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  1. There's just something that soothes my soul about using remixed video game music - a decidedly nerdy thing - to drive myself to decidedly un-nerdy things like running miles and doing strength work. It makes me happy. In case you don't know, RisenPhoenix and Cheechoe threw down a gauntlet on me this past challenge: to compete with a team of Nerds in the Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park in Boston. This is an exciting thought to me: getting there means having a job which can handle the load of travel, lodging, and general expenses of going to an awesome city. To say nothing of the training that goes into running such a race well. I'm pumped about it. It's changed everything about how I train, and I feel really good about it. And it's inspired me to keep putting resumes out and leveraging my contacts and keep that upbeat, positive mental attitude that they say is necessary to survive these things. Anyway. The Rebel's Running Guide, which I'm using to prepare myself before the final eight-week push of the Spartan Sprint training, recommends finding races to test yourself and your training against. I found one. And, interestingly enough, they will let you race it for free if you volunteer. I like free things. So, I shall volunteer. The only downside is that the date of the race doesn't coincide with the challenge, which irks me. I mean, come on. Don't they know there's a Rebellion afoot? The real challenge isn't necessarily the training, though. The real challenge is me waking up and dealing with pain. My yearlong mission of bulletproofing myself is still quite underway. And even though I have much rigorous work to complete, it's useless if it destroys my body in the process. Also, I still need to do martial arts. I'm a freaking Monk GL after all. Getting punched in the face and working too hard are the things I do. Camp Gladiator - I need to get out and do this thing. This is part active recovery training, part professional development. I missed the first week's worth of camp due to snow, and I missed Monday's because I ended up on the wrong side of the park where they were holding training. No. More. I will have ten possible times I can make it out, and I need to do that. There's too much riding on it to not. +2 STA, +1 STR, +1 DEX Yoga - Well, all the active recovery stuff I did for my hips has done wonders, and I'm going to keep applying it as much as I am able to. Now we just have to address the rest of what's wrong with me - knee pain, thoracic pain, tightness in my lower back from standing too long at my desk. There are programs that exist to deal specifically with these things, but they cost money, and I don't got that to spend. Yoga seems like the next best alternative, and I'm working with the Druids to figure out how to go about that. That's probably going to be a Monday/Friday thing as well - I'm already using those days for active recovery stuffs anyway, and as long as I'm gentle and conscientious with myself, there's no reason this can't work. +2 CON, +2 WIS Integrated Martial Arts Training - So far, this part hasn't worked too good. I set out originally to do an increasing scale and grease the groove with movements throughout the day. That bombed. I had some more success with cutting back on that and just making sure to throw some combinations, but it's still not clicking yet. Most recently, though, I've had more luck with doing martial arts skill work alongside my regular training. Thus far, that's taken the form of MMA follow-along videos done before the runs for fancy science reasons that I'll be glad to rant about if you want me to. I think that this might be the answer - combining martial arts with my regular training and lumping it all together. We'll start small with combinations and uchikomi, and if it takes, we can explore some further integrations. +3 DEX, +2 CHA (because fighters are cool). LIFE GOAL: Professionalism - I gotta get a job. But I know that even if I work for it, there's a possibility that it will take more than six weeks to get the job. I have no interest in being penalized for that. So, here's what I want to hold myself to: 20 resume subs per week; and five CPT pitches on Thumbtack per week. The CPT pitches can and probably will vary depending on how many people are available for me to pitch, but it is what it is, and I'll be completely transparent about that. +1 WIS, +1 DEX Also, I'll be logging workouts here, just because. Also, Convict Conditioning is kicking my ass in the best possible way, and I want to share the beautiful pain with you all. Let's go to work!
  2. Hello! Back again. This challenge is focused more on life balance than particular fitness goals. Sooner or later, I will start adding pics and gifs. Goal 1 Sleep! Establish a routine that will allow me to sleep reliably and for a sufficient amount of time to support everything else in my life. Grading will be eyeballed or I will come up with a better grading system later. I have been collecting suggestions to help with this goal into a list and will trying as many as possible except maybe the ones involving pills or alcohol. Feel free to make other suggestions! The List: Breathing exercises/pre-meditation/Moving through space/Blue light meditation - breathing exercises so far Wind down time - knitting/cross stitching/audiobook or journalling Get curtain rod installed that will support heavy curtains Switch to morning workouts renew inhaler prescriptions at the after-hours clinic - done and they do help Reading before bed - try again, this time with non-fiction. Starting with The Sordid History of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus. cold pack on the back 20 to 30 min before bed get up after 15 min and handle a chore/snuggle cats Use a sleep monitoring app - trying Sleep Cycle Monitor and Alarm Clock Try F.lux - changes light from monitor depending on the time of day - installed. White noise - started with rain sounds Calming music Stop staying up later on the weekends, may be affected by neighbours who are not so early to bed Do not turn lights on at night unless absolutely needed to get to the bathroom/kitchen. Lower temp in bedroom - already done Pre-bed bath continue stretching or yoga before bed drink less water in the evening increase thiamine & tryptophan intake - dubious, research this first Drink of alcohol before bed - would rather not melatonin - would rather not Binaural beats Stayfocusd/rescuetime to cut down on computer time Goal 2 Train! Target 5 hours/week of exercise; mostly between Judo, strength training, and yoga. Walking does not count. I am being more flexible about workouts this challenge. If I get shoulder strain again, I may compensate with extra yoga instead of strength training or sub in some cardio kickboxing if I have to miss Judo. I may find I need to decrease working out some to support the sleep goal but hope not. I have a few options for strength training workout configurations and am contemplating others. Goal 3 Recover! Incorporate Prasara Yoga - learn 2 flows (beginner versions) by the end of the challenge. It will at least theoretically improve performance and will hopefully end up being relaxing and help with sleep. Time spent on this is included in my workout time for the week. I picked up a beginner package with 6 flows. Each flow has three variations: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Root is the most basic flow so I will start with that. It has very detailed instructions on getting the form of each asana. There’s no required order after Root, so Ocean will probably be next as it includes the shoulders and wrestling/grappling is listed as being one of the activities it supports. My shoulders are my weak point so this is ideal. If I can learn a third one in that time, I will certainly do it. Note: I first learned about this form of Yoga when Nymeria posted a link to one of the flows in her challenge back when I was hanging out with the Assassins. Goal 4 De-clutter my life! Cut down on chronically overcommitting to things and trim the unimportant activities so that I can work, sleep, workout, keep a reasonably clean apartment, have a social life, and still have some unscheduled time at least a few evenings/week. Grading: Free time on 1 night/week = C, 2 nights/week = B, 3 nights/week = A. ONE online course at a time - dropped both for now Less time on internet - drop Reddit altogether - this was free time but it was wasted free time. Do something better. limit overtime - as much as I can anyway Trim workout and shift to 30 min morning workouts worry less about the chores, do a bit each day instead Cut down on daily sites to check - done There’s much more great TV than I will get to watch. Get over it. Calorie tracking - very useful and does not use much time - keep Evaluate other things I commonly do and trim anything that does not add some form of value to life.
  3. This'll be a bit of a long post but... I'm looking to drop a bit of weight. I currently weigh 104kg (229Ibs) and I'd like to be 100kg (220Ibs) by this June. The reason being is in early June I will be traveling interstate for a judo competition in two months time exactly and I simply want to make weight. The class I'll be fighting in is -99kg (so fighters are 90-99kg). If I'm at 100kg or so, I'll be forced to compete in the opens division, which means... well, you could be 100kg, fighting someone who's 140kg. I'll do it if I have to but it's not ideal. Unfortunately I am just getting over a lower back injury from the gym which happened a week and a half ago. The physio has cleared me to go back to the gym, albeit for legs/back (squats/dead lifts) I have to train "lighter" for a few weeks while for most upper body work (chest, arms, shoulders) I can train as normal. I'm not allowed to do judo for another week or so - at the very least, no throwing work, but I can participate in other exercise. Normally my training schedule follows... Monday afternoon - gym (back squats, front squats, overhead press, straight leg dead lifts, bent over barbell rows, prowler sled) Tuesday evening - judo Wednesday afternoon - gym (bench press, overhead press, wide grip pull ups, face pulls, prowler sled) Thursday evening - judo Friday afternoon - gym (dead lifts, straight leg dead lifts, bent over barbell row, overhead press, prowler sled) Saturday morning - judo Sunday - rest I've really been watching what I'm eating - especially since I was injured for two weeks. Last week I was 105kg (231Ibs) while as of today, I am 104kg (229Ibs). I'm not sure if that's right... but I'll post my diet below that I follow during the week, Monday to Friday. Morning - iced latte coffee (little sugar believe it or not, it's just a cold coffee) Snack 1 - one serving of vegetables (carrots, broccoli, beans) and a can of spring water tuna Lunch - usually either fish or vegetables, or beef and vegetables Snack 2 - another serving of vegetables and a can of spring water tuna Snack 3 - another serving of vegetables and a can of spring water tuna Post gym (gym days only) - 30g whey protein and water Dinner - usually whatever is cooked at home, which is never really "crap" (last night it was spaghetti and home made pasta sauce for example On weekends my diet becomes a bit worse, I suppose I let go a little and give myself a bit of a break. I'm told that this won't really hinder my weight loss much while others have told me it will. Monday to Friday though I avoid sugar as much as possible. I do take a few supplements. In the mornings I take a multi vitamin tablet, before I sleep I take a nightly multi vitamin tablet, after dinner I have a fibre supplement and I have about three omega 3 1000mg fish oil capsules, throughout the day with meals. On gym days only, I'll have 30g of whey protein powder with water. So what do you guys think? Any suggestions? Do you think I'll be able to pull it off and lose the 4kg (8ish Ibs) on time? The reason I'm so concerned is because my current gym program is designed for strength increase, which I'm told will make me put on weight. If it wasn't for judo, I wouldn't care, but because of judo I have to be careful of my weight.
  4. I survived the previous challenge - but I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, so some of those goals are being carried over. And yes, I'm late with posting this, but I have been working away at it! 1. Getting stronger - still lifting, still building muscle. I'd like to work a bit more on muscular endurance than just bigger numbers, but bigger numbers are definitely a goal. At 47 years old, I'm planning for (and developing!) muscle and bone that will last me for years. So that's 3x per week of muscle-building, strength-building exercise. 2. Eating is still a challenge. Not so much what I eat, as I cook from scratch and don't really do convenience foods, but remembering to eat regularly. I have a bad habit of skipping meals if I get busy, or putting them off so long that I just wait for the next meal instead. I wasn't perfect in the last challenge, but I made huge strides. So every morning I get up and remind myself that I need to eat, because my teammates will hold me accountable and I need fuel to build muscle. And I wants the muscle, Preciouss, oh yes. 3. I earned my 1st-degree black belt in judo in June of 2012, but I didn't attend any classes last year - between moving to a different province and suffering through sickness and injury that wiped me out, I just didn't have it in me to work out effectively. BUT, now that I'm building muscle and I feel like I've gotten my strength back - and even improved on it - I want to get back into judo. I've joined a local club that does both BJJ and judo (nothing wrong with picking up some new techniques!), and I'm going to workouts at least twice a week. I feel ridiculously good, going to the dojo and getting gi burns and bruises all over me. I'm in the Adventurers Guild because I'm still so undecided! I'm a generalist at heart, I love the outdoors and I'm drawn to the Scouts, but I find in weightlifting a meditative aspect that reminds me of seeking the perfection of judo techniques... so I'm drawn to the Monks as well. Also, a friend has suggested that I should be a Warrior because of my focus on strength and lifting big. LOL, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. But life is good and I will be strong in body as well as spirit, and meet all challenges head-on. Bring it.
  5. Kishi

    The Primal Scroll

    http://youtu.be/2H3KhucexJE Anybody ever play Chrono Trigger? Just wondering. The last challenge went pretty well, but it also saw me get really humbled in terms of what I could do and what I could commit. I rediscovered the Primal Blueprint, and saw how I could use it to get really intense and really focused on my workouts, and make them short and effective, whilst at the same time freeing myself up to follow the diet properly and re-engage in martial arts. In the intervening period between the last challenge and this one, I have finally, finally gotten the WITS people to move forward on my certification, and with any luck I'll be certified in the next couple weeks. Happiness ensues. So. We have to have a challenge that puts all of these things together. I need to find my way back into the dojo. I'm already paying for it, so that's not the problem. The problem is that I need to make a habit of going, and of looking for opportunities to go. It's gonna be tough, but I think I have some solutions. Goal 1: Sprint Once Per Week It's finally spring time, and I've found a nice field to go running in on a day when no one else is doing anything. Go me. Goal is to go fast and hard, once per week. +2 STA, +1STR Goal 2: Lift Heavy Things 2-3 Times Per Week I've kept up with timing myself in my calisthenic workouts and it's official: these things are freaky fast. I've been completing them in less than twenty minutes. They're effective - I find myself dripping with sweat lately at the end of them, like it's a hybrid finisher slash progressive routine. And they're making me stronger - on a whim, I went to a gym with some friends of mine and decided to hit the bench press. I proceeded to bench 160 lbs for a 1RM. Given that my last 1RM was 135 lbs set about four years ago, I'm going to just assume that the cals work fine. +1 STR, +2 DEX, +1 WIS Goal 3: Martial Arts 2-5 Hours Per Week The Primal Blueprint calls for a solid base of low level activity, defined as kicking your heart rate up into the 55-75% range for two to five hours per week. It generally prescribes a pattern of movement, say, swimming or hiking. I enjoy those things very much, but my conditioning has got to the point where I can't just go for a walk and boost my heart rate up into that range. It just doesn't happen for me there. And besides. I'm a freaking martial artist. I should comport myself as such. Two to five hours per week on the mat should be plenty of time to practice, get the heart benefits, and give me some room to breathe if the friends decide they want to shanghai me for the weekend. +1 DEX, +1 STA, +1 CON LIFE GOAL: Write Your Story So, I realized something during Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I have seven novels lying around that I haven't bothered to finish. I don't need another unfinished story. I need to soldier through one and make it something worthwhile. But I haven't figured out how to balance that properly. I don't know how to balance new writing with old writing with submissions. Writing and exposure at this point is a one man game. But it all needs to be done. Week 1 is going to be dedicated to figuring out a system. The rest of the challenge will be dedicated to implementing that system. +2.5 WIS, +2.5 CHA One Last Edit! First Bodyfat Assessment done in a much more thorough manner due to having the day off. Diagnosis: 179.7 lbs at 19.3% body fat. This will be updated as time goes by.
  6. This is my first challenge so I am really nervous and itching to kick some ass, thus I'll skip right to the important stuff 1) Get fit +4 STA +1 STR Ok, I know, 'Get fit' sounds vague and a lot like a BAD goal, but bear with me I'll elaborate. At the beginning of last year I've started doing judo again, after a 10-year break. It has been an absolute blast and I've really enjoyed it, but now I've gotten this "crazy" idea: to compete in tournaments again(quite a challenge as everyone in my age group has mostly 10+ years of competitive experience).So to this end I've started visiting other clubs, who are big in competitive judo in my area. Training there is really hard, even more for me as I lack strength,stamina, pretty much everything. This is exactly what I want to change. I have a judo specific fitness routine, but it completely kicks my ass, so after much deliberation I've decided to first build some basic fitness. To do this I want to utilise High Intensity Cuircuit Training(HICT), namely Tabata Intervals(sprint) and the Scientific 7-Minute Workout. Tabata Interval: I've done these before and the completely kicked my ass. So I'll add two rounds every week until I reach eight rounds.Scientific 7-Minute Workout: Every two weeks I'll add a repeat.Grading: I'll do these exercises 3x per week (Monday, Wednsday, Friday) and for each done workout I'll give myself 1 Point, so ideally I'll have 3 Points after a week. If I get 75% of the points I'll pass. +4 STA +1 STR2) Loose weight Kind of ambiguous again, but the details follow now. At the moment my scale puts me at 74.4 kg (163.7 lbs ) which means at a tournament I'd fight in the category of -81kg, but I want to fight at -73kg. So in the next six weeks I want to drop my weight to about 70kg(154 lbs). In a later post I'll elaborate how exactly I plan/do this. Grading: This will just be graded PASS/FAIL +2 CHA +1DEX3)Get better at gymnastics Often times in judo training we perfrom gymnastic exercises, stuff like handstands, headstands, cartwheels, etc. This being my third goal you can probably guess that I am not all that good at them, thus I want to improve. My goal in the next six weeks is to improve in three specific exercises. Handstand: I want to be able to hold one for at least 15 seconds.Radwende: For this one I didn't find a translation so I'll provide a link for it: Radkehre: Same problem as the one above: Grading: PASS/FAIL for each move +2 DEX4)LIFE GOAL I am a terrible student. I do pay attention during class (mostly), but then in the afternoon I don't revise nor do I do homework.To add to this problem I am terrible at binge learning and thus only write average to bad grades, which isn't the ideal state of affairs considering my A-levels are approaching fast. Thus I want to change this. Revision: For the first three weeks of the challenge my main goal will be to revise everything I have done that day in class. I get 1 Point for each day I manage to do this.Homework: Starting with week four my main goal will be to do my homework daily. I'll still continue to revise. I get 1 Point for each day I manage to do this.Grading: If I manage to get 75% of all points possible I PASS, if not I FAIL. +4 WIS +1 CHA At the end of the challenge I will count together all my PASS and FAILs and if I get 3/4 PASS I will consider this challenge a success. I will track my progress with Lift and , of course, this forum. I am looking forward to pass this challenge together with all of you
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