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  1. A collection of tips and tools.
  2. Hey Friends, I knocked off a large item on my EQ! I finished 75 books this year! And, since I still have a few weeks to go, I'm going to make a push to hit 100!! Here's my list if you want to see it. https://www.librarything.com/topic/210984#5823330
  3. Happy New Year! This year is going to be AWESOME! Now on to the challenge... Complete my morning and night time routine at least 5x a week I am experimenting with a new morning and night routine. I have always had healthy teeth and I generally have good brushing habits, but I have been noticing that my teeth have not been looking so great. I have been doing a lot of research lately about natural oral hygiene and want to give some of it a try. Every morning: Oil pulling, relax with kitty while waking up, workout (strength, yoga, elliptical, etc depending on the day), brush with homemade tooth powder, floss, homemade mouthwash, wash face, get ready for work. Every night: repeat teeth routine, wash face, get ready for bed, stretch, read Healthy Meals My husband and I have been struggling to plan meals lately. We love to cook, but we often do not plan ahead, so come meal time we are stumped about what to have. We are experimenting with planning a day ahead. The goal is to cook 5 days out of the week, but hopefully we will be able to do all of them. Mastering the Pullup For those of you following along. The last few challenges have been focusing on push ups. I can happily announce that I can now do 5 push ups (15 in a full routine)! When I started NF I could not do a single regular pushup! Now I am aiming a little higher. It's time for PULL UPS. My plan is to work on pull ups 3 times a week. Right now I can pull myself up half way and hold it (couldn't do that when I started NF!) Seeking Knowledge and Improved Skills Complete a combination of 30mins of skill advancement 3 times per week. This can include studying programming, practicing clarinet, juggling, etc.
  4. WARNING: the following post contains pictures of a culinary and violent nature. "The Devil is in the details." Having not partaken in the last couple of challenges to better look after my recently born daughter, I’ve decided that I should probably make a return before it becomes too late and I forget all about these challenges. Previously, my most favourite have been themed so, since the second series was recently released on Blu-ray, I’ve made the morally questionable choice of doing a ‘Hannibal’ challenge. Goal 1: Nourriture “It’s a… protein scramble.†The food on Hannibal is astonishing (providing you don’t think too hard about where the meat comes from). So it’s not too much of a stretch to realise that I couldn’t do this without some sort of food related goal. Over the last couple of months I’ve been a lot less strict with my diet than I have previously and, whilst I’ve not piled on the pounds, my % body fat has gone from 15 (reaching which is one of my goals for the year) up to just over 17. It’s not a disaster however my suspicion is that I’ve put on some fat, and more importantly, lost some muscle mass. So, for this goal I shall be tracking my food, or to be more precise, my protein intake. I’m not hugely concerned about overall calories as I appear to be eating comfortably to maintain my current weight, however I am concerned that I’m not getting all the protein I should. Long term I’d like to drop some more fat and gain more muscle, but right now I’m still in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life so my efforts would be best spent working on tweaking my diet to sort out my macros. As an extra mini goal, as the appearance of the meals on Hannibal is such a big part of the aesthetics of the show, I’m going to attempt to produce a few elegant-looking meals of my own and I might post pictures if I’m very proud of my work. Goal 2: Variations “He is an intelligent psychopath. He is a sadist. He will never kill like this again. So how do we catch him?†I’m not an intelligent psychopath or a sadist and not killed at all, however I am getting bored with my current exercise regime. Whilst I’m happy sticking with the same four basic exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, squats and leg raises) I think I’m going to try out a wider range of variations of these so that no 2 work-outs in each week will be the same. My hope is that by changing things around each sessions, it will not only keep me focussed on what I’m doing by forcing me to think about each movement, but it will also work my muscles in slightly different ways each time and therefore tax them just a little bit more. Previously at this time of year, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to get up in the mornings and exercise so, by continually having to create variations on my standard workout, my expectation is that I’ll have some much needed extra motivation. Goal 3: Musique “I've always found the idea of death comforting. The thought that my life could end at any moment frees me to fully appreciate the beauty and art and horror of everything this world has to offer.†Putting Brian Reitzell's haunting score aside for one moment, Hannibal is overflowing with sumptuous classical pieces and, thanks to a tumblr that lists the music from each episode, I've put together my very own Hannibal playlist. For this goal however, I think it would be educational for me to delve a little deeper into the music and read up more about each piece and it's history. Hannibal is an educated erudite individual which sets him apart from other screen villains do it feels fitting that I dedicate some time to enlightening myself, and the unlucky readers of this thread, about the tunes that you get to enjoy whilst Dr Lecter serves dishes of dubious origins to his dinner guests. Goal 4: Imitateur Lecter: What are we looking for? Graham: At this stage, anything really, but mostly anything peculiar. I’ve found it quite hard to think of a suitable fourth goal, so as a novelty I’ve decided that, like Hannibal occasionally flirts with replicating another killer’s modus operandi, each week I shall copy one of my fellow assassins’ goals to try it on for size. I'm not sure what I shall be looking for in each of these goals, just anything interesting or peculiar which takes my fancy.
  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. I am going to properly fill this in when I have a bit more time so this is more of a placeholder as I want to at least get my goals set down seeing as the challenge has now started. Goal 1: get back into the routine if doing bodyweight exercises 3 times a week and for this six weeks I'm going to focus on upping my endurance so high number of reps for smaller number of sets. My targets will be for 2 sets of 20 push-ups, 2sets of 20 assisted one leg squats, 2 sets of 20 assisted pull ups and 2sets of 15 hanging knee raises. Of course, if I hit those targets before 6 weeks, I will move on to harder variations but I'd like to be getting some good rep numbers in first. My actual success with the goal though will be measured by the number of workouts per week rather than reaching certain rep counts as I want this challenge to be more about building good habits rather than hitting specific progress goals. STR +3, STA +2 Goal 2: continuing my already running 28 day handstand challenge, I hope to go beyond holding a one minute wall handstand which is the focus of that and try to get to 2 minutes and make some attempts at possibly managing some freestanding handstands. Like goal 1 though, my real target is to practice every day and establish the habit of getting upside down on a regular basis. DEX +3, Goal 3: increase my supple strength by doing active stretching every day. My introduction to bodyweight was through the first Convict Conditioning book so following on from that I'm going to be doing the three active stretches of the Trifecta in the second book- the various progressions towards bridges, L-sits and twists which tie in nicely with my longer term goals of eventually doing handstands, bridges and L-sits. CON +2, STA +2, Goal 4: get creative by doing some writing of any kind for at least 5 minutes every day. Some days it'll maybe sketching out ideas for stories, maybe I'll experiment with some poetry, whatever takes my fancy- I just want to do something creative. It may well be that my writing for the day will be an update to this thread, I certainly plan to update more often than in previous challenges, so in future I'm going to attempt to be more entertaining or interesting with my updates. I don't know how that'll end up or if there will be any kind of style running throughout them but I do hope that I'll have fun finding out. CHA +3 I'll try to do a bit more of a thorough explanation tomorrow, listing how I'll measure things and what I'll count as successes or failures and I might even try to find a way to link my title with what I'm actually doing as at the moment it's just really a mildly amusing misquotation of Spider-man rather than actually having anything to do with my goals. P.s. In future I'll also spell check before I post too!
  7. The main thing I took away from my first challenge was the absolute importance of knowledge as a facilitator of progression. I set out my goals but as the days and weeks progressed I came to understand that first and foremost you really have to know what you are doing and what you are aiming for, if you want to achieve your goals. I wasn't 100% clear on what I wanted to do or how was best for me to do it, so I fell a little short. This time around, rather than working towards a specific life goal, my plan is to build some foundations with my overall goal to be to increase my general knowledge concerning both myself and exercise in general and therefore be better prepared not just for future challenges but for life in general. My goals are: Fuel Knowledge: I reached my goal weight a while ago but now my problem is that I'm still losing weight and it appears that it's not just fat that's going- my lean body weight is also dropping which isn't good if you're trying to build muscle. I'm working out regularly so I know that this really comes down to my diet. I've got to up my calorie intake to a level where I'm either staying the same weight or even putting on the pounds, preferably in muscle. More importantly I've got to look at my macronutrients, specifically my protein levels. I'm trying to take on more protein than I used to but I don't think it's nearly enough. My plan of attack then is to start off on the first week just keeping a record of my food intake using Myfitnesspal so I'll have a better understanding of what I'm eating and then from there, start changing my diet to improve my protein/fat/carbs ratios. Following on from that I will then gradually change my daily meals/ supplement them accordingly to a level where I’m consuming enough calories and protein. A= consistently hitting calorie/ protein goal B= understand what improvements I need to make and be on the way to achieving them C= be aware that I’m not eating right but make no attempts to improve F= be aware that food is something exists to be eaten but have no understanding of what I’m really putting in my mouth. CON- 4 WIS- 2 Exercise Knowledge: I am gradually learning more by perusing the Nerd Fitness pages however I strongly feel that there are still large gaps in my knowledge especially relating to very elementary areas of anatomy and physiology as they relate to exercise. My aim is, by the end of the six weeks to have a better understanding of my body and body weight exercises so my primary goal here is to read and more importantly understand all of ‘Overcoming Gravity’. I’ve made a couple of attempts at it before by have either run out of momentum or given up due to a lack of understanding. This will not happen again. A secondary goal, which won’t contribute to scoring, is to create a reading/resources list for further study. Any suggestions for furthering reading material or useful websites etc are very greatly appreciated. A= read and understand the whole damn thing B= read 75% C= read 50% D= read 25% F= fail to read and understand any of it. WIS- 3 Body knowledge: Not so closely related to increasing knowledge and I'm not going to even attempt to create a tenous link: I feel my legs and core are much stronger than my upper body so I'm really going to focus more on pulling and pushing than anything else and specifically pulling. It is by far and away my least developed area so, whilst I don't imagine that I'll reach the stage where I can do a pull-up in 6 weeks, I'd definitely like to feel that they are in reach and that my last are getting stronger. This morning I went back to my standard exercise of body weight rows and I’m massively bored of doing them. Each day I dread having to do them and consequently I never have quite the motivation to push myself. I want to turn this around but I think my best way forward is to move on to something a little harder so I’ll be forced to stretch myself rather than continue trudging along in my rut. From now on then, rather than hammering ineffectually away out the same old rows, I’m going to spice things up with assisted pull-ups and negatives. I’ve got a pull-up bar but its collecting dust so it’ll be good to actually use it and I think that to be actually dangling rather than lying down when I work my muscles will feel more like I’m progressing towards doing those elusive pull-ups. I’m not sure the best way to monitor my progress with these so I’m going to stick to my unachieved target of 2 sets of 20 bodyweight rows by the end of 6 weeks from the last challenge unless somebody can suggest anything better. A= 2 sets of 20 bodyweight rows B= 2 sets of 15 (75% of target) F= anything less. I can already manage multiple sets of between 10-14 so anything less than sets of 15 aren’t progress. STR- 4 Life Goal: Sartorial Knowledge: According to one of the Assassin’s core textbooks: ‘An Assassin must always act with style. Without style, he's just an expensive thug. They must always dress stylishly in black (which, although not the best colour for being unseen at night, is the correct colour for being an Assassin)’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankh-Morpork_Assassins%27_Guild#Code_of_conduct Since losing a fair chunk of weight, a large proportion of my wardrobe now either no longer fits or is old and badly worn. My life goal for the challenge therefore is to go through every article of clothing I own and make a decision to keep, discard or replace. I’ve split them up and I shall aim to tackle one type of clothing per week: Underwear, shoes, t-shirts, tops, bottoms and miscellaneous. A= all clothes sorted B= 5 out of 6 categories C= 4 out of 6 categories D= 3 out of 6 E= 2 out of 6 F= 1 or less CHA- 2
  8. The New England Region of the World Tang Soo Do Association is hosting our second annual 5k run and 2 mile walk. This is a fund raise for a scholarship fund to help students achieve their higher education goals, since mental growth is just as important in the martial arts as physical. Last year was a fun event and this year looks to be as well. The race starts and end in Mixville park in Cheshire Ct. That atmosphere is very friendly and informal, the emphasis for the event is fun and completing personal challenges. I will be out there this year looking to beat my time of last year. If you in the area and looking for a 5k to try this is a good one. Here is a link to the active.com page for registration. http://beta.active.com/cheshire-ct/running/region-9-5k-run-2-mile-walk-for-knowledge-2013
  9. So, since the start of the last challenge, I’ve: left the military, moved home, got into college, applied for jobs, and started attending church again. I’m doing work where I can find it while I wait for calls for interviews. I hope that by the end of this challenge, I’ll be much less stressed and prepared for school in August. Well anyways, this should be a fun challenge. Goals 1. There is no emotion, there is peace. Meditate, do you even? I’ve been wanting to try meditation since I read so many others put it in their challenges. It’ll be interesting to see how it affects my day to day life, if at all. 2. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. Translate 3 spanish videos per week. Read 3 articles about about science, tech, or history per week. Combining the two is allowed. I’ve studied spanish for over three years. I used to be fluent but I’ve been using it less and less and it shows. Also, I don’t read enough. 3. There is no passion, there is serenity. Keep calm, no more yelling. I’ve been irritable lately and I attribute that to the higher levels of stress that came with our transition into civilian life. I don’t have a job yet, our house isn’t ready, and we live with my parents. So I need to work on keeping my cool even though I’m stressed. 4. There is no chaos, there is harmony. What better way to achieve harmony than yoga? I found a nice 6 week yoga for beginner’s program that I’ll be doing. This is another thing I’ve been wanting to try. 5. There is no death, there is the force. Strength training. Ah, my old nemesis. Strength training is what I have the hardest time committing to. I’m going to do strength training three times a week and for every week I don’t miss a session I’m going to put five dollars in a jar. At the end of the challenge I get my money. Money is tight right now so the $30 would mean a lot to have. Well that's it. Looking forward to another fun 6 weeks with everybody. May the force be with you.
  10. Sorry I’m getting a tad bit of a late start, but I’ve been out of town to visit friends and family in South Carolina. I have mentally had my goals set since last week, I just never had a good change to sit down and bang them out in a thread. A little less than a year ago, I lost my job. It wasn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened to me because I was a contractor and had the job for a year longer than my first contract was supposed to last. Also, the commute was unbearably long and the job was not ideal for what I want to be doing long term. I saved enough money to get by without a job for a while, so I’ve been focusing on the improv and sketch comedy teams and classes that I’m a part of in Chicago while trying to find a job that I would be happier with that would to lead to a career. The upside of all of this is that I have been foregoing taking public transportation for 9 months in favor of riding a bike. I’ve also been cooking more meals for myself instead of buying food at work or in between work and rehearsals/shows. These are things that I do to save money, but they have also led to healthy weight loss of my pesky college chubbiness. I’m a 5’2†tall, so extra weight sits weirdly on my small frame. In the last few weeks, I’ve been at a breaking point of restlessness during the day in between job searching and interviews. I decided to start running in addition to a nice, aerobic Jillian Michaels yoga video that I had already been doing 2-3 times a week since January. I needed something to get my head in the right place and make me be productive by day so that I wasn’t a wreck by night. I only run/walk two miles/30 minutes at a time thus far, but I love feeling like I’m getting into better aerobic shape. When I was introduced to the Nerd Fitness challenge, I knew it was a great idea for me to fill in the gaps between some already present life goals. My goals are as follows, but I am open to any suggestions of clarification or adjustments: 1) Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred – I would really like some toning and definition especially now that I’ve lost some weight. My upper arms and thighs are pretty stubborn, which also makes clothes-buying weird: I lost a lot of weight in my waist, but my legs are about the same size. It’s obnoxious. I also like JM a lot. However, I want to do only 30 days of Shred over the course of these 6 weeks. I have a very busy schedule on certain days, and I don’t want to feel stressed by having to fit it in somewhere or feel guilty if I miss a day. 2) Run 10 miles a week – I have never, ever been a regular runner. I played soccer and basketball growing up, but I never just did running training. I think 10 miles will mean 4 to 5 30-min running sessions a week. By the end of the challenge, I may be able to up this, but I think 10 a week is a good starting place. The bonus of better aerobic health is that I think it’ll help my on stage with better breath support for improvising and singing. 3) No eating after 10:30 PM – Honestly, I’m thinking this shouldn’t be a terribly difficult goal for me. I am not typically a snacker (especially not at night), but every time I have been on a run recently I get SUPER HUNGRY when I get home from a rehearsal late at night. Eating late causes me to stay up later, which causes me to sleep later and waste the next day. This goal is as much a lifestyle change as it is a heath goal. I need to be sure I’m getting up early enough to get in at least 3 meals to balance the exercise metabolism. 4) [Personal] I want to start (release at least 3 episodes of) a podcast called "MBS-ing" – I’ve had this desire for months. I used an Amazon gift card that I got for Christmas to buy a decent podcasting microphone. I have a fully realized idea for what I want it to be about: the title stems from my initials, but I also want to cut the BS out of conversations in my life and on the show. I want each guest to come in prepared to talk about a topic about which he/she knows preferably an obsessive amount. It’s ok if I know some about the topic; I just want him/her to be able to share knowledge with me (and the audience) of something he/she loves. It could be as simple and pointed as one particular film or band, or something as broad and loose as a sport or their college major. As I get older and have been out of school for longer, I stupidly find my pathways to learning waning. I love talking to people about anything I’m/they’re passionate about, so I think this could be a cool way to get to know more about an odd variety of topics and an assortment of my friends and members of the Chicago comedy community. There are so many bonuses to this goal: getting to know people in a cool, new way, garnering information from people on some things I may know nothing about to color my life and to color my improvisation, and being able to have a physical artistic project for myself and for friends and family (and strangers?) within but especially outside Chicago to appreciate and support. Boom. I hope these don’t seem too lofty. In my mind they are measurable and simple, but I haven’t run them past anyone else yet. Thanks for reading, nerds.
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