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  1. Hello, Monks! Since day 1 of my Nerd Fitness life, I've wanted nothing more than to join the ranks of the Monks, and I have finally arrived! I couldn't be more excited! So, for my last challenge with the Druids, I just got overwhelmed; I bit off more than I could chew, but I think situating into such a new life made any sort of extra challenge impossible! I ended up taking an internet hiatus, but now I’m back, and I want to be better than ever! The big hope is that I'll be able to enroll in the Nerd Fitness Academy and make that my main fitness priority! However, if I'm not able to sign up, I have a training plan that I'm excited to get going on. I have one big thing that I feel like is getting in my way: I want to be too much. Master Quest: Choose my Path There are TOO many things I want to be. I want to be the best at everything, and I feel like a little pat of butter spread over too much bread! So my theme for this challenge is self-discovery; I want to choose a healthy routine that works for me, gives me pleasure and allows me to go and live the rest of my life! So there’s going to be a lot of healthy habit-building, and routine constructing! Goal 1- Choose my Monastic Path I know that I want to pursue martial arts again; I miss the dedication, the forms, the testing... The knowledge that I'm working my way up, and training towards a level of mastery. But I don't want to just choose the first practice I come across; I did that when I was a kid (with Judo), and it actually worked... But this time I want to be a little more discerning! My goal is to try a number of different classes, before deciding on one to go with. Task: Try at least three different martial arts disciplines, and decide on one to practice! Goal 2- Monk Conditioning Choosing a new practice is a noble goal and all, and not a decision to be rushed... But, trying a new class every so often is not an efficient way to keep fit and active. So, I'll be doing some strength and conditioning exercises to ease myself back into exercise habits, and get my body back up to speed! Task: Do strength and conditioning exercises for 15+ minutes, 3x per week Goal 3- Solo Chef School I want to become an awesome chef, and cultivate recipes that are delicious and healthy! I'm a pretty good cook, but I keep getting stuck in healthy and nourishing, but boring ruts. I'd like to experiment with different culinary styles, and continue with making tasty plant dishes! So, this goal seems small, but its important to who I want to become, and its in two parts- Task: Make a new, involved recipe every week, AND properly document it for others (photos, recipe, method) Life Challenge- Use my Voice! Something I really want to do is speak and be heard- whether I'm spouting off my own ideas, or promoting someone else's. I always keep quiet, because I feel like I have nothing interesting to share. But, I want that to change! Even if I feel like I have nothing to contribute, I'm gonna fake it ‘till I make it! If I just start speaking, I hope it’ll become less stressful for me. I’m hoping to find my voice along the way, and I’m starting with good ol’ social media. Task: Tweet at least 3x per day (RTs and convos count!) So, please follow me here if you would please; keep me accountable! Plus, I might say something silly, and you don’t want to miss that! Diet Challenge- Se ralentir! (“Slow down!â€) I am very inspired by the way the French seem to eat; three meals a day, and they eat mindfully; not on the go, not in the car, not at a desk. I am guilty of all of these, and I want to kick the habit (especially of eating at my work station!) So, my mini quest is to eat more mindfully; slow down and enjoy every meal! Task: Eat with purpose; don’t eat on the go, in the car, or at my desk. I heard that July was a rough one for some, including myself! But I want to kick this challenge’s ass this time around, let’s make it happen!
  2. "I'm late! I'm late! I'm oh-so-very late!" but a late Mouse is still a Mouse - and for that, she is a Tiger. Hey! I'm trying something very different this time around, folks. Zuel is fantastic for logging, and I'm afraid that my Mouse-like mind doesn't have the devotion (read: free-time at work, 'cause I've landed a fantastic job until graduation that is actually keeping me busy and putting my skills to work) to pull off the same kind of dedicated logging in-thread. However, I want to try "micro-logging", kinda like micro-blogging. So I'll be posting what I can (meals, activity, thoughts, etc) on Twitter using the hashtag #monklvl5 (and, if I've got the space, pairing it with #nf6wkchallenge, #keto, etc - though no more than 2 at a time!). My Twitter handle is @atienzac, so feel free to follow/search the hashtag and please, tell me if I'm Twittering wrong. I suck at using social media and it's part of my interest as a future HR-professional to see the impact social media has on recruitment and building one's online presence. And of course, I'm far from a social media expert. But hey, if Twitter can help me organize my info, then so be it! It shall be used! My plan is to update as often as I can on Twitter, then do a recap of my performance for the week, catch up on any comments and post a weigh-in every weekend or so. As for why I'm starting a week late, I was pretty disheartened by my lack of progress (though it wasn't entirely unexpected - in fact, I maintained weight and performance quite well despite my almost complete lack of both dietary and exercise discipline) and took a bit of a dive. I'm happy to say I'm more than back on the horse, though my back and neck have become seriously tight and I'm gonna have to see if I can book regular chiro/massage appointments to try to bring things back into shape. I feel the week of rest has helped me to reset and get my priorities straight. I've also identified that I want to start running again - it's the one thing that changed between the challenge where I lost 10lbs to the recent challenges where I've been struggling. THE MAIN QUEST Mouse, our intrepid Monk-in-Training, stumbles into the Town Square - nearly toppling the Bard as he sets up his wooden crate to sit on. She's haggard, tired, laden with endless reams of scrolls scrawled with plans and logs and dreams. Ink splashed across her face, she all but collapses onto one of the makeshift chairs slung together from bits of wood and rags in front of the Bard's meager stage. Brushing the obviously exhausted woman's entrance aside, the Bard began on his tale of the valley beyond the mountain ridge - the next stop for many of the Rebels in the courtyard, all eager to take the next steps on their dragon-slaying journeys. He strummed majestically, at first the tune sounding as up-lifting and inspiring as always, but his fingers shifted and the minor chords struck sent chills down the spines of those gathering to listen to him. He sang of a valley, filled with bones and corpses and rotting flesh - flesh that refused to lie still and rest. He sang of Rebels being chased, overrun and taken by the sheer masses of the Undead come to live again - taken by mere shambling masses of skin and bone that couldn't move but for a slow shuffle. Overrun and taken simply due to the numbers of them all. And how bursting through them - through maddening runs, terrified sprints, feats of sheer melee genius - only through those could Rebels hope to cross the Valley of the Undead to reach the Mountains of Passage. Mouse shivered - she was at once driven by every desire in her body to defeat her dragons, to blaze through the Valley, across the Mountains, crash through the Wall of Weakness to get to the Path of Adipox, and crush the dragon Flabxia in its Lair; and utterly terrified of anything remotely similar to horror. However, fear is simply another step to conquer, another experience to gain, another storm to be weathered. However much she feared zombies and the undead, she must blaze a trail of glorious victory through them to attain her goal. And so blaze she would. Eyes burning with determination (and more than her fair share of terror at the prospect of running through hordes of zombies), Mouse threw aside her scrolls, opting instead for a small blue bird to which she could attach snippets of parchment to send to her friends, adopting a lighter load out and set herself down the path to the Valley of the Undead. She would conquer this, she told herself, conquer it well. GOALS Run Like Zoms Are Chasing You... No, Srsly. They're Right Behind You. [DEX +2, STA +3] I hate myself for this, but I've started Zombies, Run! 5k Training. As someone who is both easily terrified of anything horror and easily addicted to anything storytelling, I'm at the mercy of my imagination when running to this thing. Fortunately, it works and I run fast, hard and for as long as I can. Unfortunately, I can't run anytime it's dark, so I have to run either inside on the track or outside when it's bright out - and in Alberta, Canada, that means I'm not running outside for much longer. But I will run 3x a week, aiming to complete 6 weeks of Z,R! by the end of the challenge (I'm already in W2). However, this can include going back and doing a week over - so essentially, I'm going to be running 3x a week. Grading: A: 3 Runs Per Week (total of 15 10)B: 2 Runs Per Week (total of 10 5)C: 1 Run Per Week (total of 5)Anything less is fail.Lift Like You're Killing Zoms By Throwing Heavy Things... Srsly, Throw. [sTR +2, STA +2, DEX +1] I joined my campus Powerlifting Club! And I'm throwing myself back into karate in full-force! And I joined a dance class! So essentially, I'mma be lifting, kicking and steppin' my way outta those Zoms' reaches. Hopefully. Gracefully. ...The way away from the Zombie Apocalypse is slow-slow-quickquick! (Fox Trot, anyone?) I aim to lift/dance 3x a week - if my legs feel tight again, I will reduce this to two and replace one of the workouts with stretching. I also aim to attend hot yoga once per week as a sort of flexibility and pre-emptive recovery. Still gotta work out the logistics, though. Grading: A: 3 Workouts (any combo of lifting/dancing) Per Week (total of 15)B: 2 Workouts (any combo) Per Week (total of 10)C: 1 Workout (either lifting/dance) Per Week (total of 5)Anything less is fail.Eat Like It's The Zombie Apocalypse... Srsly, Don't Poison Yourself. [CON +3, CHA +2] I find that 1,550 calories per day is an attainable goal, and that even eating much above that (probably close to 2k), I was able to stay within 2lbs of my "attained weight" (125lbs). This gave me hope that outside of keto is totally fine (though I hate what excessive water weight does to how my tummy feels while running - it feels so jiggly), and that I can recover some lost hair doing so. I may or may not eat keto, but I will not go off the deep end and drink/eat sugary crap just because. During my two week break, I found I could eat @ 1,550cal and not in keto and went down to 126.2lbs. Now, I'm likely in 125lb range, back to my lowest. So I hope to eat namely keto (breakfast+lunch) and stay strictly within my 1,550cal limit. Be advised: as I will start running and hot yoga, I may need to up this caloric limit. Grading: Pass/Fail​Pass: No more than 5 days above 1550cal, other than that it's based on feel.Fail: More than 5 days above 1550cal - must be a sizable difference (100cal+).​ The Life Quest I want to find myself a good job. And I want to be happy doing it. For this, I've checked off a big To Do: I've become a member of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA) - this lets me access their workshops, and most importantly, their networking events. I want to do one principle thing: work towards developing my professional identity. This involves two steps: creating a personal brand and developing my online professional presence. Specifically for this challenge, I need to design a business card (design in mind, just need to finalize it and print it) and finish up my LinkedIn Profile (may not be possible, as I'm part of a test group for work that means I'll have to keep it unfinished for a bit, but I can at least draft all my information and arrange to have professional photos taken). The Starting Line Weight: 126.2lbs Neck: Bust: Arm: Waist: Stomach: Thigh: A Social Media Question Okay, I've got a question for you guys - as we all know, our fitness journeys are pretty personal things. We confide details on our deepest thoughts, our darkest hours and our most personal victories. So I'm wondering: Is it appropriate to have it all linked to our public, online selves? One of the things I liked about NF at the beginning was I could choose to be anonymous - I didn't have to reveal my name, my picture, anything. But I chose to because I feel safe with you guys. I'll be honest and confide: I'm a bit frightened that, given the personal nature of some of the stuff I've posted before and will post in the future, it would impact how future employers perceive me if they search my name. I have three questions for you: Do you think it will have an impact on how employers perceive me? Will the impact be positive or negative and why?Would it be best for me to have a separate "personal" Twitter to keep my fitness journey more anonymous?
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