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  1. Basically this is a "Get My Crap Together" challenge. Starting next month I enter a 3 month health and fitness competition and I'll suffer financial loss if I don't hit the target accomplishments -plus we have to take photos of our gains every two weeks and send them to all other challengers. Very motivating. Thus I'm considering this challenge a tactical exercise -it'll be the research upon which I base my battle strategy for March - May. This means it will be flexible in nature as I figure out what's working and what isn't as regards any habits/routine. Once that's done I can squash the competition and, eventually, take over the world. I'm trying to attack this head on and not be intimidated since world domination isn't accomplished without a bit of forethought n a whole lot of effort and neither shall this. (I can neither confirm nor deny whether Nick Fury will appear here in the the coming weeks) Areas of focus for this study are: 1) Rationing of Provisions I'm starting the Whole30 in March so this will be a precursor. I'm gonna try to stick with the principles of it (3 balanced meals a day, no snacking, no "treats") but I will eat quinoa, rice and corn tortillas for this month. My focus is figuring out which meals I really enjoy and finding the best days to cook meals ahead for the week. Grading will be based on # of meals, meal proportion and avoidance of snacking/dessert. I'm allotting the most points to this as it will be the hardest and most important for overall success. 50% of Weekly Grade 2) Be Regimented In My Training I'm not focusing on a particular kind of exercise, as it will change each week, rather I need to set aside specific times each week to work on my goals. So I will set a schedule and try it for a week, if it works I'll see if I can keep it up the whole challenge. If it doesn't I'll adjust it and try again. I will be graded on how well I stick to the outlined schedule. 25% of Weekly Grade 3) Don't Let Other Aspects of Life Go To Crap. This is one of the most important aspects of my focus. Since my life will be pretty packed I want to make sure I still take care of everything else as living life is the reason for health. Living Life means not neglecting my pup, keeping up with language studies, maintaining healthy relationships, etc. I'll outline the things I need to accomplish for the week and post it at the beginning of the week. I will be graded based on the ratio of how many items I kept up with vs neglected. 25% of Weekly Grade Grading system TBA Also, because I'm super nice here is: TODAY'S RANDOM LIFE LESSON Beware of The Hamsters! - An important warning as it is they who shall one day rule the galaxy (It's really not mice. Things like Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and Pinky and The Brain are merely clever ploys developed by The Hamsters! to shift suspicion onto other, less ambitious rodents.) Think of how many homes they've already infiltrated, ingratiating themselves as members of our households with their cute snugly exterior ....Don't be fooled... More to be reported on their nefarious behavior as we're made aware of it. As usual I barely survived Monday with my limbs intact so this didn't get posted yesterday. Edit - Also I just noticed I forgot the O in Victory - *facepalm*
  2. The winter blahs have set in here in Minnesota... So let's start a warm and fuzzy thread where we can show off out furry (or scale-y) companions! Feel free to post pics, share funny or heartwarming stories... anything pet related is a-ok. ...Cause who doesn't love a good pet thread?
  3. [Hastily pastes from Evernote while lunch cooks] What... is your name? 18ckWhat... is your quest? To prepare for the Great North Run on the 15th of September What... is the capital of Assyria? I don't know thAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!! This will be a simple one in a lot of ways. Yeah, I know there's a lot of stuff in it but it's quite focused on one goal and I'm only measuring the things that matter 1. Travel as fast as a Swallow*/** The charity I'm running for has given me a half marathon training program devised by Full Potential Training and tailored to the needs of a slightly tubby 44-year-old who has recently been laid up and got out of the habit of running, so I will be following that basically as-is. I don't normally follow a program, just run a bit more each week until I get up to the right distance, so I'll be interested to see how much difference a proper schedule makes! It's mostly running of course but there's some pilates and cross-training built in and I'll be doing that. If I basically follow the whole thing, it's STA+3, STR+2. I reserve the right to make some changes - like I'll be doing the longer runs on Thur and Sat instead of Fri and Sun because it fits better with my normal week, and I'll probably not do the 20 min run on the day before the race for example; changes due to tactics are OK; due to laziness, not OK. 2. Weigh the same as a duck OK, this is the one: I've been losing weight slowly and steadily but in this challenge I am going to speed it up a bit and hit eleven and a half stone (161lb) , which is my target weight. It's a seven week challenge so that's just one pound per week - not overly challenging, I reckon. Not only will this make me almost unbelievably hawt, but it will also make it easier to run, which will be nice. If I manage that it's CON+1 CHA+1 DEX +1 3. 'Tis But a Flesh Wound Although I am mostly recovered from my terrible injuries, I will be keeping up with proper stretches and light exercise as advised by the physio. The running program already has pilates built in so that's covered already. Core exercises on at least 50% of all days, plus stretches at the very least after every run = DEX+1 CON+1 4. Prepare for a Pretty Nasty Taunting It occurs to me that as a Silly English K-nig-ht, riding around the countryside, I might need to lay siege to castles occupied by foreign mercenary types who might shout such things as "A sua mãe era um hamster e o seu pai cheirava de sabugueiro". So, in order to know how to conduct myself in these tense diplomatic negotiations I will be learning a foreign language. Let's say um... Portuguese. I need to step this up a bit I think. I'll do at least one weekly session of Lathrop and Dias study (but no fixed end-point this time), at least one set of flashcards per week, read "Bichos" by Miguel Torga all the way through by the end of the challenge and do at least half an hour of actual conversation per week. Conversation is definitely the thing I am worst at in the language, which is why I need to make it a goal. The book looks interesting. Unlike the last book I read, it's not a translation of an English book but an original work of Portuguese fiction and I have no idea what the plot is about, so it'll be harder going. Luckily it is quite short! WIS+2 CHA+1 Bonus Grails: 1. "I just want to... Sing..." / "THAT'S ENOUGH OF THAT!" This one is a sort of add-on to the others. I like listening to music while I'm running and walking and what-not and that's fine but I think I need to connect more with my surroundings so I will be doing at least this:Make at least two journeys (walking or running and not always in the same route!) without sonic accompaniment per weekRead "On Looking" by Antonia Horowitz and ignore the fact that it is a bit self-indulgent. Try and learn from it and notice more things in the world around (I'm actually reasonably good at this already but I'd like to be betterPay more attention to food while eating (think it's called "mindful eating"...?)Find ways to elbow my smartphone out of my life. It's constantly bonging and tinkling at me and I am not always good at ignoring its attention-seeking behaviour.This isn't an easy one to measure and I don't really want to measure it because it's the sort of thing where pressure to hit goals is actually counter-productive. If I feel like I've done well it's +1 WIS and if I don't then it isn't. 2. "Today the blood of many a brave knight shall be avenged!" Give blood (appointment booked quite early in the challenge) - No points available just a feeling of self-righteousness 3. "Brave, Brave, Brave, Brave Sir Robin" Emulate the example of Hammlin in the run-up to her marathon a couple of challenges ago and test various methods for topping myself up with water and carbs in mid-run so I know what works for me. Last time I did a half I winged it and ended up feeling like I was going to spew. This is not the way to do it. If I can do it properly this time it's +1WIS again Reward: "You're using coconut shells!" On Steve's principle of "reward yourself with things that reward you back", if I manage to knock 5+ minutes off my half marathon PB and get it down to 1h55, and if I manage to raise £500 (that's - what? - like $750 I think) for the charity I will reward myself with a "Learn to Ride a Horse" day at Richmond Park Riding School. Actually, I'd like to do it in 1h50 but given my recent history, I'll set my sights slightly lower. I intended to do the course a while ago but it got bumped due to lack of funds. Obviously I won't know if I get the reward when the points are divvied up because the race isn't tilla week after the end of the challenge, on the Sunday before the next one starts, so I'll stay in challenge mode till then and probably have an easy couple of weeks after that (I'll be on Jury service anyway so I'll be doing a lot of sitting!) OK, that's enough blather. Time to... http://youtu.be/rEkLPfXu6hs * = unladen ** = african
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