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Aang: So, Toph thinks you give pretty good advice. And great tea. Uncle Iroh: The key to both is proper aging. Hello my Monkly friends! I am back after a few challenges off! A lot has happened since then, but the big ones are as follows: I officially survived a year post big breakup, kept my weight at 180 or less (40 pound loss overall!) and turned 28. And so in honor of my favorite Avatar character, this challenge is going to be focused on cultivation of self as I grow older. Iroh is kind of a boss! He cares deeply for others, does whatever makes him happy, and devotes himself to noble pursuits! Definately the kind of guy I want to be. Here is my guide for learning from the Dragon of the West! 1. Food Iroh loves food! As do I. And of course as we all know nutrition is key in building a healthy lifestyle. Therefore goal one is to cook enough to last me at least 3 meals every week! I've been practicing some basic recipes and should have enough to make a different dish every week. That's optional though, the big goal is to make sure I have leftovers at home as much as possible so I am not tempted to eat something crappy just because I got home hungry. As per my usual, they are going to be paleo/primal and easy to make, as I am still quite the culinary n00b! 2. Recovery I've been dealing with some chronic back pain for a while, and it is time to take it on again. This time the strategy is as follows: Combination of stretching and this nifty workout I took from Scooby's workshop. (Soothing baths optional, but I'm hoping to include a couple!) Goal here is to be consistent, and do this at least 5 days a week. I really look forward to grinding at this, and seeing what I am capable with the pain better managed! 3. Pull Ups! Iroh ain't no slouch when it comes to bodyweight workouts! I am actually currently in week 3 of the 20 pull up challenge! I am doing this for two reasons. The first is that I will be doing the Spartan Sprint with my buddies once again this February. Last time I failed pretty epically at the rope climb. But no longer! I'll admit the second one is mostly for vanity's sake. I like the way I'm looking, so I would not mind keeping up the progress! My objective is to get to 20 pull ups by the end of the chalenge, and if I get that far implement them in my morning workouts! 4. Life Goal "It is important to draw wisdom from different places. If you take it from only one place it become rigid and stale." Just as Iroh developed lightning redirection from studying the waterbenders, so I too can learn from other schools. Insecurity has been one of my biggest opponents in many aspects of my life, and that includes as a capoeirista. I have rarely ever trained with other groups, mostly because I have been afraid I was not good enough to represent the school I have come from, not to mention hangups about my own issues of endurance and asthma. But it's time to change that. I have no intention of leaving my academy, I am very attached to both their training philosphy as well as the community I have found there. But as far as my training is concerned... I have hit something of a rut. Ours is a smaller school and there are only two other capoeiristas at my level. We have been training together for years, and I know their jogos back and fourth by now. I need a new challenge, just to rethink what I do, and find something new to try. It's time to visit a different tribe! Objective here is to go to at least one class of at least one other group. This challenge is mostly a boring one, and I mean that in the best possible way. I have found my best results have always come from slow and consistent changes. Looking forward to another great challenge!