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  1. So it’s the final chapter before my big day in September! Here are my updated quests and a few new ones to help me be the husband I want to be. (My previous quests are here and here) Main Quest: Fusion - Be ready for our big day! Earn at least 1,000 XP before September, 2015 Mission #1: Kinetic Energy XP per Practice Session / Dance / Lesson: +5 XP for at least 1 hour of practice +10 XP if practicing at the gym with partner **Bonus points** +5 With video +2 XP for each new partner danced with at a lesson/dance! PENALTY: -25 XP for every week with no practice!! -5 for getting upset/defensive/frustrated (this is a TEAM effort!!) Mission #2: Source Material +5 XP for each day of 100+ grams of protein PENALTY: -25 XP for every week I don't get enough protein! Mission #3: Biomass +5 XP for each logged workout session per week PENALTY: -25 XP for every week where no progress is made (no workouts = no progress!) Mission #4: Warm Up Sequence +5 XP per day of back stretches PENALTY: -5 XP per day of no stretches!! ---Side Quests--- Side Quest: RTFM Read at least one chapter a week of our relationship book +5 for each week or chapter of reading PENALTY: -25 for each week with no reading!! Side Quest: Bonding Go on a date at least once a week. +5 per date +5 bonus if paid for with cash/debit PENALTY: -25 for each week with no date night!! -5 penalty if paid for with credit!! Side Quest: Background Noise +5 XP for each day with no distractions (no comedy, no TV, no surfing)
  2. Hey Nerd Fitness! It's been a while since we've hung out, and I've missed you! I haven't been around on the boards and challenges and such because I've been having an amazing time with life. Also, I've been evaluating a lot of my goals and habits, and I’ve discovered that 6-week challenges don’t really work for me. I was able to complete my first challenge very well, but my second and third attempts were bails. I felt obligated to report to my guild and update them with progress, and it was easy to lose focus of why I was doing the challenge. I wasn’t doing it because I signed up, I wasn’t doing it because if I stopped I would be letting my guild down, but that’s how it felt. I know the challenge threads are supposed to be super free-form, but if I didn’t report a day, I was guilt-stricken. So I shifted focus. Instead of worrying about my challenge progress, I just focused on me. What makes me want to keep going? How do I motivate myself and press on toward my goals without crashing or losing focus? It’s been quite a journey, and I’d like to share it with you. First off, I’m a 20-something with a desk job by day, and a swing dancer/instructor/competitor by night and weekend. Fitness has never been my thing. Dance, music, and board games, please! But I want to get fit, I want to be healthy, and I’d like to not die at the Cornucopia. At the beginning of 2015, I was a member of a cheap gym that was close to my office, but far from my home. I knew there was no way I was going to lug all the things I needed to get ready in the morning to the gym, so morning workouts were out. I tried to create a habit of going to the gym after work, but I had conflicts with commitments on most nights of the week, and if anything came up with friends, it was easy as pie to drop that workout and go do coffee/dinner/movie/etc.; on top of which, I travel almost every weekend for dance or to see family, and I was having an incredibly difficult time establishing routine. So basically it was a mess of inconvenient. Meanwhile, literally in my backyard (I can see it from my back porch) is the best gym in my city, with an awesome facility, classes at all hours of the day, knowledgeable staff, and all the good things. But I just saw the cost. Finally I admitted that my cheap route wasn’t working. I decided to try a month at “the fancy gym†that would allow me to be up in the morning, get ready at home, and then go about my day and life. It was amazing. I made a commitment that if I was in town and could go to work, I could get up a little earlier and go work out. The decision was made. I would lay out my workout clothes before I went to bed, and I knew every weekday morning, I would be at the gym at 5:30. I didn’t have to talk myself into working out every day. I didn’t have to convince myself that driving that extra 2 miles in hectic traffic after a long day of work was worth it, the decision was made. And because I didn’t have to make the decision, I went. It was working. After a couple of months in the new routine, I had been tracking my weight and keeping a pretty close eye on my caloric intake, but I saw very little change. In fact, I was gaining weight with very little change in my % body fat. So I decided to take advantage of some of the services at the fancy gym and signed up to do a resting metabolic assessment. I discovered that about 60% of my daily energy was coming from carbs, and only 40% of my energy was burned off fat. My trainer challenged me to try a diet where I ate 100 grams of protein every day, limiting myself to about 100 grams of carbs, and eating no breads, pastas, etc. Being a total carb-aholic, I was devastated. But if that’s what it was going to take, I said ok. That was about a month ago. I’d love to tell you that I’ve seen drastic changes (I did at first – dropped 5 lbs in 2 weeks!), but honestly, I have a long way to go toward figuring things out. But for now I’m super happy with the plan I have, which looks like this: Food: ~1400 calories per day (more on heavily active days) 72 fl oz of water every day Training regimen: Monday: Treadmill, 30 min, and stretching, usually dancing in the evenings Tuesday: Barbell strength training (group class) Wednesday: Treadmill, 30 min, and stretching Thursday: Barre (group class) Friday: Treadmill, 30 min, and stretching Saturday: Off, often dancing/hiking Sunday: Off My new routine has been great for my mind and spirit as well. I also made the decision that treadmill time is non-fiction time. Either my kindle will read to me as I jog, or I’ll load up a podcast on my phone. It’s a body and brain workout all at once! After I get home, I have time for coffee, reading my Bible, and praying before getting ready for work, which was something else I had really struggled with before. TL;DR So this was a super long post, but basically, I’ve made huge personal progress in my health and fitness life by simplifying, and in some ways eliminating, the decision to work out. I just do it. Same thing with breads – I just don’t eat them. So this thread is less of a battle log and more of blog of progress, that I will update on my own time, at my own pace. I might one day decide that a challenge is worth committing to, but for now, this is what works for me and is what I think I can stick to. If this inspires you, please comment! I’m totally up for talking fitness stuff!
  3. Hey Assassins! I've been on quite the NF hiatus, and during that time, I decided that I didn't feel like my current fitness journey fit the 6-week challenge format. However, I missed YOU, and I was dying to tell people about the cool progress I've made in figuring out my training regimen! So instead of posting in the challenge forums, I made a battle log, which is less of a battle log and more of a blog that I will update at my own pace, as interesting things happen. You can find that here, and read more about my journey the past several months. I'd love for you to join me on this journey! In the meantime, I'll be lurking around the challenge threads too. See you around! AnnaBJoyful
  4. Last challenge I went back to basics in the Adventurers, focusing on general wellbeing as a goal. I included some fitness, but mostly worked on my mental health. Now I feel in the right frame of mind to up my game and get back to the Assassins. I've been swing dancing for a few years now. However, I've hit a plateau and want to focus on bringing my dancing to the next level. To do this, I will make time to work on movement skills I currently lack, add in more workouts to improve my core for dancing, and pay attention to my diet. My dancing prowess is the primary motivation here, but weight loss would definitely be more than welcomed and I will keep track of my weight and measurements as well. Stats End of last challenge: Weight: 199 lbs Chest: 43" Waist: 35" Hips: 44 1/4" End of this challenge: Weight: tba Chest: tba Waist: tba Hips: tba Main Quest To improve my dancing ability, focusing on core connection and styling. Quests: 1) Dance solo Currently I do 2 to 3 hours a week of partner dancing where I can practice my connection. However, I rarely get to practice styling variations so I plan to make time to practice solo jazz. Goal: 30 mins/week Grading: 1 point for every minute of solo jazz + 1 STA, + 1 DEX, + 2 CHA 2) Strength train To improve my dance technique and connection, I need to be stronger. I want to especially focus on my core, which is severely lacking. Goal: 2 sessions/week Grading: 15 points per session + 3 STR 3) Log my food Food is where I struggle. I like dancing, hiking, and many forms of exercise, but food is where I falter. I will post everything I eat on my daily reports to this thread. Goal: Log food every day Grading: 5 points per food log + 1 WIS Side Quest: Fix my back I've been having recurring muscle knots in my upper back/shoulder (rhomboid/trapezius area). This is probably caused by having a desk job and very large, heavy breasts. It seems the best way to remedy this is to strengthen my back muscles in order to oppose my overworked pecs. I'm looking into back extension exercises, but need to see a trainer who understands muscle isolation. Goal 1: Schedule private pilates session Goal 2: Back stretches 2X/day to keep knots loose. Grading: 30 points for session; 1 points/ stretch session + 2 STR Grading Scheme A = 600+ points B = 550+ points C = 475+ points D = 350+ points F = less than 350 points --- "I want her to be a flapper, because flappers are brave and gay and beautiful." - Zelda Fitzgerald
  5. MAIN QUEST: Do my first pull-up. Mini-main quest: Continue my "year of consistency." I'll get my time in under the bar, continue working on mobility, figure out how to eat in a way that supports my health, strength, and happiness, and see what happens... This is my first New Year's with NF! Now that I have a good foundation for fitness and health, it’s time to work on the weak points. Which brings me to the theme of this challenge: Hakuna Matata a.k.a. Don’t Stress About Food I’ve been focusing on eating “clean,†and I definitely feel better as a result. However, that alone doesn’t mean that I’m eating optimally for my goals (whether that’s gaining strength or cutting bf%). I need to add more structure into my nutrition, but without getting frustrated by slow progress or bogged down by perfectionism. That brings me to my first goal: Goal 1: Counting with curiosity [+3 WIS, +1 CHA, +2 STR] I’ll be tracking food with the goal of figuring out what works best for me. Possible questions that I can answer with this data (albeit not all at once) include: What does “eating at maintenance†mean for me?What is a sustainable calorie deficit for me?Am I eating enough protein?Do I feel better if I eat more/fewer meals?How does my carb intake affect how I feel?In addition to tracking food on My Fitness Pal, every day I’ll also log how I feel (energy-wise, mood-wise, etc.). I tried something like this during my second challenge and it quickly turned into a fiasco because of lingering body image and food issues. Why will it be different this time around? I’m going to eat more, for starters. MFP now thinks that I’m a very active individual who wants to maintain her weight and therefore won’t tell me that I’ve exceeded my calorie goal on a regular basis. Turning my daily stats red isn’t cool, MFP. I will NOT measure my success by “results†(i.e., fat loss, which is an eventual goal). Any information that I gain from this is valuable. Also, there will be less frequent tracking of these results. I have a before photo and the fit of my clothes to track changes during the challenge, and I know my approximate starting measurements/weight if I want to check these down the road. Different motivation—this is for the lifts. I want to be strong for my size, and I don’t want inconsistent intake to mess with my progress. As a novice, I’ve gotten away with not having on-target nutrition, but that won’t always be the case. I *think* I’m better prepared for this challenge now than I was last summer. For one thing, I’ve fallen in love with lifting and it helps keep me sane. Life outside of the gym is going pretty well, too.So, that’s the big goal for this challenge. Other things I need to work on: Goal 2: Mindful eating [+2 WIS] When did eating at the computer become a habit again? For this challenge: always eat sitting down, and at least one meal each day should be eaten without distractions (computer, reading, etc.—music and conversation are fine). Goal 3: Conditioning 2x/week [+3 STA] I’ve neglected conditioning work since I started lifting. However, even though strength training is my main goal, I do want a base level of conditioning for my daily tasks, hiking, and powerlifting. This challenge I'll build the habit of incorporating conditioning of some form into my weekly routine. The workouts will probably consist of rowing since I hate treadmills, don’t fancy running in the cold/dark/wet, and don’t have access to a swimming pool unless I purchase another gym membership. Goal 4: Scheduling for sleep [+2 CON] I have trouble getting to sleep on time because of 1) evening workouts, and 2) messing around on the computer in the evening. To make sure bed time doesn’t get pushed back by these things, I’ll Get to the gym by 6:30 pm so I can change, warm-up, and be ready to lift by 7 pm. Stay off the computer for leisure purposes (Facebook, non-work email, reading blogs, watching movies/shows, Nerd Fitness…) after 8:30 pm. Ideally I won’t do any chores (e.g., grocery shopping) or school work on the computer after this time, either.Life Quest [+2 CHA] Go to two swing dance events (lesson, dance, etc.). Yeah, no lifting goal because getting the lifts in is now easy for me. This challenge starts at my 16th week of Starting Strength, and the workouts will mostly be posted in the battle log. Not quite sure what will be posted here... probably ramblings, food photos, and Lion King gifs (and please contribute to these ). I don't plan on posting much raw MFP data, but if anyone's curious about what I'm trying (macros, meals, etc.), feel free to ask. tl;dr: Goal 1: Track food on MFP without the tracking becoming a source of stress. Also track how I feel that day.Goal 2: Work on mindful eating (eat sitting down + one meal/day without distractions).Goal 3: Conditioning 2x/week (probably rowing)Goal 4: Get to the gym by 6:30 pm and get off the computer by 8:30 pm (at least for non-work activities) so I can get to bed on time.Life Quest: Start swing dancing again by going to at least 2 swing somethings.Lifts ( = Starting Strength) are in the battle log.
  6. What's around the river bend? This is my second challenge, and my first as a Swing-Dance-Ninja-Assassin. For those who don’t know me, I’m a 25 year old with a desk job and a passion for lindy hop and all other swing dances. My Level 50 is:To wear a size 4 in pants (currently a size 8)To be able to dance all night long and never have to turn someone down because I’m too tiredTo be a recreational whitewater paddler For my first challenge, I focused on maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, exercising 3-4 times a week, and eating mostly paleo but always with a caloric deficit. I feel like I stayed on target really well despite some stressful days and a business trip near the end, so I’m excited to step it up a bit! But before I jump into that, I want to recap some lessons learned: My digestive system does not thrive on paleo dieting. I wish there was a simple solution to figuring out the perfect diet for me, but as far as I can tell, my system likes to function with at least a little bit of dairy and bread. I’m going to be experimenting with other diet habits this time around. Sleep schedules are awesome, and I feel really comfortable that my mind and body recognize the importance of keeping a 10:30 bedtime and 6:30 rise time. I don’t think this is enough of a challenge any more to warrant a mission. Goal accomplished! My weight on a scale means nothing. During the last challenge I gained 2 lbs but lost an inch off my hips. The only measurements I’ll be focusing on are the ones I get from the tape measure and the calipers. I love routine! I love the feeling of getting up in the morning and working out before work! I love the feeling of jogging after a good ab workout – so tight! Yeah, happy things! I also venture into whitewater rafting and kayaking in the summer months. For this challenge, I'm letting the river guide me! The week after this challenge ends I’ll be taking a combined dancing/whitewater vacation (WOOT!). It will be my first time on a river in a hard boat (I've just done single-person rafts in the past), so I want to use this challenge to get me mentally and physically prepared for that! Mission 1:Exercise 4x per week - I'll be continuing my mix of walk/jog intervals in my neighborhood, pilates for dancers exercises, and aerobics with light weights. I'll be focusing a lot on core strength to help with dancing and also rolling my kayak Mission 2:Diet - eat a caloric deficit daily, and drink lots of water! I use a fitbit one to record my calorie burn and sync it with MyFitnessPal to record my calorie intake. The water is a major challenge for me, so I'm going to start with a goal of 2 - 24oz bottles for weeks 1 and 2, and by week 3 I want to be drinking 3 - 24oz bottles of water a day. Mission 3:Devotion - have 30 minutes of devotion time 7 days a week. My spiritual health is just as important as my physical health! I've promised myself for years that I would create a habit of spending time with God as soon as I got a handle on my physical habits. It's time. Side quest:Take kayaking courses. Guys. This is so intimidating. As a child, I HATED getting my face wet, and growing up I would never go underwater without goggles. I hate the idea of being upside down, underwater, with a boat on top of me. You might be wondering, "so why the heck do you want to be a kayaker?!" Well, I love the river, I love the mountains, I love the thrill of navigating the rapids - it's exhilarating and relaxing and beautiful. I just have to get over my fear of being underwater in frigid rushing water. So, I'll be taking a roll clinic so I can learn how to roll myself out of the water. I signed up today. It happens in 11 days. I'm not terrified, but it's going to be tough. I'll keep you updated. So here we go: a new challenge, a new journey! Let's do this thing! (For the record, the kayaker in the picture is not me - but it's exactly the sort of thing I want to do! But that is me in the brown skirt in the dancing picture!)
  7. Hey there Nerd Fitness! Like a lot of people, I'm a 20-something with a desk job and not a lot of free time. Or at least, that's what I tell myself. Last spring and summer, I had a gym membership and made tons of progress improving myself, working out at least 3 times a week and eating responsibly. Then I started traveling for work, and my discipline flew out the window. 3 months passed without a foot stepped inside the gym, so I cancelled my membership. Although my weight hasn't changed much in that time, my body mass definitely has, and I'm ready to do something about it. My motivation: swing dance and kayaking. Lindy hop is my earthly obsession. I love swing dance, swing music, swing nerds...it's kind of the most awesome thing ever. When I'm feeling brave (which is most of the time), I even compete! I know getting in shape makes me a better dancer, and I want to dance harder, longer, and be able to do more awesome stuff (like this!). I've been rafting every summer for about 10 years now, and I recently got my first hard boat. I'm terrified that I will have to roll my kayak when I flip, but I know that if I'm going to level up my whitewater skills, I have to learn to roll, and building up core strength will make rolling easier. Plus I just want to be the best me I can be. So here I am, struggling to get back into a healthy routine and hoping that by joining you all on your own journeys to improve yourself, we can all make this a little more fun. What is your favorite benefit of getting fit? Are there any other dancers or whitewater fanatics out there?
  8. “Don’t get your hopes up yet.†That was how Erik started this morning. He was holding a brown folder. An official looking brown folder. Didn’t he know that being told not to get your hopes up did just the opposite? It’s just like someone telling you, “Don’t think about elephants.†What’s the only thing you’re thinking about right now? Elephants. The folder contained a mission. A real mission. Not training. “It’s not your official deployment. Not yet. We still have several more months of training before you’re ready for that. It’s a short-term scouting mission. We’re sending you to a potential deployment location to get the lay of the land. It’s just reconnaissance. Your main job is to lay low, and gather as much info as you can in the next week.†He handed me the folder and I was so eager to open it and study every detail, that I almost missed him continuing as he sat down across from me, “You’re transitioning into a new phase here, HN. You’re going to be losing the structure you’ve come accustomed to on base. You’ll have to have your own self-discipline. You’ll have to start spending time centering yourself for missions, to keep on task. I’m giving you only two assignments for this training period, as you’re going to have to start training your weak areas on your own. Once you’re deployed, that’s not the end. It’s just the beginning. You’ll have to keep improving whenever you find a weak spot. Take a look at your mission folder. There’s a digisheet in the back that has your extra training assignments. You’ll start working on them after breakfast.†He abruptly got up and and left me to my cheese and strawberries. Or at least I thought he did. He paused behind my chair for a short moment. “You’re doing well, HN. Don’t sell yourself short. You can do this, you have to know that. Because it only gets harder from here.†Habit goal: Self-Discipline Establish an energizing morning routine 1. Get out of bed without snoozing 2. Do gorilla workout Why it's a challenge: have I mentioned how much I hate mornings? Why I want to do it anyway: I hate mornings. This should change. Also, junk gets in the way for workouts if I don't get them in at the start of the day. I want to work my way towards a serious workout in the morning. My daily 16 was a start, but I'm getting bored of those exercises, and I didn't like a lot of them anyway. So I end up skippig it often. I enjoy the gorilla workouts a lot, and they are quick. And leave me much sorer than my daily 16 ever did. Once again, two points per day. Starting at 84 points: 70-84 = a 60-70= b 50-60= c <50= f Using lift app to keep track, so I can easially look at my stats and not miss something. + 2 CON, + 3 STR Endurance goal: Training assignment number 1: Improve that 3 mile time. Still 5k. This time on a sliding scale. Sub 30 = a Sub 32 = b Sub 34 = c Anything else = f +3 STA Skill goal: Training assignment number 2: Learn to dance Solo swing dance Why it's a challenge: I have terrible, terrible proprioception and coordination. Not to mention swing is generally a two-person gig. Why I want to do it anyway: I love love love swing music. When I hear it I feel like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj125Azt5hA I can't contain myself. There is no hope of me sitting still. Why solo swing you say? Well cuz I don't have a fella. I go to a lot of parties where there is swing dancing, and there are lots of couples, and anyone who's not, doesn't know how to swing and thus won't dance with me to those songs (it's seems that only couples ever bother to learn to dance?). My brother and I used to swing dance something fierce. We are sort of estranged at the moment, and not having that built-in dancing buddy makes me miss him a lot at these dances. Just doing triple step by myself back and forth looks dumb and is boring. Therefore, I want to learn a routine (or repertoire of moves to mix and match) of intentionally solo swing dancing to jive to when these songs come up. Ideally I'd like to learn six new moves, one for each week. 6 = a 5 = b 4 = c <4 = f +2 DEX, +3 CHA Life goal: Centering myself to keep on task Learn to enjoy alone time. Accumulate 1 hour per week of quality alone time. Why it's a challenge; I am an extremely extroverted person. I hate being alone. being alone for too long makes me exhausted and depressed (characteristic of extroverts). This has freaked me out so much that I really avoid being alone at ALL. I tend to associate inrospection with introversion, and therefore with anger and depression (becuase when I am angry or depressed i don't want to interact with anyone.) Why I want to do it anyway: some alone time is necessary, to think and collect my thoughts, center myself, and come up with new ideas. Introspection is important, to develop who I am as a person and process new life experiences. It's gotten to a point that if I want to go do something (a hike, or bouldering, or seeing a movie) and no one is available that night, I won't even go. Guess what? I'm still alone that night. I'm just alone and bored. I want to start doing these things alone and enjoying being alone, not viewing it as that sludgey in-between time I have to slosh through between human interactions. So I'm going to accumulate one hour per week in quality alone time (ie watching tv, cleaning the house, working alone doesn't count. I'd be too distracted to pay attention to being alone) Six hours throughout challenge = a 5 hours = b 4 hours = c <4 = f + 3 WIS I'm also going to be doing two side challenges, one for the Parkour Posse PVP [improving my pull ups] and the other is a water fast with Croman Red in march [stay tuned for interesting RP writing centered around this.]. So starting stats: Weight: 171 Height: 5'11" <glad this has been basically the same. Chest: 39 Waist: 33 Hips: 40 Max pull ups: 2 Alright, let's do this thing.
  9. Again, not a full life plan, but here's the run-down of my goals for 2013. I had way too many goals last year, and I think I only accomplished about 5% of them. This year i'm going to keep it small. 4 goals per life-area, for a total of 16 goals. You'll notice a lot of these are the same goals as last year, because i was a bum and didn't accomplish them. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try....try try try again... Strength/Endurance Goals: 1. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes 2. Run a mile in under 7 minutes 3. 1 Pistol Sqauat 4. 50 push ups Skill Goals: 1. Press into handstand 2. Full Dive roll 3. Clutch flag 4. Some form of solo swing dance Life goals: 1. Learn all of "Crystalize" on the violin, and perform it 2. Finish writing my kid's book 3. Write my first iPhone app 4. Become location independent [even if not my perfect job, just ANYTHING not tied to an office. A step in the right direction] Habit goals: 1. Reach 155 pounds 2. Have a daily morning workout [a real one, not just my warm up Daily 16.] 3. Develop a diet free of allergens [this will be updated with what I’m allergic to after I go to the doctor] 4. Get in the habit of stretching daily before bed
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