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  1. As the light of the portal faded in the night, Mizbrek the Brewmaster found himself on the Wandering Isle. He had heard briefly that his order had relocated since the Legion attack on the Peak of Serenity, but he hadn’t had a chance to get back yet. The portal had deposited him near the entrance to the main temple, but with a perfect view out towards the side of the island. As he watched, a massive flipper lifted ponderously up, and came crashing back to the ocean with a distant thunder. The monks had never really had a name for themselves. They had always just been “the monks of Pandaria.” But now, as he stepped into the temple complex, he saw the banners, a simple pictograph of a temple, with a jagged, diagonal edge severed through it. He had spent too long adventuring, too long away. Time to get back to it. I had a whole other challenge planned for myself initially, and it was largely more of the same. Reading goals and calorie goals and the like. It was fine, but nothing exciting. I had set myself a mini-challenge for this week - just a personal little goal to try and cut down my calories and get back on track. And I’ve been excited about it for the last few days and thought, well, you know what, why don’t I spin it out into a proper challenge and see how it goes? I feel like generally if you’re excited about something, it’s good to chase after it. I had been calling this a Kickstart week, as the idea here was to kinda kickstart my weight loss again with a more restrictive diet than I would normally go for, but I’m excited enough about it that I’m going to try and keep it going. I’ll be checking in ideally on a daily basis, but won’t be necessarily doing a run down of each goal, just kind of a general quick “hey going well” or “hey I screwed up.” I’ll also be allowing myself 10 Free Passes (FPs). I can use these throughout the challenge to lift one of the restrictions for the day. But just one - it doesn’t clear out the whole day. So I’ll track my usage of those. So, without further adieu, the restrictions! Oh and unless otherwise specified these are only weekday goals. Weekends are gonna be a bit looser. Eat only meal-prepped breakfast and lunches. My breakfasts are pretty solid generally as are my lunches, but the idea here is to take some time, really think about, and pre-portion these things out. This scratches my cooking itch in regards to the lunches (as I’ll make these myself) and helps me control my lunches a bit better, as I’ve been often just taking unmeasured portions of whatever we had for dinner the night before, and as much as that’s generally healthy, I take too large portions usually. Have one glass of wine or scotch per night. Pretty basic, I’ve been drinking too much. Putting a restriction on this and sticking to lower calorie drinks as opposed to beer. If I have an afternoon snack, only have a protein shake. I’ve gotten into the habit of having a protein bar after work, and as much as these aren’t too bad, they add up fast. The protein shakes are filling, tasty, and I need to think about them ahead of time (so if I forget it, oh well). They take a while to consume too which is good - the bars always feel like they’re gone too fast to me. Take a smaller portion of dinner and only allow Halo Top for dessert (if wanted). Again, I’m often taking more dinner than I need, having my wife’s leftovers, it’s just not good. So I’ll be aiming to have about ¾ the amount I normally do, and not eating any of my wife’s leftovers. Stay under 2500 calories on weekends. So all of the above restrictions are for weekdays only. On weekends I do tend to lose track of things a bit, and I also...these restrictions above aren’t really necessarily how I want to live my life. I want to be able to adjust as needed, and have fun. So on weekends my only real restriction is under 2500 calories. My plans for now should keep me under 2000, perhaps even down to 1700, on weekdays, so 2500 is around maintenance with my activity level. And I’m hopeful some momentum from the week will carry through anyway - for example yesterday I was excited about this and was at around 2300 yesterday, which is pretty low for me most weekends. Now there are a couple exceptions to all this coming up that I’m going to allow. My wife and I go out once a week for happy hour - for that I’m allowing myself an extra drink and to share a snack from the bar. For D&D nights (alternate Thursdays) I’m mostly going to allow myself some extra drinks and some leniency on dinner (we may need to get take out those nights). I’m going to have to see how it develops but trying to stick to those restrictions on those nights will just be tough, so I’m allowing some leniency there without using a Free Pass. I’m also quietly forgoing a lot of my other habits, like my news and reading habits. Not saying I won’t do those at all but they aren’t where my mental energy will be focused. I really want to get back to consistently losing, and I think that needs to be my focus right now. And it's working so far! This week I'm down a pound and a bit so far this week! I also will be keeping up my daily gym habit, but I feel like I don’t even really need to put that as a goal now - I’ve been at the gym before 5:30am pretty much every weekday since October and most weekend days too. That habit is pretty solid now, and it helps! But not one I need to list! My life has gotten a bit busy but I will do my best to keep up with the other challenges! Hope everyone is having a great time and hope to see you all around!
  2. The wind whipped outside the cave, snow drifting in at times. Mizbrek’s fire flickered, but stayed lit. The blizzard seemed to be at full intensity, and he huddled in his cloak near the fire. He’d have to weather this storm in order to continue his journey, and he was already further behind than he’d have liked. He heard the figure approaching before he saw him. Miz shed the cloak, reaching for his staff. “Who goes there?” he called out into the storm. The figure approached slowly, just entering the mouth of the cave. “A simple traveler, friend.” He had a warm, friendly voice, but Miz couldn’t see his face yet. “Could I perhaps share your fire for a bit? I’ve been caught in this storm you see, and still have a long journey home.” Miz paused for a second, hesitating. The figure was large, a human from the looks of it, and from what little he could see, he seemed to like the sweets (or the ale) too much to be a threat. “Very well,” he said, lowering his staff. “Oh, thank you, thank you,” he said, stepping into the cave. He wore a heavy brown cloak, with a red hat over his head, and had a full, white beard which obscured most of his face. He sat down next to Miz. “I don’t suppose you have any ale to take the chill off?” Miz smiled. “I happen to be a Brewmaster.” The man laughed joyfully as Miz pulled a keg from his bag, pouring a mug of chocolate ginger stout for him, and one for himself. They drank in silence for a moment. “Oh my, that is delightful, Brewmaster!” The man boomed. “What great luck I have!” “I don’t know if I’d say that, friend,” Miz grumbled. “It’s colder than a Naz-gul’s heart out there, we’re stuck in this dingy, smelly cave with Light knows what beasts lurking further in, and we’ll be stuck here for days if that storm doesn’t let up soon.” The man’s laughter boomed again. “Oh, Brewmaster, don’t you see? This is where the growth happens. This is how you get stronger, and tougher! And even if that isn’t the case, you get to share your brew with a stranger, and do a good deed, and I promise I will do my best to repay your kindness.” He took another long pull of the stout, emptying the mug, and gestured with it to ask if he could have more. Miz filled it obligingly and passed it back. “Did you know, across the multiverse, almost every culture has some kind of festival about togetherness at the darkest time of the year? People come together as the days get shorter and huddle together against the darkness. Some places have Christmas, others have Life Day, Winter Veil, Candlenights, it’s one of the rare things people all over the multiverse share. There can be great joy and growth in these months, one need only create it for themselves, search for it a bit. Oh, it’s hard, of course, but it changes you, leaves you stronger for it. That’s why people often make this season about joy.” Miz filled his own mug with a smile. “That’s a lovely way of looking at it, friend. What did you say your name was?” “You know, I’ve gone by a few, Brewmaster. You can call me Nicholas.” Challenge Overview Hello again folks! I took last challenge off from posting, for the most part. It didn’t work too badly for me, but I do want to try and step things up a bit before the holidays, as I know I’ll end up putting on a few pounds then. I’ll do my best to keep them off, of course, but I want to enjoy myself. With past challenges I often try and add new things, or take on too much. Here I’m back to basics. My goal is to try and get as much of a head start going into the holidays and to build up good habits and continue those. Challenge Goals Don’t Binge on Food - often I will end up overeating, or eating when I don’t need to. I gain one point for every day I don’t do this. Less than 2/4 drinks per weekday/weekend day - I’ve done this one before, but it bears repeating, and it’s something I’ve struggled with. Less than 2 drinks per weekday, 4 on weekends. It may not sound like much of a restriction, but it’s a start. 1 point per day I do this. Stay Under Spreadsheet Calories - I use a spreadsheet to calculate my current TDEE at any given time, and it gives me a 500 calorie daily deficit for this. For every day I stay under that number, 1 point. Spend 20 Minutes on Housework Per Day/60 Minutes on Weekends - Pretty self explanatory! For every day I do this, I gain a point. Challenge Design My initial design of this challenge was much more negative, it was about Miz weathering a storm, losing points if he missed some of these things, but I wanted to try and reframe it. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, and I want to be joyful with this. I’m also calling this challenge a little early, as I’m officially on vacation as of the 21st! So it’ll be a couple days shorter for me! And I’m starting a bit late! So in total I’ll have 92 Points available. Now let’s set some loot goals: 45 Points - New Weightlifting Gloves 90 Points - Larger Brewing Equipment I hope you’ll join me on this journey! I’ll be doing my best to check in on everyone I can throughout the challenge!
  3. For this challenge, I’m taking inspiration from Season 1 of the Adventure Zone podcast. For those unfamiliar, it’s a podcast where a family plays D&D together. Really funny, highly recommend! This one will be a bit more casual than my previous challenges. There are no specific loot goals or punishments this time around. There will be rough updates, but no points. I debated not doing a challenge at all, honestly, as I feel like I have most of the habits I really care about figured out. I go to the gym every day, I get up early, I get to bed in good time. These are mostly...smaller things I want to work on. Last Challenge Review The last challenge went really well overall. I hit a new weight low, I stuck to the goals for the most part. The water and the two drink minimum tended to fall by the wayside a bit, and near the end I essentially gave up on the no purchasing beer rule. But overall my water consumption has improved, my drinking has decreased, and I’m buying less beer. So overall this has achieved what I want it to. This Challenge For this challenge I have 3 broad goals: Learn like Taako - I’d like to keep my reading habits up, and expand them a bit. So I’m aiming to read the Economist Espresso daily, read my book for 10 minutes a day, and take a quick read through the newspaper. The book I’ve been doing fairly regularly but I want to keep that up. The newspaper and Espresso are new, but I’m hoping I can find spots to fit them in, maybe in the mornings. Rush in like Magnus - Go on one adventure a week. Lately on the weekends I’ve turned down any suggestions Ms. Miz has had for activities, and mostly wanted to veg at home. For this it can be something like going to a networking event, a farmer’s market, a winery, what have you. The idea is to get out of the house a bit more and be a bit more open to adventure. Clean like Angus - I’ve let my appearance get a little unkempt. I haven’t been keeping my pants pressed, my hair cut, or my dresser and that area clean. Cleaning those areas won’t be a simple quick task, but it’s something I’d like to keep in mind and work on. As well as this, I want to keep myself a bit cleaner. Keep my pants pressed, keep my hair cut (that one’s done) and so on. Commune like Merle - This one is about being kind to myself and communing with myself, a bit. I’ve been working out daily, switching between weight lifting, running, and some light walks on rest days. I feel better having done those, and I want to keep them up. Similarly I want to focus on feeding myself well - this means keeping my calories in check, and filling myself with good foods, and being kind to myself overall when I do screw up. I’d also like to try and find one “happy moment” a day. I’m still defining what those are, things like taking the dog for a walk, sitting down with a book and a scotch, texting my mother, playing a bit of WoW just for fun. But I think it’s worthwhile trying to find some moments like that in my day. I’ll be curious to see if this looser challenge works well for me. I think the practice of reviewing and revising your goals every 6 weeks or so can be extremely beneficial, but beyond “keep doing what you’re doing,” I can’t say I have too much! But I do think it’s worth trying to intentionally take some time for myself, work on my appearance, be a bit more spontaneous, and keep better up to date on current events, is worth working on. I hope you’ll join me in this laid back challenge, fellow Rangers!
  4. The portal deposited the Hobbit Brewmaster on a pristine vessel of some kind. Mizbrek pushed himself up. A quick look told him that he was somewhere in the Azerothian universe. Draenei, Goblins, Tauren, Orcs were abound. Few paid him a second glance. He stopped a Goblin, a hunter from the looks of it, who was running around. “Hey, buddy, where are we?” “The Vindicar!” he cried out, as if it was obvious. “We’re on Argus man! The final assault on the Burning Legion! Come on! Let’s kick some demon ass!” Miz could get behind that. The Hobbit Brewmaster followed the goblin as he ran up the main platform, placing his hand upon a device and disappearing. Miz shrugged and followed suit. Suddenly he was surrounded by demons, attacking everyone around him. Miz pulled his staff from his back, and grinned. Time to get to work. Last Challenge Review Overall the last challenge went well, but I allowed myself still more variances and allowances on the weekends, and I think in the end this is what sunk me slight. I did lose about 2lbs, but I struggled to stick with my calorie goals. I don’t think going off the Apple Watch in terms of calories and deficits is working well. It’s nice to look at, for sure, but it doesn’t seem to be working at motivating me to get moving. I do think the drink rule worked well, and the reading was a nice treat to myself. This Challenge Overview With this challenge I’m putting two or three things on “autopilot.” I’m going to continue to read daily, do housework, and post and read on the Rebellion, but I won’t be tracking those here. They’re all relatively routine for me now, and I don’t want to clog up things. We have a renewed emphasis on calorie intake this time, which I think is where I’ve been losing ground. I’ve been eating back calories, and I think the results of that show that’s not the best idea. I’ve also been drinking a bit much, and we have two goals related to that. I am looking at doing some activity in a less structured way, drinking more water, and getting more sleep. I also am not building in any particular punishments. I don’t know if they’re effective, for me, but I am putting in a couple smallish loot goals. No beer except self-made/out - I was looking back at my banking and realizing I’m spending a lot of money, and calories, on beer. I don’t plan to never drink beer again, obviously, but these days I’m having trouble controlling myself. I make exceptions for self-made beer, and if I’m out at restaurants/someone’s house. 2000 calorie limit - Pretty self-explanatory! Most TDEE calculators I take have my maintenance around 2500, as well as the large spreadsheet I’ve been using, so trying to stick at a 500 cal/day deficit, and focusing on just consumed calories, not eating any back. Allowing one maintenance variance per week. 2 drink rule - Again pretty self-explanatory. 2 drink maximum per day, with one variance day per week (I suspect this will be Saturdays or Sundays generally). My hope is not to use those, but we’ll see. Devices off by 10pm/out the door by 5:30am (weekdays) - Continuing with my sleep goals, pushing bedtime up by half an hour. I thought about setting a weekend goal but I think I’ll need my rest, truthfully. I also have a couple vacation days where this won’t apply coming up. 3.1L water per day - All the water! Close activity ring every day - My Apple Watch tracks my activity, and my goal here will be to close the “activity” (as in burned calories) ring every day, with a goal of 700 calories burned per day. I’m allowing myself two variances on this for the whole challenge, as opposed to per week. Loot 50% Completion - 84 Points - Stronglifts Pro App Unlock 75% Completion - 126 Points - Pedicure/Equivalent Value Thingy Points Pretty simple point system, 1 point per day per item!
  5. The sound in the tavern was deafening, despite the chilly air outside. Mizbrek wasn’t familiar with this particular tavern, and was a bit confused as it hadn’t been here the last time he was in this part of the multiverse. However, there were a few spots that shifted about, taverns and temples and the like that existed in multiple universes. This had the feel of one. He eyed the patrons. Azerothian, for sure. Green orcs, hulking bovine Tauren, blue goatlike Draenei, laughing Pandaren. And dwarves. The Innkeeper waved to him from the bar and beckoned him over. “Ha! Find a seat if you can!” he yelled over the din. “Back from your adventures?” he asked, as Miz hopped up onto a stool. They seemed to have them in a few sizes. A tiny gnome next to him, somewhat sickly looking, raised a glass to Miz as he settled in. The bartender placed a mug of ale in front of him, and Miz took a sip. A simple but well-crafted brew. Lightly hopped, with a hint of caramel. “Nicely done. What is this place?” “This is the Tavern. Don’t have no other names. It’s where folks come from all across Azeroth to play Hearthstone!” The Innkeeper boomed. “Ahh, I played that once, years ago. How’s it work now?” The Innkeeper grinned at Miz, and pulled a box from under the bar, laying it in front of the Hobbit. “Here, let me show you…” Welcome to Mizbrek’s Challenge #12! Challenge Overview This challenge, most of the basic goals are iterations on what I’ve done before. Get up early, get to bed early, read, do some housework, check in with the rebellion, limit my alcohol, nothing new here. However we do have a new reward and strict punishment structure, as well as bonus objectives and loot tied to them! The focus here is mostly on the weekends, as that’s really where I’m losing ground. I drink too much, I eat too much, and I don’t get out and do things enough on the weekends. We’ve had some busy ones, for sure, but I’ve been steadily gaining weight for the last month or so. Slowly, to be sure, but steadily up, and that’s no good. So while there are the usual daily goals, the weekends are where I think I need to step up my game. Last Challenge Review My last challenge overall went decently. I stayed on task on the weekdays, and mostly fell off on the weekends. I think having some smaller sticks and very small carrots didn’t really help. There was no real incentive to stay good on the weekends, and the loot didn’t really overly interest me. And the punishment level was set too low. I'm doing my best to incorporate that learning into the structure of this challenge. Challenge Goals Battlecry - Out of the bedroom by 5:30, in bed with devices off by 10:30 (weekdays) - I’ve done better at being up by 5:30, but I tend to browse in bed for a bit before getting up and going, meaning I’m often not downstairs starting my workout until 6ish, and that’s not really enough time. So with this I need to be out of the bedroom itself by 5:30. This is a potential 3 points a day - 1 for getting up in time, one for being in bed with devices off in time, with an extra bonus point if I get both in the same day. And this doesn’t count on weekends - I’m not setting a specific out of bed or bedtime goal there, but I think the rest of the goals will essentially help manage that. Discover - Read 10 mins daily (bed reading counts, book or paper/magazine) - allowing bedtime reading here, and opening it up to being a book or newspaper or anything. Extra bonus point available if I finish the entire paper on a given day. Divine Shield - 20/60 housework - 20 minutes of housework on weekdays, 60 minutes per weekend day. Pretty self explanatory! Inspire - Post/read Rebellion daily - Post to the rebellion daily and read a few threads daily. Not setting a specific number on this - the effort to stay connected is important. Bonus point available for reading 4 or more threads. Poisonous - 2/4 drink rule - 2 drinks per weekday, 4 per weekend limit. This will be a tough one on the weekends sometimes, but sticking with it. Adapt - 500-1000 calorie deficit (maintenance on weekends) - I’m measuring this by the Apple Watch again. Though it wasn’t super successful last time, I attribute that more to my weekend indulgences than anything else, and I think during the week it was successful. So trying to stick with this again as a simplified way of saying get some exercise, dammit, and keep your calories in check! Bonus point available if I get to a 1000 calorie deficit! Bonus Tasks Quest - Brewmastery - I’ve recently dived into homebrewing and have enjoyed it. The goal here is to keep something fermenting pretty much at all times, which means if I do a bottling day, I do a brew day ASAP afterwards. This might be a bit tough logistically but I think the idea really is to have something always on the go, even if it is just fermenting in bottles. I have a kit to get going now, and will likely order another one shortly after to test out. So that should keep things moving nicely. Windfury - Drivetraining - I recently played an actual round of golf (well 9 holes) with my FIL and enjoyed the Hell out of it, but I’m woefully out of practice. So the goal here is to hit the driving range once a weekend and keep that practice up. Loot 50% Completion - 100 points - A trial membership (2 weeks) at a local gym 75% Completion - 150 points - A pair of canvas sneakers Bonus Task Perfection - 5 Gallon Kettle/Fermenter for Homebrewing Punishment Miss One Goal Friday-Sunday - Clean entire garage in one day Miss One Goal on a 2nd Weekend - Clean entire basement in one day The Challenge will start officially on Saturday! I hope you'll join me in this journey to Hearthstone glory!
  6. “So, you’re the little one who has been giving my Jaffa so much trouble,” the deep, modulated voice said. Mizbrek looked up into a pair of glowing eyes, attached to a huge body. Bacchus wasn’t just obese, he was beyond that. The Jaffa behind him kicked at the back of his leg. “Kree! Kneel before your God!” “I was just passing through, oh...um...fulsome one?” Miz said to Bacchus. The goa’uld bristled. “Our god is simply full figured!” the First Prime barked, backhanding Miz with a metal glove. “Well, none may pass through our territory without at least one feast.” The goa’uld gestured behind his throne, where a table was laid with pastries, fried food, and decadent desserts. “You know, I’m actually trying to cut back, so maybe I’ll just head out to the Stargate,” Miz said, getting to his feet. Bacchus bristled. “None may refuse our hospitality! Jaffa! Kree! Kill the blasphemer!” Miz rolled back dodging zat and staff blasts. He leapt up, launching back towards a wall, grabbing his own staff off a Jaffa on the way. He caught two of the blasts of his staff, before leaping back against the wall, sweeping one of the guard’s legs out, and swinging a fist around, knocking the wind out of another, before taking off at a flat run. He heard Bacchus huffing, shuffling and roaring behind him as he pounded down the corridor. “JAFFA! KREE! KREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Lessons From Last Challenge Overall last challenge went pretty well! In the time of that challenge I lost around 4 pounds total. For those who followed me, I defeated the Balrog, and earned myself a homebrewing kit! I have yet to purchase that but will share my forays into real life Brewmastery once I do! In terms of what worked, trying to work in the 6 workouts worked well, and allowing myself a variance on every item, not just the food, allowed me some welcome flexibility. In terms of what didn’t, I had a lot of trouble getting up and going by 5:30, and same for 8:30 on weekends, and the reading felt the most like a “chore” (though it’s gotten less so as my book has gotten good again). Challenge Overview This challenge I’ve cut down on a goal by one, with two of them tied to sleep. The overall theme here is to curb my indulgences and stay a bit more focused (hence the battling of Bacchus, this time in the Stargate universe!). Most of these I’ve done before - newspaper, reading NF threads, housework, but the new one I wanted to discuss a bit is the calorie deficit. I use an Apple Watch to track my heartrate at pretty much all times, and I log everything I eat into MFP. Through this and based on what it estimates my TDEE to be I have a running total at any given time of my calorie deficit for the day. Right now it’s sitting at 1909, for example, which makes sense, as I’ve worked out, had breakfast and lunch, and done a fair bit of walking today. So as a bit of an experiment, instead of saying my calories will be X or I’ll workout Y times, I’m instead saying that I’m going to aim for a 500-1000 calorie deficit, based on this tracking. Now I know some of you will remind me these things are notoriously inaccurate, and that’s fair. I will say I’ve also been using a spreadsheet designed by a couple fitness gurus to track my TDEE based on weight and calories over the last 15 weeks or so, and the numbers do work. So this is an experiment, to be sure, and I reserve the right to change this mid-challenge if it’s not working! The goal here mostly is to push activity, particularly on the weekends, and to make me “earn” my calories as best I can. Not to say I plan to eat back everything, but mostly to shift my mindset a bit, and to try a less regimented approach. Challenge Goals 15 min newspaper reading per day 20 min housework per weekday/1h housework per weekend day Stay on 500-1000 calorie deficit based on AW per day (7000 per week) Read 3 NF threads per day Out of bed by 5:30 weekdays/9am weekends In bed with devices off by 10:30 weekdays One variance per week for each. For the Calorie Deficit goal, maintenance is the ideal variance. Loot 150 Jaffa Defeated - New pair of shoes 75 Jaffa Defeated - New Apple Watch Band Less than 50 Jaffa Defeated - Miz has to clean the garage in one day! Tracking Instead of counting down this time around, Miz will be counting the Jaffa he defeats to escape from Bacchus’s Ha’tak!* Planning to start roughly tracking this week, with I hope you all will join me on this adventure through the Stargate! *He won’t be killing them because the Jaffa are an indoctrinated slave race and many do not know any better, and many yearn for freedom!
  7. Mizbrek’s body slammed against the cavern wall. He slid down, landing against the ground. He rolled over, propping himself up on his staff and standing up. “Okay, you son of a bitch,” he said with a grin, wiping away some blood from his nose and mouth. “Let’s do this.” The Balrog drew power unto itself, the fires from the deep rising up and infusing it. It roared, the cavern shuddering. “Your ass” Miz screamed, "shall not pass!" With that, he launched himself against the beast, roaring. The Balrog's fist came up to swap the Hobbit away... My last challenge went pretty well until a cold hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve ticked up a couple pounds (though I think that was mostly water weight) but I think they’ll drop pretty quickly. Miz tackled the Balrog last time around, and didn’t defeat it. This time, it’s coming back stronger than ever, but Miz is ready! Every task, for every day I complete it, damages the Balrog for 1 HP. Because he’s drawn power to himself, the Balrog will have a total of 125 HP. I’m not worrying about Miz’s health this time around. Let’s just say Miz is attacking with renewed vigour! Limit 4 drinks per weekend day/2 per weekday - I’ve realized my drinking has tended to lead to overeating, not to mention the calories. So I’m adding this restriction in. 2100 calories per day - as before, limiting my calories to 2100 per day. Worked well for me so far and well under my TDEE. 20 mins housework/1hr on weekends - worked well before! Going to keep on this one. Read one hour each weekend day (outside of bed)/15 minutes each weekday (outside of bed) - noticed I wasn’t reading as much as I’d like last time, so going to try and kick this one up a bit. Need to make sure I’m making an effort outside of bedtime reading as well. Workout 45 mins 6 days per week - kicking it up a bit here to 45 instead of the standard 30. More time, more calories burned, better strength training! Out of bed by 5:30am weekdays/8:30am 1 weekend day - noticing I’m sleeping in a fair bit lately, so trying to kick this in the ass a bit. So getting up earlier should help a bit (and is necessary for the previous goal!). 1 long walk with Kali per day - I’ve been a bit difficult with Kali lately, and often tend to gripe a bit when she needs to go outside. So in order to get past that a bit, I’m setting a goal of taking her out on one long walk every day as a way of trying to combat this. 1 variance each per week - I’m allowing myself one variance per week on all these goals (outside of the built in ones) as a way of balancing this out as well. The challenge will officially start on the actual challenge start day, but I’ll be counting any points I accumulate towards the total HP of the Balrog! Rewards Perfect Week - 7 Hearthstone Packs Perfect Challenge - Pedicure Zero perfect weeks - Miz tackles the garage for 2h 75% Completion - Homebrew starter kit Balrog HP 125/125 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  8. Challenge Theme This challenge, I’ve decided to borrow from some others and take on a boss! Our fearless hero will challenge a Balrog of Morgoth - hey, no one ever accused Miz of knowing his limitations, alright? For this I will be tracking both Miz’s hit points and the Balrog’s hit points. I am using the classic RPG trinity here - physical health challenge goals, when completed, will damage the Balrog (DPS). Mental health goals, when uncompleted, damage Miz (tank). And home tasks, when completed, heal Miz. Each task is worth one point, and I'll be tracking the HP in each update. Miz and Balrog both have 75 HP. Last Challenge Retrospective The last challenge was going pretty well up until the 1-2 punch of a bad cold and vacation. After that it went off the rails slightly. That’s okay. Overall I still hit a new weight low during that challenge of 205.2, and generally made better choices than I would have in the past. But, as always, there’s room for growth. This Challenge Those familiar with my previous challenges will see a lot of the same basic tenets coming through. I’m sticking with what works for me, and trying to add a few things. Here we have 3 larger goals - build physical health, build mental health, and keep my house in order. I’m incorporating a few mental health focused things here, as I’ve found that slipping a bit lately, and so much of everything is tied to that for me. A lot of success is about being stricter here, though. In order to have a more immediate loot reward, I’ve set a reward of 7 Hearthstone packs at the end of each perfect week, with a reward for a perfect challenge as well. This challenge should be a bit easier. There are no trips planned (with the exception of one night away next Saturday) and no major events (short of our anniversary right at the end of this). DPS the Balrog - Physical Health 30 min workout 6 days a week - I’ve upped this from doing any workout to be 30 minutes, to try and get a bit more bang for my workout time. Calories 1700-2100 (1 variance per week) - pretty self explanatory! Flossing daily - a habit I’d like to build! Tank the Balrog - Mental Health Use Breath app for 2 mins a day - my watch has a guided breathing app that I think will be helpful to mental health. Just to build the habit, my goal is to use that for 2 minutes a day. This can be 1 minute here and 1 minute there. All devices off by 10:30 (weekdays only) - the idea here is to be working on getting to sleep by 10:30. 10:15 proved difficult last challenge, so setting my sights a bit lower here. Read 1/4 items - similar items from before, but only 1 out of the 4 this time. 2 out of 4 proved challenging last time around, so again, trying to achieve success by lowering my sights a bit. 30 minutes of a book The Economist Espresso (short daily magazine put out by the Economist) 1 full newspaper 10 minutes of a magazine (Economist/Atlantic/Golf Digest/Monocle) Heal Miz - Keep Your House In Order 20 mins housework weekdays/1h on weekends - pretty self explanatory again! Buy nothing non-essential (1 <$20 variance per week) - carrying this one over. Practice mantras - this one will require a bit of explanation. I tend to get into these mental spirals worrying about things - money, health, work, and my mind just runs round and round and builds it up. And I see it happening, and I don’t stop it, because I think I deserve to feel bad about those things. This isn’t helpful, or productive, and leaves me grumpy and not a great partner. I’ve been developing some mantras, or phrases to repeat when these particular things hit, and am going to do my best to practice these to whenever these moments come up. This is here more to remind me that this is a goal vs. something to track, but it’s important to me. This could go under mental health, too, but it’s important for me to remember how my mental state affects those around me, so I put it here. Rewards Perfect Week - 7 Hearthstone Packs Perfect Challenge - 1 of New Shoes, Pedicure, New Tie Clip, or New Watch Band Mizbrek Falls to the Balrog - Miz is required to clean out the garage in one day Mizbrek Defeats the Balrog - Bluetooth connection system for the car Health Points Miz HP 75/75 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Balrog HP 75/75 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- I hope you'll join me fighting the Balrog!
  9. Mizbrek slipped off his horse with a jarring hop. Horses were too big for hobbits, usually, but, to be fair, Miz tended to disregard that when said about just about everything. The brown mare whinnied at him as he patted her on the side of her head, taking the reins and leading her forward. The road was largely grown over now, but not nearly as such as the city ahead of him. Fornost. Northern City, in the Sindarin. Deadmen’s Dike. An ancient city of Arnor. The trader in Bree had been right, and worth the bribe to send the hobbit on the right path. As he approached the front gates, Miz breathed deeply, hesitating. This was probably a bad idea. He could almost hear the cries of ancient warriors as he stepped over the threshold. The gates were barely there, merely crumbled ruins now, but just strong enough to still have some structure. A testament to the ingenuity of the descendents of Numenor. This site had seen much death and destruction. The brewmaster had no particular aim in mind, no spot to visit. There were no guidebooks or top ten lists of sights to see in this ancient city. Middle Earth was not the Discworld. But he did have a goal here. There was the slightest of noises. Undetectable, practically. Miz waited a breath, before rolling to his right, clear of the horse. As he came up he whirled around and whipped his staff off his back, catching the Dunedain’s sword on the shaft. The Ranger grunted with grudging surprise. “Quick, for a halfing,” he said. The man was tall, far taller than Miz. He loomed over him. His face was hooded, his clothes the usual worn, earth tones of his kind. “But you should not be here, burglar. The blood of Numenor still guard this place, and we do not take kindly to thieves.” “I am no thief,” Miz said, lowering his staff. The Ranger lowered his sword. “I did not come here for ancient trinkets. I came here for you.” The Ranger’s face, still largely hidden by the hood, betrayed a bit of shock. “Me?” “Well, not you specifically,” Miz replied honestly. “I seek the Dunedain, and you guys don’t exactly have an email address.” The Ranger tilted his head. “Your words are strange. Are you quite right in the head?” The hobbit sighed. He always had to adjust his speech patterns when back in Middle Earth. “I wish to become one of you, one of the Rangers.” At this, the Dunedain laughed. “Go back to your hobbit hole, halfling. One does not simply become one of the Dunedain Rangers.” “You had no training? You were born sword in hand, knowing how to strike an Orc from 400 yards with an arrow?” At this the man paused. Miz continued. He was a time and dimension traveller. He knew his history. “A great darkness stirs in the East. I feel it, as I’m sure you do. If he hasn’t already, one of your kind will soon ride to meet up with some of my kind, and head to Rivendell for a great council with Elrond. I am no mere halfing. I am Mizbrek, Hobbit of the Shire, Brewmaster of the Pandaren Monks, Slayer of Dragons, but I need more. I need help, I need training. I can be of value, but I need to become a Ranger, in order to help fight the coming darkness. I would not be pushed to the side, nor cower like an ailing pet.” The Ranger sheathed his sword, pulling back his hood to reveal a greying, weathered, bearded face. “You have fire, Mizbrek Sogbrannon**. There is no process for this. We have never trained anyone but our own people.” He turned to the East and breathed, deeply. When he spoke, there was a weariness there. “But you are right that a darkness is coming. Many of my people feel it. And I would be a fool to turn down aid, regardless of its source, or its size.” He turned back to Miz with a smile. “I am Noratir, a Dunedain Ranger. I will show you our ways. This will not be easy.” “Nothing worthwhile ever is,” Miz said, as he followed the Ranger, who began walking towards the gates. The Brewmaster swung his keg around as he took the reins of the horse, grabbing two small cups attached to the top of it. “Except, that is, having a drink. Beer?” Noratir’s laughter boomed through the quiet ruins. *Note: I did my best to research some Lord of the Rings lore and the Dunedain, but may have gotten a bit wrong! **The closest translation I could come to Brewmaster in Sindarin. Last Challenge Run Down The last challenge was probably one of my most successful yet! I lost 6 pounds since the start of it, am feeling significantly stronger, and stuck to my goals like never before. A lot of this I credit with putting a significant loot goal at the end. While I can’t afford to be buying a new phone every 5 weeks, I’m going to try and put something fun at the end of this challenge. I’ve put a few options here but am still nailing down what makes the most sense for me. My plan for now is to pick 2 of the items I've listed below under loot goals, but I'm leaving this open for whatever floats my boat at the time! Challenge Overview I’ve carried forward a lot of the habits from last time, with some tweaks, as I think they’ve all worked well. The idea here it to lighten up in some places, where it makes sense (6 days of workouts instead of committing to 7, 1 variance on the purchasing challenge) and buckle down in others (not allowing myself to eat back exerted calories). The biggest hurdle will be in Week 3 - I’ll be visiting my in-laws in Utah again, with a stop over in Las Vegas for two nights (one on the way there, one on the way back). My in-laws are pretty healthy and active, so it shouldn’t be TOO bad, but the last time I was there I went up about 8 pounds. Mind you that was also Christmas. But the idea with this challenge is to work very hard for the next 3 weeks so as to build up as much of a buffer, and be as good as I can there. I’ll also need to work on speaking up and being vocal about my needs - saying no to a glass of wine, taking time to go to the gym (they have access to a health club while there which is great), stuff like that. Move like Aragorn - Workout 6 days per week (M-Sun) - I may well continue 7 days a week but I’m allowing one rest day. I’ve been enjoying the daily workouts and I feel like I’m getting good result from them, and I have enough variance in them I don’t think I’m tiring out any particular muscles. Eat like Legolas - Consume no more than 2100 calories (1 variance per week) - largely the same as last time for me, but with this I will be doing my best not to eat back my exerted calories. I was doing that a bit the last little while, and I think it’s good practice to work towards keeping my consumption low. As before though I allow one variance per week, and I will allow myself to bank them (or take an advance on one). So yes, I could do 4 in week one. Sleep like Treebeard - All devices/tablets off by 10:15pm - last challenge, going to bed at 9:30 worked well for me, but I’d often end up in bed reading til 11 or 11:30. So for this challenge we’ll work at getting everything off by 10:15, including my eReader. Shop like Gimli - Buy nothing non-essential (1 variance under $20 per week) - Another carry over, but a good one. This made me think a lot more about my spending - I caught myself in various situations where I would have bought something unthinkingly. Again, my definition of essential is somewhat broad - I do include basic beer, scotch and wine in that, as, I mean, I’m only human guys. But I often end up buying fancier beer, scotch or wine than I need, along with various other trinkets. No more! Clean like Sam - 20 mins housework weekdays/1hr housework weekends - Ms. Miz has asked me to put this one on here, and I’m happy to oblige. We will be doing the 1hr together on the weekends (and it may or may not be accompanied by some wine from our cellar!). Study like Gandalf - Reading (2/4 of these tasks daily) - I’ve noticed I’m reading a bit less lately and spending more time on social media or gaming. While I enjoy all these things, I’d like to spend a bit more time reading. I initially made a list of all the things I’d like to read in any given day and realized I’d be spending 2h reading every day! A bit much. And since I find myself often feeling like reading different things on different days, I thought I’d allow that. So my goal is to complete 2 of the following below daily, whichever 2 work for me on that given day. 30 minutes of a book The Economist Espresso (short daily magazine put out by the Economist) 1 full newspaper 10 minutes of a magazine (Economist/Atlantic/Golf Digest) Loot Reward for Perfect Score - One of the following: New dress shoes, new sport band for Apple Watch, bottle of good Scotch (~$100), Apple Watch charging stand/dock, Kettlebells, New Dumbbells, 40 Hearthstone Packs, or one Character Boost in World of Warcraft I am considering Week Zero a kind of soft launch/practice run for this challenge, where I'll do my best to stick to it, but I'm not holding myself to anything in particular. So the challenge officially starts on Monday!
  10. Mizbrek

    Mizbrek Renews

    The portal opened on a small, green field. Mizbrek stepped through, the portal closing behind him, blinking in the sunlight. He shouldered his pack, taking his staff in one hand and setting out along the path before him. At the farmhouse ahead, several Pandaren children ran up to him, falling into step alongside him. They were almost as tall as the hobbit monk now. “Miz! Miz! Where ya been?” one uttered, a girl. “We haven’t seen you back in ages!” the other accused, a boy. Miz walked past the farmhouse, limping slightly with a grin. “You know me, kiddos! Here and there. Fighting dragons. Brewing beer. Wooing damsels.” “Can we try your beer?” said the girl excitedly as she skipped along. “You must be at least taller than me to drink the beer, sweetheart.” Miz cracked at her, rounding a bend and crossing a bridge, heading towards a tall temple up ahead. “Are you here to meet with the other monks?” the boy asked, gesturing towards the temple. “I am,” Miz confirmed. “It’s a new year. I think. Depending on your understanding of time and space. I need some time to reflect, rethink, renew myself a bit. Look at where I go and what I want to do with myself. My place in the cosmos.” There was a long pause from the kids at that. “We just learned fractions,” the girl mentioned. They reached the open front door of the temple, and Miz turned back, smiling at both of them. “You’ll have to show me sometime. For now, run along, I think I see your dad waving for you back there.” They waved their goodbyes as they ran off. Miz stepped into the temple, breathing deeply of the incense, the fires ahead, feeling the aura of the Celestials he had long ago placed his faith in, rebuilding and renewing him, just by being here. It was gonna be a good year, he thought, as he swung his keg around, drinking deeply. If not, there was always beer. Last Challenge The last challenge was tough around the holidays, but overall I’m giving myself a level for it. I worked out several days over vacation, I stayed pretty consistent with my Hearthstone, and I stayed pretty active in the community. Could’ve done better on the measurements, but I actually took those and pictures today! So not too bad overall. I failed mostly at the logging, and paid the price of jumping a few pounds over the holidays, but considering it was only about 5 pounds overall, I’m generally considering that okay. This Challenge For this challenge, I’ll be focusing on starting anew, but keeping some of the old. Bodyweight Exercises - 5x weekly, M-F. I’ll miss one this week but that’s okay. I’m also going to try and focus on the NF Rings exercises and do my best to progress through that program along with the regular exercises. Photos/Measurements Weekly - I took this today, and will be re-attempting this one! It’s part of the NF Rising Heroes program which my wife and I signed up for, so I think this should be more doable. MFP Logging - Going to carry this one over again. I am going to try and focus on this one a bit - I know it’s super helpful with weight loss overall, and I should remember that. 5 Minutes of Economist Daily - I’ve fallen off this habit and want to get back onto it. Setting a goal of just reading the magazine for 5 minutes daily. I think this should be doable. Morning Pages - This is probably the focus of this challenge for me. A big part of my road map for this year is improving my thought processes and self confidence overall. I have a lot of negative self-talk and self-confidence issues, and I think this holds me back in many aspects of my life. With morning pages, the idea is that you write 3 stream of consciousness pages by hand every morning, to help clear your head and get you set for the day. I’m excited about this idea, and what it could do for me. Bonus Goal - Golf Practice - As a kind of bonus goal, I’d like to work on my golf skills this year. My in-laws all golf, and just bought a house on a golf course, and I’d like to be able to better participate. I worked on this a bit last summer but could use more work. I’ll be attempting to spend some time at a driving range once a week. This is my “skill,” which is part of the Rising Heroes program where you pick a non-fitness skill to work on and develop. This isn’t strictly non-fitness but I see having some skill in golf as building my own self-confidence, broadening my horizons, and possibly be an asset in my job search and networking skills. So this isn’t really an official part of the challenge, but is something I’ll be working on in parallel. Thanks for reading along folks, and hope to see you all again!
  11. Hello all and welcome to another Mizbrek challenge! This will be my 4th in total with the Rebellion, and I’m quite excited about that! This is the longest I’ve stuck with any sort of fitness plan or idea in…a long time, to be frank. I’m down about 15 pounds in total (out of around 80 I’d ideally like to lose) and I calculated recently that I’ve lost, on average, 0.75 pounds per week. I’d like to be going a little faster, but I suppose around a pound a week is the “ideal” weight loss. However, I would like to be down to around 200 by Christmas, which means I need to get up closer to 2 pounds a week. So this challenge will be about trying to kick that up a bit. Review of Past Challenge Overall, I’m giving myself an A- for this past challenge. I lost pretty consistently week to week, going from around 220 to 215, which is great. I read a lot more, I got a lot done around the house, and I engaged consistently in my social communities. So I’m giving myself a level for this. I had suggested buying myself a bottle of Bruichladdich Scotch to celebrate if I did well, but I think that would be slightly counterintuitive to my goals this time around, so instead I’m keeping an eye out for some other piece of loot. Debating a new winter coat! Could really use one, though I suppose that’s not as “fun” as I’d like. Thinking also about the Rings and Handstands Pack that NF is offering now along with the appropriate equipment for home workouts, but not totally sold on that (at the time of writing anyway!).** The Next Challenge As opposed to the story based RP, I’m choosing to imagine this as Miz assembling a team of heroes to work with. These will be my WoW characters, but I think most of you will recognize the archetypes (though perhaps with a bit of a twist!). Budhil – Pandaren Warrior - Bodyweight training M-F. Budhil, while a Pandaren and prone to excess, is a fierce warrior. From him, Miz will get the bulk of his strength. I am already doing the NF bodyweight workouts daily and I’d like to continue this. I enjoy them and, while I am getting distinctly better at them, they do still challenge me. And what’s more, it’s very doable. It’s not a ton but it’s something, and something I can do with a feeling of accomplishment and without a feeling of dread. Wildwrench – Gnome Hunter - Dog on one long walk daily Tina Wildwrench, a Gnome Survival Hunter, fights side by side with her animal companions, diving into the fray wielding Talonclaw, an ancient and storied spear. I love my little dog and don’t get to spend nearly enough time with her. The goal here will be to try and walk her around what we call the big block, which is about a 15-20 minute walk (depending on the interesting things to sniff!). The caveat here is sometimes she just doesn’t want to do this – she’s tired, it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s raining, what have you. The important thing here is to give her the opportunity. Kind of as a side quest with this, I often hem and haw and try and delay her when she does want to go out, if I don’t feel like it, and I’m going to make an effort not to do that. Wildstout – Pandaren Monk - 2 drinks/day on weekdays, 3/day on weekends Tal Wildstout is a Brewmaster monk, much like Miz, but unlike Miz, he practices balance in all things. I know a lot of my calories come from alcohol. I’ve been better at this lately but I think it would make sense to take this a bit further. I by no means want to stop drinking entirely, but a bit more temperance wouldn’t be a bad thing. Greywrench – Gnome Rogue – Post, Read & Comment on 3 Rebellion threads per day Tessa Greywrench is a swashbuckling Outlaw, first and foremost, but her chosen calling involves lots of spying, as well. I’d like to try and be more involved with the Rebellion, as I’m a firm believer that you get out what you put in, so I’m making it a goal to both post my own updates, as well as read and comment on 3 threads every day. The comment part I’m not going to hold myself to so much, as there won’t always be something I have to say, but I do want to stay involved. Stockton – Undead Priest - Hot Yoga once a week Though he is undead, as a priest, Augustus Stockton is first and foremost one for introspection and contemplation. To this end, I’m going to try and make it out to a hot yoga class once a week (likely Saturdays or Sundays but I’m not holding myself to that). The idea here is to expand my horizons a bit and find something that works for me outside of the bodyweight workouts. I’ve done hot yoga in the past and really enjoyed it but, truthfully, not as much as sitting at home playing video games (then again, the list of things I enjoy more than that is pretty damn small). So this is an effort to get back to that. Ulron – Tauren Paladin - Spend 10 minutes on housework/do the litter daily Paladins are about serving others, and in this way I’ll be serving my house by helping out where I can. This can include running errands, or doing dishes in the morning while I’m cooking breakfast. And the litter was easier than I thought, just need to make sure I’m heading downstairs and doing it. Even spending literally a minute scooping is a huge change and makes the next day easier. Like, literally one minute a day. Jannoris – Blood Elf Warlock - Spend 10 minutes reading a book daily (in bed doesn’t count) While warlocks are often thought to be inherently evil, really they just don’t restrict themselves from any particular knowledge. I had a similar piece of my challenge before but I found myself saying “well if I read a bit in bed as I’m falling asleep that counts.” And that’s all well and good, but I have so many books I’d like to read (and I tend to read on my tablet in bed, whereas the books I want to read are mostly physical books, which aren’t totally doable in bed for me comfortably). So I’m saying 10 minutes of reading a physical book a day, and before bed. Most of these are things I’ve done before or are already doing, or evolutions, but I’m excited about the dog walking, the yoga and the Rebellion bits in particular. I do also think it’s good to stick with what works!
  12. The portal flashed a bright light into the cold night of the desert. A quick observer would have seen daylight through the shimmering portal, a simple tavern, and then a small Hobbit dive through the portal, followed by a mug, which fell to the ground with a thud. Had that same observer listened closely, just as the portal closed, they would’ve heard a faint, distant yell of “And don’t come back until you can pay your tab….” Mizbrek brushed off his leathers, picking up his staff and affixing it to his back. He blinked a bit and looked around. After a few* perfectly reasonable celebratory drinks after handling Challongia Cavern, and a few** celebratory rounds for the bar patrons, the innkeeper had suddenly seen fit to call in his entire tab. The very nerve! On his celebratory day! Oh well, he thought to himself, I’ll just stay out of that dimension for a while. Azeroth is usually nice and safe, and they just got finished with their last major conflict. There’s usually a lull until the next one. He looked around the Azerothian landscape, calming his mind and trying to not see double. He’d had to cast the portal spell quickly, but he had been aiming for Orgrimmar. They often mistook him for a some kind of local creature here, but after some detailed and reasonable explanations*** he usually was able to slip into the city and lay low in the bars. And man, could the Orcs DRINK. He’d been hoping to catch up with Gamon and see what he’d been up to as well. The cold shivering of the desert told him he’d missed Orgrimmar. There was a squat settlement up ahead. Something in the back of his mind waved a cue card and told him it was a Goblin city, and a quick look around and search of his memory told him he was in the city of Gadgetzan, in Tanaris, several hundred miles south of Orgrimmar. Miz shrugged to himself. The Goblins generally knew how to party. And the hefty metaphorical weight of the gold from Challongia was burning a hole in his satchel. Surely it would be a quiet night with no surprises. As he stumbled through the front gates of the city, the shadows were suddenly thrown into relief by a bright green light up ahead. He looked up, along with the rest of the city, to see a green portal high in the air. “Oh the Goblinity!” one of the local bruisers cried, grasping his sword and yanking it from his scabbard. “It’s the Burning Legion! Quick, Marto, run and wake Mr. Noggenfogger.” “He was very clear not to be disturbed, Cap,” the other guard said. There was a sound overhead, like a large piece of paper tearing, and some kind of vessel came through the portal, followed by bright green meteors, three of which slammed into the ground around the city, their rocks breaking apart, and reforming into hideous, rocky, fel creatures, which started rumbling towards the Bruiser Captain. “I think I’ll go find Mr. Noggenfogger,” the other guard said. The Bruiser Captain turned to Miz, who’d been standing beside him, jaw wide. “You here to help?” In response, Miz whipped a keg from his satchel, which somehow seemed to be bigger on the inside, and tossed it casually at the nearest rocky infernal creature. The keg broke, brew spilling over the thing, which started lumbering towards them. Miz broke into a run, leaping at the last second and landing on the creature’s chest, perching there and smacking it hard with the staff. The thing roared, batting Miz aside as he leaped back, casting an incantation and breathing fire from his mouth, the brew on the creature igniting. It screamed, and as Miz landed he gathered his energy into his hands and blasted the creature with a jade-green ball of lightning. It’s scream was cut off as it dissolved into its component rocks, whatever fel magic binding it together broken. He turned back to the Captain, swinging his staff over his shoulder, as the infernal continued to crumble behind him. “I’m here to kick ass and drink beer. And I’m all outta beer.” The guard, almost on instinct, replied “Actually, Gadgetzan has 4 lovely and clean drinking establishments that would be happy to accept currency at entirely reasonable exchange rates. I’d be happy to point you to them, friend.” “No, man, it’s an expression, just…” Miz put his face to his palm, before looking back up. “Just, point me to the demons, okay?” Several large demons of various sizes and shapes teleported in around them, materializing out of thin air, as the rest of the darkened city lit up and readied for invasion. “That, I can do.” Hi everyone! Mizbrek here, your friendly neighbourhood multiverse traveling Hobbit Brewmaster! My last challenge I did pretty well, though fell off a bit at the end and on weekends in particular. I managed to get a lot of workouts in, continue a good trend on that, and did a lot around the house. Here you’ll see a lot of similar themes, along with some new fun thrown in. For my personal theme, I’ve chosen to imagine Mizbrek facing off against an invasion by the Burning Legion in World of Warcraft. For those unfamiliar, this is actually an event currently going on in game, as a prelude to WoW’s newest expansion, Legion, which will be launching on August 30th. Truthfully, this will be a challenge for me, but in a bit of an odd way. I’m a big WoW player, and for me this is Christmas and the Superbowl and my birthday all wrapped into one. I’ve taken time off from work, and I am SUPER looking forward to spending lots of time doing this. Now, obviously, spending days sitting around gaming is not super conducive to a healthy lifestyle! But I’m going to do my best to stay on track with it. I’m also incorporating running into my workout regimen. So far I’d been doing pretty strictly NF Academy body weight workouts, with the occasional yoga and golf thrown in. Now I’ll be adding in runs twice a week (and subbing out 2 body weight workouts for it). I’m a bit nervous about this, as it’s been a long time since I’ve ran any distance, and the last time I did I was getting weird pains in my left foot after about a mile. So we’ll see how this goes. I’ll be using the Zombies Run! App to help motivate and push me a bit, and for some added nerdy flavour. I’ve chosen to represent the goals by demons that Mizbrek would face during this invasion! Calories under 2100 - Infernal Here I’ll be working again to stay at around 2100 calories. I’ve done this pretty regularly and it’s not a HUGE challenge, if I’m being honest, but sticking with it is really the challenging part, through weekends and just for another month. I’ve been trying to do this for almost 3 months now, which is the longest I’ve stuck with anything like that! It may seem simple, but really this is the Big Daddy of it all. Workout every day (Bodyweight MWF, Run T/Th, Golf/Yoga/? on weekends) - Felguard I’m going to continue my workouts throughout the week in the mornings, doing NF Bodyweight 2A or B (alternating) on MWF and going for a short run on T/Th. I’m not setting a specific distance goal, but will be trying to be out on the road by 5:45am and back in by around 6:30am, in order to have time to make and eat breakfast and get ready for work. This may end up, truthfully, being a simple power walk time depending on my aforementioned leg issues, but the idea here is to work on another part of my fitness. I’m in the Rangers for a reason, as my ideal level of fitness is not so much being huge and bulky or lean and quick, but somewhere in between. Scoop litter box daily - Satyr Continuing on the housework theme from last challenge, I’m going to set a goal of doing the cat’s litter box daily. It’s a simple thing but it’s a household task I often forget about, meaning when I do get around to it it’s a long, unpleasant process. Instead of putting it off my goal will be to do it on a daily basis and keep it clean. Read the Economist Weekly - Observer Besides physical goals, I am always trying to be more well-read and more knowledgeable about the world. I have a subscription to both a daily paper and the Economist, and I’m pretty good at getting the paper read every day, but I’ve been failing slightly at reading the Economist, and I’d like to get back to it. I don’t have a particular goal in mind for this, truthfully, or a solid way to achieve this, other than taking time to do this during times where I’d otherwise be mindlessly browsing reddit or the like. I do intend to skim a fair bit, as I’m not a fast enough reader to get every word in and have time for anything else, but I think this will help me achieve that overarching goal of having a better idea of what’s going on in the world at large. Don’t Fall Off on Weekends - Succubus While the calorie goal is the Big Daddy, this is the...er...big Grandpa? K the analogy kinda falls off here. But truthfully this is where I’ve been losing progress. It’s so easy for me to relish the time outside, sit out and read a book, knock back a couple beers, not do any exercise, and suddenly my calories are thrown to the wind and I’m sneaking snacks at the end of the night. I wake up feeling terrible and ashamed, and I don’t want that to happen anymore. Almost every weekend I seem to gain back whatever progress I’ve made over the week, and it’s not a good thing. So by this I mean stay in calorie goal, don’t drink too much, and get some exercise in over the weekends. I intend for one day to be going to the driving range, and another to be yoga, but we will see what happens. Could be a run, could be a body weight exercise too. But if I had to choose one goal to work on, that would have the greatest impact on my life, this would be it. Journal Daily - Eredar This is a smaller one, but one that I’ve found, when I’m doing it, it’s great, and when I’m not, my mind wanders and I’m less focused. I use the 5 Minute Journal to work on gratitude and reflection, and my goal for this challenge is to get back to that habit, doing a short bit of writing in the morning and in the evening. I was into this habit for a long time and fell off it recently, so I think it’ll be good to get back to it. Thanks for reading folks, and hope to see you back here! Edit: Adding for easy reference, my goals for the Mini-Challenge! Strength Feat: I will do NerdFitness Bodyweight 2A this week exclusively (no 2B) and do full pushups, as opposed to knee or assisted ones. Combat Feat: I will head to the driving range 2 nights this week. Dwarves need to hit stuff with sticks, right? Golf is the same basic principle! Distance Feat: I will replace one of my morning bodyweight workouts with an extra run (guess I'm doing this this week!). Recovery Feat: I will meditate for 10 minutes as opposed to the usual 5 minutes daily.
  13. Mizbrek shook off the snow from his cloak and stamped his boots as he stepped into the Mended Bow Tavern. The heat from the many fires hit him instantly. The place always seemed bigger on the inside, with its two-storey roof and many tables. He ducked under a man walking past who nearly elbowed him, slapping a green Orc on the back as he did so. He sighed. There were disadvantages to being so short sometimes. He ducked around an Argonian before hopping on one of the taller stools on the bar. The Mended Bow catered to people of various shapes and sizes, and it helped to even some folks out. He tucked his bag under the bar and waved over the bartender. Miz could never remember his species, but the dark skin and forehead ridges, not to mention his frequent discussion of honor, stuck out. The barkeep grunted at him as he approached. “How would you like to buy my newest ale, Gormok?” Miz said with a grin. “Your last one tasted like fruit,” he barked. “Well, yes, it had something from Tel-Abim in it! Can’t remember the name of it but it was good.” “The customers thought it was weird!” “Ugh, no sense of adventure, your customers. That was a fine, hand-crafted, artisanal ale!” Miz shook his head. “This one is standard though. A simple lager, but with ingredients from all over the multiverse! The finest spring water from Rivendell! Hops grown in the Valley of Four Winds in Pandaria! Some of the first barley ever grown by the Minbari! Spices from the Klatchian Empire, and brewed in the fires of Vulcan!” Gormok sighed. “Fine. How much do you have and what do you want for it?” As Miz reached into his bag and pulled out a keg that was far too large to have fit in the bag in the first place, Gormok added “and someday you’ll need to tell me where you got that bag.” “I won it in a game of Hearthstone off some raggedy Doctor,” Miz said, dropping the keg onto the bar with a thud. “I want a room for the night, a few days of supplies, whatever’s on the menu for tonight, and a few drafts of your finest ale.” “Done,” Gormok said. He hefted the keg behind the bar, tucking it away. A few minutes later, full of some 2 ales and a bowl of some miscellaneous stew, Miz’s ears perked up. As a brewmaster, your learned to listen. Sometimes that was to talk of a new ale people liked. Sometimes that was to talk of where your next adventure would come from. “...thing tore his legs right off. He was mad though, I told him…” Miz moved quietly closer, finding a small, empty table near the group. Mostly humans it looked like, but there was one dressed oddly, long robes and bear. Wizard, Miz recalled, but from some other world than his own. Some place called Hogwarts, he thought he remembered. “I’m sure they are exaggerating, there’s no way Medrak was that big,” the taller of the group was saying. “He was! My cousin’s brother’s former roommate went in with a group of 25 himself, they didn’t manage it! Snaegar they managed, but Housgar wore them down.” “I heard Calorus tempted them all with some kind of siren song, made half of them fall off some kind of crevasse in the cave,” the Wizard said. Miz drained his ale as he continued to listen, waving down the barmaid and draining a second as they continued to discuss. “I’m telling you, Challongia Caverns is undoable. Not with five armies could you manage it,” the tall one declared. “One at a time, perhaps, but not all at once.” The fourth ale arrived and went down smooth. Miz started on his fifth as he wandered over. “Gentlemen!” He declared, the humans turning towards the small hobbit, taking in his simple leather armor and his odd, ornamented staff strapped to his back. “I could not help but overhear. Where is this Challongia Cavern you speak of? I am a brewmaster, I seek adventure, and I would love to visit it. I have a new brew I’m working on, and they say Dragon’s Fire is just the key to getting it juuuuust right…” On reviewing his words, Miz thought it possible, based on the stunned looks he got, that he may not be as thought as he sober he was. But they quickly dispelled that notion. “You?!” the taller one said. “I could kick your ass! What’re you going to do against 5 dragons?!” “Come here and I’ll show you,” Miz slurred slightly. The taller one grinned, and the Wizard made to hold him back, but the stool was knocked back, and he was leaping towards the hobbit with surprising speed. Miz had been known to brag. He was famous for it throughout the multiverse. But it was rarely said it was without merit. With a speed belying his small size and intoxication, Miz’s fist shot out, catching the man on his side and tossing him to the right. A second was up, and found the Hobbit in the air, checking him with his whole, small, but surprisingly heavy body. The second man slammed onto a table, the wind knocked out of him. The third found his head snapped to the side by a strong kick. It didn’t knock him out, but when he went down, he stayed down. There was no point in messing with a tiny guy like that. The Wizard stood on, not making any move to get up. “So that’s what you’ll do against 5 dragons?” he asked conversationally. “More or less,” Miz said, with a grin. As he retired to his room a while later, the Wizard’s map tucked safely away in his bigger on the inside pack, Miz wondered for a brief moment if he’d made a mistake, boasting and promising drunkenly to defeat 5 dragons that had felled armies. Eh. It’ll make a good story either way, he thought to himself. Well this is my first challenge, and hopefully no one minds a bit of RP! I'll be doing my best to throw in some RP elements with each update, but I don't expect I'll be able to write the story in perfect detail. Just wrote this for some of my own fun! For this challenge I've chosen 5 goals, represented by 5 dragons that Mizbrek will be trying to solo. At the same time. Cause that's the kind of stuff my WoW characters do, and let's face it, aren't we all doing this so we can do the stuff our fantasy characters do? The 5 Dragons Calorus, the Consumer - For this challenge I will be tracking my food with MFP and attempting to stay under 2100 calories. I'm giving myself extra points if I can do so NOT counting exercise as an offset, but for the purpose of this I'll plan to count those calories. Though I won't try and eat UP to that. Medrak, the Disruptor - I'll be attempting to meditate for 5 minutes a day. Using an app to do so. I have some experience with this, and I may up that a bit, but I haven't had a regular practice in a long time, and, well, the NF Academy suggested it, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I've been doing it a bit the last little while but may need to revisit my practice - I'm doing it with headphones on on my commute home, which isn't as restful, I've found. But we'll see. Still working at building that muscle, so to speak. Snaegara, the Temptress - For a long time I was buying snacks on the way home. Chocolate bars, M&M's. I would feel this pull whenever I walked by a store. I've been off this for a bit, and haven't in a while, with one small exception, but I want to maintain that. I'd also like to try and avoid snacking in general, when people bring stuff into work, or when I'm out and people put out appetizers. There's a very specific way I dig in and want MORE MORE MORE. I can have one or two polite bites of something, but there's no need for that most of the time. Housgar, Bane of the Hearth - I will do 20 minutes of housework per day. This is both to keep me active and help my wife out a bit. I often get home and just plop myself in front of the computer, and that helps no one and nothing. The house being out of sorts stresses her out, and I want to be better at that. I'm allowed to occasionally count something out of the house for this (like running errands on the way home), but I've left her as the final arbiter here of what counts and doesn't. I trust her to be a firm but fair dictator on that front (even if she is thinking of joining the Alliance in the mini-challenge). Activron, Scourge of the Wastes - This will be the new one for me - 10 minutes of dedicated activity per day. This DOES NOT include dog walking. To get a check mark in this column I need to do something specifically for the purpose of exercise. This can include going out for a walk, going out and playing Pokemon Go, going for a run, yoga, bodyweight exercises, going to the driving range, any of those. The idea here is to build a habit of some form of exercise daily, which I don't currently have, and starting small so it's attainable and doesn't seem daunting. Now these may seem like relatively lukewarm goals, but for me the key here is consistency. Every program or change I've ever tried I've given up, most within a few weeks. I signed up for the NF Academy about a month ago and have been working through that in order, and what they emphasize first is mindset and nutrition, of which these target. A few of these I'm already doing. I'm mostly under 2100 calories, most days, I haven't snacked in a while, I've been pretty consistent about the housework for the last week or two, and I've been meditating for a few days. The activity is the only totally new one, but it's an important step. The idea here is to build a good base that I can work from in the future, to build good habits that I stick with. Already the NF program is my 3rd most successful weight loss endeavour, the other two involving me either being unemployed or having a ton of money, and neither of which stuck. So I hope you'll join me! I'll be aiming to update daily, and you can follow my Instagram as well for other updates! And I'll see some of you in the mini-challenge! And if you've joined the Alliance, then I look forward to honourably crushing you on the field of battle for the glory of the Horde.
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