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Let's Warrior Up!


james452

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Right now I've been focusing on a strength program (Stronglifts) with long walks on my off days, hence I am a Warrior this month. I usually consider myself a ranger, but I found my strength and muscle seemed to degrade, hence the focus on rebuilding muscle strength slowly to decrease the injuries I was getting from doing running with a strength and conditioning program. My aim is to eventually return to that program, but for now, I'm rebuilding my strength.

 

Mindset (not a quest)

  • Never miss two in a row

 

Get Strong

  • Complete a Stronglifts workout 3 times a week. (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday)
  • Walk 5 minutes a day after dinner

Lose Fat

  • Eat keto for a month
  • Track my meals in MyFitnessPal before eating each meal or when receiving an app reminder

Blog

  • Write for 5 minutes a day after I get to my office and before I drink my coffee

 

Never miss two in a row

The most important thing this month is to live the "Never miss two in a row" philosophy. I learned this years back in Nerd Fitness, and recently ran into it again in one of the Zen Habits book. It reminded me in the past that I would aim for perfection (workout 6 times a week), and if I didn't do it perfectly, then it felt like failure and I would give up. Hence now instead of thinking in terms of "weeks and months", it's "days and years" (thanks Steve), in which I missed one day, I just focus on getting the next day right. If I can predict a day that I won't complete my quests, then I aim to get it right the day before and day after. My partner also likes this. She recently had a meditation habit that she did everyday for 3 months in a row. She broke the chain on my birthday (i.e. she was very busy and preoccupied that day), and because she broke the chain, she was demotivated to continue it. Now that she's thinking in terms of never missing two in a row, it's easier for her to maintain it.

 

Habits

I recently read a book by Zen Habits, and I now truly understand how to hack my habits. I now like to think of a habit like this,

  1. Select a habit (e.g. walking)
  2. Make it small (e.g. 5 minutes per day)
  3. Associate it with a trigger (e.g. walk right after dinner)
  4. Have a reward (e.g. watch a TV show)

A walking habit is what I've been working on the last 2 weeks and by following those 4 steps, it's been really easy to add into my day. My goal is to build two main habits this month, tracking meals in MyFitnessPal, and creating a writing habit.

 

Diet

As for the diet, my partner wanted to get back into full keto, and to support her, I said I'll do it too so it's easier for her (and at the same time I secretly wanted to do it as well). She suggested tracking our meals to ensure we get enough protein and limit our carbs properly (rather than trying to eyeball it). I tried tracking my meals in the past, but I found that the MyFitnessPal app was annoying to use. Now it seems they've made it better (by allowing you to create meals and just select that). In order to make this habit easier, my trigger will be that I finished cooking my meal, the routine is putting it into MyFitnessPal, the reward is I get to eat my food. A simple hack that I think will let me be successful.

 

Blog

I have been attempting to create a blog that I hope to eventually turn into a profitable business. So far, I have written one post, over the course of a month. What is stopping me is that I'm not consistent with writing so I thought that I would use the Zen Habits techniques to turn this into a habit. Hence the habit is to write for 5 minutes a day. Small enough that I can achieve it. The trigger is after I make my morning coffee. The reward is I get to drink my coffee and then read a book/comic. This is effectively adding 1 thing to my morning routine so it feels achievable. Once I build that habit, I'll extend it to 10 minutes and eventually 30-60 minutes per day. This habit will also tie in nicely to my PhD when I need to write papers and thesis chapters.

 

Summary

To me, it feels like I've properly broken my quests up into manageable habits that are small enough that I can build/continue them. I didn't talk about my workout quest, and that's because it's already established. Just writing it out makes me understand what my fitness focus is.

 

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27 minutes ago, james452 said:

Diet

As for the diet, my partner wanted to get back into full keto, and to support her, I said I'll do it too so it's easier for her (and at the same time I secretly wanted to do it as well). She suggested tracking our meals to ensure we get enough protein and limit our carbs properly (rather than trying to eyeball it). I tried tracking my meals in the past, but I found that the MyFitnessPal app was annoying to use.

 

Ha. I'm doing the same thing... Mrs Blocky is doing a 12wk keto thing and it's just easier if I go along with it. Currently we are just tracking carbs to make sure we can get into ketosis... if it starts taking too long or whatever then we'll start tracking everything. We're trying to make it easy and not overly intrusive.

 

I've had good success with associating my cardio with TV time. I'm not finding it a struggle at all to get up early and have 40-60mins of cardio+TV time (my wife doesn't really like sci-fi... gasp... so I watch it while I'm training).

 

Sounds like a decent plan though.

Neutral Gargoyle Warrior with a dash of Ranger/Monk/Adventurer. Now LEVEL 9!  My Instagram

STR 78, CON 31, DEX 1, INT 21, WIS 13.5, CHA 4

Meet lifts: SQ 175kg, B 112.5kg, Dead 215kg.   Gym lifts: SQ 185kg, B 132.5kg, Dead 220kg

Nerd Stuff: Sci Fi TV, Sci Fi + Fantasy Books, Classic Space Lego, Warhammer 40K...

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13 minutes ago, Blocky said:

 

Ha. I'm doing the same thing... Mrs Blocky is doing a 12wk keto thing and it's just easier if I go along with it. Currently we are just tracking carbs to make sure we can get into ketosis... if it starts taking too long or whatever then we'll start tracking everything. We're trying to make it easy and not overly intrusive.

 

I've had good success with associating my cardio with TV time. I'm not finding it a struggle at all to get up early and have 40-60mins of cardio+TV time (my wife doesn't really like sci-fi... gasp... so I watch it while I'm training).

 

Sounds like a decent plan though.

Sounds awesome. Waking up earlier has gotten harder for me because it's now daylight savings time and we recently got blackout curtains (which are great to block out the light and heat but harder to wake up naturally to sunlight). 

 

As for watching TV, my partner and I now sit on the floor instead of the couch, and sometimes do mobility work whilst watching something (usually sci-fi). It's a useful little trick. I found that I struggled sitting on the floor without being in some sort of pain which led me to do some mobility to loosen up my body and now sitting on the floor is easier (it's most surprising because I could do this all the time as a kid yet I struggle as an adult hence why I've been working on this new habit). 

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11 hours ago, james452 said:

Never miss two in a row

The most important thing this month is to live the "Never miss two in a row" philosophy. I learned this years back in Nerd Fitness, and recently ran into it again in one of the Zen Habits book. It reminded me in the past that I would aim for perfection (workout 6 times a week), and if I didn't do it perfectly, then it felt like failure and I would give up. Hence now instead of thinking in terms of "weeks and months", it's "days and years" (thanks Steve), in which I missed one day, I just focus on getting the next day right. If I can predict a day that I won't complete my quests, then I aim to get it right the day before and day after. My partner also likes this. She recently had a meditation habit that she did everyday for 3 months in a row. She broke the chain on my birthday (i.e. she was very busy and preoccupied that day), and because she broke the chain, she was demotivated to continue it. Now that she's thinking in terms of never missing two in a row, it's easier for her to maintain it.

 

Interesting concept. I'm going to add that book to my "to read" list. 

 

11 hours ago, james452 said:

Complete a Stronglifts workout 3 times a week. (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday)

 

Great selection for a workout, I previously did StrongLifts 5x5 and must say that I saw some amazing results (both with increasing numbers and my body getting into shape). Good luck with it, definitely warrior building. 

Crash || Level 3: Wandering Ranger

STR: 2 | DEX: 1 | STA: 2 | CON: 2 | WIS: 2 | CHA: 1

Current Quest: "Sometimes in life you have to hit back"

Previous: "Crash arrives at the Rangers Guild" \ "Tell them I'm coming out head first"

Battle Log: "We can fight out way back into the light"

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Hey welcome to the warrior! Fellow Keto-er and I loved stronglifts when I ran it. I actually just tried fathead pizza crust last night with great results for the finished product. Unlike cauliflower crust it had a consistency and flavor like actual pizza. I can't eat pizza more than once or twice a month because of fiber reasons, but it was a great keto approved treat. 

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10 hours ago, crashy said:

Great selection for a workout, I previously did StrongLifts 5x5 and must say that I saw some amazing results (both with increasing numbers and my body getting into shape). Good luck with it, definitely warrior building. 

It is pretty good. I started the program last year after quitting Crossfit (spent 3 years on it) and I just wanted to increase my strength. I found it to be pretty good. What forced me out of it was being sick and losing muscle mass which resulted in feeling demotivated. That plus I've moved around to a few different programs. I'm back to it because right now I want a simple program that progresses slowly so I minimise any injuries.

 

5 hours ago, Laghail said:

Hey welcome to the warrior! Fellow Keto-er and I loved stronglifts when I ran it. I actually just tried fathead pizza crust last night with great results for the finished product. Unlike cauliflower crust it had a consistency and flavor like actual pizza. I can't eat pizza more than once or twice a month because of fiber reasons, but it was a great keto approved treat. 

That seems like a recipe that my girlfriend has made a few times. It's pretty delicious. We haven't had it in a while so I'll put it on our "To Cook" list.

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Quick Update

Stronglifts is only Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, so no workout until tonight which I'm excited for. Yesterday we went for a slightly longer walk. I like this idea of building up slowly.

 

Meal Tracking

My girlfriend is in the mindset to track every single little thing. For me, as this is a habit I've struggled with, I track most things. Breakfast, lunch, dinner are tracked. However things that are tricky to track I don't include, but I am aware that I ate it. For example, yesterday before dinner, I had 2 small pieces of my homemade banana bread and a piece of feta. I wasn't sure how much was in this so I didn't track it, but I decreased my carb intake for dinner because i knew that would have had some carbs in it. 

 

In the future I might go towards tracking every single thing (like I do with my money), but for now, just the big things.

 

Writing Habit

I've changed this from "Build a 5 minute-a-day writing habit after making my morning coffee." to "Write for 5 minutes once I sit down in my office." 

When I woke up this morning, my brain was too dead to think about writing, so I decided to stick to drinking my coffee and reading a book (today I read 3 comics of "Captain America: Sam Wilson". 

Instead, I got to work, bought a free coffee (thank you loyalty cards), then once I was in my office, I put on some study music, opened my blog, and wrote for exactly 5 minutes (I set my timer for it). I managed to write 244 words, and create an outline for that blog. Even if I did nothing else today, I consider today to be a huge success. It's 244 words more than I wrote in the last 3 weeks :)

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All the progress and little of the work!

I've always subscribed to the 80/20 principle, 80% of the results come from 20% of the work. I did this even before knowing about it, especially when it came to school/university. I would get my assignments done quickly, because I would focus on just that rather than distracting myself. I would get really good marks on tests/exams not just because I was good at taking tests/exams, but because I was smart about what I studied (as opposed to friends who spent 5 times the amount of hours studying and receiving lower results). 

 

Now I actively try to implement this 80/20 rule into my PhD and my life outside of work. 
 

For my PhD, I'm expected to complete regular work hours, so 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Yet I frequently leave before 3pm, not because I got here early, but because I got my work done earlier and quicker. I've changed my schedule where I'll work on PhD stuff for the first 3-4 hours of my day, then after lunch, I get those other non-thesis related tasks done, such as marking, prepping for teaching, learning new skills and so forth. In the last 2 days, I got 8 hours of PhD work done, but that's equivalent to about 30 hours worth of results, so I feel I've made considerable progress in my current project.

 

Why did I talk about my PhD even though it's not a quest? That's because it's secretly a quest, but I was limited to what I could put down. Plus this feels effortless to me right now, all I'm doing is structuring my work day differently, then giving complete focus to each of my tasks to get my work done early so I can leave almost straight after lunch. In fact, with that free time, I'll need to start focusing on a new habit. I'm thinking of using it for an easy run and/or to focus on reading (my reading habit is already well established so that will be easy). Although Super Mario Odyssey comes out on Friday so I'll most likely spend my afternoons playing that game.

 

MyFitnessPal

Yesterday, I forgot to put my meals in right before eating my food, all 3 times. However the app reminded me each time to enter my meals, so I successfully logged everything :D

 

Meal Timing Experiment

Currently I eat 3 meals a day, breakfast around 8am, lunch at 1pm, dinner around 6pm. Since starting keto, I find I have little appetite/hunger in the morning, so for the first time in my life, I actually struggle to eat my 6 eggs for breakfast (I love eggs and could eat them ALL the time). Tomorrow I'll experiment by cooking my breakfast, then taking it into work, and wait until I get hungry. Once I'm hungry, I'll eat it and pay attention to the time. If I consistently find that I'm not hungry until 12pm, then I will properly utilise intermittent fasting. For now, I'm just waiting until I'm hungry to eat my breakfast.

 

Writing Habit

I was super excited to get into work and write for 5 minutes. This time I didn't want to stop, and went on for about 10 minutes. I was effectively in the flow and wanted to continue this. After 10 minutes, the flow ended and I hit a mental roadblock, so I thought that was a great time to stop. 

 

This writing habit is going to transition well when I write my next paper/thesis chapter.

 

Knee pains and squatting

Last week I changed from high bar to low bar back squat, because I was getting lots of knee pain. Last time I did this, knee pain went away completely. That's not the case this time, mostly because I think it's in more pain than last time. I think this knee problem is then affecting my foot mechanics, because I then get plenty of pain in my ankle, which seems to go away when massaging through my shins (which I'm good at doing now). However it still comes back, so I might look for a quality physio that treats problems by looking at the body as a whole system rather than just treating the one area (effectively someone who thinks like Kelly Starrett).

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5 hours ago, Laghail said:

Fun stuff man, what're you doing for a phd?

It's in Applied Mathematics, specifically looking at creating new mathematical and computational models of biological processes. Essentially lots of maths, physics, and programming. I've past the halfway point of my PhD which pretty much means the amount of work I get done will accelerate.

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One week down, the rest of my life to go

That title summarizes my new philosophy in life. If I get stuck down in thinking in only 4 week challenges, then it makes me think that I'm only going about a new quest for 4 weeks, but a lot of my habits I'm trying to develop for years. What I do like about 4 week challenges, is it's a good amount of time to get feedback on what you're doing and if I need to make any changes to my diet and/or fitness and other habits.

 

Writing Habit

This one I am most proud of so it is first. My goal is to start a high quality blog, so rather than write really short incomplete blog posts, I am aiming to write long, quality posts that act as complete pieces. The current post I'm writing about is "Finding the time to read". Instead of just listing 10 different ways you can read, I'm explaining them and providing advice. Currently I have written for 5/8 days for 5 minutes at a time and that adds up to 1,000 words which I'm surprised by, but happy it's like that. I still have more to add. The reason I missed a few days is I didn't go to work those days. Currently the habit is associated with being in my office, so my goal this week is to create that habit at home. Just need to sit down for 5 minutes and write.

 

Keto lifestyle

It appears I've tracked my food for 10 days straight, that's good :) Have I seen progress on the scale? Nope, which I find interesting because you usually see a big change in the first week. Tracking hasn't been perfect, but I still feel like I've been in a deficit. But again, one week can be too short to see changes so I'll wait until the end of this 4 week challenge to see how it goes. 

 

Stalled weight loss

My diet has seemed pretty good but I've had virtually no change in my weight, hence I'm thinking it's more of a lifestyle factor than what I'm eating. My job involves sitting at my desk for hours on end, hence why I've started a walking habit because when I walk, I feel my legs activating and my muscles wake up. My goal is to ramp up the walking to give my metabolism a bit of a boost whilst still doing Stronglifts 3 times a week. Soon I'm going to look into adding Couch to 5k back into my schedule so I get some extra activity in on my non-lifting days. However that's a future thought, right now the focus is walking.

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Expect the unexpected

Yesterday, my 9 year old cat injured her leg outside. Got x-rays done and turns out she tore her cruciate ligament. Poor thing will be confined to cage rest for 8 weeks. She just got home from a long day at the vet and she's been following me everywhere around the house (the opposite of cage rest). Just ordered a pet enclosure for her (big enough for me to sit up in it) so hopefully that won't make her too angry.

 

This also brings in unexpected expenses. Thankfully I track my money through YNAB and I have pet insurance (get 80% of the costs back). Though I have to be out of pocket until they reimburse me. However the cost doesn't mean much to me as long as the cat gets better :)

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7 hours ago, Laghail said:

Sorry about your buddy, their care sure aint free.

She seems to be handling it better than I thought. I set up the enclosure for her (picture below), and she was sad for a while, but she had a really long sleep in it so I think she's feeling better now.

23022998_10156841759979899_722233189_o.thumb.jpg.bfec1d95b22d9764fdd110a050ca9ab3.jpg

 

As you can see she has plenty of room to fit her bed, kitty litter, and food, and it's big enough for us to sit in it so she'll be alright :)

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Fixing up my lifestyle

I've been having knee problems, especially when I squat, hence I changed from high bar to low bar back squat a few weeks back (last time I did this my knee pain disappeared straight away). Currently, there is less knee pain, but it's still there (on my to do list is see a physio to help loosen up the area). 

Yesterday I purchased a knee brace to wear at the gym. This certainly helped reduce the problem but not eliminate it. However I did feel less pain walking around with it on, and no pain whilst deadlifting, so I'll be using it during rehab.

The more important issue is my inactive lifestyle. 8 hours a day sitting at my desk is finally catching up to me. Whilst squatting yesterday, my right knee was okay, but my left hip was really tight, hence creating a weird imbalance. The hip tightness is definitely from sitting down and I am tired of doing jobs that require me to sit down many hours a day.

 

Hence my solution is to ask for a standing desk. What has stopped me is that I'm a PhD student, so although I get a desk in a shared office, I'm not exactly staff so I can access some staff benefits but not all of them. But two PhD students have standing desks, and when I tell them about the back/knee/hip pain I'm getting from sitting down too much, then they surely will need to give me a standing desk (I'm even prepared to get a Doctor's note for it). 

 

I actually do use a standing desk at home for my computer, it's just that I rarely use my computer these days (instead I spend time with my girlfriend and cat and do lots of reading). And I have a copy of Kelly Starrett's Deskbound so I'm all prepared for using one at work.

 

Anyway wish me luck in convincing the office people to give me a standing desk :D

 

Update:

All the success. They had a spare desk attachment (the ones you just place on your desk and raise their height). I have it all set up now :)

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3 weeks without updating this so I guess it's time for a 4 week challenge review. 

 

I consider the challenge a success because I learned new things about myself and where I want my training to be.

 

Mindset

This was focused on "Never miss two in a row". Yes I missed two in a row, but that didn't mean I had to give up entirely. I made conscious choices to skip a workout, or a conscious choice to eat chips or have a piece of cake, and most of the time that was limited to one day and not two in a row. 

 

Lose Fat

I'll summarise this in a few key points

  • Weight on the scale didn't change
  • Belt size didn't change
  • Did successfully eat keto about.....90% of the time
  • I can now easily do Intermittent fasting if needed
  • Tracking stopped a couple of weeks back

The long response: I have no idea if my body is properly in keto or not, but I do know I eat keto based foods, my body feels good, I can exercise without dying of energy, I can skip breakfast and feel really fine and keep focused (as opposed to the past where I couldn't function if I was hungry), so how my body feels, it's in a good starting place. I would like the weight to shift as it is physically affecting my ability to run efficiently.

 

Get Strong

1.5 weeks ago I switched back to Power Speed Endurance (formerly Crossfit Endurance). I just realised it was more fun for me, and meant I could work out everyday if I wanted to, but didn't have to. Training is fun for me and I like when my life is set up around that.

 

The other reason for changing was the fact my knee kept playing up with squats. I really should see a physio about it, but let's just say I changed insurance companies and they're being difficult with recognising waiting periods which has kind of stopped me from fixing it up.

 

Blogging

I kept the habit up so I could write one good quality article. That has stopped, although I now have subscribers, so I feel like it's useful for me to write something else :)

 

Main outcomes/revelations

Although I sometimes change to a warrior lifestyle, my true enjoyment lies in being a ranger and participating in endurance sports, so next challenge I'll be in the Rangers guild.

My daily lifestyle matters more than what I do for training. To this extent, I now have a standing desk at work which I use a lot, and my girlfriend and I go for walks most days. My hope is that this lifestyle change will improve my body, reduce pain, and ultimately allow me to enjoy life by being as physically active as possible.

 

Thanks for the help Warriors, next challenge onwards you'll find me over in the Rangers section.


Cheers

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