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  1. I skipped last round of the challenge because... well, because. The previous challenge I had participated in, I had accepted that I'd be using crutches for at least another year (I already had nearly 9 months under my belt - plus two months from ACL surgery). Then I met a magic chiropractor the same day I had met with a surgeon to schedule foot reconstruction. The chiropractor made some tweaks and adjustments. If my leg hadn't been so atrophied from not being used I think I could've walked out of his office without crutches. However, I walked 2 miles two days later with my crutches slung over my shoulder on the return trip. It has been six weeks and I have very little pain (the pain is from days when I overdo things). My biggest problem now is holding myself back because I'm super excited to return to normal. I'm not exactly sure what happened. What exactly the chiropractor did so that I could walk without pain and swelling? His reply was I had damaged a part of my brain from a climbing accident I had 20 years ago and he was helping my brain remember that I had a left leg. It's a similar rehab used for people who have strokes. So with the second chance, I want to make sure that I live with more intentionality. That is what this round is about. I plan to: - Continue rebuilding my body. I'm currently doing an upper workout with dumbbells, pilates with a lower workout (I'm allowed to do 3 sets of 3-5 squats and lunges), something cardio (I can walk, bike, or run 40 minutes per day), yoga sessions on the floor or in a chair, and chair cardio. I don't have a set schedule but I'm trying to do weights a minimum of two times a week. Right now I base my exercise on how I feel pain-wise. I push my limits. - Remove pounds. Since my visit to the magic chiropractor, I have removed 5 pounds. I have 25 to go to return to my weight before my first ACL surgery. I don't want my weight to be my focus, but I can't ignore that it's a tangible goal I'm working on. I'd like to keep the trend of removing half a pound to one pound per week. My target weight is one that I felt the best at when I was in great shape (about four years ago). The goal for the end of the challenge is to be 2-4 pounds lighter. - Be intentional. My hubby and I had one of those arguments where we weren't fighting about the issue that triggered lost tempers but something deeper. Truth spilled out and I realized that I have to stop putting others' needs before my own. Putting myself last makes me a tough person to live with. With that in mind, mornings are mine to work at my novel or freelance writing projects, to read, to paint, to draw, to workout, to do whatever I want for me. The afternoons are for teaching my teens, working with clients, running family members around, doing errands, catching up with extended family members, preparing meals, etc. My intentional me time needs to happen 4-5 mornings a week. - Push my comfort zone. I got cozy in the life I created. I hadn't realized it until I faced losing another year to eighteen months to recovering from a surgery that didn't have guarantees of fixing the problem. There are so many things I hadn't done yet that I really wanted to do. Yes, they can be done with knee scooters and crutches but it becomes much harder. So with intention, my comfort zone needs to grow. Here are the things I plan to have done by the end of the challenge: Meet a stranger for coffee. Fill out Submit the paperwork for my family to get our passports. Reconnect with a long lost friend. (They aren't really lost, I just haven't spoken to a few of them for a year or more.) Fill out and submit my application for the church band. This one freaks me out because I want to sing for the band and I've haven't sung in front of people since I was 12 years-old. Pay cash for everything. (This will help accelerate the funds we're setting aside for our mega road trip to the Southwesterly states - NB, CO, UT, NV, CA, AZ, NM, and KS.) I haven't decided how frequently I want to post updates on the forum. I'm thinking I should try for at least 3 times a week. I've noticed when I don't check in regularly I feel disconnected from everyone. And, of course, I want to follow everyone more regularly too.
  2. So I'm fairly new to free weight workouts, but I have what seems like an essential question. Which is better: more reps with lighter weight, or fewer reps with more weight?
  3. Here we are at the beginning of a new year. It's a time that I spend like Janus - looking both back and forwards. Thinking about what I've accomplished and using that reflection to plan out the new year. Unlike most of the population, I do pretty well at keeping "New Year's Resolutions" because I have a plan. And I have this group to help encourage me to follow through. (Thank you!) Prior Years2013 - The Return of the JediI stopped GAINING weight and starting working up to running and doing strength training again. Really, I’d let all workouts and sports slide since about 2005 (when the Temple of the Jedi online group that I had run imploded and I lost my confidence and focus). I didn’t run any of obstacle course races that I planned that year, despite Cline's excellent coaching. In fact, I didn’t run any races at all that year since I kept spraining my formerly-broken ankle. But I kept recovering and training. I didn't give up - and that was a major accomplishment. I had gotten heavily into emotional eating and lots of wine while working on my doctorate - so this was a watershed year for improvements in my diet. I wasn’t perfect (I still struggle with eating and drinking when stressed), but I woke up and started making better choices most of the time. I probably improved my BF %, but I wasn't measuring it yet. 2014 - The Quest for the Mal RavenneThis was a good year. I lost 14 pounds and dropped from 37.33% to 33.5% body fat during the year. I can now run a 5K straight. And I am able to do pull-ups with only 1/2 of my weight in assistance on the pull-up machine. I deadlifted 85 pounds for the first time. I have been much better at eating healthy foods, drinking water, and cutting WAY back on both coffee and wine. I think I am finally turning my life around and setting a good base for getting BACK to being the person I want to be. Weight at start of 2015: 167.1 lbs and body fat % ~ 33.5%. I’d been down to 165, but it bounced back up over the holidays. I will have to be really very good the rest of this week in order to win my t-shirt at the gym!!! Overarching goal for 2015: weight <= 149 lbs and body fat % <= 31%, although I certainly hope to do better than that. I’m setting monthly milestones instead of challenge milestones right now. I can figure out the goal weight for each challenge from that. How will I do it??Running: increase my long run from 3 to 5 miles each week and continue 5K race training as in 2014. I've been pretty steady in the running/cardio category, but I also now have a full-time job again and will need to adjust. I am thinking that I may actually become morning runner again. Strength training: prep for OCRs based on Fitocracy’s Tough Mudder training guide and a gradual progression of some basic strength training exercises. Strength training is one of the things that I really don't tend to enjoy, but I like the results. It will be a lot of upper body work and basics like deadlifts and squats. But also things like planks and Jacob's Ladder and climbing at the local climbing wall. Oh yea, I also hate heights. Better get good at burpees. Eat like I give a f*uck: IIFYM + Loseit.com Premium + Thug Kitchen cookbook. Seriously, my daughter gave me this cookbook for Christmas, and it is a fun read. But it also has great recipes for making basics (like ketchup) from scratch so that you have healthy alternatives for most things. The cookbook is vegan - I don't intend to go completely vegan, although I never had a weight problem when I was a vegetarian. I honestly don't think GRAINS are the problem with the US industrial diet. Refined foods - especially corn syrup are. Yes, throw things at me for blasphemy, but I'm going to focus on cooking up a good omnivore diet that focuses much more on vegetables and whole grains than meat ..... and in true Rebel fashion, we'll see what happens. Supporting GoalsHave an adventure every weekDo one each of these:Charity 5Ks (TBD)Mother's Day Walk (2 miles)Bubble Run http://www.bubblerun.com/events/minneapolis/Color Run http://thecolorrun.com/twin-cities/Light Run http://www.torchlight5k.com/page/show/502315-event-infoZombies Run TBDWarrior Dash https://www.warriordash.com/location/2015-warrior-dash-minnesota/Spartan Sprint TBDTough Mudder https://toughmudder.com/events/2015-twin-citiesArcheology/Ancient History trip .... MAYBE. This is a stretch goal because of the new job. I need to do the cruise and possibly a wedding this year; so I'm not sure where another vacation will fit into 2015.Cruise to AlaskaHiking the local trails, especially the Superior Hiking TrailIngress!!!Geocaching100 geocachesHide cachesTravel bugs Overcome my two left feetI am generally clumsy and have been since I matured quickly and young. Karate classes helped me improve greatly - and I want to get back to feeling like I move easily and gracefully through my environment again. Wear contacts - peripheral vision really helps me, but I have trouble getting contacts that I can use day in and day out. We never can quite get the fit and the prescription right. Yoga - I had been dreaming that I was doing the crow pose. Why?? No clue. But I'm interested in doing hand balancing, in large part because high school gym class was a nightmare that I'd like to overcomeDance classesMartial arts classesParkourClimbingHandstands!!!(Re)build a baseAfter moving, it takes a while to figure out where everything goes. A lot of my basement gym stuff got tossed in a corner - it's time to find places for all of it and start using it. Also ... other tools need to be purchased. I really like LoseIt's minimal frills interface and vetted nutrition information, and since I'm tackling the difficult task of losing weight while building muscle, I need to pay attention to intake and macros.Pullup bar installed (Thanks to hubby, this one is done before the challenge starts!)LoseIt! premium membershipClean out and organize the kitchen - then use it!Make my own sandbag(s)750words.com?Basement workout areaGarage gymAgility training locationObstacle training locationParkour trainingGet my mojo back This goal has "underpants gnome" written all over it. I know it. But a BIG part of being fit - for me - means winning the HEAD game as much as fixing my kitchen or creating a workable exercise plan. I KNOW how to be fit. I have been very fit at different times in my life, and then something happens, and it all falls apart. So, my first challenge goal will be to put myself on the couch through writing 750 words PER DAY, exploring what factors support and which factors derail my healthy lifestyle. 750 words per day (http://750words.com/???) “on the couch†and see what comes up in terms of goals and barriersOther challenges .... TBD
  4. Hi everyone!! This is my first quest with the assassins and I’m really excited to be here!! From the beginning I've really waffled between the Rangers and the Assassins, and I think that lack of focus will kind of show in my goals for the challenge. I ultimately chose assassins thanks to the helpful advice of our assassin ambassadors -- mostly because bodyweight workouts are part of my long term goals, and while I am working on weight loss, quite of my few personal/long-term goals for the next year land me squarely in this category over the more cross-fitty training of the Rangers. I'm spending the next ten weeks working in lovely Ireland and am going to have access to gyms, which I want to take advantage of. So even though I’m training with you lovely assassins, I’m have some freeweight & running related goals this challenge! Current Main Quest: Lose 15 pounds (drop from 150 to 135) before I move to London in September 2015. Build enough core & upper body strength through regular body weight or free weight exercise that I no longer have back pain when sitting for prolonged periods of time. Enroll in dance lessons sometime in the next year. Maintain a regular running schedule and begin training for my first half-marathon in fall of 2015, hopefully run the big 26.2 in April of 2016. Some goals for future challenges will include: Swing Dance Lessons & Practice Run A Half Marathon Pushup Challenge -- 20, 30, and beyond Tai Chi Classes NOW. I want to post my progress pics from the last quest to help inspire myself when the going gets tough. Possibly NSFW as I am wearing a sports bra/pants: Challenge 1 start: 148 lbs One, Two Challenge 1 finish: 142 lbs One, Two Challenge 2 start: 140 lbs Challenge 2 finish: To give you an idea of my trajectory, observe my high weight (192 lbs) almost eight years ago.... I have fluctuated back and forth a bit, but for the most part I have been steadily losing in small increments. I went gluten-free six years ago and cut all sodas/most sugar etc in the last three years. I'm hoping that by the end of this challenge I'll be just that much closer to a solid healthy weight (not to mention healthy cholesterol levels!!)! In short, I want to complete my SUPERHERO TRANSFORMATION! In addition to fitness, I love to travel, I crochet, I am addicted to Harvest Moon on my DS and I'm moving to London in September. I'm hoping to make some friends amongst the assassins this challenge!! Please feel free to follow or comment if you have similar goals or think we'd get along & be able to support one another! GOAL ONE: Running Wild Last challenge I focused on working out 5x weekly, and I want to continue that goal.... with that in mind, I rewarded myself for a job well done in my first challenge with a fancy new hydration belt! Ohhhhh, ahhhhh! SO. I am beginning to train for my first half-marathon this summer, intending to run in October. I’m using the Galloway Method for run/walk training and I need to get serious about my longer runs in particular. This isn't about speed or times, just about STAMINA! I am varying between 1/1 minute run/walks and 2/1 minute run/walks. I intend to run at 2/1 or 3/1 in October, depending on how my training goes. Cardio 3x weekly: Run/walk according to the half-marathon training schedule here, slightly modified as I am aiming to race in October: Short runs Monday and Saturday, long run on Wednesday afternoon/evenings. WEEK ONE: 30 minute run 2X weekly, 4 mile run 1X weekly. (30 x 2 complete, 4 mile complete) \o/ WEEK TWO: 30 minute run 2X weekly, 5 mile run 1X weekly. (30 x 2 complete, 5 mile complete) \o/ WEEK THREE: 30 minute run 2X weekly, 2.5 mile run 1X weekly. (30 x 2 complete, 2.5 mile complete) \o/ WEEK FOUR: 30 minute run 2X weekly, 6.5 mile run 1X weekly. (30 x 1 complete, 6.5 x 1 complete) WEEK FIVE: 30 minute run 2X weekly, 3 mile run 1X weekly. WEEK SIX: 30 minute run 2X weekly, 8 mile run 1X weekly. Earning +3 STA +2 DEX upon completion. Full point docked for non-attempts each week, partial points docked for non-completion of attempted runs. GOAL TWO: Weighty Goals For my second goal I'm hoping to roll free weights into my workout routine this summer. Weights 2x - 3x weekly 3x weekly is an option IF and only if I can double up on a short run day. I want to give myself two off days for recovery, work and my life quest each week. My routine: 3x sets of 12 barbell rows 3x sets of 10 military presses 3x sets of 12 curls 3x sets of 12 lateral pull-downs (where possible) In addition I want to practice my four Assassin mini body-weight moves plus the 20 squats and lunges from my body weight workout. I will try to raise my AMRAP on these on each weight day: Bent knee inverted rows Pushups Wall sit Lying leg raises I also want to work towards doing reps of full pushups rather than kneeling pushups as a continuation of my pushup-related goal in my last challenge. WEEK ONE: 2/2 WEEK TWO: 2/2 WEEK THREE: 2/2 WEEK FOUR: 0/2 WEEK FIVE: 0/2 WEEK SIX: 0/2 Completion guarantees +3 STR + 2 CHA GOAL THREE - Victory Over Vices: Last challenge I cut down on alcohol consumption, and just like with goal 1 I want to continue that goal and add a second. My goal is to drink only at work related functions and drink no more than two glasses of wine per night, maxing at six per week. I have no days off this challenge, so I’m not adding any caveats – though on the one day I may be meeting friends in early July I will waive this rule. Part B, though. Part b is going to be killer, because I freaking LOVE salt/salty foods/bitter/vinegary foods, ugh. I tend to add salt even before I taste food, which is a ridiculously stupid habit to maintain. Part A -- Drink only at work related functions and drink no more than two glasses of wine per night -- or the caloric equivalent (250 cal) in other booze! Part B -- NO ADDED SALT TO MEALS. Earning +2 CON +2 WIS upon completion. Dock .25 points per daily failure. Week 3 -- -.25 for added salt Week 4 -- -.25 for extra booze Bonus! Life Quest: I completely failed this my first challenge, so I am going to repeat the goal with actual time-management requirements built in. Read 2 self-improvement books on interpersonal communications - for this challenge I've selected "Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well" and "How to Speak, How To Listen". Earn .5 charisma points per book! During my second challenge I will read from 30 – 45 minutes on each rest-day during the week. If I manage to finish both books I will add a third (my Galloway method marathon training guide) with no points bonus.
  5. Hello Fellow Rebels! I'm writing this from a Starbucks WiFi connection, still won't have my own internet for another 2 weeks. Last challenge was difficult to keep up with for this same reason, plenty of things happening and victories to track, but no way to alert people! Even now, I'm probably going to have to leave before I can finish, so I'll try to make this quick. Even though I'm a HORRENDOUSLY slow typist. My main quest for this challenge is to get ready for law school, which will start a month into the challenge. Then I'll have 2 weeks of classes to assess my preparedness and make any needed adjustments before the semester gets fully underway. I want to be able to balance a healthy lifestyle and a full class load, and that means sticking to a plan and a schedule. I'll actually get my class schedule sometime this week and be able to create (and post many pictures of) a comprehensive calendar to simulate what my schedule in law school will be like. I want to work on making meals, working out, and "studying" only in times that I'll actually have available to me between classes. More on how that will pan out exactly in a future post. For now, I have 3 goals for myself, to feed my body, my mind, and my soul. This may be the only "me" time I get for quite some time (three years if my lawyer friends are telling the truth). It's very important to me to not let my physical vessel suffer while I hone my mind. This is the only body I've got, after all. Toward that end: GOAL 1: I want to do bodyweight workouts 3 times a week, this is the BARE minimum. If I want to, I can take an off day and go for a walk or kayak on the lake or whatever, but I ABSLUTELY CANNOT slack on these workouts. I'm not giving myself a way out this time. I have literally nothing weighing on my time these days since quitting my job and moving, so there's no reason not to carve out the 3 hours a week it requires. If that. If I pick up a good pace I can get a 4 set circuit done in 30 minutes. It's about time I stopped babying myself and got back to the Amanda I was this time last year. This means a total of 18 workouts, which is not really that much of a commitment. The grading is as follows: A= 12-18 workouts, with some extra ones thrown in such as cycling and urban hikes B= 9-15 workouts with no extra time put in C= 6-10 workouts F= less than 6 workouts. This is not an option. GOAL 2: I want to make delicious and nutritious meals for me and my tiny family of one other person. We've been doing very well in making our own food (I cook, Nate cleans up) and I want to keep it that way. The thing that kills me currently is keeping in line with Nate's tastbuds and still keeping it Paleo. Right now, I don't really. There are a lot of white potatoes and rice, used to keep Nate's culinary attention and to keep him eating my food instead of going to a fast food place after I eat dinner. He's committed to eating more healthfully just like I am, but he's hopelessly picky. My real challenge is in finding whole food meals that he enjoys and doesn't realize are good for him ;-) I'll do this by making dinner at least 3 times a week, realistically it'll probably be more. If I'm meeting this goal too easily I'll adjust for difficulty later. This equals 18 dinners in all, so grading is: A= 15-20 nutritious and completely paleo meals B= 10-15 paleo meals, a few that cheat slightly C= 8-12 meals, most have some form of simple carb F= less than 10 cooked meals. If this happens, heaven help me. GOAL 3: I want to be ready administratively for when law school comes, this means making out a budget, getting textbooks, notebooks/pens and such, and arranging my workspace. This is more of a tiered system than letter graded, I'm going to have 6 tasks that need to be met by the end of the challenge. They are, in no particular order: Sort out official files and paperwork so that it doesn't drown my study sessionsCreate a budget that takes into account student loans and Nate's impending new jobBuy textbooks, get vaccinated, and upgrade ID (all on campus)Get new study materials, all pens and highlighters were accidentally tossed during the moveFind syllabi, transpose due dates into NEW date plannerCreate database of recipes to draw form that can be made in less than an hour or in a Crockpot for multiple mealsThese are the tools that will enable my overly engaged mind to rest easy on a cushion of over-preparation. I've already been told that trying to do supplemental reading before starting classes is mostly useless unless it's requested on the syllabus, and my tendency to overthink things is going to rear it's ugly head very soon if I don't have something productive to occupy my time. So that's this challenge in a nutshell. Bring on August! I can't wait to read what you guys are tackling this time.
  6. Hello hello! I like to think I'm in relatively decent shape, but I haven't been happy with my habits SO, my main goal here is just to feel stronger and have more energy, I think with a quantative goal of being able to get a 300 on my physical fitness test with the Army. My side goals that I think will get me there are: FLEXIBILITY: Be able to touch my toes with my legs straight, something I haven't been able to do since I was 6 years old (tight hamstrings, anyone??) STRENGTH: Dead lift twice my body weight (currently at 135 pounds dead lifting) Bench press triple digits (currently at 75 pounds) Squat my body weight (Currently able to squat 95 pounds) Do a pull-up with no assistance SPEED Get back down to a sub-15 minute 2-mile. I've always been a runner, but I find that I feel better when I mix strength training and running...the challenge for me is just sticking to a schedule! I'm excited to finally be a member of the rebellion after lurking for a few months!
  7. Hey guys. I started StrongLifts 5x5 a couple of days ago. You may have heard of it. You may have even tried it, but I would love to read your honest opinions about it. I know this program is based more on strength(which I need to build right now), but could you build muscle also? I don't mean really cut bodybuilder-like muscle or any thing like that, but dense muscle for a more bulky, type look? I don't care to have the most asthetic body on Earth, but I would like a body to represent the hard work I'll into the program. What are your experiences, thoughts, opinions, etc. with StrongLifts?
  8. Ok so I am doing weight lifting at home with my cheesy 8 lb weights. I want to upgrade to bigger/better ones, but what is a brand/style that fits well. Also what lbs do you guys recommend to get. I am new to this "at home" workout. I usually just go to the gym but honestly those machines do nothing for me. I am about 2 weeks in to doing it, I am 5' 1 1/2" if this info is needed. Thanks in advance!
  9. Hey Rebels, I live in Sacramento, CA. I'm about to join the Crunch Fitness gym. I was wondering if there are any novice, beginner, and even advanced exercisers who believe in free weights and are looking for somebody to work out with? A little about me: Name: Jerome Height: 6'0" Weight: 260 lbs (Goal weight: 230 lbs) Goal: Taking it one step at a time. Want to be 30 lbs lighter by June 2013 and be in better shape for Taekwondo. Then set a new goal after the first 30 is gone. Steps I'm taking to get there: 1) DIET: Slowly but surely looking to convert to Paleo. Will be seeing a Nutritionist this Thursday to be put on a program. And I plan on buying Paleo recipe books. Reason I'm going this route: belly fat is my main issue and I feel that starchy carbs, as well as my sugar addiction are the reasons why it hasn't disappeared. 2) EXERCISE: a) Free weights: Build strength, stamina and to ensure I use the correct form for getting in shape. Purpose: To build muscle. Running: Cardio purposes and for endurance. Purpose: To burn fat and because I love running. Doing both of these should help me accomplish my goals in learning the art of Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo. To be specific: I'm looking for workout partners for the purpose of motivation and hopefully to establish a brotherhood. Like Steve says, it takes a team to help accomplish goals. Novices: We can help each other as iron sharpens iron. Experts: I can learn from you so I can get better. So if you're looking for somebody that you can either teach, or train with, I'm game! One Love NF
  10. Dren

    Life Is Good

    Age: 29 Height: 172 cm. Weight: 69.5 kg. GOALS FITNESS AND FOOD: Go to the gym at least 4 days per week, ideally 5. This is the routine I want to return to: Push Day, Pull Day, Swim/Active Rest, Push Day, Pull Day, Rest. Stretch every night before bed. Take a packed salad + protein + complex carbohydrate lunchbox, plus fruit, a big water bottle and/or flask of herbal tea, every day I have classes (4 days/week).LEVEL UP MY LIFE Be out of bed by 7:30 am every weekday. Work 9 - 5 every weekday, and set SelfControl to block social media sites until the end of my work day. FITNESS ROUTINE PUSH DAY: Weight training with emphasis on "push" activities.PULL DAY: Likewise, but opposite.SWIM DAY: Half an hour gentle swimming at the 30 m pool at my gym.ACTIVE REST/REST: In addition I tend to a 2 hour dance class on Tuesday nights and at least one or two nights of social dancing at other points in the week. I'm hoping to go for many long walks with the new boyo as well.(Weights and reps info to come after my first session back) NOTES Photos to come!I've decided to start a challenge again because I've fallen into some bad habits over the last month - I was doing very well, then had a great holiday/field trip (11 days hiking in Wales + a long weekend of dancing) which made me very happy, but knocked out my routine. I'm an MA student and am feeling the pressure from my studies. I also recently had some relationship issues, which are now resolved. My response to these things was to sleep as long as possible every day! I'm seeing a counsellor now, as a 'real life' accountibilibuddy - I thought checking in with the lovely folks on the forums here might help with the day-to-day.
  11. Last challenge was tough for me. I had a lot of stuff happen in life and I realized my coping skills leave much to be desired. I relied heavily on food for self-medicating and whiskey for forgetting, trading useful daylight hours for laying in bed way too long, and generally living mostly immobilized by fear. Living from a place of fear has meant that my reaction time is lightning fast, my fight-or-flight system is on hyperdrive, my responses to life are often irrational, and I care too much about things I can't control. At the root is ultimately fear of pain, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. Fear of pain leads to a desperation to escape from discomfort. The desperation fuels the hyperactive amygdala which in turn heavily influences physical and psychological reactions. I've lived this way for 31 years and I'm just plain tired of letting fear of fear dictate the parameters of my life. I have a well-established paleo lifestyle and a solid training program going, so I plan to simply stick with those. As far as diet and exercise go, the idea for the next 6 weeks is just to stick to the plan. No program changes, no switching to a new idea from a new website/magazine/podcast. Just stick with the current program for the next challenge, and at the end I can determine if changes need to be made. With that in mind, my goals for this challenge are stacked heavily toward battling this fear beast that is blocking my path toward my goals. For 31 years, this thing has always been there...I'd work on a goal right up until I smashed into it, then I'd back off and think, "I just need to try something different." The obstacle always looked vague, shapeless, and immense, so naturally I thought the problem was with whatever program/hobby/diet I was doing at the time. This past challenge, something clicked into focus and I finally saw the beast as it is. It's not vague and it's not shapeless; it's big, but not insurmountable. It's my dependence upon fear. Truly, dependence. I don't know how to live without it being there, so that seems like dependence to me. It's dark, and hard as granite, shiny with a menacing oily sheen, and it's tall enough that I can't see past it. But, it has edges, scaly pockmarks, and fissures, and I can work with those. Edges can be climbed over, scales can become handholds, and fissures can be split wide open. I know I probably won't be able to conquer this thing in 6 weeks; after all, it's been sitting there blocking my way for 31 years. But I can sure as hell get it in the crosshairs and see how much damage I can do to it over the next 6 weeks. My efforts this challenge focus on these areas: --establishing a consistent journaling habit; nothing fancy or melodramatic, just a notebook and a pen to write down whatever. I started this already; I have been writing 3 positive things about the day prior every morning before getting out of bed. --honoring my spirituality and my commitment to Buddhist practice by bringing regular meditation back into my life. I also have a few books on various teachings that have been collecting dust, and I'd like to break them out every now and then to foster my learning. --not allowing my mind to keep my body in bed for 9, 10, 11 hours a day. I did that a lot last challenge, and ultimately I felt like crap...sluggish, grumpy, etc. I'm not setting any specific bedtime/wake-time goals, but just focusing on keeping my time in bed in the sweet spot of 7-8 hours per night. This includes waking time in the bed, so I will not be reading in bed anymore. Not only has this been terrible for my posture, but reading in bed keeps my mind super active and I have a harder time falling asleep. Which leads to laying in bed doing nothing for a longer period of time. --committing to taking my vitamins and supplements every day. I eat a healthy diet but my food choices are limited in variety because I live so rurally. In the summer, this is not a problem as the local farms explode and the farmer's market is awesome. But during the fall/winter, the rural community just shuts down and all I'm left with are produce choices at the grocery store, which are expensive and often taste like crap. I want to make sure I'm getting a solid range of nutrients so I have done a lot of research and come up with a supplement routine that has worked well for me...when I take them. --being intentional about preparing my body for movement and recovering adequately from movement. In short: MWOD, baby. My jump stretch band and tennis balls are en route to my door as I type this, and I am going to explore the wonderful world of MWOD throughout the challenge. I did an assessment of my current habits and environment, and came to the conclusion that evenings in my living room while watching Hulu would be a perfect time for MWOD. I mean, I'm there almost every night already anyway...the only difference is that instead of sitting on my couch or laying on the Saint Bernard, I'll be rolling my spine on tennis balls or stretching out the shoulder with a band slung over a beam. One thing that I truly believe is that people carry their feelings inside their body. I know I do. Many times when doing a long yoga session or other stretching that works major joints, I find that the physical opening-up often results in feelings rising to the surface. I fully expect that this will happen with much of the mobility work. --doing good stuff for my body and mind out in the wide world. As I've mentioned (probably hundreds of times by now), I live in the middle of nowhere and I work from home. I am extremely isolated, and on weekends I also have no car, so when I actually have time off I can't go anywhere. I rarely see actual people, and that starts to make me feel a little crazy after awhile. I love health and fitness, and every time I've ever done anything health- or fitness-related out in the community with other people, I've loved it and felt great for days/weeks afterward. So I have set up three tasks, pass/fail, to work on toward this goal. My expectation for this challenge is that the cultivation of journaling and meditation, combined with attention to my sleep hygiene and solid nutritional/recovery support, I can start to address the underlying emotional issues that make up that big, nasty, dark barrier keeping me from moving forward in life. Fear is the mind-killer... Without further ado, the individual goal details. And...yes, these are based on MTG cards. I had a lot of fun on the Gatherer doing research for this challenge. (Also, my workouts will be tracked in my battle log thread, while specific goal progress will be tracked here.) Level 5: Wherein Sambie Faces the Jabberwock (source) Defeat: Meishin, the Mind Cage Every morning upon waking, write in my notebook before getting out of bed. 42 days = 100%. +2 WISDaily sitting time. 42 days = 100%. +2 CHADefeat: Entangling Trap Spend a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 8 hours in bed each night. No reading in bed. 42 nights = 100%. +4 CONAchieve: Beastmaster Ascension Take vitamins/supplements every day as scheduled. 42 days = 100%. +2 CONPractice MWOD every evening. 42 days = 100%. +2 CON Acquire: Healing Salve Sign up for 1 massage with massage therapist in town. +1 CONSign up for 1 yoga class at the studio in town +1 CHAMake 1 telephone inquiry to the naturopathic doctor in town. +1 CON Support Strategy: Continue eating 100% paleo - sugar/honey/maple syrup are officially out. There's no way around it...my body hates them, acts like I ingested poison when I do eat them, so I gotta give 'em up. And the thing is, sugary stuff never tastes as good as my mind tells me it will before I eat it. Tricksy brain cells, they lies to us! This includes (le sob) chocolate. But, I have my cacao tisane, which is 100% roasted cacao bean shells and nothing else, and is delicious. Continue with current training program: BodeeFit full metcon 2 days/wk Free weights + BodeeFit mini-metcon 2 days/wk (not two days in a row) Yoga 1 day/wk Rest 2 days/wk (rest day can include Moving at a Slow Pace if desired, i.e. walk/hike, more yoga, etc.)
  12. Alright, So i've gotten through a consistent workout program and have nearly doubled from what I've started from. I've completed 2 months of this http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/steve-cook-big-man-on-campus-12-week-college-trainer.html and now I'm afraid of hitting a wall here quick, so I might either do the regime backwards, or continue with the program and find something afterwards. The program has treated me good since there are a lot of free weight workouts that make it possible to work in a crowded gym. As a matter of fact I've nearly doubled my starting weight in some of the exercises. Alright, so that's the success story, here are the questions: When would be a good time to Max out on Deadlifts, Bench-press, and Squat? I'm trivial about it because the workouts do not include these workouts or a barbell at all, it's mostly free-weight with the exception of the incline press and front squat. Should I implement the basics before and work on form before I jump on maxing? Or should i do that and wait until after my 3rd month and completion to Max and start on another program? I don't really see much growth in muscles except for some definition in the quads here and there along with my triceps. Should I be worried and do some form check? I did a little research and I think i might have messed up my metabolism some by starving myself on occasion and not knowing. I made a dramatic change in my diet and I think my body went into panic. I cut out soda (lost the 7 pounds I gained from sucking it down all spring break along with fast food and other things) and also cut out a lot of processed foods and grains. I noticed the change because I've been very sluggish at times. When I went out and had a little fun yesterday and woke up to work out, I noticed that my workout felt ten tiems better. then again, it could be that my sleeping has been a bit more sound. How do I get my metabolism up and running again? Edit: I'm going to go to sleep now. My mind is going bleh on me.
  13. I have been only working with barbell training for five or six weeks now and I am still considering myself a novice. I've got the Barbell Battallion ebook from this site, I've watched the videos for doing the lifts properly, but I think the thing that has helped me out the most is Ripptoe's Starting Strength book that is highly recommended by Steve. I was working my deadlifts yesterday next to another young lifter who was dropping his weights hard for his deadlifts. One of the gym trainers came in and asked him to please stop dropping his weights. He then watched me do my deadlifts to make sure I wasn't dropping them and quickly complemented me on my technique, back position, bar position and everything. He even went so far as to tell the other young lifters in the room to watch how I did it and they would be able to do it correctly themselves. This made me feel really confident about what I was doing and gave me that extra boost to keep at it and keep improving.
  14. So help me out here guys... I'm a lady and I've been using the free-weights section of my gym for maybe about 2 months now. It was intimidating at first, but I'm pretty comfortable with it now and I always see the same guys when I go. I'm even on a 'head-nod hello' basis with a few of them. Then there's this one guy. It started with him asking me if I was done with which ever machine I had just come off of. I wipe things down and take my weights off the bar when I'm done but I figured he was just being polite and making sure I really was done with the equipment. Fair enough. But yesterday he came over to ask me how many sets I had left when I was on the incline bench press! Let me note that he asked when I was resting, not lifiting. I don't rest for long and I didn't have my phone or MP3 player out or anything that would indicate I was dawdaling. The gym was surprisingly empty so I felt there were plenty of other things he could have been working on. Is this OK in the free-weights section? Am I being a little sensitive here or was he being a jerk? My last set felt rushed because I knew he was waiting for my equipment! The fact that I'm wearing earbuds says "I'm not here for chit-chat" doesn't it? Help me out here! Do I need to tell this guy to back off or let this slide because it's normal in the free weights area?
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