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  1. Oh, how life is feeling more and more like a battle every day lately, but I'm doing my best to keep fighting! Quest One: Movement I am currently finishing off my doctor's "minimal and gentle movement only" restrictions and will be back to normal activity allowed by next Tuesday (though I'm cheating and going on at least one as-gentle-as-possible hike this weekend). Last challenge I made 5 workouts so I'm going to be pushing myself all the way up to 6 workouts. 😄 Hey, progress is progress, right? Quest Two: Nutrition Quest 1: Diet Coke! I'm going to keep my goal at one Diet Coke per day (though I'm already forgiving today because it's a 12 hour workday and I very well might need it just to survive) and I'm going to try to push myself to have at least 2 days this challenge with no Diet Cokes at all. The whole one Diet Coke a day thing was tough last challenge but I made it, so that's my gentle push to keep on improving myself. Quest 2: make/eat at least one veggie-heavy dish every week. It might not be truly vegetarian, but veggie-heavy is good enough. This theoretically should be fairly easy with my Sidekick app, but Lord knows when I get stressed I auto-default to an endless stream of chicken fingers with mac and cheese. I'm hoping if something tasty and healthy is in the fridge, I might be more tempted to grab it since leftovers are fast and take very little brainpower. Quest Three: Work Ah, school. The source of many of my joys and most of my stress. Quest 1: Keep up the department Instagram posting. Once a week is the goal, but more is always awesome! Quest 2: I have a meeting tomorrow to chat with the local university's MA in Romance Languages program. I was going to push it off another school year or two, but I have a chance at getting some tuition reimbursement now so I'm teetering on the edge of just biting the bullet. However, I am still very concerned about my ability to do this work quickly and easily (I can do it, but it takes me more time than I feel like I might have available). To prep, I am going to read at least one book in Spanish. Not sure which one right now, but I do already own Lety alta su voz so that stands a good chance at being the book I pick. It's 29 chapters and 208 pages, according to the Internet (since I don't have the book in front of me right now). Quest 3: Prep for French 2 next year! I need to write a course description and rationale no later than November 1st and have the first unit fully prepped no later than November 28th. I am technically currently on day 9 of about 21 in unit 1, though I do need to go back and improve days 6 and 7 a bit before I move on to the next focus. Quest 4: Japanese study for future expansion. I'm going to stick with Mango Languages for this one and I would like to do my daily reviews (hopefully more or less daily!) and finish chapter 2, which is 19 lessons away. Quest Four: Rest I am the epitome of working way too hard without rest until your mind and body step in to force you to stop...I'm trying to get better, I really am, but I keep on doing stupid things like asking to expand the French program at work which keep on adding to my plate 😅 Quest 1: I want to work on that log cabin quilt from the block exchange! It's getting cold and another quilt would be nice. But seeing as I spent the entire last challenge just talking about this and not actually doing anything with it, my goal is going to be to just make 1 block. I need 3 more to finish the layout of the top, and honestly once I sit down and do it, a single block doesn't take terribly long. Quest 2: There is a good chance that we will have a new dog at home before the end of this challenge...if that does end up happening, I want to spend some time playing with and training that dog! Specific goals will vary wildly since they will of course depend on what dog we get when and how much it already knows. But we're looking at the biggest local shelter on Nov. 12 which gives me two weeks with the dog (IF we find one immediately). My hope is that maybe I can at least get it used to whatever we name it, maybe teach it the command "come" if it doesn't already know that one? Or at least get it comfy at home if it's shy or nervous from the shelter kennels.
  2. Main Quest To live a healthy and balanced life by exercising and trying to eat healthy. My Motivation For my 37th challenge here, I’m going back to the Ranger’s Guild to balance endurance with strength training. I started here back in 2014, after having dropped weight and started a fitness routine on my own. However, with Nerd Fitness, I honed my focus and added muscle. But it’s been awhile since I did a challenge here and I find the motivation the forum provides is a great one. I’ve maintained my 1200 calories per day, M-F with blow meals on the weekends and I’ve been going on daily walks with my husband M-F. My weekly meals will remain the same, but I want to hold myself accountable for walking more and to add in weightlifting again. Smaller Quests 1. Walking I want to walk each day during this challenge, including on the weekends. Ideally, I would be walking 2 miles per day, but with going into my office sporadically, and with the spring weather (read: rain), I’m not sure how realistic this is. So I’m going to shoot for every day to see how it goes. Scoring: x/34 days Reward: +5 to STA (+1 for every week completed) 2. Weightlifting - Trim & Tone workout from Darebee.com I enjoy weightlifting, but lack a proper gym at home. Still, I do have barbells and I should be using them. I want to focus on my arms, and my biceps even more specifically. I want to use another Darebee program, but only a few times a week. Before, I’ve gone with a specific program, but that website has a lot of single day programs too. I’m going to try a single workout, twice a week. The Trim & Tone workout focuses on arms and I should be able to perform the exercises at home. Scoring: x/10 days Reward: +5 to STR (+1 for every week completed) 3.Language - Spanish I want to practice my Spanish again on DuoLingo, so I want to aim for once a day, M-F. Scoring: x/25 days Reward: +5 to WIS (+1 for every week completed)
  3. INTRO 'Olo, you lot! Welcome to my quiet little corner. I am Haniya (pronounced Hun-nee-yah) a Nerdy, Sporty, DND[currently watching Critical Role]loving, Comic book enthusiast with a penchant for arts, Video games, Books, Disney movies, music and Mystery Murder shows [Stranger Things, Sherlock, Killing Eve, The Umbrella Academy and Elementary anyone?] also Neil Gaimann because good omens is a fantastic show and is worth fangirling about. Today I have entered as a ranger to challenge myself. Hopefully, my experiment will help me build my habits and my body. I feel like my true self best fits in this sneaky, lean, strong and dangerously cool class because strength and stamina are the two things that I ideally want and we all wish to master. Hence, here I am and here I go! BACK STORY TIME: WE all know how our health is the MOST important thing in the world--physical, emotional and mental as well--especially when you've been obese half your childhood. Its hard to get back on that health horse when like half of your house hold isnt primed for it at all. Regaining my good healthy self has been a massive struggle, no less a bumpy roller coaster ride of high and lows. Well, I've been at it for quite a while with the NERDS--actually listening and enjoying the company of the people--thus, naturally, I come running back to thine fine health, happiness institute of fittitude! [Gedit] Even though i hate typing, i do try to update as often as I can. Well, anyways! I live in Pakistan (south east asia) where carbohydrate is as important and as common as air and I am not joking! OUR DIET AND CUISINE IS JUST FULL OF IT AND EVEN IF YOU TRIED, YOU JUST CANT SHAKE IT OFF AND IGNORE IT! BUT. I. WANT. TO. CHANGE. MYSELF. I DON'T WANT TO BE ADDICTED ANYMORE AND THAT'S MY MAIN MISSION HERE! BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY! I will go slow this time and not overwhelm myself as much as I am prone to so I'll just go over the basics of my mission. Cus. I. Can. And. I. Love. To. Sound. Very. Official. OH, SHALL WE MOVE TOWARDS MY BASE OF OPERATIONS?! *drumroll* OP 1: Take control of the wheel, agent! As the new agent of SHIELD, it is your duty to physically take care of what you put in your body. Filling in the shoes of Natasha Romanoff is going to be a hard job, recruit, so I suggest you take those shoes seriously and work hard! *There we go, guys. Big shoes to fill* So, clean eating and portion control is the key. Refined sugar and fried stuff is your ENEMY. IT'S YOUR HYDRA! You must defeat the bad side! *telegram* Recruit! We are not that cruel, you know, so we are allowing you a two day cheat treat. Aren't we cool?! Of-course, we are, we are SHIELD! OP 2: Find the lost Tomb of Rorustan You want to be the next Lara Croft? You want to go on adventures and move mountains like her, yes? Change the course of time and history like her? Then, you got to train like her! Her strong and Charismatic body took years and years of hard work and perseverance! Can you keep up? *CanI?* Journey to the lost tombs, human and bring forth power! My objective is to run and do body weight exercises (darebee and skipping rope) 3-4 times in a week with two days rest period. Walk for 20-30 mins daily. CAN YOU HEAR THE SPIRITS TALKING? YES! I DO! I CAN HEAR LARA CROFT! MASTER, I CAN HEAR HER WHISPERS FROM THE INSIDE, SPEAKING OUT TO ME (awksslipawaytoyonder) OP 3: Bend it like Korra! Before she was the avatar, Korra knew nothing of her powers and how to control them but with the help of her teachers and peers, she blossomed into the strongest being we know today! Want to Bend it like Korra? *Heck Yeah* then you must dedicate some time to your education; to learn and grow like the avatar. Daily one or two videos that'll inspire you or give you knowledge about the world and beyond. Study spanish: Duolingo and Memrise streaks, audio lessons from Pimsleur and YouTube video lessons. Dont forget to make notes in your notebook. Meditate to calm your souls. A clear and tension free mind is a happy mind! TAI CHI PRACTICE! Watch David Dorian Ross videos and practice along. New videos everyday to build your 103 long form practice. OP 4: "Be as flexible as Kamala Khan" SUPERHERO BY DAY, REGULAR GAMER CHILD BY NIGHT! Balancing your hero and human life takes a lot of work but you have to do this in order for the world to make sense plus, fun time is fun time! So, here are my humanly duties towards a good future:- Journal writing: habit tracking, Spanish progress and recording my days key features as bullet points to make my life easy Updating nerd fitness with my journey in the form of ratings A-F [A being super awesome and F Epic Wamp] and supporting new people and their journies! *POWER RANGERS, METAMORPHOSIS! Oh, wrong fandom* Read more books by adhering to the 50 books a year challenge: Give 1-2 weeks maximum to my current read by reading everyday for 20-30 minutes Focus on your hydration: Minimum 6glasses to up to 8 glasses. More water! LASTLY NEVER GIVE UP! Speaking of giving up, we all need some kind of push on our behinds, right? That's why I have certain ideals. Certain role models that I look for inspiration and motivation when I am feeling particular down in the ditch. These forces of good are there when i need them the most, to guide me through my epic quest I call life. Someone who I want to be: Inspiration Dice I have so many role models that I look up to! People who have proved to be gigantic and so bad arse--who don't need to be reminded of their worth! People who are amazing enough to inspire and motivate us all to follow our dreams and challenge our limits. They teach us that being kind, resolute, strong and brave--in the face of danger--is the most noblest of things you can do. So, so talented, so powerful and so stupendous. I want to be them and I am honoured to call them my idols: Lara Croft, Black Widow, Korra, Ellie Goulding, Aveline De Grandpre, Aloy, Merida, Captain Marvel, Avatar Aang, Dr 13 and Yasmin Khan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Jim Kwik, Shuri, Okoye, Kamala Khan etc. I am not promising here but i will try to keep you guys up to date with my daily shenanigans and what-nots. Apart from that, I want to THANK you for YOUR precious time! And I might need you guys to help me with this challenge because my focus on them has been very rocky but I am ready to CHANGE MYSELF FOR THE BETTER! I SWEAR ON MY PRETTY LITTLE HANDS THAT I SHALL TRY MY HARDEST! *CUE RICK ROLL SONG* p.s: i love DND even though i am a complete beginner so talk to me about it or if you are looking dnd players then lets band together! I am all for an epic dnd session!
  4. Main Quest To live a healthy and balanced life by exercising and trying to eat healthy. My Motivation I've successfully dropped weight by counting calories, so my diet will mostly be staying the same with 1200 calories per day M-F and then blow meals on the weekends. I've managed to put on some muscle in an effort to become stronger by weightlifting and I’ve discovered that I love lifting heavy things! I’m not quite done with my previous challenge, since I’ve still got 4 more days of NaNoWriMo left, but I wanted to get this out there since a new challenge started yesterday. Because we’re coming into the Christmas season, my theme for this challenge will be holiday-appropriate with Die Hard. Yes, the holiday classic with excellent quotability and the king of badasses, Bruce Willis. As he’s more stealthy and fast than a straight-up bruiser, I’m staying with the Rangers for this challenge. 1. “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.” - John McClane = Weightlifting I enjoy weight lifting, and it’s been awhile since it was a regular part of my gym routine, so I’m back at it again with this challenge. And, as a cop, McClane would have to be physically fit for the job. Doubly so in the movie since he’s got to hang onto a fire hose dangling from a skyscraper. I want to achieve the following: Bench press: 70lbs → 90lbs Squat: 65lbs → 85lbs Tricep Pullovers: 20lbs → 30lbs Deadlift: 80lbs → 100lbs Pullups: 4 → 7 (with good form!) Scoring: /5 Reward: +3 STR & +3 CHA 2. “Hey, sprechen ze talk?” - Harry Ellis = Spanish We’re going back to Cozumel in January for a week of diving. It’s been a few months, so I want to practice my Spanish again to refresh before the trip. I know the bad guys in the movie are German, or a bad interpretation of an English/German (Hans, I’m looking at you), but Spanish is a close enough stand-in. Scoring: x/20 once a day during the week, Monday through Friday Reward: +3 to WIS 3. “Walk around on the rug barefoot and make fists with your toes.” - Businessman = Walking This is a great miniquest because not only is it great exercise, but it’s not as exhausting as running. Plus, McClane walks, sneaks rather, around everywhere in the movie. Scoring: x/30 miles in 4 weeks (7.5 miles per week) Reward: +3 CON & +3 DEX
  5. Hey all! Did ya miss me? It's been kinda nuts over here. The 15th was massively important: my graduate school application was due on the 15th, a unit plan I put together for a $150 grant was due on the 15th, I had another application for a $250 grant to an academic conference due on the 15th...everything seemed to be hitting on Monday. But now it's all over! Done with! Completed! I'm freeeeeeeeeeeee! ...okay, fine. I'm free except for catching up in my Spanish class, which I've been doing the minimum for in order to get everything else done. And tying to pass the Spanish Praxis, which is coming up at the end of November. And then applying for (and hopefully getting!) a new job. And maybe getting into graduate school/fulfilling grant obligations. But those are only small things...right?? (hahahahaha no. But at least it's a little more focused?) My Quests! Spanish - Speaking and Listening I need to practice both of these skills, especially at speed. I can earn points for any of the following activities: participating in class, completing listening homework, having a tutoring session, listening to YouTube or other Spanish-language media, having conversations with my husband/students, or going to the local conversation group (which isn't very likely, but is technically a possibility). I will earn 1 point per each time I engage in one of those activities per day, defined as a half hour intense practice session and/or participating at all in easier practices. For example, I can earn 2 points for an hour of direct 1-on-1 tutoring (which is 99% just having a conversation in Spanish) but only earn 1 point for participating in my 3 hour traditional class since it's "diffused" through vaguely 15-20 students. Goal: at least 35 points Grading: 33-35 points = A 31-32 points = B 29-30 points = C 27-28 points = D 26 points or less = F Spanish - Reading and Writing Okay, I know that yellow is kinda hard to see, but I have a strong association between Spain and the color yellow, so...oh well. This is also a very big and important quest! Reading tends to be my best skill, but I know I have a way to go before I'm truly ready for the Praxis...plus all the writing, of course. I can earn points for: possibly participating in class if we're doing reading/writing activities (not as frequent), completing reading/writing homework, practicing writing on Lang-8, e-mailing or texting my husband in Spanish, or reading my own selection of passages found in books or on the Internet. I will earn 1 point per practice, defined as 400 words for writing or 800 words of reading or just general participation if it's not easily counted for whatever reason (such as in class). Goal: at least 35 points Grading: 33-35 points = A 31-32 points = B 29-30 points = C 27-28 points = D 26 points or less = F Spanish - Vocabulary, Grammar, and Culture These are the foundational skills that can be overlooked when you have an eye on a test like the Praxis, but they're one of the best ways to support the first two Spanish quests. I also need both a broader and deeper cultural knowledge for the culture section of the Praxis! I can earn points for: vocabulary practice/quizzes, grammar practice/quizzes, and cultural readings/listenings. All of those include homework from my traditional class as well as things I find/do on my own, either in general or to support/as part of the other two Spanish quests. I will earn 1 point per reading/listening or for half an hour of vocab or grammar practice. Goal: at least 35 points Grading: 33-35 points = A 31-32 points = B 29-30 points = C 27-28 points = D 26 points or less = F Fitness/Health - Nutrition Much like before...sugar is my heath nemesis. I'm a very emotional eater with no other solid coping strategies, and I'm extremely prone to using sugar as a crutch for energy, alertness/awakeness, and stress relief. I'm not going to try to solid this in a single challenge, especially with everything else going on, but I'm finally back to a point where I feel like I can and should be doing *better*, at least. I'm going to use the same points system, but in reverse: I lose a point for every sugary snack or drink consumed between right now and the end of this challenge. Goal: don't go into negative points Grading: using 35 points or less = A using 36-37 points = B using 38-39 points = C using 40-41 points = D using 42 points or more = F
  6. Main Quest To live a healthy and balanced life by exercising and trying to eat healthy. My Motivation I've successfully dropped weight by counting calories so my diet will mostly be staying the same with 1200 calories per day M-F and then blow meals on the weekends. I might even push to only have 1 blow meal per weekend, but that’s hard. I enjoy doing themed workouts and for this challenge it will be properly 300-themed since my main subquest is the Spartan Trials. Smaller Quests 1. “This is Spartaaaa!” -King Leonidas = Spartan Trials (strength & tone) For this challenge I’m going back to weights with the Spartan Trials workout from Darebee.com. It reads as deceptively simple compared to some of the other workouts I’ve done, so I’m withholding judgement until I actually start it. Since it’s strength-focused and all about becoming a better warrior, I’m back in the Warrior’s Guild for this challenge! Scoring: /30 Reward: +4 to STR & +3 to DEX 2. “For tonight, we dine in hell!” -King Leonidas = More Fruits & Veggies Because of my blow meals on weekends, I’m going to try to only have sweet treats on the weekends. I’m considering “sweet treats” to be things with high amounts of processed sugars like Oreos, ice cream, cookies, etc. Several challenges ago, I added in fruits and/or veggies to my daily diet. I don’t like many vegetables, so I’d like to try incorporating more into my daily intake. I want to aim to eat a piece of fruit or vegetable once per day during the week. Spartans likely ate a strict diet of meats, probably similar to either the Paleo diet or very carnivore-centric. I know everyone needs a balanced diet, so that means more fruits and veggies for me! Scoring: x/20 days Reward: +4 to CON 3. “Then we will fight in the shade.” -Stelios = Spanish Because there are different dialects, even within the same region, a true Spartan would need to be able to communicate between different peoples. Even while off on campaign, being able to understand the natives is very important. I enjoy practicing Spanish, so I’m continuing with it for this challenge. Scoring: x/20 days Reward: +4 to CHA
  7. Sometimes in life you can focus on growth. Other times, you need to just buckle down and focus on not losing what you've built. This challenge is (primarily) the latter. So I started my new job and it is a hot mess. There are two different classes being held in the same classroom at the same time and all admin can do is shrug their shoulders and say we *might* get a set of dividers in "a few weeks". But when/if they do come, they'll only be 4 foot tall. Oh, and did I mention that we start with students on Monday? I've also been actively banned from actually discussing the topic I'm supposed to teach in class - I'm teaching English as a Second Language and yet am supposed to use the English Literature and Composition standards. Apparently the ESL department has some kind of incredibly stupid theory that directly teaching English grammar and vocabulary is "holding kids back from their full potential", so instead I'm supposed to teach bullshit like "let's create plot maps for short stories!" and just kinda somehow hope they figure out the whole language thing on the way. And I'm only going to get 2 out of my 5 plan periods a week (which may be illegal, I'm trying to look into it) because they require we sit in at least 2 meetings of at least 60 minutes each every week; also they fired their substitute management company and dropped from a 98% substitute fill rate to only 70%, so when it's not your day to sit in a meeting you're "basically guaranteed to be required" to fill in as a substitute at least one day a week on your plan period. Which does come with a little extra pay - it's technically considered extra duty, just like sponsoring a club after school or something like that, usually around $20 an hour - but every other district I've ever taught in just sends out all staff e-mails looking for volunteers, so you can choose if you have the extra time to give that day or not. Here, I've been informed that if you get called, you really can't say no. I mean, you technically can, but apparently it gets you put on the shit list immediately and it'll effect your evaluations and contract renewals if you say no even once. All that plus some smaller nonsense and some upcoming issues with the baby's daycare timing (he's turning 1 this November and we recently learned that when he turns 2 next school year, they'll bump his drop off time up half an hour. Right now my husband can drop him off at 6:30 and then rush to work since both my husband and I have to start at 7 - my job is too far away for me to do drop off even now. Apparently once baby turns 2, we won't be allowed to drop off before 7. Not sure why it changes, but it does.) means I'm honestly already checked out and planning on job searching again in the spring. Which means I really, really need to pass the Spanish Praxis (super intense test to prove you know your content area well enough to be a teacher) to qualify for like five times as many job openings. There's a massive lack of Spanish teachers in the area at the moment and several jobs are still open right now, even in "good" districts that normally don't have any problem filling openings by May, much less August. I was always planning on passing the Spanish Praxis...in like 2 or 3 years. New goal: pass in January 2019. As in, 1 semester from now. This is...ambitious, to say the least. There are at absolute minimum 12 credit hours of college classes that I'd say I need to pass before I should even bother to think about taking the Praxis. These are not simple tests, and I have a ton of gaps in my Spanish. But I don't have time for that, so...here we go!!! Overall, my goals are to hold firm and not backslide (too much, if any) on my fitness and nutrition while really hitting the Spanish hard and at the same time trying to survive what is looking like the worst school year of my career so far: Fitness Quest #1 Goal: 8 workouts. Of any kind. Running, cycling, pushups, planks. Whatever. Be active 8 times. Notes: I'd like to put my goal number higher than that. I know I'll lose a little fitness if I only work out 8 times, especially allowing for any kind of workout, and my gains from the last few challenges have not been well cemented yet since I've basically just begun. However, I feel like I really can't make this my focus right now and it honestly exists more to make sure I do anything at all. Grading: 8+ workouts = A 7 workouts = B 6 workouts = C 5 workouts = D 4 or fewer workouts = F Nutrition Quest #1 Goal: I'm sticking with the "one dessert a day" concept. I'm currently debating if I'm going to start including soda/frou-frou coffee too. Maybe. Notes: I'm doing a points system this time since there are a number of family birthdays during this challenge (6!) and possibly my own too (which is actually during the next break week, but who knows when we'll celebrate). 28 days in the challenge = 28 dessert points "free", 1 per dessert. As stated in the goal, I'm starting off not counting soda/fancy sugary coffee drinks but am debating on adding them into the sugar counter as well. That might happen partly through the challenge as I decide if I can handle adding that in yet. Grading: 28-29 points used = A 30-32 points used = B 33-34 points used = C 35-36 points used = D 37 or more points used = F Life Quest #1 Goal: SPANISH. So. Much. Spanish. Notes: Okay, this is going to get a little nutso. So good modern language courses (and the Praxis) are set up along the 4 language competencies: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. (plus culture, but that's not really a competency). We know that all 4 skills are interlinked yet develop separately. I need to focus on all of them, frankly, plus some direct time on vocab and grammar. Therefore, my goal is to 1) practice at least 3 of these 5 categories of Spanish a day: reading and listening to authentic Spanish, writing on Lang-8, speaking with my husband and/or a tutor that I'm debating hiring, vocab and grammar flashcards/exercises pulled from any of those experiences or my Repaso workbook. I am taking Intermediate Spanish 2 this fall on Monday nights and can count class time and homework as long as it fits into one of my categories. 2) I want to spend bare minimum 20 minutes per competency per day. It really needs to be much higher than that, but I want to set my minimum low so if I have some rougher days - like I know I have back to school night later this week, which will take up almost all my evening study time - it's not impossible for me to "pass" the day anyway. 3) I need to make sure I don't leave any category behind and start developing lopsided skills, especially since certain skills are frankly easier to study (fit into schedule, find materials, etc.) So I must practice each skill at least once every 3 days, absolutely no less frequently. Grading: 28-27 days of min. 1 hour total Spanish practice = A 26-25 days = B 24-23 days = C 22-21 days = D 20 or fewer days = F
  8. Right now I'm unemployed and it's great! I'm finishing a semester of school, and I've got a job lined up to start on May 21, pending a physical and such on Friday morning. But until then, I've got plenty of time to get into the gym and work my butt off and prepare good meals and track nutrition. If I really buckle down, I think I can get below 240 lbs. by the start of my new job. I've also just read How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci. I've always had a spiritual and philosophical streak in me, and I've had problems with depression, anxiety, and some anger. I often go down youtube rabbit holes about philosophy, religion, and society. Recently, I came across some videos on Cynicism and Stoicism, and decided to give Massimo's book a read. As those who've followed me a while I'm fond of Zen Buddhism for its mindfulness, discipline, and compassion, but one thing that always bothered me with it is its disregard of rational thought in favor of spontaneity and emptiness. Stoicism seems to compensate for that well while by replacing these with rational thought, and it's virtues foster mindfulness, discipline, and compassion. So let's shoe horn some goals into the cardinal Stoic virtues... eh? And for once, I'll actually grade things with points. Because a Stoic would collect data and use it to inform future decisions, even if it was time consuming and sometimes frustrating or annoying. Zero week points = bonus points to be distributed freely at challenge end. Goal 1, Wisdom: Practice Stoic meditations in the morning and evening. Journal the results. Morning meditation questions: Reminder of the previous day. What challenges do you anticipate today? How will you overcome these challenges while maintaining your virtue? Evening: What good deeds did you do today? In what deeds did you fail to maintain your virtue? What is left to be done, or improved upon? Do it everyday. 28 days. 1 point for morning, 1 point for evening, 1 point for journaling. 3 points/day. 84 points total Goal 2, Temperance: Track nutrition, regulate food intake for healthy weight loss. MFP everyday. Hit BMR calories, ~2167 cals. Stay below, 3000 cals. At least 100 g Protein 1 point each day for tracking. 1 point for keeping cals in range, 1 point for sufficient protein. 3 points/day. 84 points total. Side quests: Limit coffee to one cup before sun up. And avoid alcohol. This is for GI health, and mental clarity. And avoiding alcohol for weight loss. Goal 3, Courage Go to gym. Because lifting stuff makes you braver or something. Go to the gym and lift something then do cardio. 6 hours each of four weeks. 1 point / hour. 24 points total. Goal 4, Justice. Do good deeds. Help other people. Or at the very least, be a fucking adult. 1 point for each good deed or adulting task completed. Aim for 1 per day. 28 days. 28 points. LUYL_1: Figure out what the fuck cardio means in spanish. I spent 90 minutes on an elliptical, while I'm glad I burned 900 calories (supposedly), that time might have been better spent studying my Spanish textbook, or consuming some other reading material. Hmm... maybe I should have tried to find a Spanish channel on one of the TVs while I ellipticaled. Basically, this goal is to bring a book to the gym to make good use of lame cardio time. LUYL_2: Keep studying spanish. Duolingo changed everything all of a sudden and now it annoys me. But I should start incorporating and moving on to new ways of learning. Such as: Working through the Spanish language course Watching Netflix shows in spanish Reading Kid's books, newspapers in Spanish. I should still try to finish the Duolingo tree tho. LUYL_3: Flamenco guitar Daily practice. My teacher dropped hints last week he might invite me to join his Flamenco orchestra this summer. So I ought to keep practicing daily and dilligently. Ugh. Why are my initial posts so damn long?
  9. February is my least favourite month. I'm usually pretty SAD from the lack of sunlight, the end of Winter in the great white North is no where in sight, and I'm packing on the Winter pudge. WELL NOT THIS YEAR, WINTER! This year, I am stronger and smarter than Winter. This year, I fuel my body, I build muscle and I supplement. This year, I come out of Winter fitter, leaner and wiser than I went in to it. THIS is my year. Keep Calm, Keto On. January's adventures in ketosis were very successful, and I'm not changing much here. I finally found something that works for me, isn't torture-some to keep up, and makes me feel energetic! GOAL ONE: Calories around 1350. Carbs less than 20g Protein between 60-100g Fats less than 120g One point per day per macro hit. A : 105pts B : 95 pts C : 85pts D : 75pts F : 74 pts or less GOAL TWO: Go to kettlebell class. My general goal is 3x per week, but that's lofty. They are very high intensity classes, and if I average around 2.5 classes per week, I'm pretty okay with that. In pursuit of that, I'm going to give myself both a realistic goal and a stretch goal. A+SUPERSTAR: 14 classes A : 12 classes B : 10 classes C : 8 classes D : 6 classes F : 5 or fewer * Prize for A+SUPERSTAR status = fancy-ass dinner (I'm thinking Ribeye neptune, asparagus, wine) and date night in with the hubs. GOAL THREE: Learn some Spanish! We're going to Mexico at the end of March, and I'm trying to brush up on my Spanish using duolingo. I took a year of college Spanish many many moons ago, so I have a but of a foundation. Goal is to earn 30 points in Duolingo every single day. I'm also giving myself a stretch goal on this one. A+SUPERSTAR: 1750pts A : 35 days of 30+pts B : 30 days of 30+pts C : 25 days of 30+pts D : 20 days of 30+pts F : 19 days or fewer * Prize for A+SUPERSTAR status = feeling confident enough to actually try to SPEAK Spanish in Mexico. Maybe some tangible prize TBD. BONUS GOAL: Take your vitamins! I supplement Vit D and Magnesium, and it has made a HUGE difference in my mood! But I forget often. Pretty straightforward. A : 35pts B : 30pts C : 25pts D : 20pts F : 19 pts or less
  10. I'm Brogo. I haven't done an intro in a while. I've been on NF for over 4 years, and if you've seen any of my previous challenges you know fondness for consonances in my titles. I still weigh about the same as I did when I started even though my main goal when I started and often throughout has been weight loss. I mostly try to lose weight by lifting weight. I was a warrior initially, but now I just kinda bounce around from guild to guild trying to maintain a balance of things. I'm a disgraced geneticist trying to fix my situation with underemployment. Right now, I work 30 hours a week in a warehouse, and I'm a full time (12 cr hours) student at a community/tech school (after a PhD's worth of time getting a Master's at one of the best Universities in the world) trying to learn about machining/metalwork and controlling CNC machines to make stuff. I'm also an artist and musician, and I'm trying to get back in shape. Right now, I'm dead set on losing weight. I'm at around 255 and dropping from a bloat at the moment. Pre-Christmas I reached 244, the lowest I've been since I joined NF. I'm going to shoot for a new weight loss PR, and get below 244 during this challenge. The rest is all based on terminal "o" asonances, my growing interest in learning Spanish which my main go to is Duolingo, a slightly older interest in learning to play Flamenco guitar, and my even older appreciation for great Spanish artists, such as: Picasso, El Greco, Joan Miro, etc. Goal 1, Cardio: Go to the gym at least once a week. I have to go at least once within 7 days for each week of the challenge. I can't make up for it, or make excuses on that. Twice a week would be good. Three would be great. Four means I'm probably slacking off on other things. Do at least 2 KB circuits. I've been doing circuits with kettle bells the last couple of workouts. They are kind of a beast, and I sweat and pant like hell. Today's workout was: 3 KB circuits; KB Swings, 2x12kg 10, 20, 20 KB Front Squat, 2x12 kg, 10, 15, 15 KB Press, 2x12kg, 10, 10, 10 Plank (breaths), 10, 15, 15 KB Rows: 2x15kg, 10, 10, 10 Russian twist: 4 kg ball, - -, 10, 10 Jump Rope: (17,20),(13, 20) (- -) No rest until I get through them all if I can help it. I'll continue doing the same or similar with slight variations. Goal 2, Paleo: Well not strict paleo. Here's my rule. I will only eat things I make from scratch, from whole foods and basic ingredients. With that, I can eat bread, but only if I make dough and bake it and shit. Rice and oats are easy to make from scratch, and I know from experience my body handles them well. More often, tho, if I want carbs I'll probably grab a banana. That said, this makes not eating paleo a pain in the ass. So long as I batch cook meat, and keep vegetables and fruits handy I'll be fine. Goal 3, No bebo vino: o cerveza. Alcohol is my perennial nemesis when it comes to weight loss. Extra calories, diminished inhibitions and planning. 1 drink usually becomes 4 or 5. I gotta stop for a bit. Plus I usually have a dry month every year just to prove to myself that I'm not an alcoholic. LUYL 1, Duolingo: Don't break my streak. I've been on Duolingo and done at least one exercise every day for the last 22 days. I want to see if I can maintain it till the end of the challenge. Read one chapter in my Spanish book each week: I also recently bought a set of books and CDs (Living Language, Spanish, Complete Edition) and I should be using that too. Duolingo is great for quick drills, but it doesn't present a whole lot of info or nuanced details of expression and grammar or variation in exercises. So, I need other stuff. Practice Spanish during my commute twice a week: The audio CDs are in my car, and the first one is in the stereo. Just gottta hit play once in a while. If I get bold, maybe I'll start an embarrasingly simple conversation with a Mexican coworker and count that here too. Write a new sentence in Spanish every day, post it here. Just some simple thing I did that day or whatever. I need to practice finding my own words more. LUYL 2, Flamenco: I ordered a new guitar and it is supposed to arrive Thursday. My first nylon string guitar, which is necessary to play flamenco properly. Daily: Fingernail maintenance: Flamenco players depend on long well maintained fingernails to play guitar well. They have to be the right shape to pick the strings, they must be clean with no rough edges, and they must be strong for playing golpe and making other percussive sounds and other fast strumming techniques. This will be done before practice. Daily flamenco practice: 15 min. a day. No excuses. This is really nothing. Once I get going there's a good chance I'll be losing sleep to guitar practice. But, I'm going to stay focused on learning flamenco. No more Metallica and Deep Purple covers. No more noodling around on the same old blues scales. Learn new shit, don't fuck around. Study a new technique every week. New strumming/picking technique, new chord, new scale. The technical stuff. Study a new palo and its compas every week. Flamenco music is made up of a collection of styles, palos, and each has its own compas, the rhythm, meter, and chord changes, that define the palo. LUYL 3, Picasso: There's a lot going on, I don't want to forget about my artwork. Finish one painting or 8 hours of painting (whichever comes first). Aye, Dios mio!
  11. Emboldened by all the returning rebels, I'm putting myself in the game and coming back to play. I missed the structure and the accountability, but most of all, I've missed you lovely people. So hopefully, and slightly shamefacedly, I'm going to try - for the third time! - to finish my last challenge. A few tweaks for the new goings-on and priorities in my life, but mostly the same. I'll include the original challenge below in a spoiler, but here's the basics: Exercise: Muay Thai 3x/week. One of the changes that happened this year is that @Bighara and I switched from our school's Fitness Kickboxing class to their Muay Thai class. We've been going for four months now and I am completely blown away by how incompetent I feel at it. Physically, it's not much more challenging, but mentally....whoa. I need to practice practice practice because I am just sad out there, people. Strength Training 3x/week. On the days I don't go to class, I'm switching things up - normally I've been doing a bodyweight routine, but I got to a certain point with my progressions and just stalled. And I think the problem is that I'm simply not strong enough. So I've started lifting weights with Phrak's Greyskull LP variant, which is recommended for total beginners, which I am. Do a cartwheel. I could do these as a kid. But then I stopped, because...grownups don't do cartwheels, I guess? So now this grownup *can't* do a cartwheel. I plan to fix that this month. I'm going to go slow and do stupid-looking ones until I can do something that a person would look at and go, "I *think* she might be doing a cartwheel!" I'm not going for perfection, is what I'm saying. Extra bonus points if I manage to do cartwheels from either side (which I have never been able to do, I'm strictly a left-handed cartwheeler). Diet/Health: 75-100g protein per day. 35+ hours sleep/week. Life: Spanish. So, this past May I fulfilled a very long-awaited dream and took my kids to visit my family in Argentina. We were there for 4 weeks and it was everything I hoped it would be and I'm so very happy we did it. But now I need to solidify the gains in Spanish the kids have made by continuing to speak it. My eldest especially has gotten so much better and I want to encourage both her and her younger sister to keep it up. But it's on me, and I need to really push myself, because it's just So. Darn. Easy. to speak in English instead. FlyLady. Doing the Babysteps, oddly, was part of what made me fall apart last time. I just couldn't keep up. And so this time I'm going to be even more basic than that, and just commit to spending 15 minutes each day either decluttering or taking care of a Job Jar item that I've been putting off. Later I'll worry about systems, but right now I need to get out from all these 'shoulda-dones' staring at me all the time. Coding. One of the best things I got out of the challenges before was doing steady work on my freelance coding. And that's one of the things that has totally fallen apart. So this is a big one, I want to spend at least 25 minutes a day working on code. More is better! But that's my daily minimum. Wish me luck - I'm seeing this one to the end this time, come heck or high water! (this is some seriously high water, though, guys)
  12. I’m going to do this right now, before I get swept away with my week and forget about it. Over the last year, I’ve been working on meal prep (and eating it), stretching more, and trying to maintain my outdoor activities. This year I’d like to really nail down these habits. With this, I ultimately want to work on cutting some excess weight. I don’t really know exactly where to put my goal, but I plan to chunk it out 10 pounds at a time to make it seem attainable. As far as life goals, I officially hit my first savings goal. My main focus in 2018 will be turned to paying off as much of my student loans as possible. I also would like to be conversational in Spanish, and keep reading through the books I have (it’s like meditation, so not necessarily for learning purposes). so for challenge #1 Fun story, I’m actually out of town starting January 31st until February 15th. Lifting: lower the weight being used for Wendler’s and work on the Boring But Big program for added volume. For this challenge, I’m just looking at completing 1 cycle. Stretching: Make this part of the morning routine somehow, whether it’s after the gym or while coffee is brewing. Should be every day. Ideally I’ll also foam roll 2-3x per week. Food: No takeout at all. I’ll start here. January is cold so the threat of physically going out to eat is pretty low, but I’ll allow it on occasion for social purposes. Weight: I’ll weigh in on my first Gym morning next week. From there, I’d like to lose 5+ pounds during this challenge. Duolingo: 30 minutes per day. Ive been enjoying reading and doing it regularly, but if I find that I haven’t in the first week I’ll adjust to add that goal as well. I just don’t want to get carried away. Same with bikes, although I suspect with walking dogs and the cold I won’t really have the capacity for a consistent 2 fun rides per week.
  13. So, I'm putting this up now because I'll be out of town tomorrow & Friday, then Saturday will be doing a "party ride" and that will likely result in me being intoxicated and / or passing out by 6pm. I'd like to start this challenge on Sunday, so figured I'd get a jump on figuring it out now. Also I have more than 4 goals, because I'm basically building on habits that I've been working on over the last year but for whatever reason if I don't list it as a goal, I'm likely to just blow it off. As with the last challenge, one of the big things I'm trying to do is keep myself moving outside as the temperatures drop. Last year I walked to the gym several days a week but otherwise didn't go out for fun early in the season and before I knew it, it was super cold and I couldn't make myself do anything. Two years ago I was out riding when the temperature was as low as 5 F(with a wind chill well below 0) so I know I have it in me... somewhere. I have to find it again. Lifting: I have four solid weeks between holidays, which means I can do the next Wendler's cycle. Beyond just doing the workouts, I'd really like to try to get my squat & deadlift back to where they were... which I think will mean eating more than an apple before walking to the gym. My goal for this challenge will be to hit a surplus on all of the + sets (even if ti's only one or two reps). If I can't do this, I think after this challenge I'll actually test my 1RMs again to see where I'm actually at now, and recalculate everything to start the new year. Eating: I didn't do this during the last challenge, because I had been doing alright... but I think my sudden increase in cardio, especially in the cold, is wrecking my diet (I've observed this in the past). My goal is to not eat gas station snacks or order takeout. If I'm going to eat out, it must be socially and only once a week (ideally less). Also I'm not allowed to buy candy at the grocery store and consider it to be groceries, especially because Aldi sells full packages of candy (not individual bars). Riding for fun: My goal during the last challenge was focused solely on mountain biking. In general, I would like my fun rides to all be in the woods (drivers in Pittsburgh are TERRIBLE). However, as we get into the freeze / thaw season, the weather could easily prevent me from getting into the woods without damaging trails. SO... I want 2 fun rides per week. If on the road, they should be about 10 miles. If in the woods, I only require that I hit 1 single track trail. It's getting colder, but since I have to be out anyway for dog walking I think I can actually assimilate to the dropping temperatures and keep myself moving through the winter. ALSO this requires that I fix my stupid bike before Sunday. Stretching: Do mobility work in the mornings after my workouts, and after any riding. They're short sessions so I should be able to squeeze them in, and waiting until right before bed just hasn't been working in my favor. Also I'll be warmed up if I do them immediately after exercising. Bonus Health Goal: Since April, I've lost about 12.5 pounds (at this exact moment anyway... my lowest point was another 4 pounds below where I'm at now, and I've fluctuated quite a bit). I'd like to lose another 6 pounds in the next four and a half weeks. I'm not necessarily going nuts with this goal though, but basically hoping that if I do all of the above things that it'll happen. I'm also basing that on my weight as of this past Monday... so Thanksgiving food will count against me (no gaining 5 pounds in holiday food and then starting from there). Duolingo: 2 hours per week seemed like a pretty do-able goal. I'd like to get to the point of doing half an hour per day, just to keep everything moving along. Right now the app is saying that I'm 46% fluent (which I'm assuming just means 46% done with their program) so if I succeed in this challenge, I may finish the duolingo program and will have to move on to another method of learning & practice. Reading: Read before bed every night instead of watching Netflix until I'm too tired to read. Adventurer things: This time I'm not making it a bonus goal. Find & sign up for a wilderness survival / first aid class. Since I don't drive, I'm pretty limited to ones I can actually do (there aren't many in the city, but they do exist). I want to make sure I know when the next one is coming and be signed up so that I'm committed to it.
  14. As far as I can tell, my slight nomadic phase is over (for now). I should be able to focus a little more on... everything. Maybe. Hopefully. I really wanted to bike to Maryland this weekend but i made a bunch of other plans instead. I’m busy for the next several days so I figured I’d get this out of the way now, while I’m thinking about it (then start Sunday, ON TIME). lifting: - start 5-3-1 again. When I left off last time, I worked up to all new PRs, then stalled pretty hard. I stepped everything back quite a bit and still stalled, so stopped the program. I still have all of those spreadsheets handy. I think I’m going to attempt my “Cycle A” (the backup plan) and if I don’t get a surplus of reps on the + days, I’ll back it down further. For the sake of Post length, i won’t list out what each week’s individual goals will be but I’ll note them in my weekly updates (they’re all in my spreadsheet). - keep doing accessories. Front squats, overhead squats, cleans, RDLs, banded glute work, and dumbbell Work. stretching: Beyond my hip and shoulder issues... I’ve been having issues with extremely tight ankles & calves. As far as I can tell, this is then causing crazy pains in my feet. I’m sure a good deal of this has been from walking in worn out shoes, and i finally bought new ones... but going to add calf stretches to the mix. - stretch every morning while coffee is going. Ideally also stretch every night right before bed. If I can get one every day though, I’ll count that as a win this time. mountain biking: - 2x per week. I’m hoping to bleed my brakes and make the bike functional again on Saturday (I need a second set of hands, and just today was asked for a favor which I then used for bargaining). If for some reason it still isn’t functional I’ll take it to a shop, but then my rides may just be doubletrack on a cx bike. Spanish: For now, just want to work on duolingo for two hours per week. I was doing this a few months ago but got really busy. Reading: at this point I really just need to finish the weird book I’ve been reading forever. Extras / non weekly goals: Find dates & logistics for next wilderness first aid class. Not likely to be during this challenge but I need to actually remember to look it up when I’m not falling asleep.
  15. Main Quest To live a healthy and balanced life by exercising and trying to eat healthy. My motivation I eat 1200 calories per day, M-F with blow meals on weekends. It’s been over 3 months since my last challenge and I want to get back into the regiment of it, so I’m back! And I’m with the Druids again for this challenge. I’ve been going to the gym, but it hasn’t been as focused on a particular area since I haven’t done a challenge in awhile. I intend to do some weightlifting, per my usual, but I want to focus more on other smaller quests this time around. I enjoy doing themed workouts and for this challenge it will be Avatar, since the Na’vi are appropriately nature-oriented. That, and Neytiri is just awesome! The titles of my small quests are from the Avatar soundtrack too. Smaller Quests 1. The Path To Heaven - Walking I’ve done running for challenges, now I want to go back to walking. It doesn’t make me break as big a sweat as running does, but it makes my legs stiff in new and painful ways so that’s gotta’ count for something! Also, my husband walks A LOT and I want to be able to keep up with him better. The final week of this challenge will likely get tricky for this though as I will be in Cozumel and thus, underwater scuba diving most of my days. Hopefully, I can get to my 30 mile goal before I go, but we’ll have to see. Scoring: x/30 miles in 4 weeks (7.5 miles per week, at the gym) Reward: +4 to STA (1 for each week completed) 2. I See You - Mindfulness I want to practice better mindfulness; that is, being thankful for everything I have and meditating more. I already am very aware of, and extremely thankful for, all that I have. However, I think I should be giving thanks for the food I eat so I want to try to take a few silent moments before eating to remember where my food comes from and to honor the essence and sacrifice of it. I will aim for giving thanks daily, but if I can do it once per meal that would be ideal. I also want to practice more meditation. I’m a relaxed and easy going person by nature, but I miss meditating and want to do it more so I’m trying for once per week. Scoring: Mindfulness /29 days Meditation /4 weeks Reward: +3 to CON & +3 to CHA 3. Becoming One Of ‘The People’ - Spanish I’m going back to Cozumel soon, during the last week of this challenge actually, so I want to get back in the habit of practicing my Spanish daily during the week. I want to practice at least one DuoLingo session each day. This will be difficult because of my schedule on weekends and going to Rehoboth and then being in Cozumel too. I also find that I practice Spanish more regularly in conjunction with a challenge here. Scoring: /29 Reward: +5 to WIS
  16. >.> <.< Drink 1 gallon water Strength Train or Swim Practice Spanish
  17. Strange timing, but a 25-day NF challenge is exactly what I need right now, so here goes Until last August I was a software engineer and spent much of my free time doing gymnastics, football, calisthenics, weightlifting and climbing. Then I quit my job and set off travelling around the world. I backpacked around Eastern Europe I represented Britain in two mental calculation events I had my first real-life NF meet-up and went climbing I studied Spanish at a language school in Valencia I volunteered as a tour guide in the volcanoes of Nicaragua I backpacked around Guatemala Then I returned home and had no idea what I wanted to do I didn't feel ready to quit travelling, but had had so many adventures that I didn't know what should come next... The default plan seemed to be to sit in my parents' house forever contemplating this embarrassingly first-world problem, but that's lame. So yesterday I flew to Barcelona with an AirBnB booked for 4 weeks. Now I'm stuck But I have a big plan. Starting tomorrow I'll spend 25 days doing the following: creating a website from scratch with no prior knowledge of the software development needed being super-productive by concentrating properly as I work eating healthily possibly with an experiment at eating as vegetarian returning to bodyweight strength training on a regular schedule working towards the bar muscle-up practising speaking and listening to Spanish learning more salsa and bachata dance This will be a points challenge because I like them. Challenge is the 25 days from 5th May to 29th May. Goal #1: create a website: the concept will be that you give it your date of birth (or any important date) and it tell you when any interesting anniversaries are happening soon. For example if you were born on 1990-01-01 then your 10,000-day birthday is coming up soon. And next March you'll be 15 Martian years old. There's also a tool that some of the calculation competitors use for practising calendar dates, but it's 15 (Earth) years old and only works in IE 5 with instructions in German. So I'd also like to make a new version of that and host it the site, maybe with leaderboards etc. I've never made a website before, so this will be all unchartered territory for my brain. Goal #2: be super-productive: at university I would tell myself that I could work just fine with Facebook etc. in the background. Eventually I learned I don't have the discipline for that So I'm setting myself a schedule to follow every day. 1 point for every day that I follow it properly. I can add items to the list whenever I like but I can only reduce them for 3 days in the future. I won't write out the list but the main features are: work 4 hours per day on goal #1 no Facebook, email, or pointless internet checking except for 5 minutes at the end of each hour exercise every day Spanish listening practice every day NF time in the afternoon One thing I've learned from my travels is that I'm much happier when I'm being social. And that's going to be difficult when I'm programming away alone in some random suburb... So I've found a bunch of good events to go to, such as language exchanges and salsa classes, and aim to do 18 social things during the 25 days. 1 point for each, but the first one each week doesn't count, to leave a maximum of 14. Goal #3: eat healthy: this means I eat enough but not too much, I don't spend 25 days only eating cereals haha, I have enough fruit and vegetables and I mainly cook for myself. 6 points awarded subjectively. Goal #4: strength training: I was at my best in 2015 (video) and want to get back up to a similar standard. Close to where I'm staying is this amazing workout park: So I'll be awarding 1 point for each of the following, with the twist that I can't claim any points until May 19th, to prevent me from going hard on maxes rather than training sensibly. So that's 20 points total and plenty to be getting on with Goal #5: understanding Spanish: my goal is still to understand EuroNews radio in Spanish. 5 points if I manage this. I'll be training every day as part of goal #2 Goal #6: salsa dancing: I'm good enough to enjoy dancing salsa and bachata, but I'd like to learn more... more moves and a less... mathematical style Subjectively awarding 5 points for this And boom, that adds up to 100 points almost like it was on purpose... 0.25 stat point for every 2 challenge points, as long as I get at least 32 challenge points. Simple.
  18. I've been around NF for ages, but I've never really managed to get anything to "stick", except NF yoga. And then, somehow, everything came together at the end of last year and I had a Facebook meltdown which meant that I stopped using it - right at the same time that the NF yoga challenge started. So I had a lot more time each day (plus loads more mental energy) and a clear challenge to finish. And I found that the format of doing something, even if not something very big, every day for a month, really felt like a good fit for me. If you only have to do 10 minutes' meditation a day, then surely you can keep it up for a month? (Answer... yes, but only barely.) Since then I've done the following: Yoga for at least 10 minutes every day. Many days it's been a lot more. On the days when I had the flu at the worst, in mid-December, it was really only those 10 minutes, and some of those were just the kind of yoga sessions where you stretch a few limbs, but I did it. So since 1 December I've done more than 30 hours of yoga. And although I've still got the tightest hamstrings in the universe I'm definitely feeling a bit more bendy and more able to balance. Sometimes. My January month's challenge was 10 minutes of meditation a day. And I hated it. HATED it. But I did it. And actually I did learn some stuff - such as I find it much easier to meditate while in slight pain (one of the meditations involved holding your arms out to the side for the whole time. That really hurt, but it gave me something else to think about.) The worst ones were where the instructor said "release your worry about..." and then listed a whole load of things that were completely irrelevant or just annoyed me. But again I learned that actually most things in my life are pretty good - it's stuff like "release your worry about Brexit meaning that the entire foundation of your life has just collapsed" that I'd have to include, and that's the kind of thing that would make anyone worry. So I have actually done meditation a couple of times since January, and I'm going to try to keep trying it, because I know the various benefits are astonishing. Although I was amused to read the other day that Mark Sisson can't be doing with meditation either! My February month's challenge was at least 15 minutes of writing every day. And I looooved it. It's not that I was surprised to love writing, because I've always thought of myself as a writer, but the format was something I didn't think I'd enjoy. A couple of years back I enrolled for a month's free write challenge (you had a topic every day, you were supposed to just write for 15 minutes, no crossings out, not thinking too much about what you were writing). I did maybe three of the prompts and then gave up because I "didn't have time". So I dug out those prompts and used them. I wrote last thing at night, in bed, longhand. Sometimes that meant that I started writing at 1am. But I did it. I actually even created a little loop of music to work to with an app on my phone for quite a lot of the sessions, which was fun too. And the prompts were weird things, like "Creativity all over it" and "Fruit party", "Cloud dancing" and "She stood for". And from this I learned that 1) when I'm writing stuff that's not meant to be part of something longer, I'm amazed by the things that come out of my head. Often even when I actually started writing I didn't know what I was going to write, but pretty much all of the pieces are OK, and one or two of them are really good, either as they stand or as clues to a longer piece; 2) at some level I think that short fiction should involve violent death. I killed or threatened to kill several other people in these stories, and in one of them I was the victim. So that was fun!; 3) you can actually end up writing quite a lot if you only write every day for 15 minutes (although of course a lot of them were longer sessions). So writing is going to carry on. Indeed, this mammoth battle log entry is going to be my writing for today, I think. March... now, March is why I'm here. There are a number of reasons why I want to finally do something about losing the few pounds extra that I'm carrying (particularly as I'm going to hit 49 in May and the few extra pounds are increasing all the time). So March needs to be about fitness/body composition. I've been a member of NF Academy since it was launched and never really done much with it, so that's my basis for my "at least one thing a day" for this month. And last night I wrote down my "big why". Which was that I haven't really got one, and how that fact has been one of the things preventing me for doing much about my body composition for several years. My big why (and the full version runs for several pages) is that yeah, I understand completely why a big why is a good idea. But mine boils down to "because". So that's what I'm going with. Thus far, I have to say that this challenge format is great fun. I've really enjoyed doing different things each month and then finding ways to keep up the activities I enjoy. Other things I want to be adding for other months later in the year include improving my Spanish, not for any reason other than it sounds so nice, and trying to achieve better sleep hygiene while still managing to squeeze all the other stuff in - this will be easier as of April when I'm meant to be back home in Sweden and not renovating in France for at least a few months. Oh, and I'm still off Facebook. Which given all the shite that's been happening is looking increasingly like an excellent decision. So, yeah, a bit of a saga there. But this is for my own accountability so that's fine. I'm intending to post regularly but I probably won't usually write very much - one of the keys to this set of challenges has been about not making it too strict for myself, so I'm not setting rules for how often/what I'll post. Tomorrow's action: Take my "before" photos. Again. And try not to despair too much at the fat I've put on over the winter.
  19. Exactly what it says on the tin. Gonna tame some monkeys so I can catch back up in my classes, ace the finals, ace my scale jury, graduate, and figure out what I'm going to do with my life!
  20. So. Got a bit lost in the reeds for a bit. Still sticking to some goals but fell way behind on others and with keeping up on the boards and then after a bit, there was just too much to catch up on and I kinda covered my eyes and went, "LA LA LA LA EVERYTHING'S FINE HERE!" You know, useful adult coping mechanisms. But. I missed you guys and I know that the lack of structure is what's keeping me from achieving my goals and then I feel cruddy about that, and in the end the *not* doing of stuff makes me feel bad enough that I'm willing to stop with the procrastinating and ignoring the problem and take up this freakin' challenge again. Okay. I'm going to pick up where I left off, and complete the challenge I didn't finish before. I've included it below in a spoiler so as not to bore those who already saw it. During my time away, I did well with exercise and diet, kinda okay with sleep, not as great with FlyLady, and totally fell down with Spanish. Seeing as I have less than 3 weeks before I leave for Argentina, this last goal is more of a Hail Mary play (or would it be María?) than anything else. All right guys, enough gabbin' and more goalerizin'!
  21. Well. it’s taken me all week to get back in here, but I finally posted last month's challenge wrap-up and here I am! And ready for the new challenge. (I haven’t been entirely slacking off, I’ve been test driving this thing, kicking the wheels, running up the mileage...wait, I think my metaphor has just gone off-road.) I don’t know if many, or even any, of you have seen the movie the 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif. It’s full of anachronisms and silliness and a Spaniard playing an Arab, but, ignoring all that, it’s one of the best dungeon crawl movies ever made. You have a party that meets at an inn, is given a quest, fights monsters and goes into a cave to beat the final boss. Essentially. There’s lots of funny bits and thrilling bits and it’s a great popcorn-muncher of a movie. The main character goes from being a courtier to a warrior and learns a lot along the way, and I hope to do the same this challenge - or at least get further along my path. My Goals Exercise: Grow stronger This will pretty much stay the same as last month. I’m going to vary the PT exercises at home a bit, as that was the only sticking part last time. 3 kickboxing days 2 Start Bodyweight days 1 BollyX day (or other cardio) 2 PT sessions 4 foam rolling or PT exercise days Diet/Health: Calculate what you can’t see 75 - 100g Protein intake Last month, for the second month in a row, I did well staying to my calorie counts, eating my fruit/veg, and drinking my water. I’ll keep doing those things, but since they’re already established habits, I feel I can let them go as goals. Now, as I end the “weight loss” phase of my diet and start the “muscle gain” part, I’ve set my daily calorie limit higher and I’m using the extra calories to try to get my daily protein intake to at least 75g, and, if possible, 100g. To this end, I’m now tracking the numbers. Since I don’t have weight loss to guide me any more, I’ll have to use body measurements and functional stuff like “how many X can I do now?” to figure out where I am. In other words, LOTS of tracking. Average 7 hours sleep per night So, I *thought* I was sleeping well. Turns out, I often was getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night. How do I know? Got a FitBit. And the numbers don’t lie. I am very bad at sleeping. Less than 7 hours of sleep makes for a very grumpy me. So I’m going to aim to have a weekly 7 hour per night average. Since it’s weekly, I can catch up during the week if I’ve had a bad night, but I need to meet the goal by the end of each week. Life: Do what you ought Spanish Later this year, I’m fulfilling a *very* long-term goal of taking my kids to Argentina, where my family is from. They have never been, which means there’s a bunch of their family they’ve never met. Last year I lost two of my uncles one day after the other, and I realized my time is short and I have no more excuses not to take them. Money, time, travel complications...these are stupid reasons to not go. So we’re going. The tickets are bought and everything. The only problem? My girls don’t speak Spanish. Or at least not well enough to be comfortable with it. They *understand* it, but since I’m the only native Spanish speaker in the house, and growing up here means English is still my stronger language...well, let’s say I’ve been slacker mom when it comes to making them speak it. It’s just so much easier to speak English. Well, that crap ends now. My goal is to spend as much time as I can speaking Spanish to them this month. I’ll encourage them to do the same, but right now they just need to hear a lot of it. Spanish radio, Spanish movies, Spanish games...whatever I can do. I’m having a tough time figuring out how to quantify this, but I’m going to start where I am and work things out as I go along. Any ideas for how to ‘grade’ this one? FlyLady Years and years ago, I joined FlyLady.net. For those of you who’ve never heard of her, FlyLady helps you get your house organized, even though you are are a chronically disorganized person. Which I am. The program really helped me get my house under control for the first time in -ever- and I’ve since fallen off the wagon and, though things have never gotten as bad as they were, my house is no longer a place that makes me happy. Too many unfinished things, too much chaos, too much stuff. I plan to start back at the beginning with her 31-day beginner baby steps program. I’ve already done the first 4 days during this Week 0, so I should be able to finish by the end of the challenge. That’s the challenge, folks. Wish me luck!
  22. Jason Bourne is very strong so Quest 1 is: Strength training 2x/wk. STR +3 He also speaks multiple languages so Quest 2 is: Spanish 6 days/wk. CHR +3 He can travel long distances on foot so Quest 3 is: Walk at least 1 mile/day. STA +3 He has a lot of stamina so Quest 4 is: Cardio 2-3x/wk. STA +3 He knows first aid/healing so Quest 5 is: Anatomy 3x/wk for 30 min. (Minimum) WIS +2 And Materia Medica class. WIS +1
  23. After a F Up in my last challenge and a okay Respawn...here it is...the last challenge I will do with the Scouts for now. I will ttry something new and split my goals over the four weeks (because this time it makes totally sense.) I will add how many times at least I want to do so that I feel that I passed that goal in brackets My goals are: Quest 1: Run Forest Run! Timeframe: Now till 2nd October My first ever marathon will be on October 2nd so the goals are: - Follow the plan for regeneration and running (I will add that here later) - Do yoga every other day.(Goal 7times) - Finish the marathon! Bonus: Plan meals that will benefit the overall goal CLEARED! Quest 2: Habla Espanol? Timeframe: 5th October till 22th October It's time to get back to learning Spanish. Since I will be travelling a lot there should be time for learning: - When on the road, read at least one chapters from the spanish book per day ( 13times) - when at home add 20 minutes of vocabulary training (with cards and/or duolingo) Quest 3: "...denn du bist, was du isst" (Rammstein reference because German - Track what I eat with MFP - Try to stay under the calorie goal - Don't undereat (-200kcal for the goal are okay...) Quest 4: It's all about the community! - Have a lot of fun meeting NF-Nerds in Edinburgh - Support the League of Epicness (and maybee restart the Accountabuddie Thread for that) - Support the Hellfire Club (REPRESENT ) - Spread the PMA So that's it for now.
  24. Main Quest To live a healthy and balanced life by exercising and trying to eat healthy. My motivation I've successfully dropped weight by counting calories so my diet will mostly be staying the same with 1200 calories per day M-F and then blow meals on the weekends. I've managed to put on some muscle in an effort to become stronger by weightlifting and I’ve discovered that I love lifting heavy things! I don’t particularly enjoy the 4 week style challenges, so this time I’m going to try a double challenge at 8 weeks. That should put me at August 21-October 22, with a week in the middle for a brief rest, I think. I enjoy doing themed workouts and for this challenge it will be snow leopards. For several reasons but mostly because 1. CATS and 2. they’re fantastic mountaineering jumpers who attack using stealth, perfect for an assassin-in-training! Smaller Quests 1. Spanish I’m going back to Cozumel soon so I want to get back in the habit of practicing my Spanish daily during the week for at least 20-30 minutes. Scoring: x/40 Reward: +4 to WIS 2. Eat more fruits and veggies I liked having fruit and veggies that I didn’t actually count calorie-wise so I’d like to incorporate that again for this challenge. I want to aim to eat a fruit or vegetable once per day during the week. Scoring: x/40 Reward: +2 CON & +2 CHA 3. Running I still don’t like running, but even I have to admit that it’s a good workout. And, it actually cuts my time I have to be at the gym down since I work up a sweat much faster. I want to run at least twice a week. Scoring: x/16 Reward: +2 STA & +2 to DEX 4. Weights More weightlifting this challenge! Since I’ve convinced my husband to come weightlifting with me again, I am bringing back the dreaded assisted pull-ups since the gym we visit after work has the machine. Scoring: x/4 (1 for each weight achieved) • Barbell Curls: 20lbs → 30lbs • Squat Sled: 90lbs → 125lbs • Assisted Pull-Ups: 30lbs assist → 20lbs assist Reward: +3 to STR (+1 for each completed)
  25. Hello! I'm Phoenix and this is my first NF Challenge! Walk to Mordor - I started this a couple months ago and am on mile 355. It has been super fun and I love Lord of the Rings! I may reach Rivendell in this time and if I do, I will reward myself by watching the movie and having a hobbit-themed dinner with friends. 90 Pushups - Not consecutive... Just 3 sets of 10 regular, 10 diamond, and 10 wide everyday to work on strength. Running - Run 3 or 4 times a week. 6min Abs - Do daily: 1min crunches, 1min flutter kicks, 1min penguins, 1min scissor kicks, 1min Russian twists, 1min plank (or similar) Spanish - Start to learn Spanish for a trip later this year I'm soo excited and glad I found NF!! Let's do this!!
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