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NicTheRugger

Nic Rangers Up!

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Hello all! I'm super excited to be here in the Ranger's Guild. A little about me, since I'm new here:

 

I'm Nic, a 26 year-old attorney who's trying to shake up her life by joining the United States Marine Corps! This means a lot of changes in my life: how I train, how I eat, and even how I look at the world. If I want to get into the Marines, I need to be faster, stronger, smarter, and more resilient- all very Ranger-y traits! I'm still in the process of applying-- I was rejected from the last round of Officer Candidate School (OCS) because I couldn't do enough pull-ups! The recruiting board (rightly) believed that I would end up dropping out of OCS or seriously injuring myself because of my lack of upper-body strength, as OCS is extremely physically demanding. This bought me a bit of time to get better at pull-ups and make sure I'm as healthy and strong as possible for my next PFT. The goal? As good a PFT score as possible. 

 

My personal PFT goals:

Minimum 4 pull-ups (this is also the bare minimum required by the Marines for my age/gender group, so I absolutely have to meet this goal. The Marines count chin-ups as pull-ups, so I'll be doing chin-ups for my PFT)

Run 3 miles in under 27:00 minutes-- try to get back to or beat fastest time (24:21)!

Max out the crunches (110 in 2 minutes)

 

If I can pass my PFT, my OSO says that my application is extremely solid and that I should be able to get into OCS-- so long as I can get those pull-ups, well, up! 

 

On the nerdy side of things, I'm a lover of books (like, all books. I'll read almost anything), tea, medieval and ancient history (I'm teaching myself a classics curriculum with no official classes!), Star Wars, and a whole heap of other things. I'm also a half-way decent knitter, a beginner crocheter, and amateur costumer! I enjoy cosplaying (even if my costumes aren't at pro-level) and hope to go to Wasteland Weekend this year with some friends. 

 

And that's me! Now, for the challenge quests:

 

Physical Challenges:

1. Pass my PFT!

The board of selection meets in March, which means I have until then to get as good a PFT score as possible. Here's how I want to break this general challenge down:

1-A: Get to 4

I can do 3 unassisted chin-ups! They're wobbly, and not very pretty to look at, and I can't do it consistently, but considering I could do only 1 at the beginning of the January, I'm confident that not only can I do 3 unassisted consistently, my goal is to get to 4. They don't have to look great, I just need to be able to do them.

How: I strength train 3 times a week at a local gym before going to work. I'm going to continue training my upper body strength with a mixture of band-assisted pull-ups using a slightly-modified Armstrong for beginner's workout plan as well as weight-training. I need to make sure that at a minimum I'm doing the pull-up training every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I also have a pull-up bar with yet another resistance band on it at home. Every time I pass by the doorway where the bar is, provided I don't have hands full/am not rushing, I need to stop and do 5-10 band-assisted pull-ups/chin-ups. Greasing the groove was a huge part in my jump from 1 to 3 pull-ups in the course of a month, and continuing this habit will help me get to 4.

 

1-B: Speed and Intensity!

I sprained my knee at the end of November 2018, and spent December healing and January building up strength in my knee. Now that my knee is recovered, I need to build back up my "speed and intensity!" This, I've been told, is a phrase that the Sergeant Instructors at OCS love to use on candidates.  I lost a lot of my speed while injured, and January's runs were slower and shorter, to help me build my stamina back up and make sure my knee didn't collapse beneath me. In order to have a good PFT score, I need to run 3 miles faster than 27 minutes. At my fastest, I could run 3 miles in 24:21.  Ideally, I'd like to meet or beat that time during my next PFT, but realistically, I'll be happy with an under 27:00 time. 

How: Go running at minimum 3 times a week. Back when I was able to train regularly, I was able to run Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday or Sunday, weather permitting. I'd like to pick that schedule back up. Because I work out in the mornings (I hate working out at night, it makes it difficult for me to fall asleep afterwards), my Tuesday and Thursday runs will be shorter runs, most likely sprint intervals or hill training on the treadmill. As much as I'd prefer to run outside, it's just too dark to run outside safely (there are like no sidewalks in my town, and the ones we do have are not shoveled often enough to run on, and I'd like to not get hit by a car), so a treadmill is my best option until it's lighter outside earlier in the day and there's less snow and ice on the ground. On the weekend, however, I need to hit the dirt/pavement and do a longer run (minimum of 4 miles) so I can build that stamina. It doesn't have to be a super fast run, but, conditions permitting (no ice), I should be going no slower than 12:00 on these longer runs. Obviously, if there's ice, I need to go slower, but that's because I'd rather not fall on the ice.

 

1-C: Get dem abs!

The goal: 110 crunches in 2 minutes. My mom's been a rockstar in that she's been helping me train by holding my feet so I can do crunches in as close to PFT conditions as possible. For the past few weeks I've been doing 1 minute sessions, doing first 50, and then 60 at a time, to help build my core strength and endurance. I think this week I'll move up to 90 seconds, doing 70-80 crunches during that session. I want to make sure I can keep good momentum for the 2 minutes, so the shorter training intervals have actually been pretty helpful in building that base core strength.

 

Non-fitness goals:

2. Improve my language skills! I'm pretty decent at French, and am teaching myself Polish via Duolingo. There's always room for improvement (and more languages!), so I need to keep practicing.

2-A: Polish

How: practice Polish on Duolingo every day, trying to do a minimum of one unit a day. I've noticed a big increase in my vocab using this. I'm also going to try to speak Polish to my mom more frequently, and have her teach me new words to supplement what I'm learning on Duolingo. 

2-B: French

I used to be nearly fluent in French. Unfortunately, a lack of use has led me to forget a lot of words/grammar. I want to improve my vocab/reading/listening comprehension and slowly gain that near-fluency back.

How: consume some form of French media every week. Whether that's reading a couple of chapters in a French book I own and started last challenge (Harry Potter 1), watching a French film, reading a news article, or listening to a French podcast, taking time to actually listen to or read French is the goal!

 

3. Decrease spending. I spent way too much money last month! Admittedly, that was because I bought a car, flew to PA for a wedding (and had to pay for all the incidentals, such as a hotel room transportation, food, etc.), and just had a lot of costs generally. I want to cut down on unnecessary purchases.

How: limit myself to cash for non-essentials. I'm going to take $100 out of the bank, and limit my "fun" spending to that for the month of February, and then do the same thing in March. Things like bills, groceries, gas for the car, etc., are fine to go on card, but everything else should be cash. Also, I need to account for every single bit of spending by logging it in my bullet journal. 

 

4. Mindfulness and gratitude

You know how life can get overwhelming at times? And you don't always react or handle things in the best manner? Yeah... we've all been there. But I want to build some mental resilience. I adhere to a Stoic tenet that says that you can't control what happens around you, but you can control how you react to things, how you frame your thoughts, and how you choose to act. In order to build my mental resilience, I want to practice mindfulness more often, don't sweat the small stuff, and practice gratitude.

How:

Practice gratitude daily: I'm going to try and write down something I'm grateful for every day, but even then if I forget, I'm still going to find something to be grateful for. 

Practice mindfulness: I have an app on my phone that I don't use nearly often enough. I'm going to try to use this app at least 3 times a week to help build my abilities of being present in the moment and being more mindful of myself, my emotions, my body, and other people around me!

Don't sweat the small stuff: This lines up with the mindfulness mini-goal. When I feel myself getting stressed out or discouraged about something, I'm going to try and take a step back, and "re-frame" my perspective, even when something may be distressing or unpleasant. I may not always succeed, but practicing this habit even now will help me be more mentally resilient and durable for OCS. 

 

Wow, what a long post. I'm super excited (if you can't tell), and I can't wait to be an active part of the Rangers! Happy 0 week!

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I really like your idea of limiting yourself to cash for non-essentials. The hard part for me would be fudging on what I considered "essential" ;P

 

I like your pull up plan as well. Please keep us in the loop as to how you are doing on that PFT progress!

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Great challenge.  I always spend less  when  I do the cash system. Somehow, it always seems more real to me. Woot for studying the classics on your own!

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wow, what a rangerly beginning! I Love how much you taking on.  a formidable and epic challenge.

you clearly are a very goal oriented person and I will follow along watching you nail it.

 

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On 2/4/2019 at 11:18 AM, Echoceanic said:

Hi, nice to see ya here. :))

Thanks! Happy to be here!

 

On 2/4/2019 at 1:38 PM, GoodDoug said:

I really like your idea of limiting yourself to cash for non-essentials. The hard part for me would be fudging on what I considered "essential" ;P

 

I like your pull up plan as well. Please keep us in the loop as to how you are doing on that PFT progress!

It's definitely easy to fudge :P especially with online shopping! It's so easy to fall into the trap "well, it's cheaper online...."

 

On 2/4/2019 at 2:27 PM, Elastigirl said:

Great challenge.  I always spend less  when  I do the cash system. Somehow, it always seems more real to me. Woot for studying the classics on your own!

It definitely keeps me accountable, as long as I don't get caught in the trap of justifying purchases online.

 

On 2/4/2019 at 5:07 PM, Calibre said:

Oh I'm here with you!! Greatness!!

Woohoo! Ranger buddies!

 

On 2/6/2019 at 9:45 AM, TGP said:

wow, what a rangerly beginning! I Love how much you taking on.  a formidable and epic challenge.

you clearly are a very goal oriented person and I will follow along watching you nail it.

 

Thanks! 

 

On 2/6/2019 at 10:13 AM, Charlie_Quinn said:

Welcome to the Rangers!

I remember your username from a few years ago, I've got a feeling that we joined NF around the same time. Will be following and cheering along

Your username seems familiar too! Glad to see you again :) 

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On 2/6/2019 at 10:50 AM, JessFit said:

Books, tea, and history... be my new bff please? 

 

Following and cheerleading *\_O_/* 

Heck yeah! I love making new friends :D

 

17 hours ago, darkfoxx said:

Welcome!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks!

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Zero week is over and the challenge is about to begin! Sorry for being offline all week-- it was just one of those weeks, ya know? I was just weirdly exhausted all week, and I didn't have the willpower to sign on and give all of you lovely people an update. But! Here is... the zero week update:

 

I've hit all of my fitness goals this week! I'm actually going to do an abs session in about an hour (once I've digested my dinner). I was able to do 3 pull-ups consistently each time I've tried this week, which is exciting. I haven't gotten to 4 yet, but I'm optimistic. I had 3 decent-ish runs this week. I did 2 hill training sessions on the treadmill this week, and did a 4 mile run today, but it was a very slow run interspersed with walking because for some reason my calves and were absurdly tight today. Possibly because of the cold

 

I've practiced Polish every day this week, but still need to do some reading in French! Thankfully, I have my copy of Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers next to me so I can pick that up. 

 

On the spending front.... I forgot to track my spending in my bullet journal, but thankfully I have the mint app on my phone so I can keep track of what I've been using my card on (medication that I just got prescribed, two uber trips, maybe something else that I'll see once the app finished updating), but have been using cash for everything else. 

 

Gratitude: I didn't write yesterday, and haven't yet today, but I've been finding moments to be grateful for things. 

 

Mindfulness: I haven't used the app at all this week... oops. I'm going to have to be more conscious of this going forward.

 

I'm excited for the challenge to start! 

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Day 1 of the challenge! Hooray!

 

Started off the challenge a little rough. I didn't have the time to get as intense of a workout as I would like this morning at the gym. I was running late this morning, which means I got to the gym late, and had to do an abbreviated workout as a result. I did get a full set of assisted Pyramid pull-ups in though (1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1), so it wasn't a complete wash. I was able to do 3 unassisted chin-ups, and got about halfway to number four from a deadhang!! I'm feeling pretty good with my progress. I've also been greasing the groove today, so I'm doing okay workout wise. I'll be doing abs in just a bit.

 

I may have had a bit too much to eat today. My appetite was a bit wonky, so I was super hungry at weird times. I'm staying mindful about my choices though, and for the most part haven't scolded myself for eating as much as I did, so my mindfulness practice has been paying off. I'm slowly getting better at being kinder to myself.  I do need to do a mindfulness session tonight though. This is my memo to myself!

 

I also need to practice Polish tonight and finish my gratitude journal for today.

 

Despite the less than great workout this morning, I'm feeling pretty good about the start of my challenge! And I'm looking forward to my run tomorrow!!

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20 hours ago, GoodDoug said:

Always better to start slow and pick up the pace than to go super hard out of the gates and then flop week 2 ;)

 

Hope your run is great

Agreed! Sometimes a slow start is a better start, that way I don't get completely gassed by the end of the challenge. And the run was a good one!

 

22 minutes ago, JessFit said:

3 unassisted chin-ups? WOOHOO! 

Thanks!! :D 

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Despite the slow start on Monday, Tuesday was a pretty good day! 

 

My run was pretty solid. I did sprint interval training on the treadmill nice and early in the morning, using the following format:

- 5 minute warmup at 5.0-5.5 speed

- 1 minute @ 6.5 speed

- 1 minute @ 8+ speed 

- 1 minute @ 4.5 speed

- 1 minute @ 6.5 speed

- 1 minute @ 8+ speed

- repeat until I've hit my desired length of run

- 5 minute walking cool down 

In order to keep things interesting, I do vary the speed of the sprints (speed 8 or higher) as well as how long I run for. Yesterday's run was for a little over 2 miles. 

 

I practiced my Polish, practiced gratitude, and spent nothing. I skipped abs yesterday, but will do them today.

 

Today's workout:

Despite running late again this morning (had to feed the cats so that dad could sleep in a bit-- he was nice enough to take litterbox duty as a "thank you"), I had a really good workout at the gym!

Warm up

- 3 minute bike

- 2x5 kettlebell press, bottom up, @15lbs

-  3 handstands (using wall for minimal support)

- 10 Y-W-Ts

- PVC passthroughs

 

Workout

- 5xME band-assisted chin-ups (6, 5, 5, 4, 3)

-  3x10 calf raises @ 45 (just barbell bar)

- 3x8 squats @45

- 3x8 bent over rows @45/55/65

- 3x10 overhead tricep extensions @25 (both arms)

- 3x8 hip adductors @9/10/10

- 3x8 hip abductors @8/8/8  

Stretch

Other accomplishments for today:
- Gratitude: check!

After this, I'm back to work (I'm actually writing this at my desk at work... ssshhh). Here's what I need to get done today:
- Polish Duolingo
- Crunches
- Meditation/Mindfulness practice
- Schedule my car payment for next month (it's due March 2, so I need to pay it this month) and make sure it's written down in my spending log

 

That's all for now, folks! See you around :) 

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Awesome stuff going on the first few days!! Love the extra determination to get things done (someone is having issues jumping hurdles ).

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Nicely done! How long does it take you to complete that workout? I'm always interested in how long other people's workouts are. I used to dilly-dally and take forever, but now I go in, get it done, and get out.

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20 hours ago, GoodDoug said:

Nicely done! How long does it take you to complete that workout? I'm always interested in how long other people's workouts are. I used to dilly-dally and take forever, but now I go in, get it done, and get out.

It took me about 45 minutes, not counting the stretching! I used to take a long time too, but cutting down the rest times in between sets (from an unnecessary 5 minutes to 1-2 minutes) definitely helped clean up my workout times.

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Check-in time!

 

Yesterday was hill training day. Thankfully, the treadmill has workouts designed for that! I didn't go any faster than 4.5 mph at my fastest, and I was usually going at a brisk walk, but man were my buns sore after that hill training. I didn't realize how tough an "11" incline could be! 30 minutes of that and my legs were feeling that almost 2 mile walk just as much as they do after running the PFT. I think I'll do the same training again next week, but try to go a bit faster for an even more challenging workout. 

 

I'm trying to do every other day for my crunches, so that I don't overwork my core since I'm going for so many in a set period of time. I'm at to about 3.5 deadhang chin-ups, so... progress? (I can get myself to the point where I'm making a 90 degree angle with my arms, I'm considering that a "half")

 

Duolingo practice has been going really well! And tonight, I think I'm going to kick back, relax, and watch a French movie (with subtitles, because sometimes they speak so fast), so my language goals for the week can be met. 

 

Today's workout was modified from the Spartan multirig training workout! (Available here-- it's the Monday workout):

 

Warm Up:

3 minute run, 6.7 mph (modified from 5 minute jog on Spartan website)
High Knees – 30 Seconds
Butt Kicks – 30 Seconds
High Kicks – 30 Seconds
Lateral Shuffles – 30 Seconds (each side)
Arm Bar – 30 Seconds
Halos – 30 Seconds
Band Scapular Retractions – 10 Repetitions

 

Work Out:

Set #1
Squat and Press – 4×10 (25 lbs)
Inverted Row– 4×10 (used straps with handles on them rather than a traditional bar)
Bottoms Up Kettlebell Carry– 4×50 yards (each side) (15 lbs)

Set #2 (I ended up doing this one first)
Banded chin-ups – 4×6 (modified from ring pull-ups)
Hanging tuck raises – 4×10  (modified from hanging leg raises)
Ball slams – 4×10 (10 lbs ball) (nearly took out a mirror by accident)

 

Stretch

 

This workout really kicked my butt! Well, butt and shoulders, really. It was a great workout. I can definitely see the appeal in doing workouts like this, and also understand why CrossFit is so popular!

 

Speaking of crossfit, I'm thinking about joining a box. I'm not sure yet-- it's a lot of money (I understand why it's a lot of money, and I don't begrudge the box owners that, but it's still a lot of money), so it's something I have to think about. I did find a box that offers a beginner session and classes at a time that works for me (6 am, instead of 5:30 am) that's not too far from where I live, and $159/month isn't terrible, especially compared to some boxes that hit nearly $200/month around here, so I'm going to do some research and see if it would be a good fit for me. I'm going to try and work through some pros and cons here behind the spoiler, so feel free to skip ahead to miss my ramblings.

 

Spoiler

Pros to crossfit:

The workouts are based on military workouts, which is pretty relevant to my goal of going to OCS

I've heard it's a great way to increase pull-ups, which, again, is very relevant to my interests

Workouts are challenging, yet scalable, which means that they're adaptable

A great way to combine bodyweight training, strength training, and functional fitness

 

Cons to crossfit:

Time commitment: to see results, I' feel like I'd need to be able to commit at least 3 times a week, and this means I'll have to streamline my mornings to get to classes on time

I don't know how the schedules/WODs work so that I can keep my run training consistent with my goals to get back to my PFT run time/beat my old PR

Money!!! I already have a gym membership that I actually put to good use

It might be a cult??? (this is a joke I swear)

 

Okay, mini pro/con list over, thank you for bearing with me if you did read it. If you do crossfit, how do you like it? Let me know!

 

Other things:

I'm really struggling with finding the willpower to meditate/do the mindfulness training on my app. At the end of the day, my brain raccoons (aka, my jumbled overactive thoughts) are active and antsy. It's a lot easier for me to quiet down my mind by doing some arts and crafts or reading a book than just sit still and focus on my breathing even for 5 minutes. I'm going to try and do a session tonight, but... ugh. I'm not sure. Maybe it's been a bad brain week for me? I know I've been feeling down lately (memo to brain: please get back on that serotonin production!), so that might be part of it. 

 

Well, that's all for now, folks! I'll check in over the weekend with the week 1 wrap-up!

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style="background-color:rgb(255,255,255);"> I'm really struggling with finding the willpower to meditate/do the mindfulness training on my app. At the end of the day, my brain raccoons (aka, my jumbled overactive thoughts) are active and antsy. It's a lot easier for me to quiet down my mind by doing some arts and crafts or reading a book than just sit still and focus on my breathing even for 5 minutes. I'm going to try and do a session tonight, but... ugh. I'm not sure. Maybe it's been a bad brain week for me? I know I've been feeling down lately (memo to brain: please get back on that serotonin production!), so that might be part of it. 

 

Well, that's all for now, folks! I'll check in over the weekend with the week 1 wrap-up!



Sometimes having a second mind will help with the overactive thoughts. Get them out, talk about them. I believe you can do it and you're doing great!
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