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  1. This is my first challenge on my journey to become the best ranger (larper) of them all (in my area). I hope you enjoy reading. Leitmotif: Falling leafs I have started to declutter my home, but also my routines and habits. Everything that does not serve a purpose, makes me happy or helps me grow, everything that holds me back, I will let go of. A look out of my window shows, that there can be beauty in it, too. When you have a generalist approach to fitness, I think it's easy to fall in to the trap of trying to practice everything at once. At some points this summer, I lost focus and track of progress, sometimes, things fell off the wagon, because I was tired at the end of training. I need a clearer separation between my training focus (+3x per week) and the maintenance work (occasionally at my own leisure once every week or two). “...you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.” lotr Body Running After a failed first attempt and some form and posture correction training afterwords, I started CT5K again last winter and build up to a fourth day of weekly running in spring. In August, I turned one of these into a long run by increasing the time gradually to an hour and above. That quite revealed my weak spots: It's not the aerobic endurance that is lacking behind but my legs, knees, and hip flexors especially. I think, I need to strengthen them before pushing for longer runs again. I will skip the long run until further notice and introduce some strength exercises instead. I started to add strides (now 4×100m, 1min recovery) to my easy runs twice a week, as a non-taxing way to work on speed. The forest runs are where the fun starts. I run alongside, across or through a small creek in a nearby forest, jumping from stone to stone, vaulting over fallen logs, balancing and crawling. It's not so much about speed yet, but about the integration of techniques into a run as well as the adaptability and fluidity of movement. I will continue those as long as the weather allows and before winter is coming. Easy Run: 3x per week, 35 min each, split between a soft track (dt:„Finnenbahn“ fin: „Pururata“) and a forest trail. Pulse < 130 bpm Leg strength: 2x per week, on the evenings after the ERs Forest Run: 1x per week, 30 min My final goal is to be able to run the 5km in 24min on the trail if I need to, without hurting myself. (That's one of the benchmarks in my epic quest log. But this is still far of.) Climbing When a ranger is not stalking, crouching or running away from something (s)he is hiding in a tree munching apples and watching the surrounding countryside. But You need to get up there first. After learning swing ups, tuck pop-ups and different traversing techniques, it's time to master … well to manage the muscle up. At the moment, I can get to one kick muscle up, but only on a bar from standing. Mayor weaknesses being the height and explosiveness of the pull as well as the transition. Goal: Get to a couple of muscle up reps on a branch, starting from a jump, then reduce kicking gradually. Muscle up with kick: 3x per week, starting on a bar For height: seated L-sit pull-ups, get from sternum height to the halfway point between it and the naval. Supportive strength training: My strength routine so far was quite cluttered with exercises and I saw not much improvement in the last couple of months. For the next five weeks, I want to go minimalist here as well and reduce the volume to something more manageable. Performed after the muscle ups. Inclined one-handed push-ups, one-handed pull up progression, dragon flag progression Three exercises, in a rep range of 3-5, three sets each. (For those interested, I'm using the operator template from the book „Tactical Barbell“, as far as that is possible with body weight only.) strength training: 3x per week Heart „How much higher, then, is the pluck of the single scout who goes on some risky enterprise alone, on his own account, taking his life in his hand, when it is quite possible for him to go back without anybody being the wiser (...)“ Aids to Scouting Without getting into too much detail, the psychological aspect is probably my greatest weakness. (Among other things, I'm a chronic ruminator.) I am quite good at researching different models (e.g.: CBT) and exercises, less so at implementing them. In what is left of week zero, I will go through my old notes and decide on two or three practices to implement, then make an update to this section. (WIP Otherwise, I would postpone this post even longer. ) Note to myself: Can not be replaced with more pull-ups. Goal: Finally get a habit going 3x a week Wits Meditation Reflecting on my sessions in the past months, they were infrequent, long and of low quality. Let's see, if doing the opposite will help my practice. Anapanasati: 5x per week, in the morning, for a minimum of 10 min, expandable to 20min. Woodcraft Well I wanted to practice my bow drilling skills again and guess who just got volunteered to teach a few people at my community how to start a fire. The date is not set yet, but will be somewhere in November. This means, I need to collect quite a bit of material (tinder, kindling, wood) make some bows, boards and spindels, maybe get a tarp in case of rain. Goal: every one of my pupils gets a fire going Preparing the event 1x per week Practicing bow drill 1x per week Wish me luck!
  2. this will be a lot more updated over the days. Goal 1: Allocate time and use it wisely writing on my thesis. Goal 2: at least 2 muscle up, and 2 focused handstand training pr week. Goal 3: Get my habit back of daily meditation, pranayama and arm balance work. 5 minute of each pr day is enough, more is better Goal 4: Get rid of at least one thing that clutters a day on average.
  3. Hey, I'm Daniel and if you haven't followed me before, my standard intro is in the spoiler: My newest destination in my nomadic life is Montenegro, the beautiful ex-Yugoslav country of 620,000 people. Picture in the spoiler of the area I'm staying My plan while I'm here is to do two things: learn enough Machine Learning techniques to get a respectable performance in a data science competition hosted by Kaggle.com do lots of Assassin fitness Goal #1: productive routine: some of the 16 days I'll be on day trips to other places, but I need 12 days where I do all of the following: Wim Hof breathing (5 minutes of total retention minimum) cold shower (okay it's boiling here so it barely counts) 2MP of fitness training (those are Mad Hatter points, and 2 means a moderate workout and 3 are a serious workout) actually 3 MP of fitness training 3 hours of focused work on the Machine learning project actually 5 hours of focused work 4 portions of fruit/veg So most of this challenge will be over by 9th June! So compact For every day where I do all of that I get 0.50 points. If I have a day where I do only 5 of those 7 things I can get 0.25 points. Max points: 6.00 Goal #2: achieve great things: setting some goals... finally do a muscle-up (I've been trying for years!) (1.00 points) run a mile in 05:50 / 05:42 / 05:35 / 05:30 (previous record 05:56) (0.25 / 0.50 / 0.75 / 1.00 points) do a set of 40 push-ups (not during Wim Hof retention) (0.50 points) find more paid remote software work (0.50 points) submit a solution with a score of 0.700 / 0.780 / 0.790 / 0.800 in the Kaggle competition (0.25 / 0.50 / 0.75 / 1.00 points) half-write / completely write a Coding course for my summer school (0.25 / 0.50 points) Lots of this is very ambitious, but that seems fair for a shorter challenge like this. There are 4.50 points available so I can get the maximum score without doing everything. Max points: 4.00 Good luck everyone I start tomorrow. CHALLENGE TRACK (updated end of June 4th) productive: day 1: 1/7 => - day 2: 7/7 => 0.50 points day 3: 7/7 => 0.50 points day 4: 5/7 => 0.25 points day 5: 7/7 => 0.50 points day 6: 7/7 => 0.50 points day 7: 7/7 => 0.50 points day 8: 3/7 => - day 9: 7/7 => 0.50 points day 10: 5/7 => 0.25 points day 11: 5/7 => 0.25 points day 12: 7/7 => 0.50 points day 13: 7/7 => 0.50 points day 14: 3/7 => - day 15: 4/7 => - day 16: 7/7 => 0.50 points achievements: score greater than 0.700 in Kaggle competition => 0.25 points ran a mile in 5:50 (o.e.) => 0.25 points planned half the Coding course => 0.25 points did a bar muscle-up => 1.00 points total: 7.00 points
  4. Strange timing, but a 25-day NF challenge is exactly what I need right now, so here goes Until last August I was a software engineer and spent much of my free time doing gymnastics, football, calisthenics, weightlifting and climbing. Then I quit my job and set off travelling around the world. I backpacked around Eastern Europe I represented Britain in two mental calculation events I had my first real-life NF meet-up and went climbing I studied Spanish at a language school in Valencia I volunteered as a tour guide in the volcanoes of Nicaragua I backpacked around Guatemala Then I returned home and had no idea what I wanted to do I didn't feel ready to quit travelling, but had had so many adventures that I didn't know what should come next... The default plan seemed to be to sit in my parents' house forever contemplating this embarrassingly first-world problem, but that's lame. So yesterday I flew to Barcelona with an AirBnB booked for 4 weeks. Now I'm stuck But I have a big plan. Starting tomorrow I'll spend 25 days doing the following: creating a website from scratch with no prior knowledge of the software development needed being super-productive by concentrating properly as I work eating healthily possibly with an experiment at eating as vegetarian returning to bodyweight strength training on a regular schedule working towards the bar muscle-up practising speaking and listening to Spanish learning more salsa and bachata dance This will be a points challenge because I like them. Challenge is the 25 days from 5th May to 29th May. Goal #1: create a website: the concept will be that you give it your date of birth (or any important date) and it tell you when any interesting anniversaries are happening soon. For example if you were born on 1990-01-01 then your 10,000-day birthday is coming up soon. And next March you'll be 15 Martian years old. There's also a tool that some of the calculation competitors use for practising calendar dates, but it's 15 (Earth) years old and only works in IE 5 with instructions in German. So I'd also like to make a new version of that and host it the site, maybe with leaderboards etc. I've never made a website before, so this will be all unchartered territory for my brain. Goal #2: be super-productive: at university I would tell myself that I could work just fine with Facebook etc. in the background. Eventually I learned I don't have the discipline for that So I'm setting myself a schedule to follow every day. 1 point for every day that I follow it properly. I can add items to the list whenever I like but I can only reduce them for 3 days in the future. I won't write out the list but the main features are: work 4 hours per day on goal #1 no Facebook, email, or pointless internet checking except for 5 minutes at the end of each hour exercise every day Spanish listening practice every day NF time in the afternoon One thing I've learned from my travels is that I'm much happier when I'm being social. And that's going to be difficult when I'm programming away alone in some random suburb... So I've found a bunch of good events to go to, such as language exchanges and salsa classes, and aim to do 18 social things during the 25 days. 1 point for each, but the first one each week doesn't count, to leave a maximum of 14. Goal #3: eat healthy: this means I eat enough but not too much, I don't spend 25 days only eating cereals haha, I have enough fruit and vegetables and I mainly cook for myself. 6 points awarded subjectively. Goal #4: strength training: I was at my best in 2015 (video) and want to get back up to a similar standard. Close to where I'm staying is this amazing workout park: So I'll be awarding 1 point for each of the following, with the twist that I can't claim any points until May 19th, to prevent me from going hard on maxes rather than training sensibly. So that's 20 points total and plenty to be getting on with Goal #5: understanding Spanish: my goal is still to understand EuroNews radio in Spanish. 5 points if I manage this. I'll be training every day as part of goal #2 Goal #6: salsa dancing: I'm good enough to enjoy dancing salsa and bachata, but I'd like to learn more... more moves and a less... mathematical style Subjectively awarding 5 points for this And boom, that adds up to 100 points almost like it was on purpose... 0.25 stat point for every 2 challenge points, as long as I get at least 32 challenge points. Simple.
  5. The Target: Muscle-Up Teh Skillz: Redevelop explosive high pullup Redevelop controlled dip Redevelop controlled tiger pushup & russian dip for transition Develop kip
  6. The Target: Muscle-Up Teh Skillz: Redevelop explosive high pullup Redevelop controlled dip Redevelop controlled tiger pushup & russian dip for transition Develop kip 'Sup nerds. Been a minute since I've had an NF challenge thread. I've been thinking about it for months. And I finally remembered a goal I want to return to. (Yes.., it took months of thinking. I've been raising my infant daughter. This is my brain now. A sleep-deprived grey/white mush.)
  7. Welcome everyone If you followed my previous challenges, this is going to be familiar, but for everyone else here's a brief introduction: I'm 25 from the UK, and I specialize in gymnastics, weightlifting and bodyweight skills of various styles (video: summer training sampler). I'm also a software engineer, mental calculation competitor and amateur composer. I put way too much chili sauce on everything. Mmm Because my topic titles are clearly now just calendar-related puns, here's an infographic depicting a variation of the March of Progress that I do not want in my life, and I'll get right on with my challenge: Goal #1: the list: yep, I'm having another list of goals and workouts, because this format seems to work well for me . I'm hoping the weather will soon improve so I can so more outside as I was slacking during February. +0.25 for each, maximum of +6.00: weightlifting (double points!) bodyweight (10 exercises) jumping training (6 exercises) <-- something I need to focus on for gymnastics bouldering 1-arm push-up, handstand or bar muscle-up training session <-- summer 2016 goals! gymnastics class And bonus items - mostly stolen from my previous challenges - are: cartwheels: learn decent cartwheels on each side round-off: learn this gymnastics move front handspring: do this consistently on floor front flip: land this safely on floor front flip: bonus points for landing it on floor handstand walk: do a full 360-degree rotation in a handstand without immediately falling over handstand: 10 second static handstand bar muscle-up: I'm working towards it! back squat: 105kg (PR) change phone contract: I should be able to move to a cheaper one and I've procrastinated this for 2 months... create piano cover: of the death metal piece "Lost Reality" by Mercenary. It's the heaviest song that I actually like, even though it starts with some aggressive vocals. In fact, that's one of my reasons for wanting to make this piano cover - I wanted to find a way to provide an equivalent effect with a piano (whilst hopefully making it pleasant to listen to). I've finished working out roughly how to play this on the piano, but I need to tidy a lot of details and create the sheet music. create piano cover: bonus point for making a piano recording of this. Done - here's the video new sport: try some new activity - yep, did roller-blading new sport: try another new activity No goals this time for mental calculation since I'm taking a short break from that - last challenge I got to where I wanted to be for now Goal #2: pull-ups: I've neglected these over recent months, and while last Summer I could do them weighted with 30kg, now I find sets of 5 bodyweight ones a struggle... So for this challenge, I want to do 3 sessions of pull-ups each week. Minimum is: 20 pull-ups each set must be 5 or more reps These can be parts of workouts I'm already doing - just extra motivation to get out and train +0.25 STR per week Goal #3: rest properly: Laptop off by 01:00 every day. I did this last 2 challenges, and I had much more energy and was happier and more successful as a result. It means I'll get about 8 hours of sleep but won't have rush around brush teeth etc. just before sleeping! Scoring: for each week: 7 days with laptop off by 0100: +0.25 CON two "cheat" days are allowed anytime during the 4 weeks I'll start this at 2015-02-29 01:00:00 for 28 nights. Goal #4: eat clean: recently I've been eating like a moron, and now my body expects 50g of sugar during the afternoon Furthermore, lots of my energy is coming from poor-quality sources like chocolate bars. It's not good for my body... I get sugar dips now and my face feels fatter because that's where I carry extra fat, and my skin quality has deteriorated. Anyway, in March I shall have a cleaner diet and I'll get back to how I've been for most of the past 3 years I shall use the following rules: no soda or chocolate bars from the vending machine at work at most one dessert or pastry per day (usually I have 2-3) drink before eating if dehydrated Every week I get the following points: broke rules 2 times or fewer: +0.50 CON broke rules 4 times or fewer: +0.25 CON Good luck everyone!
  8. Welcome to the place where I write things For those of you who are new, I'm an amateur gymnast and weightlifter and I intend to spend as much of my summer as possible learning cool bodyweight skills. I also do slacklining and climbing, I'm learning Spanish and I occasionally write piano music. Over the past few challenges (this is my 10th with the Assassins, woo!) I've been working on holding steadier handstands, improving with the gymnastics rings, increasing the weight on the four main lifts, and learning frontflips/backflips, amongst other things. Although I enjoy experimenting with cool physical activities, often I lack the motivation to actually improve at them. So for the next two challenges, I've chosen a special tool - a special incentive - to motivate me to actually learn new skills and gain new strength! I'm going to make a training sampler by September. And of course, if I'm going to make a training sampler, I'm going to want to improve as much as possible so that I can fill it with the best stuff possible So this challenge, I'm going to push the boundaries of my best/favourite skills. However, there's a small complication at the moment that I have a broken toe (I think) so I'll need to nurse that back to health before I can do proper work on the leg-based skills Goal #1: bodyweight skills: the following exercises are good for me but I'm much less likely to do them unless I have some motivation. I intend to do several of these each week: adductor stretches 4 days per week - for deadlift and squat mobilityfalse-grip pull-ups (4 sets / 15 reps total) - I want to tidy my ring muscle-upweighted pull-ups or 1-arm rows (each arm) (4 sets / 15 reps total)plyometric push-up variations (1 good session with warm-up) - I want clapping-behind-the-back push-upssession of pistol squat variations (each leg) (2 sets / 15 reps total)three handstand practices in a weeksession of experimenting with kicking moves (like in tricking - more details when I start experimenting!)The following are cool achievements that I would like to have managed by the end of the challenge: bar muscle-up (yep, including this again haha)ring forward rollring shoulder stand or handstand (hard! although I've never tried...)pretty cartwheel on both sidesparallette L-sit for 10 secondsstatic handstand for 10 seconds10 second handstand walk where I'm control of the direction the whole timering dips +30kg x 3front lever Manx pullback lever Manx pull[Disclaimer: "Manx lever" is a term I made up to describe these since I couldn't find a decent existing name. The leg position reminded me of the Isle of Man ("Manx") flag] Scoring: for the exercises, each week I get +0.25 DEX if I do 3 of the exercises, and +0.25 STR extra if I do 5 or more. Until my foot is healed, I'll accept doing 4 rather than 5 as I won't be able to practise pistol squats, kicks or handstands. As there are 7 weeks, I will ignore my best week when calculating the points. Total: +3.00 For the cool achievements, I'll award +0.25 DEX & +0.25 CHA for each one I manage (maximum 6 - I'm unlikely to get that far!) Total: +3.00 Finally, I'll subjectively award up to +1.00 CHA extra if I do lots of other interesting work towards the training sampler - such as flips, slackline, other experiments. Goal #2: workout plan: usually when I do a workout (strength or skill) I arrive with no plan, and just do things at random. This has its advantages (fun and flexible) but also its disadvantages (unfocused and unproductive). Therefore, each week I'm going to plan a one of my substantial workouts in detail beforehand, and execute it according to plan. Other workouts can be carefree and experimental, but I want to have at least one structured/planned one each week. +3.00 STA (there are 7 weeks, so I'll get +0.50 for each structured workout - except the first such workout won't count) Goal #3: sleep early: similarly, my bedtime has been pushed later and later, so that these days 1am seems like an early night. Really to get at least 8 hours of sleep I should be sleeping at 1.00am at the latest. There are 48 nights during the challenge, so I'll award myself: grade A: 42 nights - 48 nightsgrade B: 36 nights - 41 nightsgrade C: 30 nights - 35 nightsgrade D: 24 nights - 29 nightsTotal: +2.00 CON Goal #4: eat clean: recently I've been a bit lazy with eating sensibly, so I'm going to make a special effort to eat according to my high standards this challenge. In particular, I've been eating too much sugar, and not always at sensible times. Graded subjectively. +2.00 CON available. Goal #5: driving theory: in the UK we need to take a theory exam before taking our practical exam. I'm learning to drive, so I should stop procrastinating this, book a test, study, and hopefully pass. +1.00 WIS for passing before the end of the challenge. Thanks for coming by to see my challenge - I'm hoping to make lots of good progress, and spend lots of time outside enjoying the sunshine And the rest of it updating this giant task list haha. ~~~~~ TRACKING ~~~~~ specific exercises: - grade C- week 0: HLR, PiSq, ExPU ©week 1: FGPU, Add, PiSq, ExPU (A)week 2: FGPU, 1AR, hs2 (F)week 3: ExPU, PiSq, 1AR, hs1 ©week 4: ExPU, wPU, HS3, PiSq ©week 5: 1AR, HS3, Kick, FGPU, ExPU (A)week 6: wPU, hs2 (F)skills achieved: - grade D- 10-second parallette L-sit+ up to one stat point for other work - grade B pre-planned workouts: week 0: YES - weightliftingweek 1: YES - ringsweek 2: YES - ringsweek 3: YES - bodyweight & TODO listweek 4: YES - weightliftingweek 5: YES - field gymnasticsweek 6: () grade A/Bsleep early: week 0: +++__++ (5)week 1: +____++ (3) (8)week 2: +++++++ (7) (15)week 3: __++_++ (4) (19)week 4: +____+_ (2) (21)week 5: ++_++_+ (5) (26)week 6: +++__+() (4) (30) grade Ceat clean: grade C driving theory: passed comfortably grade A
  9. Why not?

    Move better!

    The primary focus of this challenge will be mobility for me. I received my CrossFit Mobility certificate just over a year ago and I figure it's time I actually start employing what I learned...at least what's left in my memory/notes of what I learned. I'll also be starting a coaching internship at a local CF box in a couple of weeks and I want to be able to employ this stuff. Better refresh on myself before I start teaching others. On that note, mobility work every day. Every. Day. Whether this be lacrosse balls, partner smashing, banded stretching, or standard stretching. I'd like to get in at least 15 minutes a day to start off. Monies, I need them. Specifically, having just had a number of expenses, capped off with paying for an oly seminar with Dmitry Klokov that will be happening later this summer (yes, I will be excited for the duration of the summer), I need to stop spending money that I don't need to spend. No treats, no new music, no new fun things because I want them. Frugality is the name of the game. Technique work. I want to work on butterfly pull-ups, muscle-ups, and double-unders. I will work on one of those three movements every day. If I can get my butterfly rhythm down by the end of the challenge, I'll be ecstatic. I'd also like to be able to consistently string together five double-unders. My goal of 20 last challenge may have been a bit unrealistic. In summary, mobility, money, technique.
  10. Ryuu1011 Trains with the Avatar Challenge #3: April 13- May 25, 2015 Learn to Fire Bend and Burn the Fat Away Goal One: Loose 6lbs and 2% Body Fat (+1 Con +2 Cha) Got my diet and exercise pretty dialed in at the moment now its just a matter of keeping that fire burning. Decided to put the points in charisma for this challenge because if I'm being honest this goal is really about the abs... Starting Weight: 156.8lbs ---> Goal: 150lbs Starting Body Fat %: 17.2% ---> Goal: 15% Learn to Earth Bend and Build a Rock Solid Balance Goal Two: - Hold a 15s freestanding Handstand, a 15s Tuck Planche, and a 15s L-Sit [on the Floor] (+2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Sta) Three bodyweight tricks I would like to get better at. I can hold each one for around 5 seconds or less currently and think a 10 second increase over the next six weeks would be great. 15 seconds doesn't seem like a lot but I'm sure this is going to be by far my hardest goal to achieve. Learn to Air Bend and Overcome Gravity Goal Three: Complete 6 [kipping] Muscle Ups and 1 dead hang Muscle Up (+3 Str) Got my first muscle up during the last challenge, this time I am going to try and improve on it. Well see what happens, the dead hang muscle up may be a little bit of a long shot but I think I can make it. Learn to Water Bend and Let the Past Wash Away Goal Four: Work on Myself & My past- Write Letter to all of my Ex's come to terms with the past and then burn those letters at the end of the challenge and let it go. (+2 Wis) If you were following along with my last challenge I shared some of my...unpleasant...past, that I am working though trying to become a better person. So for this challenge I would like to delve a little bit more into my past and my feelings to come to terms with everything by writing letters to each of my past GF's (5 Letters) and 1 Letter to my Parents, and then let them go at the end of the 6 weeks by burning the letters. Harmonize my World Side Quest: Volunteer at the Local Habitat for Humanity at least once during this six weeks. No Points, just want to get into the habit of volunteering at least once a month. BOSS BATTLE: Rugged Maniac May 16th 2015- How appropriate was Steve's last article on Boss Battles!? I'll be having my first boss battle midway though this Challenge and man am I excited! Loot (Some Possible Options): Overcoming Gravity & Starting Strength iphone fitness Strap Running Belt Pouch Thing Yoga Blocks & Yoga Mat Pre Challenge Photo: Beginning of last challenge 2/19/2015 vsBeginning of this challenge 4/16/2015 Starting Measurements: Starting Metrics: Weight: 155.6 lbs % Body Fat: 16.7% Waist/Abs: 31" Hips: 31.5" Arms: 13.5" Calf: 14" Chest: 39" Thigh: 22" Shoulders: 46" Weekly Recaps: Week One: Week Two: Side Quest: Harmonize my World- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Times Volunteered= 0/1 0%0% Progress: Nope, my little brother had troubles so I went home to spend time with him. Week Three: Side Quest: Harmonize my World- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Times Volunteered= 0/1 0%0% Progress: Art show this weekend, gosh this side quest is harder than I thought it was going to be. Week Four: Side Quest: Harmonize my World- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Times Volunteered= 0/1 0%0% Progress: Modeling Shoot and Mothers Day.... -__- I think I just need to just pick a date and do it. Week Five: Side Quest: Harmonize my World- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Times Volunteered= 0/1 0%0% Progress: Boss Battle this weekend- Going to do this next weekend. I've got too! Week Six: Side Quest: Harmonize my World- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Times Volunteered= .5/1 50%50% Progress: So I had planned on signing up for the Saturday this weekend but they didn't have any volunteer spots (probably because its Memorial Day weekend), but I did go ahead and sign up for next Saturday which is technically outside of the 6 weeks of the challenge but its within my personal goal of once a month so I'm going to count this one as a success (even though its by the skin of my teeth)
  11. Welcome to my 8th challenge thread I've now been on these forums for one year (anniversary on January 3rd) so I'll start with a motivational list of some of the things I've accomplished in that time:recovered from a shoulder injuryimproved Spanish listening and speakinglearned to walk across a slacklinetracked macronutrients for a weeklearned not to set overly-ambitious challengesheld a 10-second handbalancecreated a YouTube video of my handstand progressjoined a second gymnastics gymbought climbing shoes so I can go bouldering properlyentered a Spartan Raceincreased strength in the bench press by 30%15 pistol squats on each leglearned Olympic liftingbought gymnastics rings and started training regularly with them It hasn't been easy, and there are plenty of things that I wanted to accomplished and completely failed with... but the last challenge has been good. So while I have some momentum, I'd like to make as much more progress as possible... Challenge #1: BODYWEIGHT SKILLS: +2 DEX, +4 CHA These are 6 skills that I'm currently working on and I think may be possible by the end of the challenge: ring muscle-up: I maybe got close to achieving this last week, but I'm taking a break until January 5th to let my right forearm tendon recover from the stress I've been putting on it while practising this. bar muscle-up: some say it's harder than the ring muscle-up, but I find the wrist position slightly easier. I'm also taking a break on this until Jan 5th. upstart / glide kip: this move requires good technique and lots of core strength. I've done some work on the first part of the motion, but don't feel close to "getting" the move. It's one of those things that 6-year-old girls seem to find much easier than 1m85 men like me... archer ring pull-up: I can do the very top part of these, but not yet strong enough to do the bottom part... so it's clear what I have to work on +0.50 CHA: each hand, with ring starting above head height+0.50 DEX: either hand, full movement+0.50 CHA: each hand, full movementfrontflip: I've done these nicely on the bouncy tumble track onto a crashmat (and once without) but need more consistency and to tuck harder. +0.50 CHA: high safe consistent frontflips on tumble track without crashmat+0.50 DEX: high safe consistent frontflips on floor with crashmat+0.50 CHA: high safe consistent frontflips on floor without crashmatbackwards walkover: I can do this with my feet on a 60cm platform and would like to not need the platform at all. Need to improve back flexibility, core strength, and technique. +0.25 CHA: 40cm platform+0.25 DEX: 20cm platform+0.25 CHA: without platform Each move carries +0.25 DEX and +0.50 CHA. The last three skills can award partial points as described. Archer pull-ups and frontflips carry double points for double awesomeness. Challenge #2: SQUATS & DEADLIFTS: +3 STR I've found a couple of gyms where I can safely practise heavy squats, and I've recently improved my deadlift form. My legs are strong and can handle high volume, but I'd like them to be more powerful like in my old high jump days. Therefore it seems that now is a good time to work on increasing the weight I can squat and deadlift. From experience with the bench press and overhead press, I expect to be able to add 20% to each lift during these 6 weeks. SQUAT: currently max 80kg (176lb) - grade A: 100kg (220lb) - grade B: 95kg (209lb) - grade C: 90kg (198lb) - grade D: 85kg (187lb) DEADLIFT: currently 110kg before fixing form (242lb) - grade A: 130kg (with good form) (286lb) - grade B: 125kg (with good form) (275lb) - grade C: 120kg (with good form) (265lb) - grade D: 100kg (with good form) (220lb) Challenge #3: MENTAL CALCULATION TRAINING: +2 WIS, +1 STA At the end of last challenge I mentioned that I was working on a secret project - and this is it. In 2012 I was actually a competitor in the Mental Calculation World Cup, flying out to Germany to perform multiplications and cube roots etc. with the best in the world, and ranked in the top 20. The training itself isn't super exciting, so in 2014 I didn't enter the competition, and instead travelled around Asia haha. However, entries are opening soon for Memoriad 2016 - a huge mental sports competition that will be held in Las Vegas. If - and that's a big "if" - I can improve my arithmetic skills enough to qualify for the free accommodation etc. then I'll enter. One of the events is calendar calculations, for example calculating that 2015-Jan-01 is a Thursday. In the competition, you have 60 seconds to find the day of the week of as many random days as possible. My record was 24 dates in 1 minute with no mistakes. I've now improved my algorithm, but this means that I have to remember a code for every day of the year (e.g. Jan 1st => 5) and for every year in the century (e.g. 15 (in 2015) => 6) - quite a significant mental load. I'm going to be using the spaced repetition software Mnemosyne, along with a metronome to ensure that I can recall each correct code in less than 1 second. +1 STA for keeping up with the memorization procedure for the full 6 weeks (after which I should be finished, yay) The whole point of this is that I should be able to beat my best score (calculations in a minute), so I'll award myself +2 WIS for this: grade A: 35 (beating the current British record)grade B: 30grade C: 25 (beating my old record)grade D: 20 Challenge #4: AUXILIARY EXERCISES: +3 CON The other goals this challenge will make me do lots of pulling, core and legs strength training, so I want to do some moderate-volume work on pushing motions (bench, press and push-ups) to ensure I don't get any muscle imbalances. I would like to work on handstands when the (British) weather gets warmer again, so I should do some preparatory strength training for that. I'll also need to do some auxiliary exercises to increase my chances of success in Challenge #1 - bridges, high pull-ups, low dips, toes-to-bar, jumping drills etc. I'll award myself up to +3 CON (subjectively) for how conscientious I am with this. To get grade B I'd need to be doing some specific workouts 2x per week, as well as focusing on relevant exercises during gymnastics, weightlifting, etc. It's January 1st today, and I'm officially starting the challenge now Progress summary:frontflips consistent on tumble track: +0.50 CHAring muscle-up achieved multiple times: +0.50 CHA & +0.25 DEXsquat at 100kg (220lb): +1.50 STRdeadlift at 125kg (275lb): +1.00 STRcalendar dates @35/minute: +2.00 WIScalendar memorization: +0.75 STAauxiliary exercises: +1.50 CON
  12. So winter is cold and dark and damp and nearly here, but rather than complain about it, let's prepare the perfect antidote: a proper campfire! We will need 5 things for the campfire: get outside atmospheric music collect firewood collect food light the fire Conveniently (or by design ) these correspond to the 5 things that I'll be working on this challenge. In previous challenges I've set myself targets that I have no idea how to achieve (and subsequently fail), so this time I have a concrete plan for each one: Challenge #1: get outside: GYMNASTICS RINGS: For an excuse to get outside during the dark season, I've bought myself a set of rings to play with, and intend to spend the rest of 2014 experimenting with these. I have no specific plans, but I have a dynamic list of things I want to play with and work on. Here is a picture of me struggling to maintain a support hold: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/uploads/gallery/album_1020/gallery_25753_1020_594416.jpg I'll be grading this subjectively, with consideration given to: volume and intensity of training variety of experimentation improvement made effort made to make my environment good for training (e.g. warm-ups, new locations, social involvement) Total points available: STR +2; WIS +2 Challenge #2: atmospheric music: FINISH CURRENT PIANO COMPOSITION: I haven't done an artistic challenge before, so let's try this... I often compose piano music, but haven't released anything for a while. Here's something I wrote about one year ago: At the moment, there are a few new ideas floating around my mind, so I'm going to craft some of it into a new musical piece. Usually this takes me way longer than it should, so this will help me waste less time! Grading subjectively, where to get 'C' I must have a finished piece and to get an 'A' I must be really pleased with the result. Total points available: CHA +3 Challenge #3: fetch firewood: LEARN OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING: On my recent holiday to Singapore, a friend taught me the Clean and Jerk (from Olympic weightlifting). This would surely be useful for picking up and carrying large logs for firewood (especially if they happen to be shaped like perfect barbells...) but the snatch would be faster. The challenge is to become reasonably competent at both types of Olympic weightlifting so that I can use them in the future for strength training. A: get good at both the clean and jerk and the snatch B: get good at the snatch only C: - D: get good at the clean and jerk only I'll achieve this by reading some snatch tutorials, practising safely, and reviewing form with someone. Total points available: DEX +2 Challenge #4: collect food: BENCH + PRESS >= 100KG: We need to do a whole lot more lifting of firewood before we can relax around the campfire, and this will be in the form of increasing my bench press and overhead press to be 100kg in total. This was in my very first challenge, during which I got injured on the bench press Since then, I've hit 56kg on bench and 40kg on OHP, before taking a month away from relevant training. A: 100kg total B: 98kg total C: 96kg total (i.e., get back to previous best form) D: 94kg total Total points available: STR +2; STA +2 Challenge #5: light the fire: STAY WARM DURING WINTER: When it's cold my body basically shuts down (too little body fat) and I don't do any moving or thinking, so I should prevent that from happening. Steps to achieve this: eat enough to stay warm wear more layers use strength training to warm me up Sounds simple, but I'm super bad at this. Grading subjectively. Total points available: CON +2
  13. My last challenge was centered around an irresponsibly enthusiastic list of feats of skill and strength that I wanted to achieve. I did actually make good progress, but it hardly scratched the surface of what I intended. Now I've learnt to set more realistic targets, my next challenge is going to be more process-based than success-based. Challenge #1: PRIORITISE SLEEP I demand quite a lot from my body and myself - so the least I can do is to keep it the healthiest state possible at all times. At the moment, the weakest link is sleep. I feel so much better when consistently getting 8+ hours than when I'm getting 7 or 7.5 hours. Therefore, for the next 6 weeks I will go to bed at 00:30 at the latest, giving me at least 8 hours and 20 minutes to rest before my morning alarm. A: 36 times in 42 days (+2 CON) B: 34 times in 42 days C: 30 times in 42 days D: 24 times in 42 days 09-JUN: ++++++_ (6) 16-JUN: ++_++_+ (5) 23-JUN: +++__++ (5) 30-JUN: +++_+_+ (5) 07-JUL: ++++_+_ (5) 14-JUL: ++++___ (4) (grade C) [Note: entry for each day refers to the sleep from the previous night] Challenge #2: TRAINING Two things that have been noticeably beneficial already this year are consistently doing core exercises, and consistently doing pull-up/muscle-up exercises. Other parts of my fitness are currently not limiting factors for anything I'm working on, so I'll concentrate on these for a while and see how that goes. What counts as core exercises? - 3 sets to failure of V-sit sit-ups or leg raises of some description - a gymnastics session involving lots of flipping What counts as muscle-up exercises? - a climbing/bouldering session - 3 sets to failure of appropriate dips - 3 sets to failure of an advanced pull-up variation - 3 sets to failure of pull-down machine I want to be doing one of these 5-6 times per week, so I'll have a slightly silly scoring system for this: - 1 point for doing some mixture of core and muscle-up exercises - 2 points for doing one or the other - 3 points for doing a full amount for core and full amount for muscle-ups A: 70 points in 42 days (+2 STR, +2 STA) B: 66 points in 42 days C: 58 points in 42 days D: 46 points in 42 days 09-JUN: 3 2 2 2 _ _ _ (9) 16-JUN: 3 2 _ 2 _ 3 2 (12) 23-JUN: 2 2 3 2 2 _ _ (11) 30-JUN: _ _ 3 3 3 3 _ (12) 07-JUL: _ _ 3 3 3 2 2 (13) 14-JUL: 3 _ 3 3 _ 3 2 (14) (grade A) Challenge #3: HANDSTAND EVOLUTION VIDEO I've been working on my handstands quite a bit this year, and at the moment my best handbalances are 5-6 seconds and look super unstable. I've been recording some handstand examples when I'm practising, for feedback so that I can learn. My intention is to compile a selection of these examples into an "evolution" video, annotated with training notes. For example, things I'm trying differently and other training I've done, and whether these are helping me balance. Hopefully it will be useful to some people learning handstands, but also it will just be cool to see the evolution. However I need to actually finish getting good at the handbalances first! +1 DEX for staying on my hands for 10 seconds +1 DEX for improving my form irrespective of how long I can hold the handstand +2 CHA for posting a useful video including footage of me doing good handstands (grade A) - see video here Challenge #4: SPANISH I've been learning Spanish on-and-off recently, and it's time now to restart, after a 9-week break. Previously, I was practising 4 times per week (process-based goal) so now I'm going to mix things up and aim to be able to understand spoken Spanish (currently my weak point). I'll assess how much of general conversation I can listen to and grade based on that. A: understand 85% (+3 WIS) B: understand 75% C: understand 65% D: understand 55% (grade F - totally ignored this!) Challenge #5: FEARLESS One major thing that I find is holding me back - especially in gymnastics - is being too risk-shy. For example, freaking out of trying scary moves even when its exactly what I need to be working on. Plus in general life I sometimes find myself avoiding opportunities that are obviously worthwhile risks. So I have an entirely subjective challenge, to be graded subjectively, to break past as many fear barriers as is sensible (Don't worry, I'm not planning to do anything ridiculous). +1 DEX, +1 CHA is the maximum score (for an 'A' grade) (grade C) As usual, I'll update reasonably regularly whenever I have news
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