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  1. The last challenge was kinda mushy... I was sick for a few days, wen to a conference and got sick again at the conference. And even apart from all that I wasn't as sucessful as I wanted to be. So, the goal for the next five weeks will be to do more or less the same again with some small changes. In week 0 I will take it easy, in particular with working out. After playing for over 170 hours -- and not being remotely close to 100% -- the theme will be... Rare Blades of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 I'll be taking quest from four Rare Blades -- not necessarily my favourites, but I wanted to stay spoiler-free and it doesn't really matter after all. (Design-challenge for the next time: Build quests around the field skills of the Blades.) Mythra's Quest: Write/work on the introduction of my thesis. (Open goal.) Write one page about each of the four ideas I have for my thesis. There are two parts of my PHD thesis I can reasonably work on. Firstly, the introduction. Here I have to write about a few different things and stitch them together in a meaningful way. There is no clear goal, hence I won't aim for any amount of output. But I'll track the number of pages I've written to get a sense of progress. Secondly, I have four different ideas/approaches, which are more or less independent from each other, which I have to flesh out. Writing a page about each of them and how they could/should work seems like a good start. Poppi's Quest: Work out 2 times a week. Go running once a week. Read Simple & Sinister. Working out is still my number 1 priority this year. But after being sick for effectively 10 days I feel super sluggish. So, the goal is to actually do the workouts no matter how intense they are. Firstly, two workouts a week which may include Yoga, bodyweight training or bouldering. Secondly, I want to run more. But as it is something I always struggle with, I aim for once a week. As spring came crashing down on us here in Munich, I have no excuses here. Thirdly, I want to start kettlebell training and, thus, I will read Simple & Sinister. And after watching a few YouTube videos I'll probably start by incorporating one or two kettlebell exercises into my workouts. I want to start slow, as I still have many back problems. Dromarch's Quest: Track calories and macros 7 days a week. Stay below 2400 kcal 5 days a week. Meditate 4 days a week. I still struggle with my diet. In order to get back on track I will do a little bit less and focus more. Firstly, tracking is the key, as always. Secondly, I want to stay below 2400 kcal and to see whether that's enough to start losing weight again. My TDEE is around 2300 kcal, so this goal should be a good start. I will also try to reduce carbs as much as possible, but I won't focus on that. Thirdly, I want to and need to re-start meditating. Before getting sick it went reasonably well, however, I did it not often enough. It seems to help, so I want to prioritise it more. Pandoria's Quest: Practise the guitar 3 times a week. Draw something 3 times a week. Read 150 pages. As usually, I struggle with my hobbies. I try to do less in order to achieve more. Firstly, I still want to learn a love song on the guitar to play for my girlfriend. And playing the guitar has also a similar effect on my mind as meditating. Secondly, I realised last challenge how much I enjoy drawing again. So, I want to do that more, too. In order to focus my creative energy, I will try to work on a short comic called Hellgirl. The basic plot is that an old knight rescues a baby from a monster. He then finds out that the baby is the daughter of the devil and he starts a journey to hell to bring her back home. I won't put too much effort into this, since I don't want to stress myself. But, whenever possible, I'll draw something relevant for this story. Thirdly, I want to finish Die Donau -- a book about the historical and cultural impact of the river Danube. I have about 300 pages left, but I aim low with 150 for this challenge. And now... Let's go to Elysium together!!
  2. My last challenge went quite okay; the main problem was being too inconsistent. Logic dictates that I do the exact same quests by my insights from the last weeks. But, of course, I want more! So, I do add one or two things and we will see how it goes.... Theme-wise I'll go for my favourite comic of all times: HUNTER X HUNTER And of course I will use the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover classification again. Took me a while to figure out who's who, as all four protagonists show all four characteristics throughout the run of the manga. In the end it doesn't matter, obviously.... Here are the quest. It seems a lot, but mostly they are from last challenge plus some small things I mostly do anyway. And I start in week 0 -- i.e. today! -- but I probably won't push myself too hard. Details/descriptions will come later. Leorio's Quest: Find at least 2 concrete questions for the 5 "open areas" in my dissertation. Write at least 20 pages for the introduction or application chapters of my thesis. Getting my PHD is still the main goal for 2018 and I want to hand in my thesis in summer. Last challenge I tried to write many pages, but it didn't go too well. Firstly, I was unmotivated. Secondly, I have quite a few things to do for the project I work in. (An interactive school book for iPads.) So I want to do things a little bit different. Two weeks ago I had an official feedback talk with my advisor and one thing he told me is I should try to "impress". That petrifies me a bit right now, but because of that I want to find a few more small results even though my thesis won't grow in volume. Hence, the first step will be to come up with intersting questions. I have about five parts in my thesis where I have ideas, but which are barren at the moment. I will try to come up with as many reasonable, interesting question for each; but a minimum of two seems sensible. Apart from that I want to work on the introduction and the chapters about my algorithm/software. Here I can simply use the page count as a measure of progress. Overall, this can be a very easy quest. The first part shall! be done in this week and the second part can! be done in the next. Killua's Quest: Work out 2 times a week. Design and implement an easy & simple movement routine in the morning. Go running once a week. I still have back and shoulder problems/pains, but I want to go for more strength training if possible. Hence, I will do two workouts a week, but "unofficially" I will aim for a third one which then can be a bit easier. I also want to look into kettlebell training. Last week I dug out my fitness bands (or whatever they are called...) and tried some easy back/shoulder exercises. As a huge Katy Bowman fanboy I want to get into moving more again. In particular, I'd like to have a simple, easy and fast routine I can do in the morning. Three exercises in three minutes or something like that. During this challenge I will work on that. And I'd like to run more often and more consistently. Kurapica's Quest: Track calories and macros 7 days a week. Stay below 200 grams of carbs or 2400 kcal 5 days a week. Meditate 4 days a week. As I already said in @Cataleya's challenge: Obviously I will continue tracking my progress. During the last challenge I realised that I eat too much in general and too many carbs in particular. I haven't gained any weight; but I want to lose a few pounds, so something has to change. 2400 kcal is my base metabolic rate and 200 grams of carbs seems a good start, too, considering the numbers from last challenge. I also want to continue meditating as it seems to help with my anxiety and other psychological problems. I aim for daily, of course, but 4 times a week as during last challenge seems to be a nice minimum. Gon's Quest: Practise the guitar 4 times a week. Read 220 pages. Draw something 4 times a week. I was not super consistent with my guitar practises, but I did it often enough during the last challenge.But I have to search for new songs to be more goal oriented. Reading is still a big problem. Last challenge I finished a 174 pages book, so for this time I aim for 50 pages a week plus something extra in week 0. I plan to read more often in bed at night -- instead of playing with my phone -- and also more on my way to work. That time is usually "reserved" for playing video games. But until May (Dark Souls!!!) I will only play a few Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC's and a bit of The Escapists 2. It's a fantastic game, but I'm not so hooked, that I cannot stop. Maybe Hollow Knight once it releases on the Switch... So, there's little reason not to read during that time! Bonus challenge: I also have three new comic books I want to (need to!) read as soon as possible. In order to get more comfortable with my various hobbies I will try to focus on one more thing. After a poll in the NF Academy Facebook group it was decided that this "thing" will be drawing. To be precise: drawing comics. Probably I will do sketches and character studies for one of my epic fantasy stories, such that I don't have to create new characters. I want to share the drawings here and in the Facebook group, but I'm not sure yet whther I'll scan them or be lazy and take bad pictures wih my mobile phone... This might seem like a lot. But combining guitar and drawing basically means: sit down for 20 minutes every day and do something you enjoy. Sound easy!
  3. haha..Aren't I funny? (Last Challenge: My satellite internet started acting screwy and made it near impossible to post, so I got frustrated and quit posting last challenge. I did complete more of it than it looks like. Turns out it needed aligning. Got it aligned Monday and it's working well) So seriously, I'm going to try something totally new. I decided to sign up for Nutrisystem. I figured up my average grocery costs and nutrisystem is about the same.I'll get to eat more of a variety with NS, because as I've complained about before, the grocery options around here suck. The most variety is at Wal-Mart which is 35 miles away and has been the site of a murder, 2 shootings, and a carjacking. In the last month and a half. I also paid off my car which was my largest monthly bill. So that gave me a little wiggle room. My frozen box came in Friday, and the rest, including instructions, is supposed to get here Monday got here Saturday. There's a little naggy voice in my head that says I'm being lazy & whiney and all sorts of negatives, but most of me is really excited. Most of this challenge is going to be about sticking to their plan. 1. Eat only the Nutrisystem meal plan. The hard part of this will actually be the frequency. Though, looking at portion sizes, after the first day or two, that won't be as difficult. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, & two snacks. I'm not much of a breakfast person and I've never really been a snacker. I buy snacks, and I try to eat them, but it never happens. Sooo, I need to eat more frequently. I'll also have to log everything I eat. I'm going to use their app, Numi, for a while. Really silly why, but apparently if you use their app, when hit weight loss milestones, they send you teddy bears to commemorate the occasion. 2. Active for 10 minutes 3x a day Their exercise requirements set the bar low. But that's cool. I probably need a low bar. I mean, I can't even do more than a few seconds of a bar hang. Last challenge, I made 2 TKD workouts and did them a few times. I'm going to do them when the mood strikes, but for this challenge, my focus will be walking and yoga. Last challenge, I started walking Turtle at lunch and after work. We both like that, when it's not raining, so I'm going to continue. At least 15 minutes at lunch and at least 15 minutes after work. I'm also going to walk 3 miles at least once a week. I need to start adding weight to my walks as well. I've got to start training for my pack test or I'll never pass it. So the second time I walk 3 miles, I'm going to add about 15 lbs. 3. Duolingo At some point during the holidays, I got completely distracted from Duo. Still can be German, Japanese, Greek, or Spanish. I want to learn enough Spanish to have a conversation with The Shogun that consists of more than "I'm a horse. They are dogs. He is a cat." 4. Calm I finished the "7 Days of Calm" program last challenge. I'm going to aim for the 21 days of calm this month. 4. Reclaim my Morning Routine I let my morning routine fall to the wayside over the holidays. I need to get back into it. I'd like to build on it, but I've got to get back where I was first. So for the rest of this week (17th Jan) I'm going to make my bed before I leave. Starting on the 21st, I'll add 10 minutes of yoga.
  4. In my last challenges I used the masks from The Legend of Zelda -- Majora's Mask for the different quest. Now I want to keep this flexibility of the theme, but I want to use different items. Furthermore, I really, really want to gamify my fitness/life journey more. In particular, I want to add some sort of "points" (exp, stamina, strength, etc.) to my challenges I can achieve. But I have no idea how to balance them. So I decided to use something more discrete. Hence, I'll use collectibles from Breath of the Wild. It will be a mix of things I plan to do as the core of the challenge plus some more which are optional. Let's go! ------ The collectibles: Swift Carrot Go for a 30 minute walk. Hightail Lizard Go for a run. Hearty Radish Do back exercises for 15 minutes. Hearty Bass Do "proper" workout for 30 minutes. Mighty Bananas Track weight, macros and fructose intake. Cane Sugar Stay below 100g of carbs. Star Fragment Get something done for my PHD thesis. Silent Princess Meditate for 10 minutes. Ancient Gear Consume something bookish for 30 minutes. Fresh Milk Play video games for 30 minutes. Goat Butter Study/play Go for 30 minutes. Rock Salt Draw/write something for 15 minutes. Luminous Stone Posting my progress here in the forums. Fitness Quest: Go for a walk 5 times a week; do back exercises 3 times a week. Food Quest: Track calories every day of the week; stay "low-carb" 4 times per week. Life Quest: Do something for my thesis 5 times a week; meditate 5 times a week; "read" a "book" 5 times a week. Explanations and bonus stuff: Again, I want to focus on the fundamentals. As long as I struggle with them, there's no need to do something "fancy". Hence walking, tracking and working on my PHD. I know that walking is the single best exercise one can do, as long as it is done often enough, i.e. daily. My schedule is usually very unbalanced with somedays without any appointments and some days that are super full. So I aim for a minimum of five walking days.Furthermore, my back is feeling good right now, but I shouldn't take that for granted and do my exercises. Five minutes every day would be best -- many even shorter movement breaks throughout the day greasing-the-groove style would be better -- but three times a week seems like a good "maintenance level". If possible, I would like to do more. As just mentioned, my back is better. And my digestive problems seem to improve. Without these two motivation killers I hope to be able to be more active again. But that also depends on the temperatures outside. August in Munich can vary from heat waves to snow storms.... Structurally, a big, "proper" workout also counts for the Fitness Quest, as most of my back exercises are included in it. However, going for a run doesn't not count as a substitute for walking, since I want to build a walking habit no matter the circumstances. I struggle with tracking my macros, but it seems to help a lot with loosing weight. Just seeing what take in apparently triggers small changes. In the last six weeks I lost about 3 kg which is good enough. So there's no need for any bigger effort. Tracking fructose is new, though, as I'm most likely intolerant to fructose. I have yet to talk to my doctor (next Monday) and tomorrow is another examination checking for lactose intolerance. So there might be some adaptations for these quests the next days. And in order to make the weight loss a bit easier, to passively regulate my fructose intake and to reduce my gluten intake I also try to eat low-carb as often as possible. The single most important thing I have to do (apart from staying healthy) is finishing my PHD. It is a struggle, especially as I'm in a "creative phase" right now. A lot of research and trying things out and I don't have anything concrete I simply can get done. So, getting something concrete done, no matter how small, is my priority. And, apart from work, I need to reduce my stress level. I'm reading a lot about proper breathing at the moment, but the most "simple" (i.e. un-fancy, fundamental) thing I can do is meditating. Habit-wise I like to do it in the evening after my shower. But, even thought that cue is "strong", I often fail to actually do it. So I aim for five times a week. Edit: Adding another task to the life quest: Reading. At the moment I try to read How to be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci. Unfortunately I struggle a lot -- with this book in particular, but also generally with reading. Last year I read about 30 books and this year, so far, maybe... three? But yesterday I managed to read about 50 or 60 pages in How to be a Stoic and it was super fun. And considering the 45 minutes I sit in the underground on my way to work, there is little reason to read so little. The concrete task is verbalised a bit awkwardly as it includes audiobooks. Another stress relieve are, obviously, my hobbies. I focus too little on them, but no hobby is a priority at the moment. So they just make my good life (build through movement, diet, work) even better. Because of that they are represented by ingredients which "just" make meals better -- both in real life and in Breath of the Wild. By design, this challenge is part about achieving something, part about assessing what I (can) do. I will prioritise the Quests stated above.... And now that I've written all this, I'll probably add another collectible for writing here daily to boost acountability.... Done!
  5. My last challenge went pretty well. And more overall goal of running faster than before was achieved. However, I want more. I want to run faster, yes. But, I've lost enough weight that I can actually start to envision my weight under 200 pounds. It's been 18 years since that happened. I probably won't make it this challenge (currently at 208), but I want to take a bite out of what's left. To do that, I'm going to recycle most of my goals and try out a different one on the nutrition front since that's the one part of the last challenge that needed lots of improvement. If it's working, why change it? So, the keeping on part: Goal #1: Meditate.Every.Day I missed 2 days last challenge and while that is SOOOOOO much better than ever before, I was so close to perfection on that goal and let it slip out of my hands because I was lazy 2 measly days. Not this time! Goal #2: Sprint twice a week. Sprinting seems to make me very hungry those days, but damn if it doesn't make me feel great afterwards. I feel like I accomplished something those days. So, I'm gonna have at least 2 of those days a week. Goal #3: Lift twice a week. My daughter likes lifting with me and its quality time I get to spend with her. If I can help gift her with strength that she can lean on in years to come, I will gladly do it. Now the tweaking it part: Goal #4: Keep a diet journal every day. I was not doing a great job with my IF last challenge, but on the last week I started logging my food again and a funny thing happened. When I had to write down what I was eating, I stopped just throwing crap down my pie hole. I had to make a conscious decision if that's what I wanted to eat or not. And that simple step, had me making better decisions. I'm still going to stick with the IF as it has helped in the past, but I'm not tracking that. I'm tracking what actually goes in my mouth. There you have it. Once again the stretch goal will be 5 pounds off the scale and a faster 5K run time than before. My run yesterday set the bar high for me on the 5K time, but if I beat it, that's another thing I can check off my epic list.
  6. I want to extend on my previous challenge. I'm more or less satisfied with my workouts and my diet and I proceed there more or less without changes. But I want to put more focus on work, on my hobbies and the well-being of my mind and soul. So in order to do all that I assembled the Avenger the greatest assassins of history fiction to teach me! Special lessons by the best of the best will follow. Every master assassin will share his wisdom and knowledge to turn me into the perfect killer. Dexter Morgan: (i) Work an hour every day with full focus; and try to accomplish one "thing" every day. (ii) Drink no more than 2 cups of coffee a day. (iii) Shave head and trim beard once every week. (iv) Vaccume apartment every day. Dexter knows that the most important quality of an assassin is to blend in into the environment and to let no one notice that you're a killer. Therefore, his assignment is to focus on my facade. First, I'll have to focus on my work. I'll use the Freedom App on my MacBook to block evil websites. This allows me to work with distractions. But I will also do frequent breaks (about every 30 minutes) to walk a couple of minutes. Sitting all day will stiffen my body and I won't be able to assassinate anyone after work. I'll measure my progress by accomplishing "something". So I hope to be able to tell you every day, what I did at work. Second, I won't let my caffeine addiction take over. I'll tame this beast by limiting my consumption to two cups of coffee. I try to keep it persistently at one cup. But two are a comfortable upper limit. Third, in order to not stick out like a sore thumb I will pit more focus on my grooming. I like my beard and several women told me that it suits me. But I would like to re-build the habit of regular shaving. (And yes, I know, Dexter is never cleanly shaven...) I wrote "once every week", but it won't have necessarily to be "in" every week. It will probably be Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I will still wear silly T-shirts at work, though. So I won't look as neat as Dexter. But I'm working at a university. Wearing normal clothes would make me stand out more. And as an assassin I cannot have that. NEW: Being sick for a couple of days I watched my apartment getting dirtier by the hour. I convinced myself that it's okay, because I'm sick. But I really hate this attitude. Vaccuming my single room takes about 5 minutes. So I'll do every single day. (At least every day I'm actually at home.) Iroh, the Dragon of the West: (i) Go to the gym once a week. (ii) Do back training 5 times a week. (iii) Do the Football Watching Workout (when watching Football). Iroh knows the importance to be physically fit and to train under all curcumstances. His assignment is to workout diligently. First, I'll go to the gym once every week. When my physical therapy ends at the end of October, I'll increase this to twice a week. But for now, this is enough. Building the habit of going to the gym is the most important thing. I'll also fine-tune the weights next week and won't change them anymore during this challenge. Second, I proceed in doing my back training at home. The gym workout will also count as back training. But if I'm not able to go to the gym I have at least to do the home workout. As in the last challenge, the focus here will be to move my back to let it heal. Doing the mobilisation exercises and stretches will be good enough. Third, I'm eager to watch Football again each Sunday night. But I hate sitting on my ass for three hours. Someone in the NF Facebook group mentioned a workout where you do a certain exercise when some thing happens on the gridiron. So this is what I'll do: 1st down: 5 jumping squats Touchdown: 5 inverted rows Field goal: 5 kneeling push-ups Turnover: 20 second plank Personal foul: 15 jumping jacks These are all very easy. They shall just get my off the couch. Altair Ibn-La'Ahad: (i) Meditate 15 10 minutes every day. (ii) Track everything. In particular, take photos of food. (iii) Write here every day. Altair knows how imprtant it is to reflect on your actions. His assignement for me is to do exactly that. First, I will meditate for 15 10 minutes, preferably in the morning. In the zero week I will increase my time incrementally from 10 to 15 minutes. Also during the zero week I'll look into Headspace for guided meditations. Second, I will keep track of everything using a Google spreadsheet and my instagram profile. I will try to write everything relevant here in this thread, in particular copy/pasting the photos of my meals, but in these two resources I will thoroughly keep track. Third, I will use the challenge thread as a diary again and write little bit about my days. Koro-Sensei a.k.a. the God of Death: (i) Do cardio 3 times a week. (ii) Do something fun for 15 minutes every day. (iii) Study Go for 5 minutes every day. The greatest assassin of them all knows how important speed is during assassinations. As long as you're fast enough, you don't need to be excessively strong. As Koro-sensei is also the greatest teacher of them all, he knows how important your personal skills are. His assignment is to build my fundamentals. First, cardio three times a week. This will hopefully be alternating between swimming, running and (barefoot) walking. But it will depend on my mood and the weather. If push comes to shove, I'll step on the ellipitical at the gym after my workout. Second, I'll focus more on my hobbies. For 15 minutes every day I will sit down and do something I enjoy. This will most likely be: playing the guitar, drawing, studying/playing Go or playing video games. This will mean that even after a stressful day I won't hang in front of the telly watching nonsense. I will focus on something I like. If it doesn't cheer me up after 15 minutes, that's fine. Third, I will study Go a bit every day. The Munich Go Tournament is on the first weekend of November and I want to train. I will read some books and solve some problems. I can do this easily during my daily commute to work. And of course it stacks with part (ii): If I study for 15 minutes I fulfilled both subquests. Spike Spiegel: (i) Sleep eight hours a day on average. (ii) Eat less than 2200 kcal a day on average. (iii) Eat less than 100 g of carbs a day on average. Spike knows that your well-being depends mostly on sleep and food. His assignment is to take care of both. First, I will try to sleep a bit more. I think that 8.5 hours would be best. But I want to make sure that it's not less than 8 hours. And I try to nap every now and then. I only look at the average, because even when I plan to sleep long I might wake up earlier. Second, I still want to loose weight. In the last challenge I lost 4 kg in 4 weeks. That's great! And I'm really close to my goal of 85 kg. I should probably go for 80 kg or even less. But 85 kg was always the weight at which I planned to start serious strength training. With my back still making problems this is not a short-time goal. Anyway, 1kg per week is a bit too fast, at least for a longer time. so I'm increasing my calorie intake to 2200 kcal. I measure this only as an average, as on gym days I want to eat whatever I want. I don't know how my body will take the gym workouts. So I play it safe and eat a bit more on that days. Most often I will eat below 2200 kcal (or even 2000 kcal) every day... except the gym days. Third, I will continue my low-carb plan. I would like to eat less than 50 g of carbs every day. But as even the 100 g were hard during the last challenge, I will try to fortify this level. Again, measuring the average due to gym days.
  7. After months of physical therapy due to my slipped disk my back feels much better. Therefore I want to try out some different sports focussing on whole body movement. So this will be my first "proper" Assassin Challenge. And what topic can be better for this than the new Legend of Zelda. Even though I'm thrilled for the game, I have to admit that I'm worrying Nintendo might not fulfil the expectations they created. Anyway, time for the challenge: The Legend of Akura: Breath of the Wild Roaming Hyrule: Go Swimming once every week. Go running once every week. Do my back training as often as possible. Try bouldering. Colleagues of mine go bouldering regularly and I like to accompany them in the near future. However, even though I know how to swim and to run, I am absolutely incompetent when it comes to climbing. So I will try it sometime in the next weeks. But at the moment I won't try to incorporate it in my weekly schedule. Additionally, I will try to go the gym once every week. But that has less priority than regular bodyweight exercises. So it is no part of the quest. Cooking: No sweets. Track calories and weight. Max. 2 cups of coffee per day. I am very satisfied with how and what I eat. But I would like to make some small adjustment. First, trying to avoid sweets completely. In the last weeks, many colleagues of mine brought cake to work, because of their birhdays. So I ate significantly more sweets than I wanted to. Second, even though I eat mostly healthy, Paleo-ish food, I want to find out how much I actually do eat. I know that it is more important what you eat than how much you eat. But at the moment my weight loss progress reached a plateau. So, I have to change something (or rather anything.) Third, I want to limit my coffeine consumption. I have no problem sleeping or anything else. But five cups of coffee are definitely not good. Find out, why I woke up: Meditate every day for 5 min. Do something satisfying every day. Write my progress down here on NF every day. Currently I am extremely motivated and full of energy. And I want to use this to, well, pursue happyness. So, doing something satisfying will mean to do anything that gives me a sense of achieving something. This might be just a workout session, meeting friends, drawing a picture. Let's see how that will turn out. And as I tend to let things slip very fast, I will write down what I did every day here in this thread. This will not be detailed or elaborated. Just one or two short sentences what happend.
  8. After parting ways with the insulting Archer, Red exits the forest and gazes upon a sight that causes him to pause. An old castle, it appears ruined and withered by nature and time, but there was something... unearthly about it. Suddenly Red gets a flash of pain and an image appears in his mind. "Whoa! What was that?" He pondered. 'An old enemy...' a voice echos, it was from the Fire crystal he obtained earlier. 'One that has beaten you before...' "The pain, it feels unholy, almost like... Death." He then remembered the last time he felt this way. "The Lich." The Fiend of Earth. Red faced him earlier only to have been completely demolished by his magic and now he finds himself staring down the path that leads straight to it once again. "What do I do?" 'Fight or Flee...' The voice echoes. "I cannot make the same mistakes I once did, I'm different from the last time I fought that monster!" Red proclaims out loud, more so for himself than the crystal, 'Fight or Flee...' the voice responds. "If I am to beat this creature, I'm going to do this right!" 'Then fight...' A light shines from the Fire crystal as Red steps forth into the first level of facing the Lich, his Kingdom of the Decayed. Nearby villages, consumed with a purple fog that chokes the life out of anything it touches. it's settled down enough to simply cover the ground, and anything that decides to lie in wait for unsuspecting travelers... "If I am to stay strong in this mist, I must train myself and prepare for what lies ahead" Since I got this new job, it's difficult to plan anything beyond a week, because I never know when I'll be working nor at what times until I get the new schedule that comes out on Friday, with that in mind, I found Darebee's latest workout addition, the Combat HIIT it's for 30 days (just long enough for this challenge) and the short workouts fit perfectly with the unpredictability of my work schedule. I will do all of the exercises every day (either before or after work) without missing any. I'm also modifying it by putting in my Muay Thai training where applicable (i.e. When it says Punches, I'll be throwing MT Combos, etc) Str +1, Sta +2, Dex+2 "There's so little here that even remotely resembles life, I better make sure I don't consume anything contaminated." I've slacked on the Water, I'm drinking it here and there, but definitely not enough, at least, not as much as I should be drinking. Time to get back on that habit. 36 oz (1.06 L) every day! Wis +2, Con +1 "What was that?... There it is again!... Or was it over there?... I need to steel my mind against the shadows and tricks of the mist." ​​This goal I'm going to take up the habit of meditating, I'll start with 5 minutes every day using Calm.com. Wis +2, Con +1 "... I probably should've put out that fire before I left. Huh, now that I think about it, there are still a couple of things I still need to take care of." ​​Starting on the 4th of Jan, My university has opened their Post-Bacc program. This is a program where one can re-take courses that they didn't do well in and get a higher grade in it. I need to complete every step of their requirements and get into that program! Classes start in the Summer. I need to do this, no matter what. A list of things to be done will be posted later on. Wis +2, Sta +2 ​​Research the program itself and make sure I know the rules and requirements, and especially deadlines Order Transcripts Obtain a Letter of Recommendation from a previous Professor Update CV
  9. Pre-Challenge Spiel So my previous challenge was meant to reset my body and my mind for the upcoming year. It did that to an extent. It forced to make more time for myself in my busy (and getting busier) schedule and also to really focus on what I am putting into my body. I have upped my water intake significantly and aside from slipping up on a business trip week, did not drink alcohol for the whole month of January. I feel pretty great and refreshed and am so ready to start hitting things hard again! But going hard is uh... hard. For those of you who haven't been following me, I had a hip pre-injury (not quite an injury but a pain that told me to stop what I was doing and figure it out or an injury would basically be guaranteed to happen) and got pretty freaked out about it. My sister has serious hip problems (she is 20 and has already had to have hip surgery) so I took this very seriously. I figured out my issues were a result of glute amnesia - my glutes were not doing the work they were supposed to during DL and squats, and allowing my hip flexors to do all the work. Hip flexors are tiny muscles, they are not supposed to be taking on so much stress! But my glutes just werne't firing. I essentially put a halt on my lifting program and spent the last 6-ish weeks (basically ever since the end of the challenge of 2015) doing connectivity drills I learned at Camp Nerd Fitness from the lovely Kate Galliett and also some other glute strengthening isolation drills I found online. I also began doing a lot of core exercises to help protect my lower back from the same fate. Apparently lower backs are over acheivers too. Plus, core strength = better everything so why not? Anyway, I'm now feeling pretty confident with my glute amnesia being banished (I notice them firing when I walk and go up steps and basically do anything, and I even had a dream about squats where I noticed my glutes activating properly so they've definitely finally decided they want to do some work) and it is time for me to return to Strong Lifts! I'm going to have to deload a bunch, but I am so pumped to get back at this. I am also taking 2 classes as well as working full time. Typically I take one class but this semester I decided to really lean forward on my degree. Wow was it a lot more to take on than I expected. Basically, between beginning SL again, wanting to maintain my occasional glute activation drills an dother mobility drills, continuing to make sure my core gets some love, keeping up with my classes, my job exploding more and more and wanting to keep up with you nerds as much as possible because you are THE BEST I need to seriously work on my time allocation. Unfortunately I do not have a time turner to get more hours from my day. I know what I need to do, and what I want to do. I have the motivation and the habits. What I need to do now is take both of those and be flexible with my schedule in order to get in everything I want. So this challenge won't have very complicated goals from the outset, but each week will be treated individually depending on what I've got going on, work travel, homework, etc. I'm going to continue with the Fly Lady baby steps as well and hopefully finish out all 31 by the end of this challenge but if I get held up on a specific day again that's fine. I want to integrate this into my life slowly so it sticks. I'm currently on day 15 - and have been for about a week now. Main Goals 1. Every Sunday or Monday I will post my schedule for the week to include major items that may affect my productivity on a given day for the next seven days (ie - class) and what I will be doing for each of those days BROKEN DOWN BY THE HOUR. This sounds crazy, I know, but I only have a few hours between when I get home from work (6PM) and when I need to get to bed (9/930PM) so I truly need to plan out how to utilize each of those minutes to get the most done I can without trying to do too much and blowing my bed time. Non-work days are a bit more flexible but I still want to list what I want to do on those days. This includes homework, cleaning tasks, meditation, reading, and of course work outs. 2. At least 3 times a week I will update my thread on my status of if I hit my to-do goals for each day. 3. Each week I need to fit in a core work out and a glute drill workout. This can be the same workout. (I won't do this if I don't make it a separate goal). Food Goal 4. Continue to not eat dairy. 1 minor slip up a week is allowed (ie some melted cheese on some meat. Eating 1017 cheese cubes from an appetizer tray does not count as a "minor" slip up). Life Goal 5. Sleep at least 7 hours a night. No on average, but actually legit, 7 hours a night. This will prevent me from expecting too much of myself in (1) and (2) above. My final grade will be based 20% on the success of each of the above. Planning, execution, special work outs, dairy consumption, and sleep. Goal 2 (posting updates) will be half based on posting 3x/week and half based on actual completion of my schedule items. I'm aware this is going to be quite the strict challenge with no bells and whistles but I needs it. Bad. SELF DICIPLINE FTW! Also, I've made the commitment to watch through Xena. Girl power also FTW! I debated making this challenge Xena themed but I didn't have time. I'd rather spend my time making my rounds here than thinking up a way to make this challenge more themed....but feel free to post Xena gifs as they will bring me joy
  10. Hello ladies and gents! I am Calanthia Cobbin of Overhill, a hobbit of the Shire with a desire for adventure and travel! I am truly an Assassin at Heart, however right now my goals align more closely with the Druids, so I hope you all don't mind if I visit for a short time I've been naming my challenges off of chapters in Lord of the Rings, and this is my third challenge, which happens to also coincide with the third chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, titled "Three is Company," hence the Topic title. *For those of you who don't like blocks of text, the tl;dr version of this post consists of the highlighted sections! * My (very generalized) main quest is to lose weight and become stronger over the next year or so, however I've realized through my previous two challenges that I'm not really in-touch with my body and my mind, resulting in a tendency to be very stressed and lazy. My husband's favorite phrase is "you're acting so depressed lately," but I think that is an insult to those who actually suffer from depression. However, he does have a point. I need to learn what my body needs and take care of it. So without further ado, I present: Calanthia Cobbin's Quest for Mindfulness! Prepare for Battle: the first quest of this challenge is to prepare for daily battles! Or in its simplest form, stretching. Specifically, I will be following the NerdFitness cooldown/stretching routine at least 5x per week. Extra credit may be earned for stretching more than 5 times per week. This is a repeat quest from my most recent challenge because frankly, I failed at it. So, I'm giving myself a second chance! This quest is designed to help me to be more mindful of my body and how it feels/ how it can or cannot move, etc. as well as with my flexibility (and let me limber up to face the day), so successful completion will earn +3 DEX and 10 xp on my epic quest. Mind the Lembas: my second quest requires me to be mindful of the fuel that I am using to power my body. This is something that I struggle with as I tend to "inhale" my food and I also like to stare at the TV or my phone while I eat rather than focusing on what I'm eating. This causes me to be less full, end up eating more later... you get the idea. This quest involves three parts, all of which must be met for each meal 5x per week (weekends are free in case my husband wants to have a movie night ) 1. I must track everything I eat, even snacks and times where "I just had one." This will help me to maintain awareness of how much I REALLY eat during the day. 2. I must not be looking at a screen while I am eating. I am allowed to read a book while eating, however it is recommended that I simply focus on what I am eating and how I am chewing. 3. Between bites I must put down my utensils and/or empty my hands. This will allow me to slow down and listen to my body when I get full, which is one of the biggest issues I have right now when it comes to food. Successful completion of this quest may give up to +3 CON and 10 xp towards my epic quest. Strength of a Different Kind: For this third quest I am of course referring to strength of mind. I often find myself lacking the will power to do much of anything these days, and I think that has something to do with the mental beating I took throughout college, which I finished last May and never truly recovered from. Therefore, throughout this challenge I will meditate for at least 5 minutes each day, 5 days per week. When I was in college I would sometimes sit on the floor and just listen to my own heartbeat and breathing as a sort of mental break. At the time I had no idea that I was basically meditating. It helped me tremendously when my brain felt fried and I hope that bringing back that habit will grant me the mental strength to go about my day in a productive manner. Because I feel that honing my mental strength leads to wisdom, successful completion of this quest will grant +3 WIS and 10 xp. Resting in the Heart of Lothlorien: Another potential cause of my constant moodiness and lack of will power is that my emotional strength has waned as well. I'm currently in the process of taking care of my husband while he is going through medical school, which means that I essentially run the house. This often leaves me stressed, frustrated, and emotionally running on empty because I'm not what you would call your typical "housewife." I am also a huge homebody, and can go for literal DAYS without stepping foot outside except to stick my dog on his leash to do his business. Therefore, my challenge to myself is to spend at least 75 minutes per week outside in nature (15 minutes per day, 5x per week). The time it takes me to walk between my car and various buildings or going out to check the mail doesn't count. These 15 minutes must be spent in a relatively restful state. This can include going for a walk, reading on my porch, going to the park, or even just sitting and thinking. I just need to be outside, get some sunlight, and take some time to renew my mind and my emotions each day. Completion of this quest will give me up to 10 xp and +3 STA, as it will hopefully give me the ability to carry on with my daily tasks. I plan to post on here almost every day since I need to post my food journal here for accountability, though since life gets busy I'm expecting a few "info dump" days. Good luck to those of you that are also doing challenges, I'll be around checking out what everyone else is doing shortly May your roads go ever on and on! ~Cal
  11. I've been wallowing. The last challenge helped recognize it. This challenge, I'm going to overcome it. I know being depressed is a horrible cycle for me(&lots of people). When I run & stay active, I'm happy. Not(usually) bouncing off the walls giddy, but I feel good. It's like, it raises my baseline, so my lows aren't as low and my highs are higher. But when I'm not running/active, my baseline drops. My lows can get abysmal and my highs are barely speed bumps. When I feel like that, I am less inclined to be active (I convince myself I can't, I don't feel like it, etc.), which makes me feel worse, which means I'm even less active, and so on. Not being able to do much because of my tailbone set off the cycle big time. My tailbone still isn't great, but I'm going to do what I can, at least in small amounts. I'm including some current habits, to help keep myself on track. 1. Meditate Daily. I've been meditating semi-daily, but I need to step it up. Studies indicate meditation can help with sleep issues, including sleep walking. Given that I've been trashing my house in my sleep lately, I think this should be a priority. I will meditate for more than 1.5 minutes a day. 2. Yoga 5x per week I will do at least 5 minutes of yoga a day for at least 5 days a week. The yoga sequences will include some of my physical therapy poses, hence the frequency. Up until December, I was doing at least a sun salutation every day. I broke that streak and it had been going for 7 years, since college. 3. Strength Train 3x I will do at least 1 round of the BBWW at 3 times a week. 4. Walk Daily I started this during the last challenge, because of the NF academy. I like it. I do count walking at work, mostly because if I hike 10 miles at work, my tail & feet don't want to walk anymore. But I usually try to get in at least 5 minutes at home because my dog is loving that challenge as much as I am. I'm also going to use walking daily as a building block to get onto a C25K and start running again, eventually. But I'm going to take it in baby steps and play it by ear. Then eventually, this will turn into running every day, and I can be cool like Taiji. 5. TKD at least once a week Cause I'm a monk, dagnabbit. I will at least do basic kicks and punches. Even if its while I watch Netflix. Also, as a continuation of before, I will log food on MFP & consume 1350 healthy calories a day, at least 6 times a week. I'll also keep cleaning for 30 minutes a day and spend at least 20 minutes a day at home doing something I enjoy that is not on electronics. The most important part of this challenge for me is momentum. If I get it started, I'll be able to keep it up. I'm going to start Friday. I know, it's officially June 8th, but tomorrow is my Friday. It's supposed to storm for both my days off and it's my week to stay home. So I'm going to spend my 2 days off working on my batcave and getting ready. Then Friday, since it's my Monday, I'll start my challenge.
  12. Raxie

    Raxie's Revamp

    Happy New Year Nerds! I'm so excited to be getting going with this challenge. I took a break from NF over the holidays because I hurt my back and I was just generally stressing out over too many things. But I didn't fall off the wagon tooooo hard and my back is all better and I had a lot of time to think about how I wanted to start off the new year. I'm honestly looking forward to this year more than any past years I can remember basically since I was in high school. After a year and a half I am finally starting to not be constantly depressed about my grandfather's death, I am much more financially stable than I have ever been in my adult life, and I got a new long term project at work that I am really excited about. Also things happening this year that will make this year even more awesome: 1) The boyfriend and I are going to Alaska in July 2) I'm going to Camp Nerd Fitness!!! Squeeeeeeeee 3) My roommates are moving out in February and the boyfriend and I will finally have our very own apartment for the first time ever! 4) We're getting a new cat! In the break I took over the holidays I had a lot of time to think, and I realized a few things about myself and my goals that I think will help make this a really successful year. Firstly, I am constantly getting frustrated with my cleaning goals because I feel like I never make any progress. I've come to the realization that our apartment is completely at capacity with 2 couples and a cat and A LOT OF STUFF. So I'm going to stop beating myself up about this situation, do my best to make sure everything doesn't go to hell, and once the roommates move out stick to a cleaning schedule I've been dying to do forever, but it will then be 100% under my control, instead of trying to do stuff and having it completely negated by other people's doings. I also realized I absolutely need a morning and evening routine. I feel so much better throughout the day when I didn't get up and rush out the door like a mad woman, and I imagine an evening routine will help me deal with my sleep issues. Finally, I realized that I've been saying I'm going to start Stronglifts for over 6 months now. It's freakin' time! I've been resisting because I have always absolutely hated gyms. But... I'm going to just do it. I've been wanting this for so long. So I will start with super super low KB weights (like I'm talking 5lb) and increase by 2.5lbs (because those are the fractional weights I have), and then once I hit 40lb I'll suck it up join a gym and start using barbells, at that point I'd be increasing by 2lbs each workout, as this is what the Stronglifts program reccommends for women. And, without further ado, my challenge: MISSIONS Grading on all 3 of these are pure percentage of completed out of possible, rounded to the nearest 0.5 point. 1. Routines Do my morning and evening routines 5x/week each minimum. Possible Stat Points: 5 CHA Morning MeditateJournaling (I've made my own that's basically a version of the Five Minute Journal tailored more for me. It includes an area for dream journaling and an area to write about my meditation experience that day, it actually seems like a fantastic idea and I highly recommend checking it out) Evening: No electronics the hour before I have to go to bedPick Out Clothes for the Next Day (I find this usually gives me so much stress in the AM)Sleep by 7 hours before I have to wake upJournaling 2. Morning Workouts Possible Stat Points: 5 DEX I will either run or do yoga in before meditating in the morning, 5x/week. I have a feeling I will probably lean towards yoga most of the time, but maybe I'll get ambitious. 3. Evening Workouts Possible Stat Points: 3 STR/2 STA Stronglifts 3x/week Foam Rolling 2x/week DIET CHALLENGE Cook More Food Possible Stat Points: 5 CON I need to go back to basics with this. I always struggle with my food, and in general I do eat healthy when I cook for myself but when I am with my family or eating out it's just basically an all cheese all the time show. Which is bad in so many ways. So instead of restricting myself from eating things, I am going to look at it in a different way. 4 dinners a week will be a home cooked meal! This includes leftovers and batch cooking, so if I just want to make one meal enough for 4 dinners that's fine too. Grading will be pure percentage of completed cooked meals out of a possible 24, rounded to the nearest 0.5 points. LIFE CHALLENGE No More Beer! All the Scotch Possible Stat Points: 5 CON So this method may sound a little nuts, but I've done it before and it works. I drink so many extra empty calories from beer. I drink beer on board game night with friends, I drink beer or wine when I come home from work to unwind, and all that adds up to a lot of carbs for no reason. I also do it a little mechanically, like oh I'm at my friends and everyone is having beer I'll have one too. I love drinking and relaxing, so I'm not saying I want to stop drinking completely, I don't see a need for that right now at all. What I'm going to do is restrict myself to only drinking scotch. I LOVE scotch. Like a lot. But, I am not going to pound back 4 of them just for the hell of it like beer. I can't drink scotch without drinking it slowly and with intent, and enjoying every sip. Plus one teeny glass packs the same punch as a whole beer with a lot less calories. And since scotch is on the pricier side I'll be much more likely not to drink it just because. I'll allow myself one beer every two weeks. This way if someone comes along with a ridiculously awesome new microbrew I'll never get to try again I can try it guilt free. This one will be graded by beers over the limit. For a 6 week challenge I'll be allowed 3 beers total. For every beer over this limit my grade will drop: 0 beers over: A (5 points) > 3 beers over: B (3 points) > 6 beers over: C (1 point) < 6 beers over: F (0 points) And that's that!
  13. And since I just turned 45, let’s call it a mid-life crisis as well. The other day, I put on the Patagonia shorts that almost 2 years ago fit me like a sausage casing. They still fit the way they did 18 months ago – much better than when I joined the Rebellion, but still a tad snug. And I reviewed the weight stats from the last year and realize that I have made no progress at all. Granted, I have had a few injuries - the past couple of months I've been out with a tweaked back and stitches in my hand and has really set me back. I still feel that I should be further along than I am. I’m still in much better shape than I was 2 years ago, but I will get back to that point if I don't do something different. Life in general is good. I really like my life, but feel like I’ve gotten complacent and haven’t been working more on improving myself like I should. I have got to get out of this rut. I want to keep the 2014 goals, but must rethink my approach. 2014 Goal 1: Deadlift my bodyweight (170lbs/77kg)/do a pull-up. Currently deadlifting 125lbs/56.7kg/hanging 5 seconds Challenge Goal: It is not enough to aim towards getting in to the gym 3 times a week for weight lifting. This challenge, I will get up every morning at 5:30 and go get some exercise. I can stretch in my room when I get back, but I’ve got to get out of the house and work out. An early morning walk is acceptable a couple of times a week, but I’ll be in the gym at least 5 days a week. I’ll do some sort of weight workout 3 times a week. · Deadlift: January Start: 125 lbs; Challenge Start: 115 lbs · Squat: January Start: 105 lbs; Challenge Start: 95 lbs · Bench Press January Start: 75 lbs; Challenge Start: 70 lbs · Overhead press: January Start: 60 lbs; Challenge Start: 55 lbs Grading: A= 37-42 days (+2STR, +2CON); B= 31-36 days (+2STR, +1CON); C= 25-30 days (+1STR, +1CON); D= 19-24 days (+1STR) 2014 Goal 2: Make meditating a habit Take time to slow down and think daily. Meditating is fine, I guess. I don’t think I’ve been doing it long enough to see many benefits. I am rather captivated by James Altucher’s practice of coming up with and writing down 10 ideas daily. It makes sense to me that trying to come up with new thoughts (or at least getting old ones down in writing so I don’t have to keep coming up with them) has to be good for me. So, I think I’ll try it. On a sort of related note, I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone so I can get rid of those distractions when I’m not at a desk or laptop. Challenge Goal: Meditate for 10 minutes every day. Write down 10 ideas immediately following. Half a point if I do one without the other. Grading: A= 37-42 days (+2WIS, +2CHA); B= 31-36 (+2WIS, +1CHA); C= 25-30 (+1WIS, +1CHA); D= 19-24 (+1WIS) 2014 Goal 3: Complete a king-sized quilt. Machine or hand pieced, hand quilted. This is going fairly well, all told. I haven’t made much progress the last couple of weeks because I’ve had to rip out and re-stitch the same bit 3 different times. Frustrating. Challenge Goal: Work on a sewing project at least 10 minutes every day. Grading: A= 36-42 days (+2DEX, +2STA); B= 30-35 (+2DEX, +1STA); C= 24-29 (+1DEX, +1STA); D= 18-23 (+1DEX) 2014 Goal 4: Read one non-fiction book outside of my comfort zone every month. This is something else I want to keep up. June’s selection is Sister Wendy’s History of Painting, which I have yet to start. Pass/Fail Pass = +1WIS, +1STA, +1CHA Keeping up with the garden is still on my list – we’ve had a few hot days and the lettuce is starting to go bitter, but the sugar snaps are coming in, and there are a few tiny squash on the vines out there.
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