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  1. Chris-Tien and the Side Quest Quest When I started with Nerd Fitness (nearly 10 years ago), my major goal was to lose weight. I was at 171lbs. I am still tracking that dragon, but I am making progress and narrowing in on defeating the beast. My problem is that I tend to get distracted by side quests and lose sight of the of the endgame ... in life as well as in Skyrim. But this challenge, I am embracing the side quests as a way to build skills and strength so that when I do finally face the dragon, I will be ready. Long term goals for the YEAR of the Great Dragon Hunt Last year, I reduced from 168 to 156 (and bumped back up in the dumpster fire + train wreck of Fall Semester ....). This year, I want to get back into the "normal" weight category for my height, age, and gender: 150 (or less). And I want to do a pull up again, damnit. Those are the two measurable things that encapsulate a whole lot of life style changes along the way. I have set milestones for each month so that I know where I am along the journey. February's goals are: Back squat 55 - DONE Pushups 1 Lat pulldown 75 Deadlift 77.2 500 m row < 180 - DONE 5K 45 pace: 14.5 That gives me a couple of weeks to work on the rest of these while I pursue the side quests that make games and life .... interesting. So, heading out the door, these are my challenge goals ..... 1) Eat 84+ grams of protein per day (tracking in MyFitnessPal) 2) Strength train (CrossFit or gym or KBs at home) 2+ x per week 3) Positive affirmations daily 4) < 31.9% BF% 5) Draw a Side Quest card daily and complete all of those drawn by the end of the challenge In point, the first challenge I have is to toss out the invaders that have taken over the local fortress (i.e. get over this cold ... again).
  2. Eating clean, exercising, drinking water, meditating. Most of us work on habits like these, habits that need to be developed continuously over time. But sometimes it’s hard to find the time to do these things, specially if we lose that initial motivation we had at the beginning of the challenge, we lose the momentum that made us fit those habits into our routines. If you're trying to drink more water, exercise, read more every day, we're going to create a system of triggers that can help us stay on top of our goals and habits this challenge. How? Uno.- Link your habit to different triggers throughout your day. Example: I use this primarily for reading and for drinking water. I used my mindful meditation skillz to reflect on my days and find some moments where I could read or drink water, a sort of IF THIS THEN THAT system. Think of it as a video game, when music changes or they give you lots of health kits... you know shit is gonna get real something is going to happen. Reading: 1.- As soon as I wake up, I read my personal manifesto and a poem. 2.- Once I get on the bus, I start an audiobook. 3.- Waiting for the subway/in the subway, I read a paperback book. 4.- Whenever I’m waiting for something to load, I try to read a poem or two. Drinking Water: 1.- As soon as I wake up, I keep a bottle of water by my bed. (Then I read, can you see a pattern here?). 2.- Whenever I’m waiting for something, the bus, the subway, the other bus (I have a very long commute); the elevator, etc 3.- Whenever I assign an activity to my students. 4.- Every time I finish marking a notebook or an specific activity on my administrative hours. The beauty of it is that, with time you no longer have to focus on doing these things. You already build a chain of events, a snowball effect with a momentum as unstoppable as a T-Rex with long grappling hooks. Am I finishing a book every day? Am I drinking the "required" amount every day? No, but I'm making progress and thanks to my triggers I keep moving forward at a good pace. That's, essentially, what's up. So create triggers that work for you. And please, share your experience with the rest of the Monastery.
  3. Do you see it? This, my friends, is the Dreaded Week Four Slump Monster. It seems to pick up unsuspecting skiers Nerds and spirit them away into its mouth, to never been seen from again.... Or at least until the start of the next challenge with a sheepish start of "So week 4 didn't go well and it snowballed from there....." So Week 4, I like to try and take everything in stride. And with the lifting program I'm currently on it's actually mandatory to take a step back after 4 weeks. So my challenge, unto you lovely Nerds, is Deload. Take one thing you've been pushing yourself hard on all challenge, and pull back a bit. This isn't meant to be lazy - it's meant to give you a bit of a breather to allow you to continue going after the week is done. Having trouble hitting all 20 minutes of your meditation the past few weeks? Drop it down to 15 or 10 minutes instead. Pushing your weights up high for the past couple weeks but feel tired? Drop the sets down to 60% of your max, and let your body repair a bit. Doing crazy advanced bodyweight work and stalling a bit? Drop back down to some more basic maneuvers, and let the deload show you how much further you've come by increasing how many reps you can do or how many more seconds you can hold a position. Whatever you think is just about to push you past your breaking point, look at it, acknowledge it, and allow yourself to go a bit easier. It'll help your sanity, it'll help your physical and mental repair, and hopefully give you the ability to see that you not only can do more at the end of the week, but WANT to do more. This is not an excuse to slack off - it's a challenge to make sure you can keep yourself on track, even if that means having to take one step backwards for the two or three you've taken so far. Sally forth, my wonderful Monks.
  4. Challenge Perform One.....HUNDRED Burpees this week! GO!!!!
  5. Since it's Wednesday and we have no side quest, it's time for the plucky insurgents to invade headquarters, plant their flag, and do this thing. It's week two, stuff is going well. Week four, that's the problem. Let's get ready for week four while things are still going well. Week four is when you need to pull your head into the game. Everyone's got that thing that they want to be, and feel deep in their bones that they're not. Especially when it comes to nerds and fitness. Because we all know the story about nerds and fitness. Picked last for the dodgeball team. Hated gym class. Would rather play WoW than basketball. Cannot play DnD without a bottle of Mountain Dew and a pasty complexion. Reads novels instead of going out to recess. Be ladylike, don't hit things. Whatever it is. You've probably got a few of them knocking around in your head about you. They're shitty stories. Some of us have gotten over them. Some of us still have them in our heads. But, generally speaking, when you're making changes in your life, your head is the last thing to get the message. So the side quest this week is this: Identify some places where you have a mental block about levelling up. (I'm not really an athlete because... I'm not really healthy because... I'm not really fit because... I'm not really a badass because...)Then identify the smallest habits that are causing that block. There's going to be something so dumb that you didn't think it was a big deal. Because, on its own, it's not. It's just become part of the story your head tells itself about who you are. Maybe you're a little lax on carbs with no ill effects, except that serving of pasta or candy bar is the thing you get hung up on when you tell yourself you're not serious about this. Maybe you're out for an injury and rehab feels like slacking on your goals and letting your standards down. Failed his fitness test due to lack of rehab and a bad attitude. Told himself he was a damn spy with a job to do and got back in the game. Still had a bad attitude. No one's perfect. Maybe you feel disorganized about something else in your life, and that makes you feel like you're not on top of things when it comes to your workout. You can't do a hundred pushups, so you're a fake. Work is getting in the way, so your progress is wiped out. Or you're interested in meditation, but you're not a damn hippy. Tell that dude he's a damn hippy. Go on, I'll wait here. There's going to be something that seems harmless,because you know better, but it's the thing you beat yourself up with. It's the thing that tells you that levelling up is not real. Then you find a small behavior change you can make to combat that little voice in your head. One rehab session telling yourself that this is how you make progress, rather than lose ground. One sweet potato just because it makes you feel like more of a badass than the pasta. One day where you sit down and make the plan to work up to that first pull-up. One attempt at a new routine. Did that change the story in your head a little? Then that's one rep. If you want to go all out on telling a new story about yourself, write one in your challenge thread. Walk to Mordor. Complain about your shoes, the damn dwarves you're with, the blisters, the lack of second breakfast. But walk to Mordor. Fight Hydra. Do your basic training, tough out your shitty boss and your shitty job dancing in tights to sell war bonds, then find your gang and blow shit up for the free world. You get the idea. But then make it real. Tell yourself that story while you do that thing.
  6. Hello, Monks! How has your sleep been lately? Hopefully by now you all have started working on your habits and goals. On this first week of the challenge, we will work on changing our behavior from the very first moment we wake up. Most of us keep a love and hate relationship with the snooze button. The alarm goes off, our bodies are too heavy or too sore from training, our beds are extremely comfortable, or it is too damn cold outside. Here is the thing: The snooze button is a terrible way to wake up. Why do we punish ourselves by reliving that dreaded moment we have to get up over and over again as if we are trapped in an exploding T.A.R.D.I.S.? We all have amazing ideas for what we want in our day. We have things to do, goals to accomplish, quests to follow, dragons to slay and levels to level up. Stop hitting snooze on them. Why are you waking up? Why should you get out of bed every day? Why would anyone matter? Get clear on that; spend time there. That is your motivation. Tomorrow morning when you hear the alarm, you will come face to face with the force that is required to change behavior. You will be half-asleep. All the excuses will pop up, the same mental stories and lies – but you do not need to engage with them, or lie there in bed and argue with them. Use your mindful monk skills. Observe them and without judgment choose instead to focus on your why, on your motivation. This week, we are going to practice a new way of waking up. This short morning routine that includes some yoga stretches and meditation will be your new snooze button. Step 1: Good Morning Sunshine! Your alarm goes off. DO NOT hit snooze. Instead, you activate your body with a good long stretch. Point your toes and pull your arms back. Become aware of your body as you stretch. Become aware of all the parts touching the bed. Hold the stretch and breathe as you count to 10 in your head. Step 2: Hip Joint Stretch Pull your knees up towards your chest and hold. You will feel the stretch in your hip joint – where we often hold a lot of discomfort. Hold the stretch and breathe as you count to 10 in your head. Step 3: Spine Stretch With your shoulders pressed flat on the bed – twist one leg over the other to stretch and awaken the spine and hold for a slow count of 5 for each side. Step 4: Side Stretch Ready to get up? This is for the side of your torso and up through your arm. Keep your bottom on the bed and gently stretch as far as it feels comfortable to the sides – without lifting your sit bones off the bed. Hold the stretch and breathe for a slow count of 5 on each side. Step 5: Sitting Stretch It is time to get out of bed! With one leg folded over the other, feel a great stretch from your backside along your hip and side thigh. If you feel a persistent pain in this area, or suffer from sciatica – you may want to spend a little more time here to release the tension. Step 6: Feel Grateful! It is the beginning of a new day and you have successfully accomplished your first side-quest. Stand up straight and strong. Place your hands together. Take a deep breath and smile – this will actually trigger emotions of happiness. You are ready to go out there and do something epic with your day. If you are trying to incorporate a workout or a meditation practice into your day, this may be the best moment to do it; this little routine is a great way to ease into the habit. There are 6 stretches in this routine which can be completed in just 60 seconds. Feel free to adapt them -- you can make it longer if you enjoy it. Practice the routine before sleeping tonight, so that in the morning you can get right to it Your challenge this week is to practice this stretch routine each morning. As final word, I have a question for you. When you stand up and smile, what will you be thinking about? What is making you happy? Rise up, monks.
  7. SIDE QUEST II The Explosive Letterball https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6OYQSSKWDI (Pay attention to 2:12) We, as good members of the rebellion, know how to create a workout regime based on our needs, especially those as martial arts students. We focus on cardiovascular exercises, weight lifting, calisthenics using our bodyweight, yoga and stretching for our flexibility, and most importantly, our martial arts practice. However, one of the things that set us apart from the rest of the Rebellion is the speed and explosiveness for what martial artists have become famous. This week’s Side Quest will help us become more athletic and move faster, as well as improve our hand — eye coordination using something called The Letterball. Why? We already know that hand-eye coordination is essential for martial arts students. Nevertheless, we often fail to include it in our workout routine. Sure, we nerds play many video games, shown and proved to improve hand-eye coordination but this is Nerd Fitness, after all. It was this, or doing burpees every loading screen. How? I can tell you, or I can show you For those who asked, that is not me. I just saw the video and stole the id— thought it was a brilliant idea. What you will need - Command and Knowledge of your ABCs* - A sharpie - A Tennis Ball - A wall - A partner (optional but recommended). If you are an English Teacher, I’d strongly recommend using other techniques to teach the ABCs to your students, apparently this is not a proper pedagogic technique, as my boss repeatedly tells me. Advanced Level Go for explosive. With a partner, play it like a violent, sadistic squash game. Without a partner, juggle and add more letter balls to the game. Play Jiggly Ball.
  8. Last challenge I killed my main quest and had a 3-part side quest - for which I managed to get 1/3. To be fair the one side quest I managed was the more important one but I can't help but feel OCD-ishly annoyed. So I plan on doing the other two as my holiday challenge. They are: 1. Finish Short Story 2. Write Flash Fiction Piece The second thing I have to send off to be considered for publication in an anthology (after being sent an invite). The first thing I'm doing just for me Okay, let's do this.
  9. Secondary Skill Sets Welcome to your weekly side quest work, Warriors. Take a seat, grab some ale, pull out your quills; we're gonna do some learning. We've been pushing everyone towards a common goal of getting as strong as possible. Previously, we found our max effort lifts and then we threw as much volume at the big three lifts as possible. While training your competition lifts is a huge portion of how to get stronger as quickly as possible, there is always more to learn. This challenge, we're going to take a look at some assistance lifts. Some lifts that are common, or not so common, variations of the big three that will help you flush out any weak points and build up secondary muscles which will help in those big lifts. We don't want to take away from your normal workouts, so we'll be introducing one new lift per week. Your challenge is to find a way to slot it into at least one workout in that week. If you keep it in afterwards, that's great. If you already use it, even better. But when the week ends, you'll have a new secondary skill under your belt. Something that you can utilize to help you in your main quests as they progress. We'll keep everything in this thread, as I ended up with like 6 different stickied threads last challenge and it got cluttered. I'll just update this post with links to each week's exercise as it is introduced. Respond to this thread with any questions about the side quests or anything related. Feel free to post questions in the Training Yard about the intricacies of the lift itself or how to incorporate it better. You'll be handed a point per week that can be applied to whichever stat you deem fit once you respond to each weekly workout in this format: Date Completed: Workout Details: Exercise Feedback: So, something like... Date Completed: 7/29 Workout Details: Farmer Carry 200# 50 yards x6 Exercise Feedback: Grip started falling apart after set 4. Really worked on keeping my lats tight in order to have my arms as clenched to my sides as possible. Hook grip was not a good idea. Weekly Skill List: Snatch Grip Deadlifts Dumbbell Pullovers Farmer's Walks Close Grip Bench Press Turkish Get Ups ???
  10. Main Quest: To lose weight, @ least 10 lbs My Goals: 1. To work out for an hour at least 4 days per week. 2. To track ALL my calories and exercise on MFP, even if they're bad. 3. To not eat out for lunch or dinner, but 3x per week (maximum). MOTIVATION: I'd like to have children with my husband, and I want to be at a healthy weight for pregnancy and have developed healthy eating habits, to not only ensure a healthy baby is born but also to teach my child. Start Date: Monday, 7/29/13 End Date: Monday, 9/9/13 I'm so excited! I have already started working on these goals...about a week and a half ago. Although I haven't been 100% perfect, I already feel so accomplished and unstoppable! I am totally ready to tackle this "food demon" that has taken over my life for the past 10 years and I am confident that I will be successful. Having children with my husband is a huge motivator for me. Everyday when I have choices to make (eat out for dinner? too tired for gym?), I can think to myself, are my future kids worth it? Do I want to meet them? Is _____ more important than starting the next chapter of my life and meeting my kids? No, didn't think so! Thanks to everyone reading this! Good luck on your quests! Remember: We DECIDE! We can do this!
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