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Tils

Tils' first challenge

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Hi all - I'm Tils, a 24-year-old grad student - 5'3 and currently 132lb. I've been reading NF blogs over the past few months of trying to make some improvements in my life, and thought I'd bite the bullet and sign up here for some extra accountability!

 

A bit more backstory... *chequerboard cut*: most of my life, I've been pretty sedentary and overweight, but I decided to start kickboxing a year ago as I'd always wanted to try a martial art. I fell in love with learning new techniques (levelling), improving my flexibility and fitness and even starting sparring. After a while I noticed that I was losing a lot of weight, but my strength and stamina were taking a nosedive as well. After a couple other warning signs, I wound up diagnosed with a condition - currently under control, but it's never going away - which makes it really difficult to take in nutrients when it's flaring up. This prompted me to improve my fitness and do cool physical things while I'm healthy, so I don't regret it when I can't.

 

So, here I am. Exercise-wise I think I have an okay routine: I train kickboxing 3-4 times a week and very recently started lifting free-weights once or twice a week. I can't handle much more than the bar yet, but it's still awesome to see slow improvements! I try to do some kind of cardio for stamina weekly - not a runner but I would like to be faster. Diet-wise I still have a tendency to eat reasonably healthily but too much at a time, particularly carbs, so I'm going to work on that this challenge.

 

My main goals for this challenge are to hold on to my current exercise routine through the toughest time of the year - damn you, January - while cleaning up my diet a bit, losing a few pounds and picking up a new physical skill. For the last I've decided on handstands. I loved the NF article describing it as primarily a skill, and I enjoy picking up new skills, so I'm going to try it!

 

To conclude, my quests will be:
MAIN QUEST:

- Lose 5lb to be at 128lb for the start of March. While I'm not really overweight, I'm short for my weight and hoping to fight for my college in the next couple of months - I don't want to risk being matched against someone much taller than me!

 

Mini-quests:

- Reduce my carb consumption by weighing out sensible servings of pasta, rice etc before cooking, instead of just eyeballing and taking way too much.

- Keep up my current weekly exercise routine: 3-4 martial arts sessions, 1-2 strength sessions, 1-2 cardio sessions. No excuses - if I can't make the gym, I'll do bodyweight work. If the pavements are icy I can jump rope outside or go erg. 

- Spend at least 5 minutes a day working on handstands. I've never done one in my life but I know I can find 5 minutes a day, and it's a skill I want to pick up.

- LUYL quest: I did my undergrad degree in a slightly different field, so I'm missing out on a bunch of background knowledge and techniques that would be incredibly useful for my research and my later career. I have a couple of really good textbooks that I've been mostly neglecting, but I'm going to commit to working through at least 1 chapter every week.

 

It's all stuff I really want to do - here's hoping the extra accountability helps me get there!

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15 hours ago, Machete said:

I guess this is both your Intro and Challenge thread. Welcome. Your college has a kickboxing team? What style of kickboxing is it?

Hey! Yeah - I saw that there were also intro threads, but the link in the FAQ just pointed here, so I decided to consolidate things. I hope that's okay?

 

Haha, sort of. It's a small and not super organised club, but we try to organise friendly-ish fights against nearby clubs a couple times a year, matched by weight and experience, which is nice - it means people like me who haven't done martial arts very long can get involved with sports fighting without getting completely destroyed. We use american kickboxing rules - no knees or elbows, strikes above the waist and to the front/sides of the torso and head only, plus foot-sweeps. One day I'd like to branch out to a more practical martial art like BJJ, but one challenge at a time...

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1 hour ago, Tils said:

Hey! Yeah - I saw that there were also intro threads, but the link in the FAQ just pointed here, so I decided to consolidate things. I hope that's okay?

 

Haha, sort of. It's a small and not super organised club, but we try to organise friendly-ish fights against nearby clubs a couple times a year, matched by weight and experience, which is nice - it means people like me who haven't done martial arts very long can get involved with sports fighting without getting completely destroyed. We use american kickboxing rules - no knees or elbows, strikes above the waist and to the front/sides of the torso and head only, plus foot-sweeps. One day I'd like to branch out to a more practical martial art like BJJ, but one challenge at a time...

 

EagerFairAruanas-size_restricted.gif

 

Cool. Is it pants and footpads?

 

Now that you mention it, my college did have a grappling/MMA club team.

 

Let me introduce myself. Machete, Monk Ambassador, I've been on NF since 2013. I'm currently an MMA striking, kids BJJ, and fitness coach at UFC Gym in Orlando.

 

Come drop by the Monks Challenge and/or the Martial Arts sections and say hello. Lots of good people there, but we're not the most outgoing ones. Because Monks. Haha

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On 31/12/2017 at 4:47 PM, Machete said:

Cool. Is it pants and footpads?

 

Yep - separate shin/footpads and long pants. Thanks for saying hi, maybe I will drop by the monks for my next challenge...

 

Challenge-wise, two days in and so far so good. Yesterday was crummy weather, but I managed a half hour working on jump rope in the yard, and regular training starts tonight. Handstand practice has been fine so far, though still at the wall-plank stage - will see how it goes. 

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1 hour ago, Tils said:

Yep - separate shin/footpads and long pants. Thanks for saying hi, maybe I will drop by the monks for my next challenge...

 

Challenge-wise, two days in and so far so good. Yesterday was crummy weather, but I managed a half hour working on jump rope in the yard, and regular training starts tonight. Handstand practice has been fine so far, though still at the wall-plank stage - will see how it goes. 

 

We also have an accountability group for handstanders.

 

 

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Wow you have a super sensible challenge, very good!

 

For accountability i would make a short reusable check-in post. Just to be able to do a quick check in with a progress report. Make a list of your goals, how many you need to call this challenge a success and every day change it to reflect the progress you made.

 

16 hours ago, Machete said:

 

We also have an accountability group for handstanders.

 

 

 

Ooow wow, a handstands accountability group, crap why is there so much cool stuff to do ...

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hi! your workout schedule sounds like mine. I've got martial arts 3x a week and until recently I was also doing the running thing 2-3x a week and also trying to fit in bodyweight. I'm tapered down a little this month but know that drill welL!

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On 03/01/2018 at 9:26 AM, Mr_Willes said:

Wow you have a super sensible challenge, very good!

 

For accountability i would make a short reusable check-in post. Just to be able to do a quick check in with a progress report. Make a list of your goals, how many you need to call this challenge a success and every day change it to reflect the progress you made.

 

 

Thanks, that's a really good idea! 

So currently we're at:

Carb measuring: 4/4 for dinners so far this week. I'm definitely ending up with smaller servings than I'm used to, so this was a good quest.
Exercise: 2/2 kickboxing classes so far - today was particularly cool, we did some combinations I wouldn't have thought of trying myself. Yesterday I went to the weights room with my partner and did 5x5 deadlifts, squats, dumbbell bench press and (my attempt at) negative pullups, and I did my jump-rope cardio on Monday. The last class of the week is Sunday which I have scheduled in, so everything else from here is bonus...

Handstands: I've hit 5-10 minutes of wall-planks, hollow body exercises and crow pose work each day so far, and have ridiculous DOMS in my shoulders to show for it! For the planks my feet are pretty high up the wall, but I can't figure out how to walk my hands closer... still, early days.

LUYL: I've worked through a chapter from one book, though most of it was stuff I had seen before. I want to look at one from the other book too this week, so let's say 1/2 for this week so far.

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On 03/01/2018 at 12:30 PM, karinajean said:

hi! your workout schedule sounds like mine. I've got martial arts 3x a week and until recently I was also doing the running thing 2-3x a week and also trying to fit in bodyweight. I'm tapered down a little this month but know that drill welL!

Hi! Ha, it gets to be quite a schedule - I started with just the martial arts and then started thinking "well, if I did bodyweight exercise I'd have more power and cope better with the warmups, and if I had more stamina I'd enjoy the classes more"... aaaand then suddenly i'm exercising almost every day. 

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Looks like this far you are kicking off this challenge picture perfect. Hopefully the weekend hasn't messed too much with it.

 

On 4-1-2018 at 11:36 PM, Tils said:

aaaand then suddenly i'm exercising almost every day. 

 

In the guild i reside, we have a name for that, we call it "RangerBrain™" It's the disorder of wanting to do all the things, cause everything is shiny and everything needs work. We just had this great discussion, that we could really use an extra week day, so we could add in an extra rest day (or add in that extra workout you now just can't cram into your week).

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Week 1 summary!

Carb measuring: 7/7! Plus a few, since my partner and I decided to do a bunch of meal prep for lunches this week, which involved weighing out rice ahead of time.
Exercise: 3/3 kickboxing - Sunday classes are always quiet so we did some focused technique work which was nice - 1/1 cardio and 1/1 weights.

Handstands: 7/7. I think this will be the hardest to keep up of my challenges, because it's so difficult to spot any kind of improvements. I can do a reasonably high wall plank, but can't walk my hands closer to the wall - and am kinda scared to try the pirouette bail!

LUYL: Spent a quality hour at the weekend working through a chapter of the other textbook, so 2/2!

I actually wandered by the weight room after training sunday night, but it was occupied (it's about the size of my bedroom, so occupied really means occupied, sadly). But I dropped by this morning before work instead for 5x5 squats, deadlifts, negative pullup and (itty-bitty dumbell) overhead press, so that's at least one this week :D

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1 hour ago, Mr_Willes said:

It's the disorder of wanting to do all the things, cause everything is shiny and everything needs work.

uh-oh... yeah, sounds familiar. And then I also get guilt or just plain feel weird and out of sorts if I have to skip something.
 

1 hour ago, Mr_Willes said:

We just had this great discussion, that we could really use an extra week day, so we could add in an extra rest day (or add in that extra workout you now just can't cram into your week).


*cough* no idea what you're talking about *cough*

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And it was all going so well... This week went off to a good start: weights on monday morning, sparring on monday evening (which I have a mini-rant about, but that's for another time), regular training tuesday evening and weights wednesday. And then: flu. Painful coughing, chills, weirdly specific star-trek-voyager-themed fever dreams, the lot.

 

So I'm 2/1 for weights, 2/3 for kickboxing (really don't think I should try exercise tomorrow, this is the first I've been able to breath comfortably in 3 days), 0/1 cardio (likewise) 3/7 handstand practice (likewise). I'm gonna go ahead and say carb-measuring is a win, since I kept it going for the first half of this week and it wasn't really applicable for the second half. I'm so far 1/2 for book chapters, and hoping to finish the other this weekend.
 

A bit disappointing, but nothing I could have done - hopefully I'll be better soon and getting back into it.

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No problem, just instigate "Plague Protocols™" kick the Flu in the butt as hard as possible, and come back swinging when all is well. A LOT of people are slowing down their challenge because of it. Don't feel bad. Just try to get rid of it ASAP and we'll see you soon!

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I like the sound of Plague Protocols - makes it sound much more all-under-control!

Minus a scratchy voice and a bit of sniffing, I'm back in it now! 5/5 on handstand practice so far this week and I think I'm really starting to see some improvement on the wall planks which is super exciting. I actually accidentally nudged my feet off the wall with my hands about a foot away from the base today, and was freestanding for a terrifying half-second! I still don't think I have quite enough space inside to try kicking up, so the real deal might have to wait to another challenge, but still!

 

I've also been to a couple of training sessions, making sure to take it easy, and have another tonight, so that'll be 3/3 for kickboxing. I think I'll stay indoors and do some bodyweight / simple cardio this weekend so as not to push my luck healthwise, but it feels really good to be back doing any exercise. Diet has been relatively easily to keep going. Haven't hit the books yet this week as I've been catching up on work, but I think I can find time tomorrow :)

 

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Last week: pretty successful in terms of getting back into the swing of things. Hit all my handstand practices and food goals, made it to training 3 times, and did the NF bodyweight workout. Here's to a slightly less frantic and more healthy week 4...

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Week 4 was indeed more healthy in that I wasn't plaguing everywhere, but less healthy in that when I was ill I seem to have mildly pulled a muscle in my back... by coughing. Somehow. So that's annoying. I still hit 4 kickboxing classes, a jump-rope session and a probably-bad-idea short weights session earlier in the week, but after a Friday class where even lower kicks were causing pain, I decided to give handstand practice / any resistance training a break for a couple days. Good news: after a restful weekend, there's less pain, and I'm ready to get back into exercise a little more carefully than before...

LUYL is going okay. I didn't manage to finish the chapters last week, but I had a good shot at them, and just having the encouragement to get any work done on those feels great.

 

And as far as the main quest goes, I'm down to 125lb (in the morning, before eating or drinking). I guess those few days of being unable to eat much except a couple crackers had an effect - plus maybe the carb measuring and exercise. The other club have said they have someone who could match with me at 123lb, which from here looks doable. I probably wouldn't want to stay at that weight, but I'm sure I can reach it in a month.

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Well, I kind of fell out of the internet at the end there, but I did complete my challenge! I think overall I would award it a B.

 

The exercise routine, martial arts classes and carb measuring were all pretty easy to keep up (not counting the week of Ill Tils). I guess they were either habits I already had, or

not too far from my original behaviour. I also achieved my main quest - 124lb currently (irritatingly the matchup is now at 120... darn moving goalposts!) which I think the carb measuring in particular helped me with. It made me think more closely about how much food I was eating, and not just whether or not it was healthy (the content of what I eat hasn't really changed much.)

 

The handstand quest kinda tailed off. I did make some progress over the challenge, and I know I can do proper wallwalks and really steep wall-planks, which is very cool. But I got sick, and then I tweaked my back, and I lost the streak and with it the motivation. But I'm making excuses - I definitely could have found less intensive ways to work on handstands throughout the month. I think I'll come back to that one, maybe when it's warmer so I can practice outside.

 

The LUYL quest went a bit slower than I was hoping, but I did keep working on it throughout the challenge! I didn't even slightly make it through as much work as I was hoping, but anything is better than the nothing I was doing before. I'll be coming back to this one too.

 

Thanks for the support, everyone who commented!

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