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  1. Well, dear Ranger family, I’m back. Again. I’ve been off and on this challenge train for a few years now, and I think it’s finally time this stuck. I’m feeling good about it, I’m in a good place in my life, so why the hell not, right?! As this is a total respawn for me, I’m starting from the lowest rung on the ladder. Over the last 2ish weeks, I’ve been updating my Battle Log waiting for this challenge to start. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I’ll summarize the last 6-7months since I've been here (in no particular order): -I left an unhealthy and, in hindsight, emotionally abusive relationship -Been doing a whole load of nothing health-wise -Lost a bunch of weight (~15-20lb) in a very short time due to stress/depression and not eating -Gained all the weight back, and more -Opened up to a new relationship -Adopted a baby Hedgehog, whom I’ve named Bean. He’s now 5 months old -Left my soul-sucking job for one that I actually enjoy going to and doing -Stopped going to therapy and am no longer and anti-anxiety medication (YAY!) -I'm in a much improved mental state -Moved into a new apartment this past weekend (6/24) -Added to my tattoo collection with two new arm pieces (part of a planned half-sleeve) and a calf piece Don’t worry, there will be plenty of pictures of the little Beansicle for everyone to see On to the challenge stuff…. I’m going to be focusing on a few general goals over the coming months/year: -Losing weight/dropping fat and gaining muscle -Cutting down on my spending -Learning a new skill -More me time/self care Lose the weight The new complex that I moved into has it’s own fitness center - and it’s in my building! That means I have literally no excuses not to work out. It is mostly limited to cardio machines, but I have a set of adjustable dumbbells and my own bodyweight to use towards strength training. Plus, I have a set of Monkii Bars 2 on order via Kickstarter (they’re like the TRX system). I’m not sure when those are coming in, but it should be soonish. The basic plan is to work out 3x/week, for no less than 40min. I plan to do 20-30 min of cardio, and however much time I need to complete the strength training. Cardio will be whatever I feel like doing that day - stepper, treadmill, bike, etc. I will likely be following along with Zombies!Run for the interval training. For strength, I will be following the NF Academy Bodyweight workouts, switching between A and B. Workout 3x/week, or a total of 12x during the challenge. One of the really bad habits I’ve picked up since the start of the year is drinking a lot of Red Bull. Typically, I have one in the morning to start my day during the workweek. On weekends, I don’t drink them as much, but if I’m out and about it’s highly likely that I will stop at a gas station or convenience store to pick up my dose of caffeine. This needs to stop. The plan it to cut down to 3 every week. It’s going to suck, and I’m going to hate it, but it has to be done. No more than 3 Red Bulls/week, for a total of 12. Cut down spending Another area in which i’ve been terrible is keeping to my budget. I do have a budget, I just have a way of not really following it, and then I end up screwing myself. So, here’s the deal: I get paid every other week, the next time being the 7th - right before the challenge. Every paycheck, I will allow myself to spend up to $40 out of budget. This is money that I need to have in cash - I cannot use my card because that’s how things get out of control. I can spend this money on: Red bull (for the previous goal), take out or dinners out with people, clothes, art supplies, video games or other gaming items, and pretty much anything else that either isn’t already budgeted for or is considered ‘unnecessary’. On Saturdays, I will also evaluate my spending for the previous week and see where else I can improve and take note of it. Spend no more than $40 every other week on non-necessity items, total of $80/challenge. Learn a skill: Digital Art For Christmas, my dad bought me this awesome drawing tablet. It has a full screen display and everything - it just plugs right into my computer and I’m off. As cool as it is, I’ve used it a total of 1 time As I’ve been itching to get back into drawing and sketching, I figured why not incorporate this awesome new tool! Digital art is something I’ve been interested in for years, well, actually it’s probably closer to a decade now that I think about it….man, I feel old haha. I’d like to spend 30-60 min, 3x/wk learning to use the tablet, and to complete one art piece by the end of the challenge. I’m not yet sure what that will be, but I’m brainstorming and going to look into tutorials. It’s so much different from classic drawing, that I’m sure it’s not going to be that great starting out - but that’s why I’m doing this in the first place, right? Spend 1.5-3hrs a week (split into 3 sessions) learning to use my tablet and creating a drawing. More ‘me time’ Yeah, yeah, heads out of the gutter please I’m talking about self care here, time spent focusing on myself and my mental health. As well as I’m doing now in comparison to where I was a year ago, I still struggle regularly with bouts of depression and anxiety. In order to increase the number of good days, I need to make time for me. This could be taking a nap, crafting, playing video games, taking a bath, walking, reading, whatever. Anything I need to lessen the stress and relax for a little bit. This doesn’t mean I can’t do those things outside of this time, this just happens to be scheduled. Schedule 1hr every week to do something just for me. That’s it. Let’s get this shindig started, shall we? Edit: This challenge isn't themed, I'm just all up in the hype for Destiny 2 haha
  2. There's one thing I covet that doesn't cost any money. That is being good at pushups. Used to be I wanted to be able to do a proper push up. One proper push up. I got there. Depending on the day, I'm able to do a couple sets of a few proper pushups and then some not so proper more (form breaks and I keep going as well as I can in hope of developing strength). But then I took up Muay Thai, and now I'm often required to perform push ups at the end of the training session, after quite some punches thrown at pads, and burpees, and being generally tired and sore. Then my true pushup skills show, and they're shitty. When tired, I can't control the lowering phase and let myself just fall to the floor, and I can't engage my core & hips properly and let my butt drop when pushing up. And then there's the problem of sheer numbers. I can't do very many of them pushups. My coach asks me for twenty, I can barely give her twelve. She lets it go because I'm the only one in the tatami trying for a proper form. So the challenge now is getting good at pushups. I'm good at other things. I'm good at planks, I do them regular, reverse, sideways, for pretty long. I'm good at core exercises, I can do an almost perfect jackknife, I can go for very many reps of full crunches. I do not suck at squats any more. I learned a few skills in the past couple years. There is no reason why I can't get good at pushups. But why pushups? Because it's the most basic exercise there is. When an instructor wants to assess your fitness, first thing they'll ask you to do, is to perform a pushup. Fist thing they'll teach you to do, is a pushup. Pushups develop arm strength, shoulder strength, core strength, shoulderblades stability, core & hips control, even your wrists get some off it. And I'm suspicious pushups might just be the gateway to heavier exercises. I mean how do you expect do to impressive stuff if you can't even do the basic, catch my drift? Then there's the fact that Bruce Lee was a master of pushups. And anything Bruce Lee was a master of is something worth striving to learn. Am I right?
  3. "Heroes get remembered, legends never die." Six simple words with such a profound meaning, at least to me. It is my goal to be considered by others a "legend". There's something about the word "legend" that appeals to my sense of pride and adventure. I understand that this is a journey that will take a lifetime to complete, but hey, I gotta start somewhere, right? This will be my 4th challenge here at NF, my very first with the monks, and also my first after a hiatus due to an extremely hectic schedule over the summer. Although I never stopped my journey, I did have to break from NF simply due to the fact that I could not keep up. Now that the school year has started, my schedule has become more steady (although quite full, which is how I like it!), and I have the time to resume chronicling my journey here on NF. My goal for this challenge is simply to continue my journey to legendary. Kinda vague, I know, but I don't know how else to put it. My objectives for this particular challenge, however are not vague in the slightest: The legendary must LOOK legendary. 80% of my physical appearance is DIET! {+3 CON} A] To return to cooking my own meals B] To drink no soft drinks other than on Sundays (my cheat day) C] To eat no unhealthy foods other than on Sundays To be legendary, I must be able to last through the rigors of being legendary. Therefore, I must be FIT! {+3 STR, +2 STA} A] To make both of my daily workouts (6:00 am, 2:00 pm) The legendary are legendary because they do legendary deeds. If I wish to be legendary, I must have the SKILL! {+3 DEX, +1 STR, +1 STA} A] To learn and perform 2 "new" tricks consistently: A gainer, and a butterfly twist B] To level up my boxing/kickboxing skills (keep my hands up more consistently, and keep my punches straight when I get in tight to my opponent) C] Stretch!!! Every day!!!! SIDEQUEST: Can’t become a legend if I’m swamped with debt! {+2 WIS} A] To get my student loan payment back on track As for how I will grade myself, I'm pretty black and white, pass or fail. I have 3 objectives, each worth 30% of my overall grade, and a sidequest worth 10%. Therefor, if I manage to complete at least 2 objectives and my sidequest, it will be a passing grade (70%), but only barely. These goals are all highly and easily attainable for me if I keep myself disciplined to making progress with them every day. Luckily, I have NF here to help! I'm definitely looking forward to working with the Monks this time around!
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