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  1. I am feeling super inspired by my re-playing through all the Kingdom Hearts games lately so... I'm going to stick with this theme for the second challenge in a row. I may do it again for the next challenge too because WHY THE HECK NOT?! I'm feeling a little lacking in the inspiration elsewhere but Kingdom Hearts seriously never ceases to get me riled up in all the best ways so it's just going to have to do for now Two challenges ago I didn't have very specific goals and just wanted to stick to my routine. Last challenge I tried to add a bunch of new things to my routine This challenge I'm going back to not really having goals, but this time my routine will incorporate some of the habits I developed last challenge (and some not that didn't really work for me). This pattern of chill then go hard then chill gain seems to be working pretty well for me. So this will be a chill challenge cycle GOAL 1: SHOW UP Post my weekly schedule and goals each week by the end of the day Tuesday. Try for Sunday or Monday, but Tuesday's fine. My weekly schedules will include my usual stuff like lifting, dance, and ROMWOD plus some new stuff from last challenge like Unbreakable Feet and meditation. GOAL 2: DO THE THING Do what I said I was going to do and stick to my schedule/goals for each week. GOAL 3: REFLECT Post what I ate for each meal of the week and why (if applicable... I don't need to post why for a meal prepped meal for example) and how each meal made me feel physically and mentally. This really worked for me two challenges ago so I'm going to do it again. GOAL 4: DANCE I want to start taking private lessons again, I haven't in a few weeks. So for this one I'll make it a priority to take at least 2 private lessons this challenge. Bonus: Figure out what the heck I'm going with my dance goals (ie do I want to compete and if so how soon and in what dances) ♥ And that's it! Woop woop let's do this!
  2. I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO SHARE Overview Since I first started doing challenges, I've known there are sort of "4 pillars" of fitness that I thrive under - walking, eating primalish, yoga/mobility work, and strength training. Every one of my challenges includes these in some way or another, although the eating is a big question mark right now. Last challenge, I was overall pretty good. I did a ton of work on reducing stiffness and increasing mobility, and I was overall very active. Last challenge, I also confessed my secret dream of doing a triathalon despite wobbly cycling, an inability to breathe while I swim, and constant running injuries. I made less progress in these areas. So like any good ranger, I am working on goals related to these three areas on top of my 4 pillars. I also had wrist surgery last October after struggling with wrist pain for a little over a year. That whole process really forced me to cut back on pushups / dips and I've seen a huge reduction in overall strength, which is frustrating. On top of that, I'm also trying to get back into Aikido, which I stopped doing after I moved in August / had to have wrist surgery. And of course I might as well throw some sort of non-fitness goal in there too, right??? Is this way more things than is reasonable? Yes. But a baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do. Honestly, I'm frustrated with how weak I feel. And I'm waaaaay overly scared of trying new things (like going to a pool I've never used before). So I'm going to try to embrace the baby mindset and accept that I am where I am, but I've gotta do the things anyway. PILLAR 1: Flexibility If I do yoga or other flexibility work, I feel about 60% better even if I do nothing else. I feel good in my body. I don't feel stiff. I feel more in tune with my needs. I've done 18/30 days of this year's Yoga With Adrienne Challenge. I want to finish the remaining 12 videos this month. Continue slowly integrating MWOD stuff into my routine and reading Becoming a Supple Leopard. No specific goal here other than to keep trying to do the sessions regularly. Continue doing GST videos 2x/week (45 minutes each), skipping yoga on GST days ROADMAP: At the end of the month when these things are done, I can: A - pick up the third and final GST stretching video, B - Sign up for some in person yoga classes, and/or C - Do a 14 day mobility challenge using either Becoming a Supple Leopard or Ready to Run. PILLAR 2: Walking I work from home and don't have a very active social life. If I don't deliberately take the time to walk, I do not walk. Ever. And I really like walking and hiking. It's also just really important for basic health because people are meant to walk. Walk 16 miles per week (2 miles weekdays, 3 miles weekends) - this only counts deliberate walks and not overall steps/distance, although TBH there's not a huge difference. PASS: 12 miles. EXTRA CREDIT: 20 miles. For each week I do extra credit, I can put $10 towards hiking/backpacking gear goals. ROADMAP: Start rucking again now that I have a better backpack for it, begin exploring local hiking trails more. PILLAR 3: Strength Pretty self explanatory. I seem to naturally be pretty strong and I like doing strength work, but I have a lot of recovery to do after surgery, etc. Do at least 2 startbodyweight sessions per week, and do at least pullups and pushups in a 3rd session (exception - for Zero week I'll just do 2 sessions and an OCR workout without the extra push/pull work) ROADMAP: After a month or so of consistency, re-evaluate whether I want to push forward or switch tactics. Options include: Keep going until I feel stuck on startbodyweight (aiming for 3x/week?) Redo/finally complete GMB Elements program Look into actual lifting at a real gym Look into GST foundations program Look into GMB integral strength program Intro class at local crossfit place (there's one where the coach is also a certified running coach) PILLAR 4: Food Kind of a mess, tbh. I don't even know where to begin here. I'm doing a lot of slow and mindful exploration right now, so it's hard to set a concrete goal. Eat 5 servings of freggies/day. PASS: 3 veggies specifically. EXTRA CREDIT: 3 consecutive days. For any 3 consecutive days, I accumulate $10 towards a kitchen gadget or fancy food of some sort. I may need to recalibrate this as I go. Triathaloning The big challenge here is just getting out and doing a couple things that make me nervous. Once I've done them I'll be fine, but that initial 20s of courage keeps stopping me up. From there, it's a matter of establishing the basic skills. It may require lessons - tbd. Take my bike in for that tuneup and go on at least one real outdoor ride (I've been delaying because it's winter, but it's not actually really snowy at all here so I can go out.) Weekly cycling session, increasing by 5 minutes total time each week Go swimming. Just get there and figure out how to use the swimming facility. It doesn't even matter what I do. Just do it at least one time. Continue trying to run without injuring myself Get running gait analysis on the 12th to help diagnose form issues ROADMAP: Start working towards 2.5 hours of aerobic work per week to establish a good base Aikido Visit the 2 closest dojos and observe sessions - either sign up for one of those or explore the other dojos in the area. By the end of the challenge, my goal is to know where I want to practice and to sign up somewhere. Non-Fitness I already meditate/practice Japanese through duolingo daily, but I feel like I don't spend enough time on self improvement / learning outside of fitness. FRUGAL FEBRUARY. I do this every year and have already started for the month. No extra purchases at all allowed for the month. Exceptions: Book I already preordered that comes out on Feb 6th & 1 REI purchase since I have a $20 gift card that is going to expire and I want to use it Spend 2 hours/week on some sort of personal development - I have a bunch of things it can be and for now I'll just choose freely based on what I feel like doing - whittling or other creative exploration, work related reading, python, harmonica practice, etc. Do 1 thing/week to connect with my father Prioritization This is a lot of things, so there will be times when I can't do them all. I definitely want to make strength work priority #1. If it's a choice between that and something else, I'll prioritize the workout. Everything else is about even. Flexibility work is even with walking. Aikido is even with swimming and getting a bike tuneup. Running is a slight priority over cycling, but they're about the same.
  3. I have a real problem with authority, just ask my boss. The more I tell myself I can't have something or I'm not allowed something, the more my internal monologue says "eff you, eat ALL the things! Stay in bed all morning! Skip the gym!" So for my third challenge, I'm allowing myself to do whatever I want to do, but I'm choosing to make some changes. Goal 1) I could remain weak but I choose not to. Some day I'll grow up into a full fledged Warrior because I likes the iron. Starting Strength 3x/week. Grades 3x = A, 2x = B, 1x = C, 0x = F. +4 STR Goal 2) I could slip meekly into middle age with creaky joints but I choose not to. I'm going to work on mobility for at least 1/2 hour, 3x/week. I'll be drawing from MWOD, doing a lot of foam rolling, some shoulder exercises to strengthen around a bad rotator cuff, stretching, maybe some yoga. Grades 3x = A, 2x = B, 1x = C, 0x = F. +3 DEX Goal 3) I could eat Reese's PB Cups and Coke Zero for lunch every day but I choose not to. Yeah, I really have done that in the past. More than once. I'm going to work on quitting the processed sugar and soda. For this challenge I'm going to diligently track calories using My Fitness Pal. I'm aiming for 2200 cals/day. Grading shamelessly stolen from AngelBlaidd. Goal 15,400 cals/week. Within 5% = A, within 10% = B, within 15% = C. +3 CON, +1 CHA Goal 4) You snooze, you lose and I choose not to. I got an app for my phone that requires me to do arithmetic to be able to disable the alarm. I have successfully trained myself to do arithmetic in my sleep. To support my ultimate goal of getting around in the morning, I'm going to prepare my gym bag, lay out work clothes, prepare lunch/breakfast/snacks and set my alarm for the time I need to get up the night before. I'm allowing myself one snooze button and one only per day. This one snooze/day does not accrue. This goal only applies to work days. Grades: 90% = A, 80% = B, 70% = C. +4 WIS
  4. Last challenge was tough for me. I had a lot of stuff happen in life and I realized my coping skills leave much to be desired. I relied heavily on food for self-medicating and whiskey for forgetting, trading useful daylight hours for laying in bed way too long, and generally living mostly immobilized by fear. Living from a place of fear has meant that my reaction time is lightning fast, my fight-or-flight system is on hyperdrive, my responses to life are often irrational, and I care too much about things I can't control. At the root is ultimately fear of pain, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. Fear of pain leads to a desperation to escape from discomfort. The desperation fuels the hyperactive amygdala which in turn heavily influences physical and psychological reactions. I've lived this way for 31 years and I'm just plain tired of letting fear of fear dictate the parameters of my life. I have a well-established paleo lifestyle and a solid training program going, so I plan to simply stick with those. As far as diet and exercise go, the idea for the next 6 weeks is just to stick to the plan. No program changes, no switching to a new idea from a new website/magazine/podcast. Just stick with the current program for the next challenge, and at the end I can determine if changes need to be made. With that in mind, my goals for this challenge are stacked heavily toward battling this fear beast that is blocking my path toward my goals. For 31 years, this thing has always been there...I'd work on a goal right up until I smashed into it, then I'd back off and think, "I just need to try something different." The obstacle always looked vague, shapeless, and immense, so naturally I thought the problem was with whatever program/hobby/diet I was doing at the time. This past challenge, something clicked into focus and I finally saw the beast as it is. It's not vague and it's not shapeless; it's big, but not insurmountable. It's my dependence upon fear. Truly, dependence. I don't know how to live without it being there, so that seems like dependence to me. It's dark, and hard as granite, shiny with a menacing oily sheen, and it's tall enough that I can't see past it. But, it has edges, scaly pockmarks, and fissures, and I can work with those. Edges can be climbed over, scales can become handholds, and fissures can be split wide open. I know I probably won't be able to conquer this thing in 6 weeks; after all, it's been sitting there blocking my way for 31 years. But I can sure as hell get it in the crosshairs and see how much damage I can do to it over the next 6 weeks. My efforts this challenge focus on these areas: --establishing a consistent journaling habit; nothing fancy or melodramatic, just a notebook and a pen to write down whatever. I started this already; I have been writing 3 positive things about the day prior every morning before getting out of bed. --honoring my spirituality and my commitment to Buddhist practice by bringing regular meditation back into my life. I also have a few books on various teachings that have been collecting dust, and I'd like to break them out every now and then to foster my learning. --not allowing my mind to keep my body in bed for 9, 10, 11 hours a day. I did that a lot last challenge, and ultimately I felt like crap...sluggish, grumpy, etc. I'm not setting any specific bedtime/wake-time goals, but just focusing on keeping my time in bed in the sweet spot of 7-8 hours per night. This includes waking time in the bed, so I will not be reading in bed anymore. Not only has this been terrible for my posture, but reading in bed keeps my mind super active and I have a harder time falling asleep. Which leads to laying in bed doing nothing for a longer period of time. --committing to taking my vitamins and supplements every day. I eat a healthy diet but my food choices are limited in variety because I live so rurally. In the summer, this is not a problem as the local farms explode and the farmer's market is awesome. But during the fall/winter, the rural community just shuts down and all I'm left with are produce choices at the grocery store, which are expensive and often taste like crap. I want to make sure I'm getting a solid range of nutrients so I have done a lot of research and come up with a supplement routine that has worked well for me...when I take them. --being intentional about preparing my body for movement and recovering adequately from movement. In short: MWOD, baby. My jump stretch band and tennis balls are en route to my door as I type this, and I am going to explore the wonderful world of MWOD throughout the challenge. I did an assessment of my current habits and environment, and came to the conclusion that evenings in my living room while watching Hulu would be a perfect time for MWOD. I mean, I'm there almost every night already anyway...the only difference is that instead of sitting on my couch or laying on the Saint Bernard, I'll be rolling my spine on tennis balls or stretching out the shoulder with a band slung over a beam. One thing that I truly believe is that people carry their feelings inside their body. I know I do. Many times when doing a long yoga session or other stretching that works major joints, I find that the physical opening-up often results in feelings rising to the surface. I fully expect that this will happen with much of the mobility work. --doing good stuff for my body and mind out in the wide world. As I've mentioned (probably hundreds of times by now), I live in the middle of nowhere and I work from home. I am extremely isolated, and on weekends I also have no car, so when I actually have time off I can't go anywhere. I rarely see actual people, and that starts to make me feel a little crazy after awhile. I love health and fitness, and every time I've ever done anything health- or fitness-related out in the community with other people, I've loved it and felt great for days/weeks afterward. So I have set up three tasks, pass/fail, to work on toward this goal. My expectation for this challenge is that the cultivation of journaling and meditation, combined with attention to my sleep hygiene and solid nutritional/recovery support, I can start to address the underlying emotional issues that make up that big, nasty, dark barrier keeping me from moving forward in life. Fear is the mind-killer... Without further ado, the individual goal details. And...yes, these are based on MTG cards. I had a lot of fun on the Gatherer doing research for this challenge. (Also, my workouts will be tracked in my battle log thread, while specific goal progress will be tracked here.) Level 5: Wherein Sambie Faces the Jabberwock (source) Defeat: Meishin, the Mind Cage Every morning upon waking, write in my notebook before getting out of bed. 42 days = 100%. +2 WISDaily sitting time. 42 days = 100%. +2 CHADefeat: Entangling Trap Spend a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 8 hours in bed each night. No reading in bed. 42 nights = 100%. +4 CONAchieve: Beastmaster Ascension Take vitamins/supplements every day as scheduled. 42 days = 100%. +2 CONPractice MWOD every evening. 42 days = 100%. +2 CON Acquire: Healing Salve Sign up for 1 massage with massage therapist in town. +1 CONSign up for 1 yoga class at the studio in town +1 CHAMake 1 telephone inquiry to the naturopathic doctor in town. +1 CON Support Strategy: Continue eating 100% paleo - sugar/honey/maple syrup are officially out. There's no way around it...my body hates them, acts like I ingested poison when I do eat them, so I gotta give 'em up. And the thing is, sugary stuff never tastes as good as my mind tells me it will before I eat it. Tricksy brain cells, they lies to us! This includes (le sob) chocolate. But, I have my cacao tisane, which is 100% roasted cacao bean shells and nothing else, and is delicious. Continue with current training program: BodeeFit full metcon 2 days/wk Free weights + BodeeFit mini-metcon 2 days/wk (not two days in a row) Yoga 1 day/wk Rest 2 days/wk (rest day can include Moving at a Slow Pace if desired, i.e. walk/hike, more yoga, etc.)
  5. I'm trying to find some bands to buy on Amazon (I have a gift card so I want to go through Amazon rather than Kstarr's recommendation of Rogue Fitness), but I'm unsure which bands to get. He recommends blue/green, and on the Rogue Fitness website green = #3. Is this a universal rating system? Ie, will a #3 band of another manufacturer (but different color) be equivalent? Also, are the lacrosse balls used for mobility work unique somehow, or are they literally standard lacrosse balls? Thanks!
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