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  1. Bought Level Up Your Life the other day. I never actually got around to posting a hello or an intro so here's my origin story - and also my 20SoC for the day, because this much honesty on the internet associated with any part of my real name is vaguely terrifying. I'll be posting in 3 or 4 parts - not quite sure how far this is going to go, but I'm posting part 1 before I edit it into a blank document. Childhood Chiara was a plain child and maybe a little on the fat side. Growing up she was more interested in reading than making friends. She was more likely to be in the backyard reading than playing. She also spent a lot of time overseas. While in some this might have developed into an appealing exotic edge, in this little girl it just added another alienating layer between her and her peers. Her family valued mental cleverness over physical fitness, so while she tried every sport available in her little town, she rarely stayed with it past the season. Years passed, and as her teammates honed their skills and specializations, she knew that they were swiftly moving into a league she could not contribute to. So she retreated into her books – even entertained the idea of becoming an author for several years. Her parents noted this withdrawal, and while her mother was concerned her father was affectionate. “Just like me.” He said, “Don’t worry, she’ll grow out of it.” He did concede that the little bookworm shouldn’t become completely isolated outside of school, and once a week, dutifully drove her to a Girl Guides meeting. The first time our protagonist’s life changes is at age 12, when Chiara looked around a Girl Guides encampment and decided this was “too girly” for who and what she was. Her parents agreed that she could quit, as long as she found some other acitivity to do, or group to join. Flipping through the local newspaper later that week, she found her answer. That September, she joined the local cadet corps. For the next six years, cadets would become one of three things which defined her. At 13, she moved from elementary to high school. She had heard some of the senior cadets discussing high school clubs the year before and those respected individuals all seemed to be members of something called the tech crew. While too shy to seek them out herself, by luck she was seated next to the younger sister of a member. Happy to be recruited, being a member of the high school volunteer tech crew quickly became another identifier. These two parts of her identity influence her so much that the person this child becomes pursues a career in theatre, and later the military. But we'll come back to that. The third part of our protagonist’s identity sneaks into her life at age 14. She is now a respected member of the cadet corps and the tech crew. She works well with her limited group of peers, and though she doesn’t know it she’s on the cusp of becoming a leader in both groups. An offhand comment about a rather famous game leads her into one of the greatest joys – and greatest traps – of her short life. The game? Dungeons & Dragons.
  2. Hey nerds! I'm using your (positive) peer pressure to keep myself on track for this fitness journey. I've never tried a fitness community before, but you seem like my kind of people, so here it goes: I'm 24 and just graduated college (summa cum laude!). Of course I spent my spare time eating Ramen and drinking frequently. Now I'm back home, saving money for a car/apartment until summer, and I'm bored out of my mind. I got a job working from home, so it's all too easy to be sedentary after a polar winter hibernation. My friends in the area all moved to the city and the isolation sucks. Even dating is hopeless; there are *literally* no gay bars in South Jersey. So, I've decided to use this time to focus on self-improvement to kickstart post-grad adulthood and, hopefully, good habits for life. I have always been physically average, never overweight (maxed out at 140 when I was 14) or underweight (bottomed out at 112 thanks to an eating disorder at 15). My body very much has a "default" setting - I am 5'4" (average height of American women) and my weight naturally hovers around 128 lb. (the "healthy" range is about 110-145). When I was a teenage lass I didn't realize that weight was not nearly as important as composition (body fat vs. lean muscle), but seeing photos on Nerd Fitness and athletic people in real life, I finally get it now! Thanks Superhero Staci! My goal is to not be merely average. I've never accepted mediocrity in academics, nor have I ever been "normal" (proud of it!), so why should I let my body be basic? This is the first time where I'm not going to be measuring progress with an arbitrary number on a scale, but rather how I look without clothes, and feel in them. The numbers I'll be focusing on are how much I can lift, reps, and muscle measurements. I want to level up! I'm leaning toward Ranger-class. Today my goal, other than that 10 minute walk quest is to find my dad's free weights. They're hidden somewhere in the house, a nice little scavenger hunt. I'm posting my workout plan for the week and starting stats tomorrow. My focus will be on strength training at first, and I will add hiking/swimming for cardio as the weather improves.
  3. Ey up! Firmly forcing myself to delurk and make some friends, despite my natural inclination to hide in the background on forums. I'm a 5"7 twenty-one year old Scottish/Yorkshire lass (makes for a really odd accent). I was born and raised in a small village in a little corner of Yorkshire that I like to think of as my very own Shire (though I'm a rather tall hobbit). I'm coming up on graduation from my undergrad (hopefully), and am very much going through a quarter life existential crisis. The past six months/year have...not been great. I've been struggling with completing my degree due to stress, compounded by some recently diagnosed ill health in close family member. It's all forced me to take a long hard look at several aspects of my life and ask myself what I really want. For a start, I want to be a hell of a lot stronger - physically and mentally. I'll figure the rest out as we go. I've always been fairly fit and healthy, but I've also always been fairly on the heavy side - part of it is my build, I've got relatively broad shoulders and hips, and am definitely built for curves - but lately it's crept up past what I'm comfortable with. I'm fed up with looking in the mirror or at photographs and being unhappy with my flabby arms and total lack of visible muscle definition, but neither am I naive or desperate enough to start starving myself ala women's magazines - I want to be strong and healthy, not half-starved. So on that basis I'm attempting to switch to a more paleo diet gradually, cutting out junk food, etc, and starting on the beginners bodyweight circuit and interval training. I'm not a stranger to exercise - over the years I've done gymnastics, netball, trampolining, horse-riding, swimming, surfing, judo and quidditch (yep, quidditch!), but I've never managed to make it just another part of my everyday life, rather than an irritating obligation that falls at the wayside later on, or gets way too expensive for a student to maintain. I'm going to be monitoring my progress photographically, one a week, and compile them on a monthly basis to see how it's going - I hate being chained to an incredibly changeable number on a scale. Long term goals? Well for a long time I thought after I graduated I was going to go into scientific, lab-based research, but after spending six months working in labs last year, I'm not so sure. So I'm taking a year out from full-time education to pursue other projects which I'm passionate about, but never had the time for. I want to be fit and have the energy to pursue those projects, and take the chance to get out of my bubble and challenge myself a little. I'm going to compile some kind of a challenge list for the next year, running July-July 2015/2016 (so starting after graduation). Some of those will be small things, others will be a bit more adventurous, and the key one will to be in good shape for training to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with my Dad at some point in the next couple of years. Past 48 hours, I've started trying to shift my diet to more paleo, stopped eating biscuits and the like - made a paleo banana pancake for the first time, which was tastier than I was expecting for what is essentially a sweet banana omelette. Did my first run of beginners bodyweight circuit this morning - ee gawd my pushups are rusty. My judo sensei would be appalled. Made it through two reps of the circuit before my muscles were getting too shaky to do proper form, so I stopped after two with the intention to work up to three-four good circuits as opposed to three mediocre wobbly ones.. Feeling good, though my thighs are definitely bewildered by the sudden torture I'm putting them through.. I'll start the day off tomorrow with interval training - done that before, years ago, so I'm not unfamiliar with it. We'll see how it goes. Probably the hardest thing is going to be forming paleo-based eating habits - living on campus these past three years I've gotten far too used to automatically reaching for the vending machine. Hope to make some friends! And if any of you are ever about this little corner of the 'Shire, give me a shout, I'm happy to tour guide .
  4. Origin Story Pushing his way through wave after wave of ninja zombies the hero Kung Fu Johnny slowly worked through the nine levels of the Mijikkujutsu fortress. The weeks of fighting would have been to much for all but the strongest, but Kung Fu Johnny had the ability to temper his strikes with his chi and enhanced combat skills. As he reached the top of the nine towers Kung Fu Johnny was meet with one last challenge. Could he strike down the demonic martial artist Mijikku, defeat evil andlearn the strongest attack known in the multiverse? The sound of the ancient evil overlords head bouncing off the towers floor was a resounding “yepâ€. The scores of undead evaporated and the ancient scroll of power manifested in front of Kung Fu Johnny. As he read the technique which could break worlds in half he heard an evil laugh. For a split second he felt he was the most power martial artist the world had or would ever know. Then just as quickly as the feeling came upon him it left. Not only the world ending move but all of his martial arts knowledge. All of his of training in alien martials arts, sparring with superheros and gods of old and his magical martial arts skills were gone in an instant. The evil Mijikku had tricked him into reading a tome of forgetting. He was left on the ninth floor with his body good only for walking. Kung Fu Johnny struggled out of the Mijikkujutsu fortress and through the dark realms he had traveled to defeat evil. As he collapsed into the forest he knew his training must begin again if he was to defeat Mijikku. This time he would train differently... Main mission Get moving! I want to stay on track with my marathon training plan. It involves 4 days of running (with one of those being an optional rest day) and 2 days of cross training. Goal 1 Win a dietbet. Loose 4% total starting weight. I weight 190 now. A - 8 pounds B - 6-7 pounds C - 4-5 pounds D - 2-3 pounds F - 0-1 pounds Goal 2 Decrease my resting heart rate. Pass/Fail Goal 3 Increase my easy run speed. A - 6.5 B - 6 C - 5.5 F - No change Life Quest Run in the mornings so I have more time with family when I get home at night. A - 4 times a week B - 3 times a week C - 2 times a week D - 1 time a week F - 0 times a week Motivation My wife and I signed up for our first marathon in November down in San Antonio. The furthest I’ve ever run is a 5k so this is a huge stretch for me! I've been on a quest to loose weight since I found out we were having a little girl 2 years ago. I've been slowly but surly dropping the pounds (40 so far) and I'm ready for the next push.
  5. Origin Story: On a small inland coastline, tucked in between a sprawling dark forest and miles of open water, was the bustling town I called my home. Raised to be an inquisitive lass by a Merchant and Healer, I grew up traveling across the land and learning to aid others, to the point that it became part of who I am. Not long into childhood, the joys of exotic foods and ancient tomes made themselves known, and frequency of my adventures decreased. It seemed the more knowledge I acquired, the more my figure acquired. Fast forward to the cusp of adulthood; standing at only five-six of feet, and weighing two-fifty in pounds, my health had reached a point where I had endangered myself. As the ward of a healer, I was shocked at the diagnosis. Pre-diabetic. Knee problems. Endocrine problems. Maybe, unable to have children. And it would only snowball if I didn't do anything about it. That was enough to shock me into making changes, albeit slow ones. In the two years following, I had been able to lose over eighty pounds, on my own. Yet in a period of darkness this past year, I had gained twenty of those pounds back. Unwilling to let the demons roaming my home lands defeat me, I fled south, and found apprenticeship in a scholarly institution. I am now studying to be a nutritional healer, but still struggle with the results of years of self-abuse. Real Time: Now that I'm a university student, and far from the source of many of my struggles, I've felt so much more free to tackle and take on my own inner monsters. I've been working steadily since last fall, and have managed to take off six pounds already through diet alteration alone. I'm hoping that by joining this community that overflows with support, I can find a steady source of encouragement and an extended hand, when I stumble on my journey. My plan is to get in on the challenges (I've started offline already!), and become involved and report back frequently so the ball stays rolling. I've even managed to find a campus work out buddy, but they're waiting until the classes settle to join me. So! Here I am, excited and delighted to meet you all. I look forward to seeing everyone around! ~Morrigen Starting Statistics: Hume Adventurer Level 1 STR 2 | DEX 1 | STA 2 | CON 4 | WIS 5 | CHA 1
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