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  1. Time to join the Rangers: Arcelas the n00b Carries On: Post-New-Year’s-Resolution Challenge Questline: Lose 48 lbs Complete all scheduled workouts Rewards/Penalties based on percentage of workouts completed 80% or higher: Maximum effort Deadpool workout t-shirt 79% or lower: I have to wear a plain white t-shirt to the gym, with things written/drawn on it suggested by Nerd Fitness Complete all daily food journals Rewards/Penalties based on percentage of journals completed 80% or higher: Super whey tasty chocolate protein powder 79% or lower: I have to buy, cook and eat a spaghetti squash (literally the worst-tasting thing in the world to me) Questline: Become Much Better At Magic Read and practice chapter 2 of “Royal Road to Card Magic” (30 minutes a day) Practice a coin trick (2 hours per week)
  2. INTRO I had to do something interesting yesterday: Clean off my entire desk as quickly as possible. I had placed my tea maker back down in way that the excess water had leaked out all over my desk, and I didn't realize it until the sound of it dripping off my desk tore me away from what I was working on. So in the span of a few seconds, I had to snatch all the loose papers and other things off my desk and clean the water up. I had to decide what was actually important and what had just been lying there because I hadn't made it a priority (much appreciation to Steve for the article about the "I don't have time" being a lie) to go through any of it. When I was done, practically nothing that had been on my desk was still there, nearly all of it had gone in the trash because I didn't actually need it. This got me thinking: How many of the things in our lives are actually needed or even wanted? How many of the things/people/habits that we have in our lives are only there because we're too lazy or scared to get rid of them? THE CHALLENGE: So here is my challenge to all of you: If you spilled tea on your life right now and had to make snap decisions on what stayed and what went, what would you do? Who/what would go in the trash? I don't expect anyone to do anything I won't do myself, so here is my current list: 1. Furniture. I realized when I moved into my new apartment that the standard "ok, new place, I have to get a couch/chairs/ottoman/TV stand/coat rack/display case for the souls of my vanquished foes/etc." style of decorating wasn't something I wanted. It started with buying a pull up bar/dip station that took up a good chunk of the front room instead of a couch. Then it became a bench press/squat rack...and I realized the idea that I HAVE to get traditional furniture for my place just because was silly. I live in a gym, and I love it. 2. People. I moved back home after several years on the other side of the country, and realized there were a lot of people that I honestly didn't need in my life. I cut down my social circle to the people who actually care about me and who actually enrich my life. Everyone else was either told (politely) why I wouldn't be contacting them anymore, or simply did not have contact with them re-established. This can be a painful and difficult process for a lot of people, but I PROMISE you it is worth it. 3. Toxic Games/Hobbies/Habits. I used to play a LOT of League of Legends. For anyone who knows the game, you probably see where I'm going with this. For those of you who don't, let me give you a quick breakdown. League of Legends (LoL) is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that pairs you with up to four other complete strangers on a team to assault the enemy base and compete against five other people who are similarly randomly placed together. (The game CAN be played with friends and with arranged teams, but for the purpose of this post/rant/article we are using "Solo Queue" as the example) So it's you and 9 other gamers you don't know, on the internet, with a chat feature that can be used to type whatever you want to your team mates and the other team. As you might imagine this gets...unpleasant the vast majority of the time. LoL is widely known to have one of if not THE most toxic player communities in all of gaming. Racial and homophobic slurs, threats against yourself/family/friends/home/pets, vehement insistence that you should kill yourself, you name it, someone on League has said it. Add to that that anyone on your team can pretty much intentionally throw the whole match for your whole team and still have it count on your official ranking, and you have a recipe for a LOT of stress and anger. I used to be obsessed with my League rank. I used to play upwards of ten matches a day, more if I could stay awake longer. Then I moved back home, got busy, and realized I just didn't need that kind of stress in my life. I had limited time to game, and I realized how many truly GOOD single player games I was missing out on just to play more League matches. I'd skipped the entire Witcher and Dragon Age Trilogies, never touched Dishonored or any of the Bioshock games...It was depressing to realize how much of my hobby I'd been missing out on because I was obsessing over my ranking in one game, a ranking that literally gets RESET every season anyway! I had enough stress in my life from moving back home, losing a relationship and friends, looking for a good job and a more permanent residence. I didn't need 9 strangers on the internet telling me to kill myself every time I didn't perform perfectly in a game I was SUPPOSEDLY enjoying. So I cut back. WAY back. For a while I walked away from the game completely. If I had time to game, I played one of the story based games I'd been missing out on. If I played League at all, it was with friends who asked me to play. I played it for FUN, not to obsess over my rank. And something funny happened: I was suddenly a lot less angry in pretty much every area of my life. Ask yourselves what games and habits are ACTUALLY fun, and which ones you're just doing "because I've always done them." CLOSING I'm dumping a full kettle of hot tea on your life. What are you keeping, and what are you throwing away? I'd love to hear from anyone and everyone on this.
  3. Holiday Hustle Gotta hurry in the bustle and get into the holiday hustle! Fortunately I am already in said holiday hustle, but I'm not feeling rushed! In fact, I am strategically planning to make sure things get done without anyone wanting to pull their hair out. No one wants that during the holidays! I want to enjoy it with my family, lay under the tree to admire the lights, and sip coffee while watching all of my favorite holiday flicks without too much worry or care. Along with that, I really want to push myself more into the cardio world. I do love my yoga and meditation, but when it gets cold, this will get the blood flowing! Not that yoga doesn't do that, but I think a little more movement and work will also help my mental state. So I went digging around on the DAREBEE site, and I found some pretty decent beginner Cardio workouts. Perfect! I. If you want them cookies, you gotta shake that tooshie! I've found three workouts that I think will work really well! Cardio Inc. Workout Slow Burn Workout Mermaid Workout My first quest will be to do, at least, one of these workouts 3 days a week. I thought about every day, but being a person who hasn't done a great deal of actual cardio exercise, I don't want to overwhelm myself. I will also be incorporating the 2016 DAREBEE Advent Calendar into each day as well! I LOVE Advent Calendars! *_____* II. Reindeer ain't the only ones chompin' carrots! I'm actually pretty good when it comes to eating vegetables and fruit, but I need to do more of that. I LOVE them, but I find myself eating less and less of them. Why? I'm not entirely sure, but that will change! Apples or celery with peanut butter? YUM! Carrots with hummus? Double yum! Cucumbers and peppers? Yes, please! I know I have options. I just have to, you know, EAT THEM. Stop being so dang lazy and CHOP 'EM UP! Can't let convenience make me so complacent, right? Right. On, Dasher! (...on, dancer! on, prancer! on, vixen! on, comet! on, cupid! on, donner! on, blitzen! ...and yes, I did that totally by memory.) III. Keep yourself from going loco and drink a little cocoa! (This one is a two-parter!) With the planned workouts and mindful intake of better snack/side dish options, that doesn't mean I have to tread lightly around things. Make myself snack baggies with 2 cookies in them, and set them aside. Mark a day on them, and once that day's cookies have been had? That's it and I look forward to the next day! Portion and moderation is key! Along with enjoying the sweeter side of life, I have to start enjoying the little things in life. Taking time out to read for a bit, paint my nails, have a spa day, draw...etc! Keep the mental state in check and balanced. Medicine can only do much (and it does a GREAT deal), but I also need to help myself as well! BONUS STAGE! The Holly and The Ivy Complete The Herbal Alchemist's Course and make Professor Sprout proud! Here is to the last challenge of 2016!!!
  4. Hello fellow Assassins! I realize I'm more than a little late... But life cannot always meet six-weeks deadlines. Life has been crappy recently and I've let myself fall in the trap of emotional eating, not exercising, not sleeping and just generally letting go of anything resembling a healthy habit, from eating vegetables to valuing my own strength. But no more! Jumun is getting back in the saddle! This will be a half challenge, but I hope I'll be able to get back some good habits and build on them for next challenge. 3 key goals this time around: - Healthy eating: which means balanced diet, without excessive cutting or calorie counting, but a mix of carbs, fats, proteins and fruits and vegetables. Also no shaming if I fall off the wagon and eat candies / cookies. Just acceptance and moving on. I'll use Weight Watchers to count, as it is easier to evaluate and gives me some leeway. - Daily exercising: as I was down in the dust I stopped exercising, and my knees, my back and in general my body did NOT approve. So I'm starting slowly again to gain strength, by continuing dance class, but also cardio every morning. I chose to start easy and will measure on cardio, then reintroduce strength training slowly. My knees have been acting up, so I don't want to put too much pressure on them. Measuring will be done 1 for exercise and 0 if not, with comp allowed the same week. - Going to bed before 11pm: as I have to wake up early I Have to get back into the habit of going to bed earlier. Exception for days when I can sleep later the next morning, i.e. Friday and Saturday nights. There will be no official targets or rewards for these three weeks, but just a positive momentum if I can build it and maintain it. Let's go!
  5. This challenge in some ways follows on from my previous ones but also has a couple of tiny changes. Once again I'm basing my workouts around the progressions in Convict Conditioning- they worked for me so far so I don't feel the need to mess with the formula. I'm also carrying on with the daily handstand practice although I have to admit that I've missed a lot of days between the end of the last challenge and this one but not anymore. I'm also adding in a few more daily tasks as I've found that practicing skills daily really works wonders. Enough rambling, here are my goals: GOAL ONE: Work out 6 days per week. Last challenge I tried doing three full body workouts per week but it didn't pan out too good. The on one day, off one day thing really didn't help with building up a steady routine and several days were either skipped or postponed until later in the week. Also, a full body workout takes quite a bit of time and I had to get up too early in the mornings to fit it all in before work. In these cold winter months, it's tough getting up at 5:30 when you know that you could stay in bed for another half an hour and not work out but still get to work on time. So, I'm now trying the CC Veterano programme- six days straight but each day focussing on 2-3 sets of only one exercise. A pretty intense warm up followed by very specific exercises can be done in less than half an hour if I push myself hard (which I really plan to do) so I have big hopes that I'll find it easier to stick with this programme than the last one. STR +2, STA + 2 GOAL TWO: Daily handstand and crow stand practice. I had pretty good success with the handstands on the last challenge until I over did it it pulled my shoulder so I'm going to carry on with them again but with the addition of working towards a 15 second crow stand too. One of my goals for the year is to learn to do handstand presses and being able to do 15 second freestanding handstands and 15 second crow stands are pre-requisites for having the strength to do them so this goal is primarily working towards that larger goal. DEX +4 (+2 per stand) GOAL THREE: Six weeks of healthy living. Another goal for the year is to reduce my % body fat down to 15 or lower. I'm currently hovering around 18-20% so I'm really going to be focussing on shedding the fat and adding lean muscle mainly through good diet. Following on from the usual holiday orgy of bad eating and drinking this goal is all about cutting out the alcohol, unnecessary sugars and general rubbish from my eating. So, no booze, no liquids apart from water or green tea, no chocolates and other sweet treats. CON + 3 GOAL FOUR: More Haikus! I really enjoyed writing them last time and over the Xmas period I unpacked the last of my books from when I moved house back in July and I found my copy of 'The Haiku Handbook' a guide to writing and reading haikus. My goal is to read the book cover to cover and to try to write at least 3 good haikus per week bug hopefully more. It's a bit of fun really but it feels great to exercise my creative mind. WIS +3, CHA +1. In the past I've tended to record my workouts on my battle log but from now on I want to be more a accountable so I'm going to post them on here instead and try to record more details of what I'm actually doing. I've started a new paper workout journal for this year so I'm already being a lot more thorough in my records so I've got them for reference so I see no reason not to bore everyone on my challenge thread too! Challenge on!
  6. Has anyone else read Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich? If so, what did you think?
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