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  1. I'm channelling Black Widow assassin Yelena Belova for this challenge because, after almost eight (!) years as a Warrior, I've switched my primary guild allegiance to Assassins! The badge has been swapped for a few months now, but a fun Assassin-themed challenge got side tracked by moving and new house craziness. I'm still duel-classing as a Warrior as I'm a strength-focused Assassin, but my goals have definitely shifted to cool bodyweight movements. Side note: WOW some Yelena gifs have big spoilers. I'll try to put any gifs with Endgame, Black Widow, and Hawkeye spoilers in a spoiler box if I use them. Bit about me for any newcomers: GOAL 1: Practice my posing Training session at least 2x/week, aiming to build up to 4x/week. Some of this training will actually involve the characteristic Black Widow fighting pose, as one of my aims is building squat strength and mobility for pistol squats. I'll also continue walking regularly, but probably won't track walks this challenge. GOAL 2: Don't blip You know that feeling when you get distracted by something and suddenly 5 years go by? Time management goals: Start work by 10 am and finish by 6 pm Start training sessions by 6 pm Start getting ready for bed by 10 pm, no phone in bed at night except for Kindle and alarms, and (from Monday, Week 1) shut lights off/put phone away by midnight GOAL 3: Make macaroni and cheese (minus the macaroni) Do some sort of food prep 2+ times a week (counts as long as I make at least 2 servings) Limit grains to white rice, rice noodles, and oatmilk. Let's goooooo
  2. Ah. You may be wondering what exactly is going on here with the cognac and the wet celery and what appears to be a very rude novelty candle. I can explain. It is all very simple. You see, two years ago, someone 'ad a little cough and tickle in the back of the throat, which led to a small pandemic, then riots and lockdowns and some terrible singing and a great deal of sourdough bread. Then we left it to the Americans to clean it up, and of course they made a giant balls-up of it all that nearly toppled democratic government as we know it, we still have the pandemic only larger, and now we are 'ere in world war three. What could be simpler. The celery is all I can afford for dinner with all the inflation, and the cognac is because I 'ave an 'eadache from all of this. And the very rude novelty candle, well, we 'ave to heat the house somehow, and it will not be with Russian oil now, will it. In short, the 'ole thing has been a giant cock-up from start to finish, and so is our winter heating. Oh my god, here comes that stupid Englishman who thinks he can speak our language: Oh, did I not mention 'im...? He 'as a "canning ploon". "Canning" like a bloody "fix", 'im. A taxidermied one, at any rate. He has a plan to keep fit in lockdown: He is at least keen, I will give 'im that. The Officer Crabtree "How to be a Plonker" Challenge Squits Plonk Intermittent fisting
  3. As opposed to not doing squat, which isn't the best strategy for challenges. I will also be doing many actual squats this challenge, as I've decided to start a strength training cycle that is focused on building strength and mobility for pistol squats. Bit about me: Zero week got sucked up with stress and getting sick (not with COVID, at least), so I'm officially starting on Sunday with Week 1. Goal 1: Strength training Strength workout at least 3x/week, following my planned programme. I can pare this down to a mobility session if I'm not feeling good. Log my workouts. Bonus: Locomotion movements (GMB Elements style) 2x/week (either with workouts or separately). Goal 2: Routine Keep work hours and workouts between 8 am and 6 pm (same as last challenge). New accommodation since I have a ton to do over the next few weeks: If I spend at least 5.5 hrs on work or essential house buying logistics/paperwork during this time, I can unlock an extra work period from 6-8:30 pm. Bonus: start work by 10:30 am (weeks 1-2)/10 am (weeks 3-4)/9:30 am (week 5) Goal 3: Supplements Simple: actually take all of my supplements. I'm also going to introduce some "garden" goals (pretty sure I'm stealing this idea from spezzy's challenges last year). These are goals from past challenges that are important for my well-being and are pretty solid; however, they are not so solid that I can stop tracking them altogether. I'm going to experiment with the best way to track these - I might just report on them weekly. Garden Goal 1: Post in my challenge at least 5x/week. Garden Goal 2: No processed sugar/store-bought sweets.
  4. Sorry for the late arrival. I knew what I wanted to do, but I'm kind of having a hard time squaring it with the general mode of daily practice and new habit formation and stuff like that. But whatever. If I wind up in a better place because of what I do here, it almost seems like de facto I had to overcome something, right? So a challenge it is. For those of you who were around last time, hi! Welcome back! For those just tuning in for the first time, I'm Kishi, sole surviving Guild Leader of the Monks. We don't talk about what happened to the other two. Sadly, I'm not some sage figure, so I can't give you much in the way of answers, but I like to think I help with asking different questions. Things last challenge took a turn for the dramatic. I got diagnosed with heart disease, the striking program I was going to got shut down, I had some tumult occur at work, and the training program - so meticulously programmed - collapsed on contact with the real world. Much of last challenge was spent picking up the pieces and carrying on, and I'd like to think I did so relatively well. And the situation has changed. Since then, I've started on a low carb Mediterranean diet, but it's low carb enough to really be a Keto Mediterranean diet. Interesting results so far - my waistline is shrinking (probably water weight) and I've got a lot of slow burn energy as documented by rolling for about an hour and a half without any dip in energy or performance. Which is interesting, but for all I know could just as easily be chalked up to more technical rolling and generous rest. I have designs on veganizing this at some point, because it sounds like a challenge, and vegan diets are tied to good outcomes for the heart also, so this sounds like a real possibility, but given all the everything that's getting thrown at me this round, that's more likely something that's gonna phase in over time. Because a lot's happening, y'all! I'm going back to the office; I misspoke when I said last challenge it'd be 11/8; it's actually going to be 11/15. And it's a phased re-entry, so over the course of three weeks, I'll be adding a day, so first week will be one day, second week two, and so on until the 4th week, when I just go back to fulltime. Why's that complicated? Because one, the holidays will be starting around that time, and two, I'll be starting up at a new school, meaning new logistical challenges to overcome. The theme this time is about balancing the books, because I've decided I want to upgrade my computer. I took a look at the new school and I realized that there's only one no-gi day there, so I'm basically done as far as no-gi grappling attire is concerned. But before I start putting away for a new computer, I want to make sure that my finances are in good order. I think I've got some expenses coming out that I don't need to, and there's no reason to keep throwing money away. I also want to go further in my meditation and to make time/space for my writing - hence, balancing the books. Goal 1: Meditate Bumping up to 9 minutes. Goal 2: Balance the Books Might wind up being something of a gimme. Ideally, find one thing a day and do something about it in my finances, whether that's regular savings or finding and disposing of an extra bill I don't need to pay anymore. I really don't think I've got that much to do, but honestly, if this makes the challenge easier for once I'll take it. Goal 3: Write Gotta get back to butt in chair time. It's worth doing. Just gotta do it. At this point, just gonna focus on getting to my writing; no word count goals just yet, just carving out space. And, uh, yeah. That's really it this time. Let's get to work.
  5. what I want for Xmas is a happy body and a happy mood... so that's what Im getting myself: 12 little gifts! do a 3-5km walk in the late morning with the dog, preferably so she can run without a leash. Add those km to Walk to Mordor. (just passed Weathertop this week) Monday: hip stretches for five minutes in the evening Tuesday: deep squat practice for five minutes in the evening Wednesday: push up prep work for 5 minutes in the evening Thursday: hip stretches again Friday: squat practise again Saturday: push up practice again Sunday: relax in a way that feels good eat keto consistently. prep meals. no booze 2 nights a week drink 3 liter / day ( must do at least 1 liter water or tea) meditate and do morning ritual when waking up cant wait to do my first holiday challenge with you guys! * hops up and down*.......
  6. I fell off the wagon in the middle of last challenge. Honestly I'm not sure I was on the wagon to begin with, but I digress. TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE: Monday - work 8h Tuesday - classes maybe, evening church group Wednesday - work 8h split Thursday - moar classes maybe, evening church group Friday - work 4h, maybe class Saturday - ???, church in evening (online ofc) Sunday - ??? probably housecleaning tbh TO-DO: Cooking Lunch duty M Dinner duty TWRF probably (dinner by 5 or 5:30 because that's when Mom gets off) Weekends are always up in the air Regain my gainzzz 100 Knee Pushups Challenge Split lunges and goblet squats (10 lb unless I can come up with something heavier. No, my cat doesn't count.) I guess inverted rows? 5-minute ab workout (crunches 1 min, plank 1 min, side plank 1 min/side, some kind of boat pose 1 min) Walk/bike with Mom when schedule allows (it mostly doesn't). Schooling Send in those forms so I can sign up for the stupid classes on May 7 Read Dune. Finish before Mom finishes Anne of Green Gables Pick up the alto clarinet at least 1x/wk for 40+ minutes (assembly and maintenance times not included) Bonus points for breathing exercises Bonus points for playing anything in boat pose. Don't waste all my free time on Animal Crossing. (Wild World - don't ask for my friend code.) 1 hour of gameplay per day, max. Spend some time outside in the sun! If I think of anything else I'll add it. Have a spreadsheet.
  7. Hello! I'm just looking for a quick bit of guidance please! I've done my research but I keep getting it wrapped round my neck and all the information is in different places so I could really do with an easy set out list! Basically which different free weight and machine exercises for your glutes fall under these 4 different categories? - Hip hyperextension - Hip abduction - Hip external rotation - Hip extension Thankyou so much for any help or answers! Emmie
  8. Hi Monks! I'm recovering from injury, so plans have changed this month! (but who knows, maybe it's for the better) Quick n dirty list: 1. Defeat Mount Laundry (not adding a second quest here, this one's tough enough, and evaded me last challenge! seeing that awful pile day in and day out increases my stress level like crazy) 2. Eat like a normal human* but track food in My Fitness Pal. 3. Finish a 30 day squat challenge. 4. I want there to be a #4, but I don't know what. Something to do with enjoying life, spending more time outside and with the kids, being more artistic back to my roots....maybe #4 isn't so much of a quest as much as an attitude :-) *meaning no dieting, but eating reasonably healthy, no excessive snacking or bingeing of any kind. Eating the same foods as my family, but reasonable amounts and ENJOYING IT. I've stressed myself and my metabolism so much with dieting, and not even losing weight(!) so I'm going to back off and try to not stress too much.
  9. I'm back from vacation, I (hopefully) have found some new motivation, and I'm ready to get back in the game. I also haven't really improved much with the parkour over the last 6 months, and I'm finally in a mental place where I'm ready to step up my training. Goal 1: Learn to Zig Zag I have been slacking on getting cardio workouts, which in turn makes me less agile when doing parkour. I HATE cardio, but the goal is to force myself to do that at least 3 times/week. Parkour class counts. So does HIIT or shadowboxing. I might even *gasp* go for a jog. Goal 2: Work that dragon ass I've struggled A LOT with knee and hip pain over the last few months. When I did some research and some physical tests, I found that I have an anterior pelvic tilt along with relatively underdeveloped posterior chain muscles and overdeveloped quads. I've already started on the road to fixing this, and I'm already seeing progress. I have stretches for the hip flexors and calves that I need to do. I also have great exercises for helping activate the glutes and hamstrings. I also have started really trying to fix my squat. I had assumed that poor ankle mobility and short calf muscles were the reason I would fall backward or tend to shift weight to the balls of my feet when doing AtG squats. But now I have other avenues to explore. I can actually do a good form squat if I'm front squatting a light dumbbell. The goal is to accumulate time over the week in a deep squat as well as stick with the physical therapy-esque stuff. I will start with a goal of 15 minutes per week in deep squat, and see how that goes. Goal 3: A Girl must Cook I got lazy. And then went on vacation and ate out for a couple weeks. And for whatever reason, it seems harder to cook when the kids are home. But I need to clean up the diet a lot. The goal is to do at least one batch cooked recipe per week and eat out at most once per week. Goal 4: I drink and I know things. While it would certainly be *fun* to have a goal of drinking, it doesn't fit with my goals. The thing I need to drink is protein, and the thing I need to know is how much protein I've been getting. My muscle recovery has been poor, but I also have been much lower with the protein intake than I ought to be. The goal is to track protein and drink a protein shake each day that I lift or do parkour. Bonus: Be mighty like Brienne Work on upper body strength by doing pull ups and grip training work. The goal is to start doing a GtG approach where I have to do a pull up or hang on something anytime I go under the pull up bar or go down to the basement.
  10. Kishi

    Kishi Says Clean

    It's fun to do music in my challenges again. I missed it. So, gonna keep this short and simple because I've started parts of it and I'm on a short amount of time. Yes, time. I was staring at my schedule - all the things that I wanted to do and want to do still - and it finally occurred to me: life would just be easier with more daytime in it. And the way that happens is to go to bed earlier. But it's not just about going to bed earlier. The truth is, a lot of my life is messy. I'm thinking about that a lot I guess because, well, my bro and I are looking at moving out of the parent's place. Yup, that's right. Now that Dad's back to dying as slowly as we can ask him to, it's feeling a little crowded under this roof. He, I, and a third roommate are looking at places where we might want to live where the rent doesn't suck. And I want to leave this place as well as I can. That'll be a lot easier if I clean my end of things up more. So. Clean time, clean house. Let's get to it. GOAL 1: CLEAN UP MY TIME - BED BY 11 GOAL 2: CLEAN UP MY SPACE - ONE WALL OF MY ROOM EACH WEEK GOAL 3: CLEAN UP MY GUT - ONE SERVING OF SAUERKRAUT A WEEK GOAL 4: CLEAN UP MY CATALOG - FINISH UNDERTALE TO MAKE ROOM FOR ME: ANDROMEDA Bonus-That-Isn't: 4 written pages a week. And with that, we're off to the races.
  11. "But Kishi, aren't you doing themed challenges?" Well, I'm still working through the WOT, but like I said, theming it was getting pretty thin. And since I'm still working my way through book 6, well, I didn't think it made a lot of sense to worry too much. I suspect that going forward, I'm going to have to let that sink into the background of things. Anyway. I'll have to post some Righteous Santa Justice or something once I'm at a computer that lets me do that. So. I went to give blood on Monday. Giving blood is a good thing to do - it burns calories, regulates iron, and oh yeah it saves lives maybe. It's also useful as a pseudophysical, which when I didn't have insurance was pretty great. And for the most part, the numbers came back awesome - pulse was a touch higher, but that's to be expected given that I have a sedentary job now. But that perfect blood pressure, tho. But then it got interesting when it came time to take my temperature. I clocked in low 97. Why is that interesting? Because a lowered temperature is a sign of a depressed metabolism. It wasn't something I'd ever really noticed before, but after seeing some of the discussions here on the board, I've begun watching that in myself. I was suspicious before: the fact that I couldn't stop being cold up in Boston wasn't just my delicate Southern constitution, and I've noticed that my internal temperature shifts depending on how much I've eaten. Even having taken to eating more, I've noticed that I'm hungry in the mornings, and three hours after I've woken up my hands are back to being cold again. How do you fix that? Well, barring some kind of medical intervention, your best bet or so I've heard is to eat more. A lot more. But I'm still not lean enough for it to make sense to pursue the fabled Dirty Bulk. No, no. We're not doing that. Instead, we're going to keep it clean and Low Carb, except for training days. The training, for its part, is going to have to be adjusted somewhat as well. I'm going to put this energy to work. Don't worry, though, I'm not talking about hopping on a treadmill or something like that. Everything is deliberate. And since I insist on being a socially normal person, I suppose Da Cheatz will come as they do. Goal 1: EAT ALL THE THINGS I'm not really exaggerating on this. The recommendation I got is to take maintenance and add 300 calories to it. Combined with my tendency to modulate my eating based on what I've done that day... oooooh. I'll be over 3000 calories on training days, man. Bring on the almond butter. And extra guac, and beef. No real carbs, though, not beyond some fruit periworkout and some beans at dinner. This will be tough. Low carb high calorie is expensive. In order to do that, I'm going to have to win the time to batch cook in the kitchen, when nobody else is using it. Spoilers: between my brother who is on bulk and my parents who cook at home, there is always someone using it. Haha, dammit. Okay. They don't call these Challenges for nothing. Goal 2: TRAIN HARD Well, if I'm going to take in all this energy, I might as well put it to work. I'm going to up the rep ranges some - from 5 to 8. No RPT work this time. I just want to lift heavy. Rucking will continue. Finishers, provided that the rest of the session has gone according to plan, will be reintroduced. I just got my first taste of a Versaclimber on Sunday, and... it's terrible. It's like a Stairclimber on steroids. Can't wait for next time. Beyond that, though, I think I want to build Finishers around crawls and carries as well, and I think I know how to do it. Goal 3: WRITE ON I need to find a way to keep my writing habit going. NaNoWriMo is always good for starting it, but I don't seem to stick out long past that. I end up getting distracted by side projects and such like that. But this year is different, on account of the fact that 1) I like the project I'm working on, and 2) I'm not desperate to submit things, since I have a good job now. There's no need for me to be distracted now, beyond the pull of the day to day. Goal 4: DO WORK SON I may be up for a raise at the end of the month. That's going to depend on my evaluation. That's going to depend on my work. Best get to it.
  12. Sleep. GOOD. Squats. GOOOOD. Sugar. BAD! (Okay...when I typed that, this particular scene from "Friends" totally popped into my head): SLEEP GOAL: My sleep goal is simple. I must go to bed (actually go to bed and not fall asleep on my couch). SQUAT GOAL: My squat (and other exercise goal) is simple. I must get my butt on my treadmill in the basement and walk at a steep incline for 40 minutes 3-5 times per week. I must also do ALL the squats. Right now, I can do 3 sets/5 reps of bodyweight squats. In fact, I posted a Nerd Fitness Women's Academy Facebook post about how I will do a squat for every "like" I got...aaaandd...there's like...over 100 "likes" so far. So, I'll probably be doing squats until I die. (***UPDATE*** The total amount of squats I need to do is 363!! ) SLAYING THE SUGAR DRAGON GOAL: My sugar goal will probably be the end of me. I can't do cold turkey (I went for somewhere around 50 days or so once and almost went completely mental), but I have a tendency to binge. My goal is to find a happy medium. Somewhere between none and just enough to keep my happy which is hopefully no more than one or two indulgences a week. Also, I'm really damn tired of measuring my success (or failure, if you will) in pounds lost. I am a happy, healthy woman who happens to be about 10-15 pounds overweight (if I go by my doctor's recommendation, I'm only about 5 pounds away from a good weight). So, it's really just "vanity pounds", but I don't like what I look like naked. I have cellulite and bumps in places that should be smooth. Now, I've done a "Whole30" before and I've done the whole clean eating thing and the Paleo "diet", but I'm a crabby bitch when I have to be that strict with my diet. I don't eat fast food. I don't drink soda. I drink tons of water. Most of our meals are homemade and I eat so many veggies! Every once in a while, I treat myself to a cheeseburger or pizza...although since gluten seems to trigger my migraines, I've been avoiding the cheeseburgers, bread, pastas, etc. It's easy to give up wheat: I ask myself, "Is this worth potentially getting a migraine?" The answer is usually no. But sugar? Oh, sweet, sweet sugar?! Eating it does not make me sick or hate myself or...anything negative really. I just know that it's bad and that it should be avoided, but how do I turn that into not eating it? Maybe I should try hypnotism! HA! Anyway...I totally stole @Heidi's chart idea, so I'll be posting weekly progress reports with my fancy new charts! (I'm super excited about my charts!!) OH! One last thing. I'm not actually starting for reals until November 1st. I mean...I never really stopped since the last challenge ended, but I've been a bit lax and accidentally let my sugar dragon get out of control. Mostly, I think Sunday starts don't really work so well for me and because...well Monday is Halloween for crying out loud! I'm gonna need some candy *tee-hee*! But I will go for a few extra days after the official 4 Week Challenge ends. Deal? Deal. And because no challenge is complete with the awesomeness that is David Bowie and/or the Labyrinth:
  13. Superhero Challenge is here at last! I've had this one in the back of my mind for a minute, so this should be fun. It's also influenced by some things I've seen @Tanktimus the Encourager, @Sloth the Enduring and @Atrytone do over the summer, and credit for the title goes to @deftona So I wanted to do a very serious superhero challenge, and I spent a lot of time pondering who the right superhero to model on. Superman? Wonderwoman? The Flash? So many choices... I needed someone who hit all the points and inspired me and suited my personality. And then I figured it out.... Yes, it's THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO!!!! Now, I know what you are thinking. Wasn't Ralph Hinkley, the Greatest American Hero, kind of a doofus? Wasn't he constantly screwing up and flailing? Didn't he lose his own instruction book? Did he have any idea what he was doing at any given time? All these things are true. But isn't that all of us? I have a constant, ongoing conversation with my training partner, the Mantis, about what I am training for. He helps design my programming, and when we are working on it he's always asking me "what do you want to do? Triathalon? Power Lift? Crossfit? You have to tell me why you're doing this so I can figure out what you need to do." And I'm always like, Fuck, I don't know. I want to do everything. I keep thinking, there has to be more to this. It can't just be about trying look good naked and be less fat and show off in the gym. I would have given up long ago if that was it. (Especially the be less fat bit. Sigh.) There has to be something pushing me other than utter vanity. And a few weeks ago, one of the trainers at my gym happened to be asking me, "so what are you training for? Why are you here?" - the eternal question - and just as we were chatting I happened to look up at the TV in the gym and the news was showing the flooding in Virginia (Louisiana would come a few weeks later) and the shot was of people taking their little shitty johnboats and canoes and whatever they could find, and going BACK into the flooded areas to rescue other people, sometimes people they didn't even know, from the flooding. And in that moment it crystalized for me and I pointed at the TV and said "because I want to be that guy." Look, it would be awesome to be an invincible beast that never got hurt, helped the helpless, did the right thing, showed up at the right time, saved the world, AND remembered to file their taxes quarterly. I would love that. But I'm not. Especially the taxes part. But I can be Ralph. I can be as fit as possible to be as useful as possible, as best as I can. And until I am called upon to save the world, I can be an everyday hero, and I can rescue cats and help the neighbor with her groceries and whatever. It's what Ralph would do. Okay, on to the actual challenge training and goals: Everyday Hero: Be Kind: give one random compliment or helpful thing per day. Be Useful: learn one thing useful in emergencies per week. CPR, emergency first aid, change a tire & jump a battery, evacuation techniques for injured people, etc. Make it better: make one donation or volunteer one hour per week to a good cause. Let yourself fly: Ralph, famously, could fly but never figured out how to land. I have some ideas for stuff that I want to do that I keep shrinking from because I'm scared to fail at them. I need to take those risks and let the landing sort itself out. Strong like Hero: I have three gym workouts per week. They are: PHT A: 10 mins rower then 4 circuits: 1 arm rows glute bridge bench press leg extension delt raise jump rope incline press KB swing tricep extension prowler push pull-up (still working on these) PHT B: 10 min rower 4 circuits: deadlift t-bar row step-up bench press hamstring curl military press jump rope push up kb swing sled pull walking lunge inverted row HIIT/Cardio: I do three rounds of this, with 5 min rest between rounds. I do the rower first, then 3x of the moves in italics, then finish with the sandbag run. Rest and Repeat. 250 meter row 10 kb swings 10 wall balls 30 sec battle ropes 200 meter sandbag run Non - Gym workouts: Bike 2-3x week, plus skate, jog, kayak, whatever, as it fits in the schedule. So that's it! Should be a fun challenge; these are cool workouts and I'm looking forward to them. Let's do this Edited to add: Have to shout out to @Phoenix Burning for introducing me to the book Natural Born Heroes and Georges Hebert and the concept of "be fit to be useful" several challenges back. I stand on the shoulders of giants. (or at least their reading reccomendations)
  14. The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. For centuries, gleemen have told of The Great Hunt of the Horn. Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen. And so we begin. Book II. In which a powerful relic is lost, and a powerful enemy is found. The last challenge went really well. A lot of things that I didn't expect to go right went... well, right. It's a series of facts and such that, to be honest, change a lot of things. I know now that I will be able to afford to travel and do the GoRuck in Boston. I know now that this training has a purpose, and a reason beyond fighting the entropy of long, long sits. And, as one might expect, however, there were complications attached to this - a change in the time I get up, and a change in my schedule, and a change in my training, and as such a change in my diet. In other words, I found something, only to lose a bunch of other things. Not really a big deal, because I can find those things again - I've done it before - but it sure does seem to fit the tone of the book, so here I go. Always something new, always something I didn't expect, and sometimes it isn't horrible. Poor Rand. He learned in the last book that he is a wielder of saidin, the tainted, masculine half of the One Power. He is marked as a doer of sorcerous deeds, doomed to madness and the worst death. But there is more to it than he knows, more than he can even accept... The Rand part of this challenge is to search for the new routine. Once it is found, I must do the new routine. This may sound like something that has a lot of the challenge as a whole wrapped up in it, but the truth is, it's really just about adjusting to a new schedule. Part of that means making the new schedule, and although I have it made up, it's not really complete yet. It will change again in a couple of weeks, once I begin the new job and see what there is to see. At present, mornings are devoted to meditation, prayer, postural practice and stretching, and handstands. I've altered the handstand training so that I'm not doing hollow-body work directly anymore. There's just no time if I mean to do this more days than not, and honestly, getting myself to the point where I'm standing in a perfect handstand will do all the same things anyway. So, what I'm doing at this point is dropping my time back down and bringing myself closer to the wall, to learn to control my kick-up and to get more used to the idea of full body tension as a straight line. Midday work will be about skill practice with the uchikomi, and shadowboxing. Maybe some skipping rope - wouldn't be hard to bring that along, but don't quite know where to fit it. Nighttime is Perrin's problem. I will wager two silver marks to two from each of you that I can beat both of you at once, just the way I said. You can't have fairer odds than that. There are two of you, and one of me, so two to one are fair odds. Mat, of course, has his own problems. He picked up an evil artifact in the last book, and it is slowly killing him. The good news, though, is that he will lose this dagger and regain his life. The bad news is that his troubles are only getting started. Part of his recovery is that he has to eat. He is surprised at how much he ends up having to eat, how much the Healing of his wounds costs him. Likewise, it is the same with me. I have been stuck at a plateau for the past three months in terms of shedding fat and getting lean, and this has been a function of a mismatch between my body's demands and my meeting them. Fortunately, I am back on familiar ground with me being mostly sedentary again. Unfortunately, I'm me, and I'm always keen to experiment with things. On days when I'm just doing handstands and S&S, I am dropping carbs and calories down low - 50-100g for CHO, about 1650+ total intake. I will be saving my carbs for the end of the day to help me feel full and satisfied. On days when I'm formally training, I will reverse everything - 30-50g of Fat, about 1950 calories for total intake. This is simply for now - if I get hangry, or if I feel like my energy is super-stinkin' low, I reserve the right to adjust. I also refuse to deny myself the pleasures of company - hence me being so low and hard on myself. Just in the past week, I've had three glasses of champagne, homemade BLT, and junk food. Please, please don't be afraid for me. I promise, it is unwarranted. And also I think my mother is going to sabotage me - I mentioned that I wanted to see if I could go lower safely and she said she didn't think I had much left to lose. I assured her that I'm being safe - and I am, really - but I doubt she believes me. Now I get to have that problem that all the other Nerds have when they live at home. Yaaaay. A young wolfhound must meet his first wolf someday, but if the wolf sees him as a puppy, if he acts the puppy, the wolf will surely kill him. The wolfhound must be a wolfhound in the wolf's eyes even more than in his own, if he is to survive. And what to say of Perrin? Poor man. He hears wolves in his thoughts. It wasn't his choice, but whether he likes it or not he too is being dragged along by virtue of who he is in the Pattern. But it's more than that too - he made a vicious axe, and he is strong with it, but it makes him sick inside and he knows not who he is. Perrin's challenge for me is all about iron - every day that I can, I want to be touching the iron. It can be S&S, or it can be strength training, but in either event it is possible to do something every day. It's a very simple, straightforward way of doing things... but that doesn't mean easy. I've stayed with you long enough, Rand. Why would I stop now? You see, I like you. I would like you even if you weren't ta'veren. Maybe I like you despite it. You do seem to get me neck-deep in hot water. In any case, I'm going with you. And I don't think you can really stop me. And at last we come to one of my favorite characters. Loial is an ogier, a gentle giant of the forest. He loves trees and growing things, but he also loves to read. He's traveling with everyone because he wants to see the world, although he didn't get permission to leave home before taking off on this adventure. But in addition to being a kind young man of 90 years, he's also a writer. He wants to chronicle the events as they unfold. He knows that being around people who literally warp reality as they go is bound to change things, and he wants to write that story. You can see where this is going. Read the next book, yes, but also write and work on my own thing. @erosan challenged me in @Starpuck's thread to write a more ethically nuanced take on the themes of Star Wars and like an idiot, I accepted that challenge. Unlike an idiot, I seem to have stumbled on some wonderfully gray ways to explore those ideas and to tie together a bunch of things that I never thought I could into a single project. Read and write. Read and write. ... I think that about does it for this round. As usual, it looks like much, but it is not really. Let the Dragon ride again upon the Winds of Time...
  15. Intro: At the end of January 2015, I weighed 255 lbs, hated myself, and constantly felt sick and tired. I started watching what I was eating, and then at the end of February took the plunge and joined a gym. I came across NF a week before the April 2015 6WC started. There are links to my introduction/origin story and my first nine challenges in my sig below. Feel free to go rummage around in there. I’ve made steady progress through the challenges over the last 12 months, with just the occasional setback. Over my first four challenges, I set a specific goal of getting properly fitted for a good quality, tailored, three-piece suit, and get a good photograph taken wearing it, because I was sick of being disgusted when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself. Having achieved that goal, the focus is now on getting to a target weight of 180 and staying there. During the last challenge, I had a mid-point epiphany. I’d been making precious little progress because no matter how hard I worked out, I was still eating like crap. I was staying within my allotted calorie targets, but eating the wrong things most of the time. So, for the second half of the challenge, I dropped my cross-trainer calorie count (keeping it as a warm-up exercise only), started to focus more on strength, and switched to Paleo instead of calorie counting, to try to break the cycle of poor eating and frantically trying to work it off. This challenge is an extension of weeks 3-4 from the last one. No Week 0 this time around, as I re-engage my motto, to be read as Jaqen H’gar: When a man takes a Week Zero, a man will become a Weak Zero. Quest 1: A Man Owes Three Deaths to the Iron God Three workouts each week. A workout will consist of cross trainer to warm up and cool down, and a combination of lifting and body weight exercises. Each complete week is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +4 STR, +1 STA A – 5 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 4 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 2 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0/1 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 2: A Man Must Learn to Lift Himself 3 sets of 10 bodyweight squats each weekday morning. 1 set regular, 1 set Bulgarian split on each leg. Each complete week is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +3 DEX, +1 STA A – 5 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 4 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 2 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0/1 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 3: A Man Must Choose His Poisons Carefully Continue the sugar & wheat detox by eating paleo for the entire duration of the challenge. Each successful week is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +2 CON, +2 CHA A – 5 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 4 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 2 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0/1 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 4: A Man has a Thirst Drink 20 litres of water per week (15 on week 5). Each week over target is a pass. Achievable Points on Offer: +2 WIS A – 5 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 4 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 2 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0/1 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.)
  16. If this challenge were a band name it would be Taddea Zhaan and the Gothic Squats. This challenge is going to be a back to the basics and I'm going to keep it simple. My current program has body weight and goblet squats every workout day as well as heavy back squats. I will also be MIA a bit. So I'm keeping this simple and do-able. There is no zero week for this one, since it's basic. Goal 1: Do the program 4x week. Don't skimp on the squats. My legs are going to continue to be sore for a few weeks as my body adjusts. Don't skip the excessive squats. Do the squats. I'm going to get a baseline 5x5 squat weight today to compare to the end of the challenge. Program is from my trainer built for my weaknesses - core strength and squat mobility. When I'm camping, still make sure I'm at least doing body weight squats 4x week, if I have to, use some milk jugs or whatever is around for goblet squats. Goal 2: Track all the food. ALL THE FOOD. Secondary goal is to lose a few pounds. But that's not a goal. I'm not even making a calorie goal. The goal is just to track everything. While I'm camping, try to write it down on paper, but don't beat myself up if I miss something. It's vacation! LUYL Goal: Post funny scribal art from medieval manuscripts. See above.
  17. Hi, I live in Manhattan and was wondering if there are any NF'ers with a squat rack/bench at their apartment? My apartment is a bit small (it could fit but I have roommates) and there is always a long line at the gym for squat racks, so if there's anyone in the area who has one at home and wouldn't mind letting me use it a couple of times a week (could discuss payment, etc) that would be great. I understand there would be liability issues, but I'd hope we can work something out. ANd mods, if this is not a sanctioned topic please let me knwo. My intentions are simply to find a better way to lift.
  18. "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time." So, here's the thing. I've read Lord of the Rings and some Game of Thrones and I know that there's lots of good stuff out there. But believe it or not, neither of those were really my first epic fantasy. Oh, I mean, sure, I read LOTR as a kid, but like I didn't get it, you know? A lot of it just went in one eyeball and out the other. I think I learned more about it reading the commentaries than actually reading the book itself the first time. What I'm trying to get at is that, for me, the first fantasy series that I really grokked on any level was the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. What is the Wheel of Time about? Basically... it's a free for all. A battle of the sexes caught up in the battle against annihilation. Man versus woman versus Evil. It's epic and awesome, and it's the kind of series where I go back and reread and always find something new to take from it. And with the news coming down that the legal hurdles have been cleared and that a TV series is somewhere in the future, well... the days I have to actually finish reading this thing are numbered. So, let's dig into this. The books have three protagonists at their center, each of whom represents something admirable. Although I don't know if I'll continue with the series as a theme for my challenges, I think I can make do with this lot to start. Rand Al'Thor. "I am tired of running. Tired of you threatening my friends. I will run no more." Rand is a stubborn fellow. He and his friends come from a place where stubbornness is a way of life. Dig deep and hold your ground. My body is adapting to the work at the store. Now I must make my mind follow suit. Set the day's training agenda, and stick to it, no matter what. I always regret something rushed, but I never regret something done late in the day or in the night. Matrim Cauthon. "Blood and bloody ashes!" Mat's a bit of a contrast with the others. He hears the call to adventure and, after the first one, spends a good amount of time trying to run from the call. The call, sadly, knows where he lives, and very often beats him to the place he is trying to go. This one's all about locomotion. I heard there was a GoRuck happening up in Boston in November, and while I don't know if the money's going to come together to make it happen, training as if it could or would is probably going to benefit me. So, there are two things I need to grow comfy with. Moving with a pack, and swimming. So: Find and acquire 6 bricks for the pack Acquire and begin applying Total Immersion Perrin Aybara. "We don't talk about being men, we just are." ("That's why you make such a bad job of it.") Despite his size, Perrin's actually a very gentle young man in the beginning. He is known for being deliberate and careful with his thoughts, and given how the journey changes him, this is a Very Good Thing. Continue mental training with an emphasis on awareness and correction of emotionally useless states. Moiraine Damodred. "The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills." Oh, Moiraine. The first real badass. More Gandalf than Gandalf to me. There's no hiding that she has a story to tell, but when we first meet her, she's trying to learn stories and to understand and read the Pattern of the world around her. So, a reading challenge. Finish The Eye of the World by the end of the challenge. Don't laugh. It's a big book and I read slow. Though maybe I should pick up something about speed reading if I can. Maybe that would help. ... Time to throw the dice...
  19. Well, it's been a while, and excuses abound for why I've slipped. On the positive side, less time in the mines, means more time in the forge. Squat stand mk. I is nearing completion, with only minor stability issues to be fixed. Which means I can finally do back squats! So, here are the goals for this challenge: 1. Get back in the mines, and do the 2nd part of the Danger program. At this pace, I'll be lucky to finish it this year... 2. Time for a sleep goal, again. Last time I did pretty good, but things have changed since then, well, one teething little thing in particular. 3. Form checks! Time to suck it up and post some vids, despite being a grumpy, camera shy dwarf. Aside from all of that, I have decided to use the zero week to ramp up my squats. It's all squats every day, trying to get the form right and get the lift somewhere in the area of the rest of my lifts.
  20. Intro: At the end of January 2015, I weighed 255 lbs, hated myself, and constantly felt sick and tired. I started watching what I was eating, and then at the end of February took the plunge and joined a gym. I came across NF a week before the April 2015 6WC started. There are links to my introduction/origin story and my first nine challenges in my sig below. Feel free to go rummage around in there. I’ve made steady progress through the challenges over the last 12 months, with just the occasional setback. Over my first four challenges, I set a specific goal of getting properly fitted for a good quality, tailored, three-piece suit, and get a good photograph taken wearing it, because I was sick of being disgusted when I looked in the mirror or saw a photo of myself. Having achieved that goal, the focus is now on getting to a target weight of 180 and staying there. Sticking roughly with what I did last challenge, as it seemed to break the malaise a little. I’m still going a little lighter on the cross trainer, and lifting more weights. I’m also sticking with weekly pass/fails to determine my grades. The most important change this time around is the switch from the Adventurers guild to Rangers. I had a fun run over in the Shire, but there comes a time in every man’s life when being content to shave your toes and have second breakfast isn’t enough. It’s cold and grim North of the Wall (Hadrian’s, that is), so it’s time to Ranger up. Night gathers, and now my watch begins. Quest 1: The Fire that Burns Against the Cold 4,000 calories burned on the cross trainer at my gym. Achievable Points on offer: +3 STA A – 4000+ (Points x 1) B – 3500-4000 (Points x 0.75) C – 3000-3500 (Points x 0.5) D – 2500-3000 (Points x 0.25) F – < 2500 (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 2: The Sword in the Darkness Three weight training sessions each week. Each complete week is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +4 STR A – 4 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 2 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 1 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 3: The Horn that Wakes the Sleepers Bodyweight squats each weekday morning. 1 set regular, 1 set Bulgarian split on each leg. Each complete week is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +4 DEX A – 4 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 2 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 1 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 4: The Light that Brings the Dawn Log food, and stay within my weekly calorie target of 11500 (8500 for short week 4). Each week under target is a pass. Achievable Points on offer: +1 CON, +2 WIS A – 4 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 2 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 1 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.) Quest 5: The Shield that Guards the Realms of Men Drink 20 litres of water per week (15 on week 4). Each week over target is a pass. Achievable Points on Offer: +1 CHA A – 4 Weeks (Points x 1) B – 3 Weeks (Points x 0.75) C – 2 Weeks (Points x 0.5) D – 1 Week (Points x 0.25) F – 0 Weeks (Fail. 0 Points.)
  21. I did this crossfit WOD last year for the first time. Since then between my xfit classes and NF challenges I'm getting stronger so I decided to set a goal for myself to improve my time and/or performance this year. It's just around the corner now so for this challenge leading up to Memorial Day I'll be working on the four components. Exercise: +2xp per practice 1. Run continue 3x C25K training. I'm starting over at the beginning but working on more challenging terrain. 2. Pull Ups 3x weekly practice. assisted rep (jump up). 3. Push Ups 3x weekly practice. elevated. using darebee push up challenge. 4. Air Squats 3x weekly practice. using darebee squat challenge. Diet log meals daily into myfitnesspal. keep protein around 100. watch the carbs. Life: +2 per practice do something fun (be social and/or work in art journal)
  22. Hi! I couldn't wait to post this. Despite thinking that I didn't like 3 continuous months of challenge, it turns out it actually really worked better than the old format to establish habits. I woke up this morning and wanted to carry on as usual. So, here I am. I hope Celebrate gets stuck in your head every time you visit my thread, since it is stuck in mine forever now. For those of you who don't know me, hello! I am NeverThatBored. My current goal is to lose the last 10-12 pounds I have left, though lately I've been more focused on fitness stuff than making progress on that goal. My biggest challenge struggle is food. Some of my favorite things are cats, training montages, and sitting outside next to running water. I am nerdiest about anime, fantasy novels, and rpg / indie games. Now I feel like that should be an icebreaker where everyone says their goals, struggles, favorite things, and favorite nerdy things. (I hate icebreakers in real life.) Goal 1: Maintain Fitness As usual, this goal involves maintaining my existing fitness routine (and continuing to progress during regular workouts, etc.) 3 workouts/week (usually 1 bootcamp class and 2 bodyweight workouts at home) 1 Pushup AMRAP/week to maintain pushup strength Walk 16 miles/week (64 total) Practice holding a deep squat daily (42 total) 1 run / week (either 5K, slower paced run with coworkers, or sprinting) Goal 2: Movement Focus – Long Walks During the past few challenges, I’ve been focusing my secondary fitness goal on specific movements (pushups, squats). This time around, I want to focus on walking longer distances with the goal of eventually working up to a 35 mile walk on the local bike path. I will mainly be able to do this on weekends, although theoretically I might be able to do it after work now that the light is nice. We’ll see. My goal is to do this once per week, going a bit further each time. I don’t think I’ll have time to do this on travel weekends, however. My recent max is 7 miles. I’d like to work up to at least 20 in preparation before attempting the full distance. Goal 3: Food I tried the minimalist approach last time and it was an epic failure, so this time I’m trying the maximalist approach. Part A: Maintain things that work Last challenge I stopped counting these things for a week, and immediately stopped doing them. So, even if I’m focusing on macros this challenge, I need to hold myself accountable for this stuff too. Don’t eat after 8pm (or within 3 hours of bedtime) (-1 point for failure) Don’t eat more than 1 bad food/meal in a day. Desserts are counted separately from meals in most cases. (-1 point for failure) Eat primalish most of the time (19 meals / week allows for 2 variance meals) (-1 point per failure, +1 point for extra primal meal) NEW Aim for primal snacks on 4 days/week and then non-primal snacks ok 3 days per week Aim for at least 1 primal meal and 1 50% meal per day when travelling or hosting (-1 point per failure, +1 per success) Plan/prep meals over the weekend and prep/freeze meals for weeks when this doesn’t happen (+3 points when done successfully) Write down bad reactions to food choices in an ongoing spreadsheet to dissuade myself from making that choice a second time. Out of 23 points per week Part B: Measure macros Week 1 – measure protein intake, but no need to try to hit a certain goal Week 2 – start aiming for 75-106g of protein per day (more is ok) and start measuring carbs without aiming for a certain goal Weeks 3 and 4 – start aiming for 75g or so of carbs / day (anywhere below 100g ok) and continue working on protein Part C: Continue to practice conscious eating Think about what I’m about to do before eating something. Ideally, pause and take a few deep breaths. At the least, recognize and acknowledge when I’m about to sell out my future self. (4 points per day – 3 meals and snacks) Goal 4: Life Goal – Deep Work I would like to spend 30 minutes / day (except travelling/hosting days) focused on work I care about. I’ve also been neglecting adulting lately, so there are two parts to this. Part 1: I have a list of about 14 things so far that I’ve been putting off or need to take care of. I’m going to work on one of these per day until they’re done. Part 2: Once my list is finished, I’ll spend 30 minutes per day on any activity of my choice (reading, writing, drawing, whittling, career stuff, etc.). Bonus Quests These are all things that are nice to have, but I do not get points for them if I do them at the expense of any of my main goals. Meditate daily (1 bonus point for every 7 days) Ankle alphabets daily (2 set minimum – 1 bonus point for every 7 days) Knees in pose / child’s pose / another internal hip rotation stretch daily (1 bonus point for every 7 days) NEW Clean kitchen sink before bed 4 days/week. I’ve heard good things about what this does for you mentally in the morning, so I’m interested in trying it.
  23. Overview / Motivation: So the island beat me down quite a bit during part 1. The mental challenges of balancing a tough load of school deliverables on top of work and family life got the best of me and I didn't make the progress I hoped to make. I've adjusted my side goals this time around to hopefully build a routine that is more realistic. I'm excited because this 4 week challenge lines up nicely with the remainder of my big school deliverables, so coming out of this challenge I should be as good as done with my MBA. That said, I will have quite a few intense deliverables during this period, so I will get to see if I learned anything from part 1, and if I can better manage the stress through exercise and healthy living. I'm also continuing my goals development. During part 1 I build out a vision and 2-3 long term goals associated with family, professional, and physical health. My ultimate goal on this front is to build out the same vision and long terms goals for all of the '8 Forms of Wealth.' Based on what I've completed so far this leaves me with: Spiritual/Inner Self, Financial, Circle of Genius/Social, Adventure, and Impact/Legacy. I'll pick another 3 and build out my vision and goals. Looking forward to it! Main Quest (revised for 2016): Hit the following benchmarks in strength and stamina: Bench Press 250 lbs. Squat 250 lbs. Complete 20 Pull Ups Reach 180 pounds Side Quests: Average 250 Push-ups & Body Weight Squats per week Points Potential: STR +5 Grading: A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% F= Average < 80% Complete 3 - 2 Mile Runs per week Points Potential: STA +5 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% F= Average < 70% Average 2 NerdFitness Yoga Sessions / Week (Using Star B Workout) Points Potential: DEX +2 Grading A= Average > 90% B= Average > 80% C= Average > 70% F= Average < 70% Life Quest: Set 3 Additional Long Term Goals Points Potential: CHA +3 Grading Pass / Fail
  24. I will make this look pretty later... 1. Push daily push up practice. follow darebee 50 push up challenge workout. 2. Pull daily pull up practice. using schedule from this article to set up my workout. 3. Pace start running on different terrain to get ready for first 5k. using darebee 8 weeks to 5k for daily workout. My long term goal is to improve my performance/time for the Memorial Day MURPH. These three workouts should help me with all the parts (the run challenge includes squats on the off days). Also want to do daily journaling. more on that later. must head to yoga...
  25. Fellow Warriors, I wandered for a spell, trying to manage all the things and only eeking by! Most of 'all the things' started to manage me instead of the other way around. It took almost 1.5 years of wandering, but I am starting to manage my life again. My family and I have been able to check some big-ticket items off our list (part of 'all the things'), and I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for the other 'things'. The biggest benefit to NF is that I can create goals and have them in front of me on a daily basis...this will be key in re-learning how to manage them all. I will be updating this more, when I have time (but before the challenge starts). But I wanted to say it's good to be back. I have been lurking for the bulk of the last challenge, and I am still in awe at the support that NF brings to the table! Hoping to get more involved this go at it! EDIT FOR GOALS: Goal 1: Go to the gym 3 times per week. I need to work on the core lifts, so I will be continuing SL 5x5 thru this challenge. As of Challenge kick-off I will be in Week 6. Grading: 12 visits (over the challenge) to the gym is a pass, less is a fail Goal 2: Do homework during the week. I have two graduate classes (one each on Mon/Tues nights) that give me a long day (between gym, work, quick family time, school) so I need to prioritize my evenings when I don't have class to do a little homework. This will give me more time with the family on the weekends, when the last thing I want to be doing is homework. Grading: 1-2 nights of HW per week between Wed-Fri is a pass, 0 nights during a week is a fail! Goal 3: Do some cardio, drop some weight. My overall goal is to lose about 50 lbs. But let's not try to eat that whole elephant at once (it's paleo, right?). I will be combining Cardio with my workouts at the gym and/or doing a little fun activities with the boys on the weekends to get some in. Grading: 12, 30 minute cardio sessions (over the challenge) is a pass, less is a fail LUYL: Get organized! We moved last June. Our place is much bigger now, and there are a lot of things that never see the light of day (the whole family is guilty of this). There are toys, games, clothes, trinkets, appliances, etc. that need to go to a better home. A little spring cleaning is in order! Grading: Hell if I know...
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