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  1. I realize this song isn’t about bike racing, or perhaps anything at all, but it’s totally kicking and I’m going with it. I’m terrible about challenges. The only thing I promise to do is listen to this song before every bike ride. I have Thursday night training races, the Borah Epic (40 mile off road) on June 8 and the Lutsen 99er (99 mile off road) on June 23. I may also do the Elm Creek Menacing 40 June 15. I’m not getting off to a great start this year*, the goal is simply to finish these. Any result better than getting swept up is gravy. * Not a euphemism, it’s actually Minnesotan for I’m in very shitty shape.
  2. *Middle Aged Man in Lycra It’s time to get some miles in. I’ll also be doing this kettlebell endurance program in a last ditch effort to be prepared for the racing season.
  3. Brand new Nerd here, picked up road cycling this year due to a meniscus removal that makes running really painful. Don't see much from other cyclists posted in here. Are there a lot of us? Was hoping for a cycling subforum in here like there is a running one to better facilitate discussion
  4. I've been away for a little while. Mostly busy with work and the like. I also might be doing this challenge injured so will likely have to mix it up slightly. I decided to do a black widow challenge this time around, mostly so i can post pics of Natasha's (Scarlett's) hotness Challenge Goals: In honour of Scarlett's thighs and ass this challenge will revolve around legs, it's basically leg month Mobility. I've been neglecting my body slightly, so mobility exercises need to happen 3 x per week. Stretching and yoga can be alternated. Lifting. These exercises will focus on legs; leg extensions, deadlift (if my arm will be okay and not to painful to do this) & squats (zombie, front & dumbbell). 3 x per week. Core. I really really need to do some core exercises, my tummy is getting flabby and core work will help with my horse riding. Bike Commuting. I finally got new tires for my bike and have been trying to commute to work when possible (i.e no storms or suffocating heat); when possible use the bike and ditch the truck! Language. Being a spy is hard work, knowledge of multiple languages does make it easier. So Romanian practice and learning at least 5 x per week. By the end of the challenge i hope to have gone through the next 10 pimsleur lessons and be done with all 30 they offer. I've been keeping a very simple bullet journal for a few months now to keep track of habits and such. Keep doing this & add more habits, like regular clean up of my house etc.
  5. Quest 1: Let’s get complicated. By which I mean, cut out simple carbohydrates (sugar, grains) from all but 18 meals during the course of the challenge. I’m interested in heading in the Paleo direction but I don’t want to make drastic changes all at once and fall off the wagon. I like Steve’s free food day a week idea, but I would like those meals to be more flexible options than a one day carb load. I am emboldened by my success with cutting out potatoes in my last (first) challenge, which was definitely helped by me bringing lunch to work (=fewer potato chips and french fries). I really wasn’t watching what I ate otherwise though. True to form, my before and after pictures for the challenge look identical (granted, they were waist up and I saw definite changes in my quad muscles – thanks squats!). That’s when I realized… I really need to focus more on healthy eating if I’m going to get anywhere. I heard Steve’s articles echoing in my head citing whatever extremely large percentage of fitness comes from diet. I had a good start with bringing lunch to work and starting to eat breakfast, so I want to keep those habits going for sure and cut out simple carbs as much as possible in exchange for focusing on meat and vegetables. I’ve started researching good recipes but I need to delve into this more. I like the idea that this style of eating can be unchained by calorie counting, but I also recognize that it could get out of hand. I don’t like recording what I eat – I find it time consuming to do it right and if I really invest the time I end up getting obsessive about it. That said, if it seems like there’s a chance I’m overeating, I’ll record my food for a few days to get an idea of what’s going on and adjust from there. Quest 2: Become the ultimate female. By which I mean, strength train 4x/week mostly according to “The Ultimate Female Training Guide†on simplyshredded @ http://www.simplyshredded.com/the-ultimate-female-training-guide.html. For my first challenge, I did the beginner bodyweight workout 3x/week. This worked out really well for getting me in the habit of working out, but it’s starting to be too time consuming now. I wouldn’t say I outgrew it, because I made a lot of progress in some exercises (squats went from 20/set sitting on my toilet to 30/set low squats without a helper, planks went from 30 to 90+ seconds) and not so much in others (push ups, bent-over rows). Since I’m working out in the morning before I leave for work, I need my workout to be efficient. My sister recommended “The Ultimate Female Training Guide.†I like that it has a 12-week plan that transitions you into lifting heavy: weeks 1-4, lift what you can in the 8-12 rep range, weeks 5-8 lift what you can in the 6-8 rep range, then in weeks 9-12 transition to the 4-6 rep range. I also like that I will be adding weight not reps, so that the total amount of time it takes should theoretically stay the same. It has a 4x/week training plan with alternating upper body and lower body workouts. I was worried about starting with high weight/low rep when my body isn’t used to lifting at all, so I’m hoping this will be good for injury prevention. I did notice that several of their suggested exercises use machines or are isolation exercises, so I tried to sub those out where I could. I’m also planning on using primarily dumb bells because that is what is immediately available to me for keeping my workout early morning, but I might switch to going to a full service gym later on if barbells seem more appropriate. If anyone is familiar with this workout, I would love to hear any opinions! I did my first one this afternoon. Hopefully I’ll be sore tomorrow. Quest 3: Cycle through my fear. By which I mean, ride my bike to work at least 8 times during the course of the challenge, at least one of which must be alone. It’s a roughly 8-9 mile ride depending on which way I go. It’s less the distance and more the city cycling that intimidates me. My boyfriend rides to work a couple times a week and is a strong cyclist, so I will hopefully be able to get comfortable with the route etc with him before attempting it alone. I’m mostly scared of getting hit by cars (I live in Chicago). I know I need to just get out there more often and I’ll get over it, but I have trouble getting myself to do it. Hence, putting it in my challenge to push me into doing it. Also getting some cardio in while waiting for my Achilles tendon to finish healing up. I also want to get in the habit of biking to work because I’m moving to San Diego at the end of the year, and I am stubbornly convinced not to buy a car and to just live in biking distance of work and a grocery store. Life Quest: Worm my way through some books. I’ve somehow gotten out of the habit of reading for pleasure. Okay before you judge me, I have always loved reading and it was pretty much all I did as a child. I almost completely stopped reading for pleasure when I started grad school because I spend so much time reading for work (about brains). I love what I read for work, but it can make more reading seem like more work. However, I realized that I only feel that way when I haven’t been reading much recently. So, I want to read a little bit for pleasure every day. No page minimum, just any amount. I have plenty of time when I’m transiting to or from work (on days I’m not biking…), I just have to limit my time playing chess on chess.com on my phone (side note: if anyone is interested in playing, PM me). I tend to feel happier/less harried/more relaxed when I read regularly, so this is really a health-motivated quest as well. Happy challenge everyone!
  6. First challenge here I go. My name is Cristina. I'm an avid urban cyclist. Riding in the city is the best thing in the world. I fell in love with it about 1 ½ years ago. Last summer all I did was ride and work as a server. All that exercise lead to some awesome weight loss. I felt so good. Then, I started going to school. I no longer work as a server, instead I'm a box office ticket sales person (basically sit at a computer all day). I still ride but less frequently. It doesn't help that I've really slumped in eating well too. So I'm getting myself together, but I need accountability from like minded individuals. Main Quest: Lose 45lbs by the end of the year Quest 1: Do at least 3 significant bike rides per week By significant I mean at least 20 miles (I can currently do it, but I do it rarely and I'm really sore afterwards) STA: 3 Quest 2: Eat paleo/primal for 6 days a week with one “free†(still watch but a little more lenient) day Eliminate wheat products and be smart about when I eat out CON: 3 Quest 3: Drink water and avoid sugary drinks as much as possible Carry a water bottle everyday. I always regret not taking one, and it usually results in me buying sodas or other sugary drinks. CON: 1 Life Quests: Have a better practice ethic (I'm a music major getting a degree for Music Performance on classical bass) CON: 3 Get a grown up wardrobe (currently wearing tshirt and jeans for everything. My business casual is horrendous) CHA: 1 Pay off my debt (Around $850 and I won't add to it) WIS: 2 CON:1 Motivation: Getting a tattoo: Always wanted one but want to be a better me first
  7. I've had a terrible two months. Food poisoning, colds, sprained ankles, broken bicycles, broken cars, dying pets, failed exams, etc, and as a result my stuff hasn't exactly been together. I've been to the gym a few times, calories are more-or-less on target, but I'm getting fat and lazy again and it's making me sad. Time to buck up my ideas and get my stuff back together, so! Main quest Get strong, run far, be ready for the next mudder (April 26th)! Goals therefore Run 45mins at weekends. Either two sessions or one hella long one. Eat 3000 calories minimum. 160g protein. Not-cake. Gym MTTF for 45mins as follows: Monday: Squats and hip thrusts Tuesday: Bench and pushups Thursday: Leg raises and planks Friday: Pullups and pullups Wednesday will also contain gym, optional, which will be bridge and planche practice. Stretching/balance/etc. Side quest I am going to learn how to rebuild a bicycle, as there's a bunch of things wrong with my backup, Lacie, and she needs fixing. I could pay somebody £150.00 to do it, or I can get my lazy butt in gear and do it myself! Major repairs as follows: Replace bottom bracket (the horriblest noises) Replace front derailleur cable (frayed and barely clinging on) Adjust rear derailleur (so that I actually have more than four gears) Possibly replace rear wheel (or at least work out why the hell it wobbles from side to side) Completely overhaul the drivetrain (just ew) Hey ho, let's go.. I guess.
  8. It's been crazy here since it happened. I knew they would come eventually, but I still wasn't fully prepared. My family are spread across the country - they know the procedures, what to do, how to survive. They're waiting for me, and I have to get there. But they are everywhere... Goals: LIFT! You're at a dead end. Zombies are closing in from every side. Your only way out is over the fence behind you, can you make it? 3x chin-ups by the end of the challenge. Still can't manage pullups, but can do 1x almost-chin on a good day, so I'll start there instead of with the unreasonable goal of pullups. Progression! +2 STR MOVE! You're moving down a hallway littered with debris. You can hear the zombies throughout the building, but they can't hear you. Will you get out without making a noise? Still working on coordination and balance, kickboxing has improved it enough that they offered me the upgrade to leadership, which brings access to "flow" classes (stringing loads of movements together in a damned sexy way, requiring coordination, balance and skill.) They only have them twice a month, so I'll aim for two but don't know if it's easily feasible, so: Take at least one flow class. +2 DEX RIDE! Your family lives 200 miles across the country. The roadways all look like the M25 at rush hour, you couldn't get a car through if you tried - the bike is your only available option for now. Can you get there? London to Brighton bike ride is on the 16th June, and I've met my fundraising target, which means I have to suit up. My goal? Complete L2B in full zombie attire. +2 STA - Completed 16/06/2013 EAT! You're running as hard as you can. A pack of slavering zombies is hot on your heels. You're starving and your legs are on fire, you just don't have the energy. Will you make it? I've not been eating enough, easily 1000 calories under maintenance on most days and that doesn't include exercise. Now trying to eat minimum 2000 net calories a day as per MyFitnessPal - no cake/chocolate/crisps to bump the numbers. +3 CON STRETCH! You've been camped out for days, planning your next move. A crash and a groan to the north indicates the imminent arrival of zombies. You run, but your muscles seize and cramp. How far will you get? Every Monday I struggle with the first 20mins of my commute. My legs/hips are tight and miserable, because I don't do much over the weekend. I'm aiming to stretch 20mins per day on weekends to prevent these Monday cycling blues. +1 WIS WARPAINT! Killing zombies and looking good doing it? This is my goal. Do the makeup thing. There's a payday just gone, and a payday smack in the middle of this challenge. There's no real excuse. +3 CHA - Am a pretty princess 03/07/2013 Bonus goals: SHOOT! Zombies surround you, there's one way out: straight through the middle. Take out as many as you can and run! But how good is your aim? Take a shooting class. No real excuses, as the shop my dad runs does lessons out the back. I've wanted to do this forever, but keep putting it off. Maybe I'll be more accountable this time. +1 DEX SAVE! Money is useless now, but it would've bought the provisions you needed before. Why didn't you try harder? £1,500 £1,000 in a savings account by the end of the challenge. There's £1,300 in there now, but that will probably decrease a little as the month happens, then jump again as paydays happen. Edit: It just dawned on me how unrealistic it is to say £1,500 when my partners birthday is at the beginning of July and I love spending money on him, so I've dropped target a little +1 WIS Current stats: Weight: 147lbBust: 33"Waist: 26"Hips: 35"Thigh: 21.5" Deadlift: 70kgBench: 45kgOverhead press: 32.5kgChin-up: 1x 3/4ish Week #1 will already be a bit of a write-off, as my exams are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, making the weekend a two-day bender, but I'm going to do my best to do the eating thing from the start. Fingers crossed.
  9. Starting point at March 2012:Weight: 212lbBust: 42"Waist: 38"Hips: 46" Deadlift: 40kgBench: 20kgOverhead press: 17.5kg Current:Weight: 147lbBust: 33"Waist: 27"Hips: 36" Took a 6 month break and only just restarted weight training a month ago, so:Deadlift: 60kgBench: 40kgOverhead press: 27.5kg Reached a point where I've run out of specific targets, so I'm hoping this first challenge will help me get back on track. When I first started exercising a little over a year ago my goal was "get down to ~145lb", and as I'm now at 147lb I'm floundering a little with what I really want to do. Sat down and had a think, and these are the things that I think are a/ important or b/ a defining factor in something that is important. Goals: Fitness:Deadlift bodyweight / Decline bench 50kg / 1x pull-up STR +3Attend kickboxing class once a week. DEX +2Cycle 100miles per week, finish challenge with 1x 60 mile ride. STA +2 STR:Current deadlift: 60kgCurrent weight: 67kgCurrent dec. bench: 40kgCurrent pull-up: no pull-ups (14kg assist / 2x 5second negatives) DEX:I'm blind in one eye, so my co-ordination and general dexterity leave a lot to be desired; I'm hoping that kickboxing will improve this, given the need to be able to hit things and not fall over a lot. STA:I'm signed up for the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton bike-ride on June 16th, and my current max mileage is 35. Granted, this was in the snow, in the dark, and I got gritted, but still, I need to do better. Diet:Eat paleo+dairy (refuse to cut out cheese or milk) five days out of seven for the duration. CON +2 Currently doing my best, but need some serious accountability so that I don't eat pasta and potato all the time. 5/7 is mostly because I refuse to cut out pizza night: they set up a wood-fired oven a mile down the road and cook the lightest and most delicious fresh Sicilian pizza. Giving that up = not happening. Life:Study for 7+ hours a week. WIS +4Try changing one item of physical appearance every week: different outfit / makeup / haircut / nails / etc. CHA +2 WIS:My boss just paid £270.00 for my next 3 accountancy exams, if I fail them I have to pay him back. I paid for the courses, if I pass I get the money back (~£500.00). CHA:I have a terrible inability to do basic female stuff, like dress myself or wear makeup or care about what I look like. My standard outfit is jeans + t-shirt + scrappy ponytail + no makeup + clipped/chipped nails + no-f*cks-given attitude. Mostly a throwback to when I was bigger and it was the easiest thing to do, but now I'm more-or-less the right size to rock whatever I want, so there's no reason for me to not do so. Also, learning makeup would be a huge life bonus, I think. And dresses. Wish me luck! Makeup and clothes are TERRIFYING!
  10. The Cylons were created by man. They rebelled. They evolved. They look and feel human. Some are programmed to think they are human. There are many copies. And they have a plan. Do I have what it takes to stand up to the Cylons? Well I hope so! Okay, enough nerding out, let's get serious. I say serious like I'm not going to compare myself to fictional creatures over the entirety of this post, but never mind. My story I started 2012 as a cave troll. 5'9, 212lbs, fat and clumsy and slow. In March I finally decided that enough was enough, slung a leg over my first trusty steed, and started a journey into the unknown. At first I could only cycle a couple of miles at a time, but within a couple of months I was cycling 10+ miles in a single go. I cut cake and biscuits from my diet, I started counting calories, and after a while I joined a gym and started flinging weights around. Cut to September, still 5'9, still clumsy and slow, but now I weigh in at 167lb; closer to a half-orc than a cave troll. Finally got myself a job, fitness took a back seat, so did counting calories, but I didn't do a backslide, and by January I was down to 160lb, and ready to get back on track. New steed, new adventures. Started cycling to work at the beginning of January (snow season, if you can do that you'll do anything.) It's 8 miles each way, and there's a good few hills between home and there. Joined a gym next to work, mostly so I can use the shower in the morning immediately post-ride and regain the feeling in my ice-cold legs. Started lifting weights again in February, but find it hard to stick to a proper program, as all the cycling drains me like hell for any leg work, and I have to try to fit everything in to a 50 minute lunch break. Cut to now. This is me: My stats For a quick photo recap of my year, click here So now I'm a half-orc, I guess. 5'9. 150lb. Fairly strong and pretty solid - I can ride non-stop at a moderate pace for hours, insanely clumsy with little hand-eye co-ordination. Strength (STR): 2 Dexterity (DEX): 1 Stamina (STA): 4 Constitution (CON): 3 Wisdom (WIS): 3 Charisma (CHA):2 My goal is to be a monk/ranger; strong, solid, quick and nimble, but capable of plugging away for miles and miles on any one of my trusty steeds (my one(many) true love(s).) My training My gym routine currently revolves mostly around a barbell: OHP / Row / Shrug @ 5rep / 10rep / 10rep. Current weights: 20kg / 22.5kg / 25kg x3. Plus 1+ set of 5x 27.5kg OHP, to ramp up the weight a little. Decline bench / Situps @ 5rep / 10rep. Current weights: 22.5kg / 25kg / 27.5kg / 32.5kg x3. Assisted pullups / dips @ however many I can crank out. Current assistance level: 18kg. Pullups are kippy, but my main goal on this is one unassisted negative, because then I can buy a bar for my house and do them all the time. Hammer curl @ 10rep per arm. Current weight: 7kg. This takes me about forty minutes, minimal resting times, which means it fits nicely in my lunchbreak. I'm seriously considering re-adding deadlifts, just because they're awesome, but they can be a little quad heavy and there's only so much my legs can take. If I do, it would probably be heavy on Monday, light on Friday, because that's when I'm least and most roasted in the legs department, respectively. I cycle ~80 miles a week as a standard, but with the odd day off and it being blizzards in March on our tiny island, my Strava average since I bought a GPS unit in January is 65mi/wk; 5hr26. When it stops snowing so damned much, I'll be taking my new bike out for a long ride every weekend. Weather permitting, the first four of these will be over Easter (I have Thu-Mon off work, and fancy racking up 200 miles over that weekend if I can.) I start kickboxing on Tuesday. I'll start at 1 session a week, possibly making it up to two if I'm physically capable of doing so. I'm hoping this will help me with my co-ordination and dexterity problems, along with just being generally awesome fun. My diet So like most people I try to talk to about this stuff (a line of glazed over eyes, I can assure you) you're probably thinking "so what's the problem?" Actually, that sentence combined with the heading gives an indication of what the problem is. At this stage, I'm obviously not getting anywhere from exercising all the time but half-assing my diet. I keep saying "I'll go paleo" but when it comes down to it, I just damned love all kinds of food. And I'm lazy. This means that instead of making dinner for me, and then a vegetarian option for my nerdier half, I just make the vegetarian option and eat that. It's usually pasta based, or there are chips or potatoes or similar. Because of this, and the fact that he's terminally impossible to transition off of his current eats, my diet sucks. I want to change this, and this week he's away at a nerding conference in the US. This week, potatoes come off of the weekly veg delivery. This week I make one new paleo recipe every day. Every one will be something that can be converted to vegetarian in a couple of easy steps. Can I make it stick? I certainly hope so. Wow, this got long, let's wrap it up: Saddle up, nuggets! We're in for a bumpy ride.
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