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So how did y'all do?


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Post a brief summary of how you did.

Major highlights, final grades etc etc.

Next challenge will probably start in a week or so. I'm going to be away form a computer for the next week or so but hopefully Spezzy and Alethea will be able to organise the teams for the next challenge.

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As I posted elsewhere...

  • I've lost 7 lbs since the challenge began. Not the 10 I wanted, but I'm pleased nonetheless.[/*:m:3o1ryd1p]
  • I'm exercising regularly, and obviously getting stronger and thinner.[/*:m:3o1ryd1p]
  • I've had caffiene slipups, but I'm now very low on my average daily intake - and drinking tons of water.[/*:m:3o1ryd1p]
  • House isn't close to where we wanted it, but we've been making steady progress. Admittedly, there were aspects that I'd initially overlooked that we needed to do (painting shelves before we could put stuff on them).[/*:m:3o1ryd1p]

I'd say I've gotten a solid B on my challenge, but I AM progressing

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My goals were:

1)Lose some weight - I have maintained the exact same weight since the end of the August challenge (7 weekly weighins including this week's). - lost 3lbs

2)Take 2 weeks off from the gym - done

3)Do 3 chinups - didn't attempt

4)Paint the guest room. - got the test square painted and the paint purchased

So a definite fail on the challenge. I didn't really think through goal #3 seeing as how the last half of the challenge was my 2 weeks off from the gym. For the guest room, my goal was to actually paint it the past weekend - I had even taken off Friday and Monday. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, I was informed that my job was going away in 60 days, so that threw me for a loop to say the least. Wrecked the weekend.

Repairing a lifetime of bad habits...

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1. Yoga min 30 min a day, with meta goal of 6 hours a week

2. Pilates 3x a week

3. Eat 80% primal

4. Stop being uncouth - floss teeth and stop biting nails.

Week 1: everything but #2

Week 2: everything but #1

Week 3: everything but #3

Week 4: sucked except #4.

= 10/16, or 62%.

Conclusion: Started in cast, still in cast. Started at 134 lbs, still at 134 lbs. Flexibility increased, core strength increased, but last week totally fell apart. Meh, I get a C.

"Let another say. 'Perhaps the worst will not happen.' You yourself must say. 'Well, what if it does happen? Let us see who wins!' ".

- Seneca, 63 AD

"There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength." - Henry Rollins

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Frankly I was just useless. When my motivation goes, it just goes... I just wish I knew where cause I would go and find it and bring it back kicking and screaming.

I was supposed to be doing regular shoulder exercises....I did them but not as regular as I should have been (in fact, I'm starting to feel a pinch again so I had really better get my shit together)

I was supposed to do planks and other stuff to firm up my ab area, doh. never happened

On the level up my life challenge though, I did pretty darn good, I cleared out my garage, my wardrobe, tidied up my drawers, sorted out a lot of stuff and to add to the levelling up (that I never mentioned at the start), I bought a new car and sold my old one.

Win some, lose some. 46 sleeps till fiji, so I better get started on the abs if I want to wear my bikini on the beach.

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-Lost 12 pounds

-Worked out at least 5 times a week

-Went Paleo with great success on weekdays, but less so on weekends

-Began strength training

-Got an A on one of my exams

-Learned two new songs on the mandolin, but didn't learn the third one that I set as a goal

-Didn't continue Couch to 5K like I wanted

-Didn't finish the book that I promised myself I would

The thing I'm most proud of is that I was able to get myself to the gym even when I had the excuse of studying to hold me back. I just told myself that if I stayed home than I probably wouldn't have studied anyway, and I wouldn't have done anything productive. This way I got something done which would inspire me to continue doing things like study. Overall, I'd give myself a C+. The thing I'm most disappointed about is not doing C25K since I would have been done by now if I kept up with it. I wanted to be able to participate in the upcoming 5K that the local YMCA is doing, but I'm not so sure I can do it now. I'm still going to try and be ready for it though.

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I failed on three out of five. However, trying to make my run much longer resulted in learning a whole lot about improving my form, shoes, and training schedule, so now I think I will be much better able to meet longer term goals (10k by 35 and marathon by 40) without hurting myself.

I DID managed ten rows. Not sure if I can repeat that right now and I think in retrospect that abandoning my normal daily dose of QMs in an attempt to devote more time to this and running actually made my arms weaker and was counterproductive. Lesson learned: never try to save time by eliminating bear crawls. Go on all fours WHENEVER POSSIBLE!

I was much more emotionally connected with my kids. This really needed to happen. I am more present with them both during the relaxed times and the disciplinary nightmare times and the former makes the latter go more smoothly, I am convinced. Also, after months of not being able to convince them to exercise, they are going with me to a px training tomorrow. So big win there.

Sleep: erm, still an issue. Still affecting my other fitness goals in adverse ways. More naps happening, so maybe the beginning of a rapprochement between me and my pajamas? I think this may be a leading indicator of single motherhood. I cheat myself timewise and still feel guilty about all the stuff I don't get done. Being independently wealthy would help, but in the meantime, no solutions present themselves, especially in light of the unplanned breakthrough which I will describe after my last goal.

Housekeeping. The house has been clean more often but is still cluttered and has many of the same pockets of disorganization. The donate pile has moved to the front door though, so by january, it may make it to my car.

UNEXPECTED WINS: I am trying to be glass-half-full about this one: I needed to gain back the weight I lost while sick and in fact gained back a little extra. I am still in the healthy BMI range (I think a 22) so I need to not obsess about having a little bit of softness but besides the embiggened tummy, I have developed massive quads, bigger gluts, and some pretty serious guns. Thrilled about the last one and trying to adjust mentally to the fact that I have an ass now. It's like hitting puberty at 34. Weird, but maybe attractive? I don't know. Probably a somewhat temporary condition.

BIGGER WIN: Yay fun! I tried so much new stuff in the past month, made a local pk friend, ran through creeks in the middle of the night and had play knife fights, stalked deer through a park, laughed with my kids, decided to use tax refund money to pursue NASM personal trainer certification so that I can get paid for doing what I love until I finish college, made a point of saying 'I forgive you' and not just making them say 'I'm sorry' and had so much joy reading the comments and logs of the awesometastic shadow government.

So I may have failed if I graded myself on my original criteria but I DEFINITELY leveled up my life.

"The future will be different if we make the present different."

Peter Maurin

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If I just look at my goals on Day 1 and think about where I am now, things don't necessarily look all that great.

Goal 1: Stronger

I changed my target weight goals once I started Stronglifts so those sort of went out the window. But I've been consistently moving through the program over the last few weeks and should be able to surpass the original goals I set for most of those lifts by the middle of December.

Goal 2: Bigger

I actually did pretty well on this. Managed to hit 3800 calories and 200g protein on a majority of the days, and even with ones where I didn't, I doubt I slipped below an average of, say, 3400-3500 calories and 180g protein. Not bad.

Goal 3: Diversier

Uh yeah, fail. Stronglifts sort of dominated things this month and often on my rest days I just did not feel like firing up a pilates or yoga video. I think I just need to become more comfortable with various yoga poses and then I could just do my own practice a little before bed or something. It would be good to have it be a less structured thing.

Goal 4: Bookier

Fail #2. I got about 30 pages into 2666, but haven't picked it back up yet. Unfortunately, my life is going to be fairly dominated by figuring out moving logistics and taking care of everything related to that, so I don't know that I will get back to it soon.

All that being said, I am going to give myself a B+ this time around. The biggest reason being that I've managed to overcome my fear of free weights at the gym and have started to feel...well, not comfortable, but certainly less neurotic about it. I've been really enjoying using the barbell and I look forward to putting up some big numbers for my squats and deadlifts in the coming months. This one thing will have more or less forever changed how I work out and that's kind of a big deal.

A special shout-out to the Shadow Government for being a badass team and so supportive of each other the whole way through. You guys are awesome.


"Did you go to the gym when you were alive?"
"I died in 1938. For exercise, we drank sloe gin and smoked Lucky Strikes."
- Dead Like Me

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1) Lifting:

Goals I hit

Muscle ups, check

140kg squats, check

75kg CnP, check

Then I hit an injury or three

(Back, Wrist, Right bicep)

Then I realised I had 6 exams in 2 weeks (last one tomorrow so fuck yea) and that I couldn't afford to seriously injure myself at this point in time.

So I scaled it right the fuck down, Like I mean right the fuck down.

I've lost strength, I'm in fairly constant pain.

Both squats and deadlifts don't feel right.

However, I don't really care.

I'm in a chair for 12 hours or so minimum a day at the moment.

My back always gets destroyed whenever I don't move it frequently.

Thus once I finish exams hopefully I'll get more mobile and it'll come back


Been hit and miss with this.

Some days I've done a lot

Others jack all.


Through it out the window in favour of convenience during exams


Left every exam early so far.

Feeling very confident about the majority of them

Just have an 80% Thermo exam tomorrow.

Probably not ready for it. But with my sobriety my absorption capacity for knowledge has returned to its previous levels so I can cram tonight

So yea, Overall I kind of went backwards which I knew was going to happen.

Juggling exams + newish gf + lack of mobility + injuries + lack of proper food has done a bit of a number on me both physically and mentally

Now, time to go smash this exam tomorrow and then drink myself into unthinking bliss.

Highlights for me this challenge include:

Having a kick ass team (Pity we didn't do as much deadlifting as I wanted us to!)

Seeing Spezzy absolutely rocket up in the weights.

Watching KW power through workouts after 80 hour weeks at work.

To give it a grade. B.

Still a pass, but a lot more to improve on.

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1. start logging what I eat and seeing where I can improve

Did really well on this one. I only missed tracking 4 days, meaning I tracked 85% of the time. I'm happy with that.

2. lift weights 3-4 times per week

Took a little while to get into this one. I spent the first few weeks getting 1 day a week, but I finally picked up a schedule for the YMCA and discovered that every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday they have a class called bodyworks that is basically 50 minutes of this really buff chick torturing you with dumbbells and body weight exercises. Love it!

3. 2 additional non-Middle Eastern dance workouts per week

Mixed bag on this. I started with taking walks, but as allergy season reared it ugly head this one got hard. I tried Zumba and some kickboxing style aerobics, but nothing seemed to grab me. I'll just keep searching, and getting a workout in the process.

Non-fitness goal: Stay caught up on my personal reading goals.

Caught up on my Bible study reading throughout the challenge and finished 2 additional books.

I took away a lot of little things that helped. Things like:

- Food tracking is much easier with an app on my phone than a paper list

- I love fruit, why don't I eat more of it?

- Tuna is relatively low in calories and I won't be hungry again for quite awhile

- The more water I drink the less junk food I eat

- I do better with a class or video than when left to my own devices

Overall, I'd give myself a solid middle of the road B. For me this challenge was about getting my feet wet. I'm ready for the next challenge though. Gotta dive in the pool and earn an A+.

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goal one - strength: A

squats: 125lbs (current 105) note: i'd really like to get up to 135 on this one, but i'm not sure if that's reasonable.

hit 135 for 5x5, and 155 for 5x2 (but not with the full depth i'd have liked, so this will be revisited next challenge)

deadlifts: 155lb (current 135)

hit 215 for 3x2. That's an 80 lb increase. win.

overhead press: 65 (current 45)

hit 75 for 3x2. that's 10 over goal.

dips: parallel bar dips - lets get strong enough to do these instead of using benches.

my last dip session went like this:




so i say that is a success.

chinups: hanging from deadweight, real chins. pullups would be nice too, but lets focus on chinups this month.

i did three chinups in a row. once, but i did them.


bench press: 2 part goal - a) get over my fear of using a bar for this one. B) i'm using 35lb dumbbells now, so lets try to get up to 45lb db's (so that's a total of 20lb gain overall)

blah. by the end i could only hit 90 for 2 reps. i hit 85x5. must work on this more next month.

goal two - fun fitness: A

three times a week, i need to do some sort of fitness other than lifting.

not only did i do this, but i incorporated yoga into my every day routine. win.

goal three - fuel: A

eat enough calories to support a heavy lifting routine.

got bad at tracking after the first week, but got used to eating more. now im pretty good at reading my body, and eat whenever i'm hungry. which is, of course, all the time. I think I need to eat extra calories just to support the amount that my mouth is chewing. :)

goal four - life: B+

get my shit together.

I completed 22/25 things on my to do list. That's 88%.

Looking back one of the things wasn't realistic to do along with everything else on the list. Oh well.

goal five - work: A-

keep a positive attitude at work, no matter what.

had a few instances where i had to get up and walk away, but i'm learning that a 5 minute walk every once in a while to clear my head is fine. feeling better about this for the first time in a long time.


-Missing my circuits, but also loving just hanging around lifting heavy things.

-I started the challenge at 136.6lbs. I weighed in this morning at 137.2lbs. So I'm counting that as pretty much staying the same.


lost .25-.75 inches on everything except for my upper arm, which had a .5" increase.

-I'm starting to notice indents and outdents in all sorts of weird places.

-People are starting to ask me for advice/help/spotting at the gym. This is a very strange concept for me.

-Had someone actually comment on a photo on fb... "You can kinda see your 6 pack through your shirt."

total grade for the month: A-

Happy with how I did, but feel as if I went in with a plan instead of just winging it I could have done a bit better. Learned a lot about things that work and things that don't work though by playing around.

“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
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1) 3 workouts/week

I was pretty close to hitting 3 workouts a week, sometimes my schedule got screwed but that happens. So close to hitting my goals too...one more workout would've done it. Overall: C+

Specific workout goals:

Push-ups: 3 sets of 25 --> got to 3 sets of 22 before end of challenge

Squats (bodyweight): 4 sets of 25 --> got to 4 sets of 20 before end of challenge

Pull-ups: 3 sets of 10 --> got to 3 sets of 9 before end of challenge

Plank: 45 sec --> did 3 sets of 30 seconds in my last workout, so I'm gonna say 'yes' here :)

2) Tai chi on non-workout days

Started a little slowly but once I got started I kept at it. Even started doing it more than just non-workout days. Overall: A-

3) Limit grains as much as possible in regular meals

Pretty much nailed this for breakfast (after a rocky start) and did really well for lunch as well. The occasional last-minute-panic meal and dining out happened, but not frequently. Overall: B

4) Start working on some plans/posts for a blog

Got a bit done here, but it was rather disjointed and sporadic. My biggest issue was focusing on just getting something done rather than concentrating on making it something good. Lots of room for improvement but a decent first shot, I think. Overall: C-

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1) Lost 4 lbs. Grade: B-

2) Started strong but got myself injured going too much too soon. Grade: C

3) Tried really hard, but alas, no quit, still smoking. Grade: D

4) Actually did pretty well with the diet, probably the best part of my challenge. Grade: B+

Personal Goal) Read 3 books. Grade: A

Overall, not bad but could have been better. Kind of a false start in the exercise and smoking departments. At least I have something to work on next month.

Grade: B-

I'm a Week Late and Pissed Off Challenge 

"What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable." - Socrates

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  • Continue working out to the RFG 3 times a week (preferably in the mornings) B - Only missed two days: 1 was for work and the next was for being sick/tired, so pretty good overall. However, some of my workouts weren't exactly to the RFG spec. I skipped cardio a few times and I couldn't always do all of the exercises. But, this last week was pretty good.


  • Start working towards the Paleo diet (it would be really hard to do it full time unless I get my wife on-board) C+ - My wife was awesome and has really been trying to be conscious about what we eat/buy, so that's been great. I still ate out way too much and never really got breakfast hammered down like I would have liked, but all-in-all I'm more paleo than I was.


  • Lose 10 pounds C - I'm calling this one a C because even though I didn't lose any weight, my muscles are a lot bigger, which means I must have gained some muscle weight. Still, I would have liked my stomach to get smaller.[/*:m:2f50uw1i]


  • Relaunch my personal blog with a new design (been meaning to do this for a while) F- - Yeah...so, not only did I not really work on my blog redesign at all, I think I only made one post all month. That's pretty lame, thus the F-. On the flip-side, I did manage to get a prototype of a project working, and I think I can sell it and make some decent money![/*:m:2f50uw1i]
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I'll try to give a more thorough report tomorrow, but overall, mine was a mixed bag.

Strength. Well, I got stronger, so there's that. Or, at least, I haven't gotten weaker. I don't have a before and after 1RM to compare, but I've been moving a good bit of weight for a decent number of reps. Next challenge will likely start on the heaviest week of my current cycle. Maybe I'll try figuring out some new maxes to gauge it more officially next time around.

Diet. Most a fail. I was working a few ridiculous work weeks, always on the go, and my diet reflected that at times. Not as bad as it could have been, but miles from clean. Then this past week I've caught an awful bit of whatever's going around. Once again, diet (and training, frankly) reflected that.

Finances. Fail. Just didn't have time to set up what I wanted. Did OK with saving a lil' bit, but that was mostly due to the overtime. Next month I'll get more specific about steps I have to take. Need a repeat on this particular goal.

"The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder." --GK Chesterton

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea...


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The Five Trials of NukeTheUnicorns: the Conclusion

The challenge has come to an end, so it's time to see how reality stacks up against what I had planned on doing.

Fitness Goals

1. Start following the StrongLifts 5x5 protocol


this was probably the easiest part of the challenge. I started StrongLifts shortly after my marathon, and have been getting in the gym to do the prescribed workouts 3 days a week, every week. it's become a part of my regular routine. I am seeing great progressions in strength and size, and I am loving getting back in the gym and doing some real lifting.

here is a progression of my strength in the four major movements involved in the protocol:

Movement: Beginning Weight/End Weight

Squat: 45/105

Deadlift: 95/120

Bench: 45/75

Overhead Press: 45/70

as you can see, I have gained impressive strength over the course of a month, and I have also gained size - about six pounds (136-142), and one percent of body fat. I like those numbers. I am continuing to make gains both cosmetically and in terms of measurable strength and loving it.

2. Start running exclusively in Vibram Five Fingers


I'm giving myself an A even though I didn't exactly start running exclusively in VFF's. I noted part-way through my challenge that I was experimenting with something new, and that I would reveal what it was when the challenge drew to a close. seeing as how that's now, I can say it:

I have started running completely barefoot.

I decided it made more sense to go total barefoot in order to truly teach myself the technique and toughen myself up. I started slow - I ran three minutes at a time, carrying my VFF's with me, then when those three minutes were up I'd slip my VFF's on and finish my ten minute run. I've been walking around a lot in my bare feet to strengthen them, and the running has been doing this too (obviously). I feel so free, and I am loving running more than I ever have. once I build up to ten straight minutes barefoot, I will start progressing from there.

3. Dial in my diet


here is the original diet plan, from the onset of the challenge:

the foods I consume will generally fall under the umbrella of a paleo diet (a la Robb Wolf: meat, fish, fowl, veggies, fat (coconut and avocado primarily), starchy tubers and fruit), with a few exceptions:

- I will eat whatever I want (within reason) while I am out with friends

- if someone makes me something, I will eat it. this means stuff like homemade deserts, or if someone invites me over for a pasta dinner. I will not turn down non-paleo foods in social situations because that would be rude.

- I will be drinking whole milk, which is debatably paleo (depends on your version), when it comes time to begin increasing size.

so basically, I will eat paleo when alone or at home, and stray when I am out with friends.

as far as caloric intake goes, I'm going to be eating a normal amount when starting the lifting program. once I cease to make strength gains, I will start adding in more and more calories to build new muscle, because size can be correlated with strength.

I can safely say I stuck to all of these parameters, aside from the last one - I decided to eat above maintenance from the get-go, and it paid off in terms of size and strength. I would give myself an A, but over the course of the four weeks, I did have a few too many sweets, and one night I did cave and over-indulge a little, so I had to knock off a few points for that.

Life Goals

1. Get a job


I GOT A JOB! I was hired for one of my dream positions. as of November 29th, I will be working the specialty positions at Whole Foods Market. this means meat, cheese, coffee, tea, and chocolate, aka music to my ears. I could not be happier that I got this position in particular.

2. Be a better student


by far my weakest area of the challenge. I did all my homework, but I did skip some classes and stuff like that for trivial reasons. I intend on carrying this over to the next challenge and making it my one non-fitness related goal, and knocking it out of the park.


overall, the challenge went well. I really like my progress in strength training, running, and on the job front. I am also liking this weight gain - I am starting to feel more masculine, and less like a skinny bitch. women have taken notice to my changes in physique, which feels really nice. I look forward to continuing my training to see how far I can really progress in terms of how I look, feel, and perform.

Valar Morghulis
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Overall I'd say D-

1) Reduce waist size by 1 inch.

Reached target, but no better. A Solid B

2) Keep character sheet up to data

E, posting was not good.

3) Chinup

F, fail

4) Reduce carbs

D. Most days the target was met, but other days were not so good

Life : F-, did nothing. Was stressed due to us suddenly finding out that the company is being restructured and having no idea whether I would still have a job next year.

For the next challenge I will:

Make the goals measurable and ensure that they are all reachable under current conditions (so no "I first need to get x then...").

Half-Ogre Monk Initiate

Level 0

My challenges : Level 1 Challenge


Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination - Way of Kings

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Whoops, totally did not post results.

1. Work out 5 days a week. It's possible, but a stretch.

Week 1: 3

Week 2: 2

Week 3: 2

Week 4: 3 + 1 on 11/8 ((was that a challenge day?))

So, pretty much nope. I always say I can do 5x a week, and I think I literally NEVER HAVE. I should... do something about that. B.

2. Get back to where I used to be running: about 35 minutes for 3.1 miles; about 7:15 minutes for a mile. (Although, I honestly don't know if these were my numbers or if I'm optimistically misremembering.)

I beat the 5k time, but I was NEVER at 7:15 for my mile. That was a crazy misremember. The fastest I found in my old challenge posts was 8:30minutes. I did run a 8:27 on 11/8.

So, A+ for both, in that I got back to (or beat) my 5k and mile times.

3. Strength training 2-3 days a week. BBWW, Wii workout, or NYC ballet.

Week 1: 2

Week 2: 1

Week 3: 0

Week 4: 2

So... I guess partial. Two weeks of pretty good, two of not. C.

4. ABS.

This doesn't count the abs that are part of NYC Ballet.

Week 1: 1

Week 2: 0

Week 3: 0

Week 4: 0

Fail party. Was it Suse who was having this problem with me last challenge? Abs are easily my Number One goal, and yet I refuse to dedicate any time to them. I do not understand. F.

5. Complete law school apps by 11/1 (the day my LSAT score is supposed to come out).

HA! Nope. My new deadline is TODAY. F-.

B + A+ + C + F + F- = Let's say C.

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