is going to be a challenge, probably. I don't know. WHAT AM I EVEN DOING?!?! Other than losing my shit about still being in my house over and over again. This is my chaotic energy the last few months: Brain dump: Well, I am strength training. I am trying to go to gymnastics once every two weeks. I have been doing a poor job of making space for flex training and yoga. I have been sometimes doing handstands. I have not been walking as much as I like to. I am definitely not running until the spring. I could probably eat more vegetables and fiber. I could probably journal more consistently. I could spend more time outside (I have great winter gear). Hm. I will transform the above dump into a challenge format by next Monday.
  3. Translated from Latin, the title is "Light in Darkness." Which not only matches the theme this challenge, but has also been my personal motto for years and part of my first tattoo. I'm still working through what I need from these challenges, but I'm starting to make progress again. So this time around, I'll be focusing on identifying the "lights" I want to work towards. More to come.
  4. Guys! Good to see you. It’s been a while. After being active, on and off, in the community from 2012 through late 2017, I dropped off the face of the map. I left mainly because of an ankle sprain that laid me out on and off until September 2018. The injury forced me to set aside my dreams of recovering my old parkour skills for a few months... and then a few more. Since then... it’s been tough to come back, and I’ve suffered physically as a result. I’m no longer as lean as I used to be. What’s more, although I’ve tried to re-implement my old exercise and diet routine, I’ve proven to be a little less... sticky with them than I used to be. It turns out, habits are hard! And then, this last November... I turned 30. So folks, now that I’m a Real Life Adult, it’s time to take care of my sheet. All right, let’s dig in. No fanfare, no theme. 1. Work out 3 days per week, all four weeks. I use a bodyweight progressive strength routine, as is pretty standard among well-informed fitness nerds (you guys!). Usually I make more specific goals for strength, and I do have several goals for the next few weeks. But for this challenge, I’m trying to solve the problem of habit-building and consistency, not just improving performance. So I’m going back to the very basics. Work can get crazy and mess up my schedule, so I won’t hold myself to a particular daily schedule for this challenge goal (although I do plan to work out MWF). I don’t care if I do it on odd days or even if i just eff around and do handstand practice rather than my whole routine; as long as I get a workout in three days per week, I’m winning. 2. Track food intake EVERY DAY. No excuses! Again, I’m going dead simple to focus on habit-building rather than getting too ambitious. However... I’m going through a cut cycle to lose bodyfat. My typical routine is to cut fast, at a 1k calorie deficit, and track my bodyfat with tape measurements and pictures over time. So I’ll be tracking that process here! 3. Build a set of parallettes, and a balance trainer. I dipped my toes into the waters of DIY a few months back when I built my doorway pull-up bar. From scratch! Out of galvanized pipe! That I cut and threaded myself (mostly)! Since I work out with bodyweight, I work out at home, in my apartment. That means I need to provide my own equipment. Since I plan to start training L-sits and get back to parkour training within the next few weeks, that means I’ll need a set of parallettes and a balance/precision trainer, probably something like the railings featured here. This is a bit of a blend of an exercise goal and life goal. But it’ll be fun! 4. Implement my budget. I want to be good at budgeting, but I’m kind of not. I have a very nice, super-reasonable budget laid out in an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop... and I have done exactly NOTHING to put it into action. I win at this goal if by the end of the challenge, my bank accounts are automatically withdrawing money for spending, savings, and retirement; and if I’ve updated my 401k and IRA investments, which I’ve been putting off for about six months. Bonus Achievements: Attain 3x5 Pistol Squats. I used to be great at these. I was no Waldo-esque pistol monster, but I could hold my own! Unfortunately, at 30 my knees are significantly weaker and creakier than they were at 25. Right now I’m doing partial negatives and ancillary exercises to build strength. But I plan to get them back, and if I can manage them within the next month I’ll be ecstatic. 3x5 chest-to-bar Pull-ups. My eventual goal is a bar muscle-up, but these will be a necessary first (baby) step. These used to be easy, but haven’t been easy in a while. Currently I can do 2-3 in a set. 3x3 Wall Headstand Push-ups. I did this once upon a time! I won’t get this one during this challenge, but I want it here to remind myself I WILL GET IT BACK. Hit 14% Bodyfat. If you think this makes me sound vain, you’d be correct. But I want it back. 14% is near the top of my ideal bodyfat range for myself. I perform better and I just feel more attractive. Eventually I wouldn’t mind hitting 10%... I was within a whisper of it only once, back in the days of my training log... but I know it will take a couple of cuts to get myself there, and I’m not ready for that just yet. Post (or repost) 2-4 recipes here during the challenge. You are talking to a man who loves cooking to the point that it’s driven him insane. How insane, you ask? Allow me to cite a short list of things I make from scratch on a semi-regular basis: chicken stock, fresh pork sausage, pasta, most kinds of rice noodles, bagels, sour cream, Sichuan chili oil, lacto-fermented pickles, duck prosciutto, and slabs (SLABS!) of pancetta. Still not convinced? Allow me to show you the carbon dioxide tank I keep under my sink for DIY seltzer water, sparkling wine and cocktails; my 20-pound, eight-inch wide granite mortar and pestle; my pantry collection of food-grade acids; and the fact that my next big planned cooking gadget purchase is a centrifuge. All this is to say... I like to cook, and I take great pains to experiment in the kitchen so that when I’m cutting fat, I’m still eating meals that taste great. However, I haven’t done a great job writing down recipes or techniques that work, so I have a tough time planning good meals in advance. To that end, I’d like to use this challenge to post a couple of recipes that I’m having good success with. They can be things I’ve put my own twist on, or they can be straight-up reposted from a resource I use a lot, like Serious Eats (but I’ll try to give my own take on those too). It’s a lot to bite off for one challenge, so it’s a bonus goal... but one I’d like to have some fun with. And that’s it! For now at least, this will replace the old training log I kept from 2013 to 2017. That log holds a lot of records from when I actually used to be good at this stuff, so feel free to take a look! But it’s time for me to focus on Future Paul.
  5. A couple months ago I tried jumping back into my old habits and failed miserably. So I spent the rest of 2018 figuring out why and coming up with a new plan. And just FYI, the title doesn't really mean anything. I just like dinosaurs, so that's the calendar I got to track my progress: Goal for the year is to build new healthy habits, so I can do the things I want to do without worrying about ability or injury. Goals for January: -Start PLP365 - This is my own take on the PLP Program. On each day of 2019, I want to do reps of pullups/lunges/pushups equal to the month plus the day. So I start out easy with 2 (1+1) on Jan 1st, then 3 on the 2nd, and so on. After doing 32 reps on jan 31st, I get to deload back to 3 reps (2+1) on Feb 1st and start rebuilding. -Run/walk twice a week - I'm going to limit my other exercises until I'm confident I won't hurt myself adding to the PLP. But my endurance is terrible right now, so I want to start rebuilding that. -Mindful eating - I'm not ready to jump back into calorie counting (because I hate it), but I need to start eating better. The goal is to only eat when I'm actually hungry and limit junkfood when I do eat. I'm also going to track my weight and waist weekly and if I'm not making progress by the end of Feb, I'll start calorie counting again. -Projects - My current major projects are 3 new costumes for Pensacon (end of February) and finishing the insulation in my attic while its still cool enough to do so. So that's 4 projects in 2 months. I'll be working on other projects too, but those are the focus. -NF stuff - I feel like I've been slacking a lot around here, so one of my goals is to be better about managing the minis and posting in the Den. Lack of participation the past few months has been discouraging, but that's at least partly my fault since I kept reusing minis instead of creating something new and interesting. So I need to plan better and incorporate feedback to keep people engaged, instead of just assuming that a new fandom on the old formula will solve the problem. Also, for the 3 people who actually read my thread , how do you feel about the term "sidequest" instead of "mini-challenge?" I think it's confusing to have a main challenge/quest, with monthly challenges to support it, and a mini-challenge that lasts a random amount of time and may or may not be related to the main quest. Sidequest ties into the "gamifying" theme better and more accurately describes them as "optional activities to expand your perspective, that may or may not tie directly to you main quest/challenge." Thoughts? Counterpoints?
  6. 12 Week Hypertrophy Quest Quest Goals: 1) Increase Muscle Mass 2) Decrease BF% 3) Increase Strength In All Lifts Overview/Details Each working set should be performed to near failure with 12 being the most reps you should perform and 6 being the lowest. This workout utilizes supersets.Take a 1 minute break between each superset. Supersets are grouped by letter before them. See Quest Objectives for context. Increase weight on each set by at least 5lbs. Increase weight from week to week as well. By the end of the 12 weeks, you should be 10lbs+ stronger in many lifts. This program can be repeated with endless variation. If you begin to plateau, seek ways of making the workouts harder. An example could be adding some dropsets. SPLIT CHEST/BACK SHOULDERS/ARMS LEGS Quest Objectives: Day 1: Chest/Back | Warm-up 5 minutes of cardio A1) Bench Press 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working A2) DB Row 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working 1 - 2 minute rest B1) Hammerstrength incline Chest Press 3x12 working B2) Hammerstrength lat pulldown 3x12 working 1 - 2 minute rest C1) Cable Crossovers 5-7x12 working C2) Reverse Flye 5-7x12 working Day 2: Active Rest | Start with 5 minutes of cardio if you normally don't do cardio, and add 5 minutes to your average time of the cardio you do regularly. Increase total time by 5 minutes every other week. By Week 12 you should be doing 30 extra minutes of cardio. For the sake of this program, cardio is considered 150bpm+ for the whole session. Day 3: Shoulders/Arms | Warm-up 5 minutes of cardio A1) DB Shoulder Press 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working A2) Standing DB Curl 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working 1 - 2 minute rest B1) DB Front Raise 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working B2) Tricep Extension 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working 1 - 2 minute rest C1) Reverse Flye Machine 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working C2) Barbell Curl 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working 1 minute rest D) Skull Crusher 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working Day 4: Active Rest | Do the same amount of cardio as you did on your first active rest day this week. Day 5: Legs | Warm-up 5 minutes of cardio A1) Squat 2x6 warm-up, 3x12 working A2) Leg Curl 1x6 warmup , 3x12 working 2 - 3 minute rest between A and B B1) Leg Extensions 3x12 working B2) Standing Calf Raises 3x12 working 2 - 3 minute rest between B and C C1) Weighted Walking Lunge 3x12 working C2) Lower Back Extensions 3x12 failure Day 6: REST Day 7: REST Let me know what you think below!
  7. Anim had made progress, but slowly, as his lack of focus tread the ground around him into a swamp. It felt like he was going in circles, and circles he had traveled before, at that. Shaking himself off, Anim picked a direction and starting slogging forward. I know I've made progress the past couple challenges, but it doesn't feel like it. Especially last challenge, every week felt mediocre, like I should have done more. Part of the problem is divided priorities. Workouts are getting shortened or skipped to make time for projects, so I never feel like I've done enough. And I keep adding short projects instead of finishing the big, uncomfortable ones. But my attic still isn't done and it's already getting too hot in Florida to not have my AC on. So that needs to get done, especially since my GF is planning to move in as soon as it's finished. We're also working on the master bedroom/bath for when that happens, currently halfway finished painting. Goals: Workout or Project Daily - Last challenge was demotivating because I kept missing my workout goal so I'd have the time and energy to work on projects. So I'm changing that up this month. In order to count a day, I need to either have a good workout or make progress on an attic or bedroom project. If I manage to do more than one in a day, the extras will count half for earning me a day off. Cook Twice a Week - This one is more difficult than it should be, so I'm going to keep trying to make it a habit. If I want to be in costume shape by Dragoncon, I need to cut fat off my waist more consistently. Finish the Attic - The whole point of redoing my attic was to save money on AC this summer, but the project is taking so long that I'm about to spend all my cash paying for AC this spring. So I'm setting a hard deadline of May 16th, because that's when my parents get here to visit and meet the GF.
  8. The terrain was settling into known patterns again and Anim was once again seeing progress. New obstacles continued to make it an uphill journey, however, and it was time to adjust his methods to counter them. Current conditions also required that he split is focus to complete other tasks. With enough time spent planning, it was time to act. I've been taking it easy the past couple weeks while I try to figure out how I want to move forward. But after answering a workout question today, I have a good plan to maintain my workouts while switching my focus at home to redoing my attic while it's still cool enough to be up there. I live in Florida and we've already been getting 80F days, so time is short to get those projects done and hopefully cut my power bill for the summer. I need that money for costuming. Goals: 5 Workouts per week - The plan is strength training Sun/Tue/Thu, running/sports Mon/Wed/Fri. I can afford to skip one per week, but anymore than that and I start to slip. Plan is described here, if you're interested. Handstands 3 times a week - I keep saying I want to get a solid handstand, but never seem to prioritize it. So here we go. Starting with 3 times a week, 5min each, since that's all my wrists can handle atm (early stages of carpal tunnel and arthritis in both, yay!). Hoping to increase the frequency as I rebuild the habit. I'm going to plan this as part of my warmup for strength training, but may have to do it other days depending on how things go. Cook twice a week - I keep making excuses to delay cooking and sticking myself with shitty meals because I "still have time later this week." So I'm going to increase the requirement and see how things go. Goal subject to change, if necessary. Fix the attic - If you've been following my project list, you might have seen the list of stuff I have to do in my attic. Now that Pensacon is past, I've got time to focus on it, but limited time before Florida makes it unbearable to be in. So priority projects are removing the current insulation, cleaning everything (dirt and debris, scrap wire, etc), making repairs as necessary (mainly the skylights), and installing new insulation (correctly this time).
  9. Vixen pulled herself up and over the edge of the cliff, carefully stepping away from the edge before turning to look back at the way she came. Her training on the bouldering walls back home had prepared her for the climb, but it hadn't been easy, and she was thankful to be back on terra firma. The satisfied smile on her face soon fell however when she turned to look at the path ahead. True, she had scaled this cliff, but it fell sharply away again to rocky, dangerous gulley. The edge opposite her was tantalisingly close, but climbing back down and up again would more than quadruple the distance she had to travel. Looking up, she saw some vines hanging from a sturdy tree branch, which all but traversed the gully. Could there be another way across? First full challenge in several years! Here we go! I went through the guide to setting smart goals, and came up with the following five areas in bold. These are long-term goals (to be achieved over a year). I've broken them down into SMART goals, and I'm setting a few of those for my challenge. Hang Glide When I was little I said this was my life ambition. I've decided to actually just do it this year. Because there's no time like the present. Hang glide this year was my 2018 New Year's Resolution. Research places to do it, and best time of year to go. Make a spreadsheet with all the places & times & send to partner in crime Become a Gymnastic Ring Aficionado I'm on the last level of the bodyweight path in the NF Academy, and I'm ready to take it to the next level. My other half isn't keen on me buying the rings/handstands course, so I'm researching what I can do on my own first. Schedule BW workouts for the month. Strength training x3 a week (includes climbing/hoop) Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Build up a bookmarks folder of ring training advice Become Proficient at Aerial Hoop Hoop is my new favourite thing in the world. I love it. I want to do it MORE. Schedule classes for the month. Hoop class x1 a week Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Yoga five times a week Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Write First Draft of a Story Another one of the things I always said I would do. I went on an OU creative writing course last year, now to start putting it into practice! Vixen is a character in one of my WIPs, btw. Schedule in one writing session a week for a month Write once a week as above! Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Find a New Job My other half is a doctor, and we will be moving for his work in August. I'm trying to put in the groundwork now, so I can find a new job that I like! All written work for care certificate completed E-mail technical lead and network/ask about jobs - this is no longer relevant as I'm not going to Glasgow E-mail Phys Soc contact and ask about research in Liverpool Whew! I know that seems like a lot, but I don't think it's too bad. The workout stuff is mainly at the level I'm already working at. I just finished the 30 days of yoga challenge, so missing yoga a couple days a week is almost a step back... and I'm head over heels in love with hoop so I'm sure to get to classes (famous last words?). It's more all the admin stuff I'm going to find harder, because ugh, speaking to people. Introverts unite!
  10. The path had been easier to find than expected, once Anim had set his mind to finding it. The familiar ruts had guided him back to the track he had tread many times before. Now he had ground to regain. And obstacles, both new and old, peaked through the grass ahead of him. The best way to prepare for them was simply to keep moving, though, and build up the momentum to smash through when he reached them. Getting back on track last month went better than expected. So instead of changing things up, I'm just going to keep chugging along. Goals: 5 workouts per week - One more than last month's goal, but I managed it easily last week. Still not specifying what they need to be, just trying to build the habit and make sure I can stick to it. Cook once a week - The main problem at this point is that the GF doesn't like leftovers. So since I only get to see her on the weekends, I need to minimize how much I go out to eat the rest of the week. Complete at least 5 project tasks - Current list, each line counts as one. Since I'm treating this as a five-week challenge, I'm increasing the number to trying sticking with a one project a week average. If things go well, I'll finish two this week (a little over halfway finished with each, I think). Then I need to make Joker Fett by Pensacon on 23Feb. Depending on how long that actually takes, I'll try to update other costumes as well.
  11. Another challenge, another theme! This challenge's theme will be the ever-beautiful K, which if you like anime and haven't seen, I think you're missing out. It's kind of a difficult anime to describe, but basically people have magic powers and are in clans based on the color (e.g. red, green, blue, silver, gold, etc.) of their aura. Schatz (my fiance) is definitely a Red Clan member (they're a mix of laid back and passionate), and I fit in more with Blue (they're more assassin-y and intellectual) or maybe even Silver clan (they're goofy as hell). So my challenge will be based off these clans! I'm keeping it simple this time around, so no need for long intros. Without further ado: Measurement Spreadsheet 2018 Road Map 02.05.2018 Weight: 202.2lbs Other measurements located on Measurement Spreadsheet. HOMRA: No Blood! No Bone! No Ash! Strength Training 3x/Week (typically Wednesday, Friday, Sunday) SCEPTER 4: We will advance with sword in hand, for our cause is pure. 12,000 steps a day, every day. WHITE RICE PARTY: There's no need for such ceremony for us to be friends. 1600 calories a day, 100g protein, record how you feel An introduction to who I am under the spoiler, for those who are new:
  12. Anim looked around again, trying to get his bearings. The past month had been enjoyable, but hectic, and his priorities had been on everything except his longterm goals. But now it was time to return to his quest, as soon as he could find the path again... I spent most of the holidays eating too much and exercising too little, especially the last two weeks at my parents' house. In addition to my normal end-of-year shenanigans, I also have an awesome GF now, who I want to spend as much time with as possible and a new (to me) convention at the end of February to prepare for. So I'll be spending January rebuilding my habits and trying to catch up on chores and projects. Hopefully before that wagon gets too far ahead of me. Goals: 4 workouts per week - At least two strength and one run/sports (4th can be anything), no other requirements, as I just want to rebuild the habit. I also have until the end of the month to decide if I can stick to a schedule on my own, or if I'm going back to crossfit for a while. Cook once a week - This is the easiest way to control my diet and get back down to a Nightcrawler waistline. Going to have to experiment some though, as my GF likes to cook too and I like to eat. Complete at least 4 project tasks - Current list, each line counts as one.
  13. The storm had come suddenly, arriving sooner than expected despite the warnings, forcing Anim to find shelter until it passed. It's strength had left new obstacles in his path, slowing his progress even after it passed. But the sun kept peaking through the clouds to illuminate his goals in the distance, so Anim shook himself free of the last vestiges of lethargy and redoubled his efforts forward. After close to a decade of refusing to follow his doctor's advice, my grandpa finally admitted there was something wrong when he started coughing up blood. He was diagnosed with cancer in both lungs and given 6months to live. A month and a half of increasingly powerful pain medication later, he woke up in the middle of the night and was gone before anyone could get to him. We buried him Nov 10th, next to my grandma, but the fight over his estate was already going. Thankfully I didn't have to deal with much of that, but my mom got to play mediator between her siblings who now need the inheritance to pay bills. I normally drive up to see him for Thanksgiving, so it was hard not having the chance this year. But my girlfriend has been wonderful, despite having to work retail over Black Friday while sick. And the grandfather clock that's been at his house for my entire life arrived this week. My grandma bought it for me before I was born, and my grandpa kept it safe while my family moved around the country. That and some pictures are all I wanted to remember them. But now it's time to start moving forward again. Goals: Cook more - Between traveling and holidays, I haven't been cooking much. And it's much easier to take the GF out to dinner, since we're normally doing something on the weekends when we actually get to spend time together. I've got a month before I go visit family for Xmas, so I need to cook at least once a week until then to get back in the habit. Move more - Again traveling and holidays have screwed up my schedule, so I need to reestablish the habit. My current target is 4 workouts a week, of whatever strikes my fancy, plus GtG sets "most" nights (because those villains aren't going to catch themselves ). Finish projects - Another recurring goal, I've got even more projects half finished, some with deadlines approaching. The GF and I need to finish her new dress before my office Xmas party and I need to scan my grandparents' photo albums for use in Xmas gifts. I also have wood that needs splitting and stacking before it rots and a new attic ladder to install. Other projects will appear on the list as I finish/lose interest in these ones.
  14. A chest has arrived at the Assassin's Den, seemingly on its own, as no messenger delivered it. Though it lacks decoration, the craftsmanship is impeccable. A note is pinned to the top: We'll open the chest Sunday, August 13th (after we finish checking it for traps).
  15. "Life sucks and then you die." It was an important lesson. One Anim had learned many times. Yet he still forgot; and the blows had come quickly once his guard was down. The pit had been dark, and climbing out had taken longer than it should have. He had slipped again upon realizing how he had driven away his temporary companion. His mask had slipped, revealing some of the damage beneath, and she was unready. Anim couldn't blame her for that - he didn't like the person behind the mask either. But that was why he had to continue forward, until the mask became unnecessary. The scars were healing, even the ones that had reopened, but that was a slow process. He would just have to live with them until it finished. And grow strong enough to bear the ones that remained necessary. "Life sucks and then you die." But a God of Death didn't get the luxury of that end. And there was too much still to do. The darkness inside him whispered temptations, but Anim started forward again. He hadn't started on this path to seek his own comfort; he was pursuing something that actually mattered. It's been a rough couple of months. The reasons aren't my stories to tell, but essentially a series of unrelated events reminded me just how terrible this reality can be. Then my depression tried to reclaim me and I lost my emotional balance while fighting it back. Turns out that's a really bad thing when trying to start a relationship, especially with someone who has no experience with it. That failure didn't help matters. I'm bouncing back faster than previous bouts, but I'm still recovering and making adjustments. So for the moment, I'm focused on getting back into my good habits and making visible progress on some easier tasks for confidence boosters. I'm also revisiting some projects that helped in the past. Don't expect this to be a pleasant journey. I can't make myself happy and relying on others never works well. My continued existence relies on embracing a series of harsh truthes. Everytime I forget them, reality finds away to remind me. I also don't want pity, or even sympathy. This is my choice and the consequences are mine. There are probably better ways to handle this, but I stand by my decision. I'll try to become more amusing as I get back to my regular shenanigans. In the interest of flexibility, my goals this time around are going to be more like guidelines, with no requirements: -Diet and Exercise: trying to get back to my pre-depression waistline for costumes. SDCC is in two weeks and Dragoncon is Labor Day weekend. -Costumes: I'm still working on Alphonse (pictures to come), and want to make updates to a few others, if I have time. See timeline above. -Stories: I'm trying to get back into writing on the stories my college roommate and I started. They're fairly involved, and he had the lead on world building, so it's even slower than my normal. At the moment, I'm writing a pseudo-epilogue and reworking our outlines to restart the main story. I'll post more details in a later post. -Contacts: In an attempt to better understand my stunted emotions, I'm trying to be more open with them. This thread is part of that attempt, as I normally don't talk about my depression (I have long time friends who were surprised by it). I'm also trying to reconnect with old friends (who knew me at my worst) to see where we stand and keep in touch better. To be clear, this isn't a "safety net." Relying on others has never worked for me. I'm trying to better understand what triggers my emotions, so I can better balance them when life starts throwing punches again.
  16. Okay so my name is Hannah and I'm an assassin in training. My goals for this upcoming 4 week challenge is as follows: 1.) Complete the Advanced Bodyweight workout 3 times a week and on the same day complete the Begginer's Parkour workout and finish the day off with sprints with corners and straight aways at my old high school track. When I'm not working out I rest and I mean I rest a lot cause I'm going to be tired! 2.) Go to a Yoga class 3 times a week on my off days or at least try some at home yoga that isn't too crazy and will help the soreness and increase my flexibility. 3.) Go Vegan/ as close as I can be while meeting my 3,000 calories a day goal. That being said...why Vegan? Why not Paleo? This is nerd fitness! Well ya see my sister's Vegan and she has a lot on her plate with her job and going out with friends and I wanna make sure she, and the rest of my family are eating well. So I'm going vegan. Every meal I've planned out will include 30g of Protien and a vegetable or two and complex carbohydrates. (I'll post these recipes/ eating times (I guess if you could call it that) later if I want I probably will!) (hint: the post protien shake isn't vegan but I love it (ps: it's Steve's Post workout calorie bomb of a protein shake) (also I'll be intermediate fasting) (because I don't like breakfast) (and cause nobody has time for that when you have two jobs and your first year in college is way down the line, all ready for you to run straight into it and fall well not today Zurg! I'm gonna cat hang up it and pull myself up!) 4.) Meditate for a minute each day and increase the time by one minute each week. So week one it's for 1 minutes, next week 2 min, ect. Now I know this last one won't get reached in 4 weeks but I'm currently 95lbs, my doctor wants me to be at 115-120lbs and I want to be personally 175lbs with most of that being muscule! My Body fat percentage is at 17% right now and I'd like to keep it that way or even raise it a bit but I don't want to to go down past 15% because of the heath risks. -Hannah
  17. Hi so I know that one legged squats are the next variation of bodyweight squats and polymeric push-ups are the next variation of push-ups but what about dips, pull-ups and chin-ups or even planks? thanks for reading!
  18. It had taken longer than he liked, but Anim had reestablished his pace across the plain that spread out before him. His current focus helped matters; landmarks in the distance were quickly approaching and he must be prepared. But this path was known -he had tread it more times than he cared to admit- and progress was steady. The new companion was welcome when she chose to join him. Anim was unsure how long their paths would run together, but worrying about the uncertain future would only poison the present. For the moment, her presence helped him focus, as well; his goals becoming even more desirable with the opportunity to share them. But there was still much time and knowledge to share before they decided what the future should be. Last challenge, I focused on rebuilding habits I had lost when work got crazy. I'm back on track, and starting to really enjoy my GtG workout routine. I'm seeing progress on cutting my waistline back to costume-ready, and it looks like I may have actually put on a pound or two of muscle during my last "failed" bulk. I'm currently signed up for 3 conventions: Megacon Orlando 25May, San Diego Comic-Con 20July, and Dragoncon Atlanta 1Sep. I'm only planning a new costume for Dragoncon (Alphonse from Fullmetal Alchemist), but all of my old costumes will need some tweaks/additions to be ready for reuse. So that's what I'll be building this month. The "destroy" refers to my current yardwork projects: removing trees before a storm does it for me, right onto my house. I've got one more I can remove myself (with a friend's help) and six that I'll be scheduling a company to handle once my tax return gets processed. I'm also trying not to get too excited about my new girlfriend. She agreed to a second date when she gets back into town this weekend and we've been heckling each other by text in the meantime. Given how dysfunctional I generally am, things seem to be going well, though there's still plenty of time for me to screw everything up. I'm much stronger than I was last time I tried dating though, so I'm just going to put my best foot forward (as soon as I figure out which one that is), be honest, and see how things go. Goals for this challenge: Run 3/week - Continuing from last challenge. Again, most of these will be 1.5mi trail runs, but I'll also be counting office sports and soccer games/practice as local intramurals start up. GtG training 5/week - Continuing from last challenge. I'm still deciding what I want to include in these, but remembering is getting easier. Currently, I like pullups and HSPUs, but I may add in shrimp squats (instead of relying on running for "leg day") and/or L-sits (for costume goodness). Watch what I eat - Continuing from last challenge. I'm going to try to focus on keeping dishes clean, so they quit hanging out on the counter to mock me. Handstand practice 4/week - I forgot to keep up with this last challenge, and actually lost time on my holds. I really want to be able to do a free handstand as Nightcrawler this year, so I'm adding it back in this challenge. Projects - My long list of projects continues, but as mentioned above, my current focus is on costumes and tree removal. I'll probably also end up doing some of the garage projects (building tool stations and workbenches) to make some of the costuming easier. Current Alphonse status: Arm pieces (shoulder probably needs some changes, but I'll figure that out when I decide how to attach everything) Greaves I finished the pattern for the rest of the legs tonight and hope to start cutting foam tomorrow.
  19. Anim's journey had been delayed, but none of the obstacles had proven enough to stop him. Part of him still wanted to go back and destroy the most irritating, but that would only serve to tie him down when he needed to continue forward. There was work to be done, and now he had time to return to it. I ended up dropping a lot of stuff here on the forums, including my own challenges, when problem customers at work decided to cause extra hassles. If arson wasn't so frowned upon, there'd be significantly fewer buildings in the area. But that's (mostly) taken care of, so it's time to get back on track. Run 3/week - I've been rethinking my workout plan and want to try something different, so I'll be switching to primarily GtG for my strength training this month. And since pays me to workout 3hrs a week, I'll be using that to pick back up my running. Most of these will be 1.5mi trail runs, but I'll also be counting the office sports and the odd beach run, if I can work up the motivation. GtG training 5/week - I'm still deciding how I want to do these, so this may change. I'm currently planning to pick an exercise or two per night and do sets every ~30min until bed. Watch what I eat - I quit calorie counting sometime in January, and love not having it hanging over my head. Unfortunately, my waistline isn't cooperating, so I need to focus on what I'm eating and how much or I'm going to have to start tracking again. My "cook X times" goals keep backfiring, so I'm going to keep this a little more free form. For now, I'll aim for cooking more than I go out for meals and avoiding fast food. I also need to start washing dishes consistently, so cooking is always an option. Projects - I've got a long list of projects, but for this month, my goal is to finish my landscaping work and get started on my Alphonse costume. Right now that means finishing the miniatures currently claiming my workspace and balancing projects with other chores to get everything cleaned and organized.
  20. I want to sit at the table. I'm tired of just snatching nuggets of wisdom and inspiration, then not taking the step to take my rightful place at the table. I want to own my health, fitness, and dreams. I want to be an assassin. I want to take out these crumby feelings and the lame ideas that convince me to be complacent. I recognize that my short-comings are more easily tackled with friends though. All of the assassins I've read up on have a clan, a family, a home; a spot that's just for them where they are built up and in turn build others up. I could really use some accountability and people to talk with and celebrate with! If there is anyone out there that is further along on that same journey and willing to pour into a newbie, I would greatly appreciate it. The more the merrier too. I enjoy the fact that there's an entire assassin family on the boards, but I'd like a smaller setting; a unit, if you will. I want to talk with people consistently (which is harder in large groups), but not so much that it's a huge time commitment for y'all. Thank you in advance for believing in me!
  21. THE ASSASSINS' GUILD Strength. Skill. Grace. Precision. Please subscribe to this thread by clicking the "Follow This Topic" button in the upper right hand corner of the page. Please include your Forum Name in the title of your challenge thread FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS How do I join the Assassins' Guild? Post your Challenge thread in our guild. That's it! Do I have to be lean to be an Assassin? No. While extra bodyweight does make performing many bodyweight-based skills more difficult, things being difficult is not something Assassins shy away from. Assassins come in all shapes and sizes! How advanced in my training do I have to be to join? Assassin skill levels range from complete beginners to advanced trainees in a huge variety of interests. Do I have to do Parkour or be a Ninja Warrior contestant to be an Assassin? No! The Assassin Guild has an extremely diverse population. And most of us do far more than one thing! In here you will find people doing calisthenics, gymnastics, circus arts, dancing, parkour, obstacle courses, climbing, weight lifting, yoga, and more! What does it mean to be an Assassin if there's so much variety? We Assassins love movement and fluidity, thrive off both competition and cooperation, and prize enjoyment of whatever we are doing; but most of all we are determined to be the masters of our own bodies. We train anywhere, anytime, with anything, in whatever ways we think best (or are just plain fun). The world is our playground! If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to private message (PM) your Guild Leaders! Or use the tag function (@NAME) to call our attention! The Assassin Guild Leaders are: Hazard starsapart Anim07734
  22. Hi there! So I'm pretty flexible and agile, and have quite a lot of stamina. My body strength... pretty feeble, but I reckon I can improve upon that. Anyways I live by the woods and I'd love to try just, well, "wood elf-y things". Parkour-ish, but using the trees, logs, etc around me, So basically parkour. Just wondering; what kind of trainers should I get? I mean, are "barefoot" style ones good - but then, I might be susceptible to nettles and low brambles... High-tops too high? Low-cut ones not enough protection? Let me know!
  23. The shift back to normal was almost complete, but a few areas of twisted reality remained. Anim was tempted to ignore them in favor of more desirable objectives, but recognized that as another path to failure. Perhaps a middle road could be made to work. First he would need to assess his current standing and make a plan to move forward. So I had everything planned out for a "back to costuming" challenge to begin the new year, but that pile of rock still blocking half my driveway isn't going to move itself. Plus all the other projects I've started/have in planning that need to be knocked out to make space for other things. So this month is going to be spent getting back on track with my healthy habits and hopefully finishing out some projects to I can get to what I want to be doing with the rest of the year. Workouts -Do at least 3 strength sessions per week - shifting focus a little from previous challenges in an attempt to make bulking more efficient; I'll still be getting my other workouts (running/HIIT, sports, and yard work) but they won't be the priority -Practice handstands at least 5x per week - I'm getting closer and closer to a "good" free handstand and I really want this to be the year I get pictures doing one as Nightcrawler; I've got 8mo until Dragoncon, so it's just a matter of remembering to practice Diet -Calorie tracking - as much as I continue to dislike it, I still need this to stay on track; fortunately, it's a pretty solid habit now -Cook at least 2x per week - I've noticed that I eat much better when I cook myself, so going to work on making that more consistent; now I just need my dishes to start washing themselves... Projects -Make a list of current/planned projects and prioritize it - self-explanatory, I need to know where I'm at and where I'm going, in what order; due by 13Jan -Start crossing things off said list - success criteria TBD once the list is complete And for continuity, here's my last challenge.
  24. What’s the GREATEST THING EVER?!? We need your help to decide! We’ve put together a list of some of the best ideas and concepts the world has ever had. Each week, they’ll be paired up to compete for the top spot in a single elimination tournament. Who wins? You decide! For each match-up, you’ll have the option to pick a side and fight to support it. To do so, perform an exercise that meets that match’s criteria (each match is different, so be sure to check them all!) and log your contribution. The winner for each match will be the team with the most points logged at the end of the week! Basic Rules: - This mini-challenge is open to any who wish to participate. No sign-ups necessary, just add your name to the match you want to participate in, pick your side and start logging your reps! - This mini-challenge will run through Dec 31st, when the champion will be declared the GREATEST THING EVER!!! - Modifications for injuries or other physical issues will be provided on a case by case basis whenever possible. - Each match will last for one week, but there may be more than one match running at a time. Be sure to check all of them! -For each match, you personal AMRAP (as many reps as possible) or AMSAP (as many seconds as possible) will be used to determine what exercise variants are appropriate. -Please test your AMRAP/AMSAP when you begin the match if you’re unsure what difficulty is appropriate for you. -Once an appropriate exercise variant is chosen, you may perform as many or as few reps/sec per set as you’d like and rest as long between sets as you desire. Your final contribution is the total reps/sec performed that week. -Suggestions for exercise variants can be found here, but you’re free to use any exercise that meets the match criteria (type of exercise and AMRAP/AMSAP range). - If you have any questions, just ask! Normal Mini-Challenge Rules: - Mini-challenges are not mandatory, feel free to ignore this one if you don't want to participate. - Don't let mini-challenges hinder your own goals. - If you're not sure how to register something, post it here. - Keep it simple! - Don't hurt yourself!
  25. Over the past month the land had slowly changed, beginning to lose it's skewed and twisted perspective, while the terrain became more and more difficult. Now Anim was mired in a swamp with disconnected shards of the alternate reality peaking through seemingly at random. The mud, and treacherous footing it hid, had slowed him and the few dry-looking islands tempted him to stop and rest. But if he lost what little momentum remained, he may never start again. He hated that desire for an easier path than the one before him; loathed that weakness inside himself, the one that had kept him chained in a prison of his own making; despised himself for even considering it, for almost succumbing. But that rage was his fuel. So long as he had this hate, he could keep moving; keep fighting. The anger warmed him against the chill water and Anim began pushing forward again. His path was no easier and there were still dangers concealed in the mud around his feet, but sometimes the only way out was through. Between the weather and injuries and holidays over the past month, I've had far too many ready excuses to skip workouts and eat worse. And upcoming trips aren't going to make things any easier, but I've identified the issue and should be able to force my way through. I'm going to keep my goals a little more freeform this month, so I can roll with the punches better and keep my momentum while visiting family. 4+ workouts a week: Not going to be picky on what they are or how long, just need to get back into the habit. For purposes of this challenge, strenuous yard work counts, but house work doesn't. Calorie tracking: I started trying to bulk without keeping up with my workouts and it ended poorly. Only added an inch to my waist, so I'm the only one who's noticed, but it still annoys me. Since I know I can't maintain a cut while hanging out with my family (home cooking!), I'm going to shoot for maintenance this month and decide if I want to cut back down or restart my bulk come January. Projects: Focus this month is on finishing my yard work (as weather allows) and framing family pictures (since they were supposed to be Xmas presents last year). I'm sure there will be others, but those are the only ones I'll be grading myself on. If that goes well, I'll repost my full list from last challenge to keep track of the rest.
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