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  1. RAISE THE BAR !!!! ^CHORD This challenge is going to be about raising the bar! And that includes working on the F bar chord in guitar too, because boy - that thing is a little punk. For a long time NF challenger, it's very easy to get into the place of just doing the same old same old. And that's great. But it's time for me to add a few rings to my tree trunk, -er, I am talking about 'growth', not putting weight on lol! I've coasted a bit and want to get back into growing as a person; improving myself physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. That's too much to try and do all at once, so we'll break it down into smaller things that get focused on per challenge. When one gets leveled up, we work on the next, and so on. I am also setting a long term goal here, in writing. I want to compose and record an original song before I am 50. (Honestly, I think I can nail that one far before the expiration date, but I didn't want to feel pressured - I want to enjoy the learning process, so we're setting this out there a few years.) Now for the list of longer term things I want to start working on over the next few months. Understand Starpuck, be the best Starpuck I can be. Step 1: Read "The Road Back to You" (An Enneagram Thingy) Conquer fear of change, and move out into my own place - be it an apartment or a house. Step 1: Rework budgets, set savings goals and plans, use envelope method for 'allowance/eating out'. Find guitar teacher, take a short term session of lessons. Step 1: Reach out to Perry's music. Stop judging teachers by awful pictures, lol! Go meet them. 5 WEEK CHALLENGE GOALS Goal #1 - FOOD! In 5/4 Timing - What? This means, aim to eat 5 times through the day, with quarter note sized meals lol. I was debating if I wanted to track calories, but coming from a total free for all, I don't want to swing too hard to the other end of the spectrum. I think just being mindful will get me back to a good 'starting point'. Plan: Eat Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, Dinner, Snack each day. Avoid adding extra snacks, especially in the evening or on weekends. Track It: Must note when I overdo the snacks, otherwise, each day assumed to have been 'in time' with the band. Goal #2 - Groove and Move - This is about keeping my physical body up to snuff. I want to be healthy and active long term, and that means putting in the work now. I also have noticed that over the past several years, the better my nutrition and sleep have been, the less illness I've had to face. That seems like one heck of a perk there. Groove is for strength training (not that I'm doing grease the groove) and Move is for any other intentional movement. I want to keep my cardio/pulmonary working well too, so getting heart rate up and lungs kicking is a goal, but it can be chill like walking or hiking too. (Not that either of those will be happening during the midst of winter. Plan: 2-3 Strength Days / Week. (Winter means less options for cardio, so a great time to increase strength days to 3.) 2+ other activity days. Track It: Yeah. Easy track here. Did I do them, or skip them? Goal #3 - Pick, Pluck, and Pen - This is the creative ensemble. It covers my music practice, which, I have set a pretty decent achievable goal of 2 hours / instrument per week, and 3 hours of art. I often go over, but this allows me to still hit targets on weeks that have extra changes in the line up, or outings, or hiccups that make practicing harder. Plan: 2 hours / week of guitar, bass and piano. 3 hours of art. Track It: Use Timelog app to keep track of this. Great app! 10/10 would recommend. General To Do's - Boldness, Books and Budgets - This final goal is just to track that I am remembering and paying attention to Step 1's of some of the longer term goals. I don't want to put "weekly" rules and requirements on this, so they will just be general to do's, and check marks that I am, in fact, putting some time and thought into them. Continue search for guitar lessons, check Perry's out. Local is a + and they are cheapest I've found. Read the book. Take it slow. Add notes in the side or on Post-Its. Use this to continue to sort out my challenges and learn to overcome my repeat hurdles. Create budget. Set up house savings / move money monthly into this. Create envelopes and use them. (app, or actual cash?) Start planning for 2023 vacations. (Hawaii still on radar?) Smaller trip / via car somewhere. Start working on the audio interface and software. Take it slow. Don't panic. Also - after original excitement about this theme, lol, I might change it in a week or so. My mood is all over the place right now! LOL. Short Bio
  2. And so the geeky bodhisattva (that's what my username roughly means in Japanese) joins the Monks. Every year around November, Mandirigmang Kaliradman, the FMA group I train with, organizes a tournament among its members, as well as our sister clubs in Manila, Cebu, and South Korea. Although I've been with them for several years now, my focus in the past has always been Aikido. This year will be the first time I will be participating in the Emerald Tournament. My concerns are: 1. My lack of sparring experience (we don't do that in Aikido, unfortunately) and fear of getting hit by a stick (we have armor and the sticks are thinner and lighter - BUT they're not padded and strikes often leave welts even on areas covered by the armor) and 2. Stamina - I struggled with childhood asthma and still carry an inhaler with me just in case, even though I am a heck of a lot fitter now than I've ever been in my younger years and have not experienced an attack in ages. When I was in high school I suffered a somewhat severe attack after TKD sparring - not rush-to-the-E.R. severe, but I was bedridden for a few days and was advised against competing. Since then I've always had this niggling doubt about any kind of sparring, like what if I gas out and get the crap beaten out of me 'cause I'm too tired to do anything else, then I'll get sick the day after, blah blah blah... Anyway, to address my concerns I have come up with the following plan, which I have already started this week: Training schedule: Monday to Saturday: 1. Morning routine - GMB Floor Two warm up plus Monks' hip mobility exercises 2. Grease-the-groove pistol squats throughout the day (add one rep every 3 to four days) Monday afternoon: Mountain training - I should explain this. I work in my family's resort, which is up on the slope of mountain and surrounded by pine forest. Now I am not a trail runner, and I don't want to risk injury doing a trail run on the winding roads and trails. Within the resort, we have a private area that includes a nice flat little park that I've been using for a little parkour training so I plan to do sprint intervals along with some agility drills there. 1. Do 4 to 8 reps of the following: Single leg hops Pirouette-to-back scale Cartwheels 180-degree spinning tuck jumps 2. Sprint intervals - start with 5 laps, add one lap every week Tuesday and Saturday afternoon: upper body strength and conditioning (start with 5x5 per exercise, add 1 rep every week) 1. Knuckle push-ups (hold sticks for the last 2 sets) 2. TRX rows Thursday evening: Aikido and FMA classes Sunday: Active recovery As you can see, it's mostly just general conditioning and not so much fight-specific except for Thursday evening. Next challenge period I'll start incorporating more FMA-specific drills in my mountain training (this should coincide with the time we start incorporating more sparring and tactics during FMA class). Aikido class starts at 6:30 and ends at 8. FMA class (which is in another part of downtown) starts at 7:30 and ends at 9. As one of only 3 Aikido black belts (all professionals with jobs and families), I can't just back out of my commitment to teach every Thursday, and being a dedicated family guy I can only dedicate one night for MA practice of any kind. It's okay, everyone in both dojos know about my cross-training. The Aikido guys know I have to close the class a few minutes earlier than 8 so I can leave exactly 8, and the FMA guys know that I'll be joining them at least 40 minutes late. The upside is that I'll be more than warmed up by the time I get to my FMA class. The downside of course is that I will not be fresh when I start. NUTRITION: I've had excellent results with Intermittent Fasting ever since I started January of this year. I haven't weighed myself yet (I know, I know) but all my old pants are looser, my pants size is now 32, and my shirt size is now medium. So I'll continue my IF, which I'll do once or twice a week. For this week, I fasted last Tuesday and I was originally supposed to fast again tomorrow, but I've been invited to a barbecue so... I will enjoy the barbecue Fasting days: Tuesday and Friday OR Wednesday (depending on my schedule) For my side quest, I choose MUSIC: 1. Find 5 to 10 minutes for guitar practice every day. Goal: master the rhythm parts for the following cover songs: Paradise City by Guns N' Roses Livin' On The Edge by Aerosmith 2. 1 to 2 hours once a week in the recording studio Goal: finish recording original song I recorded something last month but it's still not done - just one guitar track. I plan to add piano, vocals, and probably an additional guitar part. Percussion optional. I want everything acoustic and minimal.
  3. Albertigog reached up to get a jug from the top shelf. As he lifted it a sharp pain shot through his back dropped the just smashing it on the floor. "I see you're still smashing my kitchen up with that back pain of yours." Talo entered into to the kitchen, the baker now looking much rougher than when they had first met mainly due to him shifting rocks everyday without the luxuries that was used to. "Sorry it's still not fully better yet. I'll go get the brush" Albertigog replied sheepishly, especially after the damage he'd caused one night trying to keep himself from turning into the wolf. "Ok but first we need to talk, it's been several weeks and you haven't quite managed to settle in. You made a good start but then something went wrong." "I know, I'm sorry I'll get back on track." "Good, so you can start taking healing that back of yours a bit more seriously, you gave up and have been sitting around for a few weeks and it's not helped (Challenge 1). Also you've been sneaking more than your fair share of the sweet foods we have left, I'm afraid you going to have to give them up completely to make up for it (challenge 2). You also need to be getting up with the rest of us, I've been at the pass for 2 hours already today, you started well but got lazy when you stopped exercising (Challenge 3). Finally you haven't really taken to looking after the horses, maybe you'll be better at helping the people at the town hall keep track of what going on in the town (Life challenge). "OK, will do and I won't mess up this time." So last challenge started out so well, but after some personal circumstances occurred, I had a hell of a lot on my plate, and ended up so tired that I gave up on the challenge. So this challenge is very similar to the last one, with the measures of success slightly tweaked. Challenge 1. Heal and get strong To do this, I'm going to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing some yoga/joint mobility exercises, the focus being on my lower back. Each week I manage to do this everyday will count as one point. In addition to my mobility, I'm setting myself some strength challenges, each one being worth one point. 30 consecutive dead hang pull ups. 15 second handstand 10 wall supported handstand pushups 10 consecutive over head presses with 25kg I know the weight isn't much but as part of my strength training I'm working on my lifting form with light to moderate weights to ready myself and my back for some proper lifting in the future. This gives a total of 10 points 8+ = A 7 = B 6 = C 5 = D Challenge 2. No more crap This is nice and simple as I think I over complicated it too much lat time. Anything I deem as unhealthy food is a no no. Everyday I manage is a point, any day i fail is no point. As this is the 4th morning of the challenge, that leaves 39 points in total. 34+ = A, 31+ = B, 28+ = C, 26+ = D Challenge 3. Get up. I made this a bit hard for myself last time. So again scoring system is if I manage it it's a point for the day, if not no point. Ideally I don't want to be getting up after 7, and would aim for 6 everyday, but from my experience last challenge I'm going to listen to my body a bit more. Therefore I will set my alarm each night for a time I think is appropriate based on how tired I am. Life challenge. Record record record. This is the big change and the one I think will do me the most good in the long run. Every night before I go to bed I'll record my exercise, what I've eaten, time I got up, and other things I want to keep track of not relating to the challenge. I think this will help me massively in being productive in the future, and help me with improve my fitness. I'm not one for fixed workouts, I like to play more than anything so tracking improvement is difficult, hopefully this will help. I'm on holiday with lots of other people for a week during this challenge, so I'm expecting challenge 2 and 3 to get a battering that week. Wish me luck!
  4. I haven't been happy with my progress the last couple challenges, no excuses. It's time to double down and get back to basics. I'm going to focus on Lifting, Running, Hydrating, and Recording. Main Quest: a ) Finish this challenge as intended. b ) Under 200 Lbs by 30th birthday (12/04/14) Mini Quests: 1. Workout more frequently [sTR +3] [DEX +2] 6am workouts alternating with running & lifting. Angry birds workout with added dumbbell workouts. Success is dependent on getting to bed early. A = 5 workouts B = 4 workouts C = 3 workouts D = 2 workouts F = <2 workouts 2. Hydrate [WIS +1] [CON +3] Drink 1+ Liters of water each day. Cut out all juice, booze, creamer. Coffee & Tea are permitted, but no more than 2 per day. A = 5 days B = 4 days C = 3 days D = 2 days F = <2 days 3. Record Keeping [WIS +2] [CON +1] Track food/drink on MFP A = 5 days B = 4 days C = 3 days D = 2 days F = <2 days 4. Clean house [CON +1] [WIS +2] All dishes done before bed + 15 minutes of clutter clean up. A = 5 days B = 4 days C = 3 days D = 2 days F = <2 days Starting Stats Weight Waist Hips Chest Biceps Legs Calves Neck
  5. I am working on a Vlog. what equipment (mics, cameras, software, etc) do you recommend?
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