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  1. The last challenge got me finishing old projects and starting a new trade: thermoplastics. I've figured out that I do best when focusing on one thing at a time (freaking, surprise there, eh?), so while I still am allowed my 4 hobbies, each one will have one focus only. Sewing: Finish the blue skirt, then start another pair of work pants. Exercise: Solidify PT and Kenpo practice. Languages: One module of French or Russian per day, maintain Japanese at lunch. Thermoplastics: Make a new bracer, practice painting on the prototype. For a lot of my life, I would try to get into everything, and ended up not finishing much and feeling overwhelmed. Throw it all out, start over, cycle continues. While doing grad school on top of a full-time job, I found out I get a lot more accomplished by limiting myself to 4 hobbies (gardening is on hold til spring), and having one thing on my "To Do" list per day. If I get more done, great, but there's no pressure to do it, so I'm more willing to work on it. I still want to do everything, get into everything, learn everything, but I can't argue that I've accomplished a lot more by focusing on one thing to completion. Sewing is pretty straightforward - finish one, start the next. I've let PT slide a bit lately, and my body forcefully reminded me that that's dangerous. I'm going to try changing from a M-Th workout schedule, with PT on the weekend, to a split week schedule with PT mid-week and on the weekend. Kenpo practice is a goal of 10 minutes a day, fit in wherever possible, and no pressure if not. Similarly, I've not been keeping up on French and Russian, so one module a day, maybe 5-10 minutes. Thermoplastics is the fun part. I made a prototype bracer, to see how it's done, and I was pretty happy about how it turned out. There are a couple bubbles and rough patches, but I thought they'd be covered over by priming and painting. I was wrong: Don't get me wrong, it looks spiffy and I'm proud of it, but those bubbles on the top and middle layers bother me. I was trying out different heat settings when I made those layers, and they got too hot, too fast. If it was just that, I might try to ignore it, but there are some other issues that I think I can make better on a second go 'round. So, back to the crafting table!
  2. Ends: Finish first pair of work pants Finish Halloween outfit/ work skirt Beginnings: Explore thermoplastics Try simple leatherworking Maintenance: Boot camp/ self-defense Physical therapy Languages This challenge is sort of in the middle of things for me. I need to finish up work pants (all hand-sewing left) and my work Halloween outfit (a button-down shirt, ugh) before I get to start fun new stuff, but I really want to be done by the end of the month, so I can start on new, fun stuff. I need to keep up the workouts, add PT back in (I thought workouts would be enough - I was wrong), and keep chugging away at my language skills. There are other, small goals in there, too, but these are the big ones that I need to keep focus on. Keep at it.
  3. Okay, so I wanted to say something about Rogue One, but, who needs to do that? I'm going on opening day. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Instead, because my challenge goals are revisiting and continuing What Works, I'm going back to something awesome. Work it. Main Goal I'm going to Blue Mountain, Ontario, for the 2017 OCR World Championships. Anyone who does three or more races in a single year qualifies to race Journeyman. I could register right now. I want to qualify as an Age Group competitor, meaning I want to earn my spot in competition. Good Lord, the medal porn. I hope these things continue to look this awesome. To this end, I have to Get Faster and Stay Strong. And in order to do these things, I have to Stick With What I Know Works. Goal: Macros Never be Porkins. 1750-2250 calories per day 125-150 grams protein 35+ grams fiber <2800 grams sodium Ideally, it's going to be lightest on rest days and heaviest on days where I lift. This is a work in progress. As long as my averages are within my goal range, this is a success for this challenge. Everything gets tracked and reported here. Goal: Strength Training Dash Rendar, the double-breasted turkey of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Weekly Schedule: Crossfit-style class Monday Heavy lifting Tuesday, Thursday HIIT Friday Boot camp Saturday During Week 1 of this challenge because I'll be racing in Florida, and will be dropping my Thursday, Friday and Saturday sessions. Otherwise, everything gets tracked and reported here. Goal: Run, Dammit I wonder if having a puppet master would make me run more consistently. I have a half-marathon training plan that I paid for, and a running coach who has agreed to track my progress and keep me moving forward. Use these resources. Follow the plan. I am schedule to run four days per week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and one day per weekend. The Plan says Saturday but also says I can run Sunday instead. My GF and I have agreed to run every Sunday after I finish teaching class at the gym. We're going to keep each other accountable and start working toward our goals. My measurable goal: 10k in under an hour. Far more achievable than doing the Kessel Run in under 12 Parsecs. As I mentioned, I will be guiding my GF through the swamp in Florida at the end of Week 1 to complete the Jacksonville Spartan Super, which will complete my Fifth Spartan Trifecta for 2016. I don't want to downplay this as "no big thing", because if it weren't a "big thing" people like me wouldn't train for them and judge their fitness by them. It is a big deal. One Spartan Race is a Big Deal. One Trifecta is a huge deal. Five Trifectas is a huge deal. I'm proud of what I've done this year, and I understand what I need to do to get where I want to go. Specifically, standing in this picture. Finally, I will continue to preach Peace, Love and Understanding, until I feel that this world no longer needs it. I stay far too silent on far too many things in the name of not rocking boats. I won't speak politics or whatnot here in the Jedi Temple, but I will continue my mantra, because this world is an awesome place, and it gets better every time we remember to make it that way. Peace, Love and Understanding, friends.
  4. Greetings and salutations, My name is Zack, 27yo of Albion (the UK)... Since 2013 I have been on an epic quest to get healthy, motivated and become the best version of myself. The road has been long and there have been many setbacks... at first the motivation was there and I was unstoppable, I lost 3st of my 4st weight loss goal and went from being a sedentary beer monster with a dodgy ticker to an active guy, taking part in military boot camps, tabata and crossfit. I quit smoking and completely overhauled my eating habits, becoming a vegetarian, which was challenging, but extremely rewarding. This is me, before (complete with heart monitor) and after (complete with mohawk) the initial de-fattening took place: http://i58.tinypic.com/9fzk48.png I hit a bump in the road last winter and suffered very badly with SAD and anxiety, had to take medication which caused weight gain and my motivation took a beating. It has taken me until very recently to get properly back on the horse, and despite continuing head issues, I have rejoined my boot camp, dusted off the weights and am beginning to slay some adipose tissue. After all, "a good mood is only one workout away" - some guy on the internet. Mmm Endorphins... I have gained 13lb since last November and I want to get back to my lowest weight of 13st 9lb by this November. So my main quest is this: Lose 9lb by September the 7th! The sub-quests that I have chosen to take on in order to achieve the main quest are as follows: 1. Never go two days without a serious workout. 2. Use my fitbit fitness tracker to gamify my calorie counting. Update this daily. 3. Only drink beer twice a week (with the one exception below) EXCEPT...The tricky part will be that on the 12th of August I will be at a 4 day music festival, luckily the food there is good quality, lots of veggie noms... but there will be beer... a lot of beer. It's my biggest weakness i'm afraid. The plan is to dance my ass off so that I can mitigate all the delicious amber calories, however I imagine a small weight gain will be inevitable. As soon as I am home I will chuck myself back into fitness and healthy eating. So, to my fellow nerds who are undertaking their own quests for the next three fortnights, good luck and godspeed. Any kind words of support sent my way would be greatly appreciated. Also, to anyone starting out on the path to awesomeness, I will be happy to discuss what has worked for me so far and provide any support if you would like some. TTFN Z.
  5. Momma Honeybadger (5 points) I want to be able to complete the entire mommy boot camp exercise list, so that requires GOING to my boot camp workouts twice a week. I also want to fit in some yoga, so it'd be nice if I can find time once a week to do a DVD while hubby takes on baby for me. Yoga is far less likely to happen, so the points weight falls more on boot camp. 1/12 Boot Camp Workouts (STR 3 points STA 1 point) 8.3%8.3% 0/6 Yoga Workouts (STA 1 points) 0%0% What the hell are Macros? (3 points) Read a book about weight training and macros and develop a plan. Taking recommendations! (WIS 3 Points) Go the Fuck to Sleep (4 points) Establish a steady bedtime routine with baby boy to encourage sleeping well for both of us. Better to do it now than to wait until I go back to work in August. #ThatTeacherLife (CHA 2 Points) Related, drink less coffee. That 28 oz of coffee is affecting the kid via the boob. I need to drink like 12-14 oz instead. (STA 2 points) Paleo Noms (3 Points) Not just cooking paleo, but getting some paleo canning/preserving underway while the produce is summer-fresh. (CON 3) This will be about finding recipes for fruit and veggie preserves without adding a load of sugar or other refined ingredients. 1/3 adventures in paleo canning undertaken (CON 3 Points) 33.3%33.3% Possible recipes to try: Blueberry Preserves Made Without Pectin or Sugar This may be my first experiment because Texas blueberries are amazing right now so it's a good time to do it. If a first batch works, then I will make go back and make enough to put away a few pints of it. Because omg, Texas blueberries right now! This recipe happens to have no pectin, which is a fiber taken from plants used to make jellies gel. Pectin seems to be considered ok on the Paleo diet, and I just want to note I chose this recipe for its ease not for the lack of pectin. If anything, the no-sugar is the big allure here. See the attempt here.
  6. A quick summary: Last challenge I set workout, food, and soda-free life goals. I managed to kick soda, started off okay with both food and workout, but quickly went back to being a french fry loving couch potato. Okay, that's not totally accurate, but in the grand scheme of things I'd say my grading for workout was a C at best, cooking for myself was a C, and soda-free was a B+. Now, even though I was on the struggle bus the entire time, I did make progress. First, I joined a gym full of the most awesome people ever. Second, I managed to lose five pounds! Third, I kicked the soda habit. I had a couple, but I don't crave one every day now. So it wasn't a total wash, and I realized that I was probably over-ambitious in setting my goals last time (damn Slytherin tendencies). So now I've "woken up" and know how to keep going. On to the Quests! Mission: Lose 40 pounds by sister's graduation (May 28). 5/40 down. Quest 1: (Active Body) Full workouts at least 2x a week. Walk or run at least 2x a week. Quest 2: (Healthy Body) Drink at least a liter of water each day. Quest 3: (Conscious Body) Keep a proper written journal of prayers/thankfulness/positivity. Life Quest: Revise the hell out of my novel/don't take rejections personally. Let's do this!
  7. I have been doing challenges with the Adventurers, but it's time I embrace my true nature and continue my training there. A little background: I am not who I used to be. I used to be this guy: That guy sucks, and I sort of despise him. He was a weak, lazy bastard who could barely run to the end of the driveway without gasping for breath, and even when doing something as low-impact as mowing the lawn, would sweat like it was raining. In late 2011, I finally grabbed at an opportunity to change and started doing group fitness twice a week at work. That was a decent start, but I was still fat, and then in August 2012 I left the company and stopped working out. And I went nearly back to being that guy up there, who like I said I sort of despise. Just look at him with that smarmy food-coma, glazed-eye smile. I bet that's ranch dressing on that plate. In January of 2013, I joined a Boot Camp class and quickly started doing 2 classes per week.Since I was nearly back to where I had started, I wound up puking in the garbage can in the corner of the gym during my first class. But then, in a massive middle finger to that guy, I jumped right back into the class and finished it out. That was the beginning. Over the last two years, I consistently increased my activity, my strength, my stamina, and my moments of intermittent badassery, and am currently this guy: This guy, I like. First of all, this guy's beard is infinitely more awesome than that other guy, plus if I'm going to sweat like it's raining, I better at least be doing something awesome to earn it. Along the way, I learned some things about myself: I like working out with other people. Boot camp, small group workouts, even just running with a friend - all awesome, and having someone else to push you to keep working or to not blow off a workout is the best. I like lifting weights. Alone in the garage, in front of others at Boot Camp, in the living room with the kids; hell, I'm even not freaked out anymore to lift with the bros in the free weight section at the gym. I heart hypertrophy. Someone should make that into a tee shirt. I like running. I'm slow, and I'm still working my way up to a full 5k without stopping, but I run. I ran a bunch of 5k races this year and I enjoy pushing myself to try and hit my personal bests. Right now I'm working toward a personal best of under 34 minutes while still working on that whole run-without-walking part. I like eating clean. I've been logging my food while working with Jon, my trainer at the gym who started a Small Group thing (he calls it Focus Group). In 2013 I lost 35 pounds in three months between April and June letting him teach me to eat clean and eat whole, and when I am focused and actually am consistent with logging, I can shred off almost 2 inches around my middle in just over a month. I like me some Spartan Race. I did my first one (that money shot up there) in September of 2014 in Illinois. I am kicking myself for all the times I told myself "I can't" or "Not yet" or whatever the hell else all my excuses were. I loved that one race so much, I signed up for the Stadium Sprint in Milwaukee a month later, dragged my youngest kids out to do the Spartan Kids' Race, signed up for the Minneapolis Sprint for June of 2015 the day it was announced, and am already trying to figure where to fit a Beast into my schedule so I can complete at least one Trifecta this year. I'm going to quit talking about it now before I start going "Aroo!"Lifting and running. It's not just a Spartan thing; this sounds like a certain NF Class, and it's time to embrace this thing. Challenge Goals: I have been measuring myself in Burpees since the last weekend in September at the Illinois Spartan. That number was 90 - 30 each for the three obstacles I failed to successfully complete, the Spear Throw, the Traverse Wall and the Rope Climb. In November it dropped to 60 when that damned spear sagged but did not drop. Sadly enough, I was less than six feet total away from a Burpee-free run in Milwaukee, but cramped up badly on the Traverse Wall and fell off two steps from the bell, and couldn't make it up the last few feet of the rope climb. Close enough to taste it, but far enough that I was in Burpee purgatory. Suck. I am planning to do the Las Vegas Super Spartan in April, and it's time to get serious about training for it, because otherwise I'm going to be the king of Burpees at the end of that weekend. Quest 1: Grip it and Rip It. I know I can beat the Traverse. I've been working on my grip strength ever since, to make sure that the damn rope does not beat me again. Jon has me working on pull-ups and chin-ups to increase my grip strength and my pull-force. Right now I can do two pull-ups in a row consistently and sometimes three. I need to keep at it to build up. Goal: Do fifteen chin-ups or pull-ups every day. Grading: A: 100+ per week B: 85-99 per week C: 70-84 per week Anything less is a fail. Quest 2: You Go Long. If I'm actually serious about this whole Trifecta thing, it's time to push up my miles when I run. 5k isn't going to cut it if I'm really going to tackle the Super in April. Right now I am doing interval training on the treadmill and can do 4.5 miles in an hour. It's time to push it some more. I'm currently only doing one extended cardio session. Doing it more often will help me increase my long-term stamina and my distance. Goal: Run for at least one hour twice per week. Grading: A: Two days or more, one hour each. B: Two days or more, 90 minutes total C: One day, one hour Anything less is a fail. Quest 3: You Have Logs? For the most part, I am consistent about staying away from processed foods and eating clean, whole foods, but the last couple months, I've been pretty lax. It's time to get back on track. Goal: Log all my food, every day. Grading: A: Logged all food intake every day B: Logged every day but missed some entries C: At least four days per week logged Anything less is a fail. Life Quest: Do It The Write Way. I am happiest when I spend some time writing. During one challenge in 2014, I had writing as a goal, and while the challenge overall didn't quite go great, I did do some decent writing. I aim to get back to that. Goal: Produce one piece per week - fiction, non-fiction, or essay. Grading: A: Six total pieces. B: Four pieces total C: Three pieces total Anything less is an incomplete. Motivation: My kids. All five of them. They rock. And I want to still be going over the eight-foot wall when they're old enough to run it with me... and their kids, too. I want to be the 85-year-old man doing wall-sits and making the kids climb up my knee and onto my shoulder as I hoist them over the wall.
  8. Camp Gladiator Anybody know anything about or have any experience with this?
  9. Great things hardly success before thousands of failures, good thing is that we never stop trying. One day we would find that those little things that we used to ignore will make a big difference if we try! I'm a dreamer, rather than a practitioner. After high school, seems like I never really keep one thing as habit, especially for exercise. I'm always thinking of losing weight, but never fulfill my goal. I hate my laziness and weakness to challenge myself and control myself. While when I look the girl in the mirror, I know there is a brave Gao inside me, she knows what she want and are ready for change, and try a new life! So here I am, I want to remember my history and failures as reminder, I also want to tell myself this time is the last time to say give up! I summarize the reasons for former failure to my weight loss goal: 1) want things to go fast, while in real life, small things accumulate to big success. 2) a big thinker, small practitioner. 3) care too much about how others think about myself, while what really matters is your own feeling 4) always compare self with other girls, while what I should really do is to compare only with myself! 5) bad eating habits 6)never record little steps Based on those reasons, the following changes are listed 1) record little things online 2) find a group to challenge together 3) do it!!! This is a MUST, not a Should or COULD! Main Quest: fitness for both body and life Goals: 1) lose 3 pounds in 6 week 2) 2 time fast food or grains per month 3) no vendor machine food at work Life Quest: sufficient self-esteem Goals: 1) speak up at least one time in business meetings, be brave to show ideas 2) save at least $500 per month 3) shopping at least one time per month for beauty (as a girl, I'm really proud that I'm not a shopping fun...) Motivation: Hey Gao, just look back your life, have you ever succeeded in challenging anything?
  10. Main Quest: Complete the Tough Mudder on October 20th, 2013 Goals: - Complete the Tough Mudder Boot Camp 3 days/week A. Complete full boot camp 3 days/week every week. B. Complete full boot camp 3 days/week every week with a few exceptions C. Complete full boot camp 2 days/week every week D. Complete full boot camp 2 days/week every week with a few exceptions F. Complete full boot camp 1 day/week or less - Additonal Cardio 2 days/week A. Additional 90 minutes/week B. Additonal 70 minues/week C. Additional 60 minutes/week D. Additional 45 minutes/week F. Less than an additional 45 minutes/week - Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night A. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night B. Get 7-8 hours of sleep 5 out of 7 nights/week. C. Get at least 6-7 hours of sleep every night. D. Get at least 6-7 hour 5 out of 7 nights/week. F. Get less than 6 hours of sleep/night. Life Quest: Watch no more than 2 hours of TV per day, and read at least 1 book every 2 weeks. Motivation: To feel strong and healthy again. Stats: - Height: 5'7" - Weight: approx 148lbs - Body Fat %: about 23% (guess based on pictures)
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