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  1. We are the Renaissance Rebels... We're having a Creative Revolution and you're invited! Do you have a creative quest among your challenge goals? Then join this ragtag, eccentric group of nerds and level up your health and fitness habits and your creativity. Sure, that's a lot of balls to juggle over the course of six weeks, but it's a lot easier and more fun when you've got buddies! Post a reply below to introduce yourself. We're happy to have you! Renaissance Rebels BlackTezca Jakkals JMitch Kilo Luciana Valerosa Culming QuietRiotGrrrl Robkashikoi roseofmay scrawlcreatelive ShadowLion Silverwitch spookyfoot Terinatum WoodNymph WushuWarrior
  2. We're Back! We are the Renaissance Rebels... We're having a Creative Revolution and you're invited! Do you have a creative quest among your challenge goals? Then join this ragtag, eccentric group of nerds and level up your health and fitness habits and your creativity. Sure, that's a lot of balls to juggle over the course of six weeks, but it's a lot easier and more fun when you've got buddies! Post a reply below to introduce yourself. We're happy to have you! Renaissance Rebels BlackTezca Dantilla greenjasper irmintrude greeneyes Jaex Jakkals JMitch Luciana Valerosa Culming Neva NikaNika RangerDanger Scrawlcreatelive ShadowLion Viscura WoodNymph
  3. Do you have a creative quest among your challenge goals? Then join this ragtag, eccentric group of nerds to level up your health and fitness habits and your creativity. Sure, that's a lot of balls to juggle over the course of six weeks, but it's a lot easier and more fun when you've got buddies! YOU are invited to join The Renaissance Rebels for fitness, fun, creativity, and camaraderie! You can check out previous Renaissance Rebels challenge threads: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. We're happy to have you!
  4. Do you have a creative quest among your challenge goals? Then join this ragtag, eccentric group of nerds to level up your health and fitness habits and your creativity. Sure, that's a lot of balls to juggle over the course of six weeks, but it's a lot easier and more fun when you've got buddies! YOU are invited to join The Renaissance Rebels for fitness, fun, creativity, and camaraderie! You can check out previous Renaissance Rebels challenge threads: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. If it looks like fun, signup on the Cross Guild page and post a reply below to introduce yourself. We're happy to have you!
  5. Do you have a creative streak? Do you plan to have a creative life quest among your challenge goals once you graduate from Level One? Become an apprentice in the Renaissance Rebel Atelier and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow apprentices and the mentorship of experienced RenRebs! YOU are invited to join The Renaissance Rebel Apprentices for fitness, fun, creativity, and camaraderie! You can check out previous Renaissance Rebels challenge threads: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. If it looks like fun to you, sign up to be an apprentice on the Level One page and post a reply below to introduce yourself. We're happy to have you!
  6. For the next six weeks, I will follow the Angry Birds workout routine--which makes me a temporary Assassin, if I'm reading correctly that bodyweight workouts fall within their realm of expertise. Main Quest My long-term focus continues to be getting healthy and staying healthy. To this point, I have been using weight, waist diameter, and BMI as my proxy measurements of healthiness. In 30 weeks, I lost 55 pounds, 5 inches of belly, and 8 points of BMI respectively--and hopefully this has translated to a better blood profile, lower blood pressure, less insulin resistance, and better liver functioning. Although I have made some furtive steps toward increasing my activity level, most of my efforts have gone into improving my diet. For this quest, I will pivot into exercise. Main Side Quests M1. The Angry Birds workout awards stars for each of four exercises, and provides a path for leveling up each one to more difficult versions or a larger number or required repetitions. I will complete 2-3 sessions of each exercise per week, not doing any one exercise two days in a row, and attempting to earn more stars and/or increase my levels to indicate progress in building muscle. M2. I will increase protein intake as necessary to facilitate muscle regeneration between workouts. From what I've read, this is necessary to the process. M3. For six weeks, I will not stress out about weight. If building muscle mass, or eating in a way that encourages muscle recovery puts me outside my target weight range, I will address that issue in a future challenge. M4. I will try to get more sleep. Life Quests L1. I will build my web design business. L2. I will work on my novel. L3. I will continue to organize my office, computer, and life.
  7. Work in Progress Storyline to be inserted here My commitment for 2014 is to participate in seven consecutive NF challenges with the following definite aim: To overcome my current limitations (physical disability, bad habits, faulty beliefs and attitudes) and attain a high level of fitness and a healthy body weight, through a strategic combination of healthy eating, targeted physical activity, and systems design. ~ My Aim is Driven by My Motivation ~ I resolve to not die with my best dreams and work still inside me For I can bring beauty, joy, and healing into the world through my art, music, and writing ~ To accomplish My Aim, I must pursue My Main Quest with drive, determination, and discipline ~ "I am as unstoppable as the Shadow Lion!" This is my new battle cry when tempted to skip training, indulge in sugary foods, or slack on my practicing... Day by day, I plan to gamify my challenge and draw inspiration from the best qualities of my hero and literary creation, Ariel ha' Cathach, the "Shadow Lion." This will be a year of modeling my fitness, health and creative pursuits on that "ranger's ranger" who's kickass fit, doesn't take "No" or "You can't" for an answer, never gives up on her main objective, and always, always, always follows her heart. She is utterly committed to her friends and family, and believes in herself and her mission. Exactly how I want to be when I grow up! To achieve my goals, I have broken everything down into SMART goals with scoring in a detailed, and rather lengthy, Plan of Action to be posted in my Battle Log. A summary of the key components follows: 1) Eat Right, Lose Weight CON-4 FOOD SUCCESS PLAN 1 ) Accountability - Log, photos, measurements. 2 ) Specific Tactics - Plan meals, try new recipes, batch cook and make ahead. 3 ) Disaster Management - Carry food with me when on the road, have some planned "free meals," go for 80/20 clean/free. I am not setting a goal that defines a certain number of pounds or percent body fat to lose this challenge. Those have not been helpful and I do not know yet how my body will react to my new crossfit regimen. Instead, I am going to trust that behavior changes will move me closer to my ultimate goals and see how far those will take me this challenge. I do have a long-term goal in mind, but will wait and gather information before considering a new deadline. 2) Become a sleek, strong, and supple ranger with lots of stamina STR-1 STA-3 DEX-1 FITNESS SUCCESS PLAN 1 ) Accountability - Log, class/coach/crossfit 2 ) Habit Reinforcement - Workouts at regular times and places, daily mobility work 3 ) Recovery - Keep to sleep schedule and get enough protein and calories overall, keep perspective and don't over load 3) Build effective, efficient, and sustainable systems to achieve my goals WIS-2 CHA-1 BASIC SYSTEMS SUCCESS PLAN 1 ) Accountability - Participate actively in the Renaissance Rebels accountabilibuddy team 
2 ) Productivity - Continue my solutions from previous challenges on a daily basis, use checklist/spreadsheet for tracking, create larger strategic framework, use various methods as needed to maintain focus and keep stress in check 3 ) Disaster Management - Create a written fallback plan with creative solutions for tough times. Front load challenge activities early in the day and the week. Fall down seven times, get back up eight. 4 ) Evaluate & Iterate - Track progress daily, evaluate progress weekly. Reward good behavior; learn from the bad. Notice what promotes good behavior - do more of that! 4) 


Level Up Life Goal(s)
 WIS-2 CHA-1 CREATIVITY SUCCESS PLAN 1) Art - Start and complete drawing for mom's birthday. 2) Craft - Finish knitting projects already started and not done (socks, shrug, pillow). Post progress pics. 3) Music - 
Practice regularly (still determining amount and pieces). Complete the goal started challenge-before-last: Learn one new (or complete one "half-done but abandoned") song per instrument and have each memorized and performance-ready by end of challenge. The songs don't have to be long or terribly advanced repertoire, but they do have to engage my interest and be something that would be pleasing to an audience. Guitar, Harp, Violin, Piano, Voice (may double with one of the other instruments). 
Share with accountabilibuddies. 4) Writing - WRITE. Write a lot. Write at least 20 minutes a day, 6 days per week, even if crazy busy, tired, don't feel like it, blocked, yada, yada, yada. Then write some more. Preferably on the novel, but personal journal counts, too. Write 18,000 words by the end of the challenge.
 The specific, measurable steps that correspond to the above goals and objectives (as detailed in my Battle Log) will be graded with the standard A, B, C, D, or F system using the usual percentages.
  8. I've been waiting for this... Main Quest: My main quest is to get healthy and develop the habits to stay that way. In the long run that includes blood pressure, blood glucose, liver function, blood lipids, and other markers of health. In the short term, I'm focused on weight and waist circumference in the hopes that all of the above will normalize on their own. Main Side Quests: M1. Track calories daily. M2. Some kind of workout three days a week. M3. Dermal health, including a mole check. Health within requires healthy skin! M4. Dental health - Find a dentist, get a checkup, floss daily, get one of those germ-killing mouthwashes, and upgrade the toothbrush with new batteries and spinning head. Life Quest: I write books, but 2013 was year of setbacks on the creative front. 2014 will be a year for turning things around. Life Side Quests: L1. Whip my manuscript into shape. L2. Find an agent. L3. Streamline my online presence and social media activity. L4. Set up school visits. That's a lot for six weeks, but should give me a good jump start in the new year.
  9. It is still dark when I awake. I slip out of bed, already dressed, and gather up the things that I laid out the night before. I put on the warm cap and jacket, and stuff a cloth bag in my pocket, then sneak downstairs to the kitchen. I am in luck. Most of the preparations for tonight's celebration were finished yesterday and no one is in the kitchen yet. So I stuff a couple of biscuits and several slices of meat into my bag and exit out the back door that opens onto the kitchen garden without having to make up any stories about where I am going or what I am doing. All is quiet as I pass around the back of the armory and the two buildings where my mother's students live. I am so excited at what today will hold! I have waited almost a year and a half for it, ever since I saw my older sister receive her training sword the day she turned seven. Today it will be my turn and I intend to be ready. My Main Quest: Become as unstoppable as the heroine in my novel! (The gory details of the following can be found in my Battle Log.) 1) Build effective, efficient, and sustainable systems WIS-2 CHA-1 To achieve my Main Quest and Life Quest Goals, I will follow the Plan of Action as detailed in my Battle Log. The Plan addresses these areas with specific, measurable actions: A ) "Basic Systems," the Foundational Success Plan B ) "Eat Well," the Food Success Plan C ) "Train Hard," Fitness Success Plan 2) Lose 12 pounds and 6% BF CON-4 3) Become a sleek, strong, and supple ranger with lots of stamina STR-4 DEX-1 To achieve this goal, I will use a mix of mobility, strength, and endurance exercises: 3 x 1 minute planks, 30 sec rest interval 5 regular pushups 1 exercise band assisted pullup 2 x 25 bw squats 2 x 10 bw lunges per side Complete Tai Chi form (24 movement) and saber form memorized 15 minute mile on level ground, no pack weight 4 ) Creativity Quest WIS-2 CHA-1 

 ART/CRAFT
 - Knit a pair of socks 

MUSIC
 - Complete the the repertoire goal started last challenge and share with accountabilibuddies. WRITING - Write 18,000 words All of the above goals will be graded with the standard A, B, C, D, or F system using the usual percentages. EDIT 0823 11/17/2013 - Removed previous challenge gamification storyline in anticipation of inserting new material. EDIT 1530 11/17/2013 - Changed Topic Title from "Lt_Laurel - Becoming One of ha'Cathach's Rangers" to "Lt_Laurel: Becoming the Shadow Lion, Episode 1 - Earning My Sword" EDIT 0039 11/19/2013 - Added first part of new storyline to head of topic post.
  10. My Motivation: I resolve to not die with my dreams still inside me For I can bring beauty, joy, and healing into the world through my art, music, and writing My Epic Quest of Awesomeness To Bring Out the Best That is Inside Me To succeed in this I must conquer my Fears and Bad Habits I must be HEALTHY, FIT, FOCUSED, and PRODUCTIVE I MUST BECOME UNSTOPPABLE My Main Quest: BECOME AS UNSTOPPABLE as the heroine in my novel! She's a kickass fit ranger who doesn't take "No" or "You can't" for an answer, never gives up on her main objective, and always, always, always follows her heart. So, first things first. (She keeps her priorities straight, she does.) Over the next six challenges, I will get in the best shape of my life through healthy eating, lifting heavy things, moving around A LOT, and creating routines that support my quest. My first three missions are very similar to my second challenge as they're still the best fit for my Main Quest. I have updated my Life Quest to reflect my relatively better performance in that part of the last challenge, plus some new developments. 1) Eat for health and performance Continue to clean up my diet and maintain at least a 80/20 paleo-primal to Standard American Diet (SAD) split. I will maintain my compliance and momentum on this in the following ways: a ) Increase the variety of meals that I eat by preparing one new recipe per week and planning my menus and shopping ahead for the week so as to maximize variety. b ) Minimize failures (due to my taking the easy way out and eating bad foods when life gets in the way of my aspirations) by having some fast and easy snacks and meals prepared and ready to go at all times. c ) Allow for a certain amount of social and emotional eating by building in some limited cheating, to be fully enjoyed without guilt or remorse. d ) Keep a detailed food journal to ensure I'm meeting these sub-goals. Weigh weekly; take measurements at beginning, mid-point, and end; take photos at beginning and end. Aim to lose 6 pounds and 3% BF. STR-1 STA-1 CON-2 CHA-1 2) Become a sleek, strong, and supple ranger with lots of stamina a ) Do a daily mobility workout of at least 10 minutes a day, six days per week. New focus area - working on posture and back/neck flexibility and alignment. b ) Strength training at least 2x per week using primarily body-weight exercises and modified cross-fit style workouts. More than that - BONUS POINTS! Each additional workout earns $5.00 towards videos and music. (Hmmm, or maybe a new wardrobe a few challenges hence?) c ) Move! Walk, bike (stationary or otherwise - just move!), dance and/or do tai chi for a minimum of 30 minutes per session, at least 3 days per week. More than that - BONUS POINTS! Each additional 30 minutes earns $5.00 towards videos and music. STR-2 DEX-2 STA-1 3) Build good, simple, and sustainable systems to support the above goals a ) Participate actively in an accountabilibuddy team. Aim to contribute at least 7 posts per week. Limit thread following to a manageable number. b ) Get enough recovery - a minimum of at least 4 hours uninterrupted sleep, and at least 6 hours sleep per night, plus naps as needed. Track this in journal, too. c ) Learn from last challenge's "challenges" and create fallback plans and advance creative solutions for those days when I'm crazy busy, feel crummy mentally or physically, or "life happens" and causes my willpower to falter or my time to be limited. Whenever possible, do challenge activities early in the day and the week - front load - so as to have some reserve if I get crunched later on. d ) Create spreadsheet/tracking system for this challenge's many goal components. Experiment with Kanban board, mindmapping, and app solutions the first two weeks of challenge, put system into place during third week, and maintain for the remainder. STR-1 DEX-1 WIS-1 Level Up Life Goal(s) Ah, yes, I am definitely a ranger, a jack of all trades. I've been a musician/teacher, artist, firefighter/EMT, multimedia software developer... despite all that I've been told all of my life about the value of specialization! ART a ) Complete my two portrait commissions by end of challenge. (Due date of Nov. 1, 2013) b ) Update personal business card, logo, and web avatar c ) Design and create guitar society logo Bonus Points - Create portrait of one of my novel's characters. Post for NF enjoyment. MUSIC a ) Learn one new (or complete one "half-done but abandoned") song per instrument and have each memorized and performance-ready by end of challenge. The songs don't have to be long or terribly advanced repertoire, but they do have to engage my interest and be something that would be pleasing to an audience. Guitar, Harp, Violin, Piano, Voice (may double with one of the other instruments). Bonus points if a piece is an original composition. b ) Review and revise lesson policies, mission statement, other business docs, in light of the new realities of being a traveling teacher and working with co-op studio. c ) Progress, however small, on music method and associated game. Consider outsourcing game development. Bonus Points - Record one or more of my new songs and post for NF enjoyment. WRITING a ) Finish outlining the series - Is it three novels, or four? Do I go with the one that is almost done first, or change the order? b ) Get information on self-publishing and building an audience; keep working with my mentor. c ) Most important of all - WRITE. Write a lot. Write at least 20 minutes a day, 6 days per week, even if crazy busy, tired, don't feel like it, blocked, yada, yada, yada. Then write some more. Write 30,000 words by the end of the challenge. Bonus Points - Post an excerpt for NF enjoyment. Done 9/22 WIS-2 CHA-1 All of the above goals will be graded with the standard A, B, C, D, or F system using the usual percentages. I feel good about all of my goals except the eating clean. I've been so bad the last few weeks, I'm not sure I can do it. This is where I get to choose to be like my hero, or not...
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