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Guys! Good to see you. It’s been a while. After being active, on and off, in the community from 2012 through late 2017, I dropped off the face of the map. I left mainly because of an ankle sprain that laid me out on and off until September 2018. The injury forced me to set aside my dreams of recovering my old parkour skills for a few months... and then a few more. Since then... it’s been tough to come back, and I’ve suffered physically as a result. I’m no longer as lean as I used to be. What’s more, although I’ve tried to re-implement my old exercise and diet routine, I’ve proven to be a little less... sticky with them than I used to be. It turns out, habits are hard! And then, this last November... I turned 30. So folks, now that I’m a Real Life Adult, it’s time to take care of my sheet. All right, let’s dig in. No fanfare, no theme. 1. Work out 3 days per week, all four weeks. I use a bodyweight progressive strength routine, as is pretty standard among well-informed fitness nerds (you guys!). Usually I make more specific goals for strength, and I do have several goals for the next few weeks. But for this challenge, I’m trying to solve the problem of habit-building and consistency, not just improving performance. So I’m going back to the very basics. Work can get crazy and mess up my schedule, so I won’t hold myself to a particular daily schedule for this challenge goal (although I do plan to work out MWF). I don’t care if I do it on odd days or even if i just eff around and do handstand practice rather than my whole routine; as long as I get a workout in three days per week, I’m winning. 2. Track food intake EVERY DAY. No excuses! Again, I’m going dead simple to focus on habit-building rather than getting too ambitious. However... I’m going through a cut cycle to lose bodyfat. My typical routine is to cut fast, at a 1k calorie deficit, and track my bodyfat with tape measurements and pictures over time. So I’ll be tracking that process here! 3. Build a set of parallettes, and a balance trainer. I dipped my toes into the waters of DIY a few months back when I built my doorway pull-up bar. From scratch! Out of galvanized pipe! That I cut and threaded myself (mostly)! Since I work out with bodyweight, I work out at home, in my apartment. That means I need to provide my own equipment. Since I plan to start training L-sits and get back to parkour training within the next few weeks, that means I’ll need a set of parallettes and a balance/precision trainer, probably something like the railings featured here. This is a bit of a blend of an exercise goal and life goal. But it’ll be fun! 4. Implement my budget. I want to be good at budgeting, but I’m kind of not. I have a very nice, super-reasonable budget laid out in an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop... and I have done exactly NOTHING to put it into action. I win at this goal if by the end of the challenge, my bank accounts are automatically withdrawing money for spending, savings, and retirement; and if I’ve updated my 401k and IRA investments, which I’ve been putting off for about six months. Bonus Achievements: Attain 3x5 Pistol Squats. I used to be great at these. I was no Waldo-esque pistol monster, but I could hold my own! Unfortunately, at 30 my knees are significantly weaker and creakier than they were at 25. Right now I’m doing partial negatives and ancillary exercises to build strength. But I plan to get them back, and if I can manage them within the next month I’ll be ecstatic. 3x5 chest-to-bar Pull-ups. My eventual goal is a bar muscle-up, but these will be a necessary first (baby) step. These used to be easy, but haven’t been easy in a while. Currently I can do 2-3 in a set. 3x3 Wall Headstand Push-ups. I did this once upon a time! I won’t get this one during this challenge, but I want it here to remind myself I WILL GET IT BACK. Hit 14% Bodyfat. If you think this makes me sound vain, you’d be correct. But I want it back. 14% is near the top of my ideal bodyfat range for myself. I perform better and I just feel more attractive. Eventually I wouldn’t mind hitting 10%... I was within a whisper of it only once, back in the days of my training log... but I know it will take a couple of cuts to get myself there, and I’m not ready for that just yet. Post (or repost) 2-4 recipes here during the challenge. You are talking to a man who loves cooking to the point that it’s driven him insane. How insane, you ask? Allow me to cite a short list of things I make from scratch on a semi-regular basis: chicken stock, fresh pork sausage, pasta, most kinds of rice noodles, bagels, sour cream, Sichuan chili oil, lacto-fermented pickles, duck prosciutto, and slabs (SLABS!) of pancetta. Still not convinced? Allow me to show you the carbon dioxide tank I keep under my sink for DIY seltzer water, sparkling wine and cocktails; my 20-pound, eight-inch wide granite mortar and pestle; my pantry collection of food-grade acids; and the fact that my next big planned cooking gadget purchase is a centrifuge. All this is to say... I like to cook, and I take great pains to experiment in the kitchen so that when I’m cutting fat, I’m still eating meals that taste great. However, I haven’t done a great job writing down recipes or techniques that work, so I have a tough time planning good meals in advance. To that end, I’d like to use this challenge to post a couple of recipes that I’m having good success with. They can be things I’ve put my own twist on, or they can be straight-up reposted from a resource I use a lot, like Serious Eats (but I’ll try to give my own take on those too). It’s a lot to bite off for one challenge, so it’s a bonus goal... but one I’d like to have some fun with. And that’s it! For now at least, this will replace the old training log I kept from 2013 to 2017. That log holds a lot of records from when I actually used to be good at this stuff, so feel free to take a look! But it’s time for me to focus on Future Paul.
So mostly this challenge is a continuation, but I thought I would reach back to an older nerd show for inspiration: We can rebuild him - we have the technology. Main goals are below the fold, but here's the main thing: 1. POST! ACTUALLY POST! POST! 2. Get better about scheduling my goals. In other words - "I will do ACTION at TIME in LOCATION" - use better cues to do the things 3. Actually use the zero week to debug the challenge, and come back and edit this one.