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  1. The Intro Spiel Phase One started off as a means to build a little bit of money up, to have something to fall back on or even just some disposable income. While in the strictest sense it might seem like I’ve failed in that goal, that isn’t entirely true. Extra hours, reduced expenses, and a concrete goal with a fixed target have come of this phase of my life. So begins the third and final chapter of Phase One, and while the focus is still slowly saving money, this one is also building on the lessons learned whilst fighting Lyssa and her Maniae. I had a few low points last challenge, one of which was so bad I ended up fleeing to the north coast to find people to help me out of it. It happens, and eventually it passes. It doesn’t happen as much nowadays, but apparently when it does, it really does. But that just means I’ve had to build a better contingency plan. This challenge is the cementing phase, the one where I give those bad habits a final kick and completely embrace the good habits I’ve been building. The System This time around there will be goals in the form of lessons learned from the Titans of old. It’s a little more of a return to the traditional set-up, but at the same time it’s just open-ended enough to let me feel like I have control over them (rather than them having control over me). The Boss Geras, god of old age. He doesn’t care much about trading blows with a mere mortal, but his presence can be felt acutely at many points in a lifetime. This is one such point. On July 18th, one day after this challenge officially starts, I turn 25. A full quarter of a century. A mere stone’s throw until 30. Geras is making himself known by showing me how far everyone else has come, leading me to despair as to whether or not I’ve truly achieved anything at an age where most of my peers doing major life things. You know, getting married, popping out kids, the things that are traditionally expected of a female my age to be doing. And yet I do not want to be doing those things. I will fight Geras by living my own life, celebrating my own self-worth, and deciding exactly which direction I want to take. External expectations do not control me. The Game Plan Atlas The Titan charged with holding up the sky for all eternity. From him I can learn two things: Power: I’ve taken on SL5x5 for the second time, and as of writing this I’ve been at it for about a month. My current lifts are below in red, and my end of challenge aims for them are in green immediately after: Squat: 47.5kg >>> 55kg Bench: 30kg >>> 35kg OHP: 27.5kg >>> 32.5kg Row: 30kg >>> 35kg Deadlift: 52.5kg >>> 62.5kg These are fairly conservative goals, but I know my own limitations and I know I’m slowing down already. While the SL program may say it’s possible to continue adding 2.5kg to your lifts every workout for twelve weeks, that is definitely not going to be the case for me! Patience: Last challenge saw me achieve my first chin up from standing, my next target is flexible. I want a either a second consecutive rep or a full chin up from a deadhang. While most of what I put towards this goal will be done in a grease the groove style, The accessory exercises I add on to the end of my 5x5 workouts will be geared mostly to that as well (and to balance things out, I’ll be working pistol squats, but with less fervour as I’ve been able to do them in the past and am not far off regaining that ability). Cronus Dude ate his children, so he isn’t a shining example of dietary brilliance. From him I can learn two things: Variances: I’m working towards a mostly clean kind of diet, however I know this isn’t always possible. Therefore I will give myself three variances every week, assuming I have a good reason for using one. Otherwise, as clean as possible! Preparation: Specifically, lunches and dinners on workdays. I’ve fallen out of the habit of doing this, which is costing me money and doing my insides no good. Therefore for every shift I have a lunch/dinner break, I will prep said meal, including something to drink. And for every other shift (where I get a 15 minute break), I’ll ensure I have something to drink and a decent snack. Mnemosyne Mother of the Muses, so an apt teacher for balancing work and play. From her I can learn three things: A clean and tidy home is a happy home: I failed my domestic goals quite woefully last challenge, so this time around I am renewing my efforts to make my flat a pleasant place to live for the remainder of the time that I am here. It's all or nothing this time. I'll figure out a reward for success and a punishment for failure later on. Calming the mind: Meditation twice daily. I’ve found several methods that work for me, with my notable favourite being heavy metal meditation, therefore I intend to utilise this. One session in the morning before work to drag my mind from the haze of sleep and dreams and out to focus properly, and one session in the evening, to calm me and work through whatever I may have encountered throughout the day. Listen to the Muses: Gotta have some fun sometimes. My guitar has been neglected, so that’s where I’m going to start. At this point in time my repertoire consists of Happy Birthday, Auld Lang Syne, a one string version of ACDC’s TNT, and about half of Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars. Time to brush up on those, and maybe learn something new along the way.
  2. change everything you are & everything you were your number has been called /me pins *guest* badge to her shirt as she steps into the Assassin’s Den. YES! Welcome to the first challenge of my brand new themeset! (In a brand new guild, even?! WHOA NELLIE) Hi, I'm Shaarawy, a barbell loving uber-nerd journeying over from the Rangers because my goals have become much more... Assassin-ly. If you’ve followed any of my previous ventures you’ll notice I’m moving away from having a specific “thing†for each of my challenge themes - instead, each 6 weeks I’ll choose a song that’s not only near to my heart, but lyrically works for the spot I’m at in my fitness journey. I love music and weird random stuff, so this should be fun. (And I’ll have more freedom to not stick with super-specific gifs and imagery throughout 6 weeks... oh haayyylll yes.) (I promise there won’t be a ton of K-Pop.) (Heheheh....) This first song by Muse I’m using is pretty much hella perfect for me right now. It’s strong and empowering and all about change. Interesting yet positive change is happening everywhere in my life and I’m excited to start making some changes here by going back to the basics and focusing on my new loves of primal movement and mobility. I LOVE PRIMAL MOVEMENT. Like holy moly, I do! It’s about getting back to basics, being prepared for unpredictability, gaining bodily awareness, and utilizing your entire body to make yourself much more antifragile. I’m deeply interested in re-training my body how to move properly. Humans weren’t meant to sit for 8 hours a day or become “domesticated†with silly things like chairs, shoes, sidewalks. I want to break free of the things that are holding me back, and are weakening and working against my muscles. I want to become an undomesticated human - to be able to move freely and comfortably, to re-train my body how to sit and squat and stretch the *right* way, and start setting a great foundation for my other fitness endeavors. I don’t want to play by the rules where adults have to sit still all day (or for hours a day) and lose their playful nature - that’s not me. I want to roll in grass and scramble up rock faces and climb trees, not only that, but be comfortable doing it, AND INJURY FREE. Yass. Injuries SUUUCK. Jonathan Mead’s blog Uncaged Human [http://jonathanmead.com/blog] is a HUGE source of inspiration for me, and if you’ve been reading all of this with an eyebrow quirked (shaarawy you’re a weird bird, you might be thinking) take a look at his stuff for a little more clarity or just to further an interest. It’s all super practical and genuine. His classes at Camp NerdFitness really hit me like a brick to the face and made me go, YES, I WANT THIS! I’m also pairing this with a lot of Kate Galliett’s teachings - she is a mobility fitness coach that really opened my eyes to how HELLA IMMOBILE I am, and I’m so ready to utilize her strengthening drills to not only make me a more mobile person overall, but to re-teach my muscles how to perform and do away with all of the little niggling aches and pains in my body, WHILE continuing to work hard and lift weights. (And lift weights BETTER, because I’ll be optimizing my body and muscles for strength and efficiency!!!! I AM REALLY SILLY KINDS OF EXCITED ABOUT THIS. YES, NERDS.) So I’m starting small, with the basics. One small building block at a time as I continue my regular fitness regime outside of this challenge. (I lift 2-3 days weekly.) I’m working from the outside in, starting with the feet, hands, extremities, letting them become foundations to support all of my goals. “Big things come from small beginnings.†i. best, you’ve got to be the best (STA+3 DEX+1) The number one thing on my list is to work on my resting squat. (Alternatively called a “caveman squat†or “third world squatâ€.) It’s a natural human resting position but it’s something we just don’t do anymore now that we have things like... chairs, couches? (Aside, I LOVE my couch. Just sayin’.) The squat is a great mobility tool for SO many areas - feet, ankles, hips, balance, just to name a few. So, strengthening, mobility, and it’ll help my barbell squats? Yes, ok, excellent. I addended resting squats to one of my challenges a while ago, but I REALLY want to focus on it. I want to squat 30 minutes for 5 out of 7 days. Not 30 minutes at a time, I can break it up - 5 minutes in the morning while I’m waiting for my coffee, 10 minutes patting a cat (yay), etc. Add it up over the day. Right now I can hold the pose okay, with some struggle, so I really want to see what 6 weeks of persistence will do!!! A - Squat 30 minutes for 5 days. B - Squat 30 minutes for 4 days. C - Squat 30 minutes for <3 days. ii. you’ve got to change the world (STR+1 DEX+3) Ah, Ye Olde Extremities. I don’t think people think a lot about hand and foot strength much. I never really did. ESPECIALLY foot strength. Like, your feet are pretty important?? They only HOLD YOU UP and move you around, right? Why did you NEVER really think about foot strength and mobility before, Shaarawy?? I had a bit of a personal “a-ha†moment with this at Camp when I hiked to the waterfall alone one morning. I was gingerly navigating the stones in the pools, trying to get to a good location for photos, and was having a REALLY HARD TIME getting some stable footwork. So much of a hard time that I actually slipped and fell into the water up to my calf. Wow. I NEVER had trouble with this as a kid, navigating the forest and its intricacies. This was a big wake up call to me that I needed to work on my foot and ankle mobility. I’m pairing this one with grip strength Because Extremities, and as a lifter, I need to condition my hand muscles better so I’m not so weak with the grabbings. And, you know, holding things. (A big takeaway from one of Kate’s videos was that grip strength can affect everything all the way up to your shoulder mobility - WHOA - which you’ll see in juuuust a moment......) For foot exercises I will use the seven drills in the following video: http://fitforreallife.com/2015/09/how-to-take-care-of-foot-pain-and-improve-foot-function/ For grip exercises I’ll simply hang from my pull-up bar every time I walk under it. [insert starting time for how long i can hang here.] A - Hand and foot strengthening for 5 days. B - Hand and foot strengthening for 4 days. C - Hand and foot strengthening for <3 days. iii. and use this chance to be heard (DEX+3) Shoulder mobility. AUGH. My eyes really opened when I attended Kate’s shoulder mobility class at Camp and realized ... ... .......... WOW. Okay. I suck. I’m sorry, shoulders, I am a terrible human being who JUST DIDN’T KNOW ANY BETTER *sobs* I’m going to be utilizing the three mobility exercises from the following video: http://robbwolf.com/2015/10/12/three-solutions-to-aches-and-pains-that-you-might-not-have-tried-yet/ They are 1. the reverse shrug, 2. the row, and 3. shoulder rotation. I’ve got a pull up bar here at the house so NO EXCUSES THERE. Kate recommends 10 reps of each so my goal is to also do this 5 out of 7 days. A - Shoulder mobility drills for 5 days. B - Shoulder mobility drills for 4 days. C - Shoulder mobility drills for <3 days. iv. your time is now (WIS+2 CHA+2) Ooo, this is the big one. After a lot of soul-searching, I’ve decided to take the plunge into a career change that would give me remote flexibility. Sitting in an office all day is slowly killing me and I’m at the point where I’m ready to make a change for me, my future, and my happiness. Being able to work from anywhere would be the ultimate end-game for me, and allowing me flexibility with not only my location but my time? I need this, badly. I’m ready for more freedom and to break the chains of “9 to 5 lifeâ€. I want to do remote work as either a junior editor or a content creator. I love writing and I’ve contributed to multiple big sports blogs in the past with my content. People have told me multiple times they really like my work and that it’s unique and engaging, and that’s a big “!†for me right there. I have a great command of the English language. I have a 4 year Communications degree. I’m unique in that I can not only write, but I also own a DSLR and can photograph my own content. I have experience in digital design. Why am I not doing this?!... Oh, it’s scary. SIGH. Come on, kid. I’m in a lucky position right now in that I have a part-time job that seats me at a desk (and computer) 4 days out of the week. This is perfect for me because I can keep my current income while starting to build my self-portfolio on the side. There is legitimately ZERO RISK. None. Nada. Zilch. This quest is pass or fail ONLY - create a website that I can use as a portfolio of my writing skills for future employers, and post at least two articles to start. Photos optional but would be awesome depending on the content. I’m aiming to keep it “adventure travel†oriented - exploring local places and documenting my journeys. Let’s do this. A - Website created and designed, two articles posted. F - How badly do you want this?! Maaaaaan last challenge of this YEAR?!?!?!! HOLY CRAP. I AM READY, LET'S GOOOOO~!!!!! (also an accurate depiction of me in the paper plane flying competition at camp nerdfitness. <3)
  3. Five weeks, you say? FIVE WEEKS?! So since CAMP NERD FITNESS falls directly in the middle of this challenge, I am hereby dubbing this a five week challenge. Because my challenge for camp week is going to be JUST ENJOY CAMP! Period. I don’t want to have to think about goals or grading when I’m kayaking or on some ropes 60 feet above the ground or swordfighting someone or leaping through a waterfall. NOPE! Five weeks. Let’s do it. So I’m sitting here trying to come up with a theme that has to do with the number five. Hmm. Lots of thinking. What am I currently into nerd-wise that can work with the number five?............ Aaahahahaha yes YES EXCELLENT. STRONG WOMEN THAT DON’T TAKE NO SHIT. ALL RIGHTY THEN. Mad Max: Fury Road. If you haven’t seen it, it’s ok, we can still be friends. This movie has quickly rocketed into my top films of all time - brilliant characterization, a stunning musical score, impeccable and creative craftmanship, 99% CG-free crazy wild stunts with real humans and acrobats... and of course, blowing things up and a DESERT CAR CHASE YEEEAAAHH!!! These are the five Citadel Wives that the warlord Immortan Joe had taken and imprisoned for his own “personal use†(ugh) to breed him pure children (read: boys) to carry on his craycray warlord lineage and leadership. But when they break out on a risky road to freedom, they’re anything but delicate flowers. They fight and load weapons and work on the vehicles and lug heavy shit around and it’s JUST RAD. This challenge will be structured a little different than usual - mainly I’m breaking my quests up into a total of 5 instead of 4, and the point division will be a little different. But you’re not here to hear about the technicalities. You’re here for GLORY, SHINY AND CHROME. (hey there might be spoilers in this post if you haven’t seen the movie, so there’s that.) The Splendid Angharad (+3 STA) Splendid is the unofficial “leader†of the wives, she’s Joe’s favorite and throughout the movie always keeps a cool head, no matter what the situation. (Like, you know, if she’s about to have a baby in the underbelly of a truck that’s going 500mph and being pursued by Bad Dudes, or when she flings herself onto the outside of a war rig as a pregnant human shield to keep her friends from being shot, idk.) She’s graceful and grounded, and I want to take an opportunity to work on my mobility and flexiness with some yoga balance poses. Balance has always been a strong point of mine, and I think this will be a great opportunity to test myself, and expand my mental/physical “rootsâ€, if you will. I’ve chosen three balance poses to work on and will practice 3 times a week, and will also make it a final goal to hold each one at the end of the 6 weeks for as long as I can. Poses in no particular order are: Royal Dancer (otherwise known as Lord of the Dance), Crow, and Eagle. (I think I subconsciously listed them from most challenging -> least challenging, ha!) A - Practiced 3 times a week. B - Practiced 2 times a week. C - Practiced 1 time a week. Capable (+3 WIS) Capable is probably my second favorite of the wives. She’s gentle, kind, and compassionate. The way she treats Nux when she discovers him hiding on their rig - with compassion and not anger or disgust - and how she continues to support him steadfastly throughout the film speaks volumes to her character. Her words and actions are subtle yet full of a quiet inner strength. She’s just great, y’all. GREAT. (Her costume is also my favorite. That hair. Yass.) Anyways. I need to be a little more compassionate with myself and check in with myself a little better each week. Life’s about to get a little hectic - I’m going to Camp at the end of the month, then flying home for a long weekend in October, so that combined with my usual hijinks makes me err on the side of more self-care than usual. Plus, my favorite season is coming (autumn yo), and I want to be able to be present and mindful to enjoy as much of it as I can amidst the chaos. Like balancing, meditation is something I’ve been well versed in from an extremely young age, so I’ll try to describe my mindful experiences in detail here. A - Meditated once at the end of the week. F - MEDIOCRE. (Sorry, MM pun, this means I screwed up and didn’t do anything.) Cheedo the Fragile (+3 CON) Guys. I am literally Cheedo the Fragile. Seriously. This quest is probably going to be the most important one out of them all. Cheedo went from being timid and pretty darn naive (and actually wanting to go BACK to her terribad yet coddled lifestyle at one point, girl, you a strong wasteland woman that don’t need that junk) to using her 20 Seconds of Courage to trick Rictus into helping her onto his rig, thereby helping Furiosa on so she could kill Joe. Ballsy. While I won’t be spearheading any warlord assassinations, MY BACK IS FRAGILE, YO. Holy crapola. I need to get on this NOW and do it right, and stop saying, “Oh, I’m going to do this lala~†and just dooooo it. I don’t want to be someone that’s constantly sidelined by injury because I failed to take care of myself the right way. Consistent stretching and low back exercises has proved very helpful in the past, and I need to make it a priority. This will be a combination of targeted stretches along with strengthening core work. A - 5 days of low back stretching/strengthening. B - 4 days of low back stretching/strengthening. C - <3 days of low back stretching/strengthening. Toast the Knowing (+3 STR) How can you not like a chick named Toast. For reals, yo. Toast is a survivalist. She doesn’t beat around the bush, there’s no sugar coating here. When the other girls were flipping out over Angharad, Toast kept her cool and had her eyes on the prize, reminding them that they didn’t have any time to stop because they were going to the Green Place. She reloads guns and puts together weapons like a seasoned pro. She’s tactical and the first to suggest blocking the pass on the way back to the Citadel, to keep the War Boys from catching up to them. Toast just does what needs to be done. In the spirit of doing what needs to be done - I like gaming. A lot. We recently built some super fast mega charged pew-pew Shiny New PC’s for just such a thing, and as much as I love a nice long weekend gaming session......... I need to hold myself a little more accountable with my screen time. For each hour spent gaming on the weekend I owe myself 15 minutes of being up and mobile. Any type of exercise that suits my fancy - cardio, yoga, jump roping, practicing my barrel rolls (?), shadowboxing, vigorous spell-casting, whatever works. Turning into a Weekend Screen Warrior (literally) is a blast but if I spend too long on the computer I get fuzzy, lethargic, and spaced out. And that’s no way to survive. Speaking of survival, this quest is pass or fail ONLY. A - Every hour of gaming met with 15 minutes of exercise. F - You done screwed up. The Dag (+3 CHA) I love The Dag. I think she might be my favorite of the wives. She’s sassy and feisty and mouthy, and with all the bad juju she’s endured it hasn’t dulled her fire. She hisses at people and spits on them and doesn’t hesitate to let you know where you stand. Conversely she’s also very intuitive and creative, learning how to take care of the seeds from the Vuvalini, and always being keyed in to her environment and knowing when the enemy was approaching. For my Life Quest I want to spark my own creativity and use my fitness Instagram more!!! It’s something I’ve been slacking on and I really want to do more with it, but just haven’t had the drive to. Hey, it’s time! Follow me here for accountability and motivation, if you are so inclined. A - Instagram 3 times weekly. B - Instagram 2 times weekly. C - Instagram once weekly. Throughout all of this I plan to continue my lifting at least twice a week, but that's so ingrained now that I felt it silly to make it an actual challenge. Besides, variety, etc. Hop on my War Rig, rebels, and let's take this journey down the FURY ROAD TO VICTORY!!!! I LIFT! I REST! I LIFT AGAIN!!!!
  4. Like the movie namesake, I'm starting over. All the way to the bottom. Current Motivation: Weightloss challenge at work, based on percentage lost. Had our first weigh in and I came in second with 5.1% lost in a month. The challenge ends Sept 1st, and I think I can win the long term. No more weigh ins until the end of the challenge, so we'll see, but over the long run I think I might have the advantage. The others have the most to lose, as I came in at the lightest. So how will I do this? Goals: 1. SL5x5 My training has been without a structure for the most part the last few months, due to madness and indecisiveness. SL5x5 is a great program to start from and I feel the volume is a good amount for those starting out. The goal here is to start with just the bar and workout following the linearization everyday until the workouts take longer than 30 min. I also add in some light upper body accessory work, because my upper body is my weakest link. 2. Nutrition Currently following 1600 calories with at around 120-160g of protein, and keeping carbs low under 75g. I plan to increase calories slowly, 100 calories (in either fat or carbs) every two weeks. The goal here is to find a point where i still lose weight, but without the draining effect of prolonged 1600 calories. By the end of the challenge, the weight should be at least 198lbs. 3. Perform 3 extended walks with a weighted bag each week. I've been "rucking" a weighted backpack at approx. 25lbs. I must also log each walk with some type of tracker to get distance and speed. 4. Do something productive at home after work, daily. This is easy, just do something productive at home every day.
  5. Short and sweet this time. Last challenge I bulked a little over 7 weeks. I think it went pretty well, I enjoyed the time I spent, but the chore of overeating was hard, and the bodyfat went straight back to my waistline. I spent the last week trying to get back into cut mode... it is turning out to be MUCH harder to get to that place mentally again. I think this is actually a good thing for me though. My body has had a taste of properly fueling muscle growth and it LIKES IT. So I set myfitness pal to 1800 calories and eat about 2700 a day anyway. i get hungry and my body won't hear otherwise by dinner. 2750 is my estimated maintenance and the scale is quite steady at 180. I also experimented with 5/3/1 and decided I jsut odn't like lifiting 4 days a week as much as 3. I also didn't like losing out on my squat some, as it's still my best lift. So I'm back to 3x5. It's doing me good. I already feel stronger after just a week. So the goal'd this challenge: continue on 3x5 (str3) slowly reestablish a caloric deficit. 100 calorie cut back a week. to adjust more slowly, the fast cut is leaving me too hungry and killing my will power. I am having a hard time jsutifying not feeding the muscle I can finally start to see. (ch3) Get better at pullups and pushups. I'm up to a 10 string of negatives after 2 positives. I want to increase the negatives to a longer run - maybe 15 in the 6 weeks. I'm also at 25 pushup strings. I want to get that to 50, but I'll bench mark 35 as a goal for the six week challenge. (str 2, dex2) Finally a life goal: move all of my pokemon from X&Y to Ruby sapphire - they come out the 21st and I hate not having them all in the latest game.. all 8 freaking hundred of them LOL (not sure this deserves points, but I'll give it a sta 2 - for suffering thansfering all those pokemon)
  6. I've been busy the last couple of months and missed a few challenges, so I figured it's about time I get back into it and really push myself again! My main quest this challenge is to lose fat and gain some more visible muscle mass Cutting whilst trying to keep my lifts up is going to be a bitch, but it wouldn't be a challenge if it were easy! Goals are: Eat clean and at least 4 times a day I haven't been eating enough through the day and been eating more poorly at night, so it's time to do some meal planning and start eating smaller and more often. Cut caffeine back to once a day, pre workout I've been working in a cafe recently and as a result I've been drinking waaayyy too much coffee as well as eating bad food, so now I've got to cut back and stop relying on it so heavily. Run at least 2 times a week I've been neglecting running for a little bit the last few weeks due to lack of time, but now I'm making the time to. I want to try to do 2 HIIT sessions a week on my off days to get back into it. SIDE QUESTS Get to a 60 kg OHP, 100KG Bench, 140kg squat and 180kg Deadlift. I want to get to a decent weight for all my lifts and I know it will take me a while with bench and OHP for me, I want to at least hit these for at least a 1 rep max one day.Unfortunately I had a fall on my bike the other day (plus forgot to wear kevlar jeans, really stupid in retrospect) so my knees a bit 'bung' but, it's healing up nicely and hopefully shouldn't affect my lifts too much. Let's get and stay strong.
  7. So, last challenge, I got started late because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and went on vacation with my parents for a week and then didn't finish because of a short period of no internet and the fitness room at my new university not having barbell plates for a week and then stressing out about stupid assignments, so I'm trying this again. Main Quest (nerdy phrasing): Achieve my next form (the first one where people can comment on how much more in shape I am so that I can reply "This isn't even my final form.") Getting Focused Part 2 again Objective 1: Stick to my diet, and try to get 220g of protein a dayObjective 2: Continue lifting 3 times per week (SL 5x5)Objective 3: Get an average of 7 hours or more of sleep each nightLife Side Quest: Work on time management I'm hoping this helps me not get as stressed out and helps me do well in my classes while still having time to relax and do other things. I'm thinking pomodoro might work well for this purpose. My obstacle with it is that most things I would want to do take more than 5 minutes (30 minutes can seem quite short as well), so it can feel like just more wasted time instead of a break, so I need to work on how to make the 5 minutes seem worthwhile and refreshing.
  8. "The time has come" the walrus said, "to talk of food and things; of peppercorn and mustard seed and other seasonings!" - Lewis Carrol I want to start this off by saying I have no experince deliberately bulking. To me that's the best reason to do this. I've been dropping weight consistently and steadily for 10 months. A couple of weeks ago I finally looked at myself in the mirror and didn't have to convince myself I'm not fat anymore. Instead I said: Jesus I'm small. This isn't the goal. I didn't want to be a waif or street urchin. I wanted to be He-Man. I could feel my abs through my skin even though I couldn't see them.. I could also play matchbox cars on my ribs with my nephew. In the world of underpants gnomes I made a plan: Step 1: Cut this excess body fat off Step 2: Step 3: He-Man Well having collected all the underpants I'm left with choices. Why did I want to become He-man in the first place? I was too weak to mow my lawn without getting winded. I was too weak to bath my 160lb great dane without assistance (For the record while I can do this now I still prefer not to... He is not a fan of the bathtub). Superficially that is my ideal body image though in my head so that will alwyas be my driving goal. However I've learned here at Nerd Fitness just how empty that shallow goal is. Sure it's always the end game, but strength is going to get me there. I need to pay attention to that and stop focusing on the painfully slow process of my body reconstituting itself. So that brings my babble to this challenge. Goal 1: Start bulking. Starting Saturday I'm setting my calories to 3250 and leaving them there until my waist hits 33inches again or I see Santa Claus whichever comes first. If I get to New year's I'll re asses if I should keep going or go back to a cut. I currently have a 30.5 inch waist so I think I'll be fine with this goal. Hit my calories with 100 every day. Simple Straight forward. Sta - 2 Con - 3 Goal 2: Expand my workout routine. I want to learn how to do more than SL 5x5. It's served me well, but there's a lot of world out there and I'm hungry to see some of it. I've started experimenting with bodyweight exercises. I want to keep up working on single leg squats (I use them to warm up for back squats right now). I've also switched to several dumbel exercises instead of the barbell for this challenge to try them out. Same exercise, slightly different execution. I'm also starting to do pullups and more pushups and am looking at installing rings in my gym. SL 5x5 routine with dumbells takes alot longer, but I want to see if this helps build my muscles a little when I go back to the barbell after the challenge. Dex- 3 Str - 2 Goal 3: Face my Fears: My biggest fears for right now are lifting to full failure and getting fat again. I need to conquer these two goals if I'm going to progress. So jumping right in the pool with a bulk and forcing myself to failure more frequently seem like the best way to get it over with! Wis - 3 Life Goal: Finish 1 Crochet project. I am working on a baby blanket for a freind. I need to get that shit done. I have a ton of crochet and cross stitch projects I keep backing up on doing. Well lets make it a goal and finish it! Wis - 2
  9. I'm horrible and am just now making a post. For a while, I wasn't sure what my goals should be this challenge. I knew generally what I wanted to do, and have been working to keep up with it anyway but wasn't sure specifically. This week, I just got back from a vacation with my parents. The hotels that we stayed at had gyms, but neither of them had barbells, and one only had dumbbells up to, I believe, 45 lbs. This made me realize how much I love lifting with barbells, especially squats and deadlifts. There's something about the feeling of how a bar fits to one's back while squatting that I love especially, and I really missed that while I was away from my normal gym (though I did impress a random kid when I was doing deadlifts with the heaviest dumbbells, which were 75 lbs each at that hotel, which was kind of cool). Anyway, on to the challenge stuff. Main Quest (nerdy phrasing): Achieve my next form (the first one where people can comment on how much more in shape I am so that I can reply "This isn't even my final form.") Getting Focused Part 2: Adjusting Focus Objective 1: Continue sticking to my diet.Objective 2: Continue lifting 3 times per week (SL 5x5), but also work in more warm up. So far, I've only been in the starting segment of SL working up from the bar from scratch focusing on getting the technique down, so I have been a little lazy on warm up lifts, but OH Press is becoming exertive, so I have been thinking I should probably go ahead and get in good habits before the other lifts do too.Objective 3: Auxiliary work. This one is 2 parted.Objective 3.1: Biking 30 minutes 3 times per week to work on asthma. In my previous challenge, I put more focus on this goal and was more ambitious with it, but I wasn't really getting the results I wanted and was spending a ton of time at the gym, so, for this challenge, I'm going to take a step back and try to more closely replicate the progression before my first attempt at C25k.Objective 3.2: Do more work on flexibility. I have been doing some stretching before and after lifting and biking, but I should probably do more. I am naturally quite flexible, but it seems to be dipping down toward average flexibility. My plan is to continue stretching before working out, but, then stretch extensively after working out. I have thought yoga might be good too, but I would need to take the time to learn it too. Life Side Quest: Work on time management I'm transferring to a new school which is brand new, and classes start 8/25. I need to be really diligent about my studies while still finding time to go to the gym and hopefully being able to still find time to relax (I am prone to procrastination, especially when stressed). There are also leisure things which I would like to do that I normally don't because they feel time consuming such as reading. I'm thinking pomodoro might work well for that purpose. I have used it a little for reading so far this challenge period, and it worked pretty well, so I'm going to try applying it to other things. My obstacle with it is that most things I would want to do take more than 5 minutes (30 minutes can seem quite short as well), so it can feel like just more wasted time instead of a break, so I need to work on how to make the 5 minutes seem worthwhile and refreshing. Since I have known generally what I wanted to do for this challenge, I'm going to grade myself retroactively in a bit in another post (this post took around 5 pomodori x.x; ).
  10. Hey all, this is my second challenge though I'm little late to start. I've been lifting SL 5x5 for the last few weeks (love it!) with some light back work on off days (I have scoliosis) and want to get stronger whilst keeping fat down. My main quest is to get damn strong, whilst keeping to a good bf %, with my main goals being Be able to squat my own body weight Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night Eat around 200 grams of protein a dayAlso do any of you guys who do (or had done) SL do any isolation work at the end of your workout? I was thinking of adding some stuff but I'm not all that sure. Ok then, let's lift the heavy things, put them down, so we can lift heavier things!
  11. First challenge as a member of the Warrior Guild, having just completed the level 1 Rebel challenge I'm looking to maintain and continue to build some momentum towards completing my Main Quest (being in the best shape of my life by my 35th birthday – 25 June 2015). In the past, when I've abandoned fitness, it's usually been because working out changed from being fun to a chore. So, in the spirit of keeping things fun, I've devised a point based game for me to complete this challenge and “level up.†My reward for successfully leveling up? Increasing my badassity quotient. My penalty for failing to level up? I will shave my beloved beard. And what is a Warrior without a badass beard? So those are the stakes. Here's a rundown of the basic game rules I'll be following: Total points needed to Level Up: 300 Ways in which I gain points in this challenge: -Complete a StrongLifts weight session, +10 pts -Complete a dedicated conditioning session, +10 pts -Walk, +1 pt per mile -Bike, +1 pt per mile -Hike, +2 pts per mile -Pushups: +25 pts per 1,000 pushups completed during the challenge. My goal is 4,000 for the challenge, which would require me to average almost 100 every day. If I get all 4,000 pushups I will award myself an additional 50 bonus points (in addition to the 100 pts I would already have earned from the 4 – 1,000 pushups completed) -Yoga class, +25 pts (I've never done yoga. It's been something I've wanted to try for a long time, so if I motivate myself and actually take a class, I'll award myself a healthy bonus for kicking ass and getting out of my comfort zone). -Successfully reach 250lbsx5x5 barbell squat, +25 pts -Successfully reach 225lbsx5x5 bench press, +25 pts -Successfully reach 315x1x5 deadlift, +25 pts On this quest, I may encounter enemies who drain points thusly: -Any eating of the “Forbidden Foods†will deduct 50 points. My Forbidden Foods for this challenge are: pizza, chips (any kind: potato, tortilla, etc), hot dogs, and bread. -If I drink alcohol more than 2x per week during this challenge, I lose 50 pts for each additional day So that's it. Those are the parameters of this challenge. To be successful, I need to hit my StrongLifts sessions 3x a week for 6 weeks (180 points), and supplement this with conditioning sessions, low impact walking and biking, and working towards my pushup “vanity†goal of 4k pushups in 6 weeks. As long as I remember that I can't out-train a bad diet (avoid Forbidden Foods and moderate my drinking), I should be able to reach 300 points and retain my beard, and move onto the next challenge in my Quest to become one BAMF by age 35.
  12. All, thanks in advance for looking/commenting. Just started SL 5x5, so weight is pretty light (155 lbs.), but I need to make sure the form is good first! Sorry for the up-close-and-personal...not much space, and I didn't want to put shit in the walkway on the other side of me...maybe next time I will use the rack next to me, and get a longer range. Thanks again!
  13. Goals: Eat Cleanly at a deficit Lift Heavy Rucking Train Several things are going to occur during this challenge though Nerdster - 4/195k - 4/26GRL - 5/10 At work we're spooling up all the construction for pending circuits and the completion dates will hit actually starting next week. It's going to be a lot of work, and a lot of long hours. As such I'm keeping this pretty straight forward and simple this go round. Strong Lifts5x5 3x/week. Eat clean macros150g P / <50gC / 100g F ~1500kcalRuck twice a weekLife wise, much more general: stay on top of everything and don't get bogged down in the office BS that's been going around. That's it.
  14. Nerd confession time. I deliberately tanked my overhead press during my strong lifts workout this morning. I had stalled out on the last set twice before, and I should have just deloaded for this workout, but I tried it at the old weight. I got the first set in but struggled on the second and chose to just take zeroes on the rest of the sets. I could feel that I was arching my back, my right arm was trying to compensate for my weaker left arm and I saw no clear benefit in continuing to lift that weight incorrectly. Later when I was in the shower I realized that I should have deloaded either for the entire 5 sets or at least for the last 3 so that I could have a positive outcome instead of a negative one. On the positive side, my deadlift is up to 140 lbs and my current bodyweight is 150. Halfway through my set I realized,"Holy cow, I am practically lifting myself, how cool is that?!"
  15. Just started SL5X5 a month ago, before that I had never done a deadlift before in my life. On friday I hit 225lbs for one set of five! My long term goal is to squat, bench, and deadlift my weight. I'm now officially a third of the way there!
  16. I stalled early at squats, 140 lbs. I deloaded to 125 and worked back up, only to be derailed by a sore shoulder. After a 2 week layoff, I started back at 125. I have not stalled or missed a rep since then. I completed160 today. However, my 1RM was 170 on Monday. When I do fall short of 5x5, what do you guys suggest I do? Thanks
  17. I am only up to 115lbs on the squat and definitely had to push today. Saw butt winks on video even though I focused hard on pushing from my heels. If rest of form looks good, do I just keep going until I fail tor what?
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