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  1. starsapart: A Brief and Abridged History I think an anniversary challenge calls for a bit of retrospection, doesn't it? I found Nerd Fitness in summer of 2014 after someone sent me one of Steve's articles. I'd been on a health and fitness journey since April of that year, which had marked an all-time emotional low point for me. I'd latched on to weight loss as a silver bullet of sorts, with this vague idea that if I could just be conventionally attractive, my life would sort itself out (spoiler: it doesn't work like that). Finding the forums really helped me start to find some joy in movement and began my slow journey to mental recovery. I had a serious injury in August of that year after a brief trial of parkour, which forced me to start building my upper body strength while my broken ankle was in a cast. I didn't really know what I wanted to do once I was healed, but around that time, I met @sylph, who opened my eyes to the crazy idea that an adult could absolutely learn to be an acrobat. I started aerial in November of 2014, at which point I was about 50 pounds down from my highest weight and feeling a lot better about life, the universe, and everything. I stuck to the forums, becoming a member (and then briefly the commander) of the Cutlasses, then an ambassador for the Assassins. I was just about 80 pounds down when I was featured as a success story on the Nerd Fitness blog, one year after my fitness journey had started. My mind was much healthier in a lot of ways by then, though in retrospect I realize I had slipped into disordered eating in the form of orthorexia. I never addressed this on the forums, but I ended up having to undo a lot of mental tangle again to fix my broken-in-a-new-way relationship with food. Based on my doctor's insistence in 2015, I actually had to regain a small amount of the weight I had lost. Still, things were going well overall - despite additional injuries and setbacks, my aerial skills improved greatly. I got my first pull-up. I started performing. I became a guild leader for the Assassins. By mid-2016, I felt like I had my health and fitness sorted, and with life getting progressively busier, I left the forums for several years, though I retained some of the great friends I had made here and at CNF 2015. Then 2019 rolled around, and my life changed drastically again: my wife and I adopted a baby! And this was very exciting! But very exhausting!! I lapsed (completely) on lifting weights. I lapsed (a lot) on making good food choices. I lapsed (a little) on training in the circus gym. I came back to the forums in December of 2019 in hopes of finding some support as I tried to right my course. That brings us to today! I survived my return challenge and I'm back for more. I definitely don't have time for the careful selection of song lyrics and themed gifs anymore, because #momlife, but I do have goals! I am performing in a major circus production close to the end of this challenge (the shows run March 13-15) and I've been frantically rehearsing and preparing, which has done a lot for my consistency. Still, there are a few things I need to address as I prepare for the show. As such, my goals are as follows: GOAL 1: NUTRITION GRAB BAG Last challenge, I got back on the food tracking bandwagon, but I didn't address exactly what I was eating and when. I was batting around several nutrition goal ideas, but ultimately, I think I'll do a grab bag. I am aiming to earn 80 points by the end of the challenge, meaning I need to earn 2+ points a day. I can earn (or lose) points in the following ways: Caloric deficit (1800 calories or less) : +1 IF (eat only between 11am-7pm) : +1 Vegetarian day (I already try to do this once a week, but this will hopefully be a nice motivator to do more) : +1 Zero junk food day (no chocolate, no chips, no cookies; a serving of dried fruit or nuts is fine but eating a whole bag of either is not...) : +2 Caloric surplus (2100 calories or more; I can take a bye on this if I've had a very physical day, i.e. 3+ hours of aerial in a row or 10 miles of snowshoeing or something) : -1 Excess sweets (3 or more in one day) : -1 Skipped tracking (lack of best-effort tracking in MFP) : -1 GOAL 2: LIFTING REDUX I had a lifting goal last challenge and I mostly stuck to it, but I don't feel confident that I've built a sustainable habit yet, so here we go again, Lift two times a week, better three. Anything counts, even if I just go down and do a 5x5 of bench press and then call it done. I get a bye on show week - no lifting required at all the week of March 8-14, because I will basically be in the gym or the theater every bloody day and I'm going to be massively fatigued. Depending on how I feel post-show, I may require only one session the week of March 15. GOAL 2B: RECOVERY IS KEY I had to suspend my lifting goal due to changes in my aerial schedule. Instead, starting week 3, I am looking for foam rolling sessions after every practice and performance. GOAL 3: FLEXIBILITY I've been pretty lax on stretching outside of rehearsal warm-ups. My wife and I occasionally do yoga videos together, but that's not super consistent, either. I'm aiming for two flexibility sessions a week. They need to be a minimum of 15 minutes and can focus on splits, straddles, backbends, whatever. Yoga counts. Aerial practice or class doesn't count, unless I specifically take a flexibility and contortion class. GOAL 4: FAMILY TIME I'll run this one grab-bag style as well, aiming for 15 points by the end of the challenge (to be adjusted once I see how this goes). I earn points by: Family meal (everyone, including baby, sits down to eat together at the same time) : +1 Family walk (Around the block or to the park or whatever, but it has to be outdoors) : +1 Fun family outing (anything from storytime to going to the aquarium; going to the grocery store obviously doesn't count) : +1 I think that's plenty to focus on this go around. I have a few big disruptions hitting during this challenge as well: Feb 21-24, we're heading up for a long weekend at my family's mountain condo with a couple friends (yes, we're taking baby), which will include lots of fun activities but also probably lots of food. March 9, my daughter turns one! Cue more food and lots of prep (her party is on the 8th) and general insanity. Finally, as previously mentioned, I've got a show running the weekend of March 13. So, here we go! Sending shoutouts to @stillskies, @blkhole24601, and @Kagetsukai to get their fine asses back here for the anniversary challenge. C'MON LADIES, JOIN THE FUN!
  2. My circus gym's student showcase is coming up at the end of January. (1/27) Here are the various deadlines/milestones associated with the show (as per the gym owner). 12/30 Music selected/act conceptualized (done) 1/13 Costume complete (mostly done) 1/22 Tech rehearsal 1/26 Dress rehearsal 1/27 Performance day! Performance music: Super strength-based routine with some playing to the audience and a bit of braggadocio. Goals of some kind will be added as I think of them... likely do do with getting my food intake back under control after all the holiday goodies and ensuring I get enough practice so as to not look like an idiot at the end of January.
  3. I'm going to perform! On a stage, in front of people! I'm going to do drag and burlesque, and it's going to be great! So I need to practice, rehearse, work on choreography, and learn how to dance in heels. This challenge I will: Continue meditating Work out the choreography for one act Figure out where content creation for my night job fits into this new scheme No gym workouts! Not tracking yoga (still twice a week in the office at lunch), or food (still doing intermittent fasting where I eat everything in an 8 hour window). Disclaimer: I'm a leftist socialist queer agender (they/them pronouns) sex positive hippie who is an active member of The Resistance. Any photos I post here will be safe, but if you follow the links I cannot guarantee your continued employment if you're looking while at work. :-p
  4. January 27th. That is the date of my circus gym's next student showcase. I've decided I'm going to perform. I have until December 30th if I decide to chicken out (not likely) so I need to really commit to getting this thing going. Choreography and costume decisions. I have some rough ideas for both, but it's time to get something more solidly in place. Costume deadline is 1/13. Endurance & Strength. The planned concept for my routine is a string of ridiculous athletic skills. I need to not pass out or fall from the apparatus while doing this. Circus endurance - Put together in-air sequences of >2 mins at least three times every open gym. General endurance - Cardio at least once/week. With the coming winter weather, this will likely often be treadmill based. Strength - Muggle workouts (1 x week lower body, 1 x week upper body 'push') Flexibility. Circus skills always look better with straight and extended limbs. My hip flexors are my current sticking point for most things, I think. Direct hip flexor work once per week and general splits things twice. (After lower body muggle workout, at end of open gym, after weekly circus class) Self care. I've always been a person who has wanted a skincare routine and have never taken the time to create one. We'll start simple: Wash, tone & moisturize face once per day, every day.
  5. Hi Nerds! No, I am not some ghost/demon collecting your memories to somehow take over the world. [or am i...?] Just kidding! Here's what I am doing: I'm creating an interactive blanket fort/"art exhibition" at the end of this month and I need your help! I am collecting childhood memories from people of all backgrounds all over the world. Whatever "childhood memories" means to you is welcome. Here's the call I shared on my Facebook and emailed to some collaborators: Hi internet! I'm collecting voice memos of childhood memories for Reanimate volume 2. If blanket forts and magazine collages are your jam, record a line or two on your phone and email it to kayla@kaylamaeanderson.com. No names will be associated with your submission and fragments may be edited to create an ambient sound collage of memories. I'll go first: I used to hide in my neighbor's lilac bush to binge read Animorphs over summer vacation. Thanks in advance for your time/memories/attention.
  6. Yes I know this should have been the title for part 2.0 but whatever. JUST THOUGHT OF IT WOO and I am bored of using the exact same challenge title! This will be mostly the same set up for goals although I am thinking I will substitute the exercise goal with something else since that should not be a problem as we get closer to the show..... So, this challenge marks the entry into HOLY SHIT AAAH crunch time for the dance production I am working on. I am done wearing choreographer hat mostly BUT we have like....10+ more dances and transition scenes etc. to get done in only 6 weeks and only 6 of those are actually on the schedule already so yeaaaaah.... My weeknight and weekend downtime goals will likely have to be reduced in final weeks of this challenge (or HEY maybe we can get this shit scheduled now so I can maybe average out 1 day per week instead of 2 days per week to ZERO but hey, I don't get to decide the schedule unfortunately!) Goal 1: EXERCISE Maintain exercise plan for maximum happiness but NOT into oh hey where did my life go? territory. Parameters: work out at least 3 x per week (Brainstorming how to revise this to account for me likely getting 5+ days of dance rehearsals by the end of challenge. Open to suggestions!!) Goal 2: DOWNTIME & FRIENDS (Yes left shark has nothing to do with this but whatever. LEFT SHARK FOREVER!) Have AT LEAST one evening off during weeknights in order to hang out with friends OR cook stuff/ downtime whatever I need, and at least one day a weekend with at least a 6 hours IN A ROW chunk of downtime/friendtime. GOAL 3: ADULTING Dedicate at least 2 hours per week to adulting pursuits! (Does not need to be in a row.) Cleaning, reorganizing, meal prep, anything adulting related is fair game!! GOAL 4: To be decided? Or maybe I should be more minimalist because AAAH BUSY hmm... No Goal 4 because busy! Life Goal- BALANCE! Maintain balance!!! I shall strive to be self aware of if the above plan is NOT working and make alterations if necessary. (Alterations WILL be necessary this round as mentioned above.)
  7. "And I will work this body, I will burn this flame Oh in the dead of night and in the pouring rain, Yeah, I'm a workaholic and I swear, I swear, Yeah, and one day I will beat you fair and square" BOSS FIGHT (+1 STR, +2 DEX, +2 CHA) I've got an aerial performance coming up at the end of this challenge, and this time, it's going to be different. Let's do this thing. My main quest is literally just to FINISH THIS DAMN SHOW AND EMERGE UNINJURED. That is it. That is all. I will be working towards this by attending open gyms and private lessons, doing runs of the routine at every opportunity, and trying not to die. This is pretty much the center of my world for the next month BUT I have a couple of supporting backup quests to go along with it, partially because I have a week of travel coming up this week and I won't be able to get in the air. But that's okay - I've got a plan! SUPPORTING QUESTS: don't eat like an asshole, redux (+2 CON) Remember, stars, you don't like assholes. So don't eat like one. At least 22 days of not eating like an asshole, please. 6 days of leeway because vacation. flexibility every damn day (+2 DEX) It's not cool but it's necessary. Even if it's 5 minutes or less of back stretches, it doesn't matter. DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING. life quest: party support (+1 WIS) stillskies has asked me to take the reins of her eating, but I'm kind of lax about this sometimes because it takes A LOT of work to balance two people's macros. But she needs my help and I need to offer it. Trying for at least 5 days a week of complete meal plans for stillskies.
  8. " you're picture perfect blue sunbathing on the moonstars shining as your bones illuminatefirst kiss just like a drugunder your influenceyou take me over you're the magic in my veinsthis must be love...Boom! Clap!the sound of my heartthe beat goes on and on and on and on and..." AKTE I Welcome to another round of Chasing Shiny Objects with Stars, where every topic is on the table, All the Things get done at once, and themes range from mainstream films to obscure, heartbreaking anime about magical ballet dancing ducks. One guess which way I went this time..... In this final challenge of 2015, I'm trying to focus in a little, a process which is aided by the fact that this is coming: My first aerial performance. Time to get my ducks in a row (ha, hahaha, I crack myself up) and get this show off the ground, literally. Let's do this. quest 1: rise to the occasion (ahiru) - +1 STR, +1 DEX Ahiru goes from the awkward kid at the bottom of the class to performing (literally) for her life. The stakes in my case aren't quite so high, but I'll be taking inspiration from Ahiru's "can do" attitude in preparing for and executing my solo silks routine for the showcase. I've got my music. I've started my choreography. All I need to do is take it to the finish line. There are no specific weekly check-ins for this goal, but trust that preparation is top of mind for me. You're likely to see a lot of flailing and probably a video or three along the way. This goal will be completed in week 5 when I perform my routine for an audience. Yes, I'll share a video of the final result - either from the performance itself if I can get one or from dress rehearsal, whatever ends up working! PASS: Did the thing, posted the video, FAIL: What the hell is your problem, stars? quest 2: practice begets perfection (rue) - +1 DEX, +1 STA Best dancer in Princess Tutu? It's no contest. Rue's a textbook example of what hard work and dedication will net you. Lately, I've gotten back into ballet, but my class attendance consistency is crap (partly due to factors outside my control) and my form needs some serious attention. Thus, this goal is twofold: 1. Take at least 3 technique classes in the 6 week period. I have 3 left on my punch card, so this doesn't add financial obligation (a worry this time of year) and this allows for some flexibility for travel and other issues. 2. Work on technique on my own time at least 3 times. Things that particularly need attention: turnout (STOP FORCING STARS), tendu speed and precision, pirouettes (doubles, landing in fifth), jump form, particularly at higher speeds. I have a wood floor at home AND a big group exercise room WITH A BARRE at the gym, so no excuses. A: 3 of each, B: 3 of one, 2 of the other, C: 2 of each quest 3: what's right is rarely what's easy (fakir) - +2 DEX Let's talk about fighting one's fate, shall we? The same way Fakir has to force himself into all sorts of horrible situations (MY POOR BABY), I apparently SERIOUSLY HAVE TO FORCE MYSELF TO DO BACKBENDS. Or I just won't do them. I've seen this again and again. I'm not great at them, so in stretch sessions, I default to splits. NO MORE. I need this for aerial. Suck it up, stars. I'm getting a routine together (thanks, Finisterre!) and I will work on backbends 3 times a week. PERIOD. And I will post a picture weekly to see if progress is happening. Period. A: 3 sessions + photo, B: 2 sessions + photo or 3 sessions without photo, C: 1 session + photo or 2 sessions without photo life quest: scattered shards (mytho) + 2 WIS Mytho's got a lot of missing pieces. And I've got.... a lot of unplanned and unpurchased holiday gifts. I usually try to do this earlier, but with everything going on this year, I've barely scratched the surface. I DO NOT WANT to be the crazy person paying for overnight shipping the day before a family gathering. Can we say UGH? Therefore, my goal is to make a nice, tidy list in Google sheets and to acquire (make, buy, whatever) all gifts for all individuals on said list by the end of the challenge, giving me some breathing room and, you know, time to wrap. Grading based on the % of gifts acquired per the forthcoming spreadsheet AKTE II In Akte I of our drama, our heroine was grievously wounded. In Akte II, much like Ahiru, she will strive to pick up the pieces. quest 1: when all else fails (ahiru) - +1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 STA Ahiru never ever ever ever ever ever gives up, regardless of the odds stacked against her. I'm like that, too. Can't aerial? Okay. Can't walk? So what. I'm going to get around it. This quest is amorphous until I can get in to the physical therapist in week 4 and figure out what I need to do to rehab my leg. After that, it's all about following instructions like a good girl. I AM GOING TO BE BETTER THAN EVER. Just watch. PASS: Did the thing, FAIL: What the hell is your problem, stars? quest 2: growing wings (rue) - +2 STR I can't walk and I certainly can't dance, but you know what I can do? Pull-ups. This one's simple - while I'm hurt, pull-ups/chin-ups daily. Every. Single. Day. I'm going to get even stronger while my leg is out of commission. A: 7 days, B: 6 days, C: 5 days quest 3: glory for those who defy their fate (fakir) - +1 WIS, +1 STR Backbends are out. Did you know they slightly recruit your hamstrings? I DIDN'T UNTIL I TRIED TO DO SOME. So, instead, time to give fate the finger. This quest is twofold: in week 4, while laid up at home, figure out a go-forward training plan, despite the fact that most injured people just give up on fitness (but we all know that's not me). In weeks 5-6, follow said plan for a minimum of 3 days at the gym weekly, (aside from the daily pull-ups - those don't count as gym days). A: 3 days, B: 2 days, C: 1 days life quest: scattered shards (mytho) + 2 WIS THIS QUEST REMAINS UNCHANGED. Mytho's got a lot of missing pieces. And I've got.... a lot of unplanned and unpurchased holiday gifts. I usually try to do this earlier, but with everything going on this year, I've barely scratched the surface. I DO NOT WANT to be the crazy person paying for overnight shipping the day before a family gathering. Can we say UGH? Therefore, my goal is to make a nice, tidy list in Google sheets and to acquire (make, buy, whatever) all gifts for all individuals on said list by the end of the challenge, giving me some breathing room and, you know, time to wrap. Grading based on the % of gifts acquired per the forthcoming spreadsheet Also coming this challenge: a trip to Disneyland for the Avengers Half Marathon (stillskies is running - I am holding a sign)! A trip to Las Vegas! Lots of deadlifts! LOTS of eating! Lots and lots and lots of weird aerial terminology! And mini challenge goodness! Doing All the Things! Shall we dance?
  9. I have my first ever aerial showcase coming up on September 26th and 27th. Since rehearsals and show prep will rule my life for the next three weeks (AND THEN CAMP CAMP CAMP YASSSSS) I am not going to make any specific goals other than to kick ass at rehearsal and show stuff! AKA SHOW TIME YA'LL! AKA TIME FOR PERFORMANCE INSPIRED GIFS! Other non-show goals coming after October 5th and to include getting a damn pull up and more push ups!!!! I am back from camp and performance is done! Now time for some non-show related goals! Woohoo!: GOALS Work push-ups at least 3x per week. I'd like to get to 30 in a row but I suspect that will take a few challenges. (This is inspired by my drunken push up fest at the Rubik's cube party. Will do push ups for a drink, thank you very much!)Work Pull-ups at least 3x per week. This goes right along with the pull ups PVP I'm working on. I'd like to get to getting 1 real pull up by the end of the challenge. I think I can do that AND more by then but these go notoriously slow in progression for me so we'll see!Work on pistol squats at least 3x per week. I took the advanced bodyweight class and got tons of different progression stuff for working on pistols. These will be mine! I have the mobility and just need a little more strength. I'm thinking silks assisted pistols are going to be a thing.Sub goal: rehab left hammy. I mildly strained my left hamstring in a drunken split contest with one of the instructors at camp (which I won, BTW!) It's not too angry and I can walk fine and I already have more I can do today without it hurting than I could yesterday. I'm going to baby it the rest of the week/ until it's back to 100%. Clearly this means ALL THE RIGHT LEGGED PISTOLS WOOOOWork on inverted straddle climbs at least 3x per week. I'm going to count both working on the actual climb as well as any inverted straddle work on other non-silk apparatus for this as well since it all helps. Especially if I do said work straight legged w/out the froggy up. I'd like to get to a solid single climb up on each side with good form. If I can get to 2 on each side and also being able to do the slack drop from this that would be extra cool!Work on ground inversions at least 1x per week. At camp I realize I totally do not work these enough. I would like to get a real, non-wall assisted handstand! (I did manage to press up to a headstand from tripod and I am sooo proud of that but yeaah handstand I do not have at all yet!)I should be able to work on all the arm stuff on my aerial days and then do pistol work and some running on off days between aerial days...so: M/W/ F or Sat = aerial, (push, pull, straddle climbs, ground inversions) T,R,Sun = pistol work, running/walking, also opportunity for ground inversions if I didn't squeeze it in on aerial days
  10. Draft in progress, but here's a start! Dancezwithkittehz found herself perched above the most curious rabbit hole. Naturally she dove in headfirst! "After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs!" Next, Dancezwithkittehz followed the white rabbit to a most peculiar place. What was IN those tents? And when she went inside . . . . Dancezwithkittehz saw the most amazing things! She knew she had to stay. This challenge is going to be very aerial centric (plus other adventures I'm sure because it's ME we are talking about. Oooh look something shiny to explore over there...) Goal 1 - Do the "scary" stuff (aerial skills): for me this is inverted climbs, doing ANYTHING up high, and especially drops. I will be doing aerial at least 3 times a week so I need to work on at least one scary thing each class and by the end of the challenge I need to have an inverted climb down AND at least one drop. Goal 2, Choreography! - I am choreographing a solo for our showcase in September. I also have like a BAZILLION-LEVENTY-MILLION dance choreography ideas. I need to be ideally choreographing at least a phrase a week, and if I am not choreographing I need to perform the hell out of something every week (doesn't matter if this is just in class and if it's aerial or dance, but I need to get in the flow zone and ooze performance-y goodness out of every pore.) This should involve videos and please pester me!!! Goal 3, coding and ear training - I know I know way not directly related to my theme, but these are things I really really want to work on. Every day would be great but I know how absurd my schedule is especially early in the week so, 3 times a week minimum! Coding I can work on at lunch at least (I am working my way through a combination of Learn Python the Hard Way, and Code Academy section on Python.) For ear training I just got EarMaster 6, which I have to be at home to work on unfortunately. Goal 4, Chase rabbits - dancezwithkittehz needs to be able to keep up with that pesky rabbit (and be ready for her planned spartan trifecta next year!) so she needs to be running again. I would be happy with running at least once per week! LIFE Stuff: Debt paydown! (ongoing goal) - put a rents worth of money towards credit cards since I want to move out and be renting in the next year or so. Re-arrange batcave - DECLUTTERING NEEDS TO HAPPEN NAO. I need to do dedicated decluttering time once a week (most likely on weekends.) Cleaning in general also counts
  11. What are the needed components to make something burn? Fuel Air Spark put those together and you get Fire --------------------------- Fuel Calories. Sigh. Need to rein them in. Track daily, aim for 1500/day. Air This one is somewhat self explanatory. Open gym 1x/week. During said open gym, work on floor work and flesh out routine. Get full routine planned by Aug 12. Spark Coming off vacation, self-care will be necessary in order to keep the good relaxed vibes. I'm shooting for small things 3x/week. Morning sun salutationsExtra stretching post workoutRemembering to get up and walk around from my desk at workWhatever small bits of joy I can slot into my day Fire Performance. The next showcase at my aerial studio is Aug 22 and I've said I'll perform (hence the 8/12 deadline for routine solidification) *Note I'm on vacation until Aug 1, so I'll be starting this challenge a few days late.
  12. Alrighty. The Fuckits are absent, time to take advantage of that fact and get some real work done. Focused Study Man in Black: [intrigued] You've done nothing but study swordplay? Inigo Montoya: More pursue than study lately. You see, I cannot find him... it's been twenty years now and I'm starting to lose confidence. I just work for Vizzini to pay the bills. There's not a lot of money in revenge. [after a moments' silence, the Man in Black stands up and prepares to battle] Man in Black: Well I certainly hope you find him someday. Inigo Montoya: You are ready then? Man in Black: Whether I am or not, you've been more than fair. Inigo Montoya: [drawing his sword] You seem a decent fellow... I hate to kill you. Man in Black: You seem a decent fellow... I hate to die. Inigo Montoya: [confidently] Begin. I'm working on a silks routine. Like, REALLY working. As in, this is the routine and I'm not going to change the main skill set/order of skills for two months. Work the routine every week at open gym. Playing with movement and adjusting transitions is allowed required. Assess Progress Vizzini: A word, my lady. We are but poor, lost circus performers. Is there a village nearby? Buttercup: There is nothing nearby... Not for miles. Vizzini: Then there will be no one to hear you scream. Video. At least three over the course of the challenge to show myself how things have progressed. I'll compare these to my last "sequence" video for assessment purposes. I may or may not post them along the way, depending on how I feel progress is going. Hopefully, I'll feel good enough about them to at least post the final one. Straddle Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something. Yep. Still working on these. Trying to get that middle split. Still. Flexy work each week at open gym and at least one other session/week. Careful on the Beverages Man in Black: Really? In that case, I challenge you to a battle of wits. Vizzini: For the princess? [The Man in Black nods] To the death? [He nods] I accept. Man in Black: Good. Then pour the wine. [Vizzini pours the wine, and the Man in Black pulls out a small packet] Inhale this, but do not touch. Vizzini: [sniffs] I smell nothing. Man in Black: What you do not smell is called iocane powder. It is odorless, tasteless, dissolves instantly in liquid, and is among the more deadlier poisons known to man. [He puts the goblets behind his back and, presumably, adds the poison to one of them, then sets them down in front of him] Man in Black: All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right... and who is dead. I have to toss this one in here once in awhile when I start to slide. Alcohol only when it's not a school night.
  13. I'm back and ready for my second Challenge! Albeit a few days late. My second challenge is going to be core strength and fat loss. I have had a lot of success with my fitness journey (god I hate that phrase) and my legs especially are in much better shape, but I'm still carrying a good 30 extra pounds and it sometimes feels like it's strapped directly to my stomach, like a misplaced backpack or one of those fake pregnancy costumes. It's affecting my performance, my energy level, my health - everything. It's GOT. TO. GO. So all of my mini-goals this challenge are focused on that one goal, to be rid of the tummy turtle. My mini-goals are: Add some "core" moves to my 3x weekly yoga session (boat/bow pose, warrior 3, cat/cow), and some (lightly) weighted twists as well. I had really great success incorporating yoga into my routine last challenge, so this just shuffles the poses a bit and adds one or two poses a day. Add planks and ball pikes to my weight routine. I currently do one crossfit style workout and one heavy leg workout per week (depending on my schedule) and I want to add one more crossfit workout that I can do at home so I'm doing weights three times a week. NOTE: I know this sounds like I'm trying to spot-reduce, but I'm really just trying to strengthen my core/ab/back muscles in the hopes that I can at least carry this weight better (less tiring) and if the muscle improvement eats up some calories that's a bonus. My back tends to hurt a lot, partially from sitting at the desk and partially the "pull" of my tummy turtle. Biking: I'm a cyclist and I want to do a century this spring or summer at latest. Weather is improving so I want to get my mileage up into the 75-100 miles a week range (before the weather crapped out I was doing 60 mpweek, but the last two months have been rough). The third NF challenge of the year will fall right as I'm training for the century so that challenge will be all about the bike; this is just laying the groundwork and getting me my cardio. I did two half-centuries last year (50 miles) so this is doable. If I can't get outdoor bike work in I need to go do spin bike at the gym (which I hate. Like being a hamster in a cage). Eating: this is the thing. I can work out all day and if I'm eating doughnuts all night it doesn't do any good. So: recommitting to low-carb paleo (I've done this before successfully) with a goal of 100g carbs daily EXCEPT on days when I ride with my training partner, who beats my a$$ into the ground on the regular; those days can be my carbo-load days. I ride with him 2x a week. Also going to skip dinner as often as possible; I tried doing the IF thing and skipping breakfast, and that made me eat like a raging beast the rest of the day, but skipping dinner doesn't seem to do that, and it's an easy way to cut my calories. If I feel like it's making me eat more at my other meals I'll stop doing it. So breakfast, lunch and then a small low-carb snack around 3-4 pm. Question for the collective, while we're at it: My training partner is a fan of the five-small-meals-a-day method, which works well for him, but it drives me crazy. I feel like I waste half my day eating (and I say that as someone who loves to eat). It didn't seem to make any difference in my weight but I didn't give it a full run, either. Has anyone done the 5/day method and had success? Okay, that's it for now... onward and upward
  14. More to come here as I actually think of it over this week. High points: 1st silks performance on 10/11Need:finish choreography, smooth out transitions between moves.hair/costume/makeup planHave:songchoreography outlineintermittent minor freak outs.Hand/finger joint pain/strengtheningContinue previous happy hands routineTheraputty! I bought some of this stuff to help with hand strength. It should arrive today or tomorrow. Hopefully I've ordered the correct resistance. I like this list of exercises​ Last week or so of the challenge (after the performance, thankfully) I'll be at a conference for work, so I'll need a plan for that.
  15. DinoBytes here once again for a fourth challenge. I may have taken a hiatus from posting results to the community for a few months, but I have not at all reduced my activity level. Just for an all around update on my progress; I have successfully attained a press to handstand (working on making it a straight arm press right now it is bent arms only), I have developed a silks routine for performances which I would like to improve upon, I have taken many leaps and bounds in learning to perform in the Roue Cyr wheel (I will make a post about my personal growth, difficulties and other technical aspects and frustrations explained in an easily understood format later) My flexibility has improved tremendously (not necesarily immediately apparent to an observer, however I have pushed past many obstacles with this flexibility growth) I will be posting photos and videos for your viewing pleasure and to provide visual for all of these boastful claims as well (have no fear) I hope to update my page consistantly at the very least weekly, however there will always be life to get in the way... the best way to be encouraging to me is to simply post a little check up blurb should I be late in posting for a week. Also, ASK ALL THE QUESTIONS YOU HAVE!!! I am a true introvert at heart but I love to push my limitations and I am in no way reserved about my love of circus so you can actually HELP me by expressing your curiosity about all the crazy apparatus and things I do! (what a great way to fulfill both objectives) this also will help me be more clear to begin with because all these terms and phrases have become so familiar I sometimes forget what "normal people" understand . Here is my challenge summary and grading criteria! goal 1: perfecting Silks routine: Practicing routine and expecially smooth flow and transitions during each practice (thrice per week unless performing) A = complete full set of tricks 3x per week B = 2x per week C = 1x per week F = < 1x per week goal 2: Purchasing all paleo fuel. But free food should never be denied. Especially home cooked/baked A = 7x a week B = 6x a week C = 5x a week D = 4x a week F = 3x a week goal 3: spinning in Cyr, slacklining, and hand balancing practice A = all three elements recieved some attention/practice B = two elements were practiced C = one element was practiced F = none at all Life goal: Become an AFF 'A' licenced skydiver by completing all skydives at or above the safety and control standards of the airfield. A = 1 jump/element passed per week B = attempted C = no practice/jumps due to cancellation F = no practice or jumps my starting stats: age: 21 height: 5'3" weight: 138 Feb 16th body fat percentage: 19.64% Feb 17th (likely to be inaccurate) waistline: 79-83cm Feb 17th (this is flexed-relaxed measurements) (these will be updated later this week) I am so excited about this challenge already! take this journey with me and be inspired!
  16. <bows> Greetings and Salutations Monks! I'm Hugh and this is my 10th Nerd Fitness 6 week challenge I am taking a hiatus from the rangers to visit some of the other guilds. Last time was the Assassins, this time it's The MONKS! < cue thunderous applause > For this challenge I'm going to do something I've been thinking about for a while... Systematize a Lightsaber Martial Art! Additionally, where possible, I will be combining the burgeoning array of techniques with my fitness training in an attempt to make sure that, when the time comes, I can put these techniques to good use. I have a background in HEMA (theatrical and competitive), Ninjutsu and modern fencing. I also have varying degrees of experience in Iaijutsu, Kenjutsu, renaissance and mediaeval re-enactment fighting, larp, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai and a few other relevant disciplines. I'm also hoping that, by osmosis, I might pick up some useful titbits of martial arts information while hanging out in the Monk's Dojo I'm also a fairly obsessive Star Wars Nerd (original trilogy FTW! Greedo DID NOT shoot first!)... Though I admit I'm a bit out of touch with the more recent expanded universe material. I'm also hoping that, by osmosis, I might pick up some useful titbits of Star Wars information while hanging out with a bunch of similarly obsessive nerds So, on to the challenge... My primary, long term, goal is to improve my fitness to a degree where I can do a "Kip Up" and then move on to other acrobatic endeavours. (this will also include loosing a bit more weight) Challenge Goals: 1: Construct the Martial Arts of Lightsaber Combat. There are seven main styles of Lightsaber Combat featured in the expanded universe material. My intention is to systematize them into forms, flourishes, katas and drills that can be performed in both sparring and in performance. They must be mostly martially sound and must be appropriately impressive for theatrical performances (i.e. a certain amount of flashy techniques are fine: this is as much about flair as it is about real fighting) You can follow the progress of this goal HERE. Construct the Martial Arts of the Jedi/Sith: +1 DEX, +2 WIS, +2 CHA 2: Rein in the Arrogance My inner Sith has a great deal of Confidence. My Inner Jedi likes to call it Arrogance... Whatever it's called, it can sometimes be useful but it can also be a hindrance. A tendency to think I know better is something that I'm always trying to curtail in favour of being objective and analytical. To this end, I will, for the next four weeks, be following a training regimen that is being provided by the trainers at my gym. I'm dubious and my inner Sith is riling against it... but my Jedi side WILL keep him in check! I will follow the prescribed program (with variations as noted below) at least two days each week. Three days per week is ideal but life can happen sometimes. In instances where a day is missed, it will be made up for by attending a Kettlebell class. The regimen that has been suggested is essentially a conditioning circuit. I'll post details after my first session (tomorrow). As I progress, I'll look at including some exercises from "TACFIT" in the mix but only if I'm not finding the prescribed circuit challenging enough. Follow the Program that has been supplied: +1 WIS, +2 CON, +2 STA. 3: Keep consistent but passionate I have a short attention span. My Chaotic and eclectic interests often leave m--- Ooh look! a butterfly! <sigh> see what I mean? I need to maintain variety in order to maintain interest. Doing the same thing over and over again might be great for consistent results but it's an anathema to me. Which probably explains why I'm overweight and without a steady job... and here's me jumping off a Pier in Eastbourne a few years back Ahem. So yeah, I need variety but I find that a little bit goes a long way. The illusion of variety is usually enough. To that end, my prescribed workouts will be added to with a little bit of my own preference: I'm keen to strengthen my back and posterior kinetic chain, so I will be including Deadlifts, Assisted Pull ups and goblet squats in my prescribed workouts. one or two of these exercises will be attached to each of my workouts. I'll track my progress and try to get better at them as I progress through the 6 weeks. Include some personal preference Strength Training: +2 STR And my "life goal" which is totally about the business opportunity and not at all about getting toys... 4: Practice what I preach - Prepare for battle! As mentioned in the Lightsaber Combat thread, this project is largely to do with some work opportunities which may or may not materialize. I am choosing to be positive about this. One thing that I will need when the bookings start coming in is a Lightsaber... So I'd better bloody well get one! If I can save enough to get one with all the features, then great (A grade) but each feature it lacks (sound, flash on clash, accessories) will reduce the grade. Buy a Lightsaber from Ultrasabers.com: +2 WIS, +1 CHA Ongoing Summary: Week 1: LSC development still firmly in the research phase but continuing. Some practice of techniques just to aid three dimensional thinking. Pretty gentle on the exercises. My time management has been a bit poor and I kept getting to the gym with not a lot of time before they close. This has meant that my workouts were not as focussed as perhaps they should have been and generally felt a bit rushed. Friday' workout was done on saturday for similar reasons but that's not a big deal. I didn't get as much "personal preference strength training" in as I would have liked - that bad time management again. Asisted pull-ups only but at least it was only 20 - 25kg assist. Saving for lightsaber - gotta get the car serviced which might eat up what little is put aside... time will tell.
  17. The assassin looked out over her audience. The slave revolt against the corpulent Prince and his scheming consort hinged on one thing... an absolutely stellar command performance would provide the distraction her compatriot needed to execute the assassination. And if the plan didn't work? Well, there was always the knife hidden backstage... but that was a far riskier route than the poisoned wine. She could see that her troupe had already lulled the Prince, but could she turn the heads of the guards long enough for the serving girl? So many hours of training... it was time to take the stage. This change in challenge format was easy for me, I had already formulated an epic quest for myself earlier this year: to develop a aerial performance piece and execute it in a way that makes me really proud of myself. Say what? OK, let me backtrack a bit. I'm an amateur aerialist mostly silks & hammock, I've been addicted to circus fitness for nearly 4 years now, and I've done a few amateur showcase performances. However, over the last year or so, my direction has been wavering a bit, I've been exploring other apparatuses and disciplines... my doubles partner and I decided to stop working together. Earlier this year I was working through some questions with a circus-y friend and decided that I really want to go all out... pull out all the stops, and put together something extraordinary. I've seen my friends do this, guys & girls with a moderate amount of amateur performance experience suddenly have the performance of their lives. I want to make that happen. But going the direction I want to go means some serious training. The vision I have involves combining straps skills (very gymnastic, mostly done by men) with either fabric or hammock. I've seen acts that use some combo of the two, and I love them. Plus it fits my potential abilities... I'm more strength oriented than a lot of the other women. And I'm lucky that my school already has several dedicated women in their straps program, so it's not out of reach. OTOH, this is also going to involve really refining my performance. Fitting in adult beginner ballet whenever I can (I think once a week when my son starts kindergarden), working on expression, training my legs to stay straight, my feet pretty and my shoulders down. So there's a LOT of meaty stuff to do here, and this is probably a quest that will extend over several NF challenges (and possibly several years of my life.) That's the big picture. It sounds overwhelming, but I'm already solidly on the path, so it's easy for me to see what the next few steps are, even if I'm not sure how to make it all the way to the top of the mountain. Goal 1: Aerial training. Straps on Mondays, hammock performance on Wednesdays & adv. conditioning on Saturdays. Optional: adv. beg. ballet & open workouts when I have time. Originally this was going to be a hybrid aerial + GMB R1 training goal, but a friend of mine opened up a 7 week hammock performance workshop (started last week), and I knew it would be a good opportunity. So I'm pushing off R1 for the following challenge. Goal 2: Prehab & cross training for forearms wrists and hands. 1-2 times a day. I'll do a separate post listing out the various options here. Basically, I don't want to commit to one boring cross training modality, I want to stay agile and have fun with it, all while giving my hands & forearms a bit of love. Goal 3: Weigh <118 at the end of the challenge. The range of 115-120 is where I feel like my sweet spot is. I was there earlier this year, but the combination of a car accident and a wonderful vacation had me back up several pounds. I'm at 122 right now, I'll give myself an A for <118, and a B for <120. Losing at least 2 pounds in 6 weeks is pretty reasonable. The plan here is just to keep on keeping on with my low carb primal eating (semi-keto), and my training. I'd like to put some effort into getting a consistent 10,000+ steps on my fitbit. Nothing crazy... just a nice slide back into a good weight. (This also saves my wrists & forearms a few pounds of strain.) Goal 3: Eat in a healthy maintenance range for the completion of my challenge. Focus on nutrient rich, whole foods and relax about specific macronutrients. Life Quest: OK... my life is going through a TON of changes right now. That's why I love having an epic quest to focus on because that is not messy. The rest of my life is messy. We just moved to a new house, I'm scaling back to contracting 10-20 hours a month for my job, my son is starting kindergarden and we're rehabbing our old house to rent out. CHAOS!!!! CHAOS & STRESS! So my life quest goal is do two very simple practices that have helped me a lot in the past: meditation and my "credit log". Meditate for 5 minutes upon awakening (or if I missed it in the morning 5 minutes before bed). And use my teeny log book to write down 1-3 things a day that I accomplished or can otherwise give myself credit for doing a good job. I may also post a little bit about my ongoing quest from last challenge to learn to ride a bike better. Right now, I need to step up to a geared bike because our new house is on a hill, so that's kind of on hold until I can afford to buy a new bike. -jj Bonus training photo from yesterday... the bottom depth of my skin-the-cat.
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