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  1. Well, howdy there, folks! I'm Kishi, an inconveniently itinerant monk. Good to see you again or for the first time, as it applies. I was scrolling through Facebook one night and I came across a piece about Felipe Costa, who's a BJJ black belt of some renown. I read something that struck me: apparently, he was a competitor who never won a "major" tournament up until he hit his black belt. I was struck by that - black belt takes a long time to get in this art, and to go that long and fight that hard without getting anywhere... well, maybe that sounds crazy, but I found some inspiration in that. Like a release from pressure. So when the word came down that there was a tournament up in September, I took 20 seconds of courage and applied for it. (and then thought about how, just because he didn't win a "major" tournament didn't mean he didn't win a "minor" tournament, or didn't medal or otherwise outperform a lot of people that I might not necessarily do, but we're past that point now). Now, you might think that I was getting ready to do a lot of crazy shit for training to get ready for this thing. I will be doing no such thing. For one thing, the new demands on the body would detract from training for the tournament. And for another, the last time I went out for tournament, I didn't even make it past the first fights in my divisions. I have no reason to believe that any particularly exotic training will get me where I need to go. Instead, I want to focus on my mind. Because I know that's where I tend to fail the most. The tournament's going to present a twofold problem - one, the weight of public performance, and two, my lack of intelligent aggression. The second of these is actually going to be easier to deal with than the first. Knowing that it's something to work on, I've gone out and rolled and started fighting better, at least with folk around my weight class who are similarly skilled. That can fly out the window at any time for a bunch of reasons, but the general trend is better and I believe it will only improve with practice. That means dealing more with the first. Which is more of a mindset confidence thing than anything else. I've picked up some resources about that which I'll be studying over the course of the next five weeks leading up, but it doesn't track neatly onto the challenge, and I'd rather it have room/time to work and be effective. But there is a challengeable way to approach this too: Goal 1: Meditation Keep that up. My blood pressure's gone way down thanks to this and I want to keep that going. Anything goes; regular practice is 10 minutes, but if I can only manage a few deep breaths before sleep, that's okay too. Ideally, I'd carve out another minute, just because I want to. Goal 2: WHM Breathing helps. Keep doing that. Goal 3: Writing Writing also helps. I'm not going to journal or anything so much as just keep showing up to write. Participation in any part of that process sets my mind at ease, and I want that. Beyond that, my training isn't going to change much. I've added a third day of skipping rope, but that's only for a minute. Not a lot of conditioning yet; this is going to be about building my connective tissues instead. I've also added suitcase and farmer's carries specifically to help with my lower back. This is a method that is apparently endorsed by Dr. John Rusin, who I'm inclined to trust given @Shotokan's past endorsement. I've also adjusted my stretching regimen to be a bit more challenging, which is helping me feel better. I'll also be going for the bamboo brush after all, but even then, I'm not going to be doing that much in terms of qigong this time. I'll be working on the first movement of that routine, but that shouldn't really constitute a strenuous load on top of the other stuff. I guess if I wanted to, I could make a fourth goal of sticking to my training and not changing anything, because that would be the hard part, but this mix honestly feels dialed in enough that I'm not going to have a compliance issue. Anyway. T-minus a few days until the challenge. Let's go to work.
  2. I always enjoyed watching movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had a big influence on me when I was younger and his movies were always something I enjoyed no matter how many people said he couldn’t act. His one liners are legendary and my being back this time is a homage to Arnold. Actually, there’s a little more to it. My last couple challenges weren’t the best and this challenge for me is all about being back. Karate, Karate, Karate... I am still training for the next tournament and I need to get back to basics again. This time around is four days a week or Karate fundamental training. The basics are the key to a solid foundation and those are what I’m returning to this time around. Loosen the hips and tighten the core... With the exception of a tight Achilles, my body is moving fairly well overall. Fairly well isn’t great so five days a week will have at least 10 minutes of mobility and glute & core training. Breathe better... ‘I learned something about my breathing in relation to my power output in my techniques. I thought I already had good breath control but I found if I keep my tongue on the top of my mouth when breathing in, my power goes way up. The goal is to do this with all my training but I need it to be automatic. I can’t really gauge but I want to do this for at least 75% of my training. Extra credit - Write at least one blog post I haven’t published one blog post in months but this time it’s different because I’m back.
  3. Thanks mostly to this forum I discovered the Wim Hof Method just over a year ago and ended up trying out the breathing technique at an (unrelated) event. Essentially, in this technique you hyperventilate then hold your breath for ages, and somehow this confers some vague health benefits on you. It was pretty cool to be able to hold my breath for more than 2 minutes, but as I was reading about some of the health claims, some stuff just didn't make sense. Even Wim Hof's explanations had some huge errors, which was confusing... Anyway, I like Science So I set out to determine what actually happens in the body while you perform the breathing exercise (which DOES work) and finally this month I have a full coherent explanation! So if you're interested: Biology of the Wim Hof Method Breathing If you haven't already heard of it, I do recommend trying it - many people (including me and others on this forum) have seen noticeable improvements to their fitness and stress levels since starting this Out of interest, who here is currently practising Wim Hof's breathing technique?
  4. My next challenge is going to be solely focused on spiritual / emotional / mental health. Quick recap from my last challenge thread: competed at ballroom dance nationals the last week of last challenge, and the results were disastrous and way below expectations going in. The week also brought to the surface some ugly demons I need to face around my motivations for dance and the sustainability of current arrangements in my dance partnership, which are leaving a lot of options currently on the table, many of them quite scary because I don't like change. I already had identified spiritual / mental / emotional health as a place I wanted to invest more effort, but recent events have made that seem especially important, so...focus of this challenge. Why am I blurring all those types of health together? I'm gonna be tackling this area of my health in four parts: Lay the foundation: Schedule 8 hours for sleep, every night. I have an easier time with adversity when I'm well-rested. Begin each day on the right foot: Morning Qi Gong flow (or my poor approximation of it), at least 5 deep breaths every day while my coffee's brewing and toast is toasting Reflect and be grateful: Daily Examen every evening (common Jesuit prayer going over the events of the day, what I'm grateful for, and where I could've acted with more patience) Don't go it alone: Keep having monthly anxiety coaching calls (free through work), try out online therapy option at least once (also through work) I'll still be in the Warriors, because I like all y'all. In the background, I'll also still be cutting and working out - though I'm going to be fully giving the weights a break and shortening my morning training time because in parallel with attempting to reframe my dance motivations, I'm also going to carve out additional practice time so that I have more time for deliberate practice in my week. Now my leg strengthening work is going to be 2 15-minute-ish circuits of bodyweight work per week; am I likely to lose some strength? Probably, but that's ok since it's not a target attribute for my sport, really.
  5. Greetings! Sassyfrassy here. You could call me the artist formerly known as roseofmay, kelliestrasza, and other monikers. It has been quite some time since I've participated in a challenge, but the amazing @shaar made sure to poke me to start the new year right. So, here I am to do just that! I'm starting off small since I'm getting back into things. regrowth - establishing & learning I'm going to get back into tracking my food intake on a daily basis. I'll be able to see what I'm eating, what I'm not eating, and assess my mood and feeling based on that. I noticed that when I eat something substantial for breakfast, I feel more awake and energetic. When I just have a cup of coffee and a piece of peanut butter bread (or something worse or JUST coffee), that doesn't last long at all. Gotta make sure I'm fueling the body properly so that I can get my metabolism working again. rejuvenation - yoga & stretching Along with the access to NerdFitness Yoga, I also received a whole SLEW of new yoga courses and what not online. I also have a new yoga mat. I really miss doing yoga and it really helped boost my energy, mood, and general disposition! restoration - self-care & self-worth I've really fallen off the wagon of taking care of myself. Sometimes I get in a "why do I need to do this?" frame of mind. I need to remember to do things for ME. Even if that's painting my nails or spending an hour reading, do it for me and no one else. SO OKAY. Let's do this!
  6. Background stats: I'm 30, female sexed, 169 lbs, 5'11", no history of breathing problems or heavy smoking. I also started rowing 3 x a week for 30 minutes in the past week. One troubling thing that I've noticed recently is that I get shortness of breath from walking. It's happened randomly two or three times in the past week. I'm concerned because it's never happened before. It happened on my way to the gym just now, and it still feels like I can't completely breathe. I'm trying not freak out. I've switched to doing an interval sprint type approach to rowing (30 seconds for 37-40 strokes, 1 minute cool down around 20 strokes; repeat for 15-20 minutes). I'm wondering if this might not be the culprit? I intend to see my doctor about it, of course. But if anyone can provide guidance or ideas I'd love some!
  7. For those who do not know, I am training for the Polar Plunge. As one aspect of my training, I have been using the Wim Hof Method to acclimate to cold temperatures. In addition to cold exposure (cold showers, immersion in icy water, etc.) The WHM includes a unique style of breathing similar to the Tibetan Tummo "breath of fire" meditation. While I am not 100% convinced of some of the claims Wim has made about his methods (only because I don't have personal evidence), I will say the breathing has changed my mood and demeanor considerably. I feel so mellow after meditating with this style of breathing. The method is an intentional way to "cheat" the body into feeling stress by hyperventilating and then retaining breath. Wim likens it to the adrenaline and anxiety a person feels right before a bungee jump. For this reason, I combine my WHM breathing with a more "inactive" relaxed form of meditation. There is some counting required for the WHM and while the structure requires focus and mindfulness, it kind of keeps me from being able to "bliss out" and just relax as I breathe. So I follow my WHM breathing with something like a body scan or just sit and breathe and feel. Anything that requires little thought and just sitting and breathing. The method is not for everyone. It comes with disclaimers, the most common being don't do it in water because people have actually passed out while practicing the method. What do you think? Are any of you familiar with Wim Hof and his methods? What are your reactions to it?
  8. Breathe in, breathe out. What needs done today? At least once a week, do crocodile breathing. Note 1-2 tasks every day on the daily to-do list. Do them. That's it. Work, workouts, parkour, language practice, and the job hunt are all continuing. I will not let any of it stress me out: I will adapt, breathe, remain calm, and continue to kick tail. Sounds simple, no?
  9. I've been diving in low-level consciousness activities the last couple of months. I really want to throw away my computer and phone and go live in the woods, but I also have to be a reasonable modern homo sapiens. Hopefully creating again the habbits I've destroyed the last half a year I might get back on the right track. Goals for this challenge Body, Mind and Soul. Body Breathe. Be able to keep your breath for 4 minutes. To do this, I need to practice holding my breath everyday. 4:00 minutes - 4 STA 3:30 minutes - 2 STA Mind Read or practice another language. If I manage to read Der Bruder des Sheriffs in German - 3 INT If I watch the entire season 11 of Supernatural with German subtitles - 1 INT Soul Meditate everyday. Abstain from illusory cures for loneliness such as social media or adult content. Find reasons to smile. For abstaining until the end of the challenge - 4 WIS
  10. I am a monk, but...I've found it hard to stay in the rebellion due to deteriorating health. And as I am typing this, I have been hospitalized due to severe asthma causing lung problems (To thre point where threy had completely locked up.. This was...something of an eyeopener for me. It was actually quite horrifying, and I don't want this to happen again. So I've come looking for help I've seen the health benefits of proper breathing, but I have no idea how to do so. And everywhere I look tells me to do them but not how to do them. Can the Rebellion help me out here with some good breathing exercises for when my lungs finally work once more?
  11. So, I know the first week of the challenge is almost over and I'm finally getting this posted. But, the last 10 days have been a perfect storm of crap that derailed all of my plans. As you can tell by the title this go 'round, my goals are pretty simple and expectations are not high. Why? Well, on the Monday of zero week I received word that after fighting various forms of cancer for 21 years, my cousin finally lost her battle at 53 years of age. 2 days later, doctors told my mother that they had exhausted everything they could do to halt her cancer and that there was nothing more to do but look into hospice care. Friday was a funeral in Virginia for my cousin, followed by Sunday's Mother's Day at my parents and a makeup Mother's Day for my wife on Monday. The last few days have been a matter of getting caught up at work. May has been a rough start, and given the prognosis the doc's gave to my mom, May is not going to get less hectic. I debated skipping this challenge altogether, but then I looked back on all the gains I made the last 4 months and decided my challenge will be to simply not lose any of the ground I've gained. I just don't want to sit here at the end of the month as summer starts and find myself back at the beginning again and I'm afraid if I don't have a challenge to keep me honest, I'll give in to what is the easier path. So, here's the plan: Goal #1: IF. I was finally successful with 16-8 Intermittent Fasting last challenge and it is something that I should be able to keep doing no matter what is going on. I believe I derived a lot of benefit last challenge so I'm going to keep it up. Eating only between 11 AM and 7 PM. Goal #2: 3 resistance workouts each week at night. Last night was the first one I've gotten in this week, but it felt so good to just get in touch with my muscles again and remind myself that I am capable of more than I think I am. 3 of these might be tough given what is sure to be a random schedule, but we'll see. Goal #3: Run when I can. 1 sprint workout and 1 run a week of 5K distance or more. Running is my form of meditation. This goal is as much for my sanity as it is anything else. For the sprints, it's about purging anything in my mind that's holding me back. For the pace runs, its about being alone in my head -- I don't care about the pace, just getting out in nature and breathing it in. Goal #4: But, one thing I'm going to add is a daily examination of conscience and expression of gratitude. Despite all the crap that is going on in my extended family, I live a blessed life. All too often, I've taken it for granted. No more. I think if I can manage to follow through on this, I'll come out of May better than I was when it started. But, even if I'm the same, I'll take that. So, if I can maintain my 7 hours of sleep each night and run my race with an 8:10 - 8:20 pace and my weight stays at 210 pounds, I'll take it.
  12. Hello Assassins, I'm back!!! Well, actually... I'm in Uganda... But I think I've emerged from my recent rage stress spiral. Also, my internet access is surprisingly good (except apparently, I'm unable to post gifs.... Grrrrrr)? So, it's time to resume my badassery... And who better to learn from than the Dragon of the West? Uncle Iroh and his wisdom will be my guide! Main Quest - Resilient and Radiant "No! Zuko! You must never give into despair. Allow yourself to slip down that road and you surrender to your lowest instincts. In the darkest times, hope is something you give yourself. That is the meaning of inner strength." I'll talk more about this during the challenge, but my mental strength and spiritual health are my focus. My healthy choices will continue to rebuild me into the awesome badass woman that I am meant to be. "You can't always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place." Moving - enjoy some type of movement every day for at least two minutes "A man needs his rest." Rest - electronics off for 60 minutes before bed "Sick of tea? That's like being sick of breathing." Tea and Breathing - tea is an opportunity to mindfully enjoy one of my favorite things
  13. PROJECT: B.R.E.A.T.H.E. Balance Restore Energize Accomplish Transform Humor Engage With the new year come the hope that we can keep a good handle on whatever life throws at us. We're pretty good at it, but there is always something out there that puts a wrench into our plan. Especially when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Thus, I introduce Project: B.R.E.A.T.H.E. As we work through our quests and adventures to happiness, it's important to have a reminder to take that needed breath. That is my hope for this group. While we work to help each other succeed in our fitness quests, we can also assist each other in conquering life's road bumps. Each day, a calming quote or image will be shared with the group. Take a few minutes (5 minutes minimum) to reflect on it. Can you relate to it? Can it help you find peace after a stressful day? Can it help you remind yourself that it's okay if you find yourself not meeting a goal? At the end of each week, I would like to review any negative events that may have impacted us. Rather than focus on the negative, though, I would like to put a positive spin on them. How can we make the bad into good? How can we fall asleep with a smile rather than with a stress-filled brain? All are welcomed and encouraged to follow each other, though the latter is purely optional! Enjoy and remember to breathe.
  14. Lucky Fire Dragon Spreads her Wings of Ease So, except for the lifting and rope skipping I did a LOT of exercise during the last challenge and while that felt super good and I do want to keep it up, I also feel like a little un-challenge (thank you Hybrid for inspiration on that one ) so that my easy-mode that has things come effortlessly to me doesn't come short either. So you could say I am levelling up my balance some more. Enjoying more strength mixed with soft relaxation to stay in tune with the flow of life and be open for opportunities of all the GOOD STUFF that wants to come my way. It is time for the dragon to soar on the winds of grace. In order to do this, I will: BREATHE (3 CON, 2 STA) - do fire breath or other breath exercises for at least 2 min/day on 6 days/week - get fresh air by spending at least 10 min outdoors/day on 6 days/week BONUS: get out of breath twice a week with skipping rope, trampoline, zumba or other SPREAD my wings (3 STR, 3 DEX) - stretching, yoga, or pilates for 15 min or more/day on 5 days/week - keep pole training up to 3x/week - strengthen wings with things from power-checklist or trying to, there are no must-dos here, just possible woot moments SOAR and let Grace carry me (3 WIS, 1 CON) - have 2 plan free afternoons a week - let things happen for me during my resting hours (salt baths, wet socks, write a God list in the evening, ask EQs, have dream assignments) - rave about my blessings every day BONUS: have a life unplugged by spending the first and last 30 min of the day each without computer (more is obviously better, but I might fall asleep pretty quickly, so I don't know if an hour is doable yet My LIFE QUEST is to get proof reading and editing done for book!! Yes, it's still the same book as I was translating two challenges ago and now it is time Rewards: If I do well with these I know I will have a sparkling, rocking time with this and after. Quest 3 is basically a whole reward in itself, I must just do it If I do very well (As and Bs) I will reward myself with a complete day without any work (when the book is done I can do that) as well as some delicious pralines, because mmmh chocolate If I ace all my challenges I will reward myself with the same plus an aerial hoop workshop at the risk that it might get me hooked to a new thing - ah well, no risk no fun Measurements and before pictures are here - let's go for easy cm loss and pretty shapes, wheeeeeeeee note that I am wearing my new pole shorts (brazil style) which I probably would have never dared a year ago current weight is 65 kg (this is a woot already!!) Power-Checklist 3 pull ups from standing (so far I can do 1-2) arrrrrgh so close!!5 pull ups from standing8 pull ups from standing1 full pull up2 full pull ups3 full pull ups 3 chin ups from standing (so far I can do 1-2)5 chin ups from standing ahahahaha, nope, still 38 chin ups from standing1 full chin up YESSSSSSSSS2 full chin ups3 full chin ups 14 push ups in one set (my pr so far is 13, at the moment rather 11)16 push ups in one set18 push ups in one set20 push ups in one set50 push ups in one workout (at the moment pr at 43)55 push ups in one workout60 push ups in one workout 150 sec plank (130 is pr so far)165 sec plank180 sec plank 3 sets of 5 leg lifts from hanging (can barely manage 2 sets)3 sets of 7 leg lifts from hanging3 sets of 10 leg lifts from hanging 3 sets of 3 knee tucks on pole each side (can manage between 1 and 2 sets now)3 sets of 5 knee tucks on pole each side3 sets of 3 swing mounts on pole each side (haven't tried yet in sets)3 sets of 5 swing mounts on pole each side hold wheel pose for 10 sechold wheel pose for 20 sechold wheel pose for 30 sec hold crow pose for 5 sec lol I wishhold crow pose for 10 sechold crow pose for 15 sec
  15. I yawn a lot while I workout. And I get side cramps/stitches like a mad bastard when I do even light jogging. I've learned this means my breathing isn't as good as it should, which is dismaying because I played trumpet for 3 years and belted it out as an alto for another 4 years after that in my high school choir. So. Breathing exercises. I need them. The problem: outside of a musical pursuit, I'm not sure what to do. So, you guys know what I can do to work out this particular 'muscle' at all? I'm not sure if yoga would be of use in this or not, but then, I know squat about yoga. PLEASE ADVISE ME, NERDS!
  16. I still consider myself a beginning runner. I've done two 5Ks, but unable to run the whole thing still. That probably has something to do with the fact that both races the temp was over 100F. I train up to 2.5 miles, and peter out past that.. Usually, I do an out and back. When I run, I do a 1/4 mile warmup/cool down. I run at a pace that has me breathing heavy, but not out of breath. When I start cramping or feeling winded, I fast walk. The actual pace varies with terrain and temperature. When I tried my runs on a dreadmill, my heartrate was near 80% max. Can't carry a conversation at that pace, but not winded either. How exactly are heartrate monitors helpful versus how you feel? Is there anything wrong with this running plan? I am 40 pounds overweight, healthy otherwise. I am exercising for general health, weightloss and to outrun some lizards.
  17. I skipped last challenge as I was too busy to make goals & track stuff and just had to get on with life and doing stuff! Fortunately things have calmed down since then. Main Quest: Grow a Healthy Snowdrop Baby I am finally pregnant with what will hopefully be my first baby. Goal: Eat enough protein Goal: Take medicines/vitamins every day This one is proving hard as I can't swallow whole tablets and the multi-vitamin tablet (that I have bought 3 packs of) makes me immediately start retching if I so much as taste the inside of one of the tablets. In fact, just thinking about it is making me feel sick! Goal: Do deep breathing every couple of hours Side Quest: Regular posture checking Since being extremely ill a few weeks ago, my posture has gone to pot. I need to go back to noticing & adjusting my standing posture at least 10 times a day (preferably more - whenever I remember). Side Quest 2: Find something else to occupy my brain I don't have much going on at work, so my mind is obsessing over the exciting news. From previous experience, it isn't emotionally healthy to think about it all day, every day, so I want to find a decent distraction. I'm not sure what this will be at the moment, as I feel extremely lethargic, often very fatigued and somewhat nauseous, but I need there to be something! I figure I can have a second side quest as the diet-related one is in my life quest I haven't thought about grading yet, but I'm not feeling all that great so maybe that's something for later!
  18. Hello and welcome to my journey, Relieve Some Tension. The purpose of this journey is to cure my lifelong struggle with myself being tense and nervous all the time to the point where I walk very stiff and my core muscles aren't present. My mind is always busy and I'm here to learn how to calm it down. So here's the breakdown as to what I hope to accomplish for the next 6 weeks of the new challege starting June 9th. Main Quest: To become uniform with my mind and body in order to have control of how I react, adapt, breathe and take action. Here are the steps I'm taking to accomplish this: 1. Do the DDPYOGA workouts 3 times a week which I'm on my 4th week right now. 2. Allocate time in the day to meditate and focus only on my breathing for 5 mintues a day to help calm and relax my mind. 3. To build strength to be able to lift my own bodyweight and do amazing things with it. Side Quests: I have a couple that I would like to accomplish: 1. Build Muscle and Burn Fat: Losing weight is for the birds. The DDP YOGA program not only focuses on flexibility but also bodyweight and dynamic resistance exercises that helps in this area of fat burning and muscle building. The second and most important step is to follow the Primal Blueprint diet from Mark's Daily Apple to help me achieve the goal of melting off the excess fat and the great joy of eating real food and not that processed garbage. 2. Become 5K Ready in Running: Running is one of my favorite past times and I would like to get back into my routine of running 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes/workout to be prepared to run a 5K should one become available within the next 6 weeks. I plan on re-reading the article about running on here and adopting some new training tips on how to get more out of my running. Oh and it would help for me to get those insoles from Fleet Feet since I'm flat-footed. LOL Life Quests: 1. Keep on hammering down my debt until I become debt-free 2. Since I've mastered HTML and CSS programming, my next goal is to make my own website using these technologies. 3. Start learning JavaScript and JQuery to increase my skillset in the world of web development. Thank you for reading my journey and I plan on looking at this at least once a week to keep myself on task.
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