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  1. My goals are geared toward preparing for my introvert hiking adventure in June! I am super stoked for the trip. I'm hoping it will be rejuvenating and that I might learn a thing or two about myself. Last challenge my physical goals were: Move your feet, Endurance, and Strength. I did great on moving daily, pretty good on endurance, and pretty lack luster on strength. I feel that everything needs a bit more work to really settle into habit. Because they went well last time I combined daily movement and endurance into one maintenance task. Strength got it's own task because I really struggled with it. Physical Health: 1. Maintain progress made in last challenge Move your feet - get up an move daily (walk, hike, ruck, run, etc). Endurance 2 times a week - run/walk or ruck 2. Strength train 2 times a week - weights, body weight, core, or ruck. 3. Make it out for a hike at least twice during the challenge. Somewhere other than the little local nature preserve. Life Goal: A Cleaner House - do a 5 minute clean up daily before bed. Set a timer for five minutes and clean/tidy up. If I'm traveling I can clean/tidy up my luggage, hotel room, or car. If I'm sick in bed I can throw my pile of tissues away or something. I'm considering making this a 100 day project. On Going Projects not part of this challenge: Daily Fiddle Practice: This is a 100 day project - the goal is 100 straight days. Read 24 books in 2018: Only two completed so far Introvert Adventure Planning
  2. Last challenge was a great success. Status report: I am 95% rehabilitated from my tweaked back. Only occasional pain when moving quickly into the edges of my range of motion. It needs a little warmup. I can put my hands on the floor! I can get my pants on without flailing! I can do yoga sun salutes without holding on to the door frame! It is very exciting. My car is still in the shop. You know the saying, "You can have it fast, cheap, or good - pick two." Well, I picked cheap and good. He's an old man, and he takes his time. This means getting to the gym is unlikely to happen for a while. I will have to work out at home. That is fine - it just means lighter weights & higher reps, because without a rack at home, I can only squat what I can clean. My calorie restriction experiment went well. I am happy with where I am at now. I'm still tracking and eating more protein & veggies, but basically eating when hungry. For this challenge, I wound up with three goals, that each have three parts, and just a lot of threes in general, so I ran with it. WEEKLY ROUTINE: (Goal 30pt/week. For each activity, 4x=15pt, 3x/wk = 10pt, 2x/wk=5pt, 1x/wk=2pt) Barbell workout (at home or at gym) 3x/week. SQUAT 3x5 OVERHEAD PRESS 3x5 CHINUP 5x3 (or just 15 total) Hike (1-2hrs) 3x/week Violin practice (at least 1/2 hour) 3x/week DAILY ROUTINE (Goal 30pts/week, 10pt each) Morning Routine ( every day = 10pt, 6x/wk=8pt, else 1pt each) FIRST THINGS: Before leaving my room, turning on computer, checking phone, etc: Look at my list for today Take all meds/inhaler/etc Do 10-15m of yoga, including 5x sun salutes. BREAKFAST: oatmeal, fruit, and finish my 1st liter of water. GO OUTSIDE: generally walk in the woods with the dog. (At least 15m, but can be one of my 1-2hr hikes) Lunch - whenever we are both home at noon, make eggs & greens to eat with Raven. ( 10pt/wk if done on every available day. miss 1 = 5pt, miss 2 = 2pt, miss 3=1pt) Evening Routine - ABBREVIATED (every day = 10pt, 6x/wk=8pt, else 1pt each) CHECK IN: Look at calendar, talk to Raven, make tomorrow's list. Take pills/etc Prayers FOOD (Goal 40pt/week, out of a possible 49pts) WATER: (1pt/day) 2 quarts plain water or "weasel-ade" (homemade unsweetened electrolyte drink) THREE "PN-STYLE" SMALL MEALS: (1pt each, max 3pt/day) Roughly follow Precision Nutrition guidelines ~1/2c each meat, starch, two veg. Mostly whole foods, healthy fats. TRACK: on myfitnesspal, OR in notebook (using same ballpark method as last challenge). (1pt/day each, if within 10% of target) Calories: ~2000kcals, plus whatever MFP calculates for exercise OR: 8x vaguely 250kcal portions, plus one for each 1/2hr vigorous activity or 1hr moderate activity Protein: ~120g, OR: at least 3 good sized servings of meat/eggs. Fiber: ~40g, OR: total of 2c fruit, 3c veg, 1c legumes, 1c oatmeal. 18 PREVIOUS CHALLENGES:
  3. So... since I have been going full tilt into olympic lifting this year, I figure I'm not really a Ranger at the moment Like with my stint with the Druids, I'm going to focus my next challenges around strength training so I don't split my time around too many things (and not get anything done!) No theme for this one, it's enough of a difference to be in the Warrior guild Sticking with my weekly point system. My Quests: Follow my oly lifting program and lift 5x weekly +1pt per session, +2 bonus for getting all 5 done Meal planning and shopping using Eat This Much +3 for weekly meal plan, +2 per grocery shop (2x weekly) Get back into learning fiddle music Pick three pieces to learn +3pts each Practice once a week +4pts per practice Go for a bike ride or walk at least once a week +4pts weekly, +2pts bonus for additional walks/rides Rewards: 64pts = violin stand 80pts = 1 month additional remote coaching in oly lifting 90pts = 15kg bumper plate (I only have one atm haha) I might post a few videos up here of any cool lifts I manage during the challenge - I am still at the super beginner stage though!! I was getting nowhere teaching myself, so I have started paying an intestate coach to program for me and give me help. Four weeks in and I'm miles ahead of where I was before, it's going great
  4. Yay! Back on NF after a long absence. My long-term physical goals are still to improve my ninja-weasel shenanigans in the woods, and I remain an assassin at heart, but I've been experimenting with simple barbell workouts lately. My goal with the lifts is to feel comfortable with the form, get my numbers to the benchmark the coach describes as "sufficient to support vigorous recreational activity", and then focus on more interesting activities that put that strength to use. PRIMARY GOALS: Get my form right for the barbell squat. I’ve been screwing around with this stuff for a few month, but it is time to get some coaching. This month I’ll be taking video and posting to the coaches on the Starting Strength forums. If the squat is looking good, I'll work on other lifts. Workouts will be fairly minimal, maintenance level, due to time & energy – low-bar squat, one other lift, and some chin-ups. Lose a little fluff. This is in the experimental phase, but I'd like to get back in the ballpark of 15% bodyfat. (I’m steadily creeping towards 20%.) Tracking and measuring item-by-item is a little much for me at this point, but I looked up the most common things I eat, and made a list to help me ballpark estimate what 250kcals of food looks like. MyFitnessPal gives me a calorie goal of 1500, which is six of those 250kcal portions. I’ll add another portion or two if I am seriously hungry, and see what happens. SECONDARY GOALS: Keep moving. I'm not hitting the workouts hard, but I want to stay consistent. I've been making excuses for missing workouts, sometimes good excuses, so I have a list of alternate workouts that I can substitute if I am "too busy" or on the road. YOGA! A daily yoga practice is important to me, even if it is only a small thing. Sun Salutes every day, preferably in the morning. Five minutes. No excuses. Violin practice. Aiming for 3x/week, ~20 minutes. I also want to take a few videos I can send to my mom. 17 PREVIOUS CHALLENGES:
  5. Last challenge went so well, I'm doing it again. This time, with PULL-UPS! ALL THE PULL-UPS! GOAL: Accumulate a total of 2000 of these things done over the course of the challenge. Each goal has a suggested frequency to reach the goal, but I can do more or less on a given day/week, so long as I accumulate the total number. Numbers don't carry over between goals. (I can't do extra meditation to make up for not doing enough pull ups.) My main focus is the pullups, following Major Posey's Pullup Training Guide (a Pavel-inspired high-volume/moderate-intensity program). These are going to be a real stretch for me, especially since I am away from home for a week and likely won't have easy access to a pull up bar. THE 2000 THINGS: EAT: 100 1/2c servings of veggies. This went well last challenge, and I'm doing it again. Fortunately, if I fall behind, (like the last challenge) this challenge ends with big holiday meals with plenty of super tasty veggie dishes and piles of leftovers, rather than just my own unenthusiastic cooking microwaving of canned veg. SLEEP: 200h of sleep before 6am. Doctors can't find anything wrong with me, so I'm just going to keep trying to get as much sleep as my body will allow. But as we descend into the dark time of year, I want to be awake for all of the daylight we've got. Getting to bed by midnight on five nights a week will more than cover this goal. MOVE: 500 PULL-UPS (or pull up progressions). This will be a serious challenge, but I CAN DO THIS! If I don't manage to do any in Colorado, this works out to 3 mini-sessions a day, 5 days a week, with an average of ten reps per session. I'll likely set a 1-minute timer, and each minute, do either a single pull-up, or a set of three of an easier progression. (Program says to start with pullups, and switch once you start to slow down.) 150 sun salutes. Astanga style, to the best of my ability. This works out to a set of 5 each morning, 6 days a week. 500 pushups. Same as last challenge. This works out to two sets of five, twice a day, 5 days a week. 50 mobility activities. Likely foam rolling the quads, and the Egoscue shoulder stretches from a previous challenge. This works out to two a day, five days a week. DO: 250 minutes of violin practice. This works out to a little more than an hour each week, for the four weeks I am home, so 2 or 3 practice sessions each week. 250 minutes of meditation. I count 100 breaths, which is close enough to 10 minutes that I don't time it. This works out to five times a week. NERD FITNESS: Post an update at least once a week. Participating on NF helps keep me focused on my goals. Even if I don't have time to read or post a lot of other stuff here, I at least need to post weekly updates. More is better, provided I'm not procrastinating on other work, the way I am right now. Participate in Assassin's Mini. The minis keep me trying new things, and getting outside of my comfort zone. My goal is to do SOME participation each week. 50 epic quest points for the pull-up goal, ten for the sun salutes, plus five each for the rest. PREVIOUS CHALLENGES: 1. Weasel Gets Things Done Nov-Dec 2015 - Eat more protein, veggies, and whole grains (B+). Sleep Routine (A). "Primal Fitness Blueprint" (A++). Laundry! (A++). Order of the Stick (Success!) 2. Return of the Weasel : Consistency! Jan 2016 - Handstands (A), Kettlebells - Pavel's "Simple & Sinister" (A-), Daily Routine (A), Ukulele! (C ) Assassins Mini - Portal Experiments 3. Weasel Takes this Show on the Road! Feb 2016 - Continue S&S kettlebells. (D. Injury.) Track sleep schedule (A). Make a diet plan (A). Write on blog. (F) Assassins Mini - Jedi v Sith part 1 4. Sith-Weasel's Road Trip Continues Mach 2016 - Daily fitness activity (D) Responsible Adult Meals (A++), Hydration (C ), Tasks & Check-in (D). (Travel!) Assassins Mini - Jedi v Sith part 2 5. Weasel Keeps it Simple & Something April 2015 - Kettlebelling (F) Healthy Meals (B-) Help partner (C) Task List (B-) Assassins Mini - Final Fantasy 6. Eat When Hungry, etc. May 2016 - Eat when hungry. (A) Sleep when tired. (C-) Move every morning. (C) Work when Work needs Doing. (A+) Assassins Mini - Heros & Villans (C+) 7. Back on the Road June 2016 - FOOD: 2 meat+veg meals (B+) EXERCISE: 10m daily activity (C) HEALTH: 10m other stuff (B) LIFE: Work BEFORE internet (B) Assassins: Firefly (B) 8. Weasel Levels Up July/Aug 2016 - FOOD: Watch the carbs (B+) FITNESS: daily workout (B) HEALTH: go to sleep (A) LIFE: weekly review (B) Assassins: Kingdom Hearts #1 (B) 9. Weasel Recalibrates Falls Off The Face of the Earth. Aug/Sept 2016 EAT: Eat veggies (D) SLEEP: Go to bed! (D) MOVE: Two activities (B) DO: Task list (C+) Assassins: (F) 10. Weasel Stays on Track. Sept/Oct 2016 EAT: veggies (B) SLEEP: bedtime (C) MOVE: Two activities (B) DO: Track & done by 8p (C) Assassins: Sonic (C) 11. Weasel does 2000 Things! Oct/Nov 2016 EAT: veggies (A) SLEEP: before dawn (A) MOVE: Pushups + etc (A) DO: Violin, Meditation, Woods (A) Assassins: Sonic (D)
  6. Questing Successes: A Reflection By my challenge metrics, I didn't go so great on the last challenge, but wanted to start this one off by reflecting on some of the crazy awesome stuff that I have managed since I joined up two challenges ago. The biggest one has got to be the body composition changes that I have tracked with sporadic measurements. First six months of this year, since I started going to the gym, I was eating like normal and using machine weights. I thought I had done quite well, since I did drop a fair bit of body fat (weight stayed the same), but I was a bit concerned about my waist, which wasn't changing. Well, I have been doing stronglifts since July and trying to up my protein intake. Not only is my waist now 7cm smaller, but I have also built measurable back muscle. My underbust measurement has increased 2cm! This might not sound like much, but I have a tiny ribcage, and this is the largest it's ever been! Plus it's also larger than my waist!!! (this has never happened to me before ) I’ve corrected my sleep patterns so that it’s easy to go to bed early now, though I’m still working on developing a relaxing routine before bed. I have tracked my food in MFP since I joined up here; though I took this zero week off as a break. I now have a pretty good idea of how my body responds to different macro and calorie levels I have also gone on three epic overnight hikes I’ve been batch cooking and taking healthy breakfasts to work on and off. This takes time to get good at, but I’m working on it. I’m also more active now, going on more regular walks and the occasional bike ride. How’s that for a positive start? In my next few posts I’ll try to tame my ranger instincts and flesh out a challenge I won’t fail
  7. Hey, folks. I'm back after being absent from the last challenge. It's been a sad and painful time of the year for me. I just got through my first post-divorce wedding anniversary. This time six years ago, I was in Europe. This time, six years ago, I was only a bit skinnier than I am right now. I'm proud that I lost the unhealthy weight I gained from living with Beast and Witch. I'm proud that I've unlearned so many of the bad food habits from those two years. I'm proud that my fancy dress shirts, which I bought for a promotion three years ago, fit again. I'm amazed at the girl who lived through those circumstances. I'm amazed at the resilience I didn't know I possessed until I needed to put it into practice. I'm amazed at the life I've rebuilt for myself, and I want to continue improving. This challenge, I've elected a set of tasks, rather than specific activities or goals, because I've learned over the year+ of challenges that I succeed best when I give myself options. And because it's my first fandom, and I haven't done so yet, it's time for a Sailor Moon theme. Each Scout brings something important to the team, so that's where my tasks will originate. Mercury: There's always something to be studied, and right now, that's language. Learning Spanish will cut down on a lot of frustration at my job. 10+ minutes a day. Venus: As the most athletic of the Inner scouts, she prizes being active every day. Kickboxing, walkies, circus tricks will all count for this. Moon: Usagi's favorite thing is spending time with Mamoru. Ifrit and I were enjoying a more regular date night. 1x a week. Mars: A strength that comes from inner calm cannot be swayed. Daily meditation. Jupiter: Mako-chan loves being in the kitchen. She shows her love for others by feeding them often. Cooking 1+ meal every day. Saturn: Her poor health means she spends a lot of time alone; my mental health requires alone time as well. Self-care day 1x a week. Uranus: Haruka loves racing motorcycles; I named my Vespa after her. I need to go riding more often than just to and from work. Out 3x a week. Neptune: While my violin was not named after her, I do miss playing. It's been a long time since I've had a space where I could do so. Practice 3x a week. Pluto: A lover of fashion and sewing, a woman after my own heart! Cosplay work, 3x week. If I feel like there are other areas to improve, I'll branch out the challenge to the Starlights.
  8. I am still working on my "year to awesome." Some things have gone well, some have not. My biggest issue has been my diet. I have not made it a priority, so it keeps getting lost in the shuffle. So this round will be a full on emphasis on diet. As luck would have it, Lent is almost upon us, which gives me both a spiritual and physical reason to start a new diet lifestyle. I will do the following: Health and Fitness Observer the Whole 30 protocol during the days of Lent. This starts on Wednesday, March 5 and ends on Saturday, April 19. Yes, this is after the end of this challenge, but Lent is when Lent is . I will use the time between now and March 5 to do proper preparation. +2 STA, +2 CON, +1 CHR I will practice handstands for two minutes each day. +2 DEX, +2 STA I will add another day of pullups/pushups to my current weekly high intensity weight lifting routine. +2 STRPersonal Growth I will practice music at least five hours a week. split however it happens to fit. This must be at least two hours each of violin and mandolin playing. I have a recording project I would like to get done before the end of Easter (my parents would like a meditative recording of the rosary), so that should help with motivation. +2 WIS, +2 CHR
  9. I'm not doing karate this challenge. But I am going to do this challenge right. It's going to be challenging. It's going to take effort. And it's going to be worth it. I'm going to keep this simple. No exceptions. No codicils. Just a goal to reach and a prize to obtain. LONGTERM GOAL: 6 PACK CARDIO! What: Run 100 miles Specifics: None, really. Just run 100 miles over the course of the challenge. Sprint or jog, outside or treadmill, it doesn't matter. Why: I'm signing up for a half marathon in September. A coworker told me that I have time to prepare for the Chicago Marathon in October, but I'll wait until the end of the challenge to decide if I'm crazy enough to try that. Points: 4 STA+DEX (To be adjusted based on how much sprinting/jogging I do) Motivation: Bike - My plan is to buy a nice hybrid one once I get my tax refund and have someone hold it over my head until I finish my 100 miles. STRENGTH! What: Strength training 3x per week Specifics: Circuit of jumping rope, pull ups, push ups, RPoD, and bulgarian split squats Why: I'm vain? Points: 4 STR Motivation: Kettlebell - I've wanted one for a while. If I complete this challenge, a nice new one will be mine and I can use KBGirl's tutorial to train with it next challenge. DIET! What: Lose 5 lbs (Starting weight: 154.4 lbs.) Specifics: <=2,000 kCals daily and post daily calorie count on here. Why: Abs are made in the kitchen. I'm getting somewhat close to my goal weight, so I'm not sure if I can do 5 lbs in 6 weeks, but I'm damn sure going to try. Points: 3 CON Motivation: Clothes shopping. I have very few decent and even fewer nice clothes that fit. A new suit is in line once I hit my goal weight (140), but I need some clothes to wear to semi-formal occasions like khakis where the legs aren't like twice the diameter they need to be. LIFE! What: Practice piano or violin daily Specifics: Minimum 2 minutes of playing. This should get me involved that I'll continue more often than I'll stop. Why: I know I should pick one and work more on that instrument, but I really can't decide. I plan to use this challenge to see which one I choose to work on more, since obviously that's the one I prefer to practice. Points: 5 CHA Motivation: Sheet music for the instrument of my choice. I have a little bit for both, but most of it is way out of my skill level, so this would allow me to get some stuff I might actually be able to play. I want to play mostly classical (though with some ragtime on the piano: I love Scott Jopin), so a lot is available for free online, but I would rather have something I can trust to be accurate. SIDE (NON)GOAL! What: Prepare for my trip to Germany Specifics: Apply for a passport, learn basic German Why: My company is going to fly me to Germany for a week in July to look at some equipment we're going to be installing. I need to get the passport done soon so I get it in time. I don't actually need to learn German, but languages are fun and being able to practice constantly for a week or two (I want to take a week or so of vacation and stay for extra time, since they're already paying for the flight) will be incredibly beneficial if I get a basic grounding before I leave. This isn't really a goal, just something that I'm going to be working on throughout the challenge. Motivation: Somebody else is paying for me to go to Germany. Considering I love travelling and I've never been to Europe, I really don't see what could be more motivating than that. So those are my goals for the next 6 weeks. It seems like there's a lot of them, but it looks like I'm have a decent amount of free time during the week, which will be awesome. Run | 1.5/100 | Lift | 2/3 | 0/3 | 0/3 | 0/3 | 0/3 | 0/3 | 1/18 Nom | 6/7 | 0/7 | 0/7 | 0/7 | 0/7 | 0/7 | 2/42 Play | 6/7 | 0/7 | 0/7 | 0/7 | 0/7 | 0/7 | 3/42 I'm also going to add quotes to my updates. Some will be amusing/jokes, and some will be inspiring. And some will be really long and you'll think it's going to be a joke and you'll be waiting for a punch line that never comes. Because I like to watch the world burn.
  10. This isn’t going to be long or fancy. I’m a sword fighter – not a belly dancer… Main Quest: Achieve 20% Body Fat - Goal 1: Substitute healthy foods for sugar cravings (I have an addiction) - Goal 2: Consume sugar only once every seven days (still too much, I know) - Goal 3: Eliminate all grains except some rice (basically paleo) Life Quest: Have a violin or Spanish lesson daily. I guess I’m not allowed to have side quests yet. Motivation: I have discovered TRUTH about food/fitness/weight management and want to LIVE by it – not just know it – so when I tell others about this life-changing truth, I’ll be living it, not just preaching it. I want to eventually get to the point where I'm certified to help people change their eating habits for scientifically proven health benefits, and I can't start unless I live it. Peace and Courage be with you all.
  11. Main Quest This will be my third challenge on my "year to awesome" quest. I have made some progress toward the physical goals, more toward the life work goals. I have been very consistent about getting old projects done, furniture fixed and refinished, etc, but have still been neglecting my music a bit too much. My main area of work this challenge is getting my body fat percentage down. Short Term Quest Keep carb consumption down to 100g per day or less, subject to 80/20 rule. STA +2 CON +3 Drop an inch or more of waist size (currently 36.1"). CHA +2 Work on headstands at least four times per week. I still get dizzy when I try them and I need to get over this. STR +2 DEX +2Life Quest Publish some music, somewhere, and let this community know where. I currently have several projects in the works that could qualify for this. WIS +2 CHA +2
  12. Main Quest This will be my third challenge on my "year to awesome" quest. I have made some progress toward the physical goals, more toward the life work goals. I have been very consistent about getting old projects done, furniture fixed and refinished, etc, but have still been neglecting my music a bit too much. My main area of work this challenge is getting my body fat percentage down. Short Term Quest Keep carb consumption down to 100g per day or less, subject to 80/20 rule. STA +2 CON +3 Drop an inch or more of waist size (currently 36.1"). CHA +2 Work on headstands at least four times per week. I still get dizzy when I try them and I need to get over this. STR +2 DEX +2Life Quest Publish some music, somewhere, and let this community know where. I currently have several projects in the works that could qualify for this. WIS +2 CHA +2
  13. After having several challenges under my belt, I have had beat into my thick head that I really can't do more than a couple of things at once and keep up with life. I have too many plates up in the air. So I am going to make this challenge very simple: Long Term Goal: Make a low-carb / primal diet a deeply ingrained habit. This will enable and boost almost everything I do, since it will give me more energy, help my fitness level, and speed my thoughts. Health Related I will stop eating excess sugar and starches. This means less than 100g of carbohydrates per day. STR +1 DEX +2 STA +2 CON +3 WIS +1 I will decrease my waist size by at least an inch, stretch goal two inches. I am currently at 37". CHR +2Life Related I will trade playing video games for singing/playing/recording/writing music. I have a large number of music related projects I need to get done. CHR +2 WIS +2Just to give a bit more accountability, I will buy the video game of their choice for each of my sons if I do not get at least a B in all items. Since they are somewhat addicted to video games, I really do not want to do this. This will get my "year to awesome" going in the right direction. Diet is the key to everything. I accidentally originally posted this in the last challenge thread a couple of days ago. My two day summary so far: Two days and I have managed almost perfect execution. I substituted a glass of water or a couple of nuts for my sugar urges, and that has seemed to work. Substituting music for video games has also been good. As the Power of Habit says, to override a habit, you need to replace it with a stronger one. So far, so good. I spent the last two nights cleaning up a set of Renaissance dances I digitized from a couple of old vinyl records. I burned them to CDs for the car and created FLACs to use at work. The recording I did last year for my family helped make it easier. I know the software (Audacity) a lot better. I still need to photograph the album covers for reference. It was kind of late last night when I finished. My plan for today is to pick another thing off my big hit list I generated last challenge and start getting it done, after I finish the album covers.
  14. After having several challenges under my belt, I have had beat into my thick head that I really can't do more than a couple of things at once and keep up with life. I have too many plates up in the air. So I am going to make this challenge very simple: Health Related I will stop eating excess sugar and starches. This means less than 100g of carbohydrates per day. STR +1 DEX +2 STA +2 CON +3 WIS +1 I will decrease my waist size by at least an inch, stretch goal two inches. I am currently at 37". CHR +2Life Related I will trade playing video games for singing/playing/recording/writing music. I have a large number of music related projects I need to get done. CHR +2 WIS +2Just to give a bit more accountability, I will buy the video game of their choice for each of my sons if I do not get at least a B in all items. Since they are somewhat addicted to video games, I really do not want to do this. This will get my "year to awesome" going in the right direction. Diet is the key to everything.
  15. “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.†~ Chinese Proverb Last challenge I bit off more than I could chew in the perspective of the other changes happening in my life. I'm terrible with time management and without proper planning, I couldn't fit everything in. It made me think of Steve's article about a Robot's Guide to healthy living. If this Than that. I realized I really need to work on creating a daily routine, at least a loosely structured template, that will move me towards my goals. Take the brain out of the picture, and just DO certain things. Especially because I'm moving during this challenge, and this involves 3 weeks of planning, a week long road trip, staying with friends in five states, and 2 weeks setting up my new place and getting settled. Habit goal: IF it is morning THEN I will get up and go for a walk. It doesn't matter how far I walk or for how long, the point is to get myself out of bed and out the door immediately to get my blood pumping and get some vitamin D in the form of sunlight. 50 jumping jacks can be substituted for extremely inclement weather. Emphasis on extremely. Why its a challenge: Despite all of my work from last challenge, I still hate mornings. Why I want to do it anyway: I used to feel really good running every morning, and when I did this I just kind of fell out of bed into my running shoes and walked out the door. No thought involved. I just DID IT. Also I believe my gorilla workouts will be easier to start once I'm warmed up and woke up by a walk. Methods: Keep shoes by bedside. No options. Also if i'm really really zonkered, I'll grab a cup of coffee and drink it whilst walking. Double duty. No excuses. Grading: 35-42 days = A 27-35 days = B 20-27 days = C < 20 days = F Strength/Endurance Goal: IF it is Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, THEN I will do push ups. The goal is to get back to TEN FULL PUSH UPS WITH PERFECT FORM. Why it's a challenge: These gorilla workouts for the last month and a half doing only knee push ups has wrecked my ability to do full push ups. I can now do like four. And they are wicked hard. Wobble arms. Mega sad. Why I want to do it anyway: I love push ups, they are fun, I want to be stronger, and I want to beat my best friend's husband in push up contests. End of story. Method: Mon-Wed-Fri regular gorilla workout, Tue-Thu-Sat 100 pushups challenge. Grading: 10 = A 9 = B 8 = C <8 = F Skill Goal: IF it is nighttime THEN I will stretch. Primary goal here is working towards Front splits and Backbends. Why this is a challenge: I'm wicked tight. I've never been able to get into a split, even during two years of gymnastics as a kid. Why I want to do it anyway: A. splits and backbends are good party tricks 2. My problem areas (places I have the worst posture and get the most pain) are my hips and upper back/shoulders. I can already feel after three days of splits and bridges, these areas are strengthening, my posture is improving, and i'm in less pain. Methods: 15 minutes of stretching every night before bed. Every day. No going to bed without stretching. Grading: -3 inches on splits, 30 second bridge = A -2 inches on splits, 20 second bridge = B -1 inches on splits, 15 second bridge = C Anything less = F This is where I'm starting for splits: Life Goal: IF I am practicing the violin THEN I will do drills for playing in tune. I will be working on learning the chorus for Crystalize (is it called a chorus in an instrumental piece?), but also focusing largely on perfecting the part I already know, and doing- hopefully daily- exercises specific to playing in tune. Why this is a challenge: It's a very difficult song, and I often have a tendency to go too fast and hit sour notes. Why I want to do it anyway: I love the violin and I want to be awesome at it. I want to play the things I hear in my head and not have them come out sounding like dying cats. Methods: I am hoping to have time on a daily basis to play the violin. This is especially awkward for the first 4 weeks so I will have to be creative with this. I'm staying with friends since I left my apartment, and don't want to subject them to me screechy practicing. I'm thinking of buying a practice mute (probably not for a while, i have no mailing address) or going to the park to practice after work (more likely) or a combination of both. I want to search the internets for "playing in tune" tutorials. I've also considered fretboard tape, however half the sources I read says it delays learning by ear and half of them say it speeds up this process. I don't know what to believe. I couldn't figure out a measurable part to this (S.M.A.R.T goal) as far as quality goes, so I'm grading on how many minutes of "In-tune exercises" I do per week. I'm aiming for 30. Grading: 30 minutes / week = A 20 minutes / week = B 15 minutes / week = C < 15 minutes = F So here are my four little rocks I'm going to carry away from my mountain for the next six weeks!
  16. 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
  17. I kinda blew my last challenge. Too much Christmas cheer. I enjoyed the food, but it's time to get back into the groove. My physical challenge is as follows: Execute Dr. Eades' Six Week Cure For the Middle Aged Middle. This is tailor made for me. I need to get rid of some fat and cannot tolerate lots of exercise due to joint issues. (STA2, CON2, WIS1) Do 10 pullups. My stretch goal is 20. If I manage to lose 10lbs, I may make it. My max in the past has been 7. I have been struggling with shoulder issues, but those seem to have resolved, so no excuses. (STR2, DEX1) Do a 2min yoga headstand. 30 years ago, I could do 3min. Now, I tend to get dizzy when inverted. I will take it slow, and see how far I can get. (STR1, DEX1, STA1, WIS1)My level up challenge: Learn two songs on my violin that require upper positions. I have been complacently playing folks songs in first position for decades. It is time to branch out. I have a great songbook of gypsy music, most of which requires upper positions. I will see how far I can get on Kalinka and Two Guitars, two popular numbers. (DEX1, WIS1, CHA2)
  18. Perched high on a branch, I have a perfect view of the forest, ice crystals growing on the frozen trees. Above me, the planet that this moon orbits hangs beautifully in the sky, reminding me of my impending destination. I have a mission. I love those words, and a smile plays across my face as I think of them. OK, not a huge mission. A training mission, Erik emphasized, I’m still a cadet. Somthing low risk, short term. Should only take a few hours, a day at best. But I’m going into the field. The next six weeks have some special training for this mission. Erik’s said before, with my human and time lord blood, I have to be careful about what I get in my body. But now, he just told me that I should be aware, more than a normal human, of a toxin, before it causes damage. He wants me to focus on attuning myself to my senses, to learn how to feel this, so I am prepared out in the universe. My mission consists of this: There is a crime syndicate in a nearby system, one that’s been causing more and more trouble as of late. There is a datacard that lists the top members of the organization, and with this, STARI can bring them down. My job is to retrieve this card. One of the members of the group is hosting a ball at his home- My cover is to be a violinist in the band. I only need to be around for the short intro, but Erik has given me a complex piece of music I must learn in the next six weeks. Then, I will have merely an hour during dinner to run to the control tower, at the edge of the man’s estate, and back to the ballroom for the next set. The tower is over 3 miles away. Given time to find the disk, I’ll have to be quick. For my extraction, I’ll have to get myself into one of the transport guns [i am hoping Erik will tell me what these look like so I can find them]. Apparently, at that point, I will be fired as a beam into a waiting ship. For some reason, because my extraction team will be coming in fast and much higher than the average ship, I’ll be landing upside down. With that in mind, I must stand in the transport gun on my hands, if I don’t want to faceplant into orbit. I suppose I’ll work that part out as I go, but I know I must be stronger than I am now If I am to balance on my hands for any length of time. I jump out of the tree into the deep snow and begin to work my way back to base. I have a lot of work to do. Habit Goal: Know thyself. Stop counting calories, eat only when i’m hungry, and only eat grains with one meal a day. I’m starting with 84 “points†[2 per day of the challenge]. 1 for keeping my grains to 1 meal a day, and the other for only eating when hungry. If I eat when i’m not hungry [or conversely, ignore my hunger and keep working] I detract a point for the day. Same for eating more than one meal with grains. Why this is a challenge: I have two very bad habits when it comes to eating. 1: Overeating yummy noms when people cook them for me/ I’m at a party/ I’m bored. 16 pumpkin muffins in a day and a half? I don’t care if their paleo, that’s still not OK! 2: Forgetting to eat entirely when I’m working/ studying/ thinking. I have gone well over two days without a bite, because I was distracted and didn’t realize I was hungry. Why I want to do it anyway: For the grains, I’m kinda on the fence about going full paleo. I sort of want to aim for it, mainly because I want to have more energy and lose some weight, but I’m having a hard time giving up the grains that don’t [as far as I know] make me sick. I’m already gluten and sugar free, but i’ve been kind of clinging to my rice chex, and rice pasta mac and cheese, and the gluten free bread, treats, and muffins that my mother makes when I go to see her. [Her health is not the best at the moment, and I may need to move in with her to help out. If this becomes the case, the bread-like non-allergy things will be in my face daily]. This is a good stepping stone towards this ideal. For the eating-when-i’m-hungry, I want to be more in tune with my body. Maybe if I get more aware, I will have less problem realizing when i’m hungry, as well as noticing when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me [i did make an appointment with the doctor to test for allergies, guys, so don’t worry. Hopefully I’ll soon have a fairly definitive list to work from]. Also, on the weight loss front, counting calories was CLEARLY not working. I was at 1900 for a while, lost nothing, 1700 for a while, lost nothing, 1600 for a lot of months, lost nothing. [two years ago when I was dumber, did 1200 for a month- still lost nothing]. Tried 2100 for two weeks, gained 4 pounds. But the thing was, there were days when i was STARVING on my “allotted†amount, and then another day I was forcing myself to eat more because “I didn’t hit my numberâ€. Thats DUMB. My cat doesn’t do that. Sharks don’t do that. I should eat when my body wants food, and learn to stop when I’ve had enough. 70-84 points = A 60-70 points = B 50-60 points = C < 50 points = F +4 CON Endurance/ strength goal: Run to the Tower 5k in under 30 mins Same as last time. This is a pass/fail. +3 STA Skill goal: Get launched into orbit 60 second frog stand Why this is a challenge: I’m currently at about 15 seconds. 60 seconds is way far away from 15. However, I feel I can make pretty ok progress, because I feel like my limits at the moment are more balance than strength [i faceplant, rather than get tired], and those numbers can be increased faster. Why I want to do it anyway: One of my 2013 goals is a press into handstand- I need to start working into the strength and body control for this. 60 seconds = A 45 seconds = B 30 seconds = C >30 seconds = F +3 DEX, +2 STR Life Goal: Play for the Orchestra Learn entire first verse of “Crystalize.†Why its a challenge: ....this song is just basically insane. I am insane for thinking I will learn this. Insanity all around. Why I want to do it anyway: t’s beautiful, and one of my 2013 goals is to perform it at our annual dinner show in the summer. I know the first ten notes of the song, and it feels ridiculously awesome to play even though its....ten notes... 100% of first verse = A 75% of first verse = B 50% of first verse = C <50% = F
  19. Greetings assassin, your performances during the previous weeks were barely above average, at least, you proved yourself useful during our little "cleaning" mission. This time, we will ask you to work more with your fellow guild members. Every week, you will receive a mission from one of them, you'll have to make sure you succeed in every one of them. Other than that, you'll be in stand-by for now. You're getting closer from your annual technical revision your duty is to make sure your body is good enough to pass it without troubles. Right, the annual test. Nuala supposed that she could pass it without too much troubles, she did improved a lot after all! But would another "barely above average" be enough for the guild? The 40% risk was not worth it. A quick hardware check indicated 2 possibles way of improving: a more rich fuel consumption and also putting some anti-rust paint here and there. It was some basic maintenance functions but it may get her closer to be fully functional. For the guild. Goal #1: Your choice! As a robot assassin I will take any orders and do my best to fulfil them. For variety reason, I will chose one new order every week. If you want to do a PVP, I'll be your robot! So, who will give me my first order? Goal#2: Clean and hydrate my face twice a day. I'm almost 35 and still have an awful teenager skin, it's dry and greasy in the same time and even if I have no wrinkles yet I may have to remember that they may appears one day or another. Twice a day will be tricky because I have very little time in the morning (breakfast for 2 + 2 lunchboxes to prepare in less than 20 minutes, graaah) but I'll have to find the time. Definitely! Goal#3: Violin. I need to be more constant in my training. I skip way too many days. I don't ask myself much: 10 minutes minimum per day. Life Goal: Supplement experiment. I'm not in a good health, I feel tired all the time, sometimes dizzy, always anxious, prone to insomnia but thanks to Paleo, I don't have daily nightmares anymore \o/. Frankly, my diet is not so bad already but I want to try taking some vitamin and supplement for a while to make sure that I'm not missing anything. Also, I should really stop avoiding going to see the doctors. I need to go to the dentist, I need to see my gynaecologist, I'm not a kid any more godamnit! This time, I have set up a spreadsheet to mark what's done or not, no cheating allowed
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