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  1. . I got my ass whooped on the last challenge. But the good thing is that it's a video game, and we can always start over. It may not be where we left off, but you at least know where the traps are the second time around. What I've learned is that if I come home at night and it doesn't happen, it's probably not going to, especially if I have to cook dinner. So the goal is to get these Swings and Getups in early on during the day. WEEK 0 Sun - NO Mo - NO Tue - NO Wed - YES Thu - YES Fri - NO Sat - NO WEEK 1 Sun - NO Mon - YES Tue - NO Wed - NO Thu - YES Fri - NO Sat - NO WEEK 2 Sun - NO Mon - NO Tue - YES Wed - NO Thu - NO Fri - NO Sat - NO WEEK 3 Sun - YES Mon - NO Tue - NO Wed Thu Fri Sat WEEK 4 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  2. This is pretty much what is happening. I have no idea what is going on, and I can't seem to get anything done. So, I'm just going with one mission right now, which is to hit my daily Swings and Get-ups. Weight doesn't matter, it's a binary yes or no status. Other tasks may come later, but only secondarily, as I need an anchor on reality. WEEK 1 Sun - NO Mon - Swings only (i.e. NO) Tue - YES Wed - NO Thu - YES Fri - NO Sat - NO WEEK 2 Sun - NO Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat WEEK 3 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat NO WEEK 4 Sun - NO Mon - NO Tue - NO Wed - NO Thu - YES Fri - NO Sat - NO On a positive note however (as to not to be a complete downer), there have I guess been some positive changes. Our youngest has been relatively well-behaved and trainable lately, I've cleared out most of the branches we have in the front of the house, I finally got new glasses (after wearing prescriptions from 2013) and am even learning to use contact lenses, and I've finally reached StrongFirst Elite status.
  3. Hello, long time lurker here. I could write an essay on everything I've done and not done for health and fitness up to this point but this will be the time when I get it right and stick to a plan - no more flip-flopping. Goal wise in my head I may see myself becoming a Peak Human, but in reality I will settle for a functional strength that will allow me to handle any situation that comes along and keeps me healthy enough to keep up with my growing kids. My weight isn't too bad now - I've got 5 stubborn inches around my waist that I haven't been able to shift in years, but I've managed to clean up my diet pretty well and I've been steadily losing 0.5-1lb a week over the last month; comfortable, sustainable baby steps. It's my strength and conditioning that remain a problem. I am very weak, have no stamina, and I've struggled to find a program that I can get on with and that fits with my (extremely) busy life. I was recently working on Starting Strength - I have good form with the lifts and even though I'm on slightly restricted calories was hoping to exploit "noob gains". That didn't work. I stalled pretty easily at below-novice loads and found once again that the gym environment just doesn't work for me. Then on this forum I saw a mention of Pavel's "Simple & Sinister". A kettlebell program that can be done at home, is scalable and works around hectic schedules. After a tonne of research and reading the book twice I feel positive about it and I've just bought some kettlebells (8KG for my wife who will be joining me, 12KG for my getups and 16KG for my swings). Whilst this should improve my general conditioning, mobility and strength I'm aware it won't necessarily work miracles by itself, so onto my question for you, fellow rebels: I have signed up for a 10KM Rough Runner (obstacle course) next April and I want to be in the best shape I can be by then. Aside from running, do you think this routine will be enough to get me there or will I need to do more as I go? If I had the time I would concentrate on achieving Program Minimum (32KG one-arm swings and getups) before introducing other exercises but that could easily take me the whole 8 months to the event. I will focus on it exclusively for the first month or two but feel I need to add more before then; specifically some pushing and pulling strength (I'd love to be able to do a pull-up again). Any suggestions here? Running in itself will be a big hurdle. The last time I did any serious running I did a number on my knee which even after surgery and a year of physio was never completely pain free until recently (squats ftw). Based on last year's course the longest stretch between any two obstacles will be about 3.5KM, so while I may need some endurance I won't need to be in form for a continuous 10KM. I will be starting some gentle training on a nearby field 2x a week for a few months to test my knee out, and I'll be getting a gait analysis done this week to see if I have any foot issues. Do you think this plan will work? Did anyone try S&S from a similar state of unfitness and get good results? Thanks in advance!
  4. Grandkai Gets-up & Swings into Action! Goal 1: Simple & Sinister 6x a week I want to do more with my kettlebells & after listening to the audio book for Simple & Sinister i decided to do this. 5 sets of 10 Kettlebell Swings & 5 sets of 1 Get-Ups per arm. 6 Times a week. Goal 2: Pull-ups & Dips I want to also get better with Pull-Ups & Dips, 2 exercise that give the most bang for your buck. So ill be doing the "20 Pull-ups in 6 Weeks" program/challenge & the "150 Dips in 6 weeks" program/challenge. 5 sets of X reps in each program/challenge 3 Times a week. Mini-Goals - Pick my teeth everyday before bed - Eat an apple everyday - Find some new recipes - Dedicate 2 days every week for Twitch streaming So that are my goals for this challenge. Mostly fitness but with little nutrition/health goals as well. Time to get fit for spring
  5. Greetings Rebels. As detailed here, I have finally got my act together in order to fix my health and fitness for the rest of time and keep up with my fast growing dragon-lings. I have three goals: To achieve the Simple Standard of Pavel's Simple & Sinister Kettlebell Program (32KG 1h-swings and TGU). To complete my first obstacle course next April (8 months from now): Rough Runner 10KM. To get my waist back down to it's original size (5 very stubborn inches to go). The plan: Complete S&S routine minimum of 5x per week. Work on pull-up progressions post-S&S when feeling fresh enough. Build up to 5KM running distance: Month 1-2: Warm up jogging pre-S&S 3x per week to test dodgy knee. Month 3+: C25K or similar 3x per week. Continue with current cleanish diet and keep protein levels up. For both S&S and the runs I will be using a heart-rate monitor to make sure I don't push myself too hard (which I do often), and will try the Maffetone system to ensure good recovery and aerobic conditioning. My character sheet with some goals broken down is here, and I will be entering the next Challenge. Best of luck to everyone else! Cheers :-)
  6. This is still my over-riding goal. Top ten in the Wausau 24 - 6 hour category. In 27 years of racing I've never podiumed. I've been close, but I've never made it. Last year Wausua podiumed 10 people; I was 19th after a year of lackluster training. This is going to be my year. (Not me.) I have a busy, full summer of mountain bike racing planned. In order to do well, or even just survive it, I'll need to have a deep base of fitness. I'm putting in the work now, slow and steady style. A little bit every day will serve me better than big bouts of training followed by periods of sloth, which was my former habit. In order to do well at biking you need to bike. It's hard this time of year because I live in Minnesota. It's also hard to get riding in because my wife works evenings. I've tried doing GPP work over the winter with kettlebells and that works fine, but fine isn't going to cut it. Goal 1: Ride myself into shape. This will mostly, perhaps entirely, be on the trainer. Day 1: Intervals. Day 2: Slow and steady style. Day 3: Active Rest (Yoga). In order to keep biking I'll need a strong and sturdy body. I like, and have done well with, high frequency training. If one HFT program is good, two must be better. Both kettlebells and body weight training seems to make me more immune from injury. I'll be combining the Strength Aerobics variation of Simple and Sinister with PLP. Charles Bronson will be my spirit animal here. As an old man (50's) he got jacked in a lean and wiry way on a diet of push ups, pull ups, and plate push aways. Goal 2: Get jacked like Bronson 2a: Strength Aerobics variant of Simple & Sinister Day 1: 5 X 1/1 Turkish Get ups + 10 X 10 Kettlebell swings. Day 2: Long sets of singles of KB clean, press, & squat. Shovelglove may be substituted. Repeat until strong. 2b: PLP Day 1: Push Ups, one more than the day before. Lunges, one/one more than the day before. Pull Ups, one more than the day before. Repeat until jacked liked Bronson. Managing fatigue with two different training programs and riding might be a problem. The plan for both is to train every day, but I'll be playing this by ear. Minimal acceptable standard will be two days on, one day off. My old man back derails my training far more than I'd like (old injury). In order to keep it at bay I need to do a daily mobility circuit. I will add in a Yoga session every third day. Goal 3: Get Flexy Every day: mobility circuit Day 3: Yoga. My belly is trying to kill me. There is a list of foods that tears out my belly lining (dairy, coffee, sugar, deep fried anything, nuts and seeds). I've finally faced up to the fact that I just can't eat them at all anymore. I've been on a restricted diet for two weeks and it is going well. My belly hasn't felt this good in a year. Goal 4: Plate Push Aways. Don't eat the stuff I shouldn't eat.
  7. Challenge #9 For the first/second challenge in 2016 (and the first ones under the new rules) I decided to go with the general Rebels instead of spending time in the cozy assassins guild (aka I'm getting out of my comfort zone). This "trip" (and further ones in the future to other guilds) had actually been planned for some time, now seems like the perfect opportunity. The overall Challenge Goal will not change from last year (as implicated by the challenge theme) and will probably take some more challenges: getting rid of the belly (aka take the fat out of skinny-fat), measured by bodyfat percentage. Right now I'm at about 23%, the goal for this cycle of challenges is less than 15%. With the old format I'd planned to get down to under 20% after this challenge, but for 4 weeks, that is probably too much.... I'll go with a goal range of 20-21%. Background story (this time it takes place in the universe of Mark Anthonys Last Rune series) Everyone at the Grey Tower said I was crazy. But I'm not. I have a goal. The runespeakers are just hiding in their books ignoring the real world. They know the end of the world is coming, but do they do anything? No! Sure, they are looking for the solution. But nothing seems good enough, so they continue looking.... I've been on this quest since I became a Master of the Grey Tower myself. There is only one dragon left in Eldh. He has the power to stop the Pale King. Maybe he will not help us or not in the way I hoped, but still my quest is better than those of my brothers wasting time. I cannot give up. I have gathered the necessary knowledge and the runes are guiding me. The only thing I have to do is follow through. Through the wastelands of the east, the free cities of the south and now the desert of the south. I'm wandering, though I'm not lost.... I have a goal! QUEST 1 : NUTRITION I'm putting a little more weight on quality in this area. Still going to track my intake, like last challenge. But I also want to do some paleo batch cooking. Mission: Track Calorie/Protein/Fat/Carb intake and stay within range Eat at least 80% paleo Batch cook something paleo once per week QUEST 2 : SIMPLE & SINISTER [ I OF XII ] This will be the year of Kettlebell for me. Each challenge will have a Swings and TGU quest programmed after Simple & Sinister. The miniumum amount of work for the whole year is 30000 Swings and 1500 TGU (per side), but technically it could be up to 36600/1830. But that is all just a background workout and shouldn't interfere (negatively I mean, positive results are hoped for of course) with whatever I focus on in my challenges. Mission: 50 - 100 Swings per day (either two or one-handed) usually with a 24kg but on light days with 16kg 5 Turkish Get-Ups per side per day with a 12kg or a 16kg an occasional day off is fine like once a week QUEST 3 : INTERMITTENT FASTING I used to have good experiences with those. But stopped because it interfered with work (meals were a very important social thing at my old workplace). Now it is time to get them Fasting days back. Mission: Once a week don't eat for 24 hours QUEST 4 : STRENGTH (ENDURANCE) WORKOUT This quests purpose is two-fold. Like last challenge it is supposed to keep my strength at a good level (don't want loose them gainz). Also since a pure calorie burn workout quest didn't work out (haha) last time, I'm incorporating this into the strength goal. Mission: Minimum Strength Workout (one exercise out of two of Push/Pull/Hinge/Squat) 4x per week Strength Endurance Worktout (like EMOM or for time or AMRAP for example) 2x per week Maximum Strength Workout (3 exercises out of one of Push/Pull/Hinge/Squat) 2x per week LIFE QUEST : JOB + APPARTMENT HUNTING This interim solution is coming to an end (like it should), now I need a new job and place to live for about the next 15 months (aka a base of operations and a budget to tackle those big life quests) Mission: Send out applications Since I can't see how the Character Creation and Epic Questing integrates with the stat points I'll leave them out for now.
  8. A Barbarian Assassin? Seriously? Barbarians tend to be a bit heavy handed, attacking challenges head on, using brute force and breaking all the things. Assassins are supposed to be subtle, does this look subtle? No, I didn't think so. Barbarians make great mercenaries. Have a dragon that needs killing? Or an uprising to put down and you can’t afford an army? You hire a barbarian. But who would ever think to hire a Barbarian to help advance their political or familial position with the subtle removal of an opponent? That’s what makes an old barbarian such a perfect choice, who would ever suspect such thoughtful and well planned job from the old dude with the ax? Why would an old barbarian want to be an Assassin? Well… it pays better for one, but truth be told injuries sustained during the last Winter Campaigns have yet to heal properly. I was basically cleaved in twain by some albino with a black sword, I swear the sword it'self was singing for my soul. Only the strongest magic and healing arts kept me alive, but only after my falling out of a tower window kept him from finishing me off. The treasures of Melnibone remain well guarded by this man. Assassin skills will come in handy when next I meet this Dragon Lord. And who says that just because you are an Assassin you can't go out and create some Chaos every once in awhile? Now for the Challenge. Main Quest for 2015: Do a pull up all the way to my transplant scar. Main Quest for This Six Week Challenge: Develop Assassin Skills. An Assassin needs to have complete control over their body, so I need to continue developing my bodyweight strength and maybe even introduce myself to a new thing or two. I also need to continue to throw around heavy things because, well… a Barbarian’s got to break things and make a big mess every once in awhile . SMART Quests: 1. Carry my own Weight: An assassin never knows when he’ll have to rely upon his ability to push his own body weight around to get out of, or even better yet in to, a jam. A basic requirement of an Assassin is to be able to pull himself up, push himself up from various positions, and hold his body in perfect stillness for extended periods of time. To improve upon what I have accomplished during my introduction to the Assassins, I will do a bodyweight workout that focuses on pull-ups, pushups and planks three times a week..(+1 Str, +1 Con) Grading my success by the end of the six weeks. A = Complete a bodyweight workout three times/week, and, be able to do a full pull-up and 20 pushups in one set. A- = Complete a bodyweight workout less than three times/week, but still be able to do a full pull-up and 20 pushups in one set. B = Complete a bodyweight workout three times/week, but fail to do a full pull-up or 20 pushups. C = Complete a bodyweight workout less than three times/week, and fail to do a full pull up or 20 push-ups. F = Not going to happen. 2. Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. Continue working on box breathing, working up to 10 second boxes to improve breathing and focus. (+1 Sta, +1 Wis) Grading my success by the end of the six weeks. A = Perform breathing and meditation exercises an average of 5 times/week. B = Perform breathing and meditation exercises an average of 4 times/week. C = Perform breathing and meditation exercises an average of 3 times/week. F= Anything less. 3. Learn a New Skill: There are many things for a Barbarian to learn in order to become an accomplished Assassin. One ability every Assassin should have is the ability to climb to great heights. To begin this new learning adventure I will visit the local Indoor Climbing Center at least three times during this Challenge. (+1 Sta, +1 Wis) A = 3 visits to the climbing center. B= 2 visits to the climbing center. C= 1 visit to the climbing center. F= 0 visits to the climbing center. 4. A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do: In order to keep from causing suspicion, and to have a bit of Barbarian fun, I’ll continue to toss around these heavy metal objects. Perform the Simple and Sinister workout 5 times a week Complete the Program Minimum training session and progress towards owning the Simple portion of the program.. This includes three at least one sets of the warm up exercises, 5 reps of 10 kettlebell swings with a 24kg kettlebell and 5 sets of 1 (per arm) Turkish Get Ups with a 16kg kettlebell, and the final streatching exercises. (+1 Str, +1 Dex, +1 Sta, +1 Cha) Grading my success by the end of the six weeks. A = Exceeding the Program Minimum reps with listed weights. B = Complete the Program Minimum with listed weights. C = 90% participation with 100% effort (100% participation = once every 5 days) and completing the program minimum. F= less than 90% participation and not being able to complete the PM. This Barbarian is ready. Reward for Successful Completion of This Challenge: A StrongFirst “Repeat Until Strong†Tee Shirt. Motivation: On January 1st, 2015 I received a life saving double lung transplant. I have to honor the family that gave me the gift of these lungs. On what is most likely the worst day of their lives they made the decision to help others. Words cannot express just how much my family and I appreciate this gift. They gave us a future. I need to take care of these lungs and this body to the very best of my ability. These goals may be changed just a bit prior to the first day of the Challenge just to give them a tweak or two.
  9. A MONK RETURNS New job. Transition period. Stick to the important stuff. THE QUEST Simple Jack Achieve Simple Goals (+2 STR, +2 STA, +1 CON) Social Skills New job requires a lot of human interaction. Write down name and eye color of every person I interact with. (+5 CHA) Lifelong Student Must keep reading. At least 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading a day. No internet. (+5 WIS) "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." (Einstein)
  10. I noticed that the assassins snuck into the Ranger Fort and stole kettlebells, sledgehammers, and other odd objects from us while I was away. But, once a Ranger always a Ranger; I'm going to post here. Background Info. There's more detail in my Battle Log A couple of years ago I hurt my back, I've been working mobility and strengthening it with bodyweight, sledgehammers, sandbags and kettlebells ever since, but I got off track in February. In the summer I focus on mountain biking, but life kept getting in the way this year and I never was able to get race fit. This past week I watched my aunt crawl up the stairs because she doesn't have the leg strength to walk - I can't get that image out of my head - and that night my back was super tight and sore and I couldn't walk down the stairs. I tried crab walking down, but tripped and fell down the stairs. It seems imperative that I get a healthy back, it's more important even than mountain biking. I have seen chiropractors in the past and am currently seeing a PT. Main Goal: Fix My Back Step 1: Stop Being a Dumb-Ass I'm always doing something that tightens up and hurts my back and then I'll go and do something else that puts it out for weeks. I will stop: • Being macho - if I'm building trail and my back says that an hour of moving rock is enough, but the other guys are moving rock for an hour and a half, I'm going to stop anyway. I will even ask my wife to help load big objects into the trunk. • Sitting on my ass - sitting for too long, especially on a squishy surface, hurts my back. No more couches for me. • Bending and twisting when I pick things up. I've thrown my back out three times picking up a pen. I've got to remember to go straight down and lift everything up in a front squat, no matter how small. Step 2: Loosen Up • Do my mobility/PT/Warm Up twice a day. It takes about 20 minutes if I don't get distracted, about 3 hours if I do. I already have a daily habit, but I need to turn it up until things get better. • Ice, Ice, Ice. All the professionals who have dealt with my back have said to ice it three times a day, but I never have. I will now. • My wife and I share a monthly massage subscription, but I haven't gone since December. I will use at least two of my banked massages. Step 3: Get stronger When I follow my own programming I get beat up and injured, so I'm going to follow someone else's program. That will be Pavel's "Simple and Sinister" program. It boils down to a few warm up movements, then 100 KB swings and 5 get ups. I'll take one day off a week and will skip swings on PT days. Mountain Biking I'm still going to mountain bike, but the aim will be to ride for fun, with style and grace; I won't be out there hammering. Life Goal: Play the Positive Game I am dour and cynical by nature, but when I remember to reframe statements and thoughts in a positive manner the whole world seems brighter and happier. Really, it does, you should try it. Ideally this will be a boring challenge to follow. I'm aiming for a report of "I did my PT, worked out and iced." day after day. And I'm old and curmudgeonly, so I probably won't add any cute GIFS, unless I run across one with a pug. I love pugs. No grades, no attribute points, but I may reward myself with this T shirt. House of Biceps t Shirt Or I may buy it either way, 'cause it's cool.
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