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  1. Hello! It's a me, Mario! Ok not really. Shawn here, if you don't know me yet, lucky you! After reading all the rules about the challenges and the guilds, I just couldn't get into it. To be honest, I was never interested in those types of RPG's. As a kid, I was more of a Mario player. My childhood consisted of dodging turtle shells instead of arrows. So to keep true to the purpose of Nerd Fitness's idea of "Level Up Your Life," I created my own challenge for the journey my girlfriend and I are on to build strength, lose weight and live a more happier life. (Follow us on Twitter, link is in our signature.) We just started this challenge today so we may need to make some tweaks along the way as needed. I have broken down my idea into sections below for easier understanding. I have attached 2 pictures for reference. Basics The objective is to go through each level (week) and try to obtain coins and avoid bosses to level up to the next world. All progress is tracked on a chart on our fridge. What is a level? A level is 7 days long. How do we advance to the next level? We have to earn 12 coins. How do we earn coins? We get 1 coin per day for a total of 7 coins. To earn the additional 5 coins we need to complete the level and earn a star, we have to do little challenges or other things that will level up our life (ex. reading a chapter in a book, putting money in our savings or towards a bill, cleaning our cars, etc.) Monday is our weigh-in day, if we lost weight, we get a coin. We can only get 12 coins per level to avoid earning too many coins early and slacking off the remaining levels. We need a total of 4 stars (48 coins) and a minimum of one 1-up mushroom to "warp" to the next world. More on the 1-up mushroom later. How do we get a star? We have to cash in 12 coins to earn 1 star. A total of 4 stars allows us to warp to the next world. What is a world? A world is a commutation of 4 completed levels. To warp to the next world, we need a total of 4 stars. After successfully completing each world, we can buy ourselves a maximum $10-$20 Prize each! (ex. LEGO's, new clothes, iTunes gift card, DVD, can opener, bubble wrap, w/e we want!) We can also save the cash each world to buy something bigger and better later. Oh and of course bragging rights to our pet. That's right Peter our rabbit, we're king! Can we lose coins? Absolutely! If we go about our day and do what we are supposed to, we get our daily coin no questions asked. However, if we encounter a boss and he defeats us, we lose all chances of earning a coin that day and need to earn that coin back on another day. What do you mean bosses? Bosses are different for everyone and should be specific to your own life. Bosses are things that represent our goals, our chores, our mentality, etc. The way a boss "defeats" us is by us not doing what we had planned to do. Bosses for us include not going to the gym, letting our depression take a hold of me, not having at least 1 game/movie night a week, not doing our chores, going over our calories on MyFitnessPal, etc. I included a picture of our "key" which shows you our bosses and the character that represents them. If the boss defeats us, we have to put his picture on our warp pipe for the whole level as a constant reminder that he won that day. What are red mushrooms for? We are given 3 red mushrooms in each world to be used as a free day where we still can get our daily coin even if we royally screwed up. Once we use them, we lose them until we start a new world. What are green mushrooms for? The extra life green 1-Up mushrooms are earned by trying something new and out of our comfort zone, whether it be a new food or a new activity. We need a minimum of one 1-Up mushroom to warp to the next world and we can earn as many as we want. Today I earned one by trying dehydrated jalapeno kale chips my coworker offered me, win! Is the Doctor in? If we are sick one day, we can call Dr. Mario and he will prescribe us a day of rest. If we're faking it however, he will charge us 1 coin so we have to be honest with ourselves and hold each other accountable. Doctors aren't cheap! How the chart works We tape our character to the pipe that is the current day and tape either our bosses or our coins to the pipe depending on how that day went based on the instructions above. Each day we move only our character to the next pipe leaving the previous days items still attached. (We laminated ours to make it easier and we can draw on it with a dry erase marker. Benefits of dating a teacher!) I put the star we're after on the last day for something to aim towards. We put the total number of 1-Ups, stars and coins we've earned to date next to the icons. We put the number level we are on and world we are on as well. We put our weight under our name. An example of what it should look like once we get it going is attached. What are those mystery boxes? Mystery boxes are something to add fun to the week. They can be anything we want. We saved a bunch of these box photos in a folder on our desktop and renamed each photo a specific item so we just open up the folder, hold the arrow key down to scroll through all the pictures at light speed and when we release the button, whatever picture we land on we read what it is titled and that is what we win, or have to do...mu ha ha ha! Some of our examples are: Do 15 jumping jacks, Other person has to do a plank, You pick next movie, Other person has to wash your car windows, etc. I know it sounds confusing but it really isn't. We hope it will bring an element of fun to our journey so we will no longer live like Gumba's! Think this is cool? So did the following: The NY Times calls it, "That was 6 minutes of my life I'll never get back." Borat said, "Very nice, great success!" Lil Jon screamed, "What!? Ooookkk!" Why be Mario if we can Super Mario! Thanks for reading!
  2. Hello! Shawn (27) and Sarah (30) here from Wilkes-Barre, PA! We are a couple that is trying to lose weight, get stronger and live a more meaningful life! Since Oct 2014 we have been tracking our nutrition on MyFitnessPal and strength training doing an exercise for every muscle: Bicep curls, tricep pulldowns, lat pulldowns, calf raises, leg presses, shoulder presses etc. Although we lost about 30 combined inches and lost about 20 lbs, it has been mentally exhausting keeping up with all those exercises and we should be further than where we are! After reading Steves article on weight machines and thoughts on body weight exercises we will now adapt a body weight (mostly) program and have already done 2 days of this and feel like these exercises are working more than our old ones. We want to have functional strength that will help us in our lives outside of the gym. Shawn is using the assisted pull-up and dip machine until he can have enough strength to do them on his own. He has already tried inverted rows and doesn't have the strength yet. On days he doesn't use the assisted machine he does push-ups. Sarah switches between the lat-Pulldown and back row machines because she doesn't have the strength for the assisted machines or inverted rows. Sarah does push-ups as well. We both do body weight squats with a medicine ball and we do planks. It has been very hard for us to wrap our heads around the fact of just doing a push exercise, a pull exercise, a leg and a core exercise will produce better more functional results than hitting each individual muscle, but we are trusting Steve! We want to master our body weight first than later down the road might get into deadlifts and squats. I hope we are on the right path! Thanks for reading! -Shawn & Sarah
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