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  1. This is the first stanza of a children's spring song we sing here in South Africa, with English translation in brackets. I tried finding a YT video but alas... Dis heerlike lente, die winter is verby, (It's wonderful spring time, winter is past) weer vrolik die velde vir jou en vir my! (joyful are the fields again, for you and for me) Ryde the Spring Wave Blooms are opening up in an array of colours; grass shoots are pushing their little heads through the dark, nutritious soil; the warm sun is shining bright, and every now and again the soft swish of rain comes down to quench the thirsty soil. I'm just trying to keep my balance between stress, life, and continuing with a 'normal' routine. Not aspiring to reach any level of fitness, not training for anything, just keep moving. Oh, but I am trying to reach 100 (maybe aim at 150?) push ups at some point in time. I am going to try and learn line dancing with my youngest son, and I am going to try and loose a bit of weight. Again, nothing serious, just... cut down a bit on food, think seriously before I eat, weigh myself every Saturday and see how I do. The extra stress-causing-things going on in my life at the moment are... nr. 1 probably the current situation of our country (South Africa). nr. 2 our plans to try and emigrate (and all the preparations it entails). nr. 3 my mom, and the usual little foxes that happen in life to throw you a curve ball. NOTE: My birthday is going to be end of week 3/beginning of week 4 and I am going to have cake/chocolate or something in that line. Goals to focus on this challenge: (only going to check over week days - will continue over weekends, and try to stay in control over weekends, but only check weekdays for the challenge) Bible/Quiet time doing bible study with/without my boys and/or quiet time sometime during the day to gather my thoughts, praying, or just unwinding and relaxing (catching my breath). Water/Herbal tea, fruit/veg water drinks +-2 bottles (just under 2Lt) per day. Go to bed at the latest 21h30 (give or take 5min.). Food: keep gluten to one day a week only (Fishy Fridays), and try to cut down on how much I'm eating. Check weight every Saturday (report on Monday). Let's see if I can loose 1kg (2Lb) this challenge. I'm the heaviest that I've EVER been in my life. Finances: monthlies and dailies. Monthlies are up to date, but will need to be done by end of September again. Dailies are done +-3x/week, or as necessary. Clean house: I have a schedule for the month. Certain chores that I need to check on every day. My vacuum cleaner just burnt (basically brand new) and I'm back to using a broom. Will know whether they'll fix it within the next two weeks. Burpees at least 3x/week, which will include a pushup, which will count to my pushup challenge if they are full pushups. Pushup count: currently 39 Other exercises: Walking (Wednesdays for a long walk, and short, steep uphill on a Thursday) and Dancing (going to try and learn line dancing with my youngest son) on a Friday.
  2. Good day, fellow Adventurers and any guests to our guild. I have no clever theme this challenge, but regardless I can promise it's going to be a lot of fun. As always, I plan to continue my usual morning routine, which if you're interested you can view in the spoiler below: For this challenge, I plan to focus on three goals: Burpees: At least 30 burpees per day -- This is based on a physical challenge I saw online. As most of you know, the burpee is one of the best bodyweight workouts, an excellent "bang for your buck" kind of workout that can be integrated into other movements and moments throughout the day. It is permissible to change these up and try a variety of burpee types. Books: Read any book for at least 20 minutes per day -- Seriously, I love to read, and I love books, but in the midst of my busy life I often neglect to make time to just sit still with a book. No more. Brainwork: Learn about/study something every day -- As a teacher, I should be setting the example of the importance of lifelong learning. Articles, podcasts, websites, NPR, documentaries, Youtube videos, TED Talks, apps, anything that teaches me something. This goal can include schoolwork but must be separate from goal #2. And that's it. Short and simple and to the point. I will also be participating in the Darebee Daily Dare PVP. And of course I'll continue my consistent running routine, visiting the fitness center on campus, and integrating a variety of other movements throughout the day.
  3. Elize, Elvin Toboggan Ryder Elize and her fiery orange-red fox faced the dawn. In front of them spread a vast open grassland specked by dark evergreen trees, pocketed with shrubs showing off bright coral and peach spiked flowers reaching up towards the morning sun. Huge boulders dotted the grassland too, thrown there by an enormous monster from the depths of the earth, when it was attacked by a raging river of fire. This happened eons ago, when giant reptilian behemoths walked the earth, while great flying beasts blasted fire and acid from the sky. Patches of yellow, green, and white lichen covered the cold, black rocks, showing the time they've been above ground. The shadows were lifting oh so slowly with the rising sun, but still cast an air of secrecy where the mist swirled into the nooks and crannies of the rocks. The fox rubbed his head in farewell against Elize's side. Their paths separate here, for a short time. This journey was not for him to take. This path Elize had to face on her own. He'll join her again, soon enough. Carefully the girl moved along the well trodden path. She had to reach Sleepy Hollow by the end of today. Then she had four sennights to get going. This was the time in between challenges; a time of near restfulness, and relative safety. But there will always be some trouble afoot - little foxes playing in the vineyard, as the Old People used to say. This was the time she had to build up her strength, physically and mentally. This was the time she had to prepare, before she faced the battles that will lead to her reaching The Land of the Long White Cloud, hopefully her final destination. That will bring challenges of their own, no doubt, as once there, she will have to capture and bring back The Magic! With very little magic of her own left, but some willpower and stubbornness, maybe a dab of inquisitiveness and excitement too, she faced the morning sun. Little puffs of dust lifted around her every footfall as she slowly made her way into the grass field. By noon Elize had reached a tall hill with a modern contraption rising from it's back. The metal rail ran all the way down the other side of the hill, throwing huge curves across the grass saddle stretching on for miles between hilltops. One side it came within reaching distance of the scary, jagged cliff dropping down to meet the river below. She followed the rail to where it disappeared into the darkness of The Forest. All was quiet, peaceful. A light breeze ruffled the grass tops, while eagles soared on high, specks of black against an azure, cloudless sky. Elize could feel the animals around her. That was the little bit of magic she had left: she could feel the different animals, and borrow some of their abilities from time to time. But magic was growing weaker by the day, and she needed to build up her power, so that she could help her people build up their magical abilities in turn. Slowly she folded her tired body into the bright yellow sled. It was going to take a bit of time to build it up to its former strength and health. The worker gremlin smiled wickedly when he fastened her belt tight around her middle. "Hold on tight now, and whatever you do... Don't pull the brake!" he shouted as he pushed her forward onto the track, which immediately picked up speed going down the incline. The wind rushed around her face, the toboggan sled throwing her hard to the left as she rounded the corner. She tried to keep her balance, but it was difficult not to go with the momentum when being tossed from side to side. She saw the edge of the cliff from before, rushing up, knowing, waiting for the sharp turn, with some trepidation building in the pit of her stomach. The toboggan was going faster and faster, closing in on the drop! Another lurch and she felt herself rising a little bit, slowing down the toboggan ever so slightly, then some more, before she hurtled around the corner on the edge of the cliff. She couldn't help but look down. Caught only a glimmer of the racing waters far below. Then her head was whipped to the other side as the rail changed direction yet again. In less time than she anticipated Elize had crossed the vast grass plain and was nearing The Forest. The rail ran arrow straight down the hill, slowed down some on a flat stretch of land, then fell again and in no time she was zipping past trees, going ever faster in the murky shadows. She saw light up ahead as she neared the far side of the forest. Bushes with spooky white flowers flashed past, and imperceptibly the toboggan started slowing again. The momentum was carrying it up and over the small rise. For a split second she felt suspended at the top, suddenly out in the open again, before the rail, and therefore the toboggan, with her fastened to it, fell down the last hillside. In the distance she could see where it stopped at the Misty Mountain station in Sleepy Hollow. It slowly lost speed and momentum, until at last the toboggan barely crawled into the station before coming to rest with a soft bump against the thick rubber stopper. This was her destination for now. She felt hope blossom inside her heart. Little Hobbit children where shouting and splashing in icy blue-green mountain pools, oblivious of the cold, diving and swimming in the crystal, clear water. Yes, this was a place she could spend some time at, doing her share of duties to secure, cook, clean and manage the place. And train... she was here to train too. (I can't believe it took me nearly 3 hours writing this whole piece!) ----------------------------------------- Brandt (hubby), myself and our two boys were in the mountain town Sabie this first weekend of the challenge, visiting family. On Saturday we went to Mac-Mac Pools where we walked along the 3km Secretary Bird Day Trail. When we came back to the starting point, Rocco (my youngest son - on the left on the photo above) and his cousin dared each other into swimming in one of the pools. Within no time their lips were blue from the icy cold mountain water! Of course hubby couldn't let this opportunity pass, so he went in as well. Sunday we spent a (sort of) peaceful day at m.i.l.'s home, where I did my first strength workout for the week. We walked about 2km on the road to her house as well. Monday we went to Misty Mountain Lodge, a small private resort on the Long Tom Pass, where we all rode toboggan sleds down the hill. It wasn't quite as scary as I made out in my story, but definitely exciting. Now I'm hopefully ready to take charge of the rest of this challenge, trying to improve my health (mentally and physically), strength, as well as getting some things crossed off my To-Do list. Some of these things are needed to prepare for possibly immigrating to NZ hopefully before the end of the year; other things are just normal chores that needs doing, which I'm inclined to procrastinate on. Food-wise I'm cutting down on gluten as I know it makes my sinus and health in general worse. The same with milk/cream, but the main reason is to support Rocco, my 10yr old son who has very bad eczema from some food product, and we need to cut out food to find the culprit (long back story on this). As per advice from a friend ( @Lightning) , I'm increasing our probiotics (for digestive health) intake too. I'm also increasing food and vitamins that fight inflammation, as well as Omega 3 fish oils, to see whether it will help in this fight. It would also help both him and myself if we manage to loose some weight in the process, but we are not focusing on that right now. But it would be welcome... as a side benefit... Moving Moved my goals down to another comment block/post as I made some changes.
  4. This might look familiar. I posted all of this last challenge but it never got off the ground because of a major real life event. However, I'm back. I'm committed. And, I'm ready to run, lift, and burpee my way back to a fit human being. This challenge is all about building the habits necessary to physically get back to where I want to be... So, let's start with the big goals. Be fit enough to jump into any race (up to a half marathon or Spartan Beast), or other ridiculous adventure, at a moment's notice. Run a Full tour in under 27 mins. 100 Burpees in 7 minutes. Run a sub 19 minute 5K. Run a sub 1:30 half marathon. Qualify for the Boston Marathon (aka run a 3:10 marathon). There are more. But, you get the idea. I was very close to a number of those a while ago. I was certainly at the level of being able to jump into any race or activity I wanted. I miss that. That's number one for a reason. Now, all of those goals feel like they are a million miles from here. Like it was someone else that was close to achieving all of those. So... here we are - taking the first steps back to those places. I'm starting small. The name of this game will be consistency. Challenge Goals 1. Be up at 5:30 am, 5 Days per week. I'm most successful when I workout in the morning. I've grown too accustomed to sleeping in and missing that window. No more. (Inner monologue: Get the fuck out of bed and get moving!) 2. Complete 666 pushups during the challenge. This represents a modest daily pushup challenge starting at 15 per day and working up to 30 per day. My total came up to 660 pushups when I mapped that out. But, 666 is just so much cooler. (Inner monologue: muwhahahahahah) 3. Run at least 4 days per week. I'm currently running approximately 0 days per week. The only way I can get back to where I need to be is by running. (Inner monologue: So, do it you lazy asshole!) 4. Post in this thread at least three days per week. Last challenge, I posted the goals and then never even came back to let peeps know that I had to abandon the goals to take care of ... life. I know that I need to keep myself honest by posting what I am and what I am not doing. So post, baby. Post. Old Life Goal: Utilize OmniFocus every work day. I love this software. But, like my fitness, I had fallen out of practice with it. The last week or so it's been integrated back to my life and things seem much clearer to me. Keep it up. Note: I have been utilizing this since the last challenge. I'm going to leave it here to further drive home the habit. New Life Goal :: Officially start the new business. Yuuuup. I've been heading down this path unofficially. Laying the groundwork, getting my first client/job. But, I need to become official and register the company, create a website, etc. So... I'll be doing that during this challenge. So, here we go, yo.
  5. Overview / Motivation: My quest for a Spartan Trifecta continues with this challenge. I'll be taking on the Washington DC Spartan Sprint this June and am really looking forward to the challenge. Need to ramp up my training after prioritizing recovery throughout a busy month following the Beast. Let's get after it! Main Quest: Complete a Spartan Trifecta Side Quests: Complete the Spartan Sprint Points Potential: STA+3 Grading Pass / Fail Average 2 Weight Training Workouts / Week Points Potential: STR+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Run 30 Miles & Average 30 Burpees / Day [Sprint Prep] Points Potential: DEX+4 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Life Quest: Read "Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results" Complete Module 5 (final module) of the Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being Program Points Potential: WIS+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60%
  6. The words 'growl and go' were reportedly one of Shackleton's favoured expressions, and whether or not this is true, I've come to love the phrase. Do the whining, then do the thing anyway. Suits me down to the ground, and believe me, over the coming months I'm going to have some amount of growling to do. But I'll go. I know not where this journey ends but I damn well know where I need to start. Time to growl and go. i. It doesn't matter how much I plan and train and attempt to adapt, if I don't fuel myself properly then I will never make progress. I will always be hindered by weakness and exhaustion. It isn't a matter of motivation, not anymore. It's a case of putting my nose to the grindstone, embracing the suck, and doing what needs to be done. And that's to eat right. That is the only focus of this challenge. One: The Ingredients Meat (beef, poultry, pork), veg, fruit, eggs, seeds, nuts. To a lesser extent pasta and rice (until what I have runs out, then will begin a trail run to see whether I do better with or without the extra source of carbs), coffee, soy milk, and any assorted pills and powders (by which I mean things like protein shakes and vitamins). ***If it is perishable and in my home then I will eat it, even if it is not on that list. What I will not do is replace it afterwards.*** That's it. More than enough to have a healthy, varied diet. ...I do suspect I will be miserable for the majority of this challenge as I'm going cold turkey on everything else. Chocolate, sweets, assorted junk, fruit juice, even Irn Bru. But I will not deviate from this list. (though I do take suggestions and constructive criticism) (any deviation will be met with a great many burpees) Two: Planning Without a firm plan I will not make it through. Five weeks (ish, considering we're already about halfway through zero week), five plans. Shopping lists (more guidance than anything else, considering some of the random things that can be found in the reduced section), what meals I make, how much I eat per day. All of this will be planned in advance to ensure I don't burn valuable willpower on avoiding bad decisions. (failure to plan will be met with a great many burpees) Three: Proof Saying I'll post consistent photographic proof of what I'm eating is a pretty good way to help keep myself accountable, as is detailing my plans here. If I don't do it, by all means give me hell. I need to whip myself into shape and I'm going to struggle to do it alone. (not providing said proof will result in a great many burpees) And there we have it. A simple plan, and it needs to be if I'm to have any chance of success.All I have to do is keep going, build up some momentum, create better habits, and that will be that. In theory. I will be running, doing bodyweight workouts, and doing mobility work, but that is far from my main focus right now. Getting my eating habits sorted takes priority. I can figure out calories and the like later, right now I need to make sure I'm eating the right stuff.
  7. Overview / Motivation: Fresh off a productive and successful 4-week challenge, I'm ready to continue my preparation for the Spartan Beast on April 28th. I'm maintaining my strength training, mindset preparation and core work while increasing my stamina and mileage. During this challenge I'll be ramping up my long run from 7 miles to 9 miles. Let's do it! Main Quest: Complete a Spartan Trifecta Side Quests: Complete 60 miles worth of runs this challenge Points Potential: STA+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 210 Burpees / Week & Complete Daily Front & Side Plank [2:15 Minute Front Plank with 1 Minute Side Plank] Points Potential: DEX+2 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 2 Weight Training Workouts / Week Points Potential: STR+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Life Quest: Read "Language and the Pursuit of Leadership Excellence" Complete Module 2 of the Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being Program Points Potential: WIS+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60%
  8. Overview / Motivation: I finally did it... during the off week I built up my 5 seconds of courage and bought my 2018 Spartan Trifecta pass. Then I signed up for my first of the Trifecta runs - the Beast. After running my first Spartan race last year, I knew I had to prove to myself that I could push beyond what I believed I could physically and mentally do - I knew I had to complete a Trifecta. This challenge starts my focused preparation and training towards the Tri-State Spartan Beast at the end of April. It is time... I'm also starting my 5 month Professional Coaching Program this month which will conclude in June. It is going to take me way outside my comfort zone, and I'm excited and scared as hell to get started! Main Quest: Complete a Spartan Trifecta Side Quests: Complete 40 miles worth of runs this challenge Points Potential: STA+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 210 Burpees / Week & Complete Daily Front & Side Plank [2:15 Minute Front Plank with 1 Minute Side Plank] Points Potential: DEX+2 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 2 Weight Training Workouts / Week Points Potential: STR+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Life Quest: Read "Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing" Complete Module 1 of the Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being Program Points Potential: WIS+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60%
  9. Overview / Motivation: I am fired up for 2018. No resolutions. Simply time to recommit to excellence and level up my life. Keeping the same approach that I wrapped up 2017 with but will be increasing my running distance and adding in side planks. I have big aspirations of completing a Spartan Trifecta this year and will need to redefine what I think I can actually accomplish physically. Let's light that fire and get after it! #unleash Main Quest: Work towards building my bench and squats to 250 pounds Side Quests: Average 8 Miles of Running / Week Points Potential: STA+4 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 210 Burpees / Week & Complete Daily Front & Side Plank [Week 1-3: 2:00 Minutes, Week 4 & 5: 2:15 Minutes with 30 Second Side Planks Week 1-5] Points Potential: DEX+3 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 3 Weight Training Workouts / Week Points Potential: STR+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Life Quest: Read "Language and the Pursuit of Leadership Excellence" Points Potential: WIS+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60%
  10. Overview / Motivation: Well, as with most holidays when everyone is home and the routines are thrown off, the fitness and nutrition drops off... While I've been able to focus on nutrition, but fitness routine was lacking. I'll be using this challenge to burn off the bird and all the pumpkin pie I've been eating since Thanksgiving - ramping up the burpees and planks this time around while maintaining my running and lifting goals. Also looking forward to checking out 'Think and Grow Rich' - seems like a must-read in the personal development arena. Good luck to all the rebels as we get back on track following Turkey Day! Main Quest: Work towards building my bench and squats to 250 pounds Side Quests: Average 6 Miles of Running / Week Points Potential: STA+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 210 Burpees / Week & Complete Daily Plank [Week 1 & 2: 1:15 Minutes, Week 3 & 4: 2 Minutes] Points Potential: DEX+4 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 3 Weight Training Workouts / Week Points Potential: STR+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Life Quest: Read "Think & Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill Points Potential: WIS+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60%
  11. Overview / Motivation: I want to up my game with my overall fitness - strength, stamina and dexterity. I am still building up to my 5 seconds of courage to buy my Spartan Trifecta pass for 2018 so I want to keep building a solid foundation to be able to attack that massive challenge head on. I'm leveraging my challenge goals from last time and adding in some additional planks and increasing as many of my core lifts as possible to start breaking through some comfort zones. Main Quest: Work towards building my bench and squats to 250 pounds Side Quests: Average 6 Miles of Running / Week Points Potential: STA+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 180 Burpees / Week & Complete Daily Plank [Week 1: 1 Minute, Week 2: 1:15 Minutes, Week 3 1:30 Minutes, Week 4: 1:45 Minutes] Points Potential: DEX+4 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 3 Weight Training Workouts / Week Points Potential: STR+5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Life Quest: Read "On Becoming A Leadership Coach: A Holistic Approach to Coaching Excellence" Points Potential: WIS+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60%
  12. Overview / Motivation: This challenge could not have been timed any better! I will be going peddle to the medal to train to run the Washington DC Spartan Sprint. I've already started during the off week, but need all the accountability and motivation possible to get myself in the best shape I can be in to attack that race. I'm excited for the mental and physical challenge that will be waiting for me on race day. Let's get after it! Main Quest: Train to conquer the Washington DC Spartan Sprint on September 9th Side Quests: Average 14 Miles of Running / Week Points Potential: STA+4 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Average 30 Burpees / Day Points Potential: DEX+3 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60% Conquer the Spartan Sprint Points Potential: STR+5 Grading Pass / Fail Life Quest: Read "Unshakable" by Tony Robbins Points Potential: WIS+3 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% D= Average > 60% F= Average < 60%
  13. [posting from my phone so forgive my typos & grammar] Life story; CURRENT GOALS 1. Get out of bed when your body wakes up. When I'm on work time I generally need to be out of bed by 6am to have enough time to cruise through my morning routine, but I've often woken up earlier then my alarm and tried to sleep more and made myself feel worse when I do finally get up. I'm going to make a point of hauling ass out of bed when I wake up if it's within a few hours or so of my alarm going off. 2. No screens in the morning before work. This is well-known to be counter-productive. I try to lose myself in social media or pinterest to avoid thinking/getting anxious about going to work and then I feel like shit physically and mentally. I can do anything else with this time; read, write, draw, crochet, exercise, etc... I'm constantly feeling guilty for not spending time on any of my many hobbies and the morning time is supposed to be great for productivity. As a well-known night owl, we shall see. 3. Track food; Stay within +-500cals of 2000calorie target and aim for 100g of protein. I've neglected my food tracking because I was stuck on the couch for 3 months and feeling sorry for myself. And the last two weeks I've been on holidays; no one needs that sort of stress on holidays. For those interested in how I decided on 2000cals; 4. Burpees in the morning. I have not historically loved burpees. But they work literally everything. And if I can get through burpees before doing anything else I can tackle anything else that the day throws me. Thats the plan. And I need to work on cardio and strength for derby. I still have my gym membership so I still plan to use it, but I need a baseline of exercise to focus on. I am late to this one but better that then not starting at all. I plan on starting this on Tuesday the 6th because I won't be home until then. *hi fives self* Go team!
  14. Or maybe a Spartan king? I figured I’d continue with the pattern of animated movies about felines. I’m going to be travelling to Paris during Week 1, from 7/16 – 7/24. So, I’m going to treat this week (Week 0) as my Week 1 and Week 1 as my Week 0. (A Cat in Paris also tempted me as a theme topic. And Aristocats is set in Paris too. There are so many animated Paris movies.) My goals are pretty much the same as they have been the past two challenges. Goal 1: Maintain Fitness 3 workouts/week (usually 1 bootcamp and 2 at home bodyweight workouts) Run 1x/week + ankle alphabets before and after. I’m working on 3.7 miles right now, and trying to get up as close to 5 miles as I can before the Spartan next month. Walk 16 miles/week (64 over course of challenge) Goal 2: Movement Focus (Spartan Prep) I’m done with sets of burpees. The moment I was able to achieve 30 in a row, I lost interest in doing these. So, I’m switching to a grease the groove approach. I’ll do the remaining 350 burpees I owe from the past two challenges over the course of this one. Climb stuff – I dropped this completely last challenge, but I should at least try to practice climbing stuff in preparation for my fear of heights. Mainly the jungle gym at the park. I’ve thought about trying bouldering at a rock gym, but that might be pushing it. That’s the sort of thing I’d love to try, but I’d rather have a friend along for. While I’m at the park, I might as well use the monkey bars. Goal 3: Food Part A: Maintain What Works (23 points/week) Don’t eat after 8pm (or within 3 hours of bedtime) (-1 point for failure). Exceptions on Thursdays where workouts and Aikido coincide. Don’t eat more than 1 bad food/meal in a day. Desserts are counted separately from meals in most cases. (-1 point for failure) Eat primalish most of the time (19 meals / week allows for 2 variance meals) (-1 point per failure, +1 point for extra primal meal) Aim for primal snacks on 4 days/week and then non-primal snacks ok 3 days per week (out of 4 points/week) Aim for at least 1 primal meal and 1 50% meal per day when travelling or hosting (-1 point per failure, +1 per success) Plan/prep meals over the weekend and prep/freeze meals for weeks when this doesn’t happen (+1 point when done successfully) Write down bad reactions to food choices in an ongoing spreadsheet to dissuade myself from making that choice a second time. Not connected to any points. Doing this is slowly starting to help me make better choices. Slowly. Part B: Conscious Eating Think about what I’m about to do before eating something. Ideally, pause and take a few deep breaths. If I eat something unhealthy, recognize and acknowledge that I’m about to sell out my future self. (4 points per day – 3 meals and snacks) Part C: Cholesterol Management SomethingSomething The nature of this goal will depend on what the doctor says about the bloodwork I’m getting done on the 13th. I probably won’t be able to hear the results from her until I’m back from Paris. So for Week 0 (my Week 1) I’ll just keep aiming for 25g of fiber per day. Then I’ll evaluate and decide on this goal after I get back and hear what the doctor says. Goal 4: Be a Mighty King (life goal sort of) This is where I try to stretch things to somehow fit my theme. Kings need to see things from a variety from perspectives, so I’m going to do the same. I want to spend 4 hours/week standing when I would not have otherwise and 2 hours/week sitting on the ground instead of on furniture. There's a communal standing desk at work, so I should be able to get the standing done easily during the 3 days I'm in the office if I do about 1.5 hours each day. 2 hours of sitting on the ground will probably happen at home while reading or watching TV. I'll probably break this down into 30 minutes 4 days a week. I chose this goal because I have a lot of posture issues and muscle imbalances related to sitting, but I never had the same issues when I used to always sit on the floor because on the floor you naturally fidget a lot more. It's more natural. And the standing has some obvious benefits as well. Bonus Goals: These earn me extra points, but they cannot take priority over my main goals. Meditate daily (7 per week) Yoga 4 times per week, of any length Clean the sink before bed 4 times per week NEW Sleepy Sundays – try to get things done (grocery shopping, workouts, etc.) before Sunday, so I can spend Sunday resting instead of running around stressed. Be in bed by 10pm so I start the week off with enough rest. I really liked sleepy Sundays last challenge, so I’d like to try to make it a habit. Travel Protocols: While I’m in Paris, I’ll be anxious enough already with worrying about not speaking the language and whether the French people all hate me. So there's no need to worry about trying to eat a certain way, or I’d go crazy. So, my goals are simple. I'm not scoring them since it's my Week 0, but I would like to at least maintain the workout/meditation streaks I have going currently. 3 workouts. They can be short, but do something even if it’s just a 15 minute BBWW in the hotel room Meditate daily (hopefully I can maintain my headspace streak while using the WiFi at the hotel) MAYBE 1 run if there’s a treadmill at the hotel and I feel comfortable enough to use it. Try to stretch every morning/evening or maybe squeeze in a yoga video once or twice. I always forget to stretch on trips and then turn into Frankenstein, and I would like to avoid that this time.
  15. Last challenge, my theme was “to be a cat, or to stop being a cat?” The answer was quite clearly to continue being a cat, so this seemed like a good follow-up theme. #scientificmethod Last challenge was not my best challenge. I continued my workout and meditation streaks, and learned some things, but my overall scores were kindasorta not very good. Near the end of my challenge, I found myself suddenly feeling very worn out and uneager to do anything. I suddenly felt like I was fighting with myself just to do basic things. But, y’know… I thought about cutting things out so I’d be less rangerbrainy about everything. But when I listed all of the things I’m working on, there was nothing I really felt like I could cut out. There was no one thing that was really causing me stress or exhaustion. I’m doing a bunch of different things, but I genuinely don’t think I’m doing TOO much when I put it all together. There are the 4 building blocks of physical health that I know work for me – walking, working out, yoga, and eating primalish. Those are my essentials. And then I’ve added some supplemental things more focused on mental wellbeing – meditation, dishes, and the like. None of those things are that strenuous. So, instead of trying to edit my goals, I’m going to try to edit the space around them. I’m going to start tinkering with how I spend my time when I’m not working on goal stuff, and see how that impacts my energy. I’m going to finish this fight. Goal 1: Maintain Fitness Workout 3x/week (usually 1 bootcamp class and 2 workouts on my own) 1 run per week – I’m working on increasing from 5K towards 5 miles. I also need to remember to do ankle alphabets before and after each run Walk 16 miles per week (64 over 4-week challenge) Goal 2: Spartan Prep Burpees I’m going to finish the burpee fight. Last challenge, my goal was to try to do 30 burpees in a row (with breaks as needed) every day. I only got about 12.5 days in. So, I want to get in 17.5 days over the course of this challenge to hit that nice symmetrical 30x30 number. That’s roughly every other day, so I can leave them out on days that are already packed with other physical activity. That might help them feel like less of a burden. Climbing I made great progress on the jungle gym at the park, but I did not actually conquer it. I’m going to keep working on this and try to conquer it this challenge. I won’t require a certain number of attempts. Either I make progress or I don’t, but I can do it at whatever pace that works. Goal 3: Food Food happens in 3 categories: things that work, conscious eating, and some sort of experiment or test I focus on for a month to try to learn more about my eating. Part 1: Maintain What Works (23 points / week) Don’t eat after 8pm (or within 3 hours of bedtime) (-1 point for failure). Exceptions on Thursdays where workouts and Aikido coincide. Don’t eat more than 1 bad food/meal in a day. Desserts are counted separately from meals in most cases. (-1 point for failure) Eat primalish most of the time (19 meals / week allows for 2 variance meals) (-1 point per failure, +1 point for extra primal meal) Aim for primal snacks on 4 days/week and then non-primal snacks ok 3 days per week (out of 4 points/week) Aim for at least 1 primal meal and 1 50% meal per day when travelling or hosting (-1 point per failure, +1 per success) Plan/prep meals over the weekend and prep/freeze meals for weeks when this doesn’t happen (+1 point when done successfully) Write down bad reactions to food choices in an ongoing spreadsheet to dissuade myself from making that choice a second time. Not connected to any points. Doing this is slowly starting to help me make better choices. Slowly. Part 2: Conscious Eating (28 points/week) Think about what I’m about to do before eating something. Ideally, pause and take a few deep breaths. If I eat something unhealthy, recognize and acknowledge that I’m about to sell out my future self. (4 points per day – 3 meals and snacks) Part 3: Experiment – Carbs (14 points/week) Fiber I decided to repeat the carb experiment this challenge, since I feel like there’s still more to learn from doing it. I don’t plan to count carbs permanently, but I want to continue to experiment with it for one more challenge. I hypothesize that I already instinctually know when I’m eating a good quantity of carbs – on the days that I ate well, my carbs were also good. But I want to confirm that through science. I’m aiming to stay under 100g/day. I won’t track during travel or hosting. 1 point for tracking and 1 point for hitting goal. ½ point if I don’t know the nutritional info for a thing, but I still write the thing down. In light of cholesterol issues, I'm changing this to fiber for the challenge. Aiming for 25g at least of fiber per day. Goal 4 (Life Goal): Sleep & Play Here’s where I try to manage my energy. I’ve known for a long time that I should work on my sleep habits, but I’ve also avoided doing so because the idea really intimidates me. I’ll try something small. Sleepy Sundays Get to bed at 10pm on Sundays so that I start the week off with enough sleep. This means I’ll have to wait to watch Game of Thrones until Mondays, since it airs at 9pm on Sundays. Try to clear Sundays so that I have a whole day where I can recuperate / prep meals. I should try to avoid letting workouts fall on Sundays. I should try to get groceries on Saturday so that I don’t have to worry about that on Sunday. I should try to get laundry done before Sunday. Play 1x per week physically – Roll around on the ground, try primal movements, dance, try cartwheels, splash in the pool. Whatever. Cat stuff. 1x per week mentally – doodle, color, whittle, solve a puzzle, etc. Bonus Goals These goals earn me bonus points that can balance out any other areas where I struggle, but these goals cannot happen at the expense of my main goals. Yoga 4x/week Meditate 7x/week Clean the sink before bed 4x/week
  16. Intro: At the end of January 2015, I weighed 255 lbs, hated myself, and constantly felt sick and tired. I started watching what I was eating, and then at the end of February took the plunge and joined a gym. I came across NF a week before the April 2015 6WC started. There are links to my introduction/origin story and my first eight challenges in my sig below. Feel free to go rummage around in there. I’ve made steady progress through the challenges over the last 12 months, with just the occasional setback. In October, I was invited (and thrilled) to become an Ambassador for the Adventurers guild. Over my first four challenges, I set a specific goal of getting properly fitted for a good quality, tailored, three-piece suit, and get a good photograph taken wearing it, because I was sick of being disgusted when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself. Having achieved that goal, the focus is now on getting to a target weight of 180 and staying there. And now, the misadventures of a man experiencing a mid-life crisis and attempting to convince himself that he still has The Stuff… No, Def, it’s not me. This time. Introducing Larry; Larry Laffer. Back when I was still an immature, sniggering buffoon, I found smutty humour hilarious. Shocking, I know. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown such juvenilia. Let’s just imagine for a moment that I haven’t, though. This challenge is homage to my all-time favourite computer game character, Larry Laffer. In the late 80s and early 90s, Al Lowe’s Leisure Suit Larry series kept me glued to my Commodore Amiga for countless hours, giggling at innuendo-laden situations and innocently longing for pixelated nudity as Leisure Suit Larry went Looking for Love in Several Wrong PlacesTM. Disclaimer: There were a couple of terrible console arcade-style revivals in the early 2000s, but they were the equivalent of the American Pie movies which didn’t feature Jim, Finch and the real Stiffler, and should be avoided at all costs. I’ve plateau’d bigtime over the past couple of challenges, partially my own fault. While I’ve generally stayed within my calorie limits, and kept up the exercise schedule, there’s been a bit of general fitness/life malaise, and a constant battle to eat properly, rather than meeting my targets with bad calories. With that in mind, I’m going to change things up a little this time. I’m going to go a little lighter on the cross trainer, and get back to NF basics and lift more weights. I’m also trying something different with how I track certain things. Rather than daily totals, I’m trying out weekly pass/fails to determine my grades. Quest 1: “Buff Sheds Sweat in Search of Sexier Stuff” 5,000 calories burned on the cross trainer at my gym. Achievable Points on offer: +3 STA A – 5000+ (Points x 1) B – 4500-5000 (Points x 0.75) C – 4000-4500 (Points x 0.5) D – 3500-4000 (Points x 0.25) F – < 3500 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 2: “Buff Burpees to Boost his Bodaciously Bangin’ Bod” 500 burpees by the end of the challenge. Achievable Points on offer: +3 DEX A – 500+ (Points x 1) B – 450-500 (Points x 0.75) C – 400-450 (Points x 0.5) D – 350-400 (Points x 0.25) F – < 350 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 3: “Buff Pushes Pounds in Pursuit of Pulsating Pectorals” Scoring slightly differently this time around. A minimum of three weight training sessions each week. Each week with three sessions is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +5 STR A – 5 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 4 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 2 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0-1 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 4: “Buff Feasts Faithfully upon the Finest Foods” Log food, and stay within my calorie target. Rather than scoring it daily, it’s a weekly target of 11200 (8000 for short week 5). Each week under target is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +2 WIS, +1 CHA A – 5 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 4 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 2 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0-1 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 5: “Buff Hydrates His Hotness with H2OHMYGODINEEDTOPEEEEE” Hydrate like Bobby Boucher. Again, I’m scoring it weekly. Drink 21 litres of water per week (15 on week 5). Each week over target is a piss pass. Achievable Points on Offer: +1 CON A – 5 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 4 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 2 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0-1 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.)
  17. Intro: The end of this challenge marks the first anniversary of me joining NF. At the end of January 2015, I weighed 255 lbs, hated myself, and constantly felt sick and tired. I started watching what I was eating, and then at the end of February took the plunge and joined a gym. I came across NF a week before the April 2015 6WC started. By that point, I was five weeks into attempting to establish a new workout routine, and nine weeks into attempting to eat better. There are links to my introduction/origin story and my first seven challenges in my sig below. Feel free to go rummage around in there. I’ve made steady progress through the challenges over the last 12 months, with just the occasional setback. In October, I was invited (and thrilled) to become an Ambassador for the Adventurers guild. Life Quest: There is an ongoing life goal to dress like a proper grown-up adult man, in clothes which actually look good on me, and make my wife proud to be seen with me when I take her out. The general aim is to continue to overhaul my entire wardrobe, getting rid of anything which falls into one of the following categories: baggy, sagging or ragged. Over my first four challenges, I set a specific goal of getting properly fitted for a good quality, tailored, three-piece suit, and get a good photograph taken wearing it, because I was sick of being disgusted when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself. Having hit that goal, I kind of lost focus towards the end of 2015, so for now the focus is on getting back to basics, keeping it simple, and shooting for a fixed target weight of 180. With that in mind, the targets are almost identical to the last challenge. Once again, there’s no theme as such, so the quest titles are purely for my own juvenile amusement. Quest 1: “The Cleveland Steamer†7,000 calories burned on the cross trainer at my gym. Achievable Points on offer: +4 STA A - 7000+ (Points x 1) B - 6500-7000 (Points x 0.75) C - 6000-6500 (Points x 0.5) D - 5500-6000 (Points x 0.25) F - < 5500 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 2: “The Alabama Hot Pocket†500 burpees within the 26 days of the challenge. Achievable Points on offer: +4 DEX A - 500+ (Points x 1) B - 450-500 (Points x 0.75) C - 400-450 (Points x 0.5) D - 350-400 (Points x 0.25) F - < 350 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 3: “The Hoboken Squat Cobbler†500 bodyweight squats within the 26 days of the challenge. Achievable Points on offer: +4 STR A - 500+ (Points x 1) B - 450-500 (Points x 0.75) C - 400-450 (Points x 0.5) D - 350-400 (Points x 0.25) F - < 350 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 4: “The Hangry Pirate†Log food, stay mindful of CI-CO, and stay within my calorie target. Achievable Points on offer: +1 CON, +1 CHA A – 25-26 Days in Deficit (Points x 1) B - 24 Days (Points x 0.75) C - 23 Days (Points x 0.5) D - 22 Days (Points x 0.25) F - <22 Days (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 5: “The Mississippi Mud Pie†No chocolate. Achievable Points on Offer: +1 WIS. A – No chocolate. (Points x 1) F – Had chocolate. (Fail. 0 Points.)
  18. Balsquith: Out in the wilderness I am in the wilderness at the moment, not literally, but in a state of discontent where I don’t really know where I am at the moment or where I am going – a.k.a. the wilderness. Clearly I got into this wilderness somehow and I can find my way through it somehow too. Whilst the way out isn’t clear to me at the moment, it is clear to me that I am not going to find my way out by stopping moving and wallowing in my discontent – I need to keep myself moving forward Goal 1: Limit sugar There is no sugar in the wilderness (except for maybe some fruit and honey if you are lucky). My main vices in this department are: Biscuits and sweets when there are some of them in the department (this happens almost every evening) Occasional burst of hunger at work (and no suitable healthier snack to hand) leading to a trip to the bakery (this happens 1-2 times a week) I will aim for 5 days out of 7 where I stay away from sugar. Goal 2: Everyday fitness Out in the wilderness you can’t afford to make excuses about not being able to exercise; you need to be fit enough to tackle whatever comes at you. In the past I have been full of excuses about why I can’t exercise: I can’t exercise in the evening as my girlfriend is watching tv and it is strange and demotivating to be working out in the area next to the couch at the same time. I can’t exercise in the kitchen in the morning before my girlfriend gets up as there is not enough space and the floor is slippery.There is some truth in both of these statements, but neither of them is really a reason why I shouldn’t do any exercise at all. I will aim to exercise daily in the morning in the kitchen, this will be either: · 7 minute burpee test (I managed 52 last Saturday as a challenge baseline) · Plank workout. Goal 3: Meeting new people / improving relationships The wilderness is a lonely place; strength in numbers and companionship are the best ways to survive. I am quite bad a keeping in touch with friends and family. I am also quite bad at getting myself out in the world and meeting new people. I don't mind being on my own, but I also greatly enjoy being around my friends. Unfortunately most of my friends seem to have left so I am a little bit back to square one. This goal is about keeping in touch better with friends and family and possibly cultivating some new friendships. I have 4 main tasks I want to put into action: 1. Make/send a birthday card to my Dad 2. Send a get well soon card to my friend who had a skiing accident 3. Send 'Happy Easter' cards to those friends (who I haven't contacted for a while) who find the day significant 4. Join/attend a drawing class Goal 4: Learn the language of the wilderness. Lots of people in the wilderness speak my language - but it isn't their language. Maybe learning this language will help me to feel more that I belong and can do simple things - it might even open up routes which I haven't seen before that lead me out of the wilderness. I live in Austria but I speak English all day. I am not a very confident person when it comes to languages so when my broken German comes out it is usually answered by English. In principle there is nothing wrong here, communication was accomplished, but it doesn't feel right to me. I live here and I should speak the language, I am not a tourist so it leaves me feeling like I don't really belong here. I want to use this goal to push my German study forward but also to challenge myself to show so courage and actually get out there and try to use the language even if it is met by an answer in English. 30 minutes focused study = 1 point Using German (courage) = 3 points Pass mark for the week = 10 points
  19. Intro: This challenge marks the first anniversary of me attempting to get my health on track. At the end of January 2015, I weighed 255 lbs, hated myself, and constantly felt sick and tired. I started watching what I was eating, and then at the end of February took the plunge and joined a gym. I came across NF a week before the April 2015 6WC started. By that point, I was five weeks into attempting to establish a new workout routine, and nine weeks into attempting to eat better. There are links to my introduction/origin story and my first six challenges in my sig below. Feel free to go rummage around in there. I’ve made steady progress through the challenges over the last 12 months, with just the occasional setback, and currently weigh in at 207. In October, I was invited (and thrilled) to become an Ambassador for the Adventurers guild. Life Quest: There is an ongoing life goal to dress like a proper grown-up adult man, in clothes which actually look good on me, and make my wife proud to be seen with me when I take her out. The general aim is to continue to overhaul my entire wardrobe, getting rid of anything which falls into one of the following categories: baggy, sagging or ragged. Over my first four challenges, I set a specific goal of getting properly fitted for a good quality, tailored, three-piece suit, and get a good photograph taken wearing it, because I was sick of being disgusted when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself. Having hit that goal, I kind of lost focus towards the end of 2015, so for now the focus is on getting back to basics, keeping it simple, and shooting for a fixed target weight of 180. With that in mind, the targets are almost identical to the last challenge. Once again, there’s no theme as such, so the quest titles are purely for my own amusement. Quest 1: “Faster than Walt Flanagan’s dog.†Back to where it all began. 7,000 calories burned on the cross trainer at my gym. Headphones on, and go to the Happy Place. Achievable Points on offer: +4 STA (v2: 25XP) A - 7000+ (Points x 1) B - 6500-7000 (Points x 0.75) C - 6000-6500 (Points x 0.5) D - 5500-6000 (Points x 0.25) F - < 5500 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 2: “I feel a hate crime coming on!†I will do 500 burpees within the 26 days of the challenge. Achievable Points on offer: +4 DEX (v2: 25XP) A - 500+ (Points x 1) B - 450-500 (Points x 0.75) C - 400-450 (Points x 0.5) D - 350-400 (Points x 0.25) F - < 350 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 3: “I hope his pants get caught and a bloodbath ensues!†I will do 500 squats within the 26 days of the challenge. Achievable Points on offer: +4 STR (v2: 25XP) A - 500+ (Points x 1) B - 450-500 (Points x 0.75) C - 400-450 (Points x 0.5) D - 350-400 (Points x 0.25) F - < 350 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 4: “Nothin’ worse than watching a fat man weep.†Log food, stay mindful of CI-CO, get a consistent deficit happening, and keep getting the body fat down. The official metric here will be Days in Deficit, and tools used will be my Fatsecret phone app and my Mifflin-St.Jeor magic number. I’m applying the Manquivalent™ of “Shark Week Rules†this time around, and only monitoring 25 of the 26 days. I get a free pass on Superbowl Sunday (Feb 7), because food and beer. I regret nothing. Achievable Points on offer: +1 CON, +1 CHA (v2: 15XP) A – 24-25 Days in Deficit (Points x 1) B - 23 Days (Points x 0.75) C - 22 Days (Points x 0.5) D - 21 Days (Points x 0.25) F - <21 Days (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 5: “Say, would you like a chocolate-covered pretzel?†No, I would not! I desperately need to shake off the post-Christmas chocolate addiction. It’s all or nothing on this one, moderation hasn’t been working. Achievable Points on Offer: +1 WIS. (v2: 10XP) A – Completed 26 Days. (Points x 1) F – Had chocolate. (Fail. 0 Points.) Things 'boutta get a little hardcore up in this. I've been meandering for the last couple of challenges, not logging food as diligently as I used to, guesstimating, sailing close to calorie limits, and generally slacking. Going to get some discipline in place this month, and log EVERY. SINGLE. BITE. I weighed in at 207 on Saturday (before taking the family to the buffet, I might add - let's never speak of it again.) By the end of February, I want to be closing in on 200 again. This is achievable.
  20. Intro: I joined NF a week before the April 2015 6WC started. At that point, I was five weeks into a new workout routine, and nine weeks into attempting to eat better. There are links to my introduction/origin story and my first five challenges in my sig below. Feel free to go rummage around in there. I’ve gone from 255lbs at the end of January 2015 to 209 as of right now, getting as low as 196 by challenge 4 before backsliding after a horrible flu and then cake season. It’s a work in progress. Life Quest: There is an ongoing life goal to dress like a proper grown-up adult man, in clothes which actually look good on me, and make my wife proud to be seen with me when I take her out. The general aim is to continue to overhaul my entire wardrobe, getting rid of anything which falls into one of the following categories: baggy, sagging or ragged. Over my first four challenges, I set a specific goal of getting properly fitted for a good quality, tailored, three-piece suit, and get a good photograph taken wearing it, because I was sick of being disgusted when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself. Having hit that goal, I kind of lost focus over the last couple of months, so for now the focus is on getting back to basics, keeping it simple, and shooting for a fixed target weight of 180. Quest 1: Roots Bloody Roots Back to where it all began. 7,000 calories burned on the cross trainer at my gym. Headphones on, and go to the Happy Place. Achievable Points on offer: +5 STA (v2: 40XP) A - 7000+ (Points x 1) B - 6500-7000 (Points x 0.75) C - 6000-6500 (Points x 0.5) D - 5500-6000 (Points x 0.25) F - < 5500 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 2: Arise I will do 500 burpees within the 28 days of the challenge. Achievable Points on offer: +4 DEX (v2: 20XP) A - 500+ (Points x 1) B - 450-500 (Points x 0.75) C - 400-450 (Points x 0.5) D - 350-400 (Points x 0.25) F - < 350 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 3: Beneath the Remains I will do 500 squats within the 28 days of the challenge. Achievable Points on offer: +3 STR (v2: 20XP) A - 500+ (Points x 1) B - 450-500 (Points x 0.75) C - 400-450 (Points x 0.5) D - 350-400 (Points x 0.25) F - < 350 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 4: Refuse/Resist Log food, stay mindful of CI-CO, get a consistent deficit happening, and keep getting the body fat down. Ideally looking to have an average daily deficit of 500 or more by Day 28. The official metric here will be Days in Deficit, and tools used will be my FatSecret phone app and my Mifflin-St.Jeor magic number. Achievable Points on offer: +1 CON, +1 CHA (v2: 10XP) A - 27-28 Days in Deficit (Points x 1) B - 26 Days (Points x 0.75) C - 25 Days (Points x 0.5) D - 24 Days (Points x 0.25) F - <24 Days (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 5: Inner Self Since I’m looking to get writing as well as reading this year, it’ll be read one book per challenge (for now, anyway.) This challenge: The Road We Must Travel by Francis Chan & Others Achievable Points on Offer: +1 WIS. (v2: 10XP) A - Completed 1 book (Points x 1) F - Complete none (Fail. 0 Points.)
  21. Kara gritted her teeth as she raised her shield up to ward off the blow of the sword arcing through the air. Metal met metal in a clang that resounded through the air and jarred all the way up through her arm and her body, shaking her with it's strength. A flurry of curse words flew past Kara's lips as she countered the attack, bringing her own hammer up and sending it crashing down on her enemy. He brought his shield up to deflect the blow then twisted in a maneuver she had not seen before that allowed him to block and attack almost simultaneously. The shield on her forearm was brought up to counter the swift attack and he simply shrugged the efforts off and continued to rain blow after blow at Kara. She struggled to protect and defend and find a way to attack herself, even as her strikes seemed to show little to no effect on her opponent. The young Valkyrie cursed and attempted to roll away from her opponent as he let loose a barrage of attacks swifter than she could anticipate or protect herself from. She let loose with a torrent of curse words as she put some space between the two of them and warily eyed the man moving after her. She had the strength of the Gods, she stood toe to toe with the denizens of the Nine Realms, and yet to him it was as if he was under assault from a fly. If not for the shield in hand there was no doubt that her body would be a mass of cuts and injuries. As it was head to toe throbbed, every slash and thrust deflected sending jarring pains and aches all over. The shield arm was suffering the brunt of it and Kara knew the next day her limb would be unusable and numb with bruising and pain. The rhythm of battle was interrupted by a sudden shift in tactics on the part of her enemy. A sword was brought up as if to attack and Kara moved to block it. Out of the corner of her eye she saw, too late, his shield coming up to be used in the attack as well, the dual attack shifting her focus to move away. But it was too late,. She had already moved her own block and shield and even as she turned to roll from both blows the shield caught her entire right side firmly across her breastplate. She flew back on to the ground and he followed her down. With one hand he slammed the shield down, pinning her weapon in place, his weight upon her shield and his sword brought to her neck. A sharp sudden motion and she felt the sting of the cut as the sword slid across her neck, leaving a shallow cut to mark his victory. “You lose Curly One†“I know. No need to state the obvious, you Old Goat!â€Expletives followed her comment and he managed to raise his brow even as he pulled back and stood up off of her. “I was not aware one could do that with a hammer, my face and a sheep. Perhaps you can demonstrate with your own at the next feast.†“Perhaps I can use my hammer on that tiny excuse for a manhood you claim instead?†“Such a violent young woman.†He reached down and grabber Kara's hand, yanking her to her feet with a smirk. “One would think you could channel that into fighting better yet I find you, once again, laying on your back before me.†She shot him a dirty look, practically snarling at him and his comment. “I fought fine you Goat! I would have had you in another few blows.†“Pah. You had nothing Valkyr. You're blows were like that of a gnat biting at a horse. You were exhausted swiftly, easily. You did not anticipate or react quick enough to my change in tactics, too stuck in the idea of hack and slash. No doubt you are still swimming in last nights mead. You are ill prepared for the battles ahead with the abysmal training you've received. How are you to survive battlefields the world over much less Ragnarok when you cannot even spar with me. You will take no souls for Asgard and Valhalla the way you are now!†“What shall I do then?†Her insults were gone, the bravado shattered with the truth. Her eyes shifted to her teacher seriously and he nodded with a smile. Finally she would take this seriously. “You will build up your strength. You will exercise your body. You will train in battle and defense. Stop filling your body with bread and booze. Being a cup bearer does not mean you have to drink enough to pass out every night, Curly. You will prepare. You will listen. You will rise as a Valkyrie, not a silly girl any longer.†Goal One: Strength "Come, Curly. Follow me and I will show you what you need to do with that hammer of yours and a few other items I have." Her teacher guided her through the practice yard and took her to piles of discarded leather from armor crafting cut offs. "Stand here. Hit the leather. Don't stop until I say." "You want me to hit....leather? Why?" He sighed and eyed Kara fiercely. "Do as I say Valkyr, or leave and let me find another student who can listen." Growling the Valkyrie lifted her hammer and began to slam it into the pile of leather over and over. Being born with the strength of the Gods is all well and good but when the Gods and other beings of the 9 realms are your enemy and are stronger than you that must change. You need to build that strength up to stand toe to toe with Giants. For this challenge I will do 3 strength exercises a week, a combo of Maces and Crossfit. Goal Two: Endurance "Keep running." "I haven't stopped, Goat!" "You're slowing down, Curly. Keep moving or they'll get you." "They haven't got me yet!" "Shutup and run or they'll bite you!" The gnashing of teeth as one of the hounds chasing Kara lunged at her calf reiterated the point and the Valkyrie turned to keep running, trying to ignore the pain in her side as the weight of her armor slowed her steps and burned in her lungs." Being strong and facing down Frost Giants or a handsy drunken Thor is only one aspect. Valkyries live on battlefields and collecting souls sometimes means taking part. Being strong doesn't help if battles are long and drawn out (or if you're running around tables to elude Thor until Sif can knock him cold and drag him off.) To be the best Valkyrie you need the endurance to withstand enemies in battle. I will do four endurance/cardio based workouts a week, any mix of Rucking or C25K sessions. Goal Three: Defense "Why don't I have my weapon?!" "Because I took it from you." "And?" He growled, turning to backhand her, the blow ringing through her face and ears, leaving her gaping at him. "Because if an enemy manages to take it from you it won't be a slap you'll be facing." Any further comment was cut off by a growl as Kara leaped through the air to land on him and begin pummeling him with her fists, making him laugh. "That's it, girl. Now you understand!" Knowing how to swing a hammer and block a shield is one step in being able to fight. Learning more than one way of fighting and moving is useful along with improving agility and flexibility. One can never say when they may be stripped of their weapons in battle. To this end I will do one Krav Maga session minimum a week. Preparing for battle of any kind is the task of a true Valkyr! Goal Four: Buck Furpees! He watched the young woman as she cleaned out not only her armor and weapons but even the sweat stained under tunic. He hovered, making sure every last drop of moisture was dried, that no rust would be forming on her gear. Then observed her sharpening her sword and checking over the mace for any weak points are cracks. "I would have thought hitting you with this would have made it crack, as hard headed as you are, Old Goat." "There you go, thinking again." She snarled but he merely chuckled, causing her to shake her head at him in disgust. She muttered obscenities under her breath but keep working on her gear and making sure it was ready for battle. Preparation is a key to battle. Going into a fight means taking care of yourself, your armor, your supplies. It means knowing what you may face and being ready for whatever is thrown at you. Being prepared for me means facing the dreaded Burpee head on. I will be doing the Spartan in June and Burpess will inevitably be a part of that. I must prepare, even as I curse them. Every week I will do Burpees before bed and when I wake up. Each additional week I will add on 5 Burpees until I can easily do those I need to in preparation to become a Spartan Valkyrie! I will start with 5 my first week. Goal Five: Nutrition Halfway through throwing back the cup of mead Kara found it wrenched from her hand and thrown to the floor. The young woman turned to face the einherjar she was sure it was and found her face to face with her teacher. The snarl that had been forming died on her lips and she stared at him pouting. "That was my mead." "What did I say." "To stop swimming in my food and gorging myself." "So..." She frowned and bit her lip but reached out and grabbed some meat and cheese and fruit to eat along with a tankard of cold, refreshing....water. Ugh. Swilling wine and mead and beer is all good for any Cup Bearing Valkyrie. But feasting and drinking until one is swimming in it is not. The body must be ready for battle along with the mind and reflexes. Stuffing my face is not part of that. The holidays are over. Time to Ranger Up! I will eat 2 primal meals a day every day of the week, allowing myself one day to eat Primal only once. The day is my choosing but it does not mean I will gorge. Only that I can relax and let myself embrace my inner Valkyrie with a little good food and good drink. Life Goal: Live Winning a battle is all well and good but one must learn life is not always about the next battle, the next fight. One must enjoy and live. Fear must not hold back your life. So every challenge I will pick one new thing to do, one thing I am uncertain of or afraid of. I will do it and will conquer it. I don't know what it will be each time. It may be something small and simple. It may be life changing. But it will be done and I will post in my wrap up what I did each challenge. Completing each challenge I will award myself a static set of stat points (subject to change with tomorrows release of more info) based on what my focus for each challenge was. At the end of everything if I have achieved all my goals I will reward myself with something from my list. My newest tattoo. Piercing. Massage. New athletic gear. Kara listened to all her mentor laid out for her and nodded with a sigh. She looked at the looming edifice that was Valhalla and watched those inside. The souls of countless warriors in battle taken before she had come along and there would be countless more she would add to the teeming mass. She could not approach this as casually as the others may. She was collecting souls for battle, for Ragnarok and she was determined they would not lose, no matter what the Norns and the prophecies claimed. Asgard would stand strong, she would serve the All Father. She would do what it took. “Let us train some more then, Old Goat.â€
  22. Okay so my last challenge got derailed with my kids getting sick. I hung in there however and scraped by with a few points. This challenge will be a continuation from the previous one with some slight variations. Goal One: Gardening - Stamina I still need to maintain and grow my garden. Late spring means lots of mowing, I also want to ramp up my vegie garden so it can produce more food for my family. I hope to get at least an hour per day in the garden. Excluding watering. I have roses flowering in the rose garden that we can't see because of the weeds. I need to clean that up. The lawn is getting out of hand and in some places is well over a foot in height. Scoring: HIT: 5-7+ hours/week +3pts BLOCK: 2-5 hours/week +2pts DODGE: 1-2 hours/week +1pt MISS: 0-1 hours/week 0pts Goal Two: Morning stretches - Dexterity One of the parts that I struggled with in setting up my routines in the last challenge was doing my stretches in the morning. this will be the key focus of this challenge. I want to focus on stretches as i am suffering from stiff and sore muscles and joints. If I don't get on top of my stretching I will be in real trouble. Scoring: HIT: 5-7 sessions/week +3pts BLOCK: 3-5 sessions/week +2pts DODGE: 1-2 sessions/week +1pt MISS: 0-1 sessions/week 0pts Goal Three: Strength training - Strength With the realisation that I hate walking up and back I have decided to refocus on my strength training which has lagged somewhat. I want to rebuild my strength up to what it was a year ago. Then exceed it. I will allow a bit of flexibility here, with three workouts that will challenge and build my strength. First the trusty NF Basic BodyWeight Workout [bBWW], this has been a mainstay of my time at NF and has always helped me and it works. Second a combo sledgehammer kettlebell workout, because they are cool and I love swinging both around. Third a Hiit Burpee routine, because burpees. The important thing here is to get three strength training sessions in per week, any combination of the three options I have listed. Scoring: HIT: 3 sessions/week +3pts BLOCK: 2 sessions/week +2pts DODGE: 1 sessions/week +1pt MISS: 0 sessions/week 0pts Goal Four: Getting on top of stuff - Stamina, Charisma, Wisdom Our home has sort of fallen apart because of illnesses and stuff happening. Time to start getting things back in order. For me that means my shed. In Australia a man in not a man without his shed. How he sets it up and what he does in it is not so important, it is his domain, retreat, den, cave, and right now mine looks like a rubbish dump. Considering I have a small altar out there makes things even worse. How can i Honour my Gods, Ancestors and the Land Spirits in a dump? Fecking disgusting and an embarrassment. Also general housework, Bec does by far the lion's share in keeping the house clean, I want to step up my game here and do some more around the house. Like gardening this will be a time spent doing stuff goal. Exclusions are cooking and laundry as I already do the majority of the work here. Scoring: HIT: 5-7+ hours/week +3pts BLOCK: 2-5 hours/week +2pts DODGE: 1-2 hours/week +1pt MISS: 0-1 hours/week 0pts I will award the points for each goal with my weekly wrap up, then divide the total by 6 to reach my score for the entire challenge. I have three leftover points which I will give myself for various bits and pieces during the challenge. At the end of this challenge I will have been with NF for two years. I actually joined up midway through the november challenge in 2013. I think I will need to do a review for my time with NF, the highs and lows and the wobbly bits inbetween. Something to ponder over.
  23. So, who is SomeGuyFromScotland?: I joined NF a week before the April 6WC started. At that point, I was five weeks into a new workout routine, and nine weeks into attempting to eat better. There are links to my introduction/origin story and my first four challenges in my sig below. Feel free to go rummage around in there. I’ve gone from 255lbs at the end of January, to 232 at the start of my first 6WC, 223 at the start of my second, 211 by the third, 203 by the fourth, and 196 as of right now. It’s a work in progress. There's no specific weight number in mind (yet - this might change as the challenges go on), but I suspect it might be somewhere around the 175-180 range. And what does he want?: There is an ongoing life goal to dress like a proper grown-up adult man, in clothes which actually look good on me, and make my wife proud to be seen with me when I take her out. The general aim is to continue to overhaul my entire wardrobe, getting rid of anything which falls into one of the following categories: baggy, sagging or ragged. Over my first four challenges, I set a specific goal of getting properly fitted for a good quality, tailored, three-piece suit, and get a good photograph taken wearing it, because I was sick of being disgusted when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself. This goal having now been achieved, I’m starting to think about the next level. There are two things I would quite like to do in 2016. One of them is write a novel and self-publish it on Amazon. I’ll probably hold off on starting that until the first challenge of next year, and make it an ongoing item in the 2016 challenges. The other, I’m going to start working towards in this challenge. So, without further ado, I bring you: Issue #5: SomeGuyFromScotland vs. The Cartel of Carnage Every good superhero comic needs one or more bad guys. Arch enemies, Supervillains, or just plain old Asshats. Spidey had his Sinister Six. Dredd had the Dark Judges. Every Avenger has his Dark Avenger, and SomeGuyFromScotland (with occasional comic relief from his exotic dancing alter ego Buff McSavoury and comedy sidekick Tartan Temptress) has… Mephistopheles – The self-styled Father of Lies, and the evil mastermind behind CoC. His true power lies not in his wisdom, but in convincing you that yours is false. Stronghold – The Cartel’s enforcer, he is brutality incarnate, a wrecking ball of strength, power and rage. Alluria – She is a succubus, the addiction who calls you like a siren. She looks good, but she is poison. Succumb to her, and your strength and willpower will be gone. Heisenburp – A former high school gym teacher who was driven to insanity by, oddly enough, the Insanity workout. Following his escape from the asylum, he was recruited by the Cartel to eliminate threats by forcing them to perform burpees until death from exhaustion. The Five Thousand – The terrifying result of genetic experimentation, The Five Thousand is a constantly regenerating being with a myriad of heads and arms. Chop one off, and more appear. The Five Thousand cannot be truly defeated, simply survived. Note: Targets adjusted on 30/11 to compensate for a complete bust of a phlegmy, sweaty, viral sick week. Quest 1: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (The Five Thousand) “Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light†The last chapter ended with the line “And when the hand touched my shoulder again, I somehow found the strength to run.†Now begins the next stage in my journey. I have always hated running. It’s time to get over that. I’ve identified a six week beginner’s 5k training plan and this is the first step towards my next small life goal, to compete in and complete an actual 5k. Beyond that? Who knows. Maybe I’ll tackle a 10k. Maybe I’ll never run again. This training plan calls for 18 sessions, three per week. I’ll record my time taken to complete 5k on each run, and hopefully the walk : run ratio will change significantly over the 6 weeks. Achievable Points: +4 STA A: 15 sessions (Points x 1) - Current Progress B: 13 (Points x 0.75) C: 11 (Points x 0.5) D: 9 (Points x 0.25) F: < 9 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 2: Iron Sharpens Iron (Stronghold) “Never easy, never clean, to be a beast among human sheep.†This is a fight to the death. As iron sharpens iron, so I must get stronger by battling the epitome of strength. The focus of the last couple of challenges has been primarily weight loss and fat burning, so cardio has taken priority. Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it’s time to re-establish a good lifting regimen. Two workouts a week with a focus on weights. Workout plans will be detailed below, but it’s based loosely on Stronglifts 5x5. I have no idea what my baseline will be, but the targets will self-adjust as I progress. Achievable Points: +4 STR A: 10 sessions (Points x 1) - Current Progress B: 8 (Points x 0.75) C: 7 (Points x 0.5) D: 6 (Points x 0.25) F: < 6 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 3: He is the Danger (Heisenburp) “You all know exactly who I am. Say my name.†Trapped in the lunatic Heisenburp’s underground lair, the only way to escape is burpees. He may be the Danger… but I am the One who Rocks. Achievable Points: +1 STR, +3 DEX A - 830+ (Points x 1) - Current Progress B - 750-830 (Points x 0.75) C - 670-750 (Points x 0.5) D - 590-670 (Points x 0.25) F - < 590 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 4: Lead Me Not (Alluria) “We gain the strength of the temptation we resist†The power of the succubus is temptation. Alluria is beautiful and almost impossible to resist, but she is poison. Do not succumb to her. Eat mindfully and continue the good habit of maintaining a daily deficit. Tracking purely on food logged against a daily fixed calorie target this time, instead of including exercise calories. Achievable Points: +1 CON, +1 CHA A – 40+ Days on Target (Points x 1) - Current Progress B - 39 Days (Points x 0.75) C - 38 Days (Points x 0.5) D - 37 Days (Points x 0.25) F - <37 Days (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 5: The Wisdom of Solomon (Mephistopheles) “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.†There is only one way to defeat the Father of Lies: with Truth. Slightly different reading challenge this time, with apologies to Doc Feelgood for completely ripping this idea off from his recent challenges. I’ll use my YouVersion bible app, choose some reading plans and begin each morning with 15 minutes to read and absorb that day’s word and get myself right for the day ahead. Ideally, it’ll be six 7-day plans, but we’ll see where it leads. Achievable Points: +1 WIS A - 42 Days (Points x 1) - Current Progress B - 40 Days (Points x 0.75) C - 38 Days (Points x 0.5) D - 36 Days (Points x 0.25) F - <36 Days (Fail. 0 Points.) Minis: #1: Hoth Battle - Done! +1 STA #2: Yoga with Yoda - Done! +1 WIS #3: Combined Force #4: Recipe Book #5: Helping the Pilots #6: Blaze of Glory IRL Things: Following my triumphant performances as "Doo-Wop Backing Vocalist #4", Queen tribute Granny Tranny, Scar's Hyena Sidekick, and Augustus Gloop, I can now officially announce I will be making a return to the stage on the 7th and 8th November playing a WW2 soldier in our church's annual fundraising show, which this year is a seriously emotional musical named Hope & Glory. Thankfully, no speaking part this time. Just as a bit of background, every single penny raised at the shows, either from ticket sales, or the associated auction and raffle afterwards, goes to our Christmas giveaway where we give toys and food parcels to struggling families in our local community. At last count, the total given away over the last six or seven years is somewhere around £90,000. The Wolverine and I will be making a road trip to (not so) sunny Bradford, Yorkshire from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November for our annual church conference, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse to go off the rails, even though we will most likely be faceholing the world’s best curry at Akbar’s on the Saturday night, and if previous years are any indication, an outstanding fish and chips at Murgatroyds on the Friday. I do have two days’ wiggle room on the calorie challenge, but I’d rather not use both in the same weekend. I’ll be logging food as normal for those days, and attempting to make good decisions. In terms of workouts, I’ll just need to make sure I either have my schedule nailed, or get a slight cushion built up just in case. Oh, and this challenge ends right before my birthday. Pleasing.
  24. This is an open PvP, anyone can join in if they want. Rangers vs TheWorld (i.e. anyone from any of the other guilds) 7 Min Burpee AMRAP (as many reps as possible) This is simple, perform as many burpees (important: see rules in link below for height setup) as you can in 7 mins. Rules are per the 12.1 Crossfit Open WOD This is a benchmark WOD, I encourage everyone to take part. Our battle will take place on Monday 13th July, up to 1 week before is acceptable for scheduling. Go Rangers! EDIT: Sign up in this sheet
  25. Something is broken. Whatever I do, I keep almost succeeding. I almost became a great distance runner a couple of years ago, but then I developed some injuries which became chronic and I started to doubt whether I could really call myself a runner anymore. I almost made my weight loss goal, and then it slipped away from me like a greased chicken. Which I subsequently ate. With a few sides of mashed potatoes. And curly fries. I've almost convinced myself that I could be a writer, but I'm paralyzed with this fear of rejection, and as a result, the only people who've seen my serious work are my wife and a close personal friend. Time to fix it. This will be my third challenge. I took on the first two of the year and did pretty well with them, though I lost a bit of steam toward the end of challenge number two and ended up skipping number three. I think part of the reason, too, that I fell off the wagon is because I fell in with the assassins during that second challenge. Nothing against the assassins -- they're a lovely bunch, and god knows I needed more black in my wardrobe -- but have you been on their forum? You can't swing a kettlebell in there without bumping into some dude parkouring off the wall or doing backflips at the breakfast table. It's a full freaking house, is what I'm trying to say, and it's easy to feel lost in the mix. Plus, I'm a scout at heart. So it's time to throw in with my kin. Here's what I'm about this time: Challenge 1: Run Strong. My feet are the problem with my running, so they need strengthening. I've been doing this informally for about a month now, but it's time to get structured. I want at least two barefoot miles every week, for a total of 12 during the challenge. Challenge 2: Burp Strong. I did some fun stuff with my last challenge, experimenting with my gymnastics rings and kettlebells, and I'm going to keep at those things during my workouts, but I feel the need to shake it up. So: Burpees. They're fantastic and awful, and I think they'll help round out my workouts. Not sure how many I should shoot for, so I'm going to say 40 per workout twice weekly and go from there. Challenge 3: Write Strong. It's time to start testing my mettle in ways beyond the physical. I've got a bucketload of short stories I've written over the past year and a half; for my third challenge I'm going to make something of them. That means getting three stories cleaned up, combat-ready, and out for submission by the end of the challenge. Weekly progress here will be hard to measure, so this one is strictly pass/fail. So, yeah. See you at the starting line in a week.
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