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  1. Recently on Catspaw’s challenges... … that’s a big ol’ whitespace there, yo. Okay, so I took a challenge off. That’s allowed; s’good refocus and recharge time. But even though the constant patter of my words here tapered off like sun breaking through rain, I wasn’t taking a break on the other side of the screen. Notable accomplishments since my last challenge include: - 150 lb split jerk - 160 lb clean - 180 lb front squat - Below the brick line - Being a lot calmer work/life wise. - Basically just free-eating successfully. It’s only coincidence that it feels like I’m coming back refreshed at the start of a new year. I feel little kinship with those who will soon be hogging my squat rack for a few weeks before disappearing, giving the arbitrary delineation of “new year†too much credence. But I know that amongst them will be a few who just needed a reason to start or restart, and who will stick with it, so I’ll try for patience. : ) Goals for this challenge: 1) Get that snatch PR I’ve been a hair’s breadth from for months now I don’t want to just get it once on one particularly stellar day when all the stars are aligned. I want to get it in a way that I can reproduce it. I feel close … really close. On many days, matching my PR feels easy sauce. I think if I dial in a few things, I’ll be there. 2) Consistent gym attendance (3x+/week) The start of the year is gonna be pretty busy for me, so I just want to make sure that I prioritize getting in there. Specifically I’m hoping for a back squat PR, but the actual goal is more about just getting in there and givin’ ‘er hell. 3) Be nicer to myself Once a week, deliberately do something that helps me relax. Long podcasted walk, massage, brunch with friends, live comedy show, whatever. Something that’ll make me smile, breathe deep, and come back stronger.
  2. Next verse, same as the first. Yeah, just like this, only for another 6 weeks. Catspaws gotta blahblahblah.
  3. Catspaw's Head Is The Only Thing In Her Way I need to do some letting go. Slightly less "intense, 100% engaged Catspaw" who strives for perfection or will die trying, and slightly more "whatever, I'm on the right path and having a good time doing it" Catspaw. Cuz sometimes that obsessive effort only makes you less likely to get there. Relax about bulking I'm partway through a bulk and just passed the number that always gets in my head: overweight on the BMI scale for my height -- which is, coincidentally, also the max weightlifting class line for women. And though I actually care about neither scale, it always gets me a little cautious. BUT I've done this cycle four times now, and the weight always comes off, and I'm happier and happier with each subsequent cycle. I don't look overweight (photo from just now), so I need to juuust fucking deal and not let my head trip me up. Relax about work The biggest value that I can bring to my team is shared mission and purpose and an endless supply of optimistic energy. Are we in a hole? Yes. Is the hole on fire? Sure. But freaking out about it is not gonna get us out of there any faster. Relax about lifting Just follow the program, adjust if you're having a great day or awful day, focus on the big picture and let everything else follow. .... and with all that "relax" said, work hard, accomplish great things, be awesome. You know. The simple stuff.
  4. Catspaw Doesn't PR ... but she does get a hell of a lot stronger. This 6 week challenge is going to be all about getting stronger without PR chasing. In other words, taking Hyrule's advice to heart and focussing on genuine gains, and letting the PRs follow from that, rather than making it a PR-seeking challenge. The PRs will come. I have a crazy busy schedule this 6 weeks including: - 1 week work trip to Zurich - 2 days away from home speaking at a conference - 3 day leadership training - 4 day trip with friends - 3 day manager offsite That means that 19 out of the 42 days of this challenge (45%) I'll be traveling. So gotta take full opportunity of the times that my schedule is quasi-normal and make them count, and then do what I can while on the road. Last challenge ended with a clean+jerk PR yesterday out of nowhere, and I'm gonna have to let that satisfaction carry me for a while. It's all about building a solid base for a few weeks now. Patience, Catspaw. ... which is, of course, the skill that I'm the worst at.
  5. There's always that moment. The night before the heroes fight the final battle. It's quiet, somber. A brief time for reflection, a brief time for planning. You recommit yourself to your mission, paradoxically trying to both psych yourself up and calm yourself down. Though no victories may be named in these moments, this is where the real battle begins. Careful preparation and getting yourself into the right mindset is most of the way there. Everything that follows started right here. This challenge I'll be finishing up my cut and then gradually working my way back up to maintenance in preparation for next challenge's bulking. This challenge I'll also be trying for a fairly major promotion at work. There's a lot of shit happening in my life, and while you'll likely see no bright PRs, this challenge is when everything is put into motion. Seeds planted for later reaping. Grab onto the bar, take a deep breath. The rest is just consequence.
  6. Double entendre. Working on lifting form. Working on body comp form. See what I did there? Cutting challenge for me, so what you can expect here is a lot of bitching about being hungry, some huge-effort strength preserving workouts, and taking the opportunity to really work on my lifting form across the board. Just cuz you can’t get stronger doesn’t mean you can’t get awesomer. Wait, why isn’t this thread on page 2 yet? It’s been posted a whole -8 seconds...
  7. RAWR! Primarily a strength-related challenge for me this time. Also a “don’t wuss out on the bulk†challenge, which is a prerequisite for the strength goals. Here’s some shit I pulled out of thin air: Press: +10 lbs (90) Snatch: +5 lbs (100) Bench: +10 lbs (145) Jerk: +10 lbs (135) Clean: +10 lbs (135) Front squat: +10 lbs (165) Back squat: +15 lbs (210) Deadlift: +15 lbs (260) These are just random goals. What I can promise is a lot of "blahblahblah" and six weeks of it. 2015: let's do this.
  8. Catspaw Tests Her Mettle Between the Spartan Sprint (mid Nov), Google GoRuck Challenge (mid Dec), a whole hell of a lot of lifting, and finally a bit of slow bulking, I'm pretty pumped that this is going to be a badass challenge of badassery. What you can expect to see here: I'm planning a hybrid PHAT (non-linear periodization) routine2 power days and 2 hypertrophy daysregular rucks (consistency, not extreme marathon shenanigans), andweekly Hyrule OLY classesBut this also means I need to take better care of myself: more mobility work and stretching,a greater emphasis on rest, recovery, de-stressing, andfinding non-exercise stress outlets.On the food front, nothing should be surprising. Catspaw-paleo. Light bulk. My pre-dawn training means no IF, alas. The longer term plan is three months of strength (I have some actual number goals here) and size, followed by a March/April cut. Above all, I want to have FUN with all of this. This shouldn't be an extra job, it should be something that makes me smile. I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit of tightness around achieving these goals in exchange for the flexibility of enjoying myself.
  9. Catspaw Isn't Distracted It's going to be a busy six weeks for me. Some of the things on my plate: A week of being primary on-call (aka: no sleep) plus a week of being secondary on-call. Lots of travel: a trip to Vancouver, two trips to Seattle. Leaving to go climb mountains in Japan for two weeks (end of week 6). Performance review season for all my reports. Taking on a bunch more responsibility at work. So basically it's going to be a challenge just to keep my head above water. The major risk factor is all of the travel and moving pieces and stress just causing things to start tumbling down. 1) Keep stress to a minimum. 2) Keep food on track. 3) Keep workouts on track. I could write up some bullshit details to make these measurable, but I know myself well enough to know that they'd be poor proxies. Just keeping these goals in mind will be enough. A few things in particular: I need to prioritize walks for myself to calm down during the day, I want to keep doing OLY class and lifting heavy things but also get some metcon stuff back in the mix, and I want to give myself room to eat "fun stuff" while traveling which means being extra-good while home, even while stressed. Soooooo there you go. Take your best shot, life. I'm ready.
  10. Catspaw Has Her Shit Together Hello! I'm Catspaw. And if you don't know me, here's the quick summary: this is my ten zillionth challenge, I like eating delicious things, learning everything about everything, and I'm a bit of a dopamine addict. Throughout this challenge I'm hanging out with nerds in Toronto, New York and San Francisco, as well as working a stressful (but fun!) job, and really focussing on getting my shit together. Hence the name of this challenge. 1) Dial in the food 1800 / 1550 with leangains macros and 8 hr feeding window"Catspaw paleo": rice and some dairy, minimal nuts / pork / poultry dark meat, asstons of veggies, lots of fish and ruminantsBeen eating paleo for nearly 3 years now (!!) and it works for me, though after a loooot of experimentation, I've found a flavour of paleo that works especially well for me: higher carb, lower fat, and low omega-6. Leangains tends to be the easiest for me in terms of leaning out a little, so I'm sticking with that for a challenge or two. 2) Bump up the workout volume 3 days / week strength training1 day / week metcon or 5k run1 day / week long ruck (10+ miles) and PT30 miles per week non-ruck walking (LISS) Love me some LISS, so I plan on doing a bunch of that, plus normal strength training routine, but adding in some metcon/run per week, and making sure that I include some PT training during my once-a-week long rucks. Some of this schedule might get screwy while I travel, but this is the basic template I'm hoping for. 3) Don't arrive busted Active shoulder rehab twice / weekDon't aggravate tweaked kneeMassage once / weekDon't do anything stupid. Favor rehab over exercise goals. Favor skipping the July ruck over participating injured.Apparently I suck at dealing with my own injuries, sicknesses, etc. So I'm explicitly making it a challenge goal to be nice to myself and my body. I need to be uninjured enough to do 2 weeks of hiking in the Japanese alps in early September. I'm joining the monks this challenge (despite no explicitly monkish goals) because I promised some monks in Boston that I'd keep them company. And because you guys are badass, clearly.
  11. The Cult of Catspaw The Cult of Catspaw is an oligarchical cult co-founded on the veneration of the one we call Catspaw by Loren Wade and childofscorn on 12/23/13. We recognize her as a polymath and exceptional individual who deserves our devotion and admiration. It should also be noted we do not worship Catspaw and do not recognize her as deity, but as an extraordinary human. This is the official record of the Cult of Catspaw as translated by Loren Wade. Heirarchy Oligarchy ProphetesschildofscornRecordkeeperLoren WadeAcolyte Acolytes are Cultists who have taken the vow to record notable occurences of Catspaw's portents and revelations.Cultist Cultists are those devoted to Catspaw's Commandment.About The Catspaw Commandment "Go forth, eat steak, and love each other."The first words of our illustrious Catspaw. -12/23/13The Jest of Catspaw A crowd of people got to a doorway, including several members of the Cult of Catspaw. The members of the Cult of Catspaw held the door open, because Catspaw said to love each other, so they let everyone else start to go through the door. First went one person, then another, then a third person... then all the members of the Cult of Catspaw slammed themselves into the doorway at the same time. They pushed and they shoved and fought tooth and nail to be the next one through. Finally one of the people already through turned around and said "Why are you guys fighting? You let the three of us go first." And the members said, "Yes but Catspaw said we should go forth." - Catspaw, 12/23/13The Lifehacks of Catspaw How to spoon hard coconut oil.Run a spoon under warm water.Spoon it out.The Lessons of Catspaw Sometimes inappropriateness is appropriate.Words of Our Prophetess, childofscorn Article 1, 12/23/13 "And lo, the Catspaw did descendeth from high atop the Google mountain, riding upon her golden shuttle. And her dulcet tones did ring out across all the land as she did proclaim " 'twas the night before the night before christmas, and all through the chat, not a creature was stirring, not even a cat[spaw]." And the evening and the morning were the first challenge." Article 2, 4/14/14 (Palindrome Day) Catspaw described the rules of Catspaw Club, "The first rule is: THERE ARE NO RULES! The second rule is: clean up after yourselves." Mythos & Trivia The official unit of measure of the Cult of Catspaw is the Catspaw Metric Fuckton. One Catspaw Metric Fuckton is equal to 9071847400000 kilograms.Legend says that Catspaw is a Time Lord, born in 1282 AD (Earth time), and is 732 years old.Catspaw has proclaimed 2014 as the year of the RAWR.Catspaw possesses the power of the blahblahblah, of which she can speak without actual saying anything. *Disclaimer: Everything you read in this thread regarding the Cult of Catspaw is satirical. The opinions and views expressed in this thread regarding the Cult of Catspaw do not reflect those of Nerd Fitness or, probably, of anyone actually in the Cult of Catspaw.
  12. Catspaw Shoves Less Down Her Steak Hole This 6 week challenge goals: Eat a reasonable quantity of food.END OF GOALS. More details later, but here's the gist: I have a lot going on right now. I'm still going to the gym, training reasonably well, heck even hitting PRs, but food quantity has fallen way behind on my list of priorities. Unintentional bulking season ends here. I want to keep this goal nice and simple because I want to actually do it. .... also, I plan to use this thread for rants, workout logs, and similar type Catspaw blahblahblahs. You have been warned.
  13. Catspaw Has No Weaknesses A year and a half ago, I made a challenge to specifically address my weaknesses, and it went awesomely: I busted out my first ever chin-up, managed some decent plank times, and learned a lot about lat engagement. So often our challenges are about improving our strengths, when we would often get much better results by focusing on our weaknesses. That's what this challenge is about. Goal #1: Fix my busticated shoulder How: - Shoulder rehab exercises - Strengthen lats/shoulder muscles - Work on repatterning pushes and pulls Why: - It's been 9 months now and I've been neglecting it, GoRucks (March, May, July) are gonna be rough on it. - Shoulder/lat form is holding me back on my lifts. Goal #2: Bring my metabolism back up How: - Slowly increase cals ~2%/week - Switch to non-cyclic cals, since rest/workout day distinction is blurring. Why: - I want strength gains. - It's been several months at a cut and my metabolism has gone down. - I love that "SMASH ALL THE CARS" feeling of a nice metabolism buzz. - And a healthy metabolism is good for me. - Plus, more food. Goal #3: Address balance/flexibility/core stability/etc. How: - Taking a once/week "acrobatic conditioning" class: "Core strength, Flexibility, Balance, Cartwheels, Head stands, Hand stands, Wrist Strength" - Incorporate warmup, stretching and abs circuits into workouts Why: - These things are definitely starting to be a bottleneck for me on the strength stuff. - And eventually I want a handstand. - And my hammies are embarrassingly tight. Things I want the above three goals to help me achieve this challenge: 225x5 deadlift (eee!) 115x1 or 105x5 bench (wuuuut!) Successful GoRuck Light (ack!!) Feel awesome. (yus!)
  14. Catspaw's Simple But Not Easy Challenge Nice, clean, simple goals. Things I've done before and know how to do. But just because it's simple doesn't mean it's easy. It does, however, mean I am totally going to RAWR SMASH my way through this challenge. Be prepared for some epic awesomeness here. Be Strong I want a deadlift and bench PR. A real PR. Not a "best since I got sick" PR, but a "better than I've ever lifted before ever" PR. My body is starting to feel like it's my own again: strong, fierce, capable. I want to take it out for a spin. Deadlift goal: 225x1 (4 total plates, fuck yes!) Bench goal: 100x3 or 105x1 Is this goal too ambitious? Fuck no; I'm doing it. Be Prepared Rucking season starts soon with a Light in March, and Challenges in May and July. I've already been clocking 10+ miles / week with my rucksack on, but it's time to prepare for all the PT and metcon-style work where I'm currently lagging sorely behind. 3 GoRuck PT training sessions / week, on top of lifting work 10+ rucked miles / week PT sessions will consist of bear crawls, air squats, thrusters, crab walks, low crawls, push-ups, flutter kicks, etc. Basically going to follow the 6 week training plan but spread over 8 weeks. Be Lean I know the scale lies, but I want to get under the brick line (150 lbs). I'm already kissing the line during low-water-weight days, so this shouldn't take a huge deficit. Weigh in at under the brick line. 1750/1450 is my starting goal, though I'll adjust as I go. Shouldn't need any refeeds after the break this holiday season. I may also throw in a longer-fast day once/week on my full-out-rest day. However, since I also have strength goals, PreWO and PWO nutrition are gonna have to be pretty spot-on, along with high-carb high-protein macros. Be Awesome My final life goal is about the balance I want to achieve btw the above goals above and my health. Between work and fun. Between kicking ass and resting. Leaning out but eating right. I'm currently feeling a little too-much-expected-of-me at the new job, and I want to transform that into kicking-ass. No specific targets here, just putting the final goal as a reminder to myself to be awesome in all the ways.
  15. Like so many others, I finally got talked into making this an official challenge. Brief background: I like lifting heavy things, eating paleo, helping others, and a former abs-chaser. Around April this year I got really sick and everything fell on the floor. Aside from crippling headaches, my lifts have dropped by about 25% across the board, I've gained (doctor's orders) some weight and my hormones are all over the place. Alas. But you can't keep a Catspaw down! I'm finally feeling better enough to start back up at work on Dec 1st -- woohoo -- and I'm going to start reigning in the various aspects of my life to feel like a "real human being" again rather than a sick patient. Catspaw's Lift Well, Eat Well, Be Well Challenge Food quality I'm following perfect-health-diet style paleo: meats, veggies, starches (yams, rice, etc.), and lots of high-density nutrient foods: egg yolks, bone broth, fermented things, etc. Part of this challenge is going to be that starting on Dec 1st I'll be on the Google campus with free food surrounding me. I'll definitely have enough choice to pick paleo foods, but my two big weaknesses are going to be all of the free desserts ("but the chocolate cake is gluten free!") and estimating food quantity, see below. So here's the rule for myself: absolutely zero (no!) treats consumed beyond my roof. That includes the chocolate covered almonds I know they have at the microkitchens, the free rice krispie squares, etc. If I want it, I have to bring it home, and eat it there, where I can include it in the day's macros and not just sorta nibble ad-hoc. Food quantity Ideally I'm aiming for something like: Workout days: 153 / 55 / 160 carbs/fat/protein Rest days: 125 / 50 / 125 carbs/fat/protein Unfortunately, starting on Dec 1st I'll be eating at least 5 meals per week that I can't weigh/measure which means estimating. Fortunately, I feel like I have a reasonable eyeball-ability, but it's certainly possible to be off by 10-20% which are big error bars. Gonna have to evaluate and adjust as I go. Lift heavy things Finishing up a 5x5 that I started a few months ago to try to regain some of my strengths back. I'm just starting to hit initial plateaus on some of the lifts, and then plan to move over to a program that mir recommended by jdanger. Basically some sets of 10 at 95% and 90% of 10RM for a few weeks, then sets of 5 at 95% and 90% of 5RM for a few weeks, etc. Also going to look into whether or not the Google gym has a trainer who'd be worthwhile to get some form sessions with, since in my past nearly three years of lifting I've only ever had eyes on my form twice. Learn something new I've decided to pick up handstands this challenge. Why? Cuz I can't even get to the wall right now, so it'll be new and fun. My goal is to dedicate 5 mins per day, every day, to handstand progressions. I know what I need to do, I just need to do it.
  16. No formal NF challenge this time 'round, but I've decided to post a small snippet from my day every day. Will cross-post here for those who are interested. You can expect weird rants, out of context photos, conversations, inspirations, or other random shit. In essence, stories and meandering rambles. Goals are for another time.
  17. The "Catspaw Rises from the Ashes" Challenge "Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up." The last few months have been a huge teacher to me. When your health collapses, you're given the gift of clarity in terms of what really matters. I won't lie: I've had days recently when I wished myself dead so that I wouldn't have to deal with another day of feeling this sick. It has been nothing short of awful. But those lows make the good days that much sweeter. My health issues are an adversary but they are also an opportunity to learn and grow. An opportunity to pick myself back up. Main Quest: Get Healthy Short and simple, this has to come first. We still don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm off of several drugs that were making things worse (and requiring me to take even more drugs to deal with the side-effects of those drugs) and I'm working with a great network of doctors/naturopaths/etc. towards helping my body to heal itself. There are bad days when I can do nothing but clutch my head and cry from dawn til dusk, but there are also days when I feel nearly normal. And maybe, slowly, everything will shift to more and more normal days. Task #1: Eat clean paleo intuitively In particular: No attempting to cut. I've gained some weight in the past three months, and I can't let myself fall into the trap of trying to "fix" that. It's not something to be fixed. A healthy woman's body does not usually involve ab lines.Clean paleo. Watch my omega-6 ratio, in particular, and make sure I'm getting all the micros I need. I need this to be a "healing" diet.No "feeling sorry for myself" binging. Eat when hungry. Eat appropriate-looking amounts. And forgive myself quickly for quantity slip-ups: this is a learning process. I haven't eaten intuitively in half a decade.Task #2: Give up coffee, caffeine, pain killers and anti-inflammatories I've been instructed to ditch these things. It's going to be hard because I've been leaning heavily on them for pain relief. And weening off of them means more headaches. But my adrenals are unhappy puppies and deserve my love and support. Task #3: Calm the fuck down This is always important, but moreso now. Because (1) freaking out is causing rebound tension headaches, (2) my brain is lying to me and giving me anxiety symptoms when nothing is wrong, (3) my adrenals need a rest. There are many ways I plan to tackle this, from magnesium baths to self-massage to trying my hand at meditation/yoga, but I really really need to prioritize it. A sign of success on this front is if I can get off of the ativan that I've had to start using. Side Life Quest: Get a job Being sick in the US is expensive. Over $10k of medical expenses later, my novel is going to have to be put on hold. I'm in a good spot in that there are lots of tech companies who'd hire me tomorrow, but the trickiness is "how do you get a job when you're still sick?" I need to find employment that'll allow me to be flexible enough to crawl into a dark room and die when I need to, but also that'll cause zero additional stress, because that's the last thing I need right now. I'll start looking in August and hope to begin work in September.
  18. I've been trying to figure out whether or not to participate in this challenge. My last challenge was stopped abruptly when some health issues popped up, and I'm still dealing with them and thus shouldn't really be focussed on something like seeing ab lines. At the same time, I want to keep making progress, I just need to be realistic about dialing it back a little and not making it one of my main daily goals. So maybe that's what this challenge is about for me: figuring out how to make progress into a quiet background process, ever improving but not feeling like an every-hour-of-the-day obsession. I hope to use this thread as a place to document: Workout logs Rough food logs, to keep me accountable Random rants and thoughtsNot a very exciting challenge, I know. But I think that's part of the point.
  19. Now that I'm slimming down for the summer, raw strength is becoming less of a priority, though there is ample room still for ferocity in the gym. I'm pulling inspiration this challenge from the leopard: lithe but powerful. Leopards are lean, agile, supple and fierce, and it is the search for these attributes which brings me back to the assassin's den this challenge. I'm looking forward to hunting with you. 1) Leopards are lean Good start on my cut last challenge after a fun bulk in the winter. It's only gonna get trickier, but I feel like I'm getting a good handle on it, and so I want to keep it up for one more challenge. Goal: Lose 7 cm (2.5 inches) total from Navel + Hips + Thigh measurement. This might be too ambitious, but I like to set my sights high. For reference, this is what I lost last challenge, but these things get harder the longer you do them. 2) Leopards are agile Incorporate gymnastic work before my strength workouts. In particular, I want to work on: Handstand progressionL-sit progressionPB static holdsI'm hoping to see progress in the static holds translate into form improvement for some of my other lifts, like pull-up progressions and dips. 3) Leopards are supple Mobility work after every workout. In particular: Lacrosse ball rollingWork on anterior pelvic tiltWork on breathing pattern w/ trunk stabilityMore on these in detail next post. 4) Leopards are fierce I have three things lined up to do during this 6 week challenge that require a touch of bravery: Cut my long hair short; summer pixie cutWear a revealing costume for Bay to Breakers in MaySend a few book chapters to some friendsWhat about lifting heavy things? What about paleo? As always, I'll be lifting heavy things and posting workout logs, and eating a modified paleo. I'm definitely at a point now where these things are just "life", and no longer really challenges. Though I think I feel an upcoming rant coming about my paleoness and how my definition of what I put into my mouth has been evolving in the past few months. Anyway, my point is, it's a good place to be.
  20. Sweet and simple kids. Some things gotta grow, other things gotta shrink. Quantity counts, let's make that happen. Goal #1: Get halfway to pre-bulk size. That means losing: 1.5 cm from 2" above navel2 cm from navel3 cm from hips Goal #2: Through strength comes awesomeness. Add 5% to deadlift and bench (calculated 1RMs), rack pulls (3x3) and hip thrusts (2x10). I want to have reasonable goals given the cut above, but these'll give me something to focus on to ensure workout intensity. Deadlift 1RM: 228 -> 239Bench 1RM: 110 -> 115Rack pulls 3x3: 265 -> 278Hip thrusts 2x10: 165 -> 173 Goal #3: Type type type type. Get novel to 60,000 words or complete rough, rough draft. Whichever comes first. This means: 667 words per dayI also feel like most of the low-hanging-fruit of the novel has already been written, so it's time to plow through some of the trickier parts.
  21. Change. It's what makes us grow and what makes us grow old. Time ticks ever forwards. Some of life's turns force their change upon you, while other things never change until you do. I've never been one to sit idly by and let time sweep me where it wills. So while all challenges are about change -- our attempt to move forwards towards some ultimate goal -- some challenges have more life "corners" than others. For me, this challenge is divided into many "before"s and "after"s. It's different, it's exciting, and it makes formulating goals tricky. So perhaps, instead of telling you about a distant island I plan to swim to, and grade myself based on how close I get, and how many waves crash into me along the way, it makes more sense to describe this as a different type of challenge. For me, these next few weeks are about preparing for the corners ahead, seizing them tight, and rolling gracefully into the new directions they reveal. 1) Jump off the steady job track I'm a little bit wary about posting this to a public forum before it happens, but here goes. In a few weeks, I'll be quitting my job. I want to give writing a good go, and that's going to require some focus on my part. Go strong: I want to leave well. I've made lots of contacts I want to keep friendly, and bridges I'd like left standing. I've done this before, but it always takes deliberate work to make happen. Make the turn: Actually quit. Nail the dismount: Write at least 500 words/day. Often times, hopefully many, many more words than that. But this is my "start your squat with just the bar, add weight later" of writing. 2) Bulk then cut I've been bulking since mid-Oct and plan to continue until mid-Feb. I really want the next few weeks to count in terms of lean mass gain, so plan on pushing myself extra-hard in the gym, including switching from a 3-day to 4-day split. Go strong: Eating lots (leangains/carb backloading/paleo), and lifting heavy. Playing with accessory work to also help make that happen. Make the turn: A week or two of maintenance eating in there. Figuring out smart ways to reduce my food without feeling deprived. Nail the dismount: Nothing extreme! I'm deliberately putting that here. I'm not jumping on a protein-sparing modified fast or anything like that. This isn't prepping for a show, this is just cleaning up a bit.
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