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  1. I decided to formally go ahead and do a battle thread since it seems like I am actually sticking with this fitness stuff. (Touch wood.) I've never been good at online introductions, but I'll do my best. I'm a nerd, obviously. My hobbies are medieval re-enactment (mainly through the SCA,) archaeological experimentation, woodworking, writing, Scottish country dancing and pipe smoking. I also run a podcast on Viking Age History called Norse by Northwest. I'd always been a fairly outdoorsy person with fair fitness, but I moved from Scotland to the US and gained a ton of weight. (A few images below to show the journey so far.) I struggled with it for a long, long time and just couldn't seem to shed a pound. Eventually I went to my Doctor who went through a lot of options with me and convinced me to try a month of Phentermine. That actually worked really well. I lost weight at a reasonable and healthy pace and was only on it for one month. But it led to a further diagnosis of Chronic depression related fatigue. Basically, I needed a stimulant of some kind added to my antidepressant to really get me feeling human. The antidepressant stopped me from being suicidal, but I was still just trapped in a fog and never able to really engage or get anything done. So I got put on a really low dose of Adderall and it has totally changed my life. I feel like myself again. I have a reasonable amount of energy. I'm actually happy. I get chores done during the day and I'm not completed incapacitated by having to make a decision on a thing. At any rate, I started hitting the gym every weekday on my lunch break. I would do two days of weight training and three days of the C25K. On weekends I'd attended fighter practice for the heavy armoured combat I do. I've now completed the C25K and I am running 35 minutes twice a week and doing weight training three days a week. My 'Big why' is twofold. First, my Daughter, Freya, was born in November of 2017 and is growing like a weed. I want to be fit enough to keep up with her and healthy enough to be around for her for many years to come. I also really want to look better in my medieval garb. I make clothes that I am really proud of and then I put them on and think about how much better they would look if I were a bit more trim. It's vain, but maybe not too bad of a thing. My goals are modest. I don't expect washboard abs or biceps as thick as my neck. I'd like to get rid of most if not all of the beer belly and have better strength and endurance. I'm making good progress so far and trying to just stay patient and continue to make healthy choices. So, on to the pictorial proof. Pictures of me from before I moved to the US where I was in really good shape. Then pictures of me after I moved to the US and was really fat. Finally, a chain of progress pictures showing my weight loss over the last few months.
  2. What’s this you say. A Nerd Fitness challenge about wanting to be a Librarian. Nonsense. But…ah ha! Not just any Librarian. I want to be a LIBRARIAN. See, one of those. Especially the axe wielding one. Okay well I’d like to have him and be him but that is neither here nor there. I want to be one of those Librarians. They kick ass, save the world and do it all with books and brains and bullets and fists. (Couldn’t find a B word for fists. Except big fists. I digress.) However I lack the skills necessary to be one. So while my aspirational goals are there my current goals do not meet with being a Librarian. But they will be. Oh yes they will be. Because a Librarian is my first step to Shield Maiden and from there to Valkyrie! (Girls got to have goals!) So my goals this challenge revolve around Librarian powah! Uhm. Working on gaining the skills to even be considered a Librarian some day. Yes, that’s what I meant and is much more eloquent. So Librarians focus for a bit as this will train my brain and body! And who better than Jacob to model myself after. (Eve was a close second but he’s pretty much Eve + Flynn is all I'm saying. And hot. And to be honest I’ve enjoyed the actor since the days of Angel in my much never discussed Buffy and Angel obsessed early teen years.) So how does one train to one day eventually be a Librarian? Body and mind? Its not just about reading books. Well to start I just got the okay from my cardiologist to start doing activities again. Ie exercise. Nothing too intense. (Crossfit is on hold at least another 6 months he said. Minimum. I go with the flow for now but will revisit this depending on how I feel in 3 months.) So goal 1 is to try out varying forms of exercise to get my body going again. This means I will try one new physical activity each week to try and decide which one works for me. To that end I have some fun stuff lined up. This week: Fencing class! Yes, I am going to learn how to use a sword. Or at least. Try the class and see what happens. Next week I’m debating archery or some rock climbing. After that some scuba class is a possibility or shooting classes. Nothing too strenuous. I’ve run it all by the doc and got his yes. So that’s my physical goals to becoming more like a Librarian. Goal 2 is to stretch the brain muscle to match the body muscles. This means learning new stuff. I had been prepared to head to Copenhagen to work on a PhD but that went to the wayside. So for now Ill just be taking Coursera courses online to stretch the brain in areas Im not used to. More than likely some art history to go in line with my history and maybe some astronomy or physics to go a new direction. My goal is to sign up and begin one new class and have a second as least signed up for by the end of this challenge. It’s not PhD level stuff but one of the side effects of treatment has been memory issues so trying to retrain my brain and stuff some more knowledge in there. I will also be re-reading all my old textbooks from classes to get back into the brain game. Can’t be a Librarian level expert if I forget my basic knowledge. Goal 3 isn’t really tied into Librarians (though I did try and stretch it into the theme believe me) This is simple. I will continue to prep my food for the week ahead at work on Sunday and meet my calorie goal of between 1650-1900 calories per day as recorded on MFP. A more personal goal is to just try and read some of the books that have been on my list for awhile. Not to learn new things but just to read to enjoy reading. Its not a hard and fast goal more an extra credit thing to keep in to and catch up on my reading. Ive been getting too much mental stimulation from Netflix. (Though let me tell you. Altered Carbon….Hell. Yeah.) So read some more books it is. Im looking at A Viking World edited by Stefan Brink and Neil Price. It’s a scholarly academic look at Viking Life and history but as a scholar and academic it’s my idea of fun. Seriously. It really is. For something full of information and not as scholarly and kind of heavy (I must admit) The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings by Lars Brownworth is a good one. Though it focuses on Vikings more war like aspects it’s a good place to start and jump in. Of course never fear. My list also includes some not so academically focused. I have some William Gibson, some Brandon Sanderson, some Glen Cook and some Genji Monogatari chilling by my bedside. Those will be read, again in many cases, this month as well. If I manage a B or better, or 80%, then I intend to reward myself. With this. So for people excited by Librarians and Level negative 10 shield maidens and wanna be Valkyr....here we go!
  3. Good morning fellow Beginners, Rebooters and bewildered individuals. I am ValkyrieRising and have decided to dip my toe into the water and drink the Kool-Aid of Nerd Fitness. A little about me. I'm a history Nerd who had been working on being accepted to do her PhD overseas in Denmark when I got a rather unpleasant medical diagnosis. (No prizes for guessing my area of interest given my Nickname/BattleTag/Secret Identity/Hero Name etc) Im a 30 something years old and struggling with my health after that medical diagnosis and just the fact I'm not as young and sprightly as I used to be. I finally have the all clear from my doctor to begin the long road back to good health and good eating that was me 3-4 years ago before my diagnosis. Currently my focus is just on eating healthy again as during my fight with my body and the treatment I devolved into eating comfort foods when I was well enough to eat. I indulged in anything I wanted, telling myself I deserved it because I was going through tests/chemo/hospital stays/transfusion/whatever excuse I felt like using. So for my first challenge this is going to be my focus. Main Quest: To eat healthier and get my eating habits under better control by not gorging on whatever I feel like and sticking to a measurable goal of between 1650-1900 calories each day based on my activity. Smart Goals: 1. I will weigh and measure my food until I can re-orientate my brain as to what a proper serving size is. (A whole pan of brownies is not one serving.) 2. I will track my consumption and calories through an online Food Tracker. (I'm using My Fitness Pal since it seems easy enough.) 3. I will cut my sweet tea consumption out and focus on drinking water each day instead. I accept that this will be a struggle and I may slip but a small slip is no reason not to press forward in this challenge. 4. I will meal prep my food during the beginning of the week in order to ensure I do not eat mindlessly. I recognize this as a big pitfall of mine, sitting at home and being bored so grazing through the fridge for food. If I prep my snacks and food ahead of time I hope to graze on that and not overeat during the week. With all of this I am allowing myself 2 instances where I will divert from these plans. The first is on December 14th and the premiere of the next Star Wars movie. I've had tickets since October and intend to go and enjoy this occasion without worrying about myself and what I'm indulging in.The second is a Christmas party my friend throws that I am finally healthy enough to attend after missing it the last couple years. This is part of being mindful and accepting that constantly saying no to the things I enjoy will lead to me failing and binging. In my reading, here and other sources, I really grew to like the idea of the 80/20 approach. As long as I am doing well the larger majority of the time and don't let myself slip and keep on track then those small indulgences have less of an impact and value. I look forward to reading along and travelling with you all through this journey and hope to grow not only in my health, mind and body, but also in my challenges as I see how creative and all in many of you go. Its awing and inspiring! I leave you with the following words to consider in life.
  4. And in the highest, greenest, airiest valley of all, where apricots are grown and the streams have floating ice in them even on the hottest day, is the monastery of Oi Dong and the fighting monks' Order of Wen. The other sects call them the History Monks. Not much is known about what they do, although some have remarked on the strange fact that is it always a wonderful spring day in the little valley and the cherry trees are always in bloom. The rumor is that the monks have some kind of duty to see that tomorrow happens according to some mystic plan devised by some man who kept on being surprised. In fact, for some time now, and it would be impossible and ridiculous to say for how long, the truth has been stranger and more dangerous - The job of the History Monks is to see that tomorrow happens at all.... Pardon any typos... In the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, one of my (many) favorite characters is Lu-Tze, sweeper at the monastery, and legendary hero to the monks. Actually, the whole idea of a secret society that makes sure THINGS HAPPEN at the appropriate time and place is just fascinating to me. They feature prominently in Thief of Time and Nightwatch, and have a few appearances or mentions here and there. At any rate, for those of you interested in Discworld, Thief of Time is a decent stand alone - reading the other books with Death and family would deepen it though. For Nightwatch, it helps to have read the first two of the Guards series. Anywho...I was inspired to the Discworld angle by Sara Kingdom, who's just finished a DW themed challenge, and is continuing with it. It does you good to get out in the fresh air... "We have swept well. Let's go to the gardens, for is it not written, 'It does you good to get out in the fresh air'?" "Is it?" said Lobsang, still bewildered. Lu-Tze pulled a small, tattered notebook out of his pocket. "In here, it is," he said. "I should know." First assignment - get outside. I keep writing about walking - this is a good thing, but I'm stripping it back further - get my butt outside. I have a yard to putter in and prep for spring, an old, old maple I need to get some more mulch under (probably another 4 yards, if I actually want to get to the drip line), a park with trails under trees nearby, and well, it's Seattle- there's green space everywhere. +1 for a walk +5 for general outdoor activity (cleaning up the yard, tending to some of the beds around the house, etc). +10 (or more) for any possible big work - like mulching out to the dripline (that might be in the next challenge). Minimum to pass - +20. Practice, for out in the world "We'll slice our way there," said Lu-Tze, and he stopped and turned. "You think you can do that?" "I've done it hundreds of times--" Lobsang began. "Back in Oi Dong, yes," said Lu-Tze. "But there's all kinds of checks and safeguards in the valley. Oh, didn't you know that? Slicing in Oi Dong is easy, lad. It's different out here. The air tries to get in the way, Do it wrong and the air is like a rock...." Second assigment - Kata and Suburi. This takes on some special meaning to me now. I'll detail it more throughout the challenge, but essentially I'm receiving a teaching license in my martial art. My training brother and I have been tasked with setting up the date and event, etc (we're both receiving license), I've got a lot of thoughts going on behind this one. In the dojo, with the familiar faces and small number of students we have, things are somewhat easy. We know each others' faults and strengths. It's helped learn how to 'see' as a teacher, but there's still so much to learn. While it's not part of this challenge, a larger quest in this year will be establishing my own school, and navigating all that entails, and being ready for the real world of students I'm not familiar with. So - Suburi (cuts only) - +1 per session. Kata or waza practice - +1 per class or session at home. Passing minimum - +20 suburi, and + 20 kata I'll be working out a couple of other additions in the next day or so. Based on previous challenges, meditating isn't a real goal of mine. Conceptually I understand it's value, but I'm done, for the moment, with trying to force the practice. I may go more physical, and add in points for TGUs and/or swings - I've been feeling stagnant and some focused movement beyond kata might be useful. I may also look at diet, and some discipline there. I don't have a specific goal with regards to diet, but there are a couple of things to contemplate over the next day or so. I'm actually thinking points for water. Lastly - place holder for some adulting tasks. Some of the funk I've been in have to deal with a) work and b ) relationship balance. A few things to work out, but not sure how to assign points, if any, at the moment. Minimum total for passing (prior to possible add-ins this week) 60 pts. Reward - I have my eye on a particular bokken - lighter than my current, but still substantial enough for contact practice - a total of 100 (prior to add-ins) will be required for that. Happy February challenge, everyone.
  5. INTRODUCTION: My name is Ted and this is my first challenge. I joined the academy first. I was searching for how to build intrinsic motivation into a fitness routine and Nerd Fitness came across my path. I soon stumbled upon the Rebel Forums and have been finding my way around here. I love the positive energy and the team atmosphere. I am a 33 year old English and History teacher and live in San Francisco, CA with my husband and our orange bob-tail cat named Cha-cha. We have been in the Bay Area for about a year. Before California, my husband and I were living in Japan (I was there for seven years and he was there for his whole life). Getting settled into a new country, job, and way of life caused my fitness to not be a priority. This is my way of taking back control and making fitness and health a priority in my life. I am excited about doing this for myself and possibly gaining some friends and strong support along the way. MAIN QUEST: I will have an active life full of movement and activities I find joy in so I can live a life of peace and adventure with my husband. CHALLENGE GOAL 1: “YOU LOOK LIKE A TALL GLASS OF WATER†GOAL: During this six week challenge, 14 September 2015 to 25 October 2015, I will choose only between water and tea for my beverages. Reasoning: Drinking, in my mind, has always had a social component. When friends are having a drink, or go out for a cup of coffee, I always join them and drink as well. I found in August that I was dependent on caffeine more than I would like. I would enjoy drinking black coffee and would often get too much caffeine as I drank several cups throughout the day. Alcohol has begun to make me too tired. Even after one or two glasses of wine or beer, I would be so tired I would just need to take a nap. I do not like this after effect and feel I would be happier without alcohol. Though I am not abstaining from coffee or alcohol permanently, this challenge will help me see my life without these two liquids for an extended period of time. I will also be able to see how I can socialize without drinking the same beverage as everyone else. Means of Evaluation: My daily logs on the NF forums will have a reflection component about beverages. If all 42 of these logs show that I have only consumed water and tea as my beverage choices during the challenge, I will have met my goal. [Attribute: Constitution A=+2 B=+1 C=+.5] CHALLENGE GOAL 2: “DON’T WORRY, I’M FLEXIBLE†GOAL: During this six week challenge, 14 September 2015 to 25 October 2015, I will complete at least three yoga classes a week, from the website YogaToday, for a total of at least 18 classes during the challenge. Reasoning: I am on the quest to build a fitness routine that becomes intrinsically motivated. Yoga, along with bouldering, are one of the activities I am drawn to. Unfortunately, I have not made my practice of yoga a priority. Setting this goal will allow me to show myself that I am making yoga a priority in my life. Means of Evaluation: I will report each yoga class I take on the NF forum by posting a link to the class I did in my daily log. If I have at least 18 classes recorded, at least three a week, I will have met my goal. [Attribute: Dexterity A=+3 B=+2 C=+1] QUEST GOAL 3: “EVERY THING WILL WORK OUT!†GOAL: During this six week challenge, 14 September 2015 to 25 October 2015, I will work out at least four times a week, for a total of at least 24 workouts during the challenge. Reasoning: As with my yoga goal, I am working on building an intrinsically motivated fitness routine. Needing to build strength through self-efficacy, this goal will allow me to get closer to my ultimate goal. I want to do most of my workouts in the morning with the possibility of working out in the late afternoon. Means of Evaluation: I will log my progress on the NF forums and give the details of each workout on my NF challenge thread. If I have logged at least 24 workouts, at least four weekly, by the end of the six week challenge, I will have met this goal. [Attribute: Stamina A=+3 B=+2 C=+1] LIFE QUEST: “YOU’RE HISTORY!†GOAL: I will study world history for at least 30 minutes a day during the six week challenge which takes place from 14 September 2015 to 25 October 2015. Reasoning: I am an English and History teacher and constantly want to improve my knowledge of history to help my teacher practice as well as my own research. I am working on studying for exams in order to add specific items to my current teaching certification. Means of Evaluation: I will keep track of my studying through daily logs on NF forums detailing what subject I have studied. I will also register for a history exam by the end of the six week challenge. If I studied for at least for at least 42 session, at least 30 minutes a day, I will have met my goal. [Attribute: Wisdom A=+3 B=+2 C=+1] I am excited to get started and join everyone!
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