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  1. I missed the last challenge but still got it in some great workouts for the last six weeks. I am trying to find a good way to keep track of my workouts but I haven't found and easy way to do it which and many times, because of the multiple workouts per day, I cannot remember what I did by the end of the day. Anyway, this time around, I am going to keep focusing on the chaos workouts and continue to do at least two workouts per day with the focus on the following: 1: Get 10 strict pull ups by the end of the challenge. Since my squats and lunges have improved with my current workout, I am going to apply the same method to pull ups. If I remember correctly, I was able to do 28 pull ups when I was 17 during a fitness test which was 38 years ago. The end goal is to get to 30 consecutive pull ups overall but if I can get to 10 over the next five weeks, I know I can keep increasing that number going forward. 2: Mobility training three times per week. I am seeing a lot of improvement since I started doing The Simplistic Mobility Method and the only thing that is holding me back is consistent training. I get one or two of these workouts in per week but I need to up the game. I also found some interesting Qi Gong training on Youtube that I started doing which is similar to moving meditation. 3. Three Karate classes per week. I have two formal Zoom classes each week but I need an additional class, on my own, to work on what I am learning in the two other classes. I do a good amount of kihon and kata throughout the week but an additional, structured class will go a long way. Extra credit: Mediate at least three times per week. This is one area that I have been lacking in over the last year or so. I was doing so well with headspace everyday for over three years but I started to feel that it wasn't helping. I have a couple of apps and some Youtube videos that interest me and doing them three times a week should go a long way.
  2. The last challenge was an eye opener for me. Training more than once a day with short workouts and one longer workout at night was one of the most productive challenges I have done since I started doing them on here. It was a great learning experience and this challenge will be a continuation of the what I did but with more structure relating to timing and number of workouts per day. I still need to tune what I am going to do each workout but that's the chaos part. If I feel like bands, I do bands,. If want to do the sandbag or kettlebells, then I do. If I want to do the dumbbells or barbells, you guessed it. I have so many things to choose from, I won't know that to do but that's the best part. Captain Chaos approved! "Dunn dun DU-UH-UHNNNN!!" 1. Chaos training 5 days a week. At least three workouts a day but more if possible five days a week. I need to get the last workout in earlier in the evening because the late workouts before bed are keeping me too amped up to sleep. The early workouts are normally around the 10 to 15 minute mark but I am looking for at least 60 minutes a day going forward. 2. Karate training 3 days a week. I am training on two Zoom classes a week now but I want get in an extra class on my own each week. The Zoom classes are getting more intense and I feel like I am starting to feel like a beginner again, which means more training. 3. Recovery with meditation and flow training. Training as much as I did during the last challenge pushed me harder than before and a few of those days, I had some issues recovery from the workouts the day before. It wasn't the physical recovery, instead it was the mental recovery. I have a new meditation app that I want to explore and I have been studying the Flow training course that I bought some time ago and never really looked at until recently. Extra credit: Publish at least two videos for my training websites. This is something that I have wanted to do for years and even though they will be very short videos, I need to start somewhere and break away from the analysis paralysis. I guess I am really dating myself by positing a picture of Captain Chaos but Cannonball Run is one of my favorite movies.
  3. After missing two challenges because of work and well, more work, I am back. Oddly, during those two missed challenges, I had some of the most consistent training. It isn't anything earth shattering but the workouts were good and the 15 minute morning workout has because a habit that helps me through the workday. It's time to stop typing and start training because it's good to be back. 1. Close all three rings on my Apple watch seven times a week for the entire challenge. This Apple watch is a devious little device. It makes me workout and get up and move like a little drill instructor on my wrist. Closing all three rings each day is a serious boost to my training motivation and this time around, closing those rings seven days a week is a want to do but a requirement. 2. At least one extra Karate class a week. I haven't been to the dojo for in-person training in over a year but I have at least one Zoom class each week. On top of that class, a second class each week is the goal here. Another Zoom or my own training class in my home dojo will suffice but either way, a full hour of extra, structured training is the goal. 3. Publish at least one blog post per week. I have been battling this goal for what seems to be years now but this time around I know I can do it. Extra credit: Any type of mobility or strength training is a plus.
  4. The last challenge went well overall and I believe that it's because I really didn't have a specific plan for training. My decision of not taking an in person Karate class made me feel a little lost but I finally started to get back on track after a few weeks passed. I can still get in good training even if I am not in class and I can still learn some new things as long a my mind is open. With that said, this challenge is all about just doing something and going with my gut instead of my mind. I often heard that the gut is the other brain and it seems to be pretty smart and many times smarter than the one in my head. 1 - 30 minute workout for 30 days The Apple watch has had a big impact on my training and the information it contains has kept me moving even when I don't feel like moving. I found that getting it makes me feel guilty if I don't workout and I think getting at least 30 minutes of workout time is a good place to be. I have done it in the past and even had a pr of 75 days in a row but over the last few months those numbers have dropping and it's time to get them back up. 2 - Find time for sleep I have had sleep issues for years and I notice that if I have even 20 minutes more sleep in a day, I feel much better overall. The goal is to get 6 hours and 45 minutes of sleep each week night and one weekend day. 3 - Read 10 minutes a day This part of the past challenges has been going well and I want to continue it going forward. Extra credit: Publish that one elusive blog post. I almost had it in the last challenge and I think I can do it this time around.
  5. I could come up with some good excuses for not ending the last challenge as planned but I cannot get that time back so it's time focus on the present and not the past. Kata - 100 Shotokan katas per week and 30 Iaido katas per week With only three months left until the tournament, the kata focus needs to be serious and at the top of the list. Core work - 5 times per week My Karate has improved with the core work I have been doing over the last two weeks and I need to keep it up. I consider core more than only abs so glutes, torso and legs are part of what I call core. Other - as much or as little as I can do after the top two goals DDP, weights, band work or flexibility training will fit in here if I have the energy. Blog posts - One a week I have been very far behind on my blog posts and setting the bar low on this might help raise it higher. Shotokan Kata - 0 / 400 Iaido Kata - 0 / 120 Core work - 0 / 20 Other - 0 / open Blog posts - 0 / 4
  6. The last challenge was my best so far and this time around, I want to push it further. I learned that I could push my body harder than I thought and make improvements that I haven't seen before. After doing so well last time and trying do more this time the Captain is asking me, are you nuts but it might be a rhetorical question? Focus on Karate even more: 130 katas 120 katas last time means 130 this time around. Stretch my limits more with DDP: 19 mobility / flexibility workouts Having found that the DDP workouts are really good for me, I want to try to get one more workout in this time around. Getting 18 last time came down to the wire but you don't get better if you don't at least aim higher. Get back to kicking with an extra 10 percent: 220 side thrust kicks Kicks are getting better each challenge so why not add another 10 percent to last time. Extra credit: Publish six blog posts Five blog posts were published the last time even though I was only aiming for four but either way, six posts should be doable.
  7. The last four week challenge was a learning experience and this time around, I want to focus on what I learned and see where it takes me. I think Mr. Spock would approve. I had a gif of Mr. Spock saying logical but it was too large to upload here and I couldn't link to it so you will need to use your imagination to see it until I upload it to one of my websites. So, I am changing the theme this month since I just found the gif below and I like the Librarians show and I think Flynn Carson would agree with my challenge goals. They key thing that I am trying to do now is get my body to adapt to the training. I need to do things for a long time to get my body to adjust. When I was young, I could train like a lunatic and recover before the next day but now it takes a lot longer, especially my hamstrings, for my body to recover. My thoughts are, working the same muscles, sometimes daily, will help them adapt and get used to the workouts. 1. Kicking complexes - 3 times a week I don't know if they are really called complexes or circuits but complexes sounded better. Finding the combination of kicks and hips/core/glute movements had a positive impact on my kicks and stances so doing them at least three times a week is the goal. 2. Humane Burpee or other circuit training - 2 times per week I have to give credit to Dan John for this one. This kettlebell/bodyweight/loaded carries circuit really interests me. It seems to be the right amount of movements to get the entire body working and it really pushes my endurance. I might create some other circuits for variety but these will be the main focus for this part of the challenge. Only two times per week since I already have the kicking complexes three times a week. 3. More kata training - 35 Shotokan katas per week My kata training is going well and since I am still not taking classes, I need to get in my training time at home. This time around, I want to do 35 Shotokan katas each week. This is doable this time around but I want to spread them out over the week instead of doing 25 or more on the weekend. In the back of my mind, I think I am considering coming out of retirement and competing next year a the state championships. This is more of a long term goal but starting now will give my about nine months to prepare. Extra credit - Write 500 words per week The writing went okay last time around but I know that I didn't get 500 words per week. I am not sure why I didn't do it, since it's only 2000 words over the challenge but this time, I want to hit that goal.
  8. Are there anny other shotokan karateka's here? i was hoping to find some fellow karateka's
  9. The last two challenges have been a great learning experience for me. Finishing challenges with success sure beats failing. Even though my goals aren't what many would consider world class, being able to complete the goals I set out to do has given me the drive to continue improving. It also proves that my body and mind isn't cut out to train balls to the wall each and every day. I am not looking for maximum results with minimal effort. Instead of training harder and harder, I am learning to train smarter and focus on the movement that give me the most bang for buck. 50 katas a week This has worked well for me in the past and I am seeing more improvement over the last two challenges than I have in years of training. Focusing on what everyone else is doing hasn't given me the greatest results over the years but the 50 katas had and I will continue to shoot for the magic 50 each week. I do want to focus a but more on my Shotokan katas overall but I am still going to include my Iaido katas too. 50 side kicks a week with each leg Now that I have more movement in my hips and better pelvic alignment, it's time to put rubber to road and kick it up a notch. This will consist of side thrust kicks and roundhouse kicks. I am training more technique and proper body alignment and will work on power and speed when the time is right. Tai Cheng three times a week / Body weight workout two time a week. I would have never thought that this would have some much impact, not only on my Karate and Iaido training, but also on my posture and my ability to work my muscles correctly. My Sensei always told me that if you improve your posture, your Karate and Iaido will improve. Needless to say, he was right and I should have listened to him years ago but better late then never, right. All of the other things that I tried in the past did help me improve but they only focused on the hips and all time, I should have been focusing on the the body moving as a unit instead of just the hips. Another thing that I should have listened better from my Sensei were some simple words he would tell me all the time in class. He would say "with the body" meaning and strike or technique needs to be done with the entire body not just a couple parts. I have taught this to other over the years but, until now, I didn't apply my own advice to myself. The body weight workout is focused on the hips and lower body along with upper body movements to tie it all together. Life goal - Spend an hour each week working on my first product offering for my business I have a job that I like and a good boss but I cannot see myself working for someone else for the rest of my life. The sum of this goal is a five year plan but I need to start now so that when five years is up, I am working for myself as a consultant. I have done this very thing, for one my consulting clients, for many years now and it's time to expand and start helping others with a service that they need at an affordable and easy to execute process. Extra credit - Meditate for five minutes a week This is one area that has been toughest for me. Even two minutes a week has been a challenge in itself but if I can get in five minutes of simple meditation each week, I will be happy. My mind is always racing and I know that I need to settle it down or it's going to come oozing out my ears. I know five minutes is week is a little weak but it's a goal none the less.
  10. Gah, I'm late! Seeing as I recklessly abandoned my first 6 week challenge, it's time to try again; this time with a tangible goal at the end of the challenge. Main Quest: Improve strength and endurance for karate and lifting. As some may know, I'm in love with powerlifting and I also practice Shotokan karate. The two don't particularly go hand in hand, but they do complement each other. While I'm psyched I've gone from deadlifting 135lb to 205lb in less than a year's time, my squats fell prey to poor form and I'm not at all where I want to be for bench presses. Shotokan is all about strong, low stances and quick and powerful punches. Here's how I'm gonna do this:Dedicate 30 minutes each day to karate basics (kihon), focusing primarily on blocks and leg position, holding for 10-15 seconds each.Squat with purpose. While there's little more satisfying than driving up from a heavy squat, my focus here will be maintaining balance and form while driving up from the squat at about half my normal speed.Pass my karate exam on May 17, 2015! This is my end goal for this challenge. If I pass, this will push me into the intermediate level. If I don't, I'll try again during Fall exams .Life Quest: Memorize kihon (basics) commands in Japanese. Since this next exam will push me into a somewhat more advanced level of training, I'm expected to know at least some of the movement commands in Japanese. So why not study them all? In lieu of flashcards that I'm sure to lose, I'll use my nerdy know-how to build a electronic mini-quiz for myself. Maybe this will even morph into another side-quest where I actually fiddle around with my Raspberry Pi!Accountability: I plan to update this thread every Wednesday with my overall progress for the week and recap the previous Tuesday night's karate class. **Last Update: 5/20/15 (see comments)**
  11. So, I figured at first that I'd do the Spartan and die valiantly and not have to worry about the rest of the challenge, until I started reading about places doing up their Christmas decorations and their Praline Spice Pumpkin Mocha Frappucinos (that's what Starbucks does, right? I'm bad at coffee) and radio stations starting to hit the Christmas music already, all in the name of that all important Q4. And I thought about how fortunate I was to work for a sane, decent company that doesn't indulge in those shenanigans, that takes its mission seriously and lets the product speak for itself- Until today. When I went looking for coffee cups to restock with. And found them. Colored red. With PEPPERMINT. SWIRL. PATTERN. I think we all know what this means. RIGHTEOUS SANTA JUSTICE Clearly the opening track of the anime that they will make of this war. Yes. I can't die at the Spartan knowing that this bloated, commercialized claptrap of a holiday will survive me. I can't stand it. I won't stand it. Bunch of bloody, soulless companies trying to latch on to our feelings of good will and cheer to trade those things for petty material possessions! FFS! We haven't even had Thanksgiving yet, you bastards! INTO THE TRENCHES * All right. The work is before us. NaNoWriMo is trying to knock me off my dietary track at every turn, and if it's not that, it's the delicious things we're making at Panera. They're rolling out a new cinnamon roll that makes the old one look... well, really bad. Which isn't even getting into the part where they're bustin' out with the Holiday Bread, which is like a cinnamon roll if cinnamon rolls came in loaves. Stop that! We got work to do! Goal 1: Ab Training 5 Days/Week Yeah, I know what you're thinking. This is fairly unnecessary. Why would I ever want to do that? Don't I know that teh abz can only show with teh P4L30? Hah! Let me explain. The core is an incredibly difficult set of muscles to overwork. It's the stabilizer. Everything you do, every challenge that requires you to hold steady has to be won here, and it can do the work.With the absence of weights, the core is able to quickly regenerate itself and be ready to work again in no time at all.The horror story of making your stomach bigger is... exaggerated. Rectus abdominis and the surrounding pieces just don't have enough tissue to expand that way, to that kind of size.Meanwhile, there is a long and celebrated history of boxers working their abs to death. When was the last time you saw a genuinely fat boxer?Goal 2: Finish NaNoWriMo Strong I'm actually having some trouble with the novel this time. I'm going slower, having to struggle for my words. I think that's because I mean to publish this damn thing. So I can't just bumrush it like I used to... I mean, I could, but so much of it would just have to go. So, I'm making it official: finish the month out. Come hell or hot chocolate. Yeah, look at this bullcrap. This warm, chocolatey... maybe some marshmallows... NOOOOOO Goal 3: Keep the Cheats Under Control So, I seem to have found my magic number that gets me both satisfaction and results. That number is 2: two cheat meals per week. Not days. Meals. 'cuz one just isn't enough, but two somehow manages to get to me to that place where I'm satisfied and wanting to stop. The thing is, though, lately I've been struggling to keep to that. With all the delicious things coming out and with all these occasions to get together with friends, it just seems like it's awful heavy all of a sudden. And if I can make them fit my macros for the day, then... well, surely it's not a cheat... right? ... right? I don't know, man. I just don't know. Goal 4: Put the money together for a car payment So, long story short, my dad heard that I had the race coming up, and he was not happy. He thought I was trying to welch on the car payment and that if I could put money away for a silly race that I could do important things like take care of the car and such like that. I get to figure that one out now too on top of everything else. We'll get it, though. We'll get it. Logs and such to follow. Let's end it strong, monks.
  12. Just so all of you don't think I am any stranger than you already do, the title of my challenge this time is from an old song named KISS from The Art of Noise that was sung by Tom Jones. It has the words "I think I better dance now" and since I need to improve may stances for Karate, I felt the title would be appropriate. The main reason that I want to improve my stances is because I learned something very interesting at my last Karate tournament while watching all the older folks compete. Most of the senior (over 35 year old adults are called seniors in my club, which I am not too fond of but that's another story) competitors do not have good, low stances while doing their katas. Stances aren't the only important part for winning but if I can lower my stances and still move well, I think I can put a dent in the group of people that always place ahead of me. With that said, it's time to get down to business and embark on another six week journey of pain and suffering fun! 1. Stances the Tabata way three times a week: This is something that I worked on in the past but stopped doing for some reason. I have seen how much this can help after watching one of the kata athletes that I have been training do this and his improvement are incredible. Four minutes of stance training doesn't sound like much, right? I haven't figured out yet if I am going to work on one stance or multiple stances for the time but this needs to be done at least three times a week. My thoughts are front stance left and right, horse stance, back stance left and right and another horse stance and for the last two 20 second sets, one day cat stance and the other day cross leg stance left and right. 2. 1000 push ups a month and a little more: This is something that a fellow former Karate instructor and friend of mine suggested for his personal training clients. He started a Facebook challenge for all his clients and whoever else wants to do it, to do 50 push ups a day (in sets of 10 throughout the day) to make a total of 1000 push ups for the month of November. I should have started this a few days ago but I'm just lazy, like always but I still have 26 days anyway, right? Instead of doing only push ups, I am going to add side jackknifes, glute bridges and some form of ab work. The plan is to do 10 reps of each movement, do a Karate and Iaido kata and repeat for 5 sets. I did a test run of this workout tonight and it was done in well under 30 minutes including some time on the foam roller. 3. Improve my Karate - two parts = double the fun: Over the the last challenge, my overall Karate improved more than it has in some time. My kicks are better, moving from hips is better and my posture is better than ever before. These were all areas that I needed to improve on and I want to continue to step it up further. A. This time around, I am going to continue to do the extra Karate class at home but this time, I am only going to it once each week. Between the formal class, Iaido class, teaching three days a week, the dedicated kata session with my coach and trying to do the extra class twice wasn't allowing me to recover. B. More mobility and flexibility is needed. Doing Cheechoe's hip routine has been a huge help at improving my kicks. I am kicking higher than ever before and I was able to deliver my side kicks with power that I have never had in the past. With that said, I still need more improvement and I plan on doing Cheechoe's routine at least once a week along with Eric Wong's HFS routine twice a week. If I can find a Yoga routine that I can actually do, like the routines on doyogawithme.com, I would like to get in at least on Yoga session each week, no matter how simple. Life Goal: Over the last few months, my focus has sucked to say the least. Simple tasks that should take a short amount of time are taking me days to finish because I can't get my focus. I haven't been writing as much and it seems that my mind is always spinning in all directions. Because of this, I need to start meditating again. If I it's 5 minutes three times a week I will be happy but I really need to get my mind under control again so that I can make my life better and I hope that the mediation will help. Disclaimer: Like all of my challenges in the past, this one is subject to change at any time.
  13. Hi all! I've been meaning to do this for a while, but seeing as I suffer from social anxiety even online, I avoided it. I also tend to ramble. That said, I found Nerd Fitness earlier this year - around April - and lurked around the site and forums for quite a while. I've struggled with my health and weight for most of my 20s, and while I'd started running semi-regularly around 3 years ago, I wasn't making any progress. Working a desk job and commuting by train every day hardly helps, as I'm sitting 8+ hours a day, not including the time I spend at home vegging. It took some time to realize that no matter how hard I worked physically, my motivation (to lose weight) and methods were all wrong. Until I found Nerd Fitness and started writing down everything I ate, I had no clue that I had no clue how to eat. It took a bit to accept that not all calories are created equal. Also, I found that I absolutely loathed running. While my cardiovascular health improved - somewhat - I was unable to shed any weight and I was just damn bored when I ran. Adding insult to injury, I was diagnosed with asthma right around the time I started running. I'd run, then get a nasty case of bronchitis plus the added bonus of a sinus infection each November that would knock me out of commission for 2-3 months. I think you can see where this is going...the cycle continued. During the summer of 2013, I knew running wasn't a sustainable plan - seeing as I both mentally and physically hated it - so I joined my husband (1st kyu brown) and began karate (Shotokan) training. I had a surprisingly difficult time catching onto karate, to the point that I nearly quit after the summer session had ended. It also didn't help that we train in a group, high and low belts together, going through all the same kata, kihon (basics) and kumite (sparring). I felt like everyone was watching me and judging me for sucking so bad at karate. It took a while for me to realize that no one cared how bad I was, and instead offered tips and my sensei broke down the purpose of each movement (bunkai). I'd hate to say that after my first belt test I had more confidence, but it's the truth. Also, knowing that I survived a belt test while sick with my annual bronchitis/sinus infection, I realized I'm not as weak as I think I am. From the moment I ditched my white belt, I wanted to be stronger for karate. Around May, I decided to start making small changes after stumbling upon Nerd Fitness. I audited my diet (holy crap, that was difficult) and made small changes week by week. That was an uphill battle on its own. I always left at least one day for myself to go out with the husband and enjoy something like a cheeseburger, but maybe not eat the whole thing and skip the top bun. Then, I found the beautiful joy that is lifting. Like karate, I sucked at first. I was impatient and overloaded myself with weight too fast and found myself feeling like I was literally going to fall apart, limb by limb. I read articles written by Staci Ardison on Nerd Fitness and actually applied her tips, and lo and behold, I shed 25 lbs by doing little more than karate one night a week, lifting 3 times a week and filling myself with cleaner foods. Consequently, I started kicking major ass in karate (not literally). My stances got lower and much stronger, and I found a deep love of kata...something that I hated more than anything else in karate. Sorry, for my long-winded intro. I'm also a musician. I play guitar (funk and blues mostly) and trumpet. I've played WoW since vanilla and I've started to get into tabletop games. So far, I think Pandemic might be my favorite, followed by Munchkin.
  14. Oof ...between the holiday and a family member passing away after battling cancer and traveling for work, any and all progress has halted since Halloween-ish. Since May, the husband and I started lifting heavy 3x a week with karate (Shotokan) one night a week. We had ourselves eating home-cooked healthier stuff nearly each night of the week, then BOOM! Hardly home long enough to let our dog out, let alone cook, eat and lift. So, I'll take this respawn point! Thankfully, I have a goal that's close enough to help me stay focused (hopefully) through the next two weeks, since I've got a belt test for karate on Dec. 14.
  15. So, I was gonna post some music today that had a very Chariots of Fire kinda feel, but decided against it because I friggin' can't stand Chariots of Fire. Let's rock instead: This challenge could alternately have been called "Kishi Learns to Doubt His Doubts," or "Kishi Slowly But Surely Goes Out of His Mind." I took stock of myself this past challenge and determined that I'm pretty much on the way to having a lot of my physical issues resolved. My epic quest is also taken care of - barring catastrophe, I will be running in Fenway Park with the Boston Nerds, as I set out to do at the beginning of the year. But the truth is, this body will only go so far as the mind will allow it to. I've been looking at the things I've been saying about myself, as it pertains to my life, and also looking at the life I lead. And there is dissonance. The truth is, I've done/am doing some incredible things with myself. Who learns how to go without food for 24 hours twice in a week? Who learns to run barefoot for miles where there is glass, and who persists in doing such when it's clear that this is a strange thing that violates the social contract? Who wakes up and immediately belts out striking combos? Who finds ways to pass from strength failure through it, to find more reps and to find more challenge? A badass, that's who. It's time I started believing that about myself. But I can't think my way into that. The mind does not have the power to independently think its way into anything. It only has the power to desire change. If I'm going to wash my brain into something else, then I have to use the power of habit. And also, I just don't like the life I'm living. I don't like being poor as I am, and I don't like feeling like I'm unworthy of romancing/being romanced, and I don't like having so many half-baked novels. I just don't like it. So, I'mma start some new processes and see what happens. Process 1: Write Like It's My Job These first processes are about changing myself professionally. I recently saw a man begin his final approach into management at Panera. It took him 3 years. I am not patient enough to put up with this crap for that long. So, I'mma begin by writing. I've already begun to retool the novel I was sending out to you guys by rebuilding it from the ground up using the Snowflake method. It's looking better already. I need to keep applying this, which means one of three things: completing a step of the planwriting 250+ wordsposting writing up somewhereOr any combination of the above. Process 2: System 9 System 9 is a fitness professional marketing system devised by Bedros Keuillian. He's a big-time marketing guru in the field of fitness, sworn by by many of the names that I respect. But the system won't work if I don't work. There are many modules/lectures for me to undertake. I could try to do it all and fail... or, I could undertake just one per week. If I find something immediately applicable in one week, then the following week I will work to apply it. Process 3: Improve My Social Skills So, I wanna get better at talking to girls, ultimately with the idea of asking them out. Most of the advice I've seen has been about how one presents oneself, which means money and such, and I don't have that right now. I'm working to address that now so that I'll be ready, but in the meantime I need to improve something else. Fortunately, Nerd Fitness even has a guide for that. To kickstart this process, I will complete Level 1: I am a funny dude. I don't mind living my life genuinely in front of others, and spinning it in such a way that it makes people laugh.I am kind. If I see someone struggling, I don't mind speaking up to make things easier for them. Sometimes all people need is to know that they aren't struggling alone.I am genuine. I don't have to force myself to be good - I'm a good person, down to my bones. (not perfect, really, this is no humblebrag, but I am good nevertheless).I am strong. No, really. I don't look like much, but when people need help moving their heavy sh!t, I'm usually at the top of the list. And I deliver.And now having completed that, it's time to manage Level 2: the Drive-by Compliment. Play the game and earn 16+ points per week. No Life Goal Because let's face it. These are all about the life I wanna lead. An extra life goal would just be superfluous. And, naturally, I'll be posting workouts and stuff here as well. I'll try to get out and say hello to everyone too, but we've gotten kinna popular lately and the schedule makes that hard as is. If I'm gonna go to work on my life, I can't imagine it gets any easier. So, t-minus 4 days and counting...
  16. So I'm throwing in with the Monks this round. And in all likelihood, several rounds to come. Martial arts have been a passion of mine since college. Most of my experience is with Shotokan karate, but I've tried some other stuff as well. This challenge is all about my return to practicing Shotokan. I'm coming back to it after a 2 year hiatus due to a back injury. I'm currently attending a small karate club at the local YMCA which, at this point, only meets once per week. This means a lot of my progress will depend on what I put into it on my own time, at home. The aim of this challenge is to solidify a foundation in Shotokan practice from where I can hopefully continue where I left off 2 years ago, and perhaps even finally earn my shodan. This is about balance with my other priorities (family, work), establishing routine, and building upon ability, skill, and confidence. The goal is progress, not perfection. Goal 1: Put simply, don't get hurt! The lower back injury from two years ago is basically a pulled muscle that I assume was aggravated by kicking too high, too fast, and too often with the roundhouse kick. I also believe insufficient core conditioning and inflexibility was a part of the problem. To achieve this goal, I'm going to have to use my head. Easier said than done. As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I can easily become obsessive about my karate, and push myself in ways that are lacking in common sense. So now I'm going to use common sense. For example, if I'm having concerns about my back stiffening up, particularly due to the culprit roundhouse kick, I simply won't do a roundhouse kick that day (I don't think I'll miss it that much, the standing roundhouse isn't even present in Shotokan kata). If I'm attending practice that day, I will simply state that I would prefer not to perform the roundhouse kick due to an injury, and perform front kicks, or even a lower, slower roundhouse, in its place. It's not exactly rocket science (yet such a common sense approach has eluded me all these years). Meeting this goal will add 3 to Con, and 1 to Wis. Goal 2: Establish the foundation. This is basically getting the routine down to, well, a routine. And a basic one at this early stage. Nothing that may hinder Goal 1 or other areas of my life (family, work). Simply put, it means attending karate class every week. It also means practicing at home, every day or nearly every day. I once read an interview with Sensei Okazaki where he recommended practicing at least 10 minutes per day. He advocated for 10 minutes because even with the busiest life imaginable, anyone can find time for 10 minutes. I believe I can practice for 10 minutes before work without much difficulty. I know I won't become a tournament champion through 10 minutes per day, but that is not the goal. The goal is simply progress, not perfection. Just 10 minutes per day, Monday through Friday, before work (I plan to train weekends too, but for simplicity this goal will focus on weekdays). Lastly, this goal also means resuming the routine of yoga I established during the last challenge, attending at least 2 times per week at the YMCA. Yoga has been highly beneficial to healing my back injury, managing stress, and increasing flexibility. In a nutshell, the weekly routine is: 1 karate class, 5 home karate practices, and 2 yoga classes. Meeting this goal will add 2 to Sta and 2 to Str. Goal 3: Focus on one kata. For this I am choosing Kanku Dai. I choose Kanku Dai because of the 4 main brown-to-black belt kata I am expected to be familiar with at my rank (Bassai Dai, Jion, Enpi, Kanku Dai), this is the one I am the least familiar with. I am also choosing it because it is considered to be the "showpiece kata" of the Shotokan ciriculum. It is said to even have been the personal favorite of Gichin Funakoshi. Someday, I would love to present it before a panel of judges as I test for shodan. Meeting this goal will add 2 to Sta and 2 to Dex. Life Goal: Read more. It's occurred to me that I don't read enough. I tend to fall into more passive forms of entertainment, such as television or video games, when I have free time. For this goal I wish to finally finish the sci-fi novel I've been picking away at, and then dig into a couple books on mindfulness and Secular Buddhism. Meeting this goal will add 2 to Wis and 1 to Cha. On a final note, I should mention that I will be taking a vacation at the end of this challenge cycle, from May 15 through May 27. This will disrupt some of my routine, namely the karate and yoga classes. But since these activities only require the person, they will come with me on vacation. I can continue to avoid injury, practice karate 10 minutes per day, practice some yoga, and work on my kata while I am on vacation. And so it begins.....
  17. I can't believe this is my fifth 6 week challenge. I made some of my best progress during the last challenge so this one is going to be somewhat along the same lines. Daily exercise and three full workouts per week: I am going to continue to do at least one exercise per day. The trapbar deadlifts did a lot for me last time so they will still be big part of this six week challenge. I also plan on getting in three full workouts each week which will consist of five to six similar exercises, a Turkish getup & kettlebell swing routine or a specific core workout that is related to the Hip Flexibility Solution. Hip Flexibility Solution three times per week: The HFS system has helped me improve my kicks more than any other flexibility routine that I have done in the last nine years. The goal is to do it at least three times a week if not more. Add an additional Martial Arts training day each week: I formally do Martial Arts training twice a week but I feel that I need more. I was as my best when I was doing two Karate classes and one Iaido class each week but since one of my Sensei's retired in August, I have only been training one Karate class a week along with my Iaido class. Because of that, I need to come up with my own Karate class that I can do at home and get close to the benefits that had when I had the second formal Karate class. Write more: I wrote a great deal of blog posts during the last challenge but this time, I need to keep up with the blog posts and also get my book finished. I need to work on my book at least three times a week during this challenge and get the pictures taken that I have been putting off for a long time now.
  18. This is my fourth 6 week challenge. I made great progress on my last 6 week challenge but now it's time to fine tune my workouts and get more specific. Daily glute or core workout: I did this during the last challenge and I plan on doing the same this time too. I am still going to do at least one movement per day but I have to do at least one set of trapbar deadlifts each day. This is one exercise that seems to work my entire body, except for pushing movement. I hope to add a core movement and a pushing movement too but I have to at least do the trapbar deadlifts every day. I have already been doing the daily trapbar deadlifts since the end of the last challenge and I really like it. I have been using 145 pounds for at least 6 to 12 reps, depending upon how I feel each day. I am hoping to get the point where I am doing sets of 6 to 8 with 300 pounds but I am willing to take my time to get there. Foam roller, tennis ball and other pain maker usage: Trigger points in my glutes are still a major pain in the butt so I am going to continue to use the foam roller, stick or my deep tissue guys each day to bring them to there knees or wherever they belong. I work at least one area each day, mostly my glutes but my quads and calves are mixed in there too. Leg raises and static stance training at least three times a week: Side and back leg raises and knee raises to the front are in the plan this time. I need to continue to improve my range of motion and also get my strength up in the hips so the leg raises are the part of the attack plan. I also want to improve my Karate stances and static stance training is in the route that I plan on taking to do it. These will be done at least three days a week, hopefully more. Cut my gluten intake by 80% or more: This is something that I have been trying to do for some time now and I think this time, I can do it. It should help with my Crohn's disease and I am hoping it will make me feel better overall and keep the inflammation in my body at bay. Write more: Last time, my goal was to write at least 750 words per week and I did at least that but now it's time to bump it up to 1000 words per week and I want to publish at least two blog posts each week.
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