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  1. Hey all, I thought I'd just check in before I head off on my next adventure. At the end of last year I booked airfares and transport to a hike I've been planning on doing in Tasmania called 'Walls of Jerusalem" . While it's been on my 'to do' list for a while it was a late night black friday sales impromptu booking and the plan was to do it as a solo 4 day hike. Then I was talking to a colleague on the last day of work before the Christmas shutdown and I found a kindred spirit who has now booked flights and transport and is doing the backpacking trip with me! Well this trip starts this Thursday and of course I'm feeling not quite as prepared as I thought I'd be at this stage. Physically I feel fine (could always do with a little more fitness and a little less weight) but I've got a new pack (yeah) and don't have it sorted as well as I'd like, but still a few days to go. Just keeping an eye out for any bushfire activity in central Tasmania, but I know they had quite bad fires a few years ago so fingers crossed on that front.
  2. I have been wanting to do a Dark Tower themed challenge FOR EVER. This series is probably my absolute favourite of all time. I’m encouraged by the movie hopefully providing a wide availability of gifs so I'm finally doing it! I won’t be following the movie plot though, I’ll be sticking with the book characters and locations. This is going to be a 3 challenge long theme, with pre-planned variations and additions each challenge. This triple-challenge is all leading up to Mr. Raxie and I’s wedding in October, and then our honeymoon in early November! The first major thing I’ll be working towards is Mr. Raxie’s and I’s first dance. We started taking dance lessons last week I want to continue that. I also want to start taking group dance classes when I can because I remembered how much I truly love to dance (I did ballet for 15 years of my life growing up but it’s been quite a while since then) and every time we leave a dance lesson I feel so unbelievably happy and light. I want to get more of that feeling. A few weeks after the wedding is the honey moon! We were originally going to do something relaxing like going to an all inclusive resort or Disney or something like that and then realized that’s just not us, no matter how much we would love to pretend it is. So instead we are going to do a ~2 week backpacking trip across the Great Smoky Mountains via the Appalachian Trail! About halfway through we’ll be submitting Clingman’s Dome, which at 6,643 feet is the highest mountain on the Appalachian Trail and the third highest mountain on the east coast. It’s going to be really tough. I’m not concerned about being out in the middle of no where for that long as I feel adequately prepared in that sense, the terrain itself is just going to be hard as heck compared to what we are used to… so we are going to have to get really serious about training for that with as much hiking as possible between then and now, and rucking around the city when we can’t get out to nature. With all that said, I’ve got a pretty rigorous training plan for the next three challenges, and my challenges will include zero weeks so they are each 5 weeks long. Each challenge will be a leg of Roland’s journey to the tower with his Ka-Tet (for non-constant readers: the Ka-Tet is Roland’s tightly bound group of travelling companions through the series. They are so tightly bound they are essentially family and their destinies are entwined) and will be traveling towards a confrontation with one of the Dark Tower big-bads. The main Ka-Tet will come with me for each challenge, and each challenge will also have a guest member from the series for that challenge alone. Note: The characters that do and do not come with me, the potential deaths of big-bads, and how each relates to the locations of that particular challenge will have no correlation to book events, so it’ll all be pretty spoiler free.
  3. Ok, so I could very likely post this in the Adventurer's group... but I'd say as far as long term and constant goals go, I'm a warrior who likes to adventure. However, I am taking a break from my powerlifting gains for a while as I attempt to lose a few pounds and maybe climb a couple mountains. Maybe. I'll still throw in a lifting goal though. 1. Lifting while I'm working with a deficit calorie range, I can't consistently bust out clean heavy reps. For the duration of this challenge (and possibly the next one) I'll be working on building up volume. Volume... wish me luck. So, I'm shooting for four days per week. Will still make each day's main focus a big lift... squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press. at least 4 sets of 10 clean reps, increasing weight each set (even if they're small increases). Last set should be difficult but clean. If somehow set 3 isn't clean, back down and do a few additional lighter sets. Then at least 2 accessories each day, same deal, 4 sets of 10 reps. Edit: since I'll be traveling for weeks 3 & 4, those weeks will only have 2 lifting days. I'll combine bench & overhead press, and squats & deadlifts. 2. Hiking If the weather cooperates, I'll be going to Vermont on June 15th for a mountain bike festival. Then on the 18th I'll be coming home, but detouring through the Adirondacks. I want to be able to get 2 solid longer hikes in, and maybe a shorter one Wednesday morning before driving home. Every week I want to hit 30 walking miles. This includes trips to the gym & dog walking, but I also want at least one 10+ mile mixed surface hike in weeks 1 & 2, and 2 longer hikes in weeks 3 & 4. 3. Food / Water I backslid on this a little bit. I've been meal prepping, but somehow 7 days worth of meals ends up stretching for 10 because I go out or order takeout (or I just don't eat). So I want to eat all meal prepped items & drink at least 10 glasses of water per day. Exception: during vacations, I can eat non-prepped meals but no restaurant or gas station food. 4. Early to bed, early to rise Ok. I also tried this and super-failed, but if I want to climb a couple mountains I don't want to have trouble crawling out of bed. Wake up by 6am, eat something and get to the gym. I'm going to need to have quick breakfasts planned because that's typically where I get hung up when I try this. On non-gym days to keep the flow, wake up and read or go for a walk. Edit: Memorial Day weekend gets a pass. Dog sitting until midnight Sunday, and no actual reason to cut off my sleep Monday. But from Tuesday forward...
  4. I'm on the final countdown to my next hike, The Great Ocean Walk (100km). In four weeks time I'll be sitting in a campsite overlooking the ocean. My hiking buddy is applying to join the police force and as would happen has her fitness test on the day that would be day two of the hike. Because Easter we can't adjust the start and end date so I first thought to just skip the first two days, but then I remembered that a lot of hiker/bloggers skipped a campsite on the first two days where the terrain is easier - so I have adjusted the booking and now we are starting with a 21km and 22km days before settling into around 15km with more hills. This is a big push for me because I'm more of the slow and steady type. With all this in mind I'm starting my challenge today (Ok it's a Tuesday) so I can fit in a four week plan to prepare. Quest One: HEALTHY FOOD - the do and don't challenge 1. DO eat more vegetables. I'm good at salad for lunch but often fall into the lazy dinner. I just need to get a bit more organised. 2. DON'T eat carbs. I'm planning on a four week low carb challenge to get myself into better hiking condition. 3. DO track food. I can't do low carb without tracking - I'm not expert enough to do it well. Also tracking leads to accountability. 4. DON'T beat myself up about food choices - something I'm more prone to do when tracking. Don't get me wrong, I've had success with tracking before but I can go off the rails and give up. Quest Two: FIT FOR HIKING I've got a good general fitness routine going and should be getting in a few extra yoga sessions because I've bought a four week membership with my sister-in-law. What I need is to step it up and I plan to do this with: 1. Steps - I'd love to do 10,000 and I have such admiration for those who do. Again I don't want to beat myself up if I don't so I'm aiming for 10,000 but what I real need is to schedule in some walking time. 2. Running/Interval While I'm not a runner I do have a little routine of about 5 minute jog and then some interval sprints while walking the dog and then the same in return. While it achieves around 6,000 steps it also leaves me with some serious DOMS which shows that I'm out of my training comfort zone. 3. Put on the Pack - It's time to shoulder the pack and get some km's in. I'm not likely to do this during a normal work day so I'm planning for the next three weekends and then in the week before we start I'll have a little weekday free time to maybe get a morning or evening session or two in. 4. Yoga - I have a four week yoga pass mostly to encourage my Sister-in-law to try yoga. It wasn't a happy beginner session for her so enthusiasm might die pretty quickly. I would like to try all the various classes so if going regularly with the SIL doesn't pan out I will attend a few sessions a week myself to take advantage of the pass and improve my yogaing. Quest Three: LIFE LONG LEARNER Really I just want to keep this going so I don't lose momentum. Two mid-week session and then at least one (but probably two) sessions on the weekend. Most if it has been easy but I'm expecting it to get hard real soon. I'm just trying to tick off the beginner stuff as quick as I can. Quest Four: LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE I haven't been working on this quest so far. Basically it is a combination of my living environment (de-cluttering, doing repairs, beautifying) and having strong health relationships around me. 1. Just call your mother - I am well an truely a grown women who shouldn't need to be prompted to call my own mother. I just need to develop a habit so I'm not feeling guilty about not calling her or dropping to to see her (also my dad, but somehow it seems worse not to call your mum). I should be able to drop in to see her three times in this challenge (I've got a standing monthly knitting day in MY diary) and call her at least once a week (twice if I don't see her). 2. Fix something - I have an actual list of things that need fixing. Most are projects that I'm working on with my family - and motivation can be an issue. 3. De-clutter - THE SHED. Hubby has already started this so the yard is full of stuff that now needs to be sorted, thrown, donated or put away. This has to happen (so not really a goal but I'll feel good to cross it off the list). 4. Beautify - New Garden bed - Again this is already mostly scheduled - just waiting for pay day to buy some soil. I've been working towards this for ages but process is slow due to money and family priorities. I'd love to have the bed ready to start planting after Easter but will settle just for the load of soil to be carted to the back yard to start filing it up. LIFE GOAL: Hike Prep Even though it's not that long since I did the last seven day hike - I really need to get organised for this one. My hiking buddy is really busy moving houses and applying to the police force so is a little distracted. Also planning for The Overland took more effort in terms of needing to get to Tasmania etc that I felt that I had started earlier and was a little more focus on preparation. What I really need to do is: 1. Menu planning and food purchase. 2. Collect all the hiking things together ready to pack (I actually train with as much real stuff in the pack as possible so this should happen as part of the fitness goal). 3. Logistics - getting there - maps - tide times (Very important!!) It looks like a busy challenge - I'll really have to be focused. I'm heading to my Trello board to schedule some of this stuff in!
  5. Well, here we are at a new challenge, and I for one am really glad because my last challenge was a complete disaster, despite having one of my better themes of all time. Sigh. So glad to be restarting. I like the slightly longer challenges so I’m going to start with zero week, which will give me a 5-week span this time. My challenge this time will be all about spending more time in the Great Outdoors, or as I’m calling it: ESCAPE OF THE ZOO HUMAN There’s a quote by Erwan LeCorre, the Movnat guy, where he talks about modern humans being comparable to animals in zoos; we don’t live in our proper environment, but an indoor, artificial simulacrum of it. I don’t agree with all his theories, and I’m entirely too lazy to do his actual workouts, but I do think he hits the nail on the head in that department: we, as humans, spend entirely too much time indoors. So my goal this challenge is to spend as much time outside as humanly (har) possible. Fresh air, real sunlight, toasted marshmallows - what’s not to like? Especially right now, when the weather is still nice and it hasn’t gotten too hot yet. I’m going to break it down into sections: Take the inside, outside: I do a lot of things indoors that can just as easily be done outside, and probably be more enjoyable to boot. Yoga: I have a perfectly nice grassy yard where I can take my yoga mat and do my stretches outside. I think I’m going to start working on a handstand, which is best done outside to avoid broken lamps and things. Meals: Outside at the patio table as often as possible. We cook outside on the grill a lot starting this time of year too, to avoid heating up the house. Bonus: grilled meat is good meat. Working: My internet reaches the patio, as does the phone, so I can work outside at the table as long as it’s not raining. I’m actually typing this up at my patio table now, impatiently waiting for the new forum to open. I like to take my work to the occasional coffee shop or whatever, and I can pick ones that have a patio (preferably shady) to keep that outdoors, too. Hopefully this will encourage me to get up and move around more. Get out, and Stay out: I got a nice 4-person tent off my last job (it was prop swag that couldn’t be returned) and I already have a two-man tent that I’ve had for ages, so I want to go camping at LEAST three times over the course of this challenge. It doesn’t have to be on the wild slopes of Everest - there’s a very nice campground at Stone Mountain Park, less than 20 minutes from my house - and it can be for a single overnight. Again, this is the perfect time of year for it, before it’s hot as a cob, as the Mantis likes to say. I also want to add more walking to my workout routine, so I am going to aim for a one-hour nature hike at least once a week. Fortunately I don’t have to go far to get some nature; Atlanta is good that way. It’s not all visually dramatic, but it is woodsy. This will help with some long-term travel goals as well; I have two lengthy backpacking trips on my wish list for the next 12 months. Gather ‘round the campfire: I have a fire pit (one of the semi-portable ones you buy at home depot, not something fancy and built in) in the backyard, and I don’t use it nearly enough, especially since I’m supposed to be all Paleo and watching a campfire is supposed to be very primal and promotes quality sleep. So I’m aiming to have an evening fire at least 4 nights a week. My yard backs up on woods and there’s always a ton of pinecones and sticks around, so there’s no excuse. Bonus: toasted marshmallows. I know you were thinking s’mores, but I’m allergic to chocolate so those are out. So that’s it! Hopefully not too boring. I’ll be doing my same circuit training workout 3 times a week - that has to be done indoors, tragically - and continuing with my cycling which is obviously outdoors. I was at the gym for the first time in a month yesterday, and I’m sure I’ll be paying for it later today. Planning to ride my bike later today, just a couple laps at Stone Mountain which is super hilly (but also very nature-y; bonus points) Grading: For every “indoor” activity I move outdoors, 1 point. For each nightly campfire, 1 point. For each overnight camping, 5 points. If I get at least 50 points, I get to buy myself a treat. I don’t know what yet. Maybe just getting to reboot is treat enough. This might also be a good place to mention that I signed up for my first triathalon on Saturday. It's June 6th and is a 200 meter swim, 10 mile bike, and 3 mile run (in my case, walk). I have no idea how I'm going to manage this...
  6. For those looking for a good podcast for newbies and beginners to hiking and backpacking, I recommend "The First 40 Miles Hiking and Backpacking Podcast": http://www.thefirst40miles.com/ I've been listening to them since I heard them do a guest spot on the Homesteady Podcast. Good, solid advice. Cheers, John Harvey
  7. The Mission: UNLOCK DIETARY BEAST MODE. What would it be like to eat food and not worry about getting sick? What would it be like if I had a diet that contributed to a healthy weight but didn't make me sick when I eat? I aim to find out. I'm Melissa. Hi! In addition to the challenge things I am working on below, here's what I'm like. I'm a 37 year old living in the intermountain west. Things I like to do include being outside (mainly hiking, camping, backpacking, canyoneering, and rafting), reading, cooking (currently getting into fermentation and sausage making), baking, board games (word, old fashioned, and strategy games), other people's pets and children, and yoga. I think Ron Swanson might be my spirit animal. My superpowers include anxiety and reading comprehension. That's me five years and at least forty pounds ago on my very first canyoneering trip. Some numbers for the start of my first full challenge (all minuses are since my last weigh in on August 11th)! Weight: 187 (-11 pounds! Body fat: 43% (-3%)! Upper bust: 40.5" (-.5") Full bust: 45 (- 2" yesssss)! Under bust: 36" (-2") Waist: 36.5" (no change) Belly: 45.5" (-.5") Hips: 45" (-1.5") Left bicep: 14.25" (-.75) Right bicep: 14.5 (-.5") Left thigh: 29" (-1") Right thigh 29.5" (-.5") Left calf: 18" (no change) Right Calf: 17.5" (-.5"). So that's 11 pounds gone forever, 3% body fat melted (just using my scale for this), and 9.75" inches returned to sender. While weight loss isn't part of my challenge for now, it is still important to me so this is exciting stuff. On to mission control for this challenge! #1. Conquer my digestion. I've spent too much time letting my faulty digestion be in charge. I am doing an elimination diet in an effort to figure out what my system can handle, and I am committed to doing whatever it takes to turn this dark carnival back into a happy funtime circus. If that means living on bone broth and zucchini, BRING IT ON. Right now, this goal means: stick to my elimination diet 100% until it either starts working, or it becomes clear that it is in fact not going to work, at which point it's time to call in additional professional help. I currently eat very few things (pretty much just zucchini, carrots, bone broth, and plain animal proteins), but one upside is that my very restricted diet has me in ketosis (fat burning mode). I'll take all the fat burning help I can get. This is my circus, and those are my monkeys. #2. Be The Kindly Brontosaurus in dealing with doctors and medical stuff. Be the brontosaurus! Be kind, but don't leave until I get what I need! I need to be more assertive (not aggressive, just assertive) in my dealings with my medical issues. It's my body, no one else will ever have as much at stake as I do, and it's time to stop letting stuff happen or not happen to me. This means: making all my appointments in a timely fashion, being assertive at those appointments (be the brontosaurus! take a dinosaur friend if necessary!), researching all my own stuff thoroughly, getting second opinions, making sure my doctors know what they are talking about, filling all prescriptions in a timely fashion, and pushing and persisting for all necessary tests to get done. To healthy people, that may sound like a lot. For anyone else with chronic illness(es), that list will seem familiar. I have a lot going on, healthwise, and it's important for me to keep on top of things even when I feel horrible. I am done using illness as an excuse for not taking good enough care of myself. Don't feel good? Do the things anyway. #3. Track all the things! Continue to keep a daily journal that includes what I eat, medications, and symptoms. If I don't have my journal with me, just make a note on my phone. There is almost no point in my elimination diet if I don't write down what I eat and how I feel. Weight loss and exercise aren't included in those goals for the simple reason that my elimination diet is very difficult and is enough to be going on with right now, but I am working on both of those things as I can. Grading and loot! I do love me some good loot. #1: Diet. This is pass/fail at the end of each week: did I stick to my elimination diet? Fail=get back on the horse, or get a new horse. Pass=LOOT if I've stuck to it 100%. I'll decide as I go what my rewards will be. I am including some diet vacations for planned travel because it is impossible to go backpacking while on my diet. On travel weekends, pass conditions include that I must return to my diet the morning after I return home. #2. Be The Kindly Bronotsaurus. This is pass/fail at the end of each week. Fail=did very few or none of the things I needed to do, and means it's time to ask for some help to get those things done. Pass=did most or all of the things, and means MOAR LOOT, again to be decided as I go (what can I say, I have whims). #3. Track all the things. Once again, this is pass/fail at the end of each week. Fail=tracked 3 or fewer days, or failed to track two days in a row and means no loot for me. Pass=tracked 4 or more days, and earns me more loot. I plan to earn a lot of loot. Shiny! A reward for anyone who made it through all that: it's the song that inspired my thread title.
  8. [Dr. Nick voice] Hi, everybody! [/Dr. Nick] I've been an NF lurker for over a year and a half and am finally joining what is surely one of the coolest communities around. I've always considered myself to be some degree of fat/pudgy, and to have man boobs more than pecs. I'd rather be strong than skinny though, and since November I've been slowly but surely working my way up to 4 days/week of working out or skiing. I'm enjoying weightlifting for the numerical progress I can track and seeing muscles pop out for the first time in years, and my 2-3 days/week of skiing lets me utilize those gains to have a lot of fun. I've had my share of chronic and acute injuries in the past, hence my thread title to keep my progress going for the whole 6 week stretch. MAIN QUEST: Ski better than I ever have before and shred at a mountain I've never skied. Once the snow melts, backpack 20 miles/day through any terrain with a full pack load (9 days of food, but still only 30 pounds). SIDE QUEST 1: Eat 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. I've cut a lot of empty calories out of my diet, but I don't want to limit my muscle growth potential. Because eating is easier than writing for me, I need to keep track of it too. Measurement: A = 40 days, B = 30 days, C = 20 days SIDE QUEST 2: Do at least 1 lower body and 2 upper body workouts each week. I can mentally stay dedicated to a cause or goal, but I'm too good at giving up or letting things get in the way of my own desires. This will also be a barometer for staying injury-free. Measurement: A = 6 weeks, B = 5 weeks, C = 4 weeks SIDE QUEST 3: Ski as often as possible. I can claim the drought afflicting my local mountain town can justify skipping out on skiing because conditions aren't perfect, but I really shouldn't when summer is fast approaching. Measurement: A = 16 days, B = 12 days, C = 10 days LIFE QUESTS: Finish 1 nonfiction, 1 fiction, and 1 technical book. Meditate 3 times a week. MOTIVATION: I've never really committed to myself before - I don't know what I'm fully capable of. I have decent genetics and am pretty good at sports, but I want to actually experience the payoff of working toward goals and accomplishing things I never knew I could before. Due to a long history of injuries and being a playing catcher for a dozen years, I won't be surprised if something finally goes and I find out that I need knee or ankle surgery (the last time I had an ankle x-ray after a ski crash, the physician pointed out bone spurs starting to grow). I don't want to hold myself back with excuses any longer.
  9. So here we are! Finally found a few minutes to get this together. I'm slowly bringing my life to a manageable level of chaos. I've already started my first challenge, albeit a week late. And now I'm excited to have a place to maybe talk about other stuff. A warning: I tend to write novel-length emails, tell long-winded stories, and generally ramble about anything that comes to mind, and I don't think this place will be any different. But I'd love to make friends and hear from anyone who might have advice or a story of their own to share. So don't be shy! A bit about me: I grew up in Texas (suburbs of North Dallas), got my B.S. Chemistry (and *almost* Chemical Engineering, but that's another story) from Louisiana Tech, and now I'm going for my Ph.D. at U Wyoming. Pretty much everyone I know is 1000 miles away, save for two friends in Colorado. As you may have figured, I'm a science nerd. I've got mad love for calculus, too. Quantum mechanics is one of my favorite fields, because anytime you want to ask why something is the way it is, the answer is generally "Because math." I'm trying to get back into the habit of reading for fun. I got lazy during college, and Netflix was just so convenient. I do love me some good comedies (Archer, Bob's Burgers, The League, Wilfred) and dramas (Breaking Bad!!!), but I feel like I get a good mental workout from books, which are so satisfying. Harry Potter and Ender's Game will always be dueling for top spot in my heart, and I really don't think I could ever choose a favorite. Recent reads include The Fault in Our Stars (I swear, I wasn't crying, I was cutting onions) and...holy crap, is that really the only book I read this summer? Man, I really gotta get on some reading. But to John Green, if you ever read this, I both hate and love you. More one than the other, though I'll leave you to decide which. As my challenge says, I love backpacking. It's been about 7 years since I've been, though, which is extremely depressing. So my year's goal is to go on a backpacking trip next summer. If anyone is in the Wyoming area and wants to join me, let me know! Another goal of mine is to get down to a size where I feel comfortable taking pictures again. I've never been very photogenic, but I at least looked better when I was skinny. Right now I completely avoid pictures whenever possible. I just don't like how I look, and I don't want to be reminded of it. As for what to expect here, I have no idea really. Likely a combination of foods I've made and liked, workouts I've done, personal life stuff (mostly bitching about work, probably), and any random thoughts I get. I like writing, and I'd like to do it semi-professionally in the future, so this might be a practice space for that as well. So if anyone wants to follow and chime in here, feel free! I'll return the favor. Things are always better when you do them together, right?
  10. Hello everyone! This is my second third challenge as a Ranger, I bailed on the first second because turns out writing a doctoral dissertation is really time consuming. Now I return to resume my quest to be an awesome Viking, but with a more specific goal in mind: In January I'm going to Guatemala to backpack through the jungle! It's going to be exactly like this. Exactly. So there is no way that I am going to become Arnold, ever (not in my genetics as a lady-type person) but I'm going to need some Strength and Endurance to get through my jungle trek. Especially if I run into a Predator. Quest the First - Endurance Endurance is not built up overnight, it is made by consistency and perseverance. As I am a triathlete I'm going to stick with cycling and running. I actually have a race on September 21 so the first week of this challenge is going to be pretty mellow, but to fulfill this quest I'm going to Run or Cycle 3x/week. Quest the Second - Strength I'm not sure yet how heavy my pack is going to be, but I do know that even a light pack feels heavy if you carry it all day. So I am going to do Strength training 3x/week. I am probably going to get a gym membership at 24-hr fitness, since that's where a couple of friends have memberships, but I will count any at-home bodyweight training as long as it's at least 30 minutes. Quest the Third - Fuel up Right My very first challenge, I challenged myself not to get delivery food, for I have a weakness for delivery food. In the jungle I will not be seeing any friendly people with boxes of pizza. So Restaurant/Delivery food max 3x/week. I'm not giving up Taco Tuesday because it is the best lunch when I have to teach morning and afternoon labs, and then I get two other times. This is pass/fail per week but I'm going to be a little more forgiving on this IF it is an outing with friends that's spontaneous, like I don't want to stay home because I already had my restaurant food that week, but then that will carry over to the next week, so I can "pass" going out 4 times in a week if the next week I only go out twice. The point is to make food myself at home! Quest for Life - Get a Job This is less related to the trip, but trips cost money! I am currently working part-time, which means my other part-time job needs to be finding a permanent (ish? Post-docs can be like one year) full-time position. I want this job to start in January, after I get back from my trip, which gives me basically three months to find it. This quest means 30 minutes every weekday of job searching/resume building. I mean ideally I'll do more than that, but there's the bare minimum. I didn't do an RPG thing last time, so I think I'm going to go back and edit my signature to start doing that. Here's my grading system for this challenge: First: 16-18 runs/rides = A, +5 STA13-15 runs/rides = B, +4 STA10-12 runs/rides = C, +3 STA7-9 runs/rides = D, +2 STA6 runs/rides = you tried? +1 STA<6 runs/rides = F +0 STASecond: 16-18 lift = A, +5 STR13-15 lift = B, +4 STR10-12 lift = C, +3 STR7-9 lift = D, +2 STR6 lift = you tried? +1 STR<6 lift = F +0 STRThird: Pass six weeks = A, +2 CONPass 4-5 weeks = C, +1 CONPass 3 or less weeks = F, +0 CONLife: Pass six weeks = A, +3 WISPass 4-5 weeks = B, +2 WISPass 3 weeks = D, +1 WISPass <3 weeks = F, +0 WISEXCEPTION: Finding a job = automatic A+! And that's my third challenge! Hopefully this time I'll manage to...
  11. Good Day! For as long as I can remember I have been a gamer girl, it started with sitting on my parents living room floor playing Asteroids on my Atari. Yeah you read that right...Atari. My all time favorite series is Final Fantasy and my favorite game within the series is VII, I still own a PS2 just so I can dust it off and try to beat Ruby Weapon once in awhile. So naturally I am patterning my big quest after my favorite game! And, I need to have a little fun with this since life is all way too much "serious business" right now so I am stepping into character and writing a bit of a story. Our story begins... A mild-mannered, snarky IT girl / accounting student is sitting at her desk one day when the phone rings. 'IT Support Desk this is Silly Otter'. Her old friend Cloud comes on the line "Silly Otter what are you doing answering the phones? Don't you know that the evil dragon 'Fibromyalgia' is working a spell on you and trying to keep you trapped on your chair while she is trying to destroy the Mystical Wildflowers?!?!" Silly Otter "Well of course I KNOW! But what am I supposed to do about it?" Cloud "Get your butt out of the chair, acquire the magical hiking equipment and a shiny new sword and come help us fight her off!" Silly Otter "But where do I start?" Cloud *facepalm* so loud I can hear it! "With NerdFitness of course!" Silly Otter closes her latest text book, forwards the phones to her team and is out the door to explore how the NerdFitness thing works! The Main Quest: Save the Mystical Wildflowers from the evil fire breathing dragon "Fibromyalgia"! The wildflowers are at the top of a Colorado 14'er (14,000 ft altitude for those of you not familiar with the term) at the halfway point of a 25 mile backpacking expedition carrying a 25 lb pack. This is a huge quest (right now) and will need to be completed in smaller chunks. I have a little more than 4 six-week cycles plus the holiday bonus cycle to get up that mountain! (July 2014) And I will need all of my energy at the top to defeat the dragon! Stage 1: Aquire the Backpack The backpack is always one of the first things you want on any quest to hold all the nifty stuff you find along the way. So this first six week challenge will be to work hard and acquire the backpack and the ability to carry it in the end as my prize! (I already make feeble attempts at exercising so the below goals are realistic. I can currently hike 5.5 miles carrying a 7 lb pack at 8k ft. but it really kills me for about a week!) Specific Goals: Do the Beginner Bodyweight workout at least 3 times a week. Do the 20 minute Interval Training workout at least 2 times a week. Transition back to the Paleo diet beginning with no gluten or sugar at least 5 days a week. (I was full out Paleo for over a year so this is just relearning and readjusting time.)Life Quest: Complete my next two college courses! I am actually working on my accounting degree and have 4 courses left to complete before the end of March 2014. :-) Motivation: Every day I live with the pain and frustration of Fibromyalgia. I LOVE hiking and being active but I have allowed Fibro to slow me down and it is time for that to STOP! I want to be a Ranger class kind of gal! That field of wildflowers is a real thing and this past summer I got photos, next summer I want to see it with my own eyes! Tonight I will post my starting measurements and maybe a photo (I am camera shy so no promises) because I need to see the physical transformation. Thanks for reading!
  12. During the last challenge I built some good habits, including walking at least 20 minutes every day. I've found some good solutions for getting past hurdles which previously got in my way, such as using the Wii Walk It Out game for making indoor walking more fun than a treadmill. These were exciting major breakthroughs for me! For this challenge, I want to maintain those habits and start focusing on the next most important ones. Main Quest Backpack the Washington state portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in August of this year. It's just over 500 miles, and will take approximately 4-5 weeks to complete. To fulfill this Quest, I need to develop: A strong back for carrying a load: I will follow the Back Rx exercise program as outlined in the book. (I failed miserably at this during the last Challenge, so this will be my main focus this time.) Strong legs for hiking up and down mountain trails: I will continue to follow the 10,000 squats program (2 days exercise plan, 1 day rest). (According to "Crossfit Foundations", the squat is the primary foundational exercise to begin to develop maximal fitness. Last challenge I completed 28 days of the 110 days in the program, and had 9387 squats to go. I'm going to start where I left off and keep plugging away at it. My form still needs major work--need to go deeper and keep torso more upright.) Endurance for walking every day: I will walk at least 40 minutes every day. (Last time I built a habit of walking at least 20 minutes every day, so I'm doubling it this time. I actually expect to walk quite a lot more than that. With the Wii I can easily do 60-90 minutes a day without even thinking about it. For the PCT hike, I plan to average about 15 miles a day hiking 6-8 hours per day.)Diet Side Quest Continue to eat according to Whole30 as much as possible, and develop a repertoire of family recipes. (Last challenge I completed the Whole30 and the recommended reintroduction of food groups. My strongest reaction was to dairy, though cultured dairy--yogurt, hard cheese, etc.--seemed to cause only mild bloating, if any reaction at all. I felt so good using the Whole30 eating plan that I've decided to use it as a maintenance program to help me get down to my goal weight. I will avoid non-Whole30 foods as rigorously as possible, allowing small variances when eating out. It's very difficult to eat perfect Whole30 when eating out, but 95% is doable. It has been a huge relief to find a way of eating that is healthy and allows me to maintain good energy all day while at the same time not being complicated or making me feel deprived. Now I need to focus on maintaining the habit.) Life Quest Finish writing my locavore cookbook. (Last challenge I worked at formatting at least one recipe per day into my book manuscript. I didn't do very well on that goal toward the end of the challenge, but I made enough progress to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just want to get this project off my plate and wrapped up.) Tracking This time I'm trying out Joe's Goals for a tracking tool. (See this post for details.) If I do everything as planned, my perfect daily score would be 5. This is a real time image, so should be an accurate picture of where I am every day. Note that the chart shows a whole week, even if some of those days haven't happened yet. And here's a progress bar for the 10,000 Squats Program (I won't finish during this challenge, but it will show how I'm doing). Every 10% is 1000 squats: 14.55%14.55% Motivation My first two motivations are the same as always: First, I believe the negative effects of physical aging are largely the result of years of unhealthy habits. If I was 25 and my knees ached, I would try to change any habits causing that problem. Instead, when we are 65 we just say, "Yeah, I'm getting old." I'm not willing to take that approach. I'm going to see just how healthy I can become by the time I'm 65 (I'm 62 now). So my first motivation is: "I want to be radiantly healthy." Second is a mental/emotional/spiritual motivation, and the reason I chose backpacking for my Main Quest. When I first left home and went out on my own, I used to backpack a lot. I felt so free. Carrying everything I needed to live on my back, I could go anywhere, do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I want to feel that sense of freedom again. My lack of fitness is the only thing stopping me. So that's my second motivation: "I want to feel completely free." Recently I've identified a third aspect of my motivation. As I've been working toward my Main Quest, I've realized that as much as anything this project is about getting reacquainted with myself. I've gone through a lot of experiences and transitions since I was actively backpacking in my twenties, and I haven't really taken much time to consider how it has affected me in the long term. I've been too busy simply living my life, adapting and reacting to circumstances as I go. How have I changed in the process? What have I learned? How am I different or the same as I was then? Who am I now? Who do I want to be? "I want to rediscover and fully express the core of who I am." And so the goddess' path into wisdom continues...
  13. As the weather transitions to wet and cold in this part of the world, I reorganized my efforts after having a back injury and illness. It gave me time to clarify and fine-tune my goals. Here are my goals for this challenge: Main Quest My Main Quest continues to be the same: Backpack the Washington state portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in August 2014. To fulfill this quest, I need to develop: A strong back for carrying a load: I will follow the Back Rx exercise program as outlined in the book. Strong legs for hiking up and down mountain trails: I will follow the 10,000 squats program (2 days exercise plan, 1 day rest). According to "Crossfit Foundations", the squat is the primary foundational exercise to begin to develop maximal fitness. At the end of this challenge, I will do the Tabata test for squats recommended in the same article to see if I'm ready to move on to other foundational exercises. Endurance for walking every day: I will walk at least 20 minutes every day.I'll track all these activities using Lift.do. Diet Side Quest Edited per this post: In order to be as healthy as possible, I want to learn as much as I can about the nutrition I need. I will follow the Whole30 plan for the first 30 days of the duration of this challenge, and then follow their reintroduction recommendations to learn which foods I may or may not be sensitive to eating. I've joined the Holding Whole30 v2.0 accountibilibuddies squad for extra support in this quest. I'm also reading It Starts With Food by the program authors. Life Quest I will add at least one recipe per day to the manuscript of the cookbook I'm writing. I'll track this at Lift.do. Motivation First, I believe the negative effects of physical aging are largely the result of years of unhealthy habits. If I was 25 and my knees ached, I would try to change any habits causing that problem. Instead, when we are 65 we just say, "Yeah, I'm getting old." I'm not willing to take that approach. I'm going to see just how healthy I can become by the time I'm 65 (I'm 62 now). So my first motivation is: "I want to be radiantly healthy." Second is a mental/emotional/spiritual motivation, and the reason I chose backpacking for my Main Quest. When I first left home and went out on my own, I used to backpack a lot. I felt so free. Carrying everything I needed to live on my back, I could go anywhere, do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I want to feel that sense of freedom again. My lack of fitness is the only thing stopping me. So that's my second motivation: "I want to feel completely free." And now it begins again...
  14. Ok heres were i post my goals for the next challange Ok First off Backpacking Lets start reasonable I want to go on at least one excursion with a full multi day load even if its only a one day trip to prep myself for thru hiking ie month long hikes. Part of this will be learning how to pack for a thru hike and going on day hikes at least once a week kind of like rucking. Secondly I want to keep doing at least one GoRuck Challange every 2 months to culminate in a Heavy. I might also do a light every two weeks. Thirdly I want to work on my general physical preparedness ie metcon. I want to get my Metcon totals down for some of the named workouts I will use Murphy as my bench mark "Murph" Run a mile 100 pullups 200 pushups 300 air squats Run a mile 20 pnd body armor on the whole time. Goal is a 30 minute total Fourth Goal Oly and Power lifts i want to get better accross the board goal is at least a 135 pnd Snatch and Overhead Squat. Will work at least once a week on these lifts Lastly Personnel Goal keep working on Fire Management Bachalors and do so those with a High GPA. How i will do this is making sure to do my work as early in the week ie Sunday and monday once assigned to leave the week open to work on my physcial goals Ok wish me luck its alot but here we go.
  15. One of my dreams has been to start an outdoorsy lifestyle, learning survival skills and doing lots of hiking, camping, backpacking. I know that such things require equipment, and I have none. What equipment do I need for these pursuits, classified in "essential," "nice to have," and "worthless," (or arranged in a priority list format)? What attributes should I look for in this equipment, or what brands should I purchase? I'm only looking at doing weekend trips for now, with a max duration of a week when I'm on a break. The only things I know I'll need are a survival knife (well, that's a "want") and a backpack, but I don't know what qualities to look for in a backpack. Thanks for the help!
  16. As part of accomplishing my top Big Mission on my Bucket List, climbing Pikes Peak, I would like to see if there are any other like-minded individuals out there that look up at Pikes Peak and think, "someday." Or possibly you have already conquered this particular moutain or another in the area and would like to do it again. Well I would like to formally invite anyone out there that would like to join me in this particular quest and bask in the glory and claim the bragging rights that goes along with it. I challenge my fellow Nerds to take on the famous Peak with me. I know it's not going to be easy, but it's not Everest either. don't worry I am not going today or tomorrow, but I plan on accomplishing this before my 33 birthday this coming September, so that leaves us a little over 5 months to prepare. If all goes well, I would like to make this an anual adventure, whether it be Pikes Peak each year or a similar challenge. What I am hoping to get out of this club is a chance to get to know my fellow NF'ers in the area, accomplish a goal that I have been dreaming about for too long, and have good fun companionship in the process. Some of my training plans include tackling the Manitou Incline at least every other week or so in addition to my regularly scheduled workouts. Also any other fun and challenging hiking trails in the area will be tackled as much as possible. So Please, leave a comment below and let me know who might be interested in joining me. I look forward to hearing from you all.
  17. I'm getting a late start, but decided to do the challenge anyway (five weeks of it). Here's my starting point: Current Statistics (changes relate to the beginning of the previous challenge): WEIGHT: 232 lbs. (no change from start of last challenge) HEIGHT: 5'6" AGE: 62 years (up 1 from start of last challenge--heh!) ESTIMATED BF: 55.37% calculator, used US Navy algorithm for results (up 0.73%) RIGHT BICEP: 15.25 in. (no change) LEFT BICEP: 15.25 in. (down 0.25 in.) WAIST (at navel): 45.50 in. (down 0.25 in.) HIPS: 50.50 in. (no change) RIGHT THIGH: 27.0 in. (up 1 in.) LEFT THIGH: 27.0 in. (no change) RIGHT WRIST: 6.3 in. (down 0.2 in.) LEFT WRIST: 6.3 in. (down 0.45 in.) Hmm. How to interpret the results. First of all, wrist measurement reductions are supposed to be good indicators of fat loss, since there's not much there in the way of muscles--mostly bones and tendons and blood vessels, so changes up or down are likely fat gain or loss. If that's true, then woohoo! Great losses there! On the other hand, the estimated body fat figure went up about half of what it went down last time. Interpretation: these calculations are inaccurate and I'm not going to record them anymore. Just in the last couple of weeks people have been commenting that it looks like I've lost weight. That plus the wrist measurement changes seem to me to be more reflective of how I actually feel. I feel a lot stronger and have more energy than at the beginning of the previous challenge. The other thing I noticed is that virtually all the measurements that involve both sides of the body are now symmetrical. Even though the right thigh measurement went up, I still think that's a good thing to improve side to side symmetry. That's supposed to be better for avoiding injury. Overall, I think I've been changing fat to muscle. Now I'd like to speed up the rate of change a bit, and start losing weight, too. Here's the plan: CHALLENGE 7 GOALS: 1. Kettlebell workouts, including warmups, according to the workout plan in Kettlebells for Women (starting with Week 3 of Month 1). Will calculate grade based on total number of workouts completed divided by total number of workouts scheduled. (STR 3, DEX 2) 2. Walk at least 20 minutes six days a week (will aim for at least 1 hour, but even 20 minutes will count as a successful walking day). Will calculate grade based on total number of successful walking days divided by 30 (five weeks times 6 days/week goal--remember, I'm starting this challenge a week late, so five weeks instead of six this time). (STA 3, CON 2) 3. Record what I eat every day using the FitDay.com food tracker. Last challenge I counted veggie servings. This time I'm going to start recording everything so I get a good nutritional baseline. Then I can start making changes. I know, though, that simply recording what I eat and drink is highly likely to produce positive change all by itself. Also, i've begun eating more paleo. I don't plan to go 100% paleo (eliminating whole food groups just doesn't feel right to me, unless food sensitivities are involved), but I'm definitely trying to eat fewer grains, white potatoes, etc. Grade will be based on number of days fully recorded divided by 35 days (again, one week short--five weeks times 7 days possible). (CHA 3) 6/19/2013--Changed goal number 3: 3. Eat 3 6-8 oz. servings of homemade plain, unsweetened yogurt every day. (CHA 3) I described in a post below why I changed this goal. The first week of food tracking showed a calcium deficiency (among other things), and research I found showed that eating at least 18 oz. of yogurt per day (along with an overall calorie deficit) resulted in 22% more weight lost, 61% more body fat loss, and 81% more belly fat loss, while improving retention of lean muscle mass. Sounds perfect for my specific situation! I don't want to wait a month until the next challenge to start this goal. 4. On to studying for the Extra class amateur radio license exam! Goal is 1/2 hour per day of study on average. Grade will be all or nothing (A or F) based on whether I can successfully pass 3 consecutive practice exams by the end of the challenge. (WIS 2) So there you have it. That's the plan! Looking forward to finishing strong this time. Tracking is on a Google multi-page spreadsheet. (Edited 6/16/13 to change website for food tracking.) (Edited 6/19/13 to change goal number 3.)
  18. I'm getting a late start to this particular challenge, but I was very excited to see an accountibilibuddies group focused on backpacking. However, that particular Adventurer group is full (and then some) so I thought I'd try starting a new one in the Rangers section. My ultimate fitness goal, as you can see from my sig, is to backpack the Washington state section of the PCT next year (August 2014). I backpacked for years and loved it when I was younger, but haven't been out for about 30 years now. I wanted a long-term fitness goal exciting enough to motivate me, and it's been working really well! Last week I went hiking near Mt. Baker by the Nooksack River for the first time in years with my daughter and 3-year-old grandson (who loves to hike!). It was spectacularly beautiful and wonderful to be out on a trail again! I've been here in NF for awhile (this is my 7th challenge), and joined the Rangers for the first time in the last challenge. My favorite strength workouts involve kettlebells, and I'm studying Kelly Starrett's (K-Starr's) book Becoming a Supple Leopard for help to work on flexibility and join mobility issues (especially tight shoulders). I'm also hoping his approach to functional movement training will help me avoid long-distance walking injuries (shin splints, plantar fascitis, etc.) as I begin building up my daily mileage. Are you in?
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