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  1. This year's Tough Mudder event in Edinburgh was in June. So, it being early July, I have just shy of a year until the next one, and I want to sign up. Reason: I want to get the hell out of this office job and become a field ecologist. I will settle for general adventurer. If I can complete a Tough Mudder, I can handle pretty much anything field ecology can throw at me. Except perhaps angry squirrels, I don't think they have them at events. You can be a great field ecologist without crawling about under live wires and scrambling up greased halfpipes, but I hate doing things half-arsed. Problems: I can't run for shit. Can just about catch buses. 10-12km? NO. Don't think I've even hiked that before.I'm not that weak, but I can't do pull ups, let alone swing across monkey bars.I am fat as fuck. I am perfectly fine with being fat as fuck as long as I also get healthy, but I do not plan on getting stuck in any underwater pipes, and it would be so much easier to lift my bodyweight if my bodyweight was less than 229lbs. So, sorting that out, but the priority is strength and endurance, not deflating. That said, if I incidentally get small enough to fit into clothes from Primark, score.I have a broken handbone at the moment. Technically a problem. Practically, as long as I don't go around punching things and crawling about on my knuckles until it's healed, should be fine. Training Plan: This'll be broken down across several six-week challenges, and will consist of following the prescribed workouts available on the Tough Mudder website, from Mudderling to Tough Mudder, as well as getting my running endurance up - from Running At All to 12km and beyond. Will throw in some hiking as well. Meanwhile, I'll be following the diet that's served me well whenever I've stuck to it - put in all the protein and vegetables, watch portion sizes (keep intake around 1500-1800kcal), try to avoid nutritionally crap food. I won't include processed food in general in "nutritionally crap" because my main source of protein is Quorn and I NEED MY SAUSAGES. Sod those veggie sausages that are basically just cheese and potato. That is not proper sausages. Not proper sausages at all. Draft Timeline: Now: Stop procrastinating, get back to work. Weeks until next 6-week challenge: Start Couch to 5k. Work on the strength training program you've been working on this challenge. Do not re-break hand. Try out new exercises from Mudderling program so you can start it with good form. Eat clean. Hike on weekends. 1st 6 week TM-related challenge: Mudderling training program. Continue running program; aim to do 5km by end of challenge. Eat clean, hike on weekends. 2nd 6 week TM-related challenge: See above. (Aim to run 7.5km by end of challenge.) 3rd 6 week TM-related challenge: See above; move on to Maybe Mudder; aim to run 10km by end of challenge. 4th 6 week TM-related challenge: Same as above, but aim for 12.5km. 5th 6 week TM-related challenge: Blah blah, Tough Mudder program, 15km 6th blahblahblah: Blah. As far as you possibly can. Blah. Odd object training to toughen up skin on hands. Between challenge breaks - focus on maintenance and troubleshooting. So let's say that's 36 challenge weeks, 1.5 weeks between each one, and about three weeks till next challenge. That's 46.5 weeks. Beyond 6th Challenge: See 6th challenge. I am expecting things will not go completely smoothly, but there are a couple of weeks' leeway between the end of the 6th challenge and when the event might roughly be, so there will be catch-up time. On the other hand, if by some miracle I progress really rapidly, then there are always ways to make it harder. Overaiming regarding running, but if I aim high I might just scrape a pass for what I probably should be aiming for. This is going to be shit, isn't it? Yay.
  2. Please forgive any lack of editing, as I just want to get this posted. A girl, a teenager and a woman went seeking the guru who would help them find true happiness. The guru lived at the top of a mountain, so the three set off on their journey. They knew it would take a lot of effort and time, but they thought they were ready. At first, they travelled through the foothills, and it was like a walk in the woods. The little girl skipped along happily, the woman seemed to be enjoying the pleasant surroundings, and the teenager hiked along with them dutifully and uncomplaining. The trail started to get a bit rougher, and the teenager tripped. She caught herself before falling, but grumbled and swore and actually walked more stiffly than before. The girl continued to prance up the trail, sometimes climbing tree stumps or hiding behind trunks, but sometimes she would glance nervously at the teen, then put a happy smile back on as if there was nothing to worry about. The woman tried to be encouraging and empathetic, but sometimes she, too, would get frustrated by something and tense up or otherwise react. This continued as they climbed. The teen trotted along as expected, except when something out of the ordinary happened. Then her reactions became unpredictable – sometimes swearing, sometimes throwing a stick or rock in frustration, or sometimes crying if she felt the problem was somehow her fault. The teen rarely hopped up on any of the fallen logs like the girl; she seemed afraid to do so. Often, after tripping or encountering another issue on the trail, the teenager would tell the girl where to walk or how to navigate the path so as not to have the same problem. The girl seemed to resent this, however. She would do what the teen asked, but with a pouty face. The rest of the time, the girl seemed to try to put on a happy face, but her play would falter whenever one of the other two expressed anger or frustration. Her attitude began to look forced, and she would peek at her companions nervously when she thought they were not looking. Gradually, the girl’s frolicking became more and more reserved, as if she was concerned that one of the other two would get angry at her. The woman alternated between encouraging the teen and girl on the path, trying to empathize with their feelings, and dealing with her own frustration and anger. In many ways, the woman reacted like the teen did to unexpected occurrences and obstacles, but she would stop herself fairly quickly and go quiet for a time before returning to her encouragement. Sometimes the woman would follow the girl in her play, but she hesitated before jumping up on logs or climbing branches, and her activity seemed stiff and reserved. Finally, the three came into a clearing. At the far side of the clearing was a ravine about 20 feet across, with a river at the bottom about 30 feet below. The only way to cross appeared to be a large, wide tree that had fallen across the chasm. The teenager’s face went stony, and she crossed her arms without saying a word, staying far back from the edge. The woman started to try to talk the teen into crossing the fallen tree, being encouraging, but subtle aspects of her body language said that she was nervous about the crossing as well. The girl promptly climbed up on the fallen tree and started to play in the branches on this side of the ravine. “Get down!†Yelled the teen at the same time as the woman cried, “Wait!†The girl froze. Composing herself, the woman went on. “How about you come play over here, farther away from the edge, until we are all ready to go across?†The girl opened her mouth as if to argue, then looked at the teen’s scowl. Her internal struggle was almost visible, as she tried to decide if it was worth making a fuss. Apparently deciding that peace was more important, the girl came away from the tree and sat on the ground, dejectedly fussing with some plants and sticks. The woman sighed and opened her backpack, searching the contents. She did not seem to find what she was looking for, and started to get very frustrated. She closed the pack angrily, tossing it a few feet as she did so. The girl seemed to shrink a bit more into the vegetation, though she barely moved or changed what she was doing. Then the woman closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths before returning to the teen. Just as the woman restarted her cajoling of the teenager, the sound of wind gusts overhead made them all look up. A majestic golden dragon landed in the clearing, between the three girls and the ravine. The dragon looked at them with compassion and sadness in its eyes, then spoke. “I have been watching you for quite some time,†it said. “It saddens me to see you – with all of the potential and strength you have – derailed by such minor obstacles. You spend so much time worrying that there is little room for anything else. You worry about whether or not you did something wrong, about whether or not you might get hurt, about what people are thinking, and about what might happen. With all the worrying, I am afraid that you will never be able to reach your goal, even if you are able to get across the ravine. There are always obstacles in life. You have the ability to overcome them, but is it worth it if you feel so bad in the meantime?†The dragon paused to let them absorb what it had said. The girl scuffed her feet, the teenager’s eyes started to water, and the woman tensed, but put on a brave face. The dragon sighed and shook its head slightly. “Do you like the way things are?†It asked. “No,†said the teen softly as the little girl shook her head, looking fearful. The woman bravely said, “of course not. That is why we came on this quest.†“I thought so,†said the dragon, “but had to be sure. You see, what you need at this point is somewhat simple. Simple, but not at all easy. It will be a lot of hard work, but if you are diligent, the rewards will be immeasurable. Do you want to proceed?†“Yes,†said the woman and teen. The girl just nodded. “Good. Here are the 3 keys that you need in your situation: Build physical confidence, Learn to see the silver lining, and Show love for yourself.†The girls and woman looked at each other in confusion. The teen spoke up, exasperated, “But how do we do that? What does it mean?†“That,†said the dragon, “you must discover for yourself, as it is slightly different for everyone. But I believe you can handle it.†The dragon smiled, and continued, “I will be watching your progress.†Then it launched into the air and disappeared over the treetops. “I still don’t understand,†huffed the teen. “That was almost worse than no help at all!†“I think I have some ideas,†the woman said. She pulled some paper out of her backpack and began to draw up a plan. ************************************* Translation: As those of you who have followed me in the past are probably aware, it is easy for me to get very critical and to focus on the negative and not the positive in things that are happening. Many years of doing this have had a far-reaching effect on my life. I have been working on fixing a lot of the baggage that contributes to this tendency for the last few years. Through that work, I have come to realize that all the characters in this story are aspects of myself – the little girl and teenager are the 2 most active aspects of my inner child, the woman is how I am most of the time now (trying to do my best with a fair amount of reason and empathy, but still worried, scared, and “ashamed†sometimes), and the dragon is my inner strength and wisdom – that part that I can tap into once in awhile when I stop caring about what everyone else thinks or what might happen and just focus on being who I am. With the understandings I have been able to develop and the work I have done over the last couple of years, it seems that what I really need now is to develop the habits that will help contribute to “true happiness†and let me spend more time being the woman (and the good parts of the little girl) and the dragon instead of being stuck in one of the negative parts of the kid modes. In updates, I will try to remember to put more than a passing reference to psychological mumbo-jumbo or the negative things I am having difficulty overcoming under a spoiler tag. Goals Each goal below shows how it will be graded, then has a list of the types of activities that count towards the goal. Because the focus of this challenge is developing the habit of positivity, I will not grade my challenge except for at the very end for the purpose of the guild report. All other self-evaluation will be focused on support, encouragement, and improvement, as outlined in each of the goal sections below. Goal 1: Build physical confidence (+2 STR, +2 STA, +1 DEX) This goal has 3 parts, each of which will be rated based on how many times per week I do activities from that category. Strength training: (4 basic parts- upper push, upper pull, lower, core) 0/need more support; 1/A good start; 2/Nice –keep it going; 3/Great! Really developing strength; 4/Wow- Amazing; 5+/â€I am the Dragon†What counts: BBWW, ABWW, Angry Birds, other BW workouts, gardening/digging, intense cleaning, massaging, kayaking, climbing, etc. Aerobic: (anything that gets my heart rate up) 0/need more support; 1/A good start; 2/Nice –keep it going; 3/Great! Really developing endurance; 4/Wow- Amazing; 5+/â€I am the Dragon†What counts: walking, c25k, Zombies! Run, cycling (normal or stationary), swimming, physical play with family, walking/hiking, etc. Flexibility: 0-1/need more support; 2/A good start; 3/Nice –keep it going; 4-5/Great! Really developing flexibility; 6/Wow- Amazing; 7/â€I am the Dragon†What counts: yoga, stretching, etc. Goal 2: Learn to see the silver lining (think positive) (+4 CHA, +1 CON) This is scored based on how many times per day I can turn to the positive instead of the negative (It counts even if I have to spend a lot of time talking myself into it). 0-1/need more support; 2/A good start; 3/Nice –keep it going; 4-5/Great! Starting to be more positive; 6/Wow- Amazing!; 7+/â€I am the Dragon†What Counts: Pollyanna-ing a situation as it happens (Asking what might be good about a negative situation) Removing labels and judgment from a situation to get rid of emotional charge Looking for another explanation (i.e., why might that guy have cut me off other than him being a jerk?) Practicing gratitude Translations (putting the positive intention behind an action into words for my brain) Naturally seeing what could be a negative situation as positive or neutral Goal 3: Show love for myself (+3 WIS, +2 CON) This one will be scored by week based on a points system (yes- another person on the points bandwagon). Everything has been assigned a point value based on how much it seems to help fill my emotional bank account, relatively speaking. I placed the middle of the scale according to how much I seem to need to stay stable, and the high end is a guess as to what I need to be happy. I am really not sure how this will work, since I have little experience with doing things for myself in a healthy way, as opposed to an addictive way. I will add to this list as I find more things that fit. 0-6 0-9 points/need more support; 7-13 10-19 /A good start; 14-20 20-29 /Nice –keep it going; 21-27 30-39 /Great! Really starting to appreciate myself; 28-34 40-49 /Wow- Amazing; 35 50+/â€I am the Dragon†What Counts: Points Activity 1 Meditation 5 Visiting with friends 2 Reaching out to friends – email/text 3 Reaching out to friends – phone call 3 Quality time with kid(s) 3 Fun with Hubby (not that, perv! Well, maybe. But I won’t tell you if it is that or just hanging out. ) 1 Self-appreciation (yes, telling myself/writing what I like about myself. Cheesy, but it works) 2 Talk myself out of negative mood/show myself empathy 3 “Speak shame†(see the work of Brene Brown) 2 Treat myself - Buy a small something for myself or make a yummy food for me, etc. 4 "Show up, be seen, live brave" (also Brene Brown) 4 Special activity for me (riding, meetings, work on my healthy pregnancy projects, etc.) Checking NF or Facebook does NOT count, as I tend to get too addictive with these activities. Ooops… Life Quest Most of this challenge IS a life quest, so I am not adding an extra one. I will be starting this challenge immediately, to give myself a chance to test the goals and make changes as needed. If I like these first few days, I will keep them as part of the main challenge. Otherwise, it will officially start on Monday. Notes: 6/10 - edited Self-love scoring to more accurately reflect how I am feeling after the dry run week.
  3. Last challenge, I decided that I was going to add an appearance goal to my next quest. Because, hey, every gal wants to look good when she's got a big night out... Whether it's a smokin' date... with a hot guy... Or just an excuse to go out with the girls To check out the latest in fashionable footwear. Let's face it. A power suit conveys authority. But there are those times when you just want to get down and dirty... And cruise through town driving a screaming red truck with the biggest engine you can find. Even if no one understands what you really do... The celebrities you admire... Why you go to places everyone else is leaving They don't understand what's important to you: "They're just some old trees," they say. "What's one deer worth?" "There are so many other ways to make friends and serve your community..." There are just some things you can't explain. Things that go deeper than words, That may appear unrealistic, foolish, even dangerous to others. But if it is your quest, your destiny, you must pursue it. Or forever wonder what might have been... Motivation My motivation is simple: I want to fight fires again. To that end, my current Main Quest encompasses a 40 week program to get me "fire fit" - physically, mentally and spiritually - and ends in my attending the Arizona Wildfire Academy in mid-March of 2015 ready to pass my Work Capacity Test, so that I can re-qualify as a wildland firefighter. I plan to be ready to go for wildfire season 2015 in the southwest U.S on either a Type 2 hand crew or a wildland engine crew. Additional details in my Battle Log. (Many additional details - you have been warned.) Firefighters Train Hard to Work Hard STA-3, STR-2 This challenge overlaps Weeks 2 - 7 of my "Forty Weeks to Fire Fit" program, subsequently referred to as "40W2FF." Included in my program is a gradual ramp up in order to build the necessary heat tolerance for exercising outdoors in the high temperatures of a Phoenix, AZ summer and altitude tolerance for the 4 - 6 days per month that I will be at 7,000 ft. above sea level in Flagstaff, AZ. I will provide details of my use of a breathing trainer, heart rate monitor, and all the other geeky stat stuff of my program. (Oh, ye Gods and Goddesses! The Nomograms!) If you have a particular question, just ask. Many moons ago I used to be the training officer in my department and I love to pontificate... Endurance Just Might Save Your Life (STA-3) For wildland fire suppression, endurance is the primary focus, as opposed to the sheer strength demanded by structural firefighting. Weeks 2 - 7 of Phase 1 coincide with this challenge. Phase 1 - 8 week program of walking transitioning to walk/jog intervals. Success will be being able to walk/jog in intervals for a distance of 5K, with an average heart rate of 145 or below, and a peak HR under 155. Goal time: < 45 minutes Strength Could Well Save Someone Else's (STR-2) A pre-conditioning program and two additional phases of a body weight strength program timed to reach the goal of starting the Hotshot Strength program (Phase 3) at Week 29 of my 40 week program. Weeks 2 - 4 of Phase 0, and Weeks 1 - 3 of Phase 1 coincide with this challenge. Phase 0 - 4 weeks of continued injury recovery and pre-conditioning program utilizing exercises from “Durability†section below. Focus on getting elbows to withstand pushups and pull-ups by dropping back and then gradually progressing from wall pushups and lightly weighted rows; establishing base of low set and rep numbers on the other exercises. This is early stage stuff while I establish my top priority right now, the base aerobic levels of my endurance program. Phase 1 - 12 week assisted exercise program of knee-pushups; assisted pull-ups, grip hangs and rows; modified dips; lunges and variations. Additionally - squats, planks, sit-ups, burpees and variations. This will kick things up a notch and prepare me for an increased focus on strength training in Phase 2. Firefighters Take Good Care of Their Rigs CON-5 Care of your vehicle is mission critical. Fueling it right, maintaining all of its systems, having every piece of equipment anchored, in the right place, and in good working order is of the highest priority. I will fuel my vehicle with high-quality, nutrient dense foods with an eye to maintaining endurance and muscle, while trimming off excess weight. I will learn to tailor my macros to the phases of my training. Keep the Crud Out of the Tank! (CON-1) No Soda PVP Achieve another 42 days of my 365 total on the No Soda PVP. This is a reduced point number from last challenge (CON-5) because it is so much easier now! Change the Oil and Lube the Chassis Regularly, Check All Fluids and Maintain Recommended Levels (CON-2) Durability (CON-1) Comprehensive set of warmups, mobility/stability, and “prehab†exercises for an older female athlete. Bone-builders (including jumping exercises); spine/shoulder//hip/knee exercises to maintain joint health; dynamic stretching to increase ROM and overall flexibility; specific exercises for identified weak areas including head/neck/spine alignment and bi-lateral muscle balance, ankles, wrists/hand/grip, pelvic floor, and elbows. I MUST warm up before every exercise session. Fluids (CON-1) Optimize H2O intake. Consume between 80 and 96 oz. of water on "normal" days; up to 128 oz. or more on high activity days in hot, dry conditions. Keep in mind that, if I were a vehicle manufactured in 1958, I would be considered an antique. Humpf... There are those that would consider me irreparable, over-the-hill, not worth restoring... Or only fit for a parade... I aim to prove them wrong! Body Composition Mission (CON-2) My 40 week end goal is a bodyweight of ~150#, +/-5# as long as my body fat % is at 20% or less using the U.S. Navy Body Fat Calculator. This tends to be a little under actual, so a DEXA scan would be even better, acceptable BF% < 24%. Goal for this challenge is to drop my BF% by at least 3 percentage points, to 36% or less. This will be from a combination of fat loss (primarily) and lean mass gain. (The following was calculated using US Navy Body Fat Calculator, it is an estimate. I think the calculator is somewhat overestimating my recent fat loss/lean muscle gain, but that it will all even out by the time I reach my goal weight.) Body Composition - Current Total Mass: 190 lbs. Lean Mass: 116 lbs. Fat Mass: 74 lbs. BF% = 39% Waist = 37" Hips = 43" Neck = 15" Height: 5'6 1/2" One Year Ago Total Mass: 206 lbs. Lean Mass: 107 lbs. Fat Mass: 99 lbs. BF% = 48% Waist = 42" Hips = 46" Neck = 16" Height: 5'5 3/4" 2004 (Fire Academy) Total Mass: 152 lbs. Lean Mass: 117 lbs. Fat Mass: 35 lbs. BF% = 23% Waist = 28" Hips = 37" Neck = 13" Height: 5'6 3/4" GOAL Total Mass: 150 lbs. Lean Mass: 120 lbs. Fat Mass: 30 lbs. BF% = 20% Waist = 27" Hips = 37" Neck = 14" Height: 5'6 3/4" Non-graded extras I want to experiment with at least one day per week of vegetarian eating and play with various combinations of macros to see how my body responds at different points in my training. Ideally, I will figure out an eating plan that will be useful as the intensity of my endurance and strength training increases. Firefighters Always Keep A Reserve of Water in Their Tank; They Top Off Their Tank at Every Opportunity DEX-1, WIS-2, CHA-2 You never run your water tank or other water source completely dry. Never. Otherwise you risk not having enough water for your own protection if things suddenly go south. You always keep that 100 gallon reserve available and you top off your tank at every opportunity. This may well be the hardest part of my challenge. I tend to go all out and to burn the candle at both ends. I will not succeed in my quest if I continue to do that. If I do, I will get injured or sick and will not be able to keep the pace I need to keep. I need to change my habit of staying up late to work or research or write or whatever until the wee hours of the morning and then turnaround and be up at 6:30 or 7 am. I regularly get by on just 4 or 5 hours of sleep during the week, then crash on the weekends. Rest, Recovery & Relaxation (WIS-2, CHA-1) Adequate rest and recovery will be critical to my success, as will providing for regular relaxation and recreation. Rest (WIS-1) Curfew/Bedtime/Lights Out - These are not synonymous. Curfew means I must "be in the house." Screens connected to the outside world must be turned off. Bedtime means actually in bed, but I may read, journal, meditate, or pray until lights out. Lights out - Dark, quiet, eyes shut, and brain powered down. Curfew is one hour before Lights Out. Bedtime can be any time between Curfew and Lights Out. Lights Out for Week One is 1:30 am, Week Two - 1:00 am, Week Three - 12:30 am, Week Four - midnight. At the end of Week Four, I will determine if I want or need to go any earlier for Lights Out. Going to bed much earlier messes with my wind down from work. (Often don't get home until 9:30 or so at night.) Wake Up Time is 7 am for Week One, 6:45 am for Week Two, 6:30 for Weeks Three through Six. Naps are fine, if needed. And, I reserve the right to adjust these times as I go along, as long as it is to increase my total sleep time overall. Recovery (WIS-1) Two cheat meals and one indulgent treat per week are not only allowed, they are encouraged. I am required to take at least one full day off of exercise per week, two if showing signs of undue fatigue or of developing any injury. (Situational Awareness applies to one's body, too!) Recreation (CHA-1) I must take a daily half-hour of recreation time and at least half a day per week of complete restorative down time, preferably much of that fully present with my partner. This is the time for all/any of those fun, relaxing, entertaining and/or creative things that get shoved aside by extra work, low priority household projects, ruminating, obsessing, surfing the net, mindlessly playing games or watching TV that one or the other or both of us don't even enjoy all that much. It's just habit. No more. No multi-tasking, no computer. No business activities, no studying, no housework or little nagging projects, or vegging out in front of the tube. No exceptions, no excuses. This time is my 100 gallon reserve. Attitude and Stress Management (DEX-1, CHA-1) To stay positive and not succumb to my depressive tendencies, or my doubts or fears about what I am attempting, I must cultivate inner strength and resilience. To stay peaceful and calm in the midst of great change and effort, I will manage my schedule and environment for enhanced productivity and streamlined maintenance. I will utilize the fantastic support network that is Nerd Fitness by actively participating in my guild, my accountabilibuddy groups and my PVPs. (Linked in my signature.) Daily Routines (CHA-1) Keep to a set of morning and evening routines that encapsulate recurring chores and desired actions into a simple, easy to follow checklist format. Besides carrying forward my kanban board, clutter patrol, and other good habits I have built in the last year, these routines also include a choice of tools for mental resilience and stress reduction - meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, inspirational reading, etc - of which I will do at least one once per day for a minimum of 10 minutes. These are mix and match, in any combination to reach the 10 minutes, for now. I hope that experimentation this challenge will give me clues as to which ones to focus on in more depth in future challenges. And I have set the bar low. I can always do more if time allows or I need the boost. Tai Chi (DEX-1) I considered including this under "Durability", but decided that it deserved a point of it's own. It is moving meditation, stress reduction, and a workout that can range from light recovery to challenging dynamic strength and flexibility, all in one. At least twice per week. This challenge is far more complex than I originally intended, and that is after I cut out a lot of stuff! I had great success last challenge with simpler, more focused goals, but I believe the quest I have chosen requires all of the above, and probably quite a bit more. For now, it is enough. The studying that I need to do, the drills, all of the other things can wait a little while so that I can get the central component firmly in place, my physical training. Everything else must serve and support the establishment of that. Once I am sure that is complete, then I can add in other things. Oh, and that appearance goal is going to be an un-graded mini-quest with the Renaissance Rebels. All of my activities for this challenge are quite simple to determine on a day-to-day basis: "Was X scheduled for today? Did I do X today?" Yes or no. I will log my progress in my challenge spreadsheet (currently under construction and to be finished prior to the challenge start). Each goal will be graded with the standard A, B, C, D, or F system using the usual percentages, and points awarded accordingly. And just because this is Nerd Fitness: (Cue Star Wars Theme...) Heh, heh. After three challenges of trying, I'm putting some of that Digital Storytellers learnin' to use. I've finally got myself a themed quest... And, oh, the truck porn that awaits!
  4. Hello Guys! I have been following Nerd Fitness emails for a while and I decided to give it a go and write here on the Forum! I am a reasonably healthy and slim individual, however, I have a very sedentary job (office-based) and after more than a year of pretty much no exercising I have started to feel as if I am deteriorating. I have started cycling to work every day about 2 months ago (3 miles each way, up hill back home!) and day on day I can start feeling the improvements to how easy it is to cycle. However, despite having this form of exercise very regularly (I now cycle instead of using public transport), I have been battling with lack of energy and complete lack of strength! I feel reasonably fit when I exercise but both my legs, core and arms feel really week. So... I have two questions really, and I hope that some of you could share your experience and suggestions: 1) What sort of exercise program/sport would help me to develop much more strength and endurance without necessarily making me gain a lot of muscles (a little bit of fat loss would be always welcome)? 2) What sort of dietary/exercise improvements would you suggest to feel more energetic every day? I feel sluggish and it really irritates me as I'm only 25 and feel that really would like to be full of energy! I sleep OK most of the nights (7-7 1/2 hours), I don't use any caffeine but I do eat sugary foods most of the days. Your share of wisdom would be much appreciated :-)
  5. Challenge #6 Continuing my weight loss goal from the last challenge. I’m almost back to where I was in November. My ideal weight from when I was in good shape in my 20s and 30s is 152-157 pounds. Last challenge I lost two pounds to reach 166. My goal is to lose 12 pounds total, four pounds per challenge for this challenge and the next until I get there. + 4 CHA (1 point/pound lost) Update: I did a one week experiment over the break between challenges. I ate no processed sugar and very little white flour (two hot dog buns with brats). I did eat fruit. I ate as much as I wanted of regular food. My weight this morning was 163. After struggling for months, I lost 3 pounds in a week. Talk about motivation. I did not have any of the weird emotional or physical symptoms that some people report from quitting sugar. There were points when I craved carbs, but not specific sweet things. Food: I’ve gotten good at cooking veggies and protein for meals. My carb intake is much lower than it used to be. I’m eating three meals a day. My breakfast includes protein and veggies. Last challenge I cut out snacks in the mornings and commercial baked goods. I will continue those good habits. I am going to continue the no sugar with occasional exceptions. I expect there is a dark chocolate rabbit in my future. I’ve been resistant to calorie counting because I felt it was too much work. That sounds like a challenge. I am going to do analysis on two recipes a week and build up a database of information on food I eat. I have a small kitchen scale for just this purpose. I can weight things before I put them on my plate. This data will let me see how close I am to hitting my macro targets. I am using http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/ for nutrition information. Macro targets: 2016 calories 165g protein (660 cal) + 50-100g fat (450-900 cal) + carbs to total [226-114g, 906-456 cal from carbs – eat less carbs on days with more fat] Scoring: 12 recipes analyzed = A 11 = B 10 = C 8 = D Demerits for commercial sweets or overdoing treats. Bonus for each full day analysis. +2 WIS Sleep: Repeat from last challenge. I learned in my last challenge that 8 hours sleep is MUCH better than 7½ hours. Being short on sleep contributes to stress and bad decision making, which is how I got to where I am now. I want to be happy and productive consistently. Goals: In bed between 9:30 and 10:00pm on work nights. I would like to shift my schedule earlier so that I can work out in the mornings. Getting up earlier gets easy for me as the sun rises earlier. Getting to bed earlier is the hard part. Do not start anything after 9:00pm. Finish up what I’m doing and get ready for bed. If I still have time at 9:15 I can get clothes and food ready for the next day. Weekends get to bed by 11:00pm unless there is a special event. Naps are allowed and encouraged. I have dance class on Sunday evenings. On nights that I teach I am there until 9:30pm. Even at my most efficient I can’t make it home and in bed by 10:00pm. (I tested this last night). I need to make up that sleep earlier in the weekend. Accountability: Mon-Thurs 8 hours per night Fri-Sun 24 hours total A = 8 hours, B = 7.75 hours, C = 7.5 hours, D = 7.25 hours, F < 7.25 hours weekly average +1 STA, +1 CON, +1 WIS Exercise: I am still recovering from a knee injury. I will keep doing knee/core physical therapy exercises to deal with that. Getting rid of the pain is far more motivating than any NF challenge could be, so that is not counted here. I also want to improve my aerobic capacity and endurance. Unfortunately, I can’t push endurance work until my knee is fully recovered. I have already re-strained it twice. I am also going to emphasize stretching this time to deal with my sore left arm/shoulder and tight leg muscles. I am using the Warrior Flexibility Program by Tyler Bramlett for this challenge. A = 1 HIIT or 1 long walk, bike ride or other cardio + 3 full stretching sessions +PT. B = missed one of above or 2 rest days C = missed two of above or (missed one + 2 rest days) D = really bad week +2 DEX, +1 STA Life goal: Clean up my space. I have lots of things that need to be sorted and put away. I also have a big aikido party at my house on April 26 and houseguests over Memorial Day weekend. Goal: three tasks per week, bonus points (for loot) for getting more done. Weeks 1 & 2 Put away holiday card boxes. One round of sorting and shelving books in the living room Sell/donate unwanted books and clothes Hang painting in fireplace room. (takes two people, has been on my to-do list since last summer) Sweep deck, vacuum porch furniture. Clean up bird mess and wash porch windows. Standard vacuuming, dusting, sweeping and bathroom cleaning.Weeks 3 & 4 One round of filing papers. Clean up garden Prune bushes by driveway Sort and put away boxes of tools and supplies in mud room. Take off window plastic and clean windows. Get rid of dead printers.Weeks 5 & 6 Deep clean office/guest room Childproof office/guest room Clean baby gate, bring in from garage Start digging new garden beds Spread new wood chips around shrubs Harden off seedlings Standard vacuuming, dusting, sweeping and bathroom cleaning. +3 CHA
  6. MAIN QUESTMain Quest: BADASS LARPerFit into size 12 clothes andwalk up 80 acres hill at a steady pace without taking breaks.Goals: 1. Do 5 min workout 5 days a week. 2. Practice hand stands a la Beginners Guide to Handstands. 3. Cut the Sweets. One treat per week. SIDE QUESTSLife Side Quest: Completed budget with debt snowballMOTIVATION Motivation comes down to wanting to be healthier, fit in my clothes and not be wasted a 1/4 of the way up the hill where we LARP. Once upon a time I was lean and strong and wore a size 10. Physically I was at my healthiest then. I want that energy, focus and body back.
  7. Hi guys! I'm pretty new here, and to lifting as a whole, and I really want to get a solid plan in place for the summer. My first post talks a little more about my past with working out and stuff, but I'll break it out here, too. Fitness Goals - these are varied, and some are long term, but my big ones are below. Stick with this plan (ending around May 22nd) to get a base goingCome up with another plan to start afterwardsRun a half marathon in September 2014Learn to manage my eating/cravings/etc betterLook as healthy and happy as Spezzy and these girls do (that would be awesome)Exercise Preference I really enjoy lifting, even though I just started a few weeks ago after I saw this super fit girl at a wine tasting and was like, "Damn, she looks amazing and also like she could beat me up." I don't want to get beaten up, and it would probably be a good call to be strong enough to save myself if I happen to be dangling off of a cliff by one hand. What I'm doing is powerlifting, I think? (Squats, DL, bench, etc.) I also enjoy running, and bodyweight stuff is fantastic because it's at home (aka not expensive). Current Physical Stats Female225'124-126 range (due to having absolutely no idea how to eat for muscle gains)Previous Training History I've never had a lifting program before. I've done some sporadic Blogilates training, and last summer was doing a decent amount of bodyweight. I love having a plan, though, and crossing stuff off helped me stick to it. Current Training Plan listed above in goals. I'm new, so my DL is about 60lbs, bench is just the bar for ten reps, and squat is somewhere in the 75lb range when I'm not using the squat machine thing. I wanted to take it slow and make sure I'm stable before I make big jumps in weight. I'm also running several times a week with my rowing team, but taking it a little easier due to some ouchiness in the shins/knees. I'll be working 4 solid days of longer running into my plan starting in June to train for the half marathon, but I have no issue doing HIIT cardio, too. Current Diet Here's where things get ugly. I dropped carbs dramatically three years ago to get rid of my freshman 20, which I did in 3 months. Yay! I've been off bread and pasta so long that eating them now makes me feel sick, and eating lower-carb really makes me feel better and less bloated. I try to stay on the paleo/fresh veggies and stuff side of things, but I love things like peanut butter, hummus, and don't think those things are my issue. I'm struggling to come up with the correct set of macros, though, now that I've started lifting. I track my eating with MyNetDiary Pro, and am trying to stick to the caloric intake for the day, but it doesn't really have a low carb setting. WTF should I be eating in terms of carbs, fats, and proteins? 20-40-40 seems reasonable, since I try to stick to less than 100g of carbs a day, anyway, but I'd love recommendations from other low-carb lifters/runners. Current Resources/Limitations Until May, I have access to my university gym, which has pretty much everything I need. I'm hoping to join a local gym, which I'm currently checking out with their free trial, and it seems pretty great. If not, I can join the university gym again for a fee. I don't have a job lined up yet for the summer/rest of my life, so it's looking relatively free for now. I do ride my horse a lot in the summer, but that's usually evenings and weekends to beat the heat. Thanks for your help guys!
  8. 13th April, 2951 of the Third Age- A new evil has revealed itself in the South as conflict blazes in the North. I suppose as Dùnedain my prerogative should be to defend the North while all others are preoccupied by this new threat in the South. Since I was young, I've been taught how to navigate the land and many of the plants and their used. If I am to survive, I need to train more before I go off to defend our home. I have decided to stay with the elves in Lothlórien and improve my body and mind. I spoke to an elf named Mordaer. He calls me Beretheldir. He pushes my strength to it's limits do be able to scale the trees as the elves do. He already has made be run to the point I thought I'd collapse. When I'm not improving my body, I am improving my mind. Only a man who thinks lives. I am to study the scrolls on the plants of our world. He says I am not a true ranger if I cannot use nature to win my battles. Without intellect, a ranger is just another man with a sword and a bow running off to fight evil. Tomorrow begins my first day of real training. I'm looking forward to it. Main Goal - Build Strength and Increase Endurance (STR 5 / STA 3 ) 1) Do body weight workout 3 days a week 2) Run with my dog at least twice a week 3) Do yoga everyday to increase flexibility to protect me from injury when I go on to harder (and more fun) activities Side goals 1) Apply to go back to school (WIS 2) 2) Touch my toes (DEX 3) Life Goal(s) 1) Save up for engagement ring (CHA 2) My Motivation I have been very sick this past year. I am a type one diabetic and began to get sick every day. I am now on a very strict SCD/Paleo Diet which has made me feel better than I have in years. I still have some days where I have a bad reaction to food, so I have chosen to consider myself a Lycan. Now I want to get my life back and become even better than before.
  9. Hello! I just started training for parkour two days ago and I've been reading absolutely everything I can find on the subject. I always wanted to do something like this sport when I was little and I pretty much thought I had invented it, but good news is someone did it for me! So now I'm finally taking the time to get into it - needless to say, I'm a complete newbie. So far I have been working on building strength and endurance through circuit training. I do 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, 10 squats, and I cycle through that typically three or four times. Then I've been working on my maneuvering - so far this includes jumping, landing, and very low difficulty vaulting. So you more experienced traceurs - have you got any advice as to what else I might try? What kinds of things should I do to really build my strength and endurance?
  10. So, I usually post @ the bodyweight section of this forum. Mostly, because I'm focusing much more on my bodyweight techniques than on cross training (used to do that, but want to get my strength up in a hurry). But I thought it be nice to share this small circuit challenge with you guys. BTW, the link is to my blog so, yes, this has some blalant self promotion in it. The circuit consists on burpees, pull-ups, hanging leg raises and animal movements done in ladder format. People with a crossfit background will be kind of used to something like this. So, for the details: the link: An Evil Easter Challeng @ Motus Virtute Enjoy!
  11. Hello! I am looking for suggestions on how to create leaner legs....in particular leaner thighs. I am in decent shape, a 23 yr old woman 5'1 and about 127 lbs. I am currently living outside the U.S. and I don't have access to a gym or weights. I've been doing a lot of push-ups, plank, squats, lunges, various ab exercises in addition to running (only about 2-3miles) about 3x-4x a week. There seems to be quite a bit of debate online about running long distance versus interval training to create leaner legs so I'm really confused as to what I should be doing. I should probably also mention that I tend to hold most of my fat on my inner thighs but overall I have pretty large thigh muscles.Since I am living outside of the U.S. my diet has changed quiet a bit as access to vegetables has been a bit of struggle. I've more less been eating an unintentionally vegan diet for the past month. Any suggestions would be wonderful!!
  12. After much deliberation I decided to join this challenge after all. This is my first challenge with you assassins, after I hung around looking at all your inspiring threads during the previous challenge. During my previous (and first) challenge I lifted heavy weights while trying to get a handstand and my first pull up. At the end I realised that I like heavy weights, but that at present I don’t have the time to train as much as I want to. It impacted on the performance in my aerial sessions, and I realised that I prefer functionality to pure strength for its own sake. This experience made me think about what I want to achieve and what I enjoy. And this brought me to one of my childhood heroes, Indiana Jones. My favourite of the three movies (there never was a third as far as I am concerned) is the last crusade. When I saw that I wanted to study archaeology and jump from a horse onto moving things. By now I know that I will do neither, but I definitely can improve my stunt woman skills. 1. To be Indiana Jones/ a stunt woman I will need more strength Pull upIf I slide of that tank when finally jumping from the horse, I will need to be able to pull myself up. I am very close to one pull up, this challenge I will get it! Aim: To be able to do one pull up by the end of the challenge HandstandOnce up on the tank I need to confuse them. So if I could do a handstand, it would look smooth and throw them a bit. (I will try on the floor first before I do it up on a tank) I will practice both 3x/week A – 3x/week B – 2x/week C – 1x/week F- no practice all week Aim: To be able to hold a wall handstand for 60 seconds and get away from the wall for 10 seconds 2. I will also need to be faster and have more endurance, so I can outrun them. I will do Hiit training and/or conditioning 4 times/ week for at least 15 minutes A- 4x/week B - 3x/week C - 2x/week D - 1x/week F- No training all week 3. The last point in all this is flexibility and movement I am not so sure that Indiana Jones is flexible, but I’m sure my stunt performance will improve if I am getting more bendy and if I am able to roll/ move around more smoothly. I will work on it 4x/week, time will vary depending on work commitments A – 4x/week B – 3x/week C – 2x/week D - 1x/week F- no practice all week Aim: to get the front splits Life quest Language One of my brothers lives in Denmark. He has three lovely children, who I really want to be able to speak to. I got myself a Danish course from the library and will work through one unit/week. I will meet them again in July, so learning Danish during these 6 weeks should help me to get started.
  13. Hi folks, Texas Toast here, and I'm in need of some help. I have some hiking experience (one thing we did for sure in the USMC Infantry, it was WALK) but what I'm gettin ready for is a hike of epic proportions. Next spring, to raise money for cancer survivors to go to college, I will be hiking the Appalachian Trail from start to finish. I won't be goin at it alone, I will be accompanied by a fellow Veteran who deployed with me to Afghanistan. But this kind of endeavour is fairly new to me. I have some prep time, but would like to get some input from some Rebellion members who have some experience in this aspect. What kind of physical preperations should I be doing in the mean time? Expectations for the trail (will be starting in Georgia in April)? What type of gear should I expect to be humping in? http://www.crowdrise.com/HikeforCFC/fundraiser/cancerforcollege1 This is the link to the fundraising site for our hike if anyone would like to read a little bit about our backround and what our cause is about. And here is a picture of me in all my insane glory. Thanks in advance yall!
  14. The foundations are set. The stars are aligned. My VO2max is substantial. It is time to put it to the test. It was a long and arduous journey to overcome a marked weakness in cardiovascular capacity and bipedal locomotion. After nearly five years, a man has finally trained enough in order to be a mediocre runner and a non-pathetic walker. It is time to transition from training to doing. It is time to start moving. "The slower we move, the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living." - Up In The Air THE QUEST A half-marathon cometh, and a man intends to partake in one's very first. Ebb and Flow: Log in 22 miles of running before the event, and 12 total days of lifting. (STA +2, STR +2) Testing The Waters: Participate in the Tobacco Road Half-Marathon and finish in under 3:00:00. (STA +4) Waves in All Things: Participate in at least 2 other physical events. (DEX +2, STA +2) SIDE QUEST Spanish Waters: Complete 30 modules of the Pimsleur Spanish Beginner Course. (WIS +2, CHA +1) THE MOTIVATION http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ijCSu87I9k Machete at your service, scouts.
  15. Coming in a bit late, but assassins bypass any obstacles, whether physical or temporal. I’ve been a long time lurker, this is my 1st challenge. I think I’d probably be higher than level 1, but… I’ve been training for Ninja Warrior for about 8 months now. I climbed 5 days a week for 6 months, with Parkour practice on sat. I have a new baby boy, 3 months old, and had to scale back workouts for 2 months. After a month of hardcore training, I think I am roughly at the same level I was before. Bouldering: Raise skill level.Bouldering is rock climbing, without ropes, usually up to 20’ or so. The gyms I attend have very padded floors, so 20’ drops are NBD. Plus I get to practice my rolls. The rating works like this : V0-15+. V0-1 are rather easy.Any decently fit person could do most of these. V2-3 starts to get more difficult, but can usually be muscled through. V4+ is technical, meaning if you do not approach the moves in the “correct†way (for you, different people do same routes different ways), you WILL NOT be able to complete it. Before my hiatus, I was breaking into V4-5 range, but my skills went downhill on my break. I’m back into the V3-4 range, but in the next six weeks I’ll get comfortable with V5, or die trying. This means: Improving my technical skill at climbing. Parkour: Laches, TicTacs, Wall run upsLache: Swing from one bar, let go, cross the intervening space, and grab the next bar. Super scary, which is amusing for me. I love dynos, which are a leap from one rock hold to another, but laches scare the poops out of my butt. TicTac: Use one wall to leap higher up onto an opposing wall. I can do small tictacs to cat hangs, but I want to go bigger. Wall runups: Run up a wall, grab the top climb over. I have a 10’ run up atm, but would like to go higher. EnduranceWhat I’m really lacking. Considering I smoke a pack a day, I don’t think I’m horrible, but my plan is to smoke less, jump a lot of rope, and run at least 8 miles a week. LifeGoals: Rekindle romance in my marriage! Love my wife alot, but new baby means less intimacy. Date night once a week, and something extra special at least once! Time to get my bright red hardhat out of my trunk, and go to work….not at my plumbing job!
  16. The toe of my chucks made contact with a stone, sending it skittering away down the path in front of me. A chill wind pushed at me from behind; I hunched over a bit more, jamming my cold hands further into my pockets. Weather or no weather, I won’t be deterred from my walks. Taking alleyways, back roads, and the hidden footpaths of the moss junkies, I spent the last year winding my way around the deserted underbelly of my city. At the beginning, I avoided the lively upscale courtyards and the ghettos crawling with junkies with equal revulsion -- too many people, too much noise. I need solitude. My strategy took me to the edges where not even the social refuse cared to go. I explored the defunct docks, the boarded up mill, and the fire-eaten tenements of Broadpebble Road. Occasionally I encountered some other solitary soul, or maybe a small cluster of new rejects huddled around a barrel fire. Never two times, though. Days or weeks later, on my next pass through, I’d find the area empty once again. Either they moved on toward the more hospitable ghettos, or the bailiffs got them. Today I was exploring a new route through the deserted southeastern side of the city. Two decades ago this place was vibrant with merchants and artisans, the life-blood of my city. They kept us self-sufficient, creating all we could possibly need for food, fuel, household goods, and recreation from the materials gathered by workers outside the city walls. My city was a beacon to the surrounding territories, a shining jewel of independence on the banks of the Great River. The plague came slowly. A few merchants arrived at Mercy Hospital with ugly greenish-black boils, the like of which had never been seen before. The hospital found a treatment that seemed to work within hours, and sent the folks back to work. The next day, those people came back with more boils, oozing and raw this time, and more folks came in. The doctors and nurses kept trying to find a successful treatment, but each time something seemed to work, the affect was shortlived. Within a week, almost all of those who were initially infected had died. Despite the city’s ironclad policy about maintaining traditional burial ceremonies, those who died from the boils were immediately burned to ash and buried outside the city walls to prevent further spread. This didn’t seem to help, as more and more merchants and artisans in the Southeast District became infected, tried the treatments, and died. The city took drastic measures and put the district on quarantine; nobody in, and nobody out. Because the city could no longer rely on the district for supplies or food, the Mayor had to open up trade routes with three cities to the north of us. The rest of my city remained infection-free and survived, thanks to the generous trade agreements and low tariffs given to us by our sister cities. Within a month, the Southeast District was wiped out. The entire artisan and trade community was dead, and my city, once so self-sufficient, was now entirely dependent upon foreign trade for survival. Thinking about it now, an acidic chuckle rises up in my throat. We were so stupid. The city’s best scientists and doctors never figured out what caused the infection or why it ended so suddenly. Three centuries of medical advancement did us no good at all, because, as a cluster of independent researchers found out this year, the disease didn’t follow known biological infection patterns. It wasn’t actually an infection at all. It was magic. I know, I know. You don’t believe in magic, right? Neither did we. When the word got out, everybody said it couldn’t be. But the researchers had found the man who performed the magic. After a small demonstration of his abilities, he told us he had been paid, and that he had not been informed of the purpose of what he was asked to do. He told us that when he found out, he was so consumed with guilt that he surrendered himself and agreed to tell all in penance for his sins. The worst part is that this magic, which was used to poison the city-commissioned ink used only in the Southeast District to notarize transaction receipts, was brought upon us by none other than the three cities to the north. This discovery was made long after the plague had ended. By then we were so ensnared in rigid trade agreements that it was far too late to extricate ourselves. To this day, my city remains locked in forced trade with the three cities to our north, despite the now-open knowledge that it was those same three cities who conspired to murder hundreds of our own people. Rumor is that no one has been in the district since the plague finally ended two decades ago. I was only ten years old when the plague struck. I never saw anyone with the boils, but I heard such stories of them handed down at the Upper West marketplace that had been hastily set up to allow foreign merchants to sell us needed supplies and food. After the last merchant in the district had died, cleaners went in and scoured the area, removing all traces of the poisoned ink and papers. The man who made the magic created a neutralizer as his act of restitution. This substance was atomized throughout the entire district, where it was allowed to seep into the walls and floorboards of the buildings, into the panes of glass in the windows, and into the grime of the streets. Then the cleaners left, and the district remained boarded up for good. It stands as a constant reminder of what our sister cities, now our enemies, did to us in their greed. For the past two decades there have been near-constant rumblings of rising up against them to regain control of our economy, but so far no one has made an attempt. I’d been wanting to find an access point to the Southeast District for years. It was curiosity and some other, deeper pull that drew me to pace the edges of the city hoping to find a weakness in the wall. Last month, while traversing a narrow footpath nearly overgrown from lack of use, I found a gap. The ground had heaved up during the small earthquakes we sometimes get and the corrugated metal siding had pulled away from itself just wide enough that maybe I could get through. I didn’t try that day. I waited. For the past month I explored every possible route to get me to that same spot, at different times of the day, waiting and watching to see if anyone else ever showed up. Once in the foggy dusk a week ago I thought I saw someone a ways down the path, walking away from the wall, but I couldn’t be sure. I came back again and again, but never encountered that shadowy figure or any other soul. I finally decided it was time to make my attempt. That’s what brings me here today, walking down what used to be an alley between the textiles guild and the pottery guild. It was overgrown with weeds and the trash of two decades that had managed to blow over the wall. I expected to feel different here, eerie or spooked. Instead it felt like walking on any of my other quiet, overgrown paths. I turned a corner and walked out onto an abandoned street. I was deep enough into the district that I knew I couldn’t be seen from the guard tower on the far side of the city; the legislators had lamented publicly that the tower’s visibility was limited toward the southeast side, a fact that they claimed was a vulnerability to attack. Despite the cold wind, I felt my neck and shoulders relax and realized I had barely been breathing with nerves this whole time. My chucks took me forward until I came to a large, squat building at the end of the street. The windows were boarded up and the front doors were bolted with a huge padlock. The faded metal siding showed red rivulets where rainwater had rusted down the sides. I left the road and walked around the side of the building, trying to see through the grimed-over windows. Toward the back I saw another bolted door, except this one was made of wood. I’m no scientist, but I guessed that the wood was likely to be weakened by the direct sunlight and two decades of no maintenance. I lifted my chuck and pushed my foot flat on the door, beneath the handle. It creaked and shivered beneath my gentle pressure. I took a deep breath and kicked as hard as I could, and fell headlong inside when the door easily gave way. I sat up, brushed wood slivers off my knees, and looked around. The door behind me was mostly intact, though there was a jagged hole where the bolt had been. I would have to find some way to close it again when I left. I turned again to face the room. It was a very, very large room. Judging from the stacks of barrels and crates along the wall (these were what had obstructed my view through the windows earlier), this was probably one of the storage warehouses. In the back there were several horizontal metal rods, probably used for draping yards of textiles before cutting and bolting them for sale. The rest of the room was completely empty; either the warehouse had been empty before the plague, or the cleaners had taken a little “commission†for their work when they came in to scour the place. The floor was level and made of some sort of smooth stone. I dropped my bag, and the yellow wheel of one of my skates popped up through the bag’s opening. Oh, yes. I would make good use of this place. -------- I’ve sat out the past 2 or 3 challenges, and I am excited to get back into the game. I am tracking my goals on HabitRPG.com. My reward is that everything I do towards my goal gives me permission to funnel a certain amount of $$ into my California Trip Savings Account. There’s really nothing else in life that I want more than to go to back to California to see my brother again, so this has huge power as a motivator. Ultimate Objective: Develop derby skating skills enough that I can try out for the local roller derby team. What does this require? An improvement in all areas of fitness but especially core strength, leg strength, flexibility (particularly knees, ankles, and hips), endurance, loss of some body fat, on-skates drill improvement. What are the barriers? Current overweight, physical inflexibility, low stamina, habitual non-nutritious eating patterns, sugar addiction, low emotional resources, fear, anxiety, habitual internet use, staying up too late. Weekly morning workouts in the Southeast District: >>Two runs with yoga/cooldown: Weds/Fri (+2 STA, +1 DEX) >>Two bodyweight sessions: Thurs/Sat (+3 STR) <--every other week, the Thurs bodyweight session will be replaced by a Derby Lite: Off-Skates session. In order to get to the District to work out before work in the morning, I have to: >>Go to bed no later than 9:00pm / Wake up no later than 5:00am every day. (+3 WIS) --This will require use of ChromeNanny on my laptop to make social media and video streaming unavailable after 8:30pm. To fuel myself well and avoid hitting the wall during weekly derby skills training, I have to: >>Eat a seriously legit* serving of veggies at every meal, including brekkie. (+3 CON) >>Change my habit of buying something at the bakery every grocery trip, by buying something from the produce section OR Greek yogurt instead. When I am able to leave the grocery store without having bought ANY treats at all (produce/yogurt or otherwise) I get to put an extra $10 into my California Trip Savings Account. (+3 CON) *Seriously legit: a hefty pile of any of the following - beets, pea pods, brussels sprouts, bell pepper, carrots, broccoli, dark leafy greens, sweet potato (only on occasion), tomatoes, squash, etc. Not legit: a handful of frozen peas, a couple sprigs of broccoli on my pizza, corn in any form, etc. If it’s puny and I’m trying to persuade myself that it counts, it’s NOT LEGIT. Ongoing: Derby Lite practices - a 90-minute endurance, strength, and drills session every Tuesday night with my teammates. ------------------ Week 1 Check In Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
  17. About the moon-a and the June-a and the Spring-a… I love to sing-a! Something about the calendar flipping over to January makes my brain go, “Yay, Spring soon! Now? How ‘bout now?†Hence the sing-a. I had thought about sitting out this challenge due to an iffy work schedule, but the thought of being more prepared for dusting the bikes off in warmer weather just appeals to me. I’m going to go for it, but updates might be a bit sporadic other than the weeklies. Main Quest My main quest is to improve my body fat percentage, specifically by dropping some more of this weight. I have my intake set to lose 0.5 pound a week, so I’m aiming for 3 pounds by the end. Extra loss would be groovy, but I’m hesitant to set up a bigger deficit because resistance training requires moar fuel. Sub-goals to help with this quest are as follows: Dial in the Diet. I log everything on MFP and want to stay green (meaning at or under the goal number) on calories and carbs while meeting or exceeding my protein and fat macros. This is going to take some planning and is unlikely to be 100% green, but I really feel it will help the main goal. For weekly grading, green days totaling at least 90% = A, 80% = B, 70% = C. Activate the Rest Days. This goal is related to last challenge because it’s still something I need to work on. What I’d like to do is throw in some cardio on at least two of my off days to make them active, either on the stationary bike (30 min) or with a long walk/jog (at least 5k total steps for the day). For weekly grading, 3 days = A, 2 days = B, 1 day = C. Build the Endurance. My cardiovascular health is kind of crap because I was sedentary for so long and for some reason have always had a very fast resting heart rate. I’ve been making progress with intervals on the elliptical, increasing resistance and speed while keeping my HR within healthy parameters. For weekly grading, HR under 140 = A, under 150 = B, under 160 = C. Life Quest Get up early and at the same time every morning. My alarm is set for 6:00 a.m., and for months I’ve been turning it off and going back to sleep until hubs wakes me up at 7:40. I will stop being lame and get my ass up to accomplish more stuff in the mornings. Motivation The last challenge felt pretty blargh for me, so I’ve got an axe to grind on this one. Maintaining over the holidays was a pretty good feat, but I really want to get somewhere this time. My inner badass wants out. Stats Measurements as of January 5... Height—5'3.5 Weight—Starting, 162.8 lb. (because I indulged in holiday piggery and I'm not even sorry) Neck—Starting, 13.25 in. Waist—Starting, 35 in. Hips—Starting, 42.5 in. Forearm—Starting, 9.1 in. Bicep—Starting, 11.7 in. Thigh—Starting, 24.25 in. Calf—Starting, 14.1 in. Time to move that butt!
  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUNiazZ5fj4 As the cold winds blow and winter's chill fills the air, strength, endurance and courage are needed to survive the harsh conditions of the north. Only through diligent training can one ensure survival through to another summer... This challenge we're doing something a little different. For one, I'm starting a new workout routine - Stronglifts 5x5 - as well as looking to focus more on life changes rather than fitness ones. Simplification is key here. Simplification and minimalism. Main Quest: Drop to 6% BF, 32" waist. I was working towards reaching this before this challenge, and came damn close, but not quite. So it continues to be my main quest, with a slight upgrade. I fit into size 32 pants (measuring tape still says 34" though), but I'm looking to get muscle definition in my abs, so that's the update, right there. Six pack, or whatever... In order to hit this goal I am driving forward with several sub goals, which will be worked into this challenge. Run a mile in under 7 minutes. Steadily increase my Squat, Deadlift and Pull Ups in weight and number. Do Salmon Ladder Pull-Ups. Because... seriously. So where are we going this challenge? Let's see... Quest 1: Be strong like the bear... [str] I started Stronglifts 5x5 last week, so technically I'm going into week two. The goal here is to get in three workouts a week through the entire challenge. Simple enough. However, in order to successfully make it through, I also need to have the weight increases expected through Stronglifts, which is 5 lb per lift per workout, and 10 lb each workout for Deadlifts. Do able. Quest 2: Be like a leaf on the wind... [Dex] I have been neglecting my stretching and yoga post-workout, doing only 5 minutes or even none on occasion. So this challenge, I need to do 10 minutes of yoga/stretching every day - in the morning on non-strength training days and after my workout on the others. I have a routine I go through 4 times, so this should be easy, I just need to stick to it. Quest 3: Be still like the pool... [Wis] Another thing I've been neglecting is my mental state. While I am happier and healthier than I've been in years, I still have been avoiding meditation and other mindful activities that used to bring my joy. So for this challenge I propose that I meditate once a week, and write in a journal twice a week. That is all. If this quest is successful I may increase the frequency in the future. Life Quest: Simplify, minimize [Wis] My quest to get rid of extraneous belongings and empty my house of boxes continues from last challenge. I was highly successful but there is more to do! So this continues, with the goal being get rid of at least one box a week. However, in addition to boxes I have begun examining my video game collection critically. I own a significantly higher number of games that I have never played that ones I have. so for this challenge I will attempt to play through several of them. I'm in the process of playing Castlevania: Lords of Shadow on xbox, F.E.A.R. on PC and Super Mario 3D World on Wii U. I plan to beat all of these games, and start Dishonored on 360 and F.E.A.R. 2 on PC before the end of the challenge. Fitness Quest: Trudge ever onward [Con] As winter has arrived, travel becomes harder, harsher and more inconvenient. This never stops a Ranger though. I need to continue walking and moving around outside, completing 50 mile of walking before the end of the challenge, as well as some running and other efforts. So those are the goals for this challenge. Hopefully, they will make me healthier, happier and wiser. Let's start 2014 on the right foot.
  19. Fieri Deus Ex Machina... I mean this in the definition of the words, not the literature term. "To become god from the machine" and in my case, my machine is a bicycle!! A human being + a bicycle is one of the most efficient machines on planet earth. When you break down the energy usage into its base mathematics and compare the same figure to say an automobile, a (fit) human being and a bicycle range from approximately 150 Mpg to over 300 Mpg equivalent. That is incredible! However my efficiency while riding is only a tiny fraction of that potential... but in 6 weeks that wont be the case! Main Quest: Increase overall endurance and increase pain tolerance (both mentally and physically). Without a solid foundation how can I push myself in the future? I will need the endurance to keep going and the pain tolerance to push myself out of my comfort zone. Performance goals: 1. Be able to bike from Mountain View to San Francisco in one day, a distance of 42 miles. 2. Be able to sustain an average speed of 17 Mph on my daily commute (3 miles). 3. Be able to sustain an average speed of 25 Mph over a 1/2 mile sprint on flat ground. Side Quest: Reduce BMI by at least 1/4 Grade Scale: Complete all goals = pass Fail any one goal = fail ... there is no in-between P.S. The last performance goal may not sound like much but here is some math for you, because of the increase in wind resistance it requires ~40% more force to go 20 Mph than it does 17 Mph... 25 Mph is essentially sprinting on a bike and is not an easy thing to do. It takes many years of training to be able to actually average 25 Mph +
  20. I'mlooking for some advice on a workout plan. I'm hiking the Appalachian trail in April and am currently swimming, running, and llifting. My plan is to swim either .5 miles or 1 hour, whichever comes second. On the treadmill 30 minutes at a time currently with a minimum pace of 15 min\mile, and keep upping that minimum with a goal of 10 min\mile by april. For the weight room, i don't have any set weight goals, but each day working a different body part. I'm thinking the best way to go is supersets with heavyweight and hitting at least 4 sets per exercise, but keep adding sets with heavier weights until I can't do more than 4 reps. Any suggestions? I need to be able to sustain my hikes 10 hours a day carrying a max of 45 pounds.
  21. Quest Text First, a little history since I’m new to the Rangers forum (yay, second challenge): I’m a short, book-reading, technical-writing, Godzilla-worshipping 41-year-old mega-nerd with an awesome husband and two uppity cats. My health, or lack thereof, got me to start working on my weight a little over two years ago, but my goals have since expanded to include strength and endurance. You never know when the zombies will happen, man. My main focus for this challenge is to get off my ass. Hubs suggested I need to move more, and he’s right. It’s time to pick up the pace and stop being a human loaf. I’m pretty sure one of my ancestors was a house cat, because my natural state is snuggled into a warm blanket with a book or a computer. Preferably in a sun patch. To that end, here are the quests! Main Quest Increase average daily calorie burn (current average is 1936 over the last 11 weeks) while continuing to get stronger, and expand my kitchen routine. Sub-goals to help with this are as follows: Increase active exercise hours from 6 per week to 8 per week (must move bod and increase endurance). C = 8 hours. B = 9 hours. A = 10 hours. Increase DLs to 155 (must gain strength, RAWR). C = 1 rep. B = 3 reps. A = 5 reps. Cook a different entrée every night for 14 days straight (must experiment: I tend to find a few things I like and cook them to infinity). C = 14 days. B = 21 days. A = 28 days. Getting As on this one will be a lot more difficult, but aiming higher is a lot more fun. Balance! Life Quest A five to ten-page short story completed and ready to be posted by end of challenge. Need to get off my mental ass as well. Motivation My motivation for this challenge is to increase velocity while building on previous progress. I set things up too easy last time and want to really get somewhere new in the next six weeks. Balance, happiness, and badassery are still the ultimate goals. Stats Here are my stats from the end of the last challenge (except weight, which is current). Height—5'3.5 Weight—Starting, 161.8 Neck—Starting, 13.75 in. Waist—Starting, 34.75 in. Hips—Starting, 43.75 in. Forearm—Starting, 9.25 in. Bicep—Starting, 11.75 in. Thigh—Starting, 24 in. Calf—Starting, 14.5 in. This Sunday, it is on.
  22. This is my first challenge ever, and I'm really excited to see how this goes. So, let's get down to business: The ultimate goal: Lose inches I've spent a lot of time worrying about the number on the scale, which I've realized recently just makes me crazy. I want to start lifting weights more to try to build up some strength, but I don't want to get too bulky (I'm female). How is this going to happen?! - Go to boxing class at least 3 days a week - Go to the gym and do a minimum of 25 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of lifting on days when I do not attend class - Eat a clean diet Life Quest: Stop beating myself up for failures and attempt to turn them into learning experiences. The motivation: My family has never had a healthy lifestyle, which has made it extremely difficult for me to commit to being healthy. Out of my immediate family, I am the only one who has never been considered obese or had an eating disorder. I want to show everybody that it is possible to commit to being healthy and enjoy the benefits more than the "sacrifices." I also really want my clothes to fit better. I have all of these really pretty outfits that I can't wear anymore and I'd love to be able to wear them again. Plus, I want to be confident when I go to buy clothes. I never buy clothes because I have to work towards drawing attention away from certain parts, like my arms and my stomach. I want to feel confident wearing a tank top! Woot. Here I go. I will post measurements and such later.
  23. Hi there! I know that on the site there's a lot of articles around strength training and lifting big weights however I came across an issue recently. I've been lifting big weights and seeing great gains, however, I was helping a mate with some redecorating and found that I could lift the big stuff but couldn't sustain things such as painting, sawing or holding something in a position for a while, as a result I've been trying to include endurance training into my workouts, mainly by lifting lighter weights and going to 12-15 reps to improve and researching on the web. All this got me thinking, being strong is very helpful but I feel that to be stronger heroes then we need to be stronger but also to be able to use that strength for longer. What does everyone else think?
  24. Well, Hello to all you Fabulous warriors! I am new to this forum and am looking forward to getting to know some new peeps and, of course, saying hello to some old peeps! MAIN GOAL: Challenge myself; Get stronger, look better, feel better, increase stamina, and work to become an overall fit, dragon slaying, bad(girl)!!! And compete in the ToughMudder ALWAYs wanted to do it! Then there is a little of finding a position/job/business that more in line with my purpose and what I want to be doing. Either starting my own thing or just getting a new, more rewarding job. Goal 1: Gym time. I am working on getting in shape for myself and the ToughMudderm (maybe a competition, we will see if I can get my butt in gear). 4 weight workouts per week and then logged on NF on my battle log for accountability. (STR 2 STA 2) 4 per week: A 3 per week: B 2 per week: C 1 per week: D Goal 2: Since running is quickly becoming my down fall, I love to run but I injured my back a few years ago and pain has kept me from this passion, I have decided that I should add more cardio to my routine. This goal is one cardio session of at least 30 mintues per week. Whether it is hiking, running, Kinect, aerobics, dancing or anything else that gets my heart rate up.(STR 1 STA 1 DEX 2) 1 + per week: A 1 per week: B anything else is F Goal 3: Calories, calories......I have noticed that I amnot eating enough clean calories and I have a serious sweet tooth and its time to cut it down or pull it out. This goal is to basically increase clean calories to at least 2000 per day to cover my activity level and cut sweets from 90% of my diet. This time of year is hard and with Halloween coming....I'm in trouble. (CON 2) 90% overall: A 80% : B 70% : C 60% : D Goal 4: Working on me and what I want to do. This is a roll over from the last challenge. I aim to journal every night to figure out what I want to do for a living and how I want to do it. Start making a plan and start to get the wheels turning on it. (WIS 3 CHA 2) 7 days + action: A 6 days + action: B 5 days : C 4 days : D
  25. 1) SIGN UP - DONE 2) YOUR MAIN QUEST Pick your Main Quest - where do you want to be in a few months? Lose fat, build muscle. Go from 193 pounds to 180, from size 10 to a size 8. Pick three incredibly specific goals (diet and fitness related) that will help you achieve your Main Quest Continue doing the Academy Barbell workout! One week to level 2 baby. Get back to eating Paleo/Primal 90% of the time. I hate to admit that I've really let that slide lately, but there it is. Let's get back to giving our bodies what they need! Go XC skiing at LEAST once a week. 3) PICK YOUR SIDE QUESTS Life Side Quest: A quest not related to diet and fitness that will help level up your life Start working on my thesis for my master's degree again. Reread thesis proposal and Clockwork Muse. Fitness Side Quest: If you have already successfully completed two challenges, you can pick a small side quest that does not detract from your main quest Well this is my first challenge, BUT I would like to get my body fat % down from 30% to 25% Mini Quests: will be posted by guild leaders (for everyone except for first timers) throughout the challenge. Watch out for these as they pop up over the next six weeks. N/A 4) DECLARE YOUR MOTIVATION Write on a piece of paper why you're doing this challenge and why you want to level up your life. Hang it up somewhere that you see it every day, and take a photo of it and upload it to your challenge thread. If you can't take a photo, writing it out will be fine. - I've got this on my phone's background. The most important one, though, is because I deserve this. 5) POST A THREAD: If you are a first time challenger, post your thread here - Done If you are a veteren challenger, post your thread in your guild subform, here. - N/A 6) ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM: If you want one. Sign up here. You can create your own as well. More info on the best way to use a team can be found here -Anyone interested, PM me. I'll do some looking as well! 7) COMPLETE IN/PARTICIPATE IN CHALLENGE: Update your thread as much or as little as you want discussing your successes and troubles. - More to come! Encourage and participate with others! -Will do! 8) FINISH CHALLENGE: At the end grade yourself with how you think you did on a level of A-F, and write a summary on how you did. The more measurable your starting goals, the more accurate your grade can be. Post your grade and challenge summary in the thread your guild leader puts up for you.
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