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  1. then she tussles with muscles while learning to hustle So this challenge has two main components, and I am scoring them separately because it makes it harder for me to cheat on myself. Component 1 - Write. Compete. Actually finish a thing. I am, as my husband describes it, "great out of the gate, but not much for stamina." I'm a notorious STARTER, not so much of a finisher. From home-improvement projects to learning new skills to pre-programmed weightlifting programs, I am engaged and attentive and motivated and energized - until I'm not. Nowhere in my life is this more frustrating than in my writing. I LOVE to write. I'm good at it. This should be my ikigai.* But in all my years of NaNoWriMo and creative writing classes and reading books collecting underpants about writing - I have never once finished anything I would be willing to have published. Or, honestly, viewed by another human. I mean, I've finished a couple of flash fiction pieces - I have written and submitted to the monthly photo prompt on 100 Word Story a few times, and produced a few other pieces in response to other prompts that I am not embarrassed to share. And a group of my closest friends does a Christmas poetry/short fiction thing that I always produce something for. But anything long enough to be called a "short story" much less a "novel" - yeah, nope. I have a pile of unfinished stories and novels that would stuff The Grinch's sack to the bursting point. Conventional wisdom sez that if you give yourself a deadline and stakes, you will perform. Common example: want to stick to a running program? Sign yourself up and pay the entry fee for a 5k happening two months hence - then you "have to" stick with it or forfeit your money!! Yeah. I laugh in the face of conventional wisdom. I apparently have zero problem forfeiting a 5k entry fee. Or a writing contest entry fee. If I hit a roadblock, or a speedbump, or a headwind, or whatever, and I feel like quitting - well, yeah, I'm gonna quit. True fact. What seems more effective for me is these challenges and being accountable to you nerds, so I'm doing this here. Also, I've had some success with bribing rewarding myself for good behavior, so - LOOT! This challenge is simple. Not easy. Just simple. Step 1: Enter a writing contest. Specifically the Summer 2019 Writing Contest by "The Write Practice." 1500 word or less short fiction. Theme/constraint: One room. (Action of the story limited to a single room.) And I'm entering it at the "Premium" level, which means I will get feedback from the judges to help me improve. Because writing only for myself might help me get better - a little - slowly - maybe - but writing and receiving professional feedback is the actual time-tested best way to get really better. Entry deadline = May 28 Step 2: Actually write and submit the story for workshopping. Draft submission deadline = June 3 Step 3: Revise, edit, and submit final actually *completed* story. Submission deadline = June 10 Loot: If I see this story through to submission, my reward will be a Chronicles of Narnia hand-painted silk scarf from Etsy vendor EmeraldCloud. Component 2: Keep growing shoulders, add growing lung capacity. I've been working in and around hypertrophy set/rep schemes for a little over a month now (hat tip to @Grumble) and I am really enjoying it. But also - sigh - my cardiovascular endurance is CRAP. Really. Bad. I love to lift. I despise ... <insert 'cardio' activity of any variety here>. I'm sorta cool with short HIIT sessions, and work them in where I can make them fit (not often enough, but I do try) - but that's still only part of the puzzle. I need at least some element of LSD in my life. No, not like that!!! Long, slow distance cardio. Like ... the boring kind. I've downloaded a Couch-to-5k app to my phone. I don't for a second have any illusions that I will be ready, able, or motivated to run a 5k at the end of 8 weeks, but frankly if I could get back to the point of being able to pass a Navy Physical Readiness Test I'd be happy with it. I've stuck with it for two weeks now, which is longer than I've ever managed in the past, so that's a good sign I think. Also, I am lame and pathetic about mobility work, so I need to add some of that in somewhere. Step 1: My current battle rhythm Monday: Split Squats/OHP/Curls/Cable pulldown/Cable pushdown (additional shoulder accessories as time permits) Tuesday: C25k Wednesday: RDL/Bent-over row/bench/feet-elevated glute bridge/reverse crunch (additional pec/bicep/tricep accessories as time permits) Thursday: C25k Friday: Inverted row/push-ups/goblet squat/hammer curl/triceps extension (additional shoulder accessories as time permits) Saturday: C25k Sunday: Lay on couch Yoga/foamroll/stretch Two points for every day in which I execute the plan as planned. One additional point for every day with bonus accessory work added in. Total points possible: 68 Step 2: Take progress pics I did remember to take pictures of myself before I started trying to hypertrophy - about 7 weeks ago? I think? Subjectively I "feel" like my triceps and delts have grown and have more definition - but I can't see it in the mirror. I need to take pics to compare. I reeeeaalllyy don't want to, but it's the only way I'll know. 20 points, all or nothing, if I do it sometime during this challenge period. Loot: If I can accumulate a total of 75 points out of the possible 88, I am buying myself a new brooch. *ikigai = usually translated as "reason for being" or "reason for jumping out of bed each morning" - but I recently read a book in which it was described more descriptively as "the intersection between what you love to do and what you are good at," and that is the sense in which I mean it here.
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