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  1. credit: Old Door by Stefano Aneto CHAPTER 3: AThousandWords Alights (Chapter 1, Chapter 2) I used to think that Doors were rare and mischievous. After all, finding an ephemeral passage between monotonous reality and the tingling prospect of adventure isn't something that happens everyday, right? A lifetime could pass by before the opportunity presents itself again. I was wrong. It turns out that Doors — like cars with one darkened headlight or a word you swear you've never read before — appear far more often after you've noticed them once. As if acknowledging their existence brings them bubbling to the surface. Once upon a time I saw a Door at a train station and walked away, fearing I would never see one again. Instead, the persistent openings pop up in the corner of my eye at every turn. A broad-slatted blue Door out of place in a stone wall; a fairy Door tucked away in the roots of an oak tree; an inconspicuous louvered Door when I stop at a red light. "I liked that one," my son says idly one night, marching a chicken nugget through a trailing doorway of ketchup on his plate. "The green one we saw at the playground. I bet it had dinosaurs on the other side." Across the table my daughter shrieks in delight and chomps down on her fork with a loud roar. I smile at her but my eyes dart to where my husband sits with a raised eyebrow. I shrug in return. It's a conversation that's been played out after bedtimes and in passing a hundred times with no real answer. We've been putting it off, but it feels insistent, inevitable. And if I'm honest, exciting. "A dinosaur Door? Wouldn't you rather open a Spider-Man Door?" my husband teases and I start the lists in my head. What to pack - snacks? Probably. Diapers, for sure... And I wonder what the next door we find will be. Spring is sprouting! And while currently we're still in grey chilly days (and I have a seasonal, non-covid head cold to go with it), I'm starting to look ahead to sunnier and more exciting days. Last challenge, I had a long weekend break with my husband, celebrated my 36th birthday, and ran my first ever half marathon! What started out as a longing for change manifested in a lot of adventure coming my way. In 2 weeks we're hosting my son's first real birthday party, then two days later driving to North Carolina to see my sister's new home, and during week 5 of the challenge I'm flying to Georgia to meet my coworkers for the first time at a developer's retreat. I'm anxious and excited and ready for something new. So this challenge will be flexible (there's a lot of travel days in there!) and hopefully fun. I'm looking forward to not spending my Saturdays doing long runs every week, but I still want to do something active. My next running goal is a sub-30 5k, so I'll be doing more interval runs. And I need to take a closer look at my diet because my cholesterol is up and honestly I've been letting a lot of unhealthy habits slip in because I was running enough to not care what I was eating. In particular, I need to cut out the afternoon snacking because I've gotten reeaal comfortable eating cheetos and girl scout cookies at my desk... Habit 1: Run 3x a week for at least 30 min Follow training plan for improving 5k times Ideally running Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday -- but can move around days if needed due to travel, daycare schedules, etc Habit 2: Endurance Activity on weekends Options include: 5mi+ run, 10mi+ bike ride, 2 hour hike, or similar level of activity Include the family as much as possible! Habit 3: Stop the Snack Follow IF 16/8 (usually 12pm - 8pm) for 6/7 days a week Coffee + creamer or water allowed outside this window (I can't give up my morning coffee!) No after-lunch snacking (eat enough to be sated at lunch) Habit 4: Follow Meal Plan (Weeks 1,2,4*) Meal Plan for the week every Tuesday Cook from the meal plan 6/7 days a week * Weeks 3 and 5 are exempt for this goal, but make every attempt to meal plan and cook on the days I'm home Bonus Points: Eat Well No more than 1 red meat dinner per week Eat 4+ servings of vegetables a day Drink 8 cups of water a day
  2. Since I am re-watching season one of The Witcher, finally watching season two, and listening to an audiobook version of Blood of Elves over the next few weeks, I thought it appropriate to theme this challenge after The Witcher. As has been my trend lately, I will break my challenge goals into two parts: Physical and Mental. Physical: For this goal, I am returning to a training plan I followed a few years ago: the Primal Blueprint plan. The university gym is closed this week, so I need a schedule that is flexible and does not require the gym but still asks for strength workouts as well as cardio and HIIT workouts. I will continue to use Darbee as a source for workouts while intentionally choosing workouts that match the Witcher/fantasy/warrior theme. Also, I plan to do most of these workouts outdoors in nature whenever possible. I will link a video below that shows a Witcher workout and explains a few of the reasons why it is always a good idea to train in nature. Monday – Sprint Tuesday – Lift Heavy Things/Bodyweight Exercises Wednesday – Move Slowly, Play or Rest Thursday – HIIT/WOW Friday – Move Slowly, Play or Rest Saturday – Lift Heavy Things/Bodyweight Exercises Sunday – Move Slowly, Play or Rest My diet during this challenge will be similar to the Darebee Modern Hero meal plan: 1/2 plate fruit/berries/veggies/mushrooms/healthy fats, 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate healthy carbs. Additional physical goals: morning stretches, "grounding" every morning, cold shower daily, 10,000-12,000 steps M-F I plan to mix this up by lifting heavy objects such as cinderblocks, logs, sledgehammer, etc., doing bodyweight exercises, and using the gym, as well, for dumbbell and kettlebell . I can also use the "Move Slowly, Play, or Rest" days for such things as yoga, tai chi, stretching, etc. Mental: For this goal, I am returning to my morning routine of prayer/meditation/scripture reading, as well as breath work. It does not have to be Wim Hof breathing but does need to be some kind of breath work. 0445 wakeup pray/meditate/read scripture at least 5 minutes of breath work The video below is a discussion on how to "train like Geralt" by training in nature and using such things as clubs, the Gada (mace), and kettlebells. It also discusses using hybrid moves and meditation.
  3. Hi guys. I've been laying low and recovering after my leg injury caused a subsequent loss of motivation in my challenges, and the narrative associated with them. For that reason, I won't be doing a narrative this challenge; the jury is still out on whether or not to change my username. (If I do, it'll be to Callanthar, my World of Warcraft character, who happens to be a hunter, the WoW equivalent of a ranger.) For this challenge, I'll be channeling the various abilities of a D&D party, emulating the various strengths that make them so successful. And of course, absorbing the strength of an entire party of adventurers in a single person is exactly what we Rangers at Nerd Fitness like to do! Here's our party: Goal One: The Fighter. The fighter relies purely on his skill of arms and armor to protect him from foes. In a world of magic and supernatural creatures, only the fighter's training and martial prowess save him from being a dragon's lunch. A fighter must be ridiculously strong in order to protect his friends and battle his foes. To emulate the Fighter, I'll be doing strength workouts thrice per week. I'll be using the Stronglifts program, but I'll be adding chin-ups to Workout B, and replacing barbell rows with chin-ups in Workout A. I really want to get better at chin-ups. Survived the adventure: 6 workouts. Quest complete: 9 workouts. Natural 20: 12 workouts. Goal Two: The Ranger. The ranger acts as the party's scout, travelling farther and faster than anyone else in order to protect the party from ambushes, and let them know what lies ahead, in any terrain. A ranger must be swift, versatile, and untiring. To emulate the Ranger, I'll be doing cardio at least thrice per week. At least one workout must be on my bike, and at least one must be on foot, running if possible. (Things look good so far, but I'm not going to tie myself down to running if I feel the leg is going to play up again) Survived the adventure: 6 workouts, 2+ of each. Quest complete: 9 workouts, 3+ of each. Natural 20: 12 workouts, 4+ of each. Goal Three: The Monk. The monk can perform one of several roles, depending on their specialisation. A monk lives an ascetic lifestyle, and must remain in peak mental and physical form to accomplish their incredible feats of athleticism and focus. Their fists and self-discipline are both hard as iron. To emulate the Monk, I'll be working to lose weight. I'll be tracking my calories needed, calories eaten, and calories burnt through exercise over the course of the challenge. Survived the adventure: 8,000 net calories burned (~300 per day). Quest complete: 11,000 calories burnt (~400 per day) Natural 20: 14,000 calories burnt (~500 per day) Goal Four: The Wizard. While the rest of the group relies on their bodies to perform their tasks, a wizard relies solely on their mind. By understanding the world on a deep level, they can perform feats that would otherwise be impossible. Theirs is a life of intense study, minds grappling with the nature of the cosmos. To emulate the Wizard, I'll be working on my programming. I'll be studying an hour per day, working through the game-making books at inventwithpython.com, but I'll also be translating the programs featured within into Java, since that's the language taught at my university. Survived the adventure: 14 hours studied. Quest complete: 21 hours studied. Natural 20: 28 hours studied. Completing the quest: In order to complete the quest, all four party members must complete it. Should a party member survive, but fail their quest, a natural 20 from another member can prop them up. Success means the party earns 500 gp, and a magic item worth up to 1,200 gp. 10 gp = 1 Australian dollar, so that translates to 50 dollars to spend on whatever I like, and up to 120 to spend on equipment. Should the party fail their quest, but everyone survives, they manage to earn 250 gp for their efforts regardless. In the event that a party member dies, all funds acquired must be spent on the Raise Dead spell, giving the party no reward for their attempts. Let the adventure begin!
  4. Alright, Rangers! We've been talking about this and dreaming about this. Now's the time to start doing this! Not much in the way of rules or categories yet. I'm figuring that, as we usually do, we will come to working consensus via discussions in the thread. Post pictures, talk trash, put up links to resources and most of all - HAVE FUN!
  5. To break the curse, to shed the stone For actions taken you must atone Free yourself from habits staid Run, walk, jump, dance, Fight with sharpened blade. A body reflects how we dine Whether mutton or breads, Sweet grasses, water, mead Or glowing elven wine. If a Halfling’s body you do seek Then with Halfling’s pride you must eat. "Hafling's pride Halfling's Pride... Do you think it refers to a specific food? my favorite food? A food that Dorashire trades in?" Noor paced the length of her cabin thinking. She knew that she had a fingerhold on some of the strings. Since vanquishing the fey and freeing Sovellis' mind, Noor had felt like her old self inside. It was time to make her body match her soul. She tugged the strings of magic through her fingers like yarn, tying and untying them as she moved. She spread her toes and stretched her arches, luxuriating in the feel of her bare feet no longer clad in magical stone. She knew that she was almost to a breakthrough, she cloud practically taste it. @--,--'-- What I have learned so far is that in order to properly balance my life, I need to make smaller goals that are easier to achieve. I am prone to pushing my body in ways that it doesn't want to be pushed.That never works, it always just leads to injury, pain, and unachieved goals. So I am going to take a page from Noor and model my goals after the rhyme that she has almost solved. I think this challenge might be a big one for Noor's curse breaking and for my own milestones. 1) To and Fro: one of the things that Noor takes for granted is her ability to walk anywhere. I used to be able to walk anywhere too- Chicago is all about walking too and this is the time of year that is best for walking. Since the last challenge, I have gained back some of my ability to walk, or at least my memory of how good it can be to move and to get places under my own power. My goal for this challenge is to walk for 40 minutes 3 or more times a week. At the half way point, if I am successful, I will add a 4th day. +3 STA 16 or more workouts completed +2 STA14 or more workouts completed +1 STA 12 or more workouts completed 2) Springy is What Halflings Do: I need to get more mobility and flexibility. Adding yoga last challenge helped somewhat but I am stiff and sore a lot of the time now that I am moving more. Starting work next week is only going to make me more stiff due to long hours of sitting. I am going to make 90 minutes of stretching a week a goal for this challenge. That's 5 - 10 minutes 5 days a week and a yoga class on the weekend. +3 DEX 482 or more minutes of Stretching +2 DEX 432 or more minutes of Stretching +1 DEX 378 or more minutes of Stretching 3) What Halflings Eat: I have to track my food religiously. I have never lost weight in my life without doing this. Plus it will help me maintain paleo eating and help me stay mindful of food. Food is one of my pillars of health. I love cooking, I love eating, I love sharing food with others. In order to make this pillar a healthy one, I need to remember why I love food and stop looking at it as a chore. +3 CON 38 or more days tracked +2 CON 28 days or more tracked +1 CON 14 days or more tracked LIFE GOALS 4) To simulate Noor's magical studies, I am going to take on studying money management. I am not trying to become an accountant or anything, but I want to have a better understanding of financial planning and I want to get my own financial ducks in a row. In order to do this I am going to complete the following objectives: a. Call Vanguard and get instructions on how to reactivate my online account so that I can get access to my retirement fund. b. Order all 3 credit reports so I can see where I stand and begin to clean up my credit c. Read one article from Money Magazine weekly d. Reread The Money Book for the Young Fabulous and Broke over the course of the 6 weeks. Each completed objective is +1 WIS LONG TERM GOAL I lost 8 pounds last month! I also found out that my thyroid meds were still too low, so hopefully I will be able to do even better with this challenge. In order for Noor to crack her spell and get smaller, I need to lose some more of this 200 Lbs, so I am focusing on reduction until I hit my first major milestone of 50 Lbs. Only 48 more pounds to go. (one) (two) (three) (four) (five) (six)
  6. Hello world! I found this site a couple years ago before the Nerd Fitness Academy existed in its current form, and made "plans" to join some day. We all know how "plans" go sometimes... well fast-forward to now and the weight that I had just started to gain above a not-great-but-manageable baseline has only added up more. Time to stop the planning and start the doing! Okay, I'm kinda talk about myself a lot now, because what's better than telling your life story to strangers on the Internet? Feel free to ignore me. Stats I'm about a month short of my 1/3 of a century birthday (which I fully plan on celebrating more than my normal birthday), just shy of 5'11", and as of last time I braved the scale, about 215 pounds. I have a build where I wear weight pretty well, such that the first 20 pounds I put on a few years ago was barely noticeable; I went up an inch or two in waistline but I didn't really look different, you know? That let me get complacent and I put on 25 more. Damn. Even in my current state I can do at least 20 pushups, tread water for minutes at a time, and can run jump and climb when I need to... just not nearly as well as I used to. And I get way more tired doing it. Life I grew up in NJ, currently live in Austin, TX with my partner (who I may try to get involved on this site, we'll see how he feels about it--he's skinny but eats terribly and is bordering on "skinny fat"). Also sharing our apartment: an 8-year-old dog Basset/terrier mix who still acts like a puppy, a pushover of a black cat who could use some fitness help himself, and two sugar gliders. By day I work for a software company as a QA engineer. I like my work a lot but I occasionally get some serious impostor syndrome. I've had varying degrees of depression over the years, doing okay right now despite being un-medicated. Yet another thing regular exercise and a better body image would help! Fitness/Nutrition background I generally understand nutrition pretty well--when I eat poorly I know I'm doing it, I just love food and don't have as much willpower as I'd like. I know that good-for-you food can taste good--I've had it, I've even made it occasionally. But bad-for-you food that tastes good is quick and easy, and that's the part that's hard to get over. Fitness... I'm kinda a noob. I've done very little beyond some running around my neighborhood/apartment complex, some pushups/situps, and some very simple weight training--always using machines. Free weights kinda scare me, but I have both an apartment gym and a work gym freely available to me and I know I ought to put them to use. Short-term goals Lose some weight, not be tired getting to my third floor apartment. Do it while living my way-too-busy life. Long-term goals Lose lots of weight, get fit. I'd really like a six-pack one day, but I know that's a long way off and there's plenty of milestones to be happy about before then. Nerd cred I call myself a gamer, though it's kinda gamer-lite. Mostly WoW (Guardian Druid main, Alliance on US-Alleria), occasionally a console game here or there. I like them but other things eat my time and the TV is often occupied. I love board games too, I'll go whenever a friend hosts a session. Dominion and Roll for the Galaxy are a couple of my favorites. I play D&D 4e (Zeitgeist--really cool campaign!) about once a month, as a level 11 Razorclaw Shifter Gunsmith Seeker. I love movies, especially Action and Sci-fi. I love fantasy novels; Brandon Sanderson is my absolute favorite. I like TV but prefer it when I can treat it as a movie and binge-watch. Back in the day I would encourage Heroes and Lost marathons (interested to see how the Heroes reboot turns out, but not getting my hopes up). Nowadays it's usually Food Network. Race to Escape is fun too. The other big part of my life is a local community show choir (it's like Glee for adults) and weekly karaoke. Singing is fun; it makes me actually willing to get in front of a crowd, unlike any sort of public speaking, from which I will run screaming. If you just read all that... Why? I mean, I'm flattered, but wow. That's dedication. You're my new best friend.
  7. Salivanth breathed heavily as he trudged out the door to check his mail. That last set of rows had been killer, and it wasn't going to get any easier when he moved up. Still, all the pain and sweat was worth it, as he was definitely noticing changes. He'd gotten much stronger. His clothes fit looser. His arms were a bit more defined. He'd even had a couple of friends ask him if he'd lost weight. He'd had to assure them that he wasn't feeling sick; weight loss was almost unknown among the hobbits of Rushforth. Opening his mailbox, he found an envelope with a strange seal; a cloaked man, and what looked like a bird behind him, or perhaps more cloak. A seal he had only seen once before in his life, two months ago, when he was first contacted. Carefully shielding the envelope from any onlookers, he walked back into the house. He knew what this was. The Assassins had claimed to be watching him, had sent him an intricate (and presumably expensive) magical device to assist in his endeavours, and now they had contacted him again. Excitement and nervousness warred in him as he carefully cut open the seal and extracted the letter inside. He sat, and read. Dear Salivanth. On behalf of my order, I would like to officially welcome you to the Assassins. You have continued to work hard towards bettering yourself, and becoming the kind of agent we can make use of. You have passed our test, but rest assured, the work has only just begun. In the bushes next to the creek that flows near your house, you'll find a package. It contains a device known as a foam roller. Your Laptop of Limited Omniscience will provide you with information on how to use it. Learn to do so over the coming weeks. Not only does it require a base level of strength to use effectively, it will also aid in flexibility and recovery. An injured agent is a useless agent. A useless agent is a liability. The Assassins do not like liabilities. Normally, we would not assign you a mission for many months, until you had reached an above-average level of physical strength, flexibility, and endurance. However, it just so happens that we have a minor role for you to play, and we have no other agents in the area. Hobbits do not typically join the Assassins, or indeed, any of the guilds. One of our archivists has uncovered mention of a shrine dedicated to the long-lost Dwarven people; a race of small size, but legendary strength and physical capabilities. This shrine is mentioned to be near the village that today is known as Rushforth. The shrine is hundreds of years old, and likely naught but a ruin by now. The dwarves were known to build their most sacred structures underground, so the shrine may not be easy to find. This is not a priority mission, but we would like you to search for it as time allows. Do not allow this to distract from your primary role of improving your capabilities. Best of luck. Sincerely, Hazard, Ambassador to the Assassin's Guild. Salivanth looked at his soft, weak feet, and thought of the rocky terrain surrounding his village, and the thoroughness he would require in order to search the entire area for an underground entrance that was last used centuries ago. With a sigh, he headed out the door and began walking towards the creek. He had work to do.
  8. Hello Rebels and Superheroes! November of this year marks my Saturn return, which in astrology is when Saturn has made a full orbit around the sun and returned to the point in the sky it was at when you were born (usually when you turn 28-29). This is a great time to let go of old patterns and ways of being that don't serve us anymore--and basically get your ass into gear. So here I am, doing my best to make that happen! I'm a mental health therapist that works at a couple elementary schools, and I too often have let myself believe the story that I'm too stressed and/or too exhausted to take good care of myself. But the older I get, the more I realize how true it is that you have to take good care of yourself before you can really take truly good care of another person. I just started doing wellness coaching, started a MWF 6:30-7:30am boot camp that incorportes mindfulness and spirituality (tomorrow is week 2 of 6)..... AND!... I just started the 6-week Nerd Fitness Challenge! I'm super pumped about finally making some life changes that stick. I have years of yo-yoing, getting super hardcore about a plan, burning out fiercely and then sputtering out into discouragement and lack of motivation. I'm going for consistency more than anything else this time around. Slow and steady wins the race... Which is where community comes in, in where I really need my fellow nerds' support. In the past, I've always been the type of person to deny my own needs and never ask for help, but this is HARD to do without other people supporting your goals--people with similar visions who can encourage you and maybe jab you in the ribs when you get lazy. I'm really hoping to make some awesome allies on this website, so please check out my challenge: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/39706-ashcension’s-rise-to-awesomeness/ and I will be sure to do the same. More about me: Things I love: Astrology, cats, chocolate, philosophy, yoga, zumba, beer and wine (sigh), reading fantasy novels (Sword of Truth series is my favorite), mythology, writing, studying psychology, learning about different cultures, languages (I speak Spanish and want to learn German next... next life quest!), personality typing systems (Myer-Briggs, Enneagram), old-school video games (especially RPG and adventure games), table-top RPGs, magic, faeries, dressing up and costumery, Renaissance faires, music, festivals (Burning Man!), frolicking, snuggling, and sleeping. What I want support with: Consistency, Paleo (tips, tricks, and recipes), self-love and self-care, and ideas for working out smarter (instead of harder). Good luck to everyone beginning their challenge tomorrow!!!
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