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  1. The story so far.... Years and years ago I started training. I started like many people start, following a bodybuilding type routine, doing dumb things and just generally succeeding despite myself not because of myself. In the intervening years I have been as light as 140 lbs (20 years ago) and as heavy as 270+ (not quite 10 years ago). I've also had injuries including a separated shoulder (20 years ago), ruptured disc (not quite 10 years ago), torn oblique (2 years ago) and plenty of thrown out backs and other minor maladies. In all that time I've spent thousands of hours in training as well as thousands of hours thinking about, preparing for and programming my training. That training has included (in roughly chronological order): body building, powerlifting, grip strengh, strongman, GPP(early Crossfit-like), kettlebell sport. I've also prepared thousands of meals to deliberately alter my weight a body composition. In my current incarnation I'm 36 years old and I weight 215 lbs. For the last three years my training has focused largely on kettlebell sport with the goal of achieving Master of Sport by the time I'm 40. I have paid for and received coaching in person and online. I've competed twice with mixed results but overall, not bad. This new battle log marks a turning of the page. First, I've ended my time with my online coach so I will be doing my own programming again, something I realized I really enjoy. without doing my own programming training loses its attractiveness to me. Second, I have realized that there are certain gains in kettlebell sport I am willing to sacrifice in favor of wellness goals. In this new battle log I will be documenting that work. I will list what I do, but I'll also try to talk about why I am doing it. I invite anyone to ask questions, poke holes in theories and just generally feed back. It is those things that, hopefully, will prevent this from becoming a dangerous echo chamber. So I'm counting on you. Other things I will likely talk about will include: programming, board games, science fiction and fantasy and my life. ADDENDUM I have been using this log for nearly a year and half at this point in time. things are shifting slightly but I have learned I can edit the title an intro to reflect my changing life and priorities. As I sit here it is March the 2nd 2018, I'm 38 and I'm going back into training for kettlebell sport. This log was started when I last walked away from competition and any coaching. I've signed up for coaching again though and will hopefully train smarter than ever before. If you don't care about history up to this point, join me at your thread already in progress.
  2. I've met some of you monks around the guilds, but a brief intro... I am Brogo, I typically hang out in the warriors or adventurers. I just got done with an 80 day stint of ketogenesis in which I lost 10 lbs., but my motivation to workout has gone flat. So to give myself a reason to run, lift, and stay limber, I'm going to return to martial arts (or at least give it another shot). In college I studied Shaolin Eagle Claw Kung Fu. I did that for three years and it was the best shape of my life (granted I was in my early 20's). I went from about 260 lbs. down to 210 in the first year. I got stronger, faster, and felt awesome. I was able to to jumping spinning kicks, and could almost do the splits, and new how to lock joints and spar and throw people around. Super fun. Plus, I had a lot of focus, discipline, and mindfulness. In grad school, when I got back up to 260, I started NF and lifting weights. Since then, it has now been right about 6 years, I'm stronger, but I have not been lower than 244 on the scale, and I struggle with motivating myself to get below 250. Recently on keto I saw 249, but struggled to push below and didn't have the energy to workout. Hopefully, practicing a martial art can motivate me to crush that goal. Goal 1, Conditioning: I don't move like I used to and I don't have the endurance. So before I settle into a martial art practice/study I need to get my body moving again. Daily: Stretch, Breathe, Meditate: 2x Daily, individually or in combination Combat: Do one basic stance, strike, or technical drill 1x Daily Core: Do one core exercise 1x Daily Conditioning: Run: 1x Weekly Strength Training: Pretty much any other kind of workout 2x Weekly Goal 2, Find a dojo: I need to pick a new martial art. There is no Eagle Claw Kung Fu here in Indianapolis. Plus, what I'm looking for in a martial art now is different. Kung Fu was great because it was physically demanding, but now I'm more interested in something I can do sustainably for years to come, and something that has more applicability for self-defense, and develops character in a balanced way. Here are a few dojos/martial arts in town I'd like to try: Jumonkan (Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, Senso Jujutsu, Kenjutsu, Judo) Mudokwan (Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, Kendo, Iaido) MMA (various clubs) (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, etc) 7-star Praying Mantis Kung Fu That's the short list. I'm going to try Jumonkan on Aug. 7. They offer a free Aikijujutsu class as an intro to their dojo. What I pick will be a balance of money/time/interest/whether or not the teacher is crazy etc. Goal 3, To-Do List: Daily: Clean something, Check To-do list Weekly: Update To-do list/challenge sheet The Tao of Brogojutsu (spoilered to remain hidden from those who would use this haphazardly compiled collection of musings about martial arts practice for evil)
  3. I've been an on again/off again fitness enthusiast for over 10 years now and I'm looking to start upgrading my fitness knowledge. I know there are tons of great programs, routines, and exercises out there, and I currently have one I love doing, but I want to learn more about how to put all of the pieces together to create programming for others. I would like to know why programs were built the way they are, why one routine might work for one person better than another, and how to put exercises together to make them more effective for individuals. In short, I would like to learn how to program but don't know where to start. Does anyone know of any courses or resources out there to help me learn how to program?
  4. Hey all, I've been a fan of the site for a while now, but this is my first post, so bear with me if I commit some sort of faux-pas. I am currently working through my second cycle of 5/3/1 and just read the Beyond 5/3/1 e-book. After getting overwhelmed by the immense possibilities he presents, I'm wondering when/where it is appropriate to go for those joker sets he talks about. Really feeling like I have the energy to push hard, but don't want to burn out. I'm trying to stay in PW for the long run and be smart. Does anyone have an idea of whether I need to hit a certain number on the rep PR set? Or is it more of a "feel" thing? Or should I stay away? Here's a little (actually, kind of a lot) about me: Fitness Goals: Some day, I would love to enter a powerlifting meet. For now, I'm focusing on putting my work in and trying to get better everyday. My three dream lifts for now would be the following: Bench: 225 paused Squat: 315 Dead Lift: 405 Exercise Preference: Mostly powerlifting, but I should probably learn a power clean too... Current Physical Stats Gender: M Age: 25 Height: 5'7" Weight: 150-155 (depending on time of day) Previous Training History In terms of lifting, I was doing Starting Strength for around 8 months or so. Started stalling out and wanting a change of pace. Nothing against Rip or those still rocking SS or one of its variants. I consider that program the beginning of me changing from weak and scrawny to...less weak and scrawny lol Current Training Second cycle of 5/3/1. I did the three weeks, then de-loaded, but plantar fascitis decided to flare up in my left foot bad so I had to take an extra week off (sigh). Will probably go through the three-week cycle, deload, then ramp up to the six-week variation. Here's a look at my current schedule: Current PRs: Squat: 235 Bench: 175 Dead Lift: 290 OH press: 5x100 (never bothered testing my 1RM) Day A: Squat Deficit SLDL Bulgarian Split Squat Box Jumps Day B: Bench DB Incl Bench Dips Weighted planks Day C: Dead lift Pause Squats Barbell Glute Bridges Pendlay Rows Day D OH Press CGBP Landmine Oblique Twist (just learned this the other day) Hanging Leg Raise Current Diet: I try to limit junk food, but really don't track macros/calories. Any thoughts/suggestions on what would be good for gaining strength would be welcome. Current Resources/Limitations Lucky enough to have a gym at work. They have bumper plates/squat racks/some benches. Pretty much no issues. I usually work out for 1.5-2 hours during the evening FWIW. Hope to hear back from you guys.
  5. Yes I stole my title from the name of my favourite game currently, Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (I have 400+ hours in it and I still suck). BUT WHAT IS LIFE, IF NOT A BATTLE? Ahem. Okay. Enough of the dramatics. Settle in because this will be a large post. I sat down yesterday/earlier today and wrote out what I wanted to be doing in 2018 and onward. Here's the list: Finish Cert IV in Programming Follow Barefoot Investor plans Follow No Shopping plans Be outside more Read more Write regularly Lift regularly Do yoga/stretching Provide constructive reviews Move more Be more present Find my Tribe Work on Epic Quest Items Move forward with my career From this list I've decided to work on the following goals for this challenge: Finish Cert IV in Programming Follow Barefoot Investor plans Follow No Shopping plans Lift regularly Let's discuss, shall we? FINISH CERT IV IN PROGRAMMING Well, I'm not going to be able to complete this during the challenge. It's a long course that I'm finding isn't engaging me AT ALL. But I paid nearly $4k for it (I'm still paying that off) and I need to start working on it again. So the step in relation to this goal is: 1. Spend 5 minutes every day working on my Cert IV in Programming Why just five minutes, I hear you ask? Well, it was something Bean Sidhe mentioned that really struck a chord with me. You see, my mind freaks out at the thought of having to find a large amount of time to do something. But five minutes? Five minutes is easy. To ensure I complete it, I've stuck a sticky note on my monitor to remind me. FOLLOW BAREFOOT INVESTOR PLANS My sister lent me her copy of The Barefoot Investor and I've had a read through and think it will work really well for me. I've had to adjust the percentages that he recommends but my weekly budget should look like: Daily Expenses - 70% Smile (money for long-term pleasure buying) - 7.5% Splurge (money for short-term pleasure buying) - 7.5% Fire Extinguisher (use this towards debts) - 15% You're also meant to set aside $2,000 for your Mojo account (which is what you use in emergency situations like job loss, unforeseen medical expenses). I still need to find the money for this. My steps for this goal is: 2. Change my bank account details with work to my new accounts 3. Stick to the percentages 4. Save Fire Extinguisher in my Smile account for the five weeks then make an additional payment towards my student debt 5. Organise all items I'm putting up for sale - picture/catalogue as required (the money from this will go to my Mojo account FOLLOW NO SHOPPING PLANS This idea comes from Cait Flanders' blog where she spent two years without shopping (except for necessities and items on a pre-approved list). As someone who hoards things as badly as a dragon which just causes her stress and anxiety, this is something I'd like to do. However there are a few differences between Cait and myself. Namely, I'm a homeowner and she isn't. So now that I've told you I'm not buying things, here is everything I'll be buying in 2018+ The Essentials Groceries Gardening Supplies Toiletries Cleaning products Gifts Business expenses Education endeavours Travel/adventures Items on my pre-approved shopping list Pre-Approved Shopping List (it's a long one) Dog door Installation Computer chair Aircon installation Standing desk Garden remodel Dishwasher installation Outdoor table & chairs Shelf system to cover bathroom window New Samsung dvd remote Car service/parts replacement Door makeover items - incl. handle Bicycle & helmet What I WONT Be Buying Clothes (unless I lose weight and have nothing to wear) Shoes & accessories Books and magazines Household items Electronics & appliances Takeout food Desserts (I can however buy ingredients to make a dessert, just can't bring home pre-made ones) Alcohol (unless in a social gathering) DVDs & games The exception is that if anything I own breaks, I can buy a replacement for it. The step for this goal is pretty much: 6. Follow the No Shopping Plans LIFT REGULARLY Figured as this is a fitness forum I should probably have one active goal. I miss lifting. But it's getting me to lift that is the sticking point. So, much like the study step: 7. Spend 5 minutes lifting every day Okay, I'm gonna go have a lie down now.
  6. Recently, I've been trying to build habits of things I want to do, and I've gotten pretty good at getting to bed at time, programming multiple times a week, and doing yoga multiple times a week. I've been getting to the gym when I mean to lately, but I've been kind of stagnating. I still feel stiff sometimes, but I don't seem to be getting much better at the yoga positions I've been trying. Getting to bed on time and working on programming multiple times a week seem to be good ideas, and I'd like to keep doing those, but I think my lifting and mobility programs could use some work. Goals Lifting: I have stopped making regular progress in all of my lifts at this point. I still make progress intermittently, but it doesn't feel like programming, in that my progress is basically independent of my plans. If I'm being honest, I have not made much progress overall since I finished my linear progression, like 2 years ago, at which point I started a heavy-light-medium split. During that time, none of my lifts have increased more than 55 lbs., and I know I should be able to grow faster than that at this point. I don't think heavy-light-medium is working well for me, and I want to figure out what will work better. My goal for this challenge is to select/design a new program and start trying it. That seems kind of underwhelming, but I don't think that 4 weeks are a long enough time to evaluate whether a program is working well. That's probably what has dissuaded me from experimenting up until now. I'm good at following routines, but committing to a programming change for months when I don't know what the results will be feels very risky. Flexibility: I've been doing the Nerd Fitness Yoga videos for awhile, and for most of that time, I've been able to do the hard ones. I also stretch briefly after lifting on Mondays. Admittedly, I don't always do either of those things exactly the way I intend, but it's been awhile since my flexibility seemed to improve. I still can't sit comfortably on the ground for extended periods of time, and I occasionally feel too tight to get into position properly for squats and deadlifts. My goal for this challenge is to figure out whether I need to change up my flexibility routine. I will still keep doing the routines twice a week, but I want to do some research and figure out whether I could be making more efficient use of my time. A significant part of the routines is warmup or strength work, which I arguably don't need. If I could just stretch quickly after lifting and get the same benefits, that would be preferable to me. Sleep: Same goal as before. Get in bed by 11:30 pm on five nights each week. SICP: Work on SICP for at least 30 minutes at a time, at least twice a week. Not having specific days seemed to work as well as having specific days, so I'll give myself the flexibility to use different days.
  7. I'm doing pretty much what I was doing last time, except hopefully better. Fix my squat form. This has improved in the past 5 weeks or so, but I still want to get to the point where I can do a heavy set of 5 and be confident that they will be over my mid-foot. Do yoga twice a week. Get in bed by 11:30 pm 5 nights each week. Work on SICP for at least 30 minutes on Tuesday or Thursday night and at least 30 minutes on Saturday or Sunday. Tuesday and Thursday worked pretty well last time, so I want to expand this. None of my weekly goals are allowed to borrow from future weeks. I've found that doesn't encourage responsible behavior.
  8. This challenge will mostly be about getting back into my regular routine after it was disrupted by, among other things, preparing for 2 different competitions and going on vacation. Goals Fix my squat form. I want to get where I can do a set of 5 and be confident that all of my reps will keep the bar within an inch or so of my mid-foot. Do yoga twice a week. I've had this goal for a few challenges now, but I haven't quite made it an ingrained habit yet. Get in bed by 11:30 pm at least 5 days each week. I'm tempted to say every work night, but sleep is actually something you can catch up on from day to day. That being said, this resets every Monday at midnight. Borrowing missed milestones from future weeks has not worked out well for me in previous challenges. Work on SICP for at least 30 minutes on at least 1 of Tuesday or Thursday each week. No borrowing from week to week. Hopefully, this considerably reduced goal will help me get into a routine with this.
  9. Hi friends =) (Disclaimer: Upon review, this post might be the nerdiest thing I have ever written. Enter at your own risk.) We weathered the storm and have come out the other side. Basically, my wife had to have a surgical procedure done, and so we've spent the last two weeks helping her recover. The weeks preceding it were full of whirlwind trips to far-away hospitals and general extreme stress levels. It has calmed down now that everything is well and she's already feeling leagues better. So far, so good. So hey! I'm alive again. The world is no longer quite as insanely stressful. And a few good things have happened in the meantime, like: 1) So, you all might know that I am coming up on 10 years of service with a large multinational guild, where I have been serving for the past 10 of those years as a wizard of one type or another. I started as an apprentice mainframe support acolyte (the blackest of magics, let me tell you!) and have since moved on to approximately seven levels of datamancy. The first few levels of datamancy, in case you're wondering, are mostly divination based: gathering and returning information. Once you get up to 5th level though, you start to gain more evocation and transmutation-type spells: creation from nothing, modification of elements on the fly, and powers of total destruction. Well, that same multinational guild recently recognized my datamancy abilities (and my general hard work and drive) with a shiny new promotion! No longer merely a database Enchanter, I am now officially recognized as a Magi for my proficiency in multiple skills and to legally sanction my movement into broader spheres of meta-magic. In addition to my current datamancy practice, I will also be adding environment control [translation: application administration] and even a touch of general management; not systems, but other wizards! 2) My wizard brain has also become fully engaged over the past few weeks. See, for datamancy you really need to be fluent in the ancient tongue known as esscyuell, and I've gotten pretty good at it. Even the more abstract and obscure parts, really. However, to really broaden my brain, I've also started working on a side project in parseltongue. Speaking sneaky snek language is tricky at best, but I'm learning how it works, and I feel like I'm finally coming along past the total-beginner "Hellos" and such that all such arcane languages start you off with. Happy snek speaks parseltongue The arch-magi at the guild don't necessarily know about my adventures into parseltongue and its potential risks, but I'm thinking I might be able to apply some of it to my work for the guild. There are some rote tasks that a parseltongue incantation might be able to handle that are just beyond the abilities of thinking in escyuell. See, escyuell is a great language for incantations, but it only works with very specific metamagic structures. Parseltongue, though... well, there's pretty much nothing you can't do with that, as long as you've got the right arcane focus to interpret the incantation and translate it properly to primordial, which is where all real magic takes place anyway. In conclusion: I am a giant geek! In case you are also a giant geek who likes video games, I am also doing a thing. My friend runs a YouTube channel called CharacterSelect, which is basically a "Let's Play"-style channel with a rotating cast. The videos are great, and I'm in several of the series. We always have a good time. HOWEVER! He recently created a thing called 'Solo Saturdays' and I am recording a series of myself playing through a REALLY OLD GAME (1981 to be exact) called Rogue. If you have any interest in checking out such a thing, the first video is here. Now that the worst of the storm is over, I'm back to kung fu. There's a tournament coming up on 5/7 that I'll probably attend, and then we have the big yearly demo on 5/20. I'm just hoping for nice (but not hot) weather for that day. Overall things are mostly back to normal and trending to good. Let's hope they stay that way. ------------------------------ EDIT: Oh, heh, right. A challenge or something. 1) Do at least one code thing every day. Learn something, try something, add a value to the main project: do SOMETHING not NOTHING. No 0% days if it can be helped. 2) Meditate just 5 minutes a day. JUST FIVE MINUTES. I need the stress management and I keep ignoring this life requirement. 3) Stay under 1950 calories/day. I'm still hovering between 208 and 210. Need to get downward momentum again.
  10. I've been working my way back up to my previous PRs for awhile now, and around the end of the last challenge, I pretty definitively reached the end of my ability to do linear progression. Unlike the first time that happened, I'm switching to an intermediate program and not spending 6 months resetting, developing bad form, and injuring myself. Tonight was my first proper heavy workout in a heavy-light-medium program, and it went pretty well, considering that I seem to have come down with some kind of cold today. New PRs on bench (195x5) and deadlift (330x5). That hasn't happened in about a year, and obviously, I'd like to keep that going. Goals Do at least one of the following: squat 340x5, bench 200x5, overhead press 125x5, or deadlift 345x5. These are all plausible, considering my current lifts, but I'd be pretty surprised if they all just behaved. Nevertheless, if I can do at least one of these things, it will mean that I'm not totally stalled. My current 5RMs are 325 for squat, 195 for bench, 117.5 for overhead press, and 330 for deadlift. 4 STR Do a full-length yoga session at least twice a week for weeks 2, 3, and 4. This week, I may attempt to do 2 sessions, but I don't want to over commit myself in light of my busy schedule and cold. I've been slacking off on this lately, and I'm feeling stiffer than I used to. 4 DEX Gain 5 lbs while keeping my body fat percentage below 18%. When I measured on Sunday, I weighed 184 lbs. and had 16.84% body fat. I continue to regard the body fat numbers I get with my skin-fold calipers with some suspicion, but hopefully they are at least internally consistent, so I'm using them as a reference. Last challenge, I gained weight for the first time in awhile, and I think it helped my lifts, so I want to keep doing that without letting it get too out of hand. 3 CON Spend at least 3 hours a week working through Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. I didn't quite do this last challenge, but I did better than I've done in awhile. 3 WIS Broadly, the theme of this challenge is to keep doing what I've been doing and don't lose momentum.
  11. As I'm still preparing my move to Finland my goals are going to be very similar to last time. Lots of studying and lots of pole. And that's basically it. Training A. Train on Saturdays - open pole, backbends or climbing. Last challenge I trained hard Monday to Thursday, crashed on Friday, and was SUCH a lazy bum on Saturdays and Sundays even though I felt absolutely fine. This challenge I want to make sure to do something fun on the Saturday too and not just sit on my ass all day. B. Work on bridges daily This is how I feel about my bridges right now. This can be actual bridges or it can be stretching out or foam rolling the hips or upper back. Doesn't have to be a lot, but it has to be something. C. Take pics/videos weekly Because my mum is harassing me. And because it's useful and fun. But mostly because of my mum. Study A. Finnish grammar 3x/week I totally got this gif! Ok I didn't know one of the words but it was obvious from the context. Translation: When I grow up (literally grow large), I'll become a pirate (literally sea robber) I have a whole bunch of jumbled up grammar concepts that I need to consolidate. So far words have been a lot easier to practice, but I really want to dedicate a bit of extra time for grammar so I can actually use those words. B. Programming 1 session/week + read 1 paper/week Last challenge I tried to do 5 hours of programming a week but I didn't do that well. Partly because of lack of time, partly because I just didn't want to write more code than I already do. But reading papers is fun and I can surely dedicate 1 session per week if I have no minimum time set. Habits (ungraded) A. Made from scratch This is not the challenge to tackle any food goals, but since my eating has been so messed up I need a reset and a bit of accountability. I've had made from scratch goals in the past, but this time it won't be very strict, more of a mindfulness goal. Like do I really want this crappy store bought cookie or would I rather make my own? B. Dance dance dance Even though I want this to become a proper habit I'm not expecting it to stick this challenge either. I just want it for tracking and as a reminder. I'm starting the challenge on Monday, because guess where I'm going this weekend?
  12. I am back for the second challenge. I feel the first challenge was very successful, though I have adjusted things going into the second challenge. I feel this is the key to continued success. First, here is my retrospective on the 1st challenge. Diet Continuing a ketogenic diet - I did pretty well, though I have went more "paleo low carb" than ketogenic. I feel it is easier to maintain and frees me to not freak out daily concerning what I'm doing. No sweets - I had one slip up during the challenge and on 2/11/2017 while out at Valentine's Day dinner I had a slice of cake. That is it! No soda - I did 100% on this! Log the foods I eat daily in MFP - Complete failure here, but I also decided it was more important to focus on eating healthy while also not fretting over daily tracking and logging. So, this was a mindful choice. Drink more water, at least 6 cups - For the most part I did well on this. Drinking more water is hard, but I do flavor my water and drink quite a bit. Mostly, however, I seem to drink more at night. I want to try to drink more during the day. Fitness Strength training 3 days a week in the gym in my building. - 100% here. Even when I didn't want to I went. I feel I have more energy and starting to enjoy it. Life Continue studying at least 30 minutes a night toward changing careers to web development - 99% here, and mainly because I may have had a few nights were I did 30 minutes at least but was distracted. I have enrolled at Flatiron Community Based Bootcamp and I'm making great progress. Attend the 2 Meetups in the area for web development - I would say 75% here but only because the one Meetup changed a date due to Valentine's Day and I missed it. I think I may focus on the Bmore on Rails Meetup currently. I am also scheduled to speak at the Meetup on their next one in March. This is nerve wracking but necessary. So, I will keep most of these and add a few. Here goes: Diet Continue eating a "paleo low carb" diet. My biggest change from this is eating cheese. I really like cheese... No soda No sweets Drink more water, especially during the day Fitness Continue strength training 3 days a week alternating with cardio the week after at the gym in my building. I may switch this day to day (so, one day of strength training, then next cardio, then next strength...). I have considered going to a gym outside of my building but for now this is not financially feasible. Life Continue to work on the Flatiron Community Based Bootcamp, at least 30 minutes a night. Attend 2 Meetups a month Speak at the Bmore on Rails Meetup in March Finally, blog three times a week on my blog about my journey to change careers. My blog is here, From MSW to Web Dev, for those interested. Be more social on NF forums Continue with Habitica Also, for now I am sticking to the Rebel class. I enjoyed everyone here and want to keep it going!
  13. Mmm, I love the smell of a new year and new challenges. So shiny and full of promises... This year's resolution - stop bailing on challenges. I've let this first challenge be inspired by Finnish folklore as I'll be moving there in March! Disclaimer, I know nothing about Finnish folklore except what I just read on wikipedia. Dance like Näkki aka Do all the things! Dance to one song every day. Because I love it and this will become a habit. Do all the things! I've signed up for unlimited classes at my studio and I need to take at least 3 pole, hoop, contortion, acro or dance classes/week to make it worthwhile. Shouldn't be too hard as it's going to be so much fun! Classes don't start until the 16th though, so until then I'll have to do my own practices. Wake Antero Vipunen aka Learn all the things! Study Finnish daily for at least 5 accumulated hours/week. Practice programming and/or read relevant work for my new field for 5 hours/week. Don't let Ajatar find me aka Don't crash and burn Take self care seriously. I have a lot do and a lot to learn and a lot of training to look forward to, but January is not an easy month to do all the things in. Daily self care will be vital! Eat enough food! I'm going to get my butt kicked in class and I'll need all the energy I can get. To make things simple I'm just going to track whether I eat a proper dinner every day. So excited about this I'm going to start straight away. Wheeee!
  14. "Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." -Frank Herbert, Dune --- Hey, all-- It's my first challenge since my Birthday Respawn, and I'm super excited for some structure in my NF life. Slowly (so slowly), I've built a really good water drinking habit (96 oz per day), workout habit (2 bodyweight workouts per week) and sleep habit (at least 8 hours every night). So I'd like to stretch just a little farther and get a little better. I feel impatient for improvement because I feel like I've been stalled out, but I'm trying to find the middle path between stalled out and burned out. I just finished a really big month of change (lots of travel and learning) and re-read Dune for the umpteenth time, so I figured that would be the theme for my challenge. September 26 - October 23 Here's the short version (full agonizing detail to follow): Diet/Fitness SPICE MUST FLOW: Eat a vegetable or fruit with lunch 3 days a week, as a side (e.g. a cup of roasted/steamed veggies, an apple, 2 slices of melon, a cup of baby carrots). BENE GESSERIT TRAINING: Complete the NF Mindset module. (currently on Quest 3: Find Your Big Why). SWORDMASTER TRAINING: Complete the NF Bodyweight Level 3 workout 3 times per week. (currently doing 2/week). Level Up My Life MENTAT TRAINING: Finish my PHP class (I am at 17% completion). EDITED: Reach 50% completion on the class and finish my first Drupal 8 module. --- Details/concerns: 1) SPICE MUST FLOW: I work from home and have been really stressed lately looking for a new job. This has led to a sad amount of macaroni and cheese lunches. Some day, I will have fancy, healthy, protein-rich lunches, but for now, this still seems a little bit challenging (mostly because I have tried a variation of this challenge before without success). I made it a smaller challenge than I have in the past (only three days per week) and I'm enlisting the help of my partner. Worst case, I'll steam some frozen veggies! 2) BENE GESSERIT TRAINING: I respawned back in JULY but have been slow to work through the various NF Academy modules. I will focus on getting through those--I was struggling to find quests I could believe in and going through the rest of the Mindset Module would get me in the right headspace. Called this BG training because they are masters of the mindset. 3) SWORDMASTER TRAINING: I've been reliably doing 2 workouts/week for several months now. I've been wanting to move up to 3/week but felt like I didn't quite have the momentum behind me....until now! LQ/MENTAT TRAINING: I also have been struggling to get through this PHP class I'm taking online, mostly because I only give it a few minutes every night. I really need to get through this class. I'll feel better about myself when I've done it, and bonus, I'll know something I didn't know before and will be far more employable! I'm going to be setting aside larger chunks of time to focus on this, instead of leaving it to the end of the day. The last two diet/fitness quests and my LQ will all take extra time I don't currently spend. I will proactively schedule the NF and PHP studying times, and I have already scheduled in my workouts. I've recently started playing an addictive phone game, and that might need to go, or perhaps I will use it as a motivator. I also need to plan so that I make sure we have veggies/fruit around for lunches.
  15. Hello everyone, I am currently in the process of writing my dissertation, as part of it, I am required to carry out primary research to find out if the identified user requirements are suitable and to also potentially identify additional requirements. The aim of this project is to develop a mobile application that will · enable the users to create custom workouts · set specific strength progression schemes · record lifted weights & repetitions. · use that data to determine whether to increase, maintain or lower intensity · estimate future progress · show past workout data I would be very grateful if you could spare a minute and carry out the questionnaire http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/2BWLO/ Thank you!
  16. By the end of last challenge, I had started not to slack off so much on my job search and interview prep, but I really want to light a fire under this thing, so I need to stop getting distracted. To that end, I don't have a running goal this challenge, and my other goals are pretty tame. Goals Lift 3 times a week; keep going with 5x5 on heavy days. My higher-volume workouts take a while, but I am hoping they will show results. This basically takes up all of my Monday evening, so I will have to be diligent about making good use of the rest of my time. I will also have to be diligent about eating enough to support it, but I'm not doing a diet goal, because I don't feel like spending a bunch of time obsessing over a diet change right now. This is worth 3 STR. Do mobility work twice a week. I don't want to lose too much flexibility, but an important side benefit is that this gives me something to get up for on Saturday morning so that I don't waste half the day in bed. This is worth 3 DEX. Do not watch season 4 of Silicon Valley or season 3 of Bojack Horseman or start any new TV shows during the challenge. I just finished season 3 of OITNB, primarily last Saturday, and that was like a day of interview prep time down the drain. This is worth 2 WIS. Perform job seeking activities 8 hours a week. I know that my previous challenges were for 6 hours, and that didn't always go so well. But my habits have gotten a little better lately, and if I want to get ready in a short amount of time, this needs to become the main thing I do besides working and lifting. I hopefully won't become more of a hermit than I already am, so I intend the main casualties of this effort to be TV watching, web browsing, and possibly personal projects. This is worth a whopping 4 WIS and 3 CHA. See you on the other side.
  17. Author's Note: There are a few spoilers for the first mission of Zombies, Run! in this challenge. After that though, I'm taking a lot of liberty with the setting of Abel Township, and making it my own. Think of it as AU fanfiction of Zombies, Run. There shouldn't be any problems with spoilers beyond the first mission, since the setting will be different enough that there'll be no telling which plot points are from the game or not, so any plot points should still come as a surprise. Dear Reader, The name's Rebel Five, apparently. The people of Abel Township call me Rebel because I've yet to pick an area of expertise, and Five because I took over for the old Five; Runner Five. How did that happen, you ask? Maybe I should start at the beginning. I was sent in from Mullins Military Base on a supply run, where I've basically bummed around living on MRE's for the last year and a half like everyone else there. We've got enough forces that we're not in any danger, but not enough to actually make a difference. It was pretty boring right up until our chopper got shot down. I know, right? Who could, or would, shoot down a chopper in this day and age? The zoms are the enemy, we're all in this together. Should be, anyway; in reality it tends to be every settlement for itself. Even so, we don't attack each other. It's just not done. Lack of co-operation is not aggression. Until now. I'm not sure why I'm writing this post, especially since the network's barely functional these days. I found this laptop in Runner Five's old place. That's where they put me, since I replaced the old Runner Five. I tell you, Five must have been one hell of a runner to be given something as valuable as this. I don't think the higher-ups remembered to grab it before they put me in here. I'm not going to be correcting them, either. It even has the internet. It's pretty awful these days though. Samuel, our radio operator, says it'll probably take hours just to send this. I think I'll use you to keep track of my goals. That's something my sergeant always tried to drill into us. It's easy to get into a survival mindset, where you're just trying to tread water and maintain ground. The problem is, if you do that, you end each day no better than when you started, and when something goes wrong, you can't make that ground back. Or you get deeper into the water, or something. I never paid much attention, but now that I'm on my own, it seems comforting to at least hope there's someone out there who's got it all figured out, and piggyback off what they said. To be honest, she was probably treading water just as much as the rest of us, but let's just keep that between us, shall we? So, how can I make sure I'm not just treading water? Fortunately, Abel's given me a list of standards to work towards. Everyone contributes here. I'd bet my laptop that whoever's in charge here, or whoever calls the shots in this area, was military once. It all feels somewhat familiar. Almost like home. Goal One: Strength train with gymnastics rings. "Why don't we have any free weights here?" "Well, Five, why don't you go get some for us? There's an old gym about eight k's from here. Barely touched. Just go grab one of those 20 kilo barbells and run it back past the zoms. Then when you get killed, maybe the new Rebel Five won't ask stupid questions." - Ranger Nine. (He's not the friendliest, but he's pretty jacked, so maybe these rings are useful after all.) Standards - Minimum: 6 workouts. Solid: 8 workouts. Great: 10 workouts. Excellent: 12 workouts. Goal Two: Go on supply runs, at least 3 km each. "Everybody runs here, Five. Unless you're disabled, or crucial to the continued running of the township, you run. Without supplies, Abel Township's dead in the water. Runners are just the specialists, who do the dangerous missions. Everyone else does supply runs or training exercises." - Runner Seven. (Head of runners. Unofficially, he claims.) Standards - Minimum: 6 runs. Solid: 8 runs. Great: 10 runs. Excellent: 12 runs. Goal Three: Work on programming for an hour each day, starting next week. "So, Five, I heard you're good with computers. Is there any chance you could go on over to the old computer lab? Well, it has four computers in it, does that count as a lab? I'm not sure...anyway, it'd just be great of you if you could give it a look. Our head of IT, Emily, says that they're getting some parts shipped in sometime this week and could use some help with something when they get here. Wait, can you be a head of IT if there's nobody under you?" - Samuel. (Radio operator. Chatty bloke, but I like him.) Standards: - Minimum: 9 days. Solid: 12 days. Great: 15 days. Excellent: 18 days. "All that said, Five, do right by us, and we'll do right by you. We keep the best stuff we find for our most hard working people. And we don't just hoard it for the fastest or the strongest either. It's all based on your personalised standards. Anyone who does their job well gets some of the entertainment we work so hard to find. Exceed expectations, and you'll get some of the stuff we find that make us better at our jobs." - Runner Seven. Meet at least "Solid" on all three standards. Reward: Access to a game from Abel's collection. As above, plus meet "Great" on two standards, or "Excellent" on one. Reward: A pair of specialised running shoes. So that's basically my plan for the month. Run, train, learn my way around Abel Township and the surrounding area. I don't think Mullins is going to send a chopper for me any time soon. I sure as hell wouldn't, if I were in their shoes. At the very least, until the route can be confirmed safe again, there's no way home. It's over forty k's from here...no way could I run that far, fast enough to evade the zoms. I don't know if anyone here could. Runner Seven says they're relentless, and some of them can be very fast. But even the slow ones never get slower. They just keep chasing you down, mile after mile, until you drop. And 40 kilometers is a long, long way. Rebel Five, signing out. Author's Note: I've decided to mess around with doing some posts in character, and some posts out of character. The whole thing'll be explained out of character in the next post.
  18. I'll be continuing on the path to a body weight bench press. Bench Goal 1: Be methodical Last challenge I switched up my program three times trying to manage recovery, and realized I was just biting more than I could chew and decided to back off and retrain my base. So... I'll be doing Starting Strength from the near beginning. For this goal I have to stick to the plan: (spoilered cuz long and complicated) A bit wordy because I need to lay down specifics for myself and things I can check off to make sure I've done all I can. tl;dr Stick to the program until you've gotten all you can get from it. 1) Don't take big unnecessary jumps on lifts 2) Try to maintain LP as long as possible by decreasing weight increases 3) Put recovery first 4) Don't jump into an intermediate program when I get bored. Sidequest: Buy or make fractional plates/weights. Grading: ... ? Just stick to the plan pass/fail. I doubt I'll encounter any big challenges this first month, so there are not really any excuses. Bench Goal 2: Be Consistent Maintain 2-3 weekly workouts. Track workouts using fitnotes. Sidequest: I've dusted off my battle log recently. I'll be posting all my workouts their. I want to get back to maintaining it so I have records not tied to challenge threads which are basically like toilet paper: use then flush. Grading: 12 workouts = A, 8 = D, <8 = F Goal 3, Track nutrition I need to get back to logging on MFP. Every day. Tracking macros. Grading: Percent of days tracked, usual scale. >90 A, <60 F Goal 4, Track weight and waistline first thing every morning. Measure each once a week. Grading: Same as nutrition. Sidequest: Identify the monthly trends Once I have all this data tracked I want to make sure I assess it and make sense of it at the end of the month in some kind of report. It would be good to observe when my weight spikes or decreases, and see if it's affecting my lifting. LUYL: Job Hunt: I need more money so I'm going to start looking around. So one application a week sounds good. I also want to explore within Amazon, where I currently work, for pathways into other departments/advancement. 5pts total. **************************************************** Weekly Measurements: Week Weight Waist Avg_Cals Avg_Pro Bench 0 273.6 39.5" -- -- 120 (5x5) 1 273.3 39.0" 2900 189 130 (5x5) 2 272.6 41.0" 3182 189 140 (5x5) 3 270.1 39.25" 3209 189 150 (5x5)
  19. Volki scans the air as he looks through his night vision goggles. Thousands of numbers stream by in succession along the thin blue biothreads as they arc in every direction across the backdrop of the enormous city of buildings choking the starless skyline. Numbers and bits of code spew forth from each of the clueless denizen’s UID chip. The streams of code are broadcast to the cities central processing hub and archived for inspection. The streams contain information about each person’s natural abilities, social class and firmware version. At age 15 every person is awarded citizenship and has the UID chip implanted into the base of the skull. The chip then synchs up with the synapses of the brain and can upload and download new software packages for any patron with the money to afford the upgrade. For everyone but the Linux corps, these nanomite lines of code are invisible. We are the elite hackers of the grid and incidentally we are hunted by the Kaspersky agents who have placed our faces on every major Access Control List. The Kaspersky agents want our lives because we have found a way to modify our UID chips and have found a way to remain hidden on the network. Our major accomplishment though was when we cracked into the great code libraries and downloaded the ancient knowledge files that laid out how the Cyber Counsel took control and then proceeded to wipe the memories of everyone. I am determined to know what exactly they mean to do with us by turning us into walking zombies constantly consuming the filthy lies they weave for us on every screen. Every day millions of people hang on every word the news and Counsel has to say. They are made to believe that everything is fine and continue to push conformity. I have to get to the Central Hub of the city and sever the link the Counsel has to the masses, only then will we stand a chance to end their reign. I flip a switch on the goggles and enter in a few lines of code on the holo-keys built into my bionic arm. The vision in the goggles flicker and then a single biothread is left flowing from end to end of the city. A voice cracks in over the comm system implant in my ear. “Volki, status update. Have you found him yet?†“Yes sir, I just found his thread right now and I am sending you the comm frequency right now. Do you want me to ghost trail the target?†“You are clear for recon and possible extraction of the target but make sure the target is acquired without damage to the UID nanite link.†“10-4 Recon is a go.†I take a quick inventory of my supplies and throw my goggles into my backpack as the thread path is switched to the navigation program of my forearm screen. I lower myself down the rope that held me high above the mammoth structures that choked every inch of the sprawling city. From this height I can see the cars flying by like a swarming hive of bees. The life of the city moves on without regard for the time of day or night. The year is 2357 and the time of an organic earth was long since dead. It is now the time of the machines; computers and wire replace trees and wildlife. My boots splash down into the dark alley far below the data link tower I had descended. I unhook from the rope and set out toward the path of the target. The cars zoom by overhead and the talking hologram heads all around the city go on about the latest celebrity scandal and which products will make our lives better. I tune them out as I weave in and out of streets and alleyways moving ever closer to the blip on my map. I come to a stop on a rooftop as I peer down the street at a hooded man wearing a bag on his back with a small antennae protruding from the zipper. As the target crosses the busy street with hundreds of others on their way to work I can make out a small device in his hand. Just as he crosses the middle of the 6 ways street he raises his hand slightly as he presses a sequence into the device. Moments later all 20 of the screens in the area showed an insidiously laughing skull with a feather headdress above the flashing words “I AM THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE!†The screens flashed faster and faster until they simultaneously erupted into an explosion of sparks and glass that rained down onto the shocked pedestrians below. “Captain I have sight of the target, I’m moving in.†I grabbed the edge of the building and vaulted myself down to the pavement landing in a quick roll. Bolting to my feet I began to chase the man in the hood as he fled into a nearby alley. He ran from shadow to shadow trying desperately to lose me in the labyrinth of the city landscape. The distance on my Nav screen showed less than 20 yards away and closing fast. I unhooked my pistol from its holster on my hip and switched its charge down to a non-lethal voltage as I round another corner. I could see him clamoring up a nearby fire escape heading for the roof and out of view. I pause only a moment and take aim with my plasma pistol. The weapon lets out a sharp crack and then a blue streak of electricity arcs straight into his back. He lets out a loud yelp and then loses his grip and slips bouncing against the safety cage of the ladder and comes to a stop with a thud against the cold pavement. I rush over and peel back his hood. He has a thin face with sharp features. His hair is cropped into a short Mohawk and complete with an auburn beard. I inspect the UID for any visible signs of damage as well as the sleeping target vitals. “Helix come in, I have the target. He is down and unconscious, send the Vulture to come pick us up in his speeder and bring us home.†In order to be the best Linux Corpse Hacker I can be I am going to need to get stronger, more dexterous and up my programming skills. Goal 1: Fortification I am going to follow a 2X a week schedule for my lifting to allow adequate flexibility with fitting in the gym time with the 12hr work days D1 Pullup 3x10 D1 Skull crusher 3x12 D1 Alt db curl 3x10 D1 L sit dip 3x10 D1 1 arm rows 3x10 D1 DB bench 3x10 D2 DB deadlift 3x10 D2 Front squat 3x10 D2 DB alt lunges 3x12 D2 DB calf raises 3x10 Goal 2: Dexterity I have been following along with a PowerYoga for Athletes program online. I want to do power yoga at least 2Xs a week minimum. Goal 3: Python Programming I need to upgrade my programming skills so I am going to follow along and finish the Python programming course by the end of the challenge available on Codeacademy.com **So basically I am continuing my plan of splitting my focus into quarters this year. I am still in the structural and functional strength portion of my training before I move back into a more lifting heavy routine. **
  20. Oh hey, Scouts! Joining up with you guys for this challenge since my half marathon is during this challenge. Plus, I ought to venture out of my comfort zone at least a little, right? ANYWAY. CAN YOU GUESS THIS CHALLENGE'S THEME? I'll give you a hint: this guy is in it: If you guessed Big Hero 6 (get it? Marvel theme, Marvel half marathon???), then you're correct! If you looked at adorable Baymax and said, wait, who is this Stay Puft Marshmallow Man reject, well, you need to get thyself to a video store and buy ye olde Big Hero 6. And watch it. Because it is amazing and adorable and all of those in the feel things. Anyway. Let's go! MAIN QUEST: Keep on keeping on. Re-establish habits to make me a happier, well-balanced person. Break necks with my thighs. Chill out and enjoy life. MOTIVATION: Re-hit that goal weight! Survive the half of doom! Get over those roadblocks! We’re going to do this challenge a bit different than other ones, mostly because I enjoy screwing with challenge formats, and partially because it’s the last challenge of the year, which means it needs to be special. Or something, right? So, structure wise, I’ve got a shit ton of goals. I mean, you look at the sheer number and go, “Whoa, Sherri, I don’t know that that’s a good idea, I mean, what about burn out?†And I would of course tell you that I CAN TOTALLY DO ALL THE THINGS SO LAY OFF. Ahem. Well, irrational Sherri would say that, but as I am a (mostly) rational person, I would actually say “Why, yes, good fellow, I recognize that and I HAVE A PLAN.†Actual representation of me if I tried to literally do all the things at once all the time for six weeks. Some of these quests will run the entire challenge. Others will be certain week challenges, or a one-and-done kind of challenge. Some are super low-maintenance, others require more work. In a way, this is similar to my grab bag challenge, but also ensure that I touch every goal at least once during the challenge. This way, I don’t neglect areas that I might otherwise let slide during a regular grab bag, but also gives me a bit more flexibility that my usual structure doesn’t allow. Now, onto the challenges! Actual footage of stillskies trying to run. BAYMAX - I am not fast. (STA +2) CHALLENGE: Run a sub-03:00:00 half marathon. (Weeks 1 - 2) My very first official half marathon is on 15 November. Fittingly, because I am a superhero (obviously - I mean, look at the theme, duh), I am running the Disney Avengers Superhero Half at Disneyland. This is super exciting for a variety of reasons (Disneyland! Character photos! CHURROS!) and super distressing for others (13.1 miles comes to mind…). So, in keeping with tradition, this challenge has mini-quests! A taper is playing with cats, right? Right? MINI QUEST 1: Continue training during the dreaded taper I’m not going to get through the half without training, and I have never actually done a taper in the past, but I’m told it’s necessary, so a-tapering we go! An actual tapering plan will be forthcoming since I need to figure out what, exactly, that entails. MINI QUEST 2: Refuel properly after the race (Day 14) I’m bad at eating after a run, let alone eating after a long run. And while I know I’ll eat every churro I come across, I also know that I need to eat something that isn’t a churro (or twenty). So, to ace this quest, I need to eat an actual meal after the half. Whether that’s at the park or at a restaurant near the park, I need to put adequate calories in my body to keep me functional so I can enjoy Disneyland. (And the churros) Grading: A - trained, ran, refueled B - trained or refueled C - didn't train and didn't refuel Me, if left to my own devices. HIRO - No, no, no, that’s okay. No touching. I’m fine… (WIS +2) CHALLENGE: Declutter my Facebook friends. (Weeks 1 - 6) Somehow, I’ve got 238 ‘friends’ on Facebook. Some of these are family, a lot of them are just… random. A bunch are nerds added in the pre- and post-Camp NerdFitness period. I’m not sure who most of these people are most of the time, and it’s kind of distressing to look at my news feed and not know who these people are. So it’s time to rein it in and start getting rid of people without feeling guilty about it. I don’t want to put a hard number on this - it seems really arbitrary to say “I want only 200 Facebook ‘friends’†or whatever - so this goal will be measured by my comfort level. Do I still feel stressed out logging into Facebook? Do I have to rack my brain to figure out who the first three people on my feed are? I just want to feel comfortable with the people I’m supposedly friends with, and I don’t feel that way right now. Grading: Pass - feel comfortable with my Facebook feed Fail - still feel anxious about my Facebook feed (again, no real in-between here) Squad goals. Just gotta build that squad first. HONEY LEMON - No, don’t push us away, Hiro. We’re here for you. (CHA +2) CHALLENGE: Spend quality time with at least two friends over the course of the challenge (Weeks 1 - 6) Actually me when forced to socialize. Isn't the first Honey gif so much nicer? Again with the trying to make interacting with people a habit. But this time, I want to take it offline (in as much as is reasonable). There are at least six people in the world, minus Stars and family, that I actually like. More or less. And I should hang out with them more, but I also don’t want to force myself to hang out (or Skype/phone call/etc) with people. So, rather than making this a weekly type of goal, I’m just going to give myself leeway and say I have to do it twice during the six weeks. If I spend time with more than 2 people, cool. If I do it all in the first week, that’s also cool. But it should be because I want to, not because I have to. Grading: A - spent quality time with two or more friends B - spent quality time with one friend C - ignored the world in my pink chemical bubble Me and Wasabi understand each other. Gotta follow the rules, or someone gets hurt. Usually me. WASABI - Upgrade who now? (WIS +2) CHALLENGE: 2016 training plan (Weeks 3 - 6) Unless I have something to train for, I tend to wander aimlessly. This is okay for a while, but then I get bored and discouraged, so I need to put together at least a general program. This challenge will be divided into mini quests, as well, because well, I run, lift, and bjj, and those all require their own attention. Or, at least I will. MINI QUEST 1: Pick next year’s races This year, I was so close to the at least one race a month thing. I missed April, and then I missed last month. I still have to sign up for a December race, but still. Next year, I want to run at least one race a month, and since that adds up, I want to get the best prices I can for them, which means looking at and picking them early. MINI QUEST 2: Figure out next year’s goals Do I want to get my blue belt by the end of the year? What PRs am I going for in lifts and run? Need to figure this all out so that I can move on to Mini Quest 3... MINI QUEST 3: Put together a general training program This will, obviously, take into account Mini Quest 1 because girl’s gotta train. And Mini Quest 2 gives me things to reach for. With those things, I can sit down and start to figure out a general training plan for the year, which will, of course, remain flexible because O:OU. Grading: A - races picked, goals made, training program completed B - some races picked, goals in some fashion of done, skeleton of training program C - hahahahaha #nope No, Baymax, baby. You do not have all the right moves. GOGO - Stop whining. Woman up. (DEX +2) CHALLENGE: Get back to BJJ 3x a week (Weeks 4 - 6) My half training has (understandably, regrettably) forced BJJ to take a back seat. BJJ tends to leave me with a very sore body, which isn’t wise to run with. And all of the running I’ve been doing doesn’t make it the safest to go to BJJ, especially the day of or after my long runs. So, once the half is done (and I have a week off of pretty much all the things!), it’s time to regroup and woman up. Three times a week was what I was doing before, and it’s easy enough to keep up with. (This goal may or may not be modified depending on the success of O:OU.) Grading: A - BJJ 3x B - BJJ 2x C - BJJ 1x Keep that imagination going, Fred. FRED - Oh-ho, yeah, I like where this is heading… (CHA +1) CHALLENGE: Write at least 1,000 words a week. (Weeks 1 - 4) I’m not giving myself some high and mighty goal, and I’m not even saying that the words have to be fiction. It could be something for fandom, like a meta piece or something. But I miss writing, and when I do it, I feel good about myself since I’m a fairly decent writer. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo because ain’t nobody got time for that, but November is the big writing month, so I want to do something. 1,000 words in a week seems fairly reasonable. Maybe I’ll even post those words to my thread. Grading: A - 1000 words written B - 750 words written C - 500 words written Accurate representation of stillskies eating like an asshole. But, mmmmm.... donut..... AUNT CASS - Stress eating! (CON +4) CHALLENGE: Get my eating back under control (Weeks 1 - 6) For the last challenge, I tried to rein my eating back in. I stopped tracking two challenges ago, which, in hindsight, was probably a bad idea. But looking at the number of calories I was eating sent me into spirals of ensuring I ate the absolute minimum and nothing more, which is probably a sign of disordered eating or something. But without tracking, I have no clue how much I’m eating, and no way of tracking my protein, which I really need to be doing. So, we’ve got mini quests for this challenge to help me out! Probably, tbh. MINI QUEST 1: Meal planning on Sundays Every Sunday, I need to sit down and figure out what I’m eating for the week - breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve already started this quest as a trial run for Week 0, and I already know that I’ll likely need a little flexibility with it - swapping things to eat with other days or meals, mostly, but also the occasional adding of something (like yesterday’s three bowls of cereal with my two slices of pizza for dinner, although hopefully not that much going forward). MINI QUEST 2: Track calories in MFP 4x a week Tracking is what helped me lose weight. Not tracking (and eating like an asshole) is what inevitably caused me to gain back 7lbs. While this is not a huge weight gain (less than 10lbs while eating pints of ice cream daily as well as other crap isn’t bad) it’s still not where I want to be. I’m trying to re-evaluate where I feel okay weight-wise (do I want to get back down to 155lbs or is what I’m aiming for really BF% reduction?), but that’s neither here nor there. Point is, I need to get back to tracking while working out the emotional component of actually tracking. Four times a week doesn’t seem like a lot, but with my mindset, it is. CONTINGENCY QUEST 1: Work out general calories of the limited foods I eat and do a grab bag In the event that I start spiraling with the counting, this is a contingency plan. Since I’m a horribly picky eater, I only really eat a handful of things to begin with. If necessary, I can sit down and just work out the rough calories and macros of things I eat that so that I can do away with tracking while still having a rough idea of what I’m eating. I want to try tracking, though, so this will only go into effect if I can’t deal with the mental piece of tracking. Grading: A - planned my meals and tracked 4x B - planned some meals and tracked 2-3x C - planned no meals and tracked, like, nothing Unbelievably awesome, he means. BONUS TADASHI - Unbelievable. BONUS CHALLENGE: Finish a Kingdom Hearts game with 100% completion. (Weeks 1 - 6) This is a stretch goal, because lulz 100% completion fuck you Final Mix+, but it gives me something to work towards. And, fortunately, it can be any KH game, so if I manage to do it on Birth by Sleep (my current toiling project), then great. But it’s not going to affect anything except my sense of accomplishment. And let’s be real - if I don’t do it during the six week challenge, I’ll get it done eventually because I am just that damned determined. Because I can be a dick sometimes. Point breakdown: STR : 0 DEX : 2 STA : 2 CON : 4 WIS : 4 CHA : 3 Next year I'll start back up with measurements and progress pictures, but for now that's just too stressful.
  21. So, I went to download some stuff to start writing code again... just a Software Development Kit and IDE... with the goal of making some apps to see if I still dig the problem solving aspect of writing programs. Apparently, my dinosaur computer is too old. Maybe I could shell out some money and upgrade it so I could upgrade the OS so I could run some stuff... but it's not the machine I would have picked if I'd had other choices at the time. (It's an iMac from 2007-8. It was free. It is currently serving its purpose of web browsing and occasionally running Word and Excel, and sometimes being closer to hand than an actual calculator.) Since I haven't done anything serious with a computer in years, and I was never super-knowledgeable about hardware, I now have no idea how much computer I need to acquire to start writing code again. I'm not fooling myself into thinking that this is a career investment, so I'm can't just go get the current top of the line (or even near that), but I don't want to cheap out so much that I find myself in the same spot I'm in now - can't run the stuff (IDE, etc) that everyone else is using. Any suggestions on what I should be looking for in a new (to me) computer? tl;dr: suggestions for a computer specs for getting back into programming?
  22. Endor

    Endor needs to P

    --Challenge 18-- I'm going to P all over this challenge No not that P, this P! Goal 1 - Posture I got hurt in a car accident and the physio has advised me to correct my posture. It seems to be working but I need to keep my focus on it. I'm not sure how I will measure this yet.... Goal 2 - Paleo Carry over from my last challenge, slightly amended to 6 days of full paleo per week. Goal 3 - Programming It's looking like my whiplash recovery is going to take months rather than weeks. As I am limited in what exercise I can do and I can't play squash I've decided to do a more conventional lifting program with gradual progression. I'm going to setup a program for lifting 2 days a week with a third day of PT with my coach doing whatever he prescribes. Bonus Goal - Photo Take a weekly progress photo
  23. Hello Assassins Guild, and Nerd Fitness! I ended up taking off partway through my last challenge. This challenge is an effort to fix the mistakes that have plagued me lately, and should also explain quite thoroughly why I left last challenge. One of Steve's posts lately really spoke to me; that of starting over. Every time you start over, you're not REALLY starting over. You still have a very important asset; the knowledge you have from your last attempt. And that can never be taken away from you without removing you entirely. As long as we're still breathing and have functional brains, we're never back at the beginning. Not really. So why did I leave, and how do I plan to rectify that problem this time around? Let's dive in. I've noticed something about myself lately. Here's how I tend to make plans: 1) Figure out how much training can be done in six weeks. 2) Pick a challenging, but hopefully achievable set of goals to complete. 3) Attempt them. 4) Evaluate at the end of the six weeks. Seems reasonable, right? Well, I've come to the conclusion that it isn't. Let's rephrase that last series of steps, shall we? This is how my plans REALLY tend to turn out, in the messy realm of Reality instead of the wonderful land of Possibility where plans are made. 1) Figure out exactly how many workouts can be done in six weeks if I fill each week as far as it will go. 2) Pick a set of goals that are still challenging to complete even if I finish every single workout, regardless of circumstances. 3) Run into a minor setback. 4) Oh shit. 5) Begin stressing over my razor-thin margin for error, which has just disappeared. 6) Fail. Obviously. 7) "Alright, Sal, you have to double down, stand firm, and work harder next time! Shape up!" 8) Repeat Step 1. But let's be honest...how many of us have done exactly this at one time or another? The problem, of course, is obvious. The ideal almost never happens. If you have a 95% chance of completing each workout, and you have to complete 36/36 workouts across a challenge, you have a 15% chance of completing them all. And 95% is pretty damn good, all things considered. There's injury, lack of time, sudden schedule changes, sickness...and let's face it, humans aren't machines. Sometimes we don't do what we're supposed to, and that's normal. So from now on, I'm done expecting perfection from myself. It can't be done. This challenge, I'm going to have the ideal; and then I'm going to have my actual goals. I will plan for the unexpected, and most importantly, I'm going to cut myself some damn slack. I thought demanding perfection from myself would be motivating. Instead, it just makes me disappointed, frustrated, and angry at myself for failing to meet an impossible standard. So with that in mind, for each of my goals this challenge, I'll create an ideal version of it; and then I will take a step back. I will accept the ideal is unlikely to happen, and I shouldn't expect it to. I'll create a reasonable expectation for myself, and that will be my actual goal for the challenge. The theme for this challenge is the number eight. In strength training, an exertion level of eight out of ten means you still have a couple of reps left in the tank at the end. You've worked hard enough to stimulate adaptation in the muscles, but you still end your workout with some energy you can use to spur yourself on next workout. You always leave something in the tank. That's my theme for the entire challenge. Leave something left in the tank. For this same reason, I won't be assigning myself any non-process oriented goals, or quests as I call them. No "Run X distance" or "Do X of Y exercise". This is recovery; I'm rebuilding not just my habits, but also my self-esteem after I've given it a bit of a self-inflicted pounding over the last few months. The only focus is on the process; taking one step at a time. I'll have training programs of course, but if I can't meet them, that's okay. The only way I can truly fail is if I give up exercising entirely. That's the only way to really lose. If I keep trying, the only outcomes are winning, or winning slower. Goal One: Strength Training. (+4 STR) Ideal: Complete 3 workouts a week for the 6 weeks. Goal: Complete at least 12 workouts across 6 weeks. (+1 STR per 3 workouts completed) For my strength training, it's time to go back to basics. In fact, it was this old/new approach to my strength training that inspired this entire challenge. You see, when I was just starting out, I made fantastic gains. I built my way up to push-ups and rows, and got much stronger very quickly. Part of this was due to my uber-noob status, but I think another part of it was that I built up gradually; one rep per session. If I did 3 sets of 6 of an exercise, next time it would be 7, 6, 6, unless it was pretty easy. Then I'd consider going up two whole reps for the next session. Could I have progressed faster? Sure. But I gained strength just fine without ever pushing my limits. Somehow, while every workout was fairly easy, over a few months, the threshold of "fairly easy" crept up to the line of "impossible a few months ago", then beyond. Soon, 3 sets of 4 push-ups was easy...when three months before, I couldn't do a single one. I'm going back to what made me succeed then. Basic strength work, performed at an RPE (Rate of perceived exertion) of 8 or less. If I'm working harder than that, I need to scale it back a bit. I'll try that for at least six weeks, then re-evaluate. I'll also be putting a battle log up for this challenge, to encourage me to stay connected. That'll be a side goal, and I'll be cross-posting it here under spoiler tags. Goal Two: Running. (+3 STA) Ideal: Run twice per week for the 6 weeks. Goal: Complete at least 9 runs across 6 weeks. (+1 STA per 3 workouts completed) As another concession to reality, I'm cutting my running back to twice per week this challenge. I can do more if I really want to, but there's no obligation. Recently, my karate class absorbed a junior dojo, so we're starting the kids at 5 pm. Since you can never have enough basics, and I like helping the kids, I like to show up at 5. But the extra hour of training is taking its toll a bit, so I'm not going to force myself to run on karate days for a while. After this challenge, I can re-evaluate; I'm sure I'll get used to the extra length of training over time. Goal Three: Stretching. (+3 DEX) Ideal: Stretch hard at least once per week on a specific day. Work light stretching on off days. Goal: Stretch hard once per week, any day. (+1 DEX per 2 sessions completed) For stretching, I'm going to be purchasing Gymnastic Bodies' Front Splits program. Not because I particularly want the Front Splits (cool as that would be) but rather, the carryover to my pike will be very strong. Apparently in the 45-minute session, about 20 minutes are devoted to hamstring stretching. The best thing about this program is that it has a follow-along video. Just start the video, and do whatever the coach says. Considering I tend to get caught up in analysis paralysis when it comes to making a stretch routine, this is a good thing for me. There's three of these programs, each meant to be done once per week, but I'm going to start with one; the one which contains the stretches I want the most. If I can stick to that and add some light stretching for off days, I can consider buying a second program. Life Goal: Study. (+3 WIS) Ideal: Study maths at least 2 hours each day. Complete my mathematics course by July 12. (Uni start date) Goal: Study for 14 Pomodoros (25-minute bursts) each week. At least 7 pomodoros must be my mathematics course. (+1 WIS per 28 Pomodoros studied) I have a study schedule, but I'm not married to it. I'll be trying to do most of my study from Friday to Sunday, when I have neither maths tutoring (I'm the tutor) nor karate on. As long as I get my study in each week, I'll be happy. The mathematics course doesn't HAVE to be done by July 12. The reason I need the course is because I've already half completed it, and it's one of the required courses for my university degree. If I can complete it, I can save myself some time and money. But in reality, I don't need it completed til next year. So if I want to spend some of my study hours on programming instead, I can. I'd like to learn JavaScript, but any programming work is fine. (I currently program exclusively in Python, but JavaScript is better for web applications. I have some ideas related to those, and it'd be nice to know a language that lets me do it effectively.) Side Goal: Track and post. (+1 WIS, +1 CHA) Ideal: Track diet and exercise, and post it plus thoughts on Nerd Fitness every day. Goal: Track diet and exercise at least most of the time. Post on NF at least 4 times each week. (+1 WIS for tracking. +1 CHA for posting.) That which gets measured gets improved. I've been lax on recording my workout progress, and remembering it in my mind uses valuable mental energy that could be used for other things. This is one thing that I should be able to do almost all the time; it takes almost no time at all to track things. I want to try and post on NF each day, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't get around to it. Realistically, if I stay connected for the whole six weeks, that's a win. It should be a lot easier if I'm not stressed out about failing to meet my (overly strict) goals because I made one mistake. Total Stats Up For Grabs: +4 STR, +3 STA, +3 DEX, +4 WIS, +1 CHA Rewards: If I earn all 15 stat points, I can buy one fitness related item worth up to $100. My current candidates are a heart monitor or another stretch course. Each week I complete each of my goals, I'm allowed one calorie-free Mars Bar or other another treat worth up to 500 calories. I don't have to track this item. As long as I'm still actively working on this challenge, I'm allowed to buy diet soft drink up to twice a week. There will be no rewards for achieving ideals. That doesn't fit with the theme of this challenge. Conclusion: Wow, that was a long post. I guess I had a lot to say. I still feel like I do have a lot to say, but I have seven weeks with which to say it, so I won't post everything at once Thanks for reading!
  24. Hi everyone! I'm not quite at the point yet where I could claim any major victory in my body recomposition and fitness projects, but that'll come. Buuuutttt... I HAVE TO share this with everyone I know (and everyone I don't). I'm currently doing my computer science degree. Maths is involved. This is the third time I've been to university, and the first time I've been for the right reasons, and it'll be the first time I graduate. To put this in context, when I went to university the first time round, I picked a MSci in Physics & Mathematical Finance at age 16 because I wanted to escape the village I lived in ASAP, and that degree was the hardest looking one, which meant I could prove something to everyone who thought I wasn't worth ****. Got glandular fever on my second day after leaving home, wrestled with the course for 3 years, and ended up having to leave. I was scraping 10% in exams and getting by on cramming for resits to get the bare minimum and by the time 3 years of this was up I really believed I wasn't ever going to be worth anything, I wasn't as smart as I thought, and I was destined for a life of unwanted minimum wage jobs. Via some kind of magical warp device I ended up chilling out in a bar job 10 years later, had fallen in love with gaming, and decided maybe a little programming course might be a nice idea. I quietly started up a CS degree at the Open University, so I could take my time and add extra modules if I felt like it later, or just walk away with a one semester course if I wanted to. I've been studying now for just over a year, start my software development courses in September, and have just got to grips with the first year maths that made me feel like such a failure the first time I tried it. I was wrong! I CAN do it! I just got my first ever university result that made me cry with happiness. I REALLY AM SPECTACULARLY BADASS AT THE MATHS. Here, I have to tell everyone! Scores out of 100! The most recent one was the hardest paper of the year I'd always wanted to do something absolutely fascinating with my life, and I'm seriously considering changing to CS with applied maths. It would only take me 3 months longer. I'm going to hit up my tutor for a chat ASAP. I got this result 2 days ago and I'm still excited about it, so naturally, it was time for me to make my first post in the woot room! I hope I can come back and update this thread in 3 months to say I got a distinction, because that's the result I'm headed for. I need 85%. To maths: Gotta go, I have a robotics assessment to hand in on Wednesday!
  25. Hi all, So Ive been doing SL 5x5 since last February, and I really like the program....Ive definitely gotten stronger and I actually look forward to going to the gym. My question is actually two or threefold. I know SL 5x5 is designed as a "beginner's" program, and that eventually you have to graduate on to a more advanced lifting program, but when do you know to do that? Secondly, in that year I had two major breaks: one was from mid june until sometime in August when I was having a lot of back/hip/ankle pain that kept me out of the gym, and then the same thing happened again from just after thanksgiving till around christmas. Even so, my lower body lifts (DL and Squats specifically) still seem pretty solid (205 and 210 respectively), but my upper body really seems to be lagging (only 90lbs on the OHP and 130lbs on the bench). Should I focus more on the upper body and stand pat with the lower body stuff? Should I throw in some accessory items (curls, rows, flys, etc)? Lastly, everyone and their cousin tells you if you want to lose fat, you have to do cardio. Like a shit ton of it. And I HATE cardio......plus, Ive heard (dont know if its true) that doing cardio after lifting weights basically burns up all the energy for muscle growth, thus leaving you weaker (or at least no stronger than before.) Thoughts? Ideas? Aspersions on my character? Thanks in advance guys (and gals) ^>^
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