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  1. Keeping with my goals for improving circus, losing those last few pounds, and increasing my flexibility, all while not losing strength, maintaining my energy levels and eating well, I have put together an overly complex google docs tracking system for what is essentially a very boring challenge. But hey, spreadsheets are pretty, right? 1. Diet Stay below target calories each day. Assess target vs. energy levels vs. weight to continually maintain appropriate caloric goal. 2. Circus Open gym 1x/week Class 1x/week Choreography. Due to various life things, I probably will not be participating in the next student showcase at my studio. The official yea/nay day is 9/23, so I must decide by then. Regardless, I'd still like to choreograph something. Likely to this song. 3. Flexibility Warm up prior to any circus or muggle workout. Stretch out after any circus workout. 4. Meal prep Food goes easier through the week when I think ahead. Make at least two "for the future" (or lots of leftovers) dishes throughout the challenge. Now I have 5 days to gear up for this.
  2. Vincent van Bro, formerly known as Curl Brogo, is an American painter, powerlifter, and Adonis with bat wing lats and biceps big as your head. Partly a renaissance man, he paints meditative, impressionistic still life and landscape, surrealistic allegorical depictions of small animals, and abstract expressionist paintings and drawings depicting musical ideas. He lives and works in Indianapolis. There's my Wikipedia intro paragraph. I've made up my mind to go back to school and study art in the spring, end goal being an MFA. So this challenge will be centered on preparing for that, while improving my health and fitness... and lats and biceps. Goal 1: Hunger. Carrying over from previous challenges. Eat only when the thought of steamed broccoli and fish makes me drool. Goal 2: Pickup the barbell 6 days a week. Pretty straightforward. I'll do whatever feels right. As long as I do a set of something. Expect bear complexes. Goal 3: one morning walk each weekend. I just want to put a couple miles on my shoes each weekend to avoid stagnating over the weekend. LUYL goals: Art school prep Basically a list Sidequests to prepare for school. Assemble a portfolio: I need 18-25 works for the MFA application. 10 to start the undergrad/transition. -- Create new works -- gather old work -- Take photos Complete application steps: -- meeting with art school admissions (Sept. 19) -- complete school application -- browse courses Roommate search: I want to stay put, but I'll need some financial relief. I have an empty second bedroom, might as well get a roommate and cut the rent in half. -- talk to leasing office -- make an ad -- spread ad on various media/networks
  3. A Little History, Baby. (taken from my Respawn thread) A select few of you may remember me. I came, I did some challenges, I dropped some weight, and then life started life-ing me and I disappeared. In early 2015, I weighed 255 lbs. I joined a gym, started eating better, found NF, and in around 18 months, I'd just about scraped under 200 lbs, got myself a nice suit, and life was going... better. But interest started to flag, and a combination of work-related stress, family dramas, injuries, illness and dark depression took hold, and I went under the ice for a while. It started with some niggling aches and pains, which, after an extended period of doctor and hospital visits, were diagnosed as calcific tendonitis in the rotator cuff, and bone spurs in the neck. As I attempted to get those under control, my wife lost her mother, and my own mother's dementia gradually progressed. She suffered a series of falls and spent a large chunk of the early part of this year in and out of hospital for weeks at a time. We're getting some support with her care now, which is helping greatly, but the dementia is only going to worsen as time passes. With all of this in the background, I completely neglected my own well-being, quit exercising, ate like crap, didn't look after myself mentally, and spiraled into a dark place. I could feel my health worsening as my weight increased, to the point where everything was becoming uncomfortable, and I felt constantly sick, tired, and sore. At the end of July, I made the decision to rejoin the gym and go completely cold turkey from my arch nemeses, chocolate, cakes and fizzy/energy drinks. On my first visit back to the gym on August 1st, I weighed myself. 257 lbs. Back to square one, literally. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $100. I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) So, since then? I weighed in for the first time at the end of August - the plan is to weigh in at the start of each month and go from there - and I'd dropped the first 9 lbs. Tomorrow (Friday 15/9) will be 7 weeks since I started the vice purge. In that time, I've had no chocolate whatsoever, and one custard/fruit tart and a mouthful of cloudy lemonade a couple of days ago, when, in my defence, I was high as a kite on painkillers after being rear-ended on Monday. I haven't been to the gym this week yet (see previous sentence), but I'm on the road to recovery and planning to go back for a gentle session either tomorrow or Saturday. Where Do We Go Now, But Nowhere? Here's where. Weight - Right now, the primary target is getting back to One-derland (that's sub-200 for the uninitiated.) I'm only going to step on the scales on the 1st of each month, or thereabouts. The initial weigh-in I did was on the electronic scales at the gym, so I'll stick with that too. Food and Drink - Stick to the plan of no cakes, chocolate or fizzy drinks of any kind, possibly allowing for a slight relaxation of the rule between Christmas and New Year. Other than that, I'm not ruling any foods out. Drinks will be limited to water, coffee (no more than 1 a day, 2 at the weekend), and red wine or single malt whisky (which I'm growing increasingly fond of) at the weekend. No more eating late (i.e. anything after 8pm) as it triggers horrendous trapped wind episodes for me. I've had three in the past month, and the pain is like nothing I've ever experienced. Working out - the goal remains 3 a week for now, just building it up gradually. The current workout is as follows: Cross Trainer: I'm incrementally building it up by going up 1 level and 1 minute each progression. Started at one run of 5 minutes at level 5, and last visit had me doing one run of 11 at 11. Once I start getting comfortable at a level, I'll step it up. The end goal will probably be 15x15 twice in one workout, to start and finish. Treadmill: Fast walk, 6km/hr for 15 minutes. I might change this up as I go. Rowing: When time permits for now, do 1000 metres. I'm currently between 5-6 minutes. I'm going to aim to get closer to 4 minutes, just to see if I can. Physio: Always finish off with the exercises the physio has given me for my neck and shoulder. I've been discharged from physio now, I just need to keep on top of the mobility and make sure it doesn't recur. I Had a Dream, Joe Things in the works - besides the fact I want to get my ass back into reasonable shape by at least Christmas, I've got a couple of events in the calendar as motivation. At the end of January, I'm taking SWFS (SomeWifeFromScotland to any new followers) to see Miss Saigon for her birthday. It would be nice if I could get back into my suit by then. If not, I would at least like to not look like a complete schlub. Two weeks after that, I'll be going to hear Henry Rollins, one of my absolute heroes, speak in Glasgow. If it's at all possible, I'd like to get a chance to shake his hand and tell him what an inspiration he's been to me for the best part of 30 years. Finally, we'd made it our mission to go on a family holiday next summer, having not been abroad since 2012, and next June will be our 20th wedding anniversary, so we're off to Kusadasi in Turkey at the end of June. Need to be rocking that bikini bod. Papa Won't Leave You, Henry, So There Ain't No Need to Cry Finally, I've been in a better place of late. I need to make sure that continues. So, some non-food and fitness type goals to help me keep my head above the water as winter approaches. Don't Isolate! Stay connected to my NF family (Doodlies Assemble! Perkele!) Stick with my daily Bible recommended reading plan (read the entire Bible in 365 days, still on target) Make more time to paint and create That'll do, Donkey. Shall we?
  4. We're winning! The battle to defeat the return of the dreaded Dad Bod has been waged on rocky ground for quite a while, but I'm finally finding my footing and marshaling my forces in the most economical way to make sustainable progress. In the last challenge we simplified the attack and adopted a few new weapons into the arsenal--intermittent fasting and yoga joined the team. IF was extremely beneficial, and I'm going to continue to use it in the exact same way. Yoga was tougher to implement because I haven't yet found the most effective method of deployment, but I've got an idea about how to use it better in this challenge to further my life quest of reaching a lean and strong body. I'm going to rock with the same four goals, slightly modified: 1. Sleep. In bed on work nights by 10:30 pm with lights out and ready for proper sleep. The two-episode limit I imposed on my TV viewing was very effective. This time of year brings new challenges with football and hockey games that sometimes run late, but I'm just going to exercise my good judgment and impose the discipline of prioritizing my sleep to turn off the TV and go to bed as planned. 2. Wake. Good days also start on time, so I'm going to continue to push myself to get up at the appropriate hour. Instead of trying for a morning yoga session (which failed spectacularly last time) I'm going to attempt a new morning routine of rolling out of bed, doing a few minutes of warm-up stretching, reading a quick Bible passage, and getting ready for work. 3. Eat. The return to calorie counting has paid off bigly--it's always been the best way for me to manage my intake. Since I lost a decent bit of weight last time around I've been able to recalculate my targets and adjust them downward slightly. Six days a week I'm aiming for 1860 kcal, then Sundays will be a relatively free day. Macros aren't important, but food quality is. I'm aiming for 80% Paleo/Primal on program days. Free days need to be mindful without being restrictive. I'm also going to impose another no-ice-cream challenge. 4. Move. In the last challenge I changed how I was lifting to focus on cutting weight, and it worked very well. I'm calling my new gym regimen Power Cardio since it's just semi-heavy powerlifts at higher-than-usual volume with shorter rest periods to keep my heart rate up. Each power lift also has a complementary accessory exercise. My body seems to appreciate how this program is working, so I'm going to run it exactly the way I ended last challenge with just a few small increases to certain exercises. Tues and Thursday are my gym days, but new to this challenge is that I'm going to add Yoga to M-W-F afternoons when I get home from work. At first it will just be simple beginner yoga videos on Youtube, but if it works well and sticks for the whole challenge then I'll look at moving up to something more deliberate like NF Yoga or Flexible Steel. The usual spreadsheets are fabricated and ready to go for tracking my progress. I'm hoping to hit 220 lbs. in this challenge, and at that point I'll start taking monthly body composition measurements again to aid in some finer tuning of my nutrition needs as I get closer to my goals. I'm also invoking the oh-so-scientific method of counting belt notches as I slim down, and as of this morning I'm starting on Notch 6 7 of the skinny-DFG belt. Each notch represents an inch of circumference, and I'd be thrilled to reduce by two or three over the rest of this year. Standard weekly check-ins will consist of metrics and photos, but I won't be entertaining specific photographic requests in this challenge. Still a couple of solid months before the holidays start to get in the way of things, so as I'm fond of saying, "Make hay while the sun is shining." The time is ripe for awesomeness!
  5. Weight, weight, go away. Don't come back again someday. I don't fit into most of my leather skirts any more, so I'm getting rid of that 20lbs. Again. Also, I lied. I said I was going to give it another challenge before counting calories, but I should know by now that I tend to modify my plans pretty much immediately. So I've started counting calories again (waaaa) and am trying to get at LEAST two workouts in every week. THE PLAN: 1. Work out at LEAST 2x/week 2. Attend lunch time office yoga 3. Log the calories Intermittent fasting ~4 days/week and continue on with the No S Diet (no snacks, no sweets, no seconds, except on S days) BONUS: Meditate? Get an app or something? Mindfulness has appealed in the past, and I've enjoyed what I've dabbled with. So, I'm going to figure out something do do with that. Disclaimer: I'm a leftist socialist queer and genderqueer (they/them pronouns) sex positive hippie who is an active member of The Resistance. Any photos I post here will be safe, but if you follow the links I cannot guarantee your continued employment if you're looking at work. :-p
  6. I'm Severine and this is my first challenge with the rangers. I was in the rebel guild for a long time and finally decided it's time I branched out a little. One of the reasons I stayed so long with the rebels was my difficulty in choosing a guild. I like bodyweight training and rock climbing, I like walking and hiking and exploring, I like barbell-based strength training and aspire to do more of it, and one of my goals is to condition for running and do a 5K sometime soon. Oh and I am doing a lot of work on mindset stuff and just recently started meditating. Plus I just got sucked into OCR stuff by @Sylvaa and @NeverThatBored and @fleaball...so a little bit of almost everything. Eventually I decided that if my problem was my inability to choose between a million different things, there is a decent chance I belong with the rangers. It helped that @Tanktimus the Encourager sweeps periodically through the forums, proclaiming the supreme friendliness and general excellence of his home guild to anyone who will listen I'm in an interesting transition period of my life right now. This past winter, I shut down my small farm and since then I have been teaching ESL at a local community centre, trying to figure out what comes next for me. I was in farming for ~6 years and in law before that, but for various reasons neither of those professions feel like the right place for me right now. I do enjoy teaching ESL but am not completely sure if that's where I want to stay indefinitely. One thing I do know is that I really enjoyed running my own business, and am currently leaning toward starting starting my own little company, whether it be ESL tutoring or one of the other ideas I have. Transition times can be a great chance to establish new habits and re-evaluate priorities, so this is a great opportunity. However, times of unrest where I don't have a firm routine are also the times I am, historically, most likely to go off the rails and relapse into really unhealthy old patterns. So I want to be vigilant and make sure this is a time of progressive unrest rather than regressive. I struggle with anxiety, binge/disordered eating, and insomnia, and these are all things that are easier to manage if I have a solid foundation of healthy behaviour and self-care, so there's a lot of incentive. Food is my biggest health challenge, both recently and throughout my entire life since I was a preteen. Heh. It's funny: that sentence is a bizarrely sanitary way to represent decades of tears and self-loathing and denial and dysfunction and food-based self harm. I don't want to go into the whole story but I feel like I need to signal it's there, underneath everything. Anyway. This challenge I'm going to focus pretty heavily on food and try some brave/scary new things in that area, as well as work to solidify and improve exercise and mental health habits for a well-rounded approach. My hope is that this challenge will get me on an even keel and prepare me to start some more ambitious training for the October challenge, so that I'm less unready when the Spartan Sprint rolls around in November. THE GOALS! FOOD Bright line ban on foods that I have repeatedly shown I cannot handle in moderation: Chocolate, ice cream, fast food of any kind, soda of any kind including calorie-free Note, this is the scary/hard part. But I also have good reason to think it's the right approach - I did this once before just with chocolate and it was shocking to me how much easier it was to cut it out than to try to moderate it. I felt awesome. So going to bring it back and expand it to all my binge trigger foods. No caffeine after noon Food tracking every day Minimum three servings of freggies a day Calorie deficit when averaged over the week ACTIVITY Exercise for at least thirty minutes every day. Most days my basic exercise is a 30-minute walk in the morning. In addition, once per week find an interesting bit of nature to go walk around in for at least 45 minutes. This good for me both physically and mentally. The Japanese call it 'forest bathing'. Autumn is my favourite season so this is a delightful time to do this. Start the Elements training program from GMB and do a minimum of three sessions per week. MINDSET AND LIFE Meditate using the Headspace app every day (preferably earlier in the day but not required) Update my Hobonichi Do at least one thing from my giant to-do list every day Spend at least ten minutes a day on foreign language learning Go to bed by 11:30 Go to therapy every week So there we have it. These goals represent a good picture of what balance looks like for me and if I can get all of these habits as a default mode of living it will be a powerful platform from which to launch myself into a dazzling array of ambitious and exciting new projects and adventures.
  7. What a difference a couple key changes in my life is making! I'm still having tough days or moments emotionally, but regular sleep, exercise, the new work schedule, and cutting out alcohol are all working together to put me in a better state to handle those difficult times. I'm feeling good about this next challenge. Need to do some thinking about how I'll structure it, but my overall focus for September and the start of October is cutting weight as I train for this Spartan Sprint at the start of November. I think fitting into a pair of size 8 jeans I've had tucked away in my drawer is a good metric for my progress (with the added reward of having a new pair of pants going into the fall). I can currently squeeze myself into them, but the goal is for them to fit comfortably. Pictures would probably be a good way to document progress. I'll take a start picture going into the challenge, maybe a midway one(?), and then one at the end. *fingers crossed* This will give me a little extra push when my motivation is waning.
  8. Hey Guys, I haven't done a challenge in quite a while, although I'm pretty excited to get back to it and lift heavy shit. I've been playing a ton of Dungeons & Dragons lately, so I'm going to go with a viking theme. They're strong badasses, right? A bit of history: I will be doing a keto diet based off of Mark Bell's advice and running the 5x5 program from keto gains (basically ICF 5x5 with fewer accessories). For pretty much my entire lifting career, my squat has lagged behind my bench and dead. For a long time, I was doing half squats and then started to focus more on form and ended up not making any progress. I'd go down and sit in the hole for a few seconds before coming out of the hole and really struggled. I'm going with a 5x5 program to help balance this out a little better and I'm foregoing my ego and starting at about 50% of my 5RM so there's room to grow while I work on form. Workout Workout A Squat 5x5 Bench 5x5 Rows 5x5 Triceps Extension 3x8 Curls 3x8 Workout B Squat 5x5 Deadlift 1x5 Press 5x5 Row 5x5 CG Bench 3x8 Curls 3x8 Cardio KB Swings 5x20 SS Cardio 20min Goals Strength. Squat 200lbs Physique. Lose 10 lbs Stamina. Do cardio at least 2 days a week Diet. Stick to keto diet 95% of the time
  9. This is difficult to write, but here it goes. I have around 300lbs to lose. I am fortunate to have no secondary health concerns to speak of (yet) apart from sleep apnea, but it's just a matter of time before my luck gives out and something else serious creeps in. At 39 I'm a ticking time bomb. I am working with a bariatric doctor, a nutritionist, and a therapist who specializes in eating disorders to try to attack this from as many angles as possible. The one thing I lack is any real support. I've tried to find groups here locally without any luck, and I'm hoping participating in a community like this could serve much of that same purpose. In the past I've lost significant weight for stretches, as much as 200lbs, but whether it's my lack of a support system, my depression, or something else, eventually most of it comes back. I am determined to do something different in hopes of not just existing, but of actually living some kind of real life. There's a chance that weight loss surgery may be part of what I'm doing, but I recognize that it's not a panacea, so I'm not going to sit around and wait for it to magically fix things. Even if surgery is in the cards I want to continue to work on my eating behaviors to change my relationship with food to make any potential surgery safer, and ultimately more successful. I recognize I'm a very extreme case, but I am fortunate to be very mobile despite my size. Underneath all this is the body of an athlete. I still work full time, move around well, and as the weight starts to come off I should be able to do a lot in a short period of time. I'm going to start by reading, looking around, and figuring out what the best and most productive way for me to participate around here will be. I just felt I needed to get this post out of the way before I chickened out, because I really don't want to write this, and if I don't write it now, I probably never will. Thank you for listening, and good luck to everyone!
  10. Hullo all. Weighed myself the other day, 206.4 (down a pound from last weigh in), still 21.6% body fat . I'm wondering if there is a good way to actually target body fat (other than slow and steady). I've been on this lifestyle change for about 5 years now and am still thrilled with the progress I've made thus far. I've maintained roughly the same eating habits for the past year or so (since the last time myfitnesspal stole calories away from me...still mad about that). I've been doing strength training (the "beginner's" bodyweight (now dumbell) circuit since around late September '16). I started tracking the amounts and such here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-HLwfvnIQTByiQnw7WjKWxbQ0oOZlQeKoOVoW58-POE/edit?usp=sharing. I don't know how to link (or if it's even possible) to share my food diary from fitness pal, but generally my weekdays look about like this: Breakfast: Smoothie 280 cal (half avocado, .25-.5 cup frozen fruit, scoop protein powder, almond milk, handful spinach, water (if its too thick) Lunch: half cup greek yogurt, tablespoon jelly, medium apple (prefer honeycrisp but lately has been gala), 1 oz cheese, leftover veggies (from dinner: often steamed or sauteed), and left over protein source (varies with what I ate for dinner Dinner: varies with what I cook Looking at the "nutrition" on fitness pal, my calories by meal appear to be: Breakfast 24%; Lunch 24%; Dinner 36%, Snacks 16% (using last week as data set) Any insights are appreciated!!
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