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Found 11 results

  1. At long, long last, my squat form looks decent, so my primary goal for this challenge will be to build it back up. Technically, I started that last week, but I had friends in town last weekend, and I knew that would have gotten in the way of getting my goals done, had I set them. I'll leave my other goals the same, but I might swap out bedtime or mobility for something more interesting if I can get my thoughts together. Goals Retain good squat form while working through a linear progression. I'll be doing this pretty aggressively, but I don't want to get sloppy. I got up to 175 lbs. last week but didn't do it for sets across. I don't have a starting number from tonight, because I was super tired from staying up late this weekend and decided to make this a rare Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday week. Do mobility work every day. This will still be the squat-focused exercises I got from PT in most cases. Get to bed by 11:30 pm 5 days each week. Work on SICP for at least an hour and a half each week. One day has to be a weekday. I've been thinking that I should try to inject a little more novelty into my life, and I'd kind of like to make one of these related to that, but I haven't formulated a useful goal yet.
  2. I'm still trying to do the same stuff as last time, because I still have the same problems as last time. Goals Squat some weight for 3 sets of 5 with perfect form. I said just the bar last time, but my bar path does seem to get better when I put some weight on. Ideally, I would be able to get in a balanced position without any weight on my back at all, but if my form starts to look good while I'm still warming up and stays that way, that seems like something I could work with. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to keep this as a goal. On Friday, I did back squats with more than 135 for the first time in like 2 months. In general, they looked a lot better than they had before, and when I got up to 185, they actually looked really good. I probably should have stopped there, because 205 was a little worse but still as good as I can remember. Then, today, even though it seemed like I was doing the exact same stuff, they looked a lot worse. So this is what I'm doing again. Get to bed by 11:30 pm 5 nights each week. I've been doing a pretty good job with this, but I probably still need some more time to solidify the habit. Do mobility work every day. My PT has now entered a phase where this really doesn't take much time. It's just a matter of remembering to do it. Work on SICP for 1.5 hours over the course of at least 2 days each week. At least one of the days has to be a weekday, because leaving the whole thing until the weekend doesn't seem to work well for me.
  3. The same thing we do every challenge, Pinky. Try to squat correctly! I may made a challenge with this title before. Previously, I attempted to get my bar path over my mid-foot by just sitting back more. I believe these attempts caused me to over-extend my lower back, which may have resulted in my inflamed facet joint, in response to which I am currently seeing a PT. That stopped hurting a few weeks ago, but I also haven't squatted more than the bar in I think over a month. I haven't squatted what I would consider to be heavy in I think the better part of 3 months. I really want to be squatting again, but I don't want to just hurt myself again, so I need to do it right. Goals Squat with the bar for 3 sets of 5 with perfect form. My entire spine should be in a neutral position. My knees should track over my feet. The bar should stay over my mid-foot the entire time. My thighs should reach just below parallel. My feet should stay flat on the floor. Do mobility work every day. I've been pretty good about this for the past few weeks, but it is important enough to my first goal to make it a goal in its own right. Get to bed by 11:30 pm on 5 nights every week. I started setting an alarm to get ready for bed last week, and it seems to be working fairly well. Work on SICP on at least 2 days each week for a total of at least an hour and a half.
  4. Adding rep cycling to my program hasn't burned me so far, so I'm going to keep doing that and keep trying to be conservative. I'm not going to make a goal for it this time, though. The main thing getting in the way of my lifts right now is some nagging lower back pain when I squat and do a few other things, so I'm going to try to fix that. Going light didn't seem to work, and taking a break from lifting didn't either, so I think my next step should be seeing a doctor. Goals See a physical therapist. I'm aware of one nearby with a sports medicine focus, or I think just any old doctor with expertise in sports medicine would probably be sufficient as a first step. I've been putting off making an appointment for awhile, because I hate making appointments. In order to complete this goal, I have to actually go to a doctor's appointment before the end of this challenge. Do mobility work at least 4 days a week. I changed up my routine in the last few months, and what I'm doing now seems to be no worse than what I was doing before, so I guess I'll stick with it. Get to bed by 11:30 pm at least 5 nights each week. Probably not tonight. Work on SICP for at least an hour and the half over at least 2 days each week. This was my goal last challenge, and I got pretty close to it. I need to spend more time than I have been if I want to consistently make headway, but I think I need to build up to it gradually.
  5. My last challenge involved some experimentation in terms of my lifting and stretching routines. I tried a few different things but didn't actually do the same thing for long enough to learn much. Nevertheless, I have some promising ideas that I would like to test out. Goals Lifting: don't get stuck while using rep-range cycling. I've been doing sets of 5 for almost all of my work sets for almost as long as I've been lifting. I think that was causing me to plateau at the same point over and over again on most of my lifts, so I wanted to introduce a tapering aspect to my program, in which my heavy days start with sets of 5, and when I can't keep progressing on those, I switch to sets of 3 and then 1. When I can't progress on 1s anymore, I go back to sets of 5 but at a higher weight than when I last did 5s. At least, that's the theory. For the past couple weeks, I've been doing sets of 3 on some of my lifts, but it's been a little haphazard. I'm also deloading a little bit due to some previously observed detraining, so it's hard to tell whether the programming change is having an effect. I've also irritated something in my lower back that is keeping my back-squat volume artificially low. My goal for this challenge is to continue to implement this program, hopefully resulting in some PRs before the end of the challenge. More importantly, I don't want to get stuck by sticking for too long in the same rep range, and I want to avoid aggravating my back, so that it can heal. Mobility: Perform new stretching routine after lifting and running. During the last challenge, I intended to break down my yoga videos, figure out what poses stretch what areas of the body, and then do those stretches after I lift, instead of the ones I've been doing since I first started working out. In the interval, I have come up with stretching routines for after lifting and after running. My goal is to do those consistently and see what affect they have. I also intend to continue doing full-length yoga sessions on weekends. Sleep: The same thing we do every challenge, Pinky: Try to get in bed by 11:30 pm on five nights each week. SICP: Spend 1.5 hours working on problems, over the course of at least 2 days, each week. This is a slight increase from my previous goal. I realized that I made a New Year's resolution this year to finish the book. That's very unlikely to happen, but I think finishing Chapter 2 is very plausible. (There are 5 long chapters.)
  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. My last challenge worked out well, and my goals seem like useful ones, so I'm basically just doing the same thing again. Goals Squat form: My goal is again to get to the point where I can do a heavy squat set and be confident that the bar will stay over my mid-foot. Last challenge, I got the point where it's possible, but it still doesn't happen every time. Yoga: I still want to do 2 yoga sessions every week. I'm playing with the idea of changing up my stretching routine so that all of my regular stretching takes places at the end of my workouts, after I'm already warmed up. That seems like it would save time, but I don't know how long I actually have to spend stretching to observe an increase in flexibility. Sleep: I want to get to bed by 11:30 pm at least 5 days every week. No rolling over to next week. SICP: I want to spend at least 30 minutes working through Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs on two different days each week. No rolling over. Last challenge, I had separate, 30-minute goals for Tuesday or Thursday and Saturday or Sunday. I'm not sure whether that helped me stay on track or just got in my way. I can anticipate one weekend during this challenge during which it is very unlikely that I will have any time to program, so I will remove that restriction this time, and we'll see what happens.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. I'm getting off to my usual late start. I went out of town for Memorial Day and have been playing catch-up since then. This is mostly a continuation of my previous challenge. Goals Lifting: During the last week of this challenge, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the gym at my work will be hosting a mock powerlifting meet. It is pretty non-standard, particularly in that it will take place with each lift on a separate day to avoid interfering unduly with work. Nevertheless, it will be the first time I have lifted in a competitive setting and the first time that I have tested my maxes since I started barbell training several years ago. My nominal goal is merely to compete, but I also plan to go on some kind of taper, which I've never done before. I'd also like to set PRs for bench and deadlift. Setting a squat PR is unlikely, as longtime readers will know, because I am currently squatting well below my PR in order to correct a nagging form issue. This is worth 3 STR. Running: Run once a week. Running as you taper for a powerlifting meet? Insanity! Actually, for the duration of this challenge, including the meet. I will continue to be "running" exclusively in the aerobic zone for about an hour a week. I've been doing this for 5 weeks now, and it doesn't seem to have interfered with my lifts. It's really very light. The question is whether it will help for the 5k I am running in on July 2nd. This is worth 3 STA. Yoga: Same deal as before. Two full-length sessions per week. 2 DEX SICP: Also the same as last challenge. 3 hours a week doing SICP exercises. 2 WIS
  11. This is going to be mostly the same as last time. I'm getting a late start, but on Monday, I was shopping for fitness-related stuff, so I'll allow it. Tuesday was just drinking. Don't worry about it. Goals Lifting: Last time, I had lifting goals that, while perfectly plausible, were sufficiently optimistic to be thwarted the first time my program was slightly disrupted, which happened almost immediately. I will be more conservative this time. I intend to accomplish at least 2 of the following: Squat 300x5x5 with good bar path. Long-time readers will note that I was already squatting 300 lbs. at the beginning of last challenge. I discovered a form issue, and I have deloaded a bit to correct it. I did 285x5x5 with acceptable form on Monday. Bench 200x5x5. On Monday, I did 190x5x5. Overhead press 125x5x5. I did 122.5x5,5,4 today. I just got other micro plates that will allow me to make 1-lb. jumps, and I may start using them during this challenge, but this will still be in reach if everything goes to plan. Deadlift 345x5. This was my goal for last time, and I was able to do 340x5 a few weeks ago, but I've been on 345 for 2 workouts now. The first one, I couldn't even budge it, and this Monday, I got 2 reps. Power clean 135x3x5. I haven't had a power clean goal for awhile, because my wrist has been sore, and I've been taking it easy, but my wrist seems pretty well behaved these days. I've gotten up to 135 before, but that makes the plates touch the ground at the bottom, and that throws off my whole movement. Obviously, this is going to be a problem going forward, so I need to figure out how to power clean from the ground. I did 125x3x5 today. This is worth 3 STR. Yoga: Do 2 full-length yoga session per week. This is worth 2 DEX. Running: Run at least once a week in weeks 2, 3, and 4. I just got a heart rate monitor, and I'm going to try to train at my ventilatory threshold. That's supposed to be pretty easy, if boring, so hopefully this won't interfere with my lifting. This is worth 3 STA. SICP: I almost got in a groove last time, so I want to keep up the momentum. 3 hours of reading and doing programming exercises per week. This is worth 2 WIS. I've set the point values for this challenge based on 10 points per level, because 15 felt like grade inflation for a lot of my goals, and they're totally made up.
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