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  1. Year of Battle: rout the enemies of fatigue, anxiety, and distraction addiction, win the territories of lifting, art, writing, and whatnot. All right. One last skirmish. Fatigue and distraction addiction are wounded, anxiety is down and being kicked in the head. We’ve got art fairly well fortified. Let’s try to pry lifting back from the hands of the enemy. Goals 3 sets of any lift at home with the first tea every day. Art from roughly 8-12
  2. Last challenge I had just started treatment for Lyme disease. I was really excited to get started, and then.... e The coconut hit me in the head. The antibiotics + anti vertigo meds won, and I had to take it MUCH easier than originally planned or thought. I thought I had set up a challenge to help me support healing, but a challenge was more than I could handle - in order to heal I needed to take that time off. The good news is that instead, I focused on two things: Healing (sleep, really, honestly) Focusing on things I could do - general around the house yard work and movement, planning the home gym, getting the equipment ordered (and for some set up), etc. Doc said we're looking at 6ish months for recovery, but it's going to be a slow build back. So while I was hoping I could just kick the lyme into the ocean... it looks like it's gonna be more like a slow roll and wash out to sea. I am feeling a LOT better - just need to be realistic here with what is possible. My goal is to be ready to do an actual lifting program starting in January. This is a very realistic timeline based on my experience with my recovery so far. But In order to do that, I need to focus on getting my dailies (or, pulling from a previous challenge, my garden), in order - and start actually training again, and getting my body ready to handle a heavier program. So it's time to get up put on my war paint (this stuff works like chalk, right? you just lather it on?) and gear up cuz it's go time While this list looks like a lot, outside of the movement goals, it's actually just a slow add on / slight modifications of what I'm doing already. 1) MOVEMENT: I have been able to keep up with walking each morning, and plan to continue to do the same. Row every day (at least 500m) Mobility work 5x/week (5 min minimum) Strength train 3x/week 2) NUTRITION Nutrition hasn't been bad, but I have been eating mostly just intuitively and I'm going to need to start paying more attention as I start to train again to make sure I'm getting enough of the right foods. I think this will be ezpz - and shouldn't be too far off what I'm doing. 4-6 servings of protein every day 4-6 servings of veggies every day 3) LIFE Go outside every afternoon (if the weather is terrible, I can be in the garage) - the simple act of walking outside helps my day so much, so let's make in an actual goal Yoga Nidra at night before bed - I am already taking the time to lay in the dark, I just now need to add the yoga nidra element Check in here at least 4x/week (this forces me to check in on my goals, so it's going to be an actual goal) And that's it! Good luck y'all!
  3. So, my favourite board game is Spirit Island, and I've played it at least a few times each week for several years now. Just like in the game, my objective this challenge is to scare away invaders that are blighting the land. Challenge 1: I'm looking at too many things on the internet that make me unhappy. Online news, reddit feeds, etc. I do it to kill time, but get only more irritated at the world. Spirit 1: Fractured days split the sky Fractured Days is the long-time keeper of time. They know what was, what will be and what might have been. Fractured Days will help me this challenge by keeping my time in check: spend very little time on internet-things that make me unhappy, and more time on things that make me happy or are neutral. This goal is not SMART, but I'll know if I succeeded or not afterwards. Alternative activities for hanging around on the internet are: reading, playing the clarinet, gaming and possibly netflixing. My first step will be to block certain websites, and I already unsubscribed from most subreddits, so that it is now a place of mostly cat-pictures for me. Challenge 2: Exercise has been all over the place in the past few months, where I had weeks when I only did one lesson of body control and barely any cycling/walking, to going to the gym 3 times per week and cycling and hiking a lot. Since I function better with more exercise, I will aim to be more towards the latter and less towards the former Spirit 2: Vital strength of the earth Vital strength of the earth is a patient spirit of great power. I need to be patient in seeing progress in body control classes and strength classes, and also be relaxed when cycling or hiking. Preferably, my cycling needs to be in zone 2 instead of zone 3, which means to be a bit slower than I like. At some point I want to be more structured again in gaining strength, but for now it is enough if I go to the gym 2-3 times per week and cycle/walk/hike for at least 300 minutes in a week. Challenge 3: Last challenge, I logged my food for a while to get insight in my diet and to start losing some weight. I stopped drinking hot chocolate at work and I'm also not buying chocolate and other sweet things anymore. I want to continue this, and see if I can continue the slow weight-loss. Spirit 3: Ocean's hungry grasp Ocean's hungry grasp consumes ship and crew alike unless the proper offerings are made. This challenge I will keep an eye on eating enough non-sugary things to keep me filled up, such as fruit and vegetables, while at the mean time making proper choices when getting groceries. If others bring sweets then it's no problem if I eat them, and if there's a celebration I can also eat as I wish (within reason). Eating enough protein would be nice, but is not necessary for this challenge.
  4. Yup. Just look at it. It's sticking out way too far. Even for an innie. It is winter and I am generally irritable and all this holiday food is everywhere. I just had my annual physical and talked with my doctor about weight loss, etc. I'm right where I was last year at least, so I haven't gained. But that cholesterol is still high, and we talked about medication and bariatric therapy (not surgery, just physician supervised weight loss). And in pondering all the options before me and looking more at my lifestyle, I'm realizing how far I've slid into general laziness and inconsistency farther than ever in my adult life. There is still so much more that I can be doing. 1) Fix my diet -- I have been running some numbers through some calculators. TDEE, body comp, macros... and oof. I'm not doing what I need to be doing for my metabolism and activity levels... both of which are low. I need to hammer out a feasible set of eating habits. 2) Create opportunities for Exercise/Activity -- work has me spending most of my 10 hours/day there sitting at a desk. While I've had nights where I get up and walk a couple laps, the occasional an sporadic. I need to create a daily routine for physical activity. I'm not in the situation where life is gonna just throw it to me. 3) Keep doing what I love to do, namely writing -- every minute scheduled toward word and exercise is one less that I have to write and finish these novels and stories. I need to create a robust, daily reading and writing routine. 4) Take better care of my shit -- the house and yard. The last year kinda got screwed up because I got sick in the spring, put off a lot of projects, then summer heat was relentless (or it was storming) and I got way behind on a lot of things. Again, I need to figure out a workable routine and stick to it. Notice the trend? Scheduling is needed. This helped a lot a couple of challenges ago. I need to get back to it. Some things I'm working on: 1) Eating plan: meals, timing, portion sizes, macros, etc. 2) Setting up a powerlifting routine: assessing training maxes, days/split, assistance lifts, etc. (Greyskull) 3) Coordinating 1 & 2 -- A mistake I often make is cutting too many calories while adding too much activity etc., and that creates burnout. 4) Plan and schedule meals and workouts. 5) Create intuitive and simple plans for execution. 6) Stick to my evening writing schedule. 7) Work in some additional reading and writing time... write/read during workout rest times. 8- Other? I bolded #5, because that's what needs emphasis here. This won't work unless I can accomplish that. Otherwise, I'm just building another elaborate plan that will fizzle three weeks or less into it. Anywho... Happy Ho Swolidays!
  5. Main Quest: Don't Gain Weight from now until January 10 (and lose the little I gained over this Thanksgiving weekend) Side Quest: Practice Tai Chi Sword (3x a week minimum) Side Quest: Lift Weights (4x a week minimum) Main Quest. I've been struggling to get out of the 160's for months. Months and months and months. (Technically about 2 years. But let's not go there.) I finally hit 159 mid November, then shot back up to 163. Then back to 159 right before thanksgiving. I'm sure I'm up again . . . but I refuse to get on the scale. Need a few more days between Thanksgiving and now. Once I'm back at 159, I am hoping to maintain that from now through the Christmas holiday. If I can actually lose some too, that would be cool. But if I can just enter 2023 in the 150's even if it's 159, I'll be stoked. Side Quests. Tai Chi Sword and Weight Lifting. Basically just trying to be consistent. I do both about 2-3x a week. I would like to get that to 4-6x a week. I would love for it to become so second nature that I actually notice when I don't workout (and miss it!) rather than, late at night, realizing, oh, man, I forgot to workout again. My life is a bit out of the norm right now (have family visiting), but I will have my house to myself again come next week (Dec 5th). At that time, it'll be much easier to get back into my normal routine (less food in the house, less junk food in the house, less eating out). So this week, I'm trying to get back to 159, but there's still several more "family eating events" between now and then. I've been upping my workouts to try and compensate. I'm glad my December social calendar is pretty empty after this coming weekend, lol.
  6. Hello, hello, This challenge I'll be trying to actually fulfill a regular daily goal. Yeah, I know, I might be asking too much of myself here. But I have a fitness regimen coming up with the fysiotherapist (I got myself in my new city of residence #2, which is where I work so I'll just keep this one even if I move elsewhere come Spring) & I want to get that going. The way I'll do that is to create mental and emotional space by firing my meditation practice back up. Aaand I think I might need to do something I did as a teen, which is to try different meditation styles until I find what works best for me again. Because what worked best for me back then, worked well for me until 2019. Then since then I kind of feel like I need to turn a new leaf, I guess. Besides my depression symptoms flaring back up like never before, they've subsided now and I cannot figure out a different reason why I can't just jump on the ol' bandwagon. Ah well. So make time for meditation every day. Is my one and only repetitive goal. I also need to cut Gordian knots with regards to which new health insurance to get. Do some (re)organisation in my financial administration. It's a work in progress. Get a new phone membership & cancel my old one (which was tied to me living at my parental home).
  7. The view from the top of this small mountain is magnificent, and Scalyfreak enjoys every moment of the long lunch break she takes in the sun, while admiring the view. She especially takes care to admire the view of the road leading up to her mountain top, in case anyone was following her or just happens to travel in the same direction. And sure enough, just as she's finished up her meal, Scalyfreak sees movement on the road. One solitary figure, moving on two legs... tall too, with a strangely familiar silhouette. It could be Procrastination. Hmmm. Scalyfreak glances over at her weapons, taken off for the meal, but kept within easy reach, and contemplates what to do. Wait for the creature and ambush it? Or finish her eating, pack up quickly, and leave before the demon notices her. It's an easy decision. Life is difficult enough without seeking out battles against powerful enemies. And so Scalyfreak quickly dons her weapons, packs up her gear and start walking swiftly down the side of the mountain, in a direction that takes her away from the approaching Procrastination, eating her last roll of bread as she goes. Before diving into the “few and small” goals for this challenge period, here's a brief “intro” for anyone who doesn't know me very well: Since I know I'm going to have a couple of major disruptions during this challenge (visits from family members, as well as time off from work), I'm keeping it simple and continuing to do what has worked well in the past, while focusing on consistency. Recover HP (physical health) Continue with my Darebee program (Square 1 – super simple and low effort, which removes almost all excuses). The official goal is to complete one single set. Just one. That's easy. I can do one single set no matter what kind of day I've had. Assuming I meet my goal of one set per day, I will finished Square 1 during this challenge. So my secondary HP goal is to select the program I'll move on to after completing Square 1. Restore Mana (Mental Health) Same goal as last challenge – meditate every day. I have a history of really struggling to remember to do this on days that are not work days, and I'm about to have two weeks of time off from work during this challenge. Regenerate Stamina (emotional bandwidth) Also same goal as the last challenge: Deliberately do at least one thing every day for no other reason than because I know I will enjoy it.
  8. Conquius Balances the Books I flipped through the Citadel's ledger with a sense of dread. All of the necessities had been accounted for. We had ample supplies to make it through the winter, but as I scanned the ledger line by line, I was reminded of the frivolities upon which I spent my hard-earned coin. Many of them, naturally, were things for Jormungandr and Cerberus, but I can't say that all of them were strictly necessary. Some of them were for me: a new set of gambeson, drinks down at the tavern, a new tunic to wear to court, et cetera. They each brought me their own small joys, and some of them - like clothing purchases or riding equipment - have been extremely useful, but I can never quite shake the voice of my grandfather, a man who lived through the Great Depression, telling me to hold onto my money. In the past, I've tried to do like the monks and go the ascetic route, but I ended up winding myself up so tight that I bought a bunch of things in a fit of whimsical backlash. Thus, I've decided that what I need is a proper budget. A means of portioning out part of my coin to whimsical fancy, while maintaining a strong sense of financial responsibility. In time, I hope to build an adventuring fund - a pool of time and money that I can use to go on extended adventures. This Challenge is all about financial planning and responsibility. I've put some details of my personal life, including the impetuses for this challenge, in the spoiler text. Quest One: Balance The Books. Balance The Books will be comprised of a set of basic financial goals I intend to meet in 5 weeks. For my resources, I'm using The Financial Diet, and r/PersonalFinance. Set Up A Budget - Using a Budget Spreadsheet and the 50/30/20 Budgeting Template, I'm going to assess my current spending habits, and build a monthly budget. I will do this without guilt or judgement for my past self. Previous purchases are previous purchases, that money is gone. This will be the bulk of the quest, and I'm giving myself the first two weeks to do it. Build A Small Emergency Fund - Now that I know my monthly spending, I will set up a small emergency fund to cover my 1-month essentials. I will build into my budget a portion of my paycheck to go towards this fund. In time, I intend to build up to a 6-Month Emergency Fund, but that's a longer-term goal that is out of the scope of this 5-Week Challenge. Automated Budgeting - I plan on looking into various budgeting apps recommended by TFD. I'm leaning towards Mint. I want to do this manually via spreadsheets first to give me an understanding of how I'm currently spending my money, but around Week Three I want to start looking at automating my budget to reduce overhead time. New Credit Card. I've been using my debit card to pay for absolutely everything. This doesn't help my credit, and it also means I'm missing out on potential rewards. I want to spend some time researching Credit Cards, find out which one aligns best with my ethics and goals, and then make the switch. I plan on tackling this on Weeks Four and Five. New Bank (stretch goal). My current bank has had some major scandals due to some dubious practices. I want to change banks. This will take some research, but if I have time near the end of the challenge, I want to at least start the search. Quest Two: Rise With the Dawn. If you followed my last Challenge, Conquius Rises With the Dawn, you'll find that I started picking up some better habits for improved sleep. I made some great strides, and I want to keep it going. I'm primarily concerned with the following habits, which I'll be reporting on daily: Dishes Chores After Dinner. Starting my evening chores after dinner lets me enjoy the remainder of my evenings, and go to bed stress-free. This goes beyond dishes. It could be laundry, packing my bike, setting out my gym clothes, etc. If it's my night to cook dinner, I start when I get home from work. It means sometimes that dinner is early, but no one in my apartment minds. Get Up, Get Out. I found a great app, Alarmy, that helps me get out of bed every morning. I've used it with very low rates of bed-recidivism. I'm going to keep it going, and I'm going to use that time in the morning to do some Hard Winter Training. Quest Three: Hard Winter Training tl;dr - 2/week lifting doesn't mesh well with my schedule, a shorter 4/week lifting schedule in the morning might. To make it work I have to: Master the Art of the Short Workout. My old weightlifting gym has a solid Fundamentals program. It comes in two flavors: 2/week and 4/week. Adopt the 4/week paradigm, and complete your workout in 45 minutes or less. That's a few sets of a compound lift, some accessory circuits, and 5m of stretching. I'll track workout time on my Garmin watch. Go to Bed On Time. My math says that I'll need to be up at 6 to make this work. My partner is also planning on getting up at 6, so that makes this a good bit easier. For this to be sustainable, I need to be getting 7+ hours of sleep nightly. I'll track it on my Garmin watch. I'll also be reporting on these daily. Wednesdays will be 30m of indoor cycling at an easy pace, or, weather permitting, my normal bike commute. If this doesn't work, that's okay, I'll switch to a Monday/Thursday 2/week paradigm, and just make Fridays my cook nights for the foreseeable future. Gotta experiment to find what works, gotta be willing to fail.
  9. Finally getting back into a routine with the arrival of baby #2! It was recommended by @Sloth the Enduring to consolidate threads so I’m going to be posting my challenge and daily logs all right here. Still a bit sleep deprived but will be posting more soon. Thanks for all the well wishes!
  10. Soo... last challenge was focused around powerlifting, and since then I've also travelled with the wind orchestra I'm playing in recreationally and I just got my covid booster yesterday. I don't really have any new exercise goals yet, except for having fun of course . For now, I'm fine with half-assing my exercise by doing group lessons in strength training, kettle bell sport and body control (also known as "cool tricks") whenever they fit, and being generally active by bike-commuting and walking/hiking regularly. My mental health is more or less stable at the moment as well, so I think I can finally start focussing on weight loss. All in all, I'm not really that much overweight, but my weight has been slowly creeping up for some time now, which is no bueno. This challenge I want to see if the minimum amount of effort is already enough for me to lose. Main goal: write down all the food I eat on a day, either digitally in an app or on paper. That's it. In the past I noticed that I already eat snack much healthier if I have to write down everything, so let's try doing that for the next 5 weeks .
  11. Year of Battle. You know the plan: destroy fatigue, anxiety, and distraction addiction so I can have an actual life with lifting, art, writing, and whatnot. Last challenge I managed to create a sort of routine. I am amazed at myself. This is what I have been struggling to achieve for many years. I am terrified it won’t stick, because I have no idea what I did to make this time different. Oh well. With Tank providing a blessed paladinic example of consistency, I will dig in and fortify. This challenge, the goal is simply to hold the line: gym first thing art until noon sleep routine from 9-10
  12. sooo in the last bit I've been able to settle in here in Massachusetts and start to see the doctor so we can figure out all of the weird auto immune shit that's been going on with my body. and it turns out, it's not weird auto immune shit. I've got late-ish stage lyme disease/neurological lyme, and I've had it for a loooooong time. only unlike miss hoover's, mine's for real. The blood tests have confirmed it. Which, sounds like bad news, but this actually feels like a huge win for me and my health. I've been going to doctors for years trying to solve these issues and instead of getting answers, i just get sent in circles going to specialists and no one has an actual answer. so not only does this give an answer, but instead of long term auto immune issues, this means I have something that we could cure. And I'm also thrilled this doctor recognized it by a combination of symptoms and looking at what my previous doctors were referring me out to and my previous bloodwork, and knew what to test for. thankfully, there's a pretty standard course of treatment here: And a LOT of them. And I'm already seeing improvements. So, what does that mean for goals? My number one goal? GET BETTER. I have a month of antibiotics to start. So I'm going to keep this to three goals that support healing: 1) Water - gallon a day I'm generally good at this, but making it a focus as I'm super dehydrated on the antibiotics already 2) Yoga Nidra, meditation, or breathing I was seeing really great results from this last challenge, and I think this ties into physical health a ton. 3) Strength Train every single day This could be: Bodyweight strength Gym workout Rock climbing Yoga session with standing postures I'm not counting manual labor here - this needs to be a focused workout. There is NO minimum though. If my body is up for 3x10 squats and 3x10 elevated pushups and that’s it? That’s totally fine. This is about habit and doing the thing. My doc said this would only help. And that's it! Good luck y'all!
  13. It's gonna get busy in here. I don't even have time to come up with an original title. Hi. I'm Stronkey Kong. Been here doing this thing 9 years. I'm still fat but making the best of it I guess. How's that? WORDS: I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year. I need to hit 1667 words daily to hit 50k by the end of November. I'm going to track my daily and total word count for November. And (despite some lame planning and number crunching on my last challenge thread) I'm going to strive to hit that 1667 minimum every day. I also have two writing events to attend. The first is a NaNo write-in at the local writing center on 11/5. The second is a writing class, same place, on 11/15. Nano is win/lose, but I can grade myself on word counts and EC for events. In the end, I'm just trying to get myself on a working routine with writing. WEIGHTS: Still following Greyskull. I'm gonna go back to MWF, base program, but with both front and back squats and M and F. Deadlift day, W, also has barbell rows programmed in. WALKS: I want to walk with coffee and audiobooks on at least two of the days I don't lift. WINTERIZING: I have to get the house ready for winter. To-do list style: plastic on windows finish the bathtub painting so I can get it all indoors rake leaves -- if I time it right, all I need is 40 min of leaf raking for the whole season) get HVAC contractor to look at my furnace depending on their answer, raise hell with the gas company. Last challenge I was really all about scheduling and time management, and that helped, or at least I was able to figure out what will work best for this challenge. I work 10 hour shifts, M-R. On those days I will exercise in the morning, and write in the evening before bed. On F, I often go into work for OT. I will continue to do so except on 11/15 which is my writing class. These days I only work a partial, 7-8 hour shift so I can fit in extra weightlifting and writing on both ends so no big deal. On weekends I plan to do extra writing to get that word count up, like aim for 2000 words to get ahead of days where writing gets constipated. Winterizing will be a weekend thing mostly.
  14. My first challenge! New to the site but not the gym. Used to be much more fit, better routine. Trying to find my way back there after a rough summer. I love lifting, and it's my main stress relief so I want/need to get back into my routine. The only time I can consistently hit the gym is 5am, which I've been able to routinely do for about 6y until this past summer. Change in schedule and family situation led to less sleep thus less fun. Time to get back at it! Current stats: 6'5" 216lb this morning Goal: Frequency - 4 days per week gym at 5am. Lifts- legs (squats weekly) chest, back weekly. Alternate shoulders and arms unless I can get in a 5th time a week. Strength - get back to 300/400/500 Currently about 275/300/475. So not terrible increase but by the end of challenge want to be at or at least close. Squats have always been weakest so pushing those is a must Sleep - bed by 1030 nightly with the light off. Less phone before bed, pick up the book - you sleep better with a book not the phone before bed. Diet - not going to count macros or calories, but I need more protein. Add meat/cheese snacks instead of carbs. Less night time snacks. I'll update here weekly as to successes, obstacles, and programming. After the challenge I'll look at rest periods and deloading but first 5 weeks will be loading phase. Hope some of you follow along for accountability and to cheer me on. My first challenge so hoping to meet some new supportive people to experience this journey in the gym together!
  15. Main Objectives: Save money Prevent costs by investing in durable conveniency Make my nest Hone my Craft (job) Main goals: Breathe Keep finding joy in the struggle Don't worry about the rest The rest: No 2 consecutive evenings without doing some dishes Yoga before bed Give body physical rest starting 11PM
  16. Hey everyone. I'm new here, just signed up today. Not new to fitness but I've taken a few months off and am struggling to get back into routine and form. Need some accountability and a supportive group to help me out. Word on the street is this is the place! I used to be a 5-6 time a week weightlifter. Got in pretty damn good shape, then as usual life happened. Routine changed, diet disappeared, and gym time suffered. So I'm heading back into it. I haven't been fully MIA, maybe 1-2/week, but I'm not a fan of how I look or feel so this is my new starting point. Atlas was a nickname given to me by a few different people at a few different points in my life, but it's how I generally handle things. Put it all on my shoulders and carry the load for everyone. I am hoping to learn a little bit of not doing that as well. Hoping to meet some great like minded people, support each other, and kick our respective goals in the teeth.
  17. Somehow I've become a warrior, lifting 2-3 times per week consistently for a few months already. I love lifting, being strong and seeing my numbers go up . Which is a good thing, since the gym is organising a MAX-day on October 1st, where we will all test our max lifts (squat, benchpress, deadlift). Of course, I want to lift as heavy as safely possible . Main goal Do not disappear. This worked very well as a main goal last time, and every other goal that makes me not showing up will be benched. Update here at least twice per week. Lift! Lift 2-3 times per week, either in group class or the program that my trainer wrote for me. Walk I'm participating in the mini-challenge, although I'm a day late due to time-zone-struggles. I'm currently listening to the day 1 video, and will head out for a hike in about half an hour. Otherwise, I'd like to become a little leaner (I'm on the edge of overweight and some clothes are a bit tight), deal with shoulder/neck issues and become a better clarinet player. After MAX-day I may re-evaluate my goals, and during the last few days of the challenge I will be MIA because we're going to travel with the orchestra for a week.
  18. Last challenge I reached the fat loss goals I had set for myself, ending a long, long physical cycle where fat loss was the goal; which I started circa spring 2019, finally got serious about in spring 2021. I can see my abs, somewhat. With the summer drawing to a close, there isn't much point in getting leaner. Last challenge my challenge was in many ways to figure out what to do, where to go from there. I want to get back to chasing muscle gains, something I haven't done in many years. I have some unfinished business, I never did reach the ultimate physical goal I had set for myself (abs at 205 lb), even though I convinced myself that I did back in 2016, and since then I've shrunk a bit (a lot, but I've reagained much of my muscle mass this year). Plus I'm getting to the age where its now or never (tho trt for old guys seems to be all the rage nowadays). Here is my upcoming diet plan: 9/5 - 11/6: calorie surplus (9 weeks) 11/7 - 11/20: cut (2 weeks) 11/21 - 11/27: diet break (1 week) 11/28 - 12/11: cut (2 weeks) 12/12 - 12/23: maintain and recover (1.5 weeks) 12/24: beach My plan for the surplus is to start at 2800 net calories, somewhere between 100 and 300 calories of surplus, and see what happens over time. I will not be eating all the things. I have a lot of old history gaining at 3000 calories, not so much at 2800. I picked back up really detailed muscle measurements a few months ago, that's key to keep track of how the surplus is going. I also am counting cals like a hawk, and with full calorie accounting I'm running a live resting TDEE calc, its still a little early to get great data, but it seems to be around 2500-2700 where I expect it. I started taking creatine a few weeks ago, I should be getting pretty close to full effect For workouts my plan is 5/3/1 + 5x10. I post pretty detailed workout logs. A goal last challenge was to modify my workout plan to one more appropriate for a calorie surplus. Last challenge really set me up for success, this challenge its time to cash in all my hard work and double down on it. Muscle gains are really, really hard. You cant have too much fat or its inefficient. Without workout volume you plateau. Surplus needs consistency. Most important though, its easy to get complacent or question yourself. 2 of the last 3 times I tried to gain muscle mass, I stopped caring about my diet and fell off the wagon mid bulk. Goals: Goal #1 - Stick to the Plan I'm counting calories with the accuracy to calculate resting TDEE. I am running the 531 plan as written, with only minor tweaks to accessories to work around sore spots. I weigh every day. I measure muscles once a week. That's it. The goal includes everything, everything I've built up to, all the planning I've done. This should be the fun part. Gym progress should notably pick up, I've been stalled out a while on many exercises. Watching measurements start to regularly gain will be nice, instead of hoping they didn't shrink too bad. But I need to stick to the plan and land the plane eventualy too. Once the Halloween candy is gone, its time to start cutting for the beach so I have time to get a bit leaner than I am now.
  19. *looks at calendar* Yikes. School has started, the fall and winter holidays are fast approaching, kids sports are starting up again/getting added, and I have an actual roller derby bout in the not-too-distant future (exact date set, but not public yet). I am going to lay out some stretch goals, but will be happy with surviving. With any luck I'll land somewhere in the middle. First - during zero week, I will finish assembling my exercise equipment so I can actually start lifting. It's been sitting in the basement half-built for too long. After that... Sleep! I need to get up at 6am now to get breakfast around for the kids before school and then start work early enough that I can be done around the time they get home. Which super sucks, because my body is not a fan of that schedule. So I'm going to do my best to get to bed at a reasonable time (10:30ish) most days of the week. Eat! Going to continue my quest to get to 80% healthy. I've got a meal plan I like, I just need to do a better job of following it. Move! This is going to be a mix of roller derby practices, RDA workouts (with the weights), and running. Yes, running. I still hate it, but it will help with derby, and Little Bug has expressed interest in the NF 5k training that's running now (no, didn't intend that pun, but I'm leaving it), so we're going to hop in on that a week late. And then hopefully run a 5k on Halloween!
  20. Welcome, dear folks, to a reboot. I made a topic earlier this challenge but I find myself needing a new one. I won't make it a habit. The challenge goals, which were not formulated yet, are as follows: - Drink at least 1,5 liter of water + tea - Find the fun in the struggle - Show up (don't worry about the rest) The rest: - Take mini-meditations during work time (keep my job while in chaos) - Take a walk during lunch time - Journal and write down what I feel and what I want every evening - Don't leave dirty dishes for more than two evenings in a row
  21. Alright, due to some arm twisting gentle encouragement from @Mad Hatter @KB Girl and @starpuck I'm back to the forum for an actual challenge. I've been toying with the idea of a class or two at the local circus studio to get back to my assassin-y habits, but the call of the iron has been irresistible for the past few months, so this assassin will be spending some time attempting to blend in over at the warrior's camp. My roots are there, since I lifted for about a decade before all my silks and rope shenanigans, so I shouldn't stand out as too blatant a tourist. For this challenge I'll be continuing my lifting according to the free Stronger by Science templates. If you aren't familiar with the Stronger by Science folks, you can check them out here https://www.strongerbyscience.com/newsletter/ Their free templates are fantastically well thought out, free, and just smart. Their newsletter is excellent and science based (as you may expect) and also highly recommended if you like to get into the how's and why's of training, exercise, and nutrition. I started with a couple runs through their beginner templates (starting in April-ish). At the end of August I finished my second run through their intermediate templates. I took a de-load for a few days then promptly came down with the mother of all head colds (no positive rona test, though). As of today I'm about 90% back to normal so should be able to get back to lifting in the next day or two for my third (and final--probably) run through this part of the program. The template runs for four weeks at a time, so given some of the unforeseen circumstances that inevitably come up, that's an ideal training bock to fit into a challenge. Once complete, I will likely swap over to a program out of their paid bundle ($10 for 6 different 21-week programs including a Program Builder to create your own--excellent deal), with the intent to bulk. It'll be my first real bulk and I'm slightly terrified of it, but that is an issue for FutureSylph (and also gives current sylph 4-6 weeks to come to grips with that). Background-y intro stuff: Oh, and I suppose I should have some sort of goal thing, eh? Lifting The way I have my SBS templates laid out currently is to bench 2x week, squat 2x week and deadlift 1x week, split into three different workouts. So the goal is 3 lifting days per week. Sometimes life stuff happens and this gets pushed to only 2 per week but I'm okay with that. If I start the 4-week program tomorrow or Monday and finish it by the time this challenge is over, cool. Think About Bulking As mentioned, I've never done a proper bulk. I know I will have Feelings about that as a good part of my identity is wrapped up in being a smol person. I will likely spew some musings about that here. Show Up for Myself I tend to get too caught up in other people participating in my thread and get sad when it's just me talking to myself or reporting progress and as such my participation in my own thread goes down. I love you all, but you shouldn't have that much control over my mood. So, I will continue to report out here and will make an effort to be less of a silent lurker in everyone else's threads as well. I guess that's about it. My head's still a little stuffed up and my voice sounds like I'm a pack-a-day smoker (better than earlier this week when it was more like six-packs-a-day) so depending on how all of that resolves, either tomorrow or Monday will be lifting day 1 on traversal 3 through my SBS Intermediate templates.
  22. Hi. I'm Stronkey Kong. I've been on NF for 9 years now. I am still fat big. I will probably always be big... but I think I can choose what kind of big I am. I tried a bit of running this summer... it didn't really work out. Walking was good, but I kept hurt my calf the more I tried to run. I'm just too heavy for my leg muscles at the moment. I need to get some daily cardio in though. I am actually 290 lbs. right now. I'd be freaking out a little bit, but I've been lifting weights and following Greyskull LP. I shot up about 5-10 lbs since I started that. I haven't really changed the way I've been eating, as far as I can tell, so I'm thinking it's because of 'da pump.' My muscles should be retaining more glycogen and water at they repair and grow. For a variety of reasons, I've been eating a mostly vegan or 'bad vegan' diet. That is, mostly plants and almost no meat or dairy, though, I let myself indulge in cravings a couple times a week, and don't nitpick minor animal based ingredients... hence 'bad vegan.' Most of the time it's because I didn't prep, and I went for convenient options. It's hard to go over on calories when I plan ahead and keep it healthy, but when I get lost in the mid-week chaos, and/or have available junk food, I can go off the rails and undo any calorie deficits fast. I've also been spending a lot of time thinking about the next move(s) in my career. I have a good, well paying job, and am staged to be out of (extraneous) debt within 3 years. Though I still need to work about 45 hours/week on average to meet those goals. And, when that 3 years is up, I want to be moving on to something new. Preferably something where I can be my own boss, and do something creative... don't we all... I've been thinking a lot about writing again, or failing that web development... but since I prefer writing and have three years to go, I might as well see if I can start getting words down and get a novel out. Goals: Daily Cardio -- walking, stationary bike, heavy bag, jogging (if/when that becomes possible) GreySkull LP -- stick to the program ( 'plug-ins' optional) Bad Vegan Meal Prep -- buy/prep meals for the work week and avoid snack/junk food Write a Novel -- Write daily I have everything I need in order to get these goals done. Including a power cage and workout buddy: I also live near a bike path for walking/biking/jogging. I have the stat. bike in the living room, and a heavy bag in the basement. Meal prep just takes some time on Sunday, and organized grocery shopping. All I need to write is a computer, a desk, and some time. That is a lot, though, and as I mentioned I work 45 hours a week -- Noon-10 pm (ish) M-R, Noon-(as late as 8pm) F How will I do it all? Get organized and follow through with my plans. Plans: Daily Cardio -- first thing in the morning (fasted even) (about 10 am) GreySkull LP -- Lift M, W, F, every evening when I get home from work. T,R are for stretching and ab work. Sunday is rest. Bad Vegan Meal Prep -- Get a hold of that vegan casserole recipe list and make one every Sunday. Make a grocery list every week and stick to it. Meal prep every Sunday. Write a Novel -- Write every evening from 1-2 am. Sit at the computer, open my novel, and type away. (not sure which novel yet ) Preliminary stuff: Yes, I saw the mini-challenge... I'll be doing the walking, but I saw some things posted about other stuff involving posting things somewhere, and was like meh, I'm not gonna bother. On Wed. Sept 13, I'm taking the day off of work to attend an online writing class with my local writing center (meet some local writers, connect, get advice). After that I will definitely be hacking away at writing and tracking word count. Until then I'll mostly be plotting, outlining, and sketching scenes. Reviewing old material. Etc. But I'm gonna put an hour or so into that every night until the class. The following weekend, Fri-Sun, I'm going up to Wisconsin to visit friends, eat cheese, and drink beer. So I'll miss those days on the schedule but whatever. It's fine. After that weekend, I will be back on the mostly straight and mostly narrow path of walking, lifting, eating plants, and writing.
  23. Better late than Never Hello I'm back. I did amazingly last challenge. I then got so slammed with work I felt I didn't have time to do the next challenge, or more- I just never got around to it and it was soon way in the background. And then the stress hit 3 days ago. And I ate. And I ate. And I ate. And I drank. And I didn't think I shouldn't have. And I finally thought just now "I should go back to the NF Challenges." So here I am- after eating takeaway, with dessert on the way and sipping on whisky ready to write up a challenge and start afresh tomorrow. Last Challenge Review Achieved I barely remember the last challenge so it's actually nice to remember how well I did looking back. Research effective muscle recuperation techniques for rest days to try- although I didn't use them consistently, I learned a lot and a few habits stuck. I learned a little more what to use when. Completed a Nerd Fitness Quest: Plank Practice- Advanced (60") Pick a program and stick with it!- Never missed an exercise day- and I really saw the slow improvement from it! Stuck to my nutritional routine. Still ordering food from a healthy delivery service. Still doing well with my work contract despite the stress from it. Got through my endoscopy and colonoscopy on for cancer checks. Attempted Attempted Nerd Fitness Quests: Fitness: Pushup - a bit more stable but still not a full good one Bench press .5x your bodyweight: Currently at 35kg Muscle recuperation on off days like muscle soak baths- although I got two in and did a bit of foam rolling Didn't Work Start the Nerd Fitness Yoga program on my rest days- it was a nice idea, but really on my rest days I just wanted to chill and do nothing so this was hard. Bedroom ended up being a mess. Remembering to take my multivitamins every day. Can't really do much tracking or quests when working full time
  24. Okay, so beginning of last challenge, things were feeling like this: Right now, things are feeling a bit better, like this: My goal is by the end of the challenge, for things feel like this: TL:DR; (or really, too long to write and there's no need to bore everyone with details We sold our house in May with the intention of full time travel, and in a total plot twist we have decided to stay in New England and take over my mother's property, which has been challenging on a lot of fronts (both in amount of work involved and the emotional elements). After 2.5 months, we now have the majority of her stuff out of the house, we have the basic repairs done that make this property livable, and a lot of the paperwork is almost done, so it's starting to finally feel like we can breathe a bit and start to actually settle in without having 100 urgent things banging down at us constantly. I'm also entering my last year of my 30's during this challenge, and while I'm inherently okay with aging and don't have an issue with it, I am definitely starting to have a lot of feels around it and I'm sure the fact we're moving my mother into senior housing and looking at her "final" phase in life isn't helping the emotions. This is going to be a heavily druid challenge, really, because yoga will be a forefront. I've been able to really keep up: Daily Walks (just hit 1,000 in a row yesterday) Veggies with every meal Water Things that are going better after last challenge, but I'm still struggling with: Movement: I hit daily movement most days in the form of yard work and moving stuff and cleaning, but I need to start actually doing full workouts again. Nightly Stretching/Yoga: I started off last challenge with 1-2x a week and now I'm stretching a good 6/7 nights Routine: With everything as crazy as it's been, everything's changing often and it's been Relaxing and calming down: I feel like I'm constantly in go-go-go mode and can't turn off. This is affecting both my physical and mental health and my anxiety is through the roof because of it. I've been experimenting with yoga nidra and some general breathing stuff, and that's already helping, but I'm definitely in the very beginning of learning to practice these things. I started logging food with MacroFactor, and am loving it. I'm NOT going to make this a goal, but just wanted to make note I am doing it and working on it, but it's the lowest of my priorities and is something that will start to feel easier the better I get at my actual goals. So, with that, since routine is a part of the problem, instead of trying to write out and stick to a perfect routine, I'm going to tie different time constraints into my goals. Obviously if I don't make time constraints, I'm not going to either not do it or not give myself credit for doing it, but the goal is to build in some anchors within my day at which I take care of myself, and that I'm not forgetting about it till 11pm. GOALS: 1) Be outside for my walk within 30 minutes of waking up I've got the daily walking in the morning first thing habit down (just hit 1,000 days in a row yesterday!), but what we don't have defined is what is "first thing". One of my scheduling struggles is getting out of bed on time, for no reason other than I don't have schedule restraints that prevent me from doing so, being the most eastern located person on my team. So the goal is to get outside and be walking within 30 min of that alarm and waking up. Eventually, I'd like that to be less, but for now, even 20 seems unrealistic. 2) Yoga Nidra, Breathing, or Meditation Every single day. You'll notice this is my second listed goal, because it needs to be a priority and is going to be insanely hard for me to do. I don't have to do these well, but I do need to put in an effort. I specifically want to focus on Yoga Nidra, as it's highly recommended in therapy circles with some things I'm struggling with with a lot of great data to back it up, but breathing exercises or meditation would work as an alternative in a pinch. My goal is to do this after lunch each day, before heading back to work, but any time throughout the day works. 3) Daily Exercise of at least 30 minutes. I will do this before work at least 3 days each work week, and the rest of the days I need to start by 3pm, unless otherwise planned for. This can be strength, cardio, or work around here (sometimes the physical labor here is harder than a workout ) - but I've got to get it done. * 4) Yoga before bed Can be any length or style, but must start by 10:30pm. *We have 4 cats + felix now, as my Mom had 2, so this gif is more appropriate than I'd like to admit. 5) Spellbooks / Scheduling This has been a focus, but hasn't been specific enough to really measure how well I'm doing or not. i also have been forced to really focus on the day to day, vs the larger picture, so: Schedule in anchor tasks into calendar, and then schedule everything else around them Start each week with a list of goals I want to accomplish, and break that down by day At the end of each day, review what went well and didn't go well and adjust for the next day if there are any adjustments to make, and plan the next day. Be honest with myself about what didn't go well - if it's mental health, that's fine, if I'm too busy, that's fine, but if I don't do something because mental health and I say it's because I'm busy, that's not fine Start to look out at this month, next month, etc - especially since we have a longer term plan now, and have a full house of renos to do, the better I am at being realistic with timelines and when things can happen, the less time we'll be living in a construction zone, or we can at least minimize it. But also - I don't want to miss out on life because of renos, so just trying to fit in necessary life things like doctor's appointments and hair cuts, but also some fun like ren faires and oktoberfests And that's it! Good luck y'all!
  25. N.B. - Challenge goals will follow shortly. This challenge will be about forging inner armor again. I hope I will settle before my gym Summer Deal membership ends, though. The main concept is this. If I really want it, the world is mine. My world is mine. I don't have to defend or explain anyone my choices, if I'm not asking to change or impose something upon their lives. And if I do, it is all up for discussion. But ultimately, if we don't have views on how to move forward that mesh with my most important principles, or if we do have it but they don't have the feeling of independence to stand their ground on these principles we both feel the same on, I can choose to leave. Let people call me selfish, let them call me unreasonable. I'm not afraid to sound like my mother anymore. I know I am doing my best to keep others' best interest at heart. But never, again, at the cost of my own health. I know what's best for me. It is part of life to make mistakes, and I take ownership for them. My life starts now.
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