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  1. Disclaimer: I won't be doing a "traditional" challenge this go around. This challenge is more directed towards "Life Goals" rather than "Fitness Goals". Feel free to scroll on by if it's not your thing. I cried the first time I read the script. I knew that it was a play I HAD to be part of. I cried a bit the next day when I was telling my boyfriend about how beautiful it was (much to his confusion until he realized that the emotions were from sheer passion for the play). I went to auditions on Monday, Jan 29th and was asked by the director to come back Tuesday, Jan 30th for the second night of auditions. I waited for the cast list for what seemed like an eternity. It was Thursday afternoon (Feb 1st), just about 15 minutes before the end of my work day when I saw that the cast list had been posted on Facebook. My stomach dropped and I took a deep breath before clicking on the link. I near screamed when I saw my name! I landed the only female part in the show! I came running out of my office in absolute hysterical joy, and my boss asked me to sit down because she thought I was going to faint! I have not acted (or been involved in theatre in any way) for over 5 years, but I miss it every day. Acting is probably my number one passion in life, but these types of shows don't come along very often. Most audiences prefer musicals and comedies, but I prefer dramas....plays that challenge me...let me stretch my acting wings. I cannot wait for rehearsals to begin! This will be, by far, the biggest role I've ever had! I pray for health, energy, and pain management so that I can enjoy this experience to the fullest. That being said, I had an appointment with my Naturopath this morning and we're adjusting my thyroid meds again (dropping one prescription altogether and increasing the dose of the other one). In 8 weeks, if my TSH goes down and I'm still in this much pain, she wants to run a Rheumatoid Panel. **Fingers crossed that the pain goes away before that happens** My goals are going to be VERY lax this challenge. My Naturopath gave me a free pass for diet for now. She said with all the eliminations I've tried over the last couple years, she doubts I'm having any specific food triggers. She said that food triggers are not subtle and I should know for sure if something was triggering the pain at this point. Since I avoided potatoes so well in January and was still in pain most the month, she doubts potatoes are the source of my pain. So YAY POTATOES!!! Not that I'm going to binge on them or anything, but I'm just glad I don't have to feel guilty if I eat them for now. Obviously, my diet has room for improvement (because pizza and cheeseburgers happen!), but in general, I feel I eat fairly healthy. But I've been so hard on myself because the scale keeps slowly creeping up, but she told me that was probably thyroid related and not to worry about it for now. Exercise has to stay pretty mild in the meantime. If the pain starts to subside, I can adjust accordingly (with being extra careful not to overdo it on the good days). Mostly, my goals for next month are to continue my tracking spreadsheet with how I feel each day as far as fatigue and pain. I'll track my workouts, and keep that the same as far as only walking or doing some light yoga. My #1 goal is going to begin memorizing the daunting amount of lines I have for the play. GOALS 1 - Memorization! 30 minutes every single day of studying the script. I'd really like to be off book before the director's deadline. 2 - Tracking spreadsheet Track pain levels, fatigue, etc every day Track workouts (aim for 3 a week, with forgiveness for not working out on rehearsal nights or days when the pain gets the better of me) So that's it. I'm starting now.
  2. Last challenge, I used the Idiot Jar to great effect - I only failed a goal four times over the whole challenge, so since that was under five fails, I didn't have to go to the gym in a terrifying leotard. This challenge, I'm going to be eyeball deep in preparations for my first Samhuinn fire festival. This is an annual night of fire spinners, drummers, acrobats, and miscellaneous monsters celebrating the change of the seasons in Edinburgh on the 31st of October, and I somehow managed to get into one of the performance groups. You're not going to get any spoilers from me on my costume (I signed a thing to that effect) except that there's quite a lot of leather. The preparations mean my previous training routine is up in the air a bit - I usually work out in the mornings, but practice is quite late at night, so my sleep schedule is all over the place and I need to use this challenge to get it working smoothly again. You may not see much of me this month, sorry! ILOVEYOUIAMSORRYIAMNOTREADINGYOURTHREADHAVEAGREATCHALLENGEILOVEYOU Goal 1: Remain capable of fitting into my costume. Same as always. I'm expecting/hoping to be about half a stone lighter by the festival, so my costume's adjustable, but I need to make sure I'm not too big for it, because there are some bits that might, er, ping off, if I expand from present size. - 1600kcal/day; bonus 200kcal after workouts, to be consumed straight after. - 5 freggies/day - 2 litres water/day - Prep at least one dish (4 portions) each weekend for the following week. Goal 2: Stay strong enough to pick people up. While I was sane enough to not apply for the acrobatic group this year, my group will be picking people up. I need to not drop them on the cobblestones, so although I did seriously consider suspending lifting training for the next six weeks (I'm knackered), I think it's best I keep it up. I need to focus on grip strength, maintaining ab tension, and squats/OHPs. Which fits in nicely with what I was doing anyway, so I don't actually need to change much: I'm switching back squats for front so I can work on stability with weight in front of me, and adding goblet squats too. I'm changing my dumbbell farmer carries from 3-4 sets of 80 metres to 8 sets of 20 metres, and aiming for heavier weights. (I'm doing [2x16kg] for the 80 metre carries right now, we'll see what I can manage for the short carries, but I'm planning to attempt [2x20kg] and work up from there.) Switching the usual bicep curls and shoulder shrugs on bench day for Arnold presses. Not sure why. Variety is nice. After a lot of deliberation, I'm temporarily cutting out deadlifts. I could argue with myself back and forth about what lifts are directly applicable, and wise use of my finite energy, and how the deadlift is about the best all round exercise you can do, but in the end it comes down to the fact that I still cock up my form sometimes, and I REALLY can't afford an injury. BUT we have a lifting session at the Edinburgh Nerd-Up on the 8th, and if I can confidently deadlift with decent form after that session, I'll add them back in to squat day. With group practice factored in, my workout schedule now looks like this: - Monday: Ab work, Goblet squats, Front squats, OH Presses, good mornings - Tuesday: DB row, DB bench press, farmer carries, leg press, Arnold press - Wednesday: Ab work, Goblet squats, Front squats, OH Presses, good mornings - Thursday: Proper rest - Friday: Rest/possible group bonding games that, like many things in my life recently, seem to mostly involve jumping and being confused - Saturday: Pick people up and be scary. - Sunday: Rest/any extra running about being scary planned for that day Goal 3: Sort out your sleeping patterns I was so happy when I finally got used to waking up at 6am. It is now screwing me over because practice runs very late sometimes. - Maintain consistent firm waking time of 6am (shakes fist) - Consistent firm bedtime of 11:00pm. - No caffeine after 5pm. - Caffeine restriction of 1 portion per day still in force (1 portion being considered here as 500ml soda, or 2 cups of tea, or 1 cup of coffee. I can have all the portions of decaf tea I want. Which is none. I want none portions of decaf tea.) Life Goal: We are not at home to Mr. Cock-Up. I would like to survive this festival, please. Therefore, I have some general goals related to that, but I'm not going to make myself add any more culture to my brain than I already am. - Do not be on fire - If already on fire, do not remain on fire - Do not strangle yourself with a spaulder strap - Do not take a hot flaming rod to the face (ho ho ho, fire spinning jokes. I'm not even fire spinning.) - FLAME TEST ALL OF YOUR COSTUME PARTS - Waterproof test your badass skull helmet to make sure you don't end up with a sadass blob helmet if it rains - Jiggle test your costume parts (I have learned from the mistakes of others) Tracking: - Idiot Jar. £1 in the jar for every bullet point failed per day. - Idiot Jar forfeit for this challenge is... yet to be decided. RIGHT! Challenge starts on Friday for me, because I'm off to my parents' tonight and they have neither barbells nor vegetarian food that isn't, er, hummus.
  3. “Examine your world from all angles and you will see the interconnectedness of all things. Even that which is humble can be the key to greater things.†– The Lion of Two Rivers Last challenge, I began the journey to learn how to love my body for what it is, right now. The battle is far from over, but once upon a time, when I first joined Nerd Fitness, I actually started to like how I looked, so I decided to go back to when I feel I was the most successful at these 6-week challenges from a body image standpoint and have recycled old quests from my first two challenges. Because while learning to love myself is largely a mental and emotional challenge, as a sufferer of depression and ADHD there is most certainly a physical component as well that affects my mental and emotional states, and vice versa. Everything is connected, and through this connectedness, I can find happiness. Wu the Lotus Blossom is my home girl (and someday, I’d love to cosplay her!) MAIN QUEST: Love my body and love myself! Because poor body image issues and low self-esteem are a pain in the ass. QUEST 1: MIND: REMEMBER THE BASICS [+5 CON] Eating is 90% of the battle, and I’m all about making sure I eat smarter. Last challenge, I focused on taking control of my mindless snacking, which was a definite success for the most part; this challenge, I want to revisit calorie counting and macro management and utilize the IIFYM practice, at least until I get to the measurements I want, in which case I will reevaluate. Whether or not that happens this challenge, we’ll see; I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. In the meantime, 6x/week, I will be sure to eat between 1430-1787 calories (gross) daily. If I burn more than 500 calories in exercise, I will allow myself up to 2000 calories in total. I will also track my macros (target: 150g carbs/98g protein/49g fat), but it will not be part of my grading just yet, if at all this challenge. I will reevaluate every week to see if any of these numbers need to be tweaked any, and so the exact numbers will be subject to change based on lessons learned. A = 6x/week | B = 4-5x/week | C = 3x/week | D = 1-2x/week | F = 0x/week I will, of course, strive to make this a 7x/week goal, but I'm giving myself some leeway in case of Life. That said, I don't want to fall back into a "Well, I managed it for Monday through Saturday, I can take Sunday off!" mindset because there has only been problems with that approach for me. So, if I manage to eat within calorie limits for all seven days of the week, I will put $10 towards the bonus gift at the end of the challenge. QUEST 2: BODY: WAY OF THE CLOSED FIST [+3 STA, +1 STR, +1 DEX] Throughout the course of the next 6 weeks, I will be running in four races, which while I know I can finish them, I want to make a strong showing. That said, I don’t want to let up on my other training in dance and bodyweight strength training, but I know that considering my life, I can’t do it all. So, I will commit to running 3x/week and other workout (strength and/or dance) 2x/week. If I can do more, I’ll certainly try, but I won’t hold myself to it. Dancing during rehearsals, if the total time spent on choreography is over 30 minutes, WILL count. Also, Week 6, in lieu of tech week for Cabaret, will be exempt from this quest because I literally won't have any time between work and rehearsals and whatever little sleep I actually get, and any spare time I do find will likely just be resting. Running: A = 3x/week | B = 2x/week | C = 1x/week | F = 0x/week Strength/Dance: A = 2x/week | C = 1x/week | F = 0x/week If in any given week I manage to dance 2x/week and strength train 2x/week, I will give myself $25 towards the bonus gift at the end of the challenge. If I don't do the ideal but manage to do strength/dance more than twice in a week, it'll be $5 per extra workout. That said, dancing for Cabaret rehearsals will have a max limit of 2x/week; if I want extra dance points, it needs to be outside of rehearsal. Working on choreography outside of rehearsals will count, though. During Week 6, aside from the race I'm running that week, any workouts I do that isn't part of the show's dancing (practicing choreography on my own outside of rehearsal will count, but if it's during a run-through or part of the rehearsal itself, it will not count because that's just cheating) will merit me an extra $5 per workout. QUEST 3: SPIRIT: WAY OF THE OPEN PALM [+3 DEX] Of all physical skills to let slide while in rehearsals, this is the one that will take the hardest and longest time to recover from, plus flexibility will make all sorts of things easier from a physical, a health, and a performance standpoint. 3x/week, I will dedicated 10-15 minutes to flexibility work be it long and deep stretches, splits work, yoga, what have you. Also note that for Week 6, this quest will not be exempt and the challenge will then become about fitting in long, deep stretches prior to rehearsals/performances. A = 3x/week | B = 2x/week | C = 1x/week | F = 0x/week LIFE QUEST: EXPLORE THE JADE EMPIRE [+1 WIS, +1 CHA] Once a week, I will endeavor to try something new. These can be big things like going someplace I’ve never been before or trying a new activity, or small things like trying a new recipe or new exercise/yoga pose or what have you. As long as it’s something I’ve never done/tried before or someplace I’ve never been before, it counts! Alternatively, something that maybe I’ve done/tried a long time ago, failed, and have been too scared to try again, will also count. The more outside of my comfort zone, the better! Any new exercises/yoga poses done during mini challenges will not count towards this quest because that's cheating. Pass/Fail; there is no middle ground BONUS QUEST: 100 Days of Happiness! I started this at the end of last challenge and would like to use Nerd Fitness as motivation to keep it up. From May 23 – August 31 (for a total of 100 days) I want to have one image to describe what made me happy that day, or if nothing in particular made me happy or if I had a bad day, an image showing what makes me happy in my life. Ideally, I will take the picture myself, but there are days when it won’t be possible so I’ll use a stock photo or pull something from the Internet instead. I will include these in each of my daily updates. No grading or stat points included. This is just for fun. SUMMARY: Quest 1: Eat according to IIFYM 6x/week. Quest 2: Run 3x/week, Strength/Dance 2x/week at minimum Quest 3: Deep flexibility work 3x/week Life Quest: Do something new/scary 1x/week STAT POINT DISTRIBUTION: +1 STR | +4 DEX | +3 STA | +5 CON | +1 WIS | +1 CHA WEEKLY RECAPS Day Zero | Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five | Challenge Complete! MINI CHALLENGES Day Zero AMRAPs: Assisted Dips: 9 Assisted Pull-ups: 6 Assisted Pistol Squats: 4 Hanging Knee Raises: 1 5 Current AMRAPs: Assisted Dips: 20 Assisted Pull-ups: 11 Assisted Pistol Squats: 15 Hanging Knee Raises: 13 +1 STA Earned! +1 STR Earned! +1 DEX Earned! REWARDS! I haven’t utilized rewards in a while mostly since it was too hard and stressful coming up with a suitable/realistic reward system. This time, for Reasons, I have some rewards that I want, to look forward to, and that I can’t justify spending money on since I’m trying to tighten up my finances in lieu of the Cancun vacation in August (all paid for, but I’m saving up money for surprise extra costs that might pop up), possibly moving this autumn (because we’re considering adopting a puppy, and a third floor apartment just won’t cut it, plus we are So Over the crap parking situation at our current place), and a relatively last minute surprise Japan trip around New Year's (that I'm already needing to dip into my savings account to be able to pay for). Stacking rewards! A-average = Professional massage/spa day B-average = New swimsuit for Cancun trip C-average = Buy a thing (less than $25) at Charming Charlie’s (preemptively purchased, whoops!) Bonus Gift! The money I earned for going above and beyond the Quests 1 and 2 minimums will be used towards extracurricular (read: unnecessary but desired) extra costs in Cancun, such as drinks, souvenirs, touristy things, etc. Week One Earned: $70 Week Two Earned: $100 Week Three Earned: $75 Week Four Earned: Starting Measurements and Photos: Waist @ Narrowest: 26.75" (Goal: 24") Waist @ Navel: 30" Hips: 35" WHR: 0.76 (Goal: Maintain between 0.75-0.80) Chest: 31" Bicep: 9.5" Thigh: 20.5" Calf: 14.25" Neck: 12" Wrist: 5.5"
  4. Calling all artists - Creative types - those wanting to level up their skills and fun! (How do you generalize the totality, or even partial group of ART in one image?) how many of you have made a goal to do something creative each day, each week, each month? come join me here - (SIGN UP IS EASY - JUST PUT IN YOUR NAME - we are into the second box - so look for the light blue!) My goal is to ART once each day. Notice I said ART... not do art. For me, art is a state of mind, a point of reference, the place my soul resides. I find my joy in my faith and my creativity - and my creativity is an expression of my faith, without being all preachy(I do alot of nature stuff). I admire all sorts of art - and I'd like to encourage that, as we grow and level up. This is where I am a nerd! I'll post something 4x a week for me - what will you post? PLEASE FILL IN THE SIGNUP SHEET, and when I have your thread(battle or challenge) I'll put in the links of those threads that belong to us artists. I'm going to do this for 6 weeks - but I may continue it if we enjoy ourselves! ~Christi And, I decided to add some challenges - just to keep us motivated! week 1 - do something for 15 minutes that is free flowing - free sketch, free music, free writing, scribble your next crossstitch ideas....sketch out your next home gym idea...get the idea? week 2 - week 3 - week 4 - week 5 - week 6 - RESIDENT ARTISTS: ChristArtist - Continues Losing It Folks from last challenge - HansJay - Feowyn Chromaggia - Gobnait cn3wton - ShadowLion - My LIttle Pony - King Leeroy CelebrateCeleste Svella - Ryoko Shatyr Pyrorazor DarKRaideR Teros
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