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  1. I had plans for this challenge. I am not using them. It's time for a special monk challenge. I need to get in touch with my inner girly monk, and I will be using my blond guru for this. After all, aikido is about elegance, and who is more elegant than Miss Piggy? Miss Piggy's Life Lessons Spirit, Determination, Grit, Confidence, Pursuit of Dreams, Beauty, Being Tough, Kicking Down Barriers with Martial Arts, International Star, Best-selling Author, Diva Kicking Down Barriers: Strength and Mobility I will lift the one I love. I will stretch the one I love. Spirit: Meditation I will meditate. (That's meditation depicted there, right? Pretty sure.) Toughness: Prioritize Sleep and Rest I will sleep well. I will schedule rest breaks timed for better performance. Kicking Down Barriers: Eat Enough I will eat enough for my metabolism to run right. (And maybe try to get some data.) Determination, Grit, and Confidence: Know What I Want I will practice knowing what I want. (This will be partly in a journal, but I also want to practice knowing what I want when I hit roadblocks in the dayor encounter task resistance, so this will evolve.) I will practice rewarding myself for incremental progress on goals to reinforce grit. Diva: Look Fabulous I will incrementally increase my fabulosity. And possibly refuse to age. International Star and Bestselling Author: Art is Important I will make art. I will make things around me beautiful. Diva Bonus: Be a Rockstar I will give myself bonus points for being more rock n' roll. Templates Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Totals Strength: At Least One Exercise Yoga Walk Eat Enough Sleep: Full Lights Out by Midnight Meditate Dopamine Increments Write Schedule of Rest Write Down What I Want (in a Journal) Make Art Make Something Pretty Fabulosity Improvement Bonus: Rock n' Roll Totals While that is a lot, most of it is things I am doing or have been working on, or fun things. It's more about noticing what I do that serves a goal, or opportunities to do something that serves a goal. I am a busy person, being a big international star, so I will just do what I feel like each day, and track it. After all, why should moi do anything she does not feel like, hmmm?
  2. Hey Nerds! I started bouldering in January (climbed casually at university but that was a while back, so I'm basically a newbie) and I'm really enjoying it - going twice a week and three times if I can. My boyfriend is into it too and we've got a little gang who go together. Good times. My problem is that I'm a little overweight - could stand to lose probably 30 to 40 pounds - and my upper body strength isn't great yet. It's growing with time, but not very quickly. My hands / forearms wear out with the grip of climbing before my back / shoulders do, so I was wondering if anyone knew of any back / shoulder / upper arm exercises I could do on non-climbing days which didn't involve grip - so not pull ups, but exercising those same muscles. I want to keep within my body's limits and be sensible, but I think I'm safe to do more than my 2 hour sessions twice a week. At the moment my wish to finish a route and my lack of strength means I'm heaving my way up the wall, which takes its toll on my stamina and my technique! Bonus points: If anyone had a programme to recommend I follow at home in the evenings / mornings, that would be fab! S
  3. Like so many other mathematical words, adaptive also has a meaning in normal english: characterized by or given to adaptation. Thank you google. Fortunately, a few definitions later it basically says that it is something that can be modified . Currently, I'm suffering from a depression with exhaustion as my biggest symptom. I have no idea what I'll be able to do each week, so I'll have an adaptive challenge. I usually exercise a lot (cycling ~45-60 minutes a day, walking ~30 minutes a day, c25k twice a week and climbing once or twice a week on average), so I don't need more general exercise. However, I do need more energy, a better posture and to stay injury-free. I also want to be able to do some awesome tricks in the future, like a freestanding handstand, a nice bridge, a pistol squat on each leg, one armed push ups, etc. So my single quest for this challenge is: Quest 1: formulate a subquest for each of the following categories every week on Sunday or Monday: a. Posture b. Stretching and yoga c. Push-ups, glute strength and core strength d. Adulting e. Fun Note that I did not include a full strength program, that's because I train my pull-muscles and legs with climbing already. I need stronger glutes to compensate for my quads and calfes, my knees are already starting to hurt because my glutes are not strong enough at the moment. I will use this week to set a (simple) base. Subquests for this week, starting tomorrow: a. Posture: do 3 sets of 5 shoulder rolls during the day, every day of the week (0/4) b. Stretching: do 3 different stretches every day of the week, the stretches must include a calf stretch and a quadriceps stretch (0/4) c. Determine which push-up and plank level of startbodyweight I should start with and do one extra set of push ups and planks. Complement each workout with 3x5 glute bridges (0/2) d. Clean or tidy at least 5 minutes every day, not counting the dishes (0/4) e. Bake a no knead whole wheat bread (0/1)
  4. The theme of my challenge for this round is focusing on fixing my bad habits! I've gotten so much better habit wise about a lot of things; now is time to refine and fix the things I know I am bad about! Goal 1, the ground is not the limit. the SKY is the limit: I have a bad habit of not working on my aerial skills up in the air. I'll learn something on the ground and then move on to something else and not work on getting it up in the air. My parameters for this are that I would like to work on at least one skill in the air once a week. (Doesn't have to be something big, just SOMETHING in the air. Even climbing up 5 feet and doing a footlock would be more than I do in the air at this point!) Goal 2, my right shoulder is a rebel. Get my right shoulder to behave! I have had a weird placement issue with my right shoulder for years from years of driving with it in a weird place. I know it feels wrong now when I do it but I need to get the correct placement ingrained in my body. It naturally is in the right place when I do an upper body work out, so for this: every day I will one set of some kind of push up variation and some kind of hanging and pulling exercise variation. It doesn't have to be with a challenging amount of weight or a ton of reps, just enough to get those muscles activated and remind myself about proper placement. Goal 3, focus on form The first step in forming new exercise habits is getting yourself to show up. I have consistently done that through my past challenges, so now I need to move on to refining form and technique. I have a few sub goals on this, and really the overarching idea is when I DO exercise, focus on at least one of these things once a week. (More realistically it will be more like 3 times plus a week, but I'd rather start small and give myself space to grow!) Things for this: in dance: focus on precision/nailing the small details in choreography, practice combinations outside of class more often in aerial: work on improving my inverted straddle, work on improving hip keys, and also working on really nailing how to do whatever new thing is challenging me on a given week Goal 4, Photographic evidence! I never remember to take exercise related photo and video of myself doing dance/aerial etc. At the very least I want to take a before and after picture! At best I want to start taking progress videos of aerial and taking video of choreography we are doing in my dance classes. Life goal: Focus on getting debt paid down Speaking of bad habits. I really really want to actually make progress on this. I have been unofficially working on this for a while, but clearly not really doing enough. Baby size starter goal for this one is no putting anything on my credit cards for the duration of the challenge. (OK. If an actual emergency happens and I need to do car repairs, that would be OK. And I give myself permission to put something on a card only if I pay it right back if I am at a sketchy feeling gas station or somewhere else I don't trust with my debit card.) I would also like to pay down my cards by at least $500 more by the end of the challenge. More would be even better!
  5. Hellooooooooooooo Assassins! I think I am going to try something a little different for this challenge. I am someone who thrives on variety and being able to switch things up, and I have a LOT of different stuff I am working on, so Instead of trying to do a regimented two days of this per week, one day of this per week, blah blah blah, I want to go a little more freeform, with the exception of my primary goal of CORE DAY EVERY DAY WOOOOO! My inspiration for my core goal is: I am still rehabbing my left tricep. It is SO CLOSE to back to normal. During my month of injury and not being able to do ANY upper body work I started working on core a lot because it was something I could do. I went to open studio at my aerial gym yesterday for the first time since my injury and I realized that my improved core strength from focusing on core has done some really awesome things for my body. My aerial skills are smoother and more controlled, and I feel my flexibility has even improved even though I wasn't focusing on that! Without further delay, MY GOALS: 1. Every day is core day!!!!!!! I want to work on my core every day. Some days a little. Some days a lot. Whatever my body feels like just as long as I do some every day! 2. All the other things! I have a lot of other things I work on. Most of these I tend to do every other day or so or at least 2-3 times per week. My goal is to do things from this list at least three times a week. I am not going to be specific about which happens when and how much, and some overlap with my core goal anyway but whatever. All the things! Here are all my mini goals in a list-tastic list: Bodyweight strength training (specifically pull ups and push ups)Lifting! (I want to start doing powerlifting. This goal is pending total healing of my arm!)Dance! (fun dance, formal dance classes, working on technique, choreography, whatever!)Sing! (I am the singer for a band now so I should be doing this anyway, YAAAY)DeclutterKeep running! (I can run a whole 3 miles at once now! I'd like to keep slowly building this up.)Hike!Stretch!Perform more! (This is really always on my list and requires finding performance opportunities. Crossing fingers)Find job in Bay area! (Long term goal I am still working on. It'll happen!I will probably add to the list for number 2 as I think of more things! I know that includes both health and life goals and I am OK with that. I expect I will be doing a lot more than 3 a week with so many things to pick from!
  6. See the full challenge description for details. This is the abridged version. I feel like I've been going in circles for these past challenges. Nothing sticks for longer than a challenge or two. That's not a good reason to give up. And there are good reasons to continue. But it's a good reason to re-examine my strategy. But that is not a good reason to take a break. So I'm doing a "normal" challenge of sorts, but the actual task is to spend this time thinking about how to not go wrong again. Goals (as a homage to The Legend of Zelda, because Triforce, and I approve of trying force): Power: do Convict Conditioning exercises daily. Includes low-intensity, "off-day" exercises. Details to be posted later. Wisdom: rest enough, at the right time. Because sleep is an important part of health. Courage: apply for a job (as a Ph.D. student). Because selling oneself is scary. But necessary. Yes, if you read any of my previous challenges, then you've seen this before, in one way or another. That's the point. This isn't supposed to be novel, this is supposed to build a foundation. One that outlasts more than just a couple of challenges. Comments requested. Thanks for visiting.
  7. Oh dear. This had to happen some day. The Courier has lost her mind for good. Guys! Wait, don't give up on me yet! I'll illuminate you! Reactivity is the exact opposite of proactivity. Figures, doesn't it? … No? Uh ... I came across this term in Stephen Covey's „The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. It was a fascinating book which I literally devoured (don't worry M, not THAT literally, you'll get it back in one piece). The first big kick in the butt was the following simple concept: That there is a gap between an external stimulus and the behavioural response. This gap contains the „freedom to choose“. So it is totally up to ME how I react to something. I am not a subject of my environment, the conditions, the weather, or to gremlins. Although that is quite logic, it has to be manifested in your consciousness. Now, how do you define 'proactivity'? Let me quote Mr. Covey: „... It means more than merely taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.“ Well, it hurts to admit it, but I am still a quite reactive person. I noticed it with much discomfort again just yesterday. I didn't really feel like participating the service as a member of a choir, and the fact that it took me more than 2,5 hours to get to the church because of building sites all over the public transport system (plus irregularities that resulted in missing almost every train and that the choir made several unnecessary mistakes which almost screwed us worsened my mood extremely. So I spent half a nice summer day angry and sulky, green with envy for the guys in the TKD-boot camp I would have SO DAMN loved having attended, feeling sorry for me for being stuck here, having such an awful morning, instead of … I don't know, for example packing my things and get to the lake and go for a swim to spend some nicer hours and relax a bit. (Which I did this morning. Better late than never.) … you see what I mean about me being reactive? Although I must also say I was much, much, much worse. Such as described above happened much more often and the feeling lasted much longer. But still, there is a lot of work to do. And why bothering with all this? Because I happened to notice, that me being slacky on daily exercise is not a problem of a busy life, or finding the right program, but of a serious lack of guts and willpower. I do come home very late almost every day during the week. So what? One still CAN do 2 sets of 10 'exercise XY' The answer, why I don't do them, is simply: I don't feel like it. And now there comes the reactive personality: „I had an exhausting day, I deserve to rest. There's always a tomorrow.“ Well, vicious cycle. And it is so silly, since exercising and eating right brought me some results. Nothing extraordinary, but I feel much better about myself. And would I do a bit more, I would feel even better. Self-rewarding system, actually. The big question is, how to accomplish it. I don't really have more of a plan than to pay more attention on how I behave. Unfortunately, there is no emergency kit when I notice I am being reactive again, which I do. I am well aware when I am making excuses or blaming gremlins. Unfortunately it seems that I am perfectly willing to listen to them far too often. (T__T) So, this is more of challenge about the right mindset than about health itself. Regular exercise which is independent from TKD-lessons, is the last big health issue I have to master, but it's been over a year that I am struggling with it, so … maybe I need to concentrate more on my brain first. Speaking of Taekwon-Do, since my school is closed this week due to a boot camp almost all members are attending, I have one explicit, measurable goal for week #1: Do any kind of exercise every day. That might be a 5km-walk, 15 min of jogging, a CC session ... doesn't matter what, but do something to get you to sweat. It might not be efficient as far as getting strong is concerned, but not much unlike M, I really have to get used to exercising daily. I know that I have to come up with a more specific plan to succeed at least a little bit, just give me the first week to observe, as a time of making up and developing strategies against the reactivity gremlins. So, brace yourself for a frenzy of modifications during those six weeks.
  8. To those who are following the storyline from my last challenge: Beware. Of. Major. Spoilers. Seriously, this whole challenge intro is a major spoiler for the storyline I have yet to conclude in the other challenge. You have been warned. TL;DR: Challenge goals Do everything from last time. sleep at 12amwake by 9am and get readydo "Convict Conditioning" bodyweight strength training Only this time, actually do it.Reward for doing it: uh… happy dance? Punishment for slacking: something awful, to be decided on. Probably push-ups. 25 burpees per session missed. I blame llw and Kishi. Take cold(er) showers. 'Cause damn, I'm being beaten by a 16-year old girl who isn't even actively trying to beat me. I will not go without a fight!Reward: happy dance…? Punishment: probably push-ups. 25 burpees per day missed. Record your progress in your journal. While much of my journey is documented here, more or less, I've severely neglected my own journal in the meantime.Reward: happy dance…? Punishment: probably more push-ups. 25 burpees per day missed. Why so much punishment? Why not embrace the positive side of life? Because this makes the stakes oh so much higher.
  9. In continuation of the last challenge thread. See also how it began. TL;DR version at the bottom. Book 4 – Prologue "Enjoy your stay.", the jailer said as he locked the door behind me. And, as he walked away, he added "Hehe… this never gets old." I looked around. Everything in here just screamed "prison cell". Grey walls, a bunk, a basin and a toilet, all of which looked like they hadn't been cleaned in years. Yep, this definitely was a prison cell if anything. Which really was quite fine… …except that I wasn't supposed to be in prison, I was supposed to be in an asylum! And heck, I wasn't even really supposed to be there either! Why the hell was I here?! What had I done wrong?! "Hmmmmm…", I heard a voice grumble. Feeling quite uneasy about what I just heard, I turned to the cell to my left, where I had heard the voice from. A gruff-looking guy with scars along his face and pretty dirty teeth was smiling at me. But not in the good way. " "Oh crap. I backed off from the wall as far as I could. "Here, boy! Here, boy!" Suddenly… "Aaagh!", the guy screamed, clutching his neck. "What the— ugh." And then he collapsed. "Just in time, eh?", a voice from behind me said. I turned to the back wall and saw Emma smiling at me through the cell window bars. "Emma! What are you doing here?" "Tracking you down, sweetcheeks. And I should be the one asking. How did you end up in the Rangus Asylum?" "Beats me. They just said something about me not having my sanity, then they dumped me here without telling me what they meant or letting me say anything to my defense." "Oh. Yeah, the Rangus Asylum is known to do that." "Really?" "They check others for signs of lunacy, and if they find any, then they lock you up. Simple. Thing is, the 'signs' they use aren't really signs of lunacy at all… If anything, they are the lunatics here. But since they have weapons, and they look like legitimate guards, they use their power to lock up whomever they can get a hold of… before the others know who they're dealing with." "Ugh, great. So you're saying they're a bunch of criminals appearing to be law enforcement?" "Pretty much, yeah." "So I didn't do anything wrong?" "Nope." "Then I gotta get out of here." "No kidding. Not at least because of the neighbors you have here." "Say, what did you do to him anyway? Is he dead?" "Oh, no, just unconscious. A fast-acting toxin, but ultimately non-lethal. …well, I can't guarantee it in an environment full of dangerous people like this one, but normally it just knocks you out for about a day or two." "But how did you administer the toxin? I didn't see anything." "A very thin needle, and my trusty blowpipe." "A blowpipe?" "I never leave home without it. You don't have one, sweetcheeks?" "Of course not. I'm not a ninja." "You mean: not yet." "Yeah, well, if I ever want to live long enough to even start my ninja training, I first gotta get out of here." "Oh sweetcheeks…", Emma grinned at me. "Ever so young and naïve…" "What's that supposed to mean?", I asked. "Your ninja training began the instant you entered this cell." "Wait, what?!" "Listen up, student! Your next task as a ninja trainee… is to escape from the Rangus Asylum. You have six weeks." "Whaaaaaaaaat?! Emma, this is serious! Now's not the time to make a game out of this." "Au contraire, monsieur. This is precisely the time to make a game out of it. Because the last thing we need is you freezing up in fear of not managing to escape, and ultimately failing to escape because of that fear. Or worse, get yourself killed that way." "But I—" "No buts." "But how—" "You'll have to figure that out by yourself." "Wait, does that mean you're not helping me?" "Yes and no. Yes, I'm helping you escape, but no, I'm not going to actively step in until you screw up big time. I'll be playing your safety net, so to speak. But you'll have to do all the work yourself." "Why…?" "Because I'm sure you got into this mess by yourself. Knowing you, you didn't even try to disarm the guards when they started being rough with you. You gotta stop thinking that ultimately nobody wants to hurt you, because there are a bunch of people out there who actually do." "…" "You know, you should be happy. This is real hands-on ninja training. I've been locked up many times now, and I've had to escape by myself each time too. This is the real-deal. It doesn't get any more applied than this." "Emma, you're gonna get me killed!" "I told you, sweetcheeks, I'll step in before anyone gets a chance to do that." "Ugh. You can't be serious." "I am." "*sigh* I realize. But I'm still hoping this all turns out to be a bad dream." "Well, I hope you come to terms with reality soon, sweetcheeks. It's coming close to lights out time. And in an asylum, lights out means lights out. No ifs, whens or buts. At least you'll be getting some decent sleep… once you're good enough at shutting out the screams." "D:" "Same thing for waking up. Lights on is lights on. There's no 'please just five more minutes' thing." "D:" "Oh, and since you have lots of free time, and quite a bit of space, I expect you to continue your strength training. You'll probably need it to survive here." "D:" "Well then, that's all the guidance I can give you for now. Except maybe one more tip: the guards have no freaking clue who's locked up where. If you need to go undetected for a while, just enter the nearest empty cell. Or even a shared cell, if you're sure your cellmates won't tell on you." "Emma, this isn't 'Assassin's Creed'." "No, but it's close enough to it. You'll be missing out on Eagle Vision, but that's just about it." "…" "Right. The patrol is coming around in a few minutes, so I'm off. And don't worry too much, sweetcheeks. I'm not bailing you out of here precisely because you gotta learn to swim by yourself. And because I know that you don't really need me to help you here." "Oh. Uh, thanks." "Anytime, sweetcheeks. Now, go show them what it means to be a Monk of the Rebellion! And my student!" "Yes, ma'am!" Emma got up and stepped away, but turned back one more time. "Oh, and when you're out, I expect you to do 30 push-ups for not calling me 'coach' three times. Got it?" Oh, what the— ugh. "Aye-aye, Coach!" End of prologue Author's comments: The usual "yada yada yada" about creative freedom and such. And I've never been to an asylum or a prison before… at least not outside of video games and TV shows. TL;DR: challenge goals Baseline goals Go to bed by 12am midnight. No ifs, whens or buts. Lights out means lights out.Wake up by 9am and get ready straight away. That means brushing teeth, taking shower, shaving and having breakfast. If I genuinely oversleep despite going to bed by 12am, no matter… provided I still get ready straight away.Do bodyweight strength training (the Convict Conditioning workout programs) 3 times a week. Usually on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.Additional optional challenges Low- or medium-intensity workout on rest days. Stretching, martial arts form practice, Tai Chi… whatever I can think of. The point is to get into the habit of doing exercise every day, not necessarily to progress in those exercises.Write one blawg post per week. What kind of blawg only has one post? A dead blawg. Who wants to own a dead blawg? No one.Keep my backlog below five days. Post progress updates here more regularly, instead of two weeks worth of updates in a single post. Hopefully this will free up time to read (and comment on) other people's threads too.Post an act of book 4 at least once every two weeks. Need to keep the story going. But my blawg needs more of my attention, so I'm not committing to anything more than this.Motivation I'm tired of running (what should be) the minutiae of my life on auto-pilot before having taught my auto-pilot how to fly. Why the "escapes from the asylum" theme? My last challenge (“Multiplexingâ€) failed, and I lost my timetable during that challenge. By losing my timetable, I lost my sanity. In my last mini-challenge (“redeeming my sanityâ€), I didn't regain my sanity. So I don't have my sanity anymore. I thus conclude that I am by definition insane. And that's how I ended up in the asylum. Also, I'm breaking out because I don't like it here. It's the color, ya know?
  10. In continuation of the last challenge thread. See also how it began. TL;DR version at the bottom. Book 3 – Prologue November 9th, two days before the beginning of the next semester at the Dojo of the Rebellion. Grandmaster Spezzy had summoned me to the instruction hall this morning to discuss my new timetable, before the semester starts. I had seen the influx of new disciples last semester already, so I could very well understand why she wouldn't want to have to deal with us veterans on the same day. (That is, if I could even be called a veteran already.) "The 13th disciple, please step inside." And I did. "The 13th disciple, congratulations on completing your first semester here at the Dojo." "Thank you, Grandmaster." "It is customary for second-semester disciples to continue with a program similar to their first semester, with adjustments made by their mentors. However, your mentor recently approached me and requested your admission to a higher-level training program." I gulped. Just like Emma had mentioned, she knew what to do to get the Grandmaster to join in on her crazy plan. "You should know that this higher-level training program is decidedly more complex and difficult than your first-semester training program.", the Grandmaster continued. "Nevertheless, your mentor insisted that you were ready to undertake this program, and she personally vouched for your success. Therefore I am willing to let you undertake this program." "Thank you, Grandmaster.", I said, half-automatically, even though I was having a very weird feeling about this. Years of martial arts training however had given me some practice at giving automatic respectful affirmative or negative answers despite being perplexed by the question or statement. "Your mentor has been absent from the Dojo during the holidays, as I am sure you have already noticed, so I will explain the program a bit further. It's called the 'multiplexer', though here at the Dojo it is also known as the 'mux'. The 13th disciple, you are a computer scientist, so surely you have come across the concept of multiplexing, have you not?" "Yes, Grandmaster, I have." I did not have the heart to tell her I was a mathematician, not a computer scientist. "In your own words, how would you explain multiplexing?" "Well… in engineering, multiplexing means that multiple signals share the same transport channel. So… in computer science, an example of multiplexing would be… say… having a video file that contains both an audio track and a video track. The file contains different signals, namely the audio and video data, and the transport channel is the stream of bytes the file is made of." "Correct. Now, sticking to your example, what possible ways can you think of for arranging the audio and video data within the video file?" "Uh… well, one method might be to store the audio data at the beginning of the file and the video data afterward, if that is what you mean by arranging the data." "Yes, that is what I mean. Can you think of other arrangements? One that might be more conductive to starting the video mid-way, not just at the beginning?" "Well, if the audio and video data is split into chunks, say, where each chunk contains one second's worth of audio or video, then the chunks can be arranged so that the first second of audio is followed by the first second of video, then by the second second of audio and then the second second of video, and then the third second, and so on." "Correct again. You also mentioned chunks. That is the essence of our multiplexer program. Your program's goals are signals, your program's tasks are the chunks." "Then… do you mean that I should break my overall goals into chunks and then interleave those chunks, tackling all goals at the same time by first concentrating on the goal of the first chunk, and then on the goal of the second chunk, etc.?" "Yes." "Then… am I correct in assuming that the chunks are sized based on time? A task is broken into multiple chunks if it needs longer than a certain time to complete?" "Correct again. You are to break your tasks into chunks of roughly 25 minutes of work, with breaks between each of them." "Okay… But that setup is sort of like a meta-program, isn't it? It still doesn't seem to have underlying goals of its own, only guidance on how to work towards any." "A keen observation. And yes, I will give you another set of goals to work on within the multiplexer. In your last challenge, your work focused on the two rituals of preparation, your martial arts classes, our philosophy teachings and our introductory strength training program. In this challenge you will work on multiple areas simultaneously, multiplexing between tasks. Your first area is the 'traditions' area. This area deals with extensions of the goals from previous semesters, namely your morning and evening ritual of preparation. You are to extend the morning ritual by adding a short session of meditation first thing in the morning, and you are to re-schedule the evening ritual to 11pm. The halls will be patrolled at 11.30pm, and you are expected to have finished by then. Any questions so far?" "No, Grandmaster." "Your next area is the 'body'. This area deals with physical exercise and skill building. You are allowed to take part in any of the following classes: tri-weekly bodyweight strength training, as you have already practiced in the last semester; free-form martial arts practice without instruction; beginner Tai Chi practice, in any of the first-semester druid classes, and beginner Ukemi practice—that is, learning how to fall correctly—in any of the first-semester assassin classes. And if the weather permits you may of course use our outdoor running track for running. Try them out and see which ones of those you like. There are no restrictions on how many classes you take in each of these disciplines, as long as you mix them up regularly. However, I trust that you know strength training is ineffective if done irregularly. Any questions now?" "No, Grandmaster." "Your final area is the 'future'. This area deals with preparations for your life outside the dojo. I do not know your plans, but you have free access to whatever you need in the Dojo that can help you prepare. I will be regularly checking in with your mentor on your progress. Any final questions?" "Yes, Grandmaster. I'm not sure if I understand this correctly. But if I were to take up writing a blog, then is assigning myself a 25-minute chunk to either write or promote a post while working in the Dojo's library in accordance with my program? Or if I were to search for a Ph.D. position in mathematics, then I may research on available positions with the help of the Dojo's informants and write my application papers in the Dojo's library, all in 25-minute chunks?" "Correct on both counts. Though I wonder, would you not instead be looking for a Ph.D. in computer science?" "…I can work in either position, Grandmaster." "Interesting. Well, yes, your suggestions are 100% accurate." "Then I have no further questions, Grandmaster." "Excellent. Then I wish you all the best for this semester. See you soon." "Goodbye, and thank you, Grandmaster." I said, and left the room. Once I was outside, I let out a huge sigh. "Oh Emma… Just what kind of mess have you gotten me into here…?" End of prologue TL;DR version: challenge goals 'traditional' area (mandatory):Lights out by 11pm, asleep by 11.30pm. (last challenge: "12pm" and "not tracked")Meditate, then get ready, then start work. (last challenge: no meditation)'body' area (mandatory):Do bodyweight strength training 3× per week. (2 chunks per session) (last challenge: identical)'body' area (optional, subject to availability):Free-form martial arts practice.Tai Chi practice.Parkour roll practice.Kip-up practice.Outdoor run.'future' area (mandatory, subject to availability)write for or promote my blog (yet to be setup)search for or apply for Ph.D. positions1 chunk lasts 25 minutes, except goal #1.2, which lasts longer. All tasks are tackled one chunk at a time, except goal #2.1, which is tackled in a block of 2 or 3 chunks. Grading and rationale to come in a follow-up post.
  11. It is the beginning of the end. The culmination of an era. The final months. The past seventeen years have all be leading to this ultimate destination, and once it is reached the entire time spent traveling to it will matter no more. It will be the end of an end, and the beginning of a new beginning; in truth, it will be the end of the beginning. But the destination has not been reached yet; the end is in sight, but it has not arrived. Eight months remain. Eight more months of freedom; eight months until freedom. Eight months to finish learning; eight months until the learning truly begins. Eight months until graduation. There is much that our heroine must accomplish in those eight short—and yet unbearably long—months. Some things must be finished in that time, while others simply should be, and some might barely be begun. Nevertheless, these eight months will be the capstone on our heroine’s journey; it will be because of them that she will be vaulted higher than she could image, or that she will sink lower than ever before. Let us begin. MAIN QUEST In eight months, our heroine must become the person she truly wishes to be, the person she wishes to continue her life as. This improved version of herself is a black belt, weight at least 20 pounds less than our heroine does now, and has sharpened her social skills to a razor edge. First Mission (+2 DEX, +2 STR): In order to achieve her black belt, our heroine must be stronger and more flexible than she ever has been before. To this end, she will continue to awaken every morning in order to stretch, do her slow kicks, and perform bodyweight strength exercises on Moon’s day, Odin’s day, and Freya’s day. GRADING: Each day is on a pass/fail basis A: 7/7 passes B: 6/7 C: 5/7 D: 3-4/7 F: 1-2/7 Second Mission (+4 STA, +1 WIS): Strength and flexibility are not the only attributes our heroine needs to successfully attain her black belt; she must also improve herself as a martial artist. This mission has two parts: our heroine must attend all classes as that she is able, and must practice her art alone at least thrice a week. GRADING: a "missed" class means an unexcused absence--if I legitimately had so much homework that I couldn't go, it doesn't count as a missed class. If the only reason I didn't finish my homework in time is because I was YouTube-ing for three hours after school, then it counts. A: All classes attended, 3x practice B: 1 class/practice missed C: 2 classes/practices missed D: 3 classes/practices missed F: 4+ classes/practices missed Third Mission (+2 CON, +2 CHA): If she wishes to continue her journey to a lighter version of herself, our heroine must fuel her body correctly. She will continue to avoid grains and carbohydrate-filled foods while journeying down (a modified) Paleolithic way. Our heroine will, however, continue to consume dairy. In addition to eating as her ancestors did many moons ago, our heroine will also continue to experiment with Intermittent Fasting. At least five days a week, our heroine will ensure that she endures for 16 hours without food, then fuels her body for a mere 8 hours before repeating. GRADING: Pass/fail daily basis. The first two days without IF are still a pass (if the food I ate was acceptable) but after that, non-IF days count as a fail. A: 7/7 passes B: 6/7 C: 5/7 D: 3-4/7 F: 1-2/7 Life Side-quest (+2 WIS): If our heroine wishes to attend college, she must set herself down on her formidable ass and dedicate herself to completing manifold applications and composing essays of her most impressive prose. GRADING: Point system. Finish an application form - 1 pt; finish the rough draft of an essay - 1 pt; finish the essay to the point where I give it to other people to read - 1 pt; finish essay completely - 1 pt; all transcripts sent - 1 pt; application fully completed - 2 pts; all applications completed - infinite points A: 5 pts B: 4 pts C: 3 pts D: 1-2 pts F: 0 pts STARTING STATS Weight: 161.4 BMI: 24.5 Waist: 29.5 Hips: 42.5 Thigh: 24 BF Percent: 31% Bicep: 11.25 inches
  12. I posted an early draft of my goals here http://nerdfitnessrebellion.com/index.php?/topic/17809-challenge-goals-thread/page-12. But I have decided that for my first challenge ever it's much better to keep it simple especially in light of what's going on in my life right now. My wife has been in the hospital since last week due to early contractions (the baby isn't due until the end of May and she's only on her 33rd week of pregnancy) so I will have to juggle work, going to the hospital, taking care of our son, and this challenge. And once our daughter is born I will have to consider how much sleep I'm going to get and factor that in the challenge. A recent mild asthma attack (most probably exercise induced) also served as a reminder to me to balance pushing myself with taking care of myself. So here are my goals for my first challenge: 1. Strength and Stamina goals: Work on my strength and stamina using bodyweight exercises. I've been doing this already since last year but for this challenge I'm going to alternate between the Angry Birds Workout and the Konami Code Workout. My schedule will look something like this: Monday: Angry Birds Wednesday: Konami Friday: Angry Birds Monday: Konami Wednesday: Angry Birds Friday: Konami I tweaked the Angry Birds workout a little. Instead of bodyweight squats I'm going to work on pistol squats. I also added the wheel pose to complement the plank. For the Konami Code workout I'm going to do as many as I can in ten minutes, with the intention of slowly increasing the number of circuits I can do. STR +2 STA +2 2. Work on my headstand. In my draft I referred to this jokingly as the big SCARY YOGA POSE. Well, it's not so scary anymore. I managed finally to gather my courage yesterday and just kicked my legs up against the wall. (YEAH! RAAAH! ) I held them up for about a second before lowering them to the floor. My legs were not straight up though so I'm going to work on both the form and holding it longer. DEX +2 3. Healthy habits: a. Get as much sleep as I can (especially important when the baby is born) b. Limit coffee to one cup a day with no sugar, cream, or anything else added - goodbye cafe mocha for now. CON +2 WIS +1 4. Music: Spend one hour a day working on writing songs and learning covers. The songs I write don't have to be especially good and I don't have to write one song per hour - but I have to set the time to work on them even if it's just a few riffs or a few lyrics. WIS +1
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