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  1. Welcome back for another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge.. World 1 was my first extended stay through 22 challenges. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a new direction for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in a Boss Fight slaying some mighty big goals. In World 3, I continue to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease and crooked spine causing all types of pain in my back, hip, legs, neck, and shoulders. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I maintain my spine and back muscles to slow down the advanced aging. I'm not planning to be playing rugby or football again in this lifetime, but I'm not giving up hope on the possibility either... Rebellions are built on HOPE! I'm just going to keep on L-I-V-I-N, fight the good (and healthy) fight, and level up my life! Challenge Lesson: Baze Malbus: Good luck! Chirrut Îmwe: I don't need luck! I have you! Any journey is difficult to navigate by yourself. Whether we want to admit it or not, no one can do everything by themselves. Sure, if you are lifting a weight, then you lift it with your arms. But you stay safe by having a spotter. You check your technique with a coach watching you. You push harder, because you have a coach pushing you. You recognize your achievements with your cheerleader routing you on. For your workouts, you surround yourself with people who will support you. Every aspect of life should reflect that. Why leave it to luck or chance when you can have a supporting cast to get you through? Sure, it is only you when it comes to deciding what goes into your body. But you have family and friends that you eat with who will also influence your decisions. The positive influences help us make healthy choices. The negative ones need to be weeded out or tuned out. Peer pressure when it comes to diet is crucial. Don't leave it to luck. Surround yourself with the right kind of support. Sure, it is your efforts which get you ahead in school or career, but just like a diet, you need to be aware of the individuals who would drag you down. Surround yourself with those who are going to build you up and help keep you on track. I'm looking at a job change right now. It is my decision to make. I want to stay with my current company. They trust me. They believe in me. They support me in my personal training. They are looking for the right contract opportunity for me to excel and develop while also being interesting and rewarding. They bring in the best and brightest, so they can do these things for everyone in the company. Switching companies would compromise that atmosphere. I trust them, but 4 weeks is a long time to wait. It could be 4 or 8 weeks longer. I may have an important decision to make next week to switch companies to get back to the work I was doing before, just on a different contract, or to stay with my current company and wait for the right opportunity. The biggest difficulty with staying is that I am risking that they could cut me loose at any time, like I was burned with my last company, who I thought I could trust. I was with them almost 5 years doing work which is a growth area for them, but they couldn't put me in a new spot. My current company is not fully invested in my line of work, which makes it difficult for them to find the right opportunity for me... it is a pickle. All the people I would want to talk to about this are all directly involved or influenced by my decision, so it is even harder to talk to them directly or at all about it. To help me make my decision, I am looking for my supporters. Recently, I reached out to several friends to see if there is opportunity outside of these two choices. I've reached out to my Toastmaster friends for support. And my immediate family is well aware of the situation. I have a few more stones to turn over for support. This site being one of them. So if you are reading this, don't wish me luck in my decision. Offer me some encouragement with your own experience as a reference. Don't leave it to luck or chance when you can have support. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 3 Level 11 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 240 min total, 60 weekly. DEX +1, STA +1 My leg is healing up, so walking is not going to count this challenge. I'm only counting super sweaty, heart rate elevated cardio. Need to keep it low impact. Gym membership is going to have to get put off until I can get there before work. I'm driving a friend to their work in the morning right now while their car gets fixed. Time to get the bike out to ride around before the sun comes up. Exercise: Lifting and Bodyweight - 320 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 480 min total, 120 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - 720 min total, 150 weekly. STR +1, DEX +1, STA +1 I have a belt test on 3/26 to move up to Purple Belt. They will let me test modified due to the back and leg injury. I'm debating just going all out for the test, because I really shouldn't be doing any of it. I have three stripes left to earn. Purple stripe is a review, which comes last and will include all the modified combinations, which are still painful because I can't modify the turn-back. Red stripe will be easy. It's just a step behind side kick board break which I've modified to an elbow. I should get that tonight. Yellow stripe is Taeguek 6, which I know a quarter of. I've only practiced once in class (last week). They really pushed combinations with us last month, but I don't know how I managed to go a whole month without doing form in class. I don't like having only a week to get it down. Modified for no kicks makes the footwork awkward too. I'll get it, because I'm going to put in the work through the pain. DIET: Weight Control - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. Watch portions and make healthy choices for 24 of 28 days. Track lunch portions, especially. Track "fasting" after dinner nightly. I'm looking to continue to cut down on snacking and desserts after dinner. I need to ensure I have a calorie deficit or I won't continue to lose weight. CON +3 I'm on the Spring Mix salad kick this week and next. Red cabbage probably following that. LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete (or dedicate at least one hour to) 300 Tasks or Projects, with at least 75 each week, from any of the following areas (minimum for challenge): Toastmasters Communication Practice (8), Toastmasters Leadership Practice (8), Toastmasters Speech and Training Development (8), Mentoring (6), Charity Work (10), Jedi Training (8), Self Preservation (24), Reading (16), Church Work (8), Job Work (20), Business Projects (12), Dishes (20), Laundry (16), Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming (24), Other Chores (24), Yard Work (8), Animal Care (60), Home Renovation (6), Auto Maintenance (6), Family Activities (12), Adventuring (6). WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES! Working hard for CASH! ($44 carried over) REWARD 1: For each week I complete 80 or more tasks, I will put aside $10 to spend how I see fit. CONSEQUENCE 1: For any week where I complete less than 75 tasks, I will give up $10 of saved cash. REWARD 2: $5 for each Business Project hour: write/plan/record a 2018 Extra Life Kickoff Video get involved in Extra Life Baltimore Guild (missed kick-off meeting and will miss Cecil Con) revisit Wizard Laser Tag (look into Recoil game app and tech) for Epic Nerd Camp draw up plan for Jedi website VHS-to-DVD conversion CONSEQUENCE 2: Lose $10 for each week without a Business Project hour. REWARD 3: $1 for each hour working on Jedi Training lessons. $10 for each completed IJRS lesson. Need to get back to the formal training at IJRS. CONSEQUENCE 3: Lose $5 for each week without working on a Jedi Training lesson. REWARD 4: $1 for each night of fasting after dinner. Fruits and veggies allowed in small quantities, but no dessert or snacking. CONSEQUENCE 4: Lose $2 for each day without fasting. Lose $5 for eating more than 2 slices of pizza in any meal. REWARD 5: $1 for each day with a small, healthy lunch. CONSEQUENCE: Lose $2 for each day without a small, healthy lunch. BONUSES: Life: $2 for healthy grocery shopping $2 for healthy meal prep $2 for each Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance task. Workout: $5 for biking more than 20 min PUNISHMENT: Lose $10 each day with weight above 151.5 lbs.
  2. I am back for the second challenge. I feel the first challenge was very successful, though I have adjusted things going into the second challenge. I feel this is the key to continued success. First, here is my retrospective on the 1st challenge. Diet Continuing a ketogenic diet - I did pretty well, though I have went more "paleo low carb" than ketogenic. I feel it is easier to maintain and frees me to not freak out daily concerning what I'm doing. No sweets - I had one slip up during the challenge and on 2/11/2017 while out at Valentine's Day dinner I had a slice of cake. That is it! No soda - I did 100% on this! Log the foods I eat daily in MFP - Complete failure here, but I also decided it was more important to focus on eating healthy while also not fretting over daily tracking and logging. So, this was a mindful choice. Drink more water, at least 6 cups - For the most part I did well on this. Drinking more water is hard, but I do flavor my water and drink quite a bit. Mostly, however, I seem to drink more at night. I want to try to drink more during the day. Fitness Strength training 3 days a week in the gym in my building. - 100% here. Even when I didn't want to I went. I feel I have more energy and starting to enjoy it. Life Continue studying at least 30 minutes a night toward changing careers to web development - 99% here, and mainly because I may have had a few nights were I did 30 minutes at least but was distracted. I have enrolled at Flatiron Community Based Bootcamp and I'm making great progress. Attend the 2 Meetups in the area for web development - I would say 75% here but only because the one Meetup changed a date due to Valentine's Day and I missed it. I think I may focus on the Bmore on Rails Meetup currently. I am also scheduled to speak at the Meetup on their next one in March. This is nerve wracking but necessary. So, I will keep most of these and add a few. Here goes: Diet Continue eating a "paleo low carb" diet. My biggest change from this is eating cheese. I really like cheese... No soda No sweets Drink more water, especially during the day Fitness Continue strength training 3 days a week alternating with cardio the week after at the gym in my building. I may switch this day to day (so, one day of strength training, then next cardio, then next strength...). I have considered going to a gym outside of my building but for now this is not financially feasible. Life Continue to work on the Flatiron Community Based Bootcamp, at least 30 minutes a night. Attend 2 Meetups a month Speak at the Bmore on Rails Meetup in March Finally, blog three times a week on my blog about my journey to change careers. My blog is here, From MSW to Web Dev, for those interested. Be more social on NF forums Continue with Habitica Also, for now I am sticking to the Rebel class. I enjoyed everyone here and want to keep it going!
  3. New challenge. New respawn! Recently I started watching Supergirl, and I loved how Wonder Woman was a badass in the Batman vs Superman movie. What do these women have in common? (Besides being superheroes.) They're strong as hell. My butt is also complaining about all the sitting around I've been doing while working on my novel, blogs, and freelance job search. You see I recently changed cities and am looking for new employment, so there's a lot of time spent on the computer. Traditionally I've been a ranger who enjoys both running and lifting, but given the heat this summer (and saving my pale skin the sun exposure) I'm swapping running for yoga. I want to use this 4-week challenge to test out how I feel when lifting without running. So here's my down-and-dirty challenge for the month. How To Be Supergirl Lift every other day Use the Academy Barbell Brigade Level 1 Workouts Record lifts in my Fit Happens journal Start every day with a 20 to 40 minute yoga session 6 days a week Use either NerdFitness Yoga or youtube videos from Yoga with Adriene Check a box in my Fit Happens journal Track my food intake using MyFitnessPal daily Check a box in my Fit Happens journal Life Quest: Send out my novel to beta readers by the end of the month. This means the novel has to actually be ready for beta readers! I'm not going to hold myself to anything like "write 2000 words every day" because I'm at the point where there's more going into the writing process than strict word counts. The quest will only be accomplished when I have the finished product. Well, mostly finished. It will still need editing, but it will be so much progress I'll need a week to celebrate. My reward for accomplishing my quest? I'll get myself a purse from Disneyland for my birthday! (I'm girly like that!) Wish me luck!
  4. OMG IT'S HERE IT'S HERE IT'S HERE [jumps up and down clapping like a seal] It's the new challenge!!!!! I'm modestly calling this one.... **** DJ Trippy T CRACKS THE COMBINATION!**** Because in this episode, I am almost 73% convinced that I know what the hell I am doing, and am going to put all the pieces and bits together in a magical formula that will make me successful, wealthy, and alluring. Or at least better at crossfit. Let's do it! Per usual with my challenges, I have a workout section, a food section, and a Paleo hack, plus this time an additional lifestyle adjustment that's coming along for the ride. I just need to line all the tumblers up correctly and... BAM! Workouts: THE FUN STUFF 2 - 3 x week cycling (not training for a particular event so this is just maintenance/enjoyment riding). Scheduled for my bike fit this Friday, so hopefully this will ease up my knee pain. Or maybe I'll just transition to riding one of those giant tricycles like old folks have in Florida. I bet those are easy on the knees. 3-4 x week in gym - still with crossfit style workouts, but going to throw in one straight strength workout every other week - probably squats, as that’s the real power-builder. I may start posting workouts below the spoiler so I don’t bore everyone to death, since they’re always pretty similar. You can only post about doing 150 squats in a row so many times. Which I did, on Sunday, by the way (preens shamelessly). Walking: I'm going to add a lot of walking to this challenge: my goal is to walk 200 miles in the six weeks (which isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds; it’s like 4 miles a day, or two laps around the neighborhood.) I know everyone has probably read that book “Born to Run†about how humans are designed for running, but I actually really believe that humans are born to WALK. Seriously, if you get just a bit of practice in, you can literally just walk all day with no adverse effects. So I’m adding this as a way to get some outdoor time, do some easy, zone 2, fat burning activity, and burn a few extra calories without risking overtraining injury or burnout. It will also help prep me for an extensive hiking trip I’m planning next fall. If I can get thru this challenge workout-wise without, um, dying, I am going to register for an OCR, and you can all watch me flail in the mud. FOOD: Ah, this is the key, and I am sooooo close to figuring this out. I really believe that there’s no one diet/exercise plan that works for everyone, and I think that there’s some survivorship bias on every single diet plan. In other words, I know a bunch of people that seem to do super well on vegan, all- natural, super light diets with a ton of yoga, and try to convince me to do it, but they all have the same long, slender body type and probably would just thrive on that diet even without trying to turn themselves into a human paper clip. I also know some ultra-runner and biker types that swear they do fine chugging down powerbars and gels and super high-carb stuff, but again I think they probably have the right metabolism for it, and also that they are burning SO many calories that it really doesn’t matter what they are eating, just that they are eating EVERYTHING in an attempt to keep ahead of their metabolic demand. (then there are people like my boyfriend that seem to thrive on a steady diet of Bugles and chicken wings, and I just don’t even know what to say about that other than it pisses me off.) For myself, as what could laughably be referred to as a power athlete, I seem to work best on a *fairly* low-carb diet, and for ages I assumed I did best on two meals a day, but last challenge I experimented with 4-5 meals a day and was surprised to find I really liked it and felt a lot more energetic on it. (which is not to say it wasn’t a pain in the ass.) I also experimented with a lot more carbs (200-250 grams as day) and that didn’t work out so hot. So this time around I am going to combine and refine both those ideas; eat smaller meals 4 times a day, but keep my carb count around 130-150 daily, except for long bike ride days, as I need more gas in the tank for those. Also, stop eating after 5 pm, as this is an easy calorie restrictor, and I’ve read that women tend to better with food restriction in the evening rather than the morning. I won't do that every day, though. I’m also going to experiment with eliminating cheat days. If I’m staying low(er) carb I should be able to eat about what I want quantity-wise, and I find that periodically loading up on carby junk is just a disaster for me - I get sluggish and sleepy, I feel like crap the next day, and I start craving junk again within 48 hours. So I’m going to go the six weeks straight thru, and see if I can break that cycle. Side note: I wrote this part out the day before Steve put his “Why Cheat Days Suck†or whatever article out, and now I feel like I’m a genius. (preens shamelessly) Paleo: Be the caveman. Cavechick. Whatever. I am, as I often mention, one of those Paleo weirdos, and my challenges would not be complete without me trying to work in some flaky Paleo biohack. This time around, I want to try magnesium baths (i.e. soaking my feet in epsom salts and warm water, to absorb the magnesium), and eating more fermented foods (note: this does not include beer, pumpkin or otherwise). Lifestyle: This is a bit different from the normal challenge stuff, but I want to bring - not a lifestyle improvement, exactly, but a lifestyle revamp to my challenge, in that I want to steer my career in a different direction. I currently work in the production side of TV & advertising, which is nice in that I freelance and theoretically can work/not work as I see fit (this does not always work out in practical reality), but the further I move up the production side of the chain, the further I get from the creative side and into the accounting side. And while I may not know what, exactly, I was put on this earth to do, I am fairly certain that staring at excel spreadsheets all day isn’t it. So I want to move out of the production side, and start establishing myself as a director. I made my first film last year (which I’m still editing) that I was the co-director and writer of, and I want to do some more projects like that, and also start a web series. I have two in mind; one on compact living, tiny houses, and minimalism, which are subjects that I'm personally obsessed with; and another on outdoor travel with a twist. I want to work on a sponsored adventure series that I have been playing with for a while, where I drum up support for a charity while doing some sort of outdoor thingy. (I know that sounds really specific). The first one I have in mind is to do a combo kayak/bicycle transit of the Florida Keys (kayak from Key Largo to Key West, then bike back) and in the process raise money for The Turtle Hospital, which is a sea turtle rescue center in the middle keys. My plan is to raise a certain amount (or get sponsors) to cover costs on the trip, and then the rest goes to the charity. So in this case, if the trip costs are probably close to $1500 (there will be 3 people involved, transportation, rent the kayaks, etc) so I would set a goal of $12,000 - so that we could make a 10k or more donation to the Turtles. I originally planned to do it next fall, but I decided to move the timetable up, as time and turtle waits for no man. Or woman. I know that sounds nuts, but really, why not swing for the fences, right? Right. Obviously this is not something that will happen in one six week challenge; but it takes time to turn the boat, and if I start putting it out to the Universe now, I can start making progress. And it'll give me some accountability. Ummmmm…. okay, I think that’s it. I guess I should go walk now, and start logging some miles...bonding with some turtles... etc. (This last image has nothing to do with my challenge; it was just too funny not to use.)
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