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Greetings, fellow rebels!

I'm Riviera16, writer, artist, ninja-in-training, and space/physics geek. I'm a huge fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, LOTR, GOT, and many others. Currently I'm in the process of watching Babylon 5. I love cosplay and wish I could wear my costumes all the time, wherever I want, whenever I want. I play D&D 3.5e and 5e and am currently in three campaigns and am working on running one. I first heard about NerdFitness from my dad and have been reading emails/articles for a while but only now am actually getting on the forum. This is my first challenge and I'm excited to see where I can go over these next few weeks.

 

But first, a little bit about how I got here.

 

The Backstory:

I started following NerdFitness 2+ years ago. Back then I pretty much sat around the house 24/7 and barely did anything active (with the exception of some swimming in the warmer months). Weight hasn't been an issue for me, but muscle weakness certainly has. It had caused a number of injuries for me (an otherwise healthy older teen/young adult) and I was sick of it and decided it was high-time I do something about it. I'd known about NF for a little while at that point and had been reading the emails Steve sent out and the free workout/guide articles. They inspired me to start learning more about fitness and how to build strength. I started exercising at home, but wasn't really getting anywhere. Then my dad and I got together and joined a gym, and suddenly it was like a whole new world opened up for me. There were so many more things I could do there than at home. I did few months of personal training sessions to help myself get started, then moved on to working out on my own. Over the next year I watched as I gradually went from being barely able to do a bicep curl with a 1lb dumbell to doing 0.5 bodyweight assisted pullups. It felt great to be making progress, slowly but surely, and having new milestones to look forward to.

 

The Latest Episode:

...Then the coronavirus hit. The gym closed and I was stuck at home. We have some basic workout equipment at home, a few dumbells and some resistance bands. It was enough for me to do a full workout, but with far more limited options than I was used to. In other words, it got boring fast. I'm the sort of person who craves newness and excitement and I can't stand excessive repetition and monotony. One of the things I like most about the gym was the wide variety of exercises you can do. Doing something different every time I worked out was part of what made it fun for me. Without that, workouts became a chore and it became harder and harder to actually get myself to do them. I've looked for new things to incorporate into my workouts and have had some luck, but only some. I'm still trying to find ways to make my workouts more interesting, but in the meantime I know if I want to stay on track I need something more than interest to get me through. Having come such a long way already I really don't want to lose momentum or set myself back. I know from experience that I need accountability in a situation like this or sooner or later I start slipping.

 

So, I decided taking on a challenge like this would be a great way to stay on target!

My Main Quest at this point is to keep building strength with the hopes of one day doing full bodyweight pullups, over 1x bodyweight barbell squats, and (more importantly) learning/doing parkour and/or martial arts (All while avoiding more injuries, because injuries suck.). Basically, I want to be a butt-kicking ninja action hero in real life.

 

My specific goals for this challenge are:

  1. Do a strength workout 3x per week.
  2. Do a lighter workout at least 1x per week (yoga, jogging outside, late night dance party, etc.)
  3. Learn 1 new exercise every week and do it in a workout.

 

I'll be focusing on achieving these goals over these next few weeks, but if I'm inspired I might try a little more. Who knows? I'll keep track of what I've done in follow-up posts and I look forward to seeing where these coming weeks take me.

 

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Following for the strength, but especially the parkour. Will you be logging your workouts?

 

I’m in the same place with you on home workouts. Most of the time it’s all right, but occasionally it would be really nice to have access to some dumbbells and a real bench.

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That third goal is really clever! I'm new to working out, so I hear about a lot of exercises that I don't really know what they are. I might try to work that into my challenge.

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On 5/6/2020 at 4:21 PM, Riviera16 said:

In other words, it got boring fast. I'm the sort of person who craves newness and excitement and I can't stand excessive repetition and monotony.

 

Hmmm....I usually try to convince people to take up distance running, but it sounds like it's not the best fit for you 🙂

 

Seriously though, I think you have a good plan! Since you are interested in parkour, a kind of interesting approach to building strength is movenat

 

https://www.movnat.com/

 

it might be something kind of interesting and different to try (and they have lots of free videos)

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On 5/6/2020 at 1:21 PM, Riviera16 said:

I started following NerdFitness 2+ years ago. Back then I pretty much sat around the house 24/7 and barely did anything active (with the exception of some swimming in the warmer months).


Welcome! Oh, this sounds exactly like my backstory. I found powerlifting, though. I hope you find some exercising to do at home that are interesting enough. 

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On 5/6/2020 at 4:50 PM, PaulG said:

Following for the strength, but especially the parkour. Will you be logging your workouts?

 

I’m in the same place with you on home workouts. Most of the time it’s all right, but occasionally it would be really nice to have access to some dumbbells and a real bench.

 

I certainly hope to be logging my workouts-  it make it a lot clearer what you've done and how you're making progress. Though I'm a little worried I might forget some days since I don't already have a system I've been using. I suppose I can always go back and write it down later when I finally do remember again. 😜

And yes... I've used dining room chairs set up next to each other for a makeshift bench once or twice but it just doesn't work properly. The chair backs just get in the way of everything.

 

 

On 5/6/2020 at 5:47 PM, Mudd said:

That third goal is really clever! I'm new to working out, so I hear about a lot of exercises that I don't really know what they are. I might try to work that into my challenge.

 

Thanks! Good luck with your challenge, and I hope you find some cool new exercises to add in along the way!

 

 

10 hours ago, Xena said:

 

Hmmm....I usually try to convince people to take up distance running, but it sounds like it's not the best fit for you 🙂

 

Seriously though, I think you have a good plan! Since you are interested in parkour, a kind of interesting approach to building strength is movenat

 

https://www.movnat.com/

 

it might be something kind of interesting and different to try (and they have lots of free videos)

 

Yeah, distance running is probably not my thing. But I do sometimes do sprints/intervals and have enjoyed those! And, thanks, that does look pretty interesting. As the weather warms up I've been hoping to switch to working out outdoors part-time. I'll definitely give that a try!

 

 

9 hours ago, Harriet said:


Welcome! Oh, this sounds exactly like my backstory. I found powerlifting, though. I hope you find some exercising to do at home that are interesting enough. 

 

Thank you, I'm glad to be here. Have fun with your powerlifting! :) 

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Hi! Congratulations on setting your goals! 😊When you say that you are going to learn one new workout each week, will that be a weightlifting related exercise or will it be callisthenics?

 

On 5/6/2020 at 9:21 PM, Riviera16 said:

Back then I pretty much sat around the house 24/7 and barely did anything active (with the exception of some swimming in the warmer months). Weight hasn't been an issue for me, but muscle weakness certainly has. It had caused a number of injuries for me (an otherwise healthy older teen/young adult) and I was sick of it and decided it was high-time I do something about it.

 

 

Oh my gosh, I have been here and I have lived this, the feeling that you get going from doing absolutely nothing and constantly feeling bored to actually lifting things and feeling strong is like nothing else! 

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9 hours ago, MsAllegraFox said:

Hi! Congratulations on setting your goals! 😊When you say that you are going to learn one new workout each week, will that be a weightlifting related exercise or will it be callisthenics?

Well, given my goal is to deal with chronic boredom it will probably be some of both! If you know of any particular exercises/workouts/resources you'd recommend, I'd be happy to hear.

 

P.S. I love your signature. I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett and Thief of Time is quite possibly my favorite! 😄

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3 hours ago, Riviera16 said:

Well, given my goal is to deal with chronic boredom it will probably be some of both! If you know of any particular exercises/workouts/resources you'd recommend, I'd be happy to hear.

 

I don't know too much about weightlifting, but if you check out the reddit r/bodyweightfitness there is an amazing bodyweight fitness progression chart which details loads of different types of exercises (progressions and regressions). It coms in a Google Sheets link and each exercise listed has a link to a YouTube video - it's made by u/shellerik and it's so useful (if slightly overwhelming to look at, at first).

 

Terry Pratchett is amazing and I love Thief of Time, but I think Night Watch might edge out as my favourite (both involving Lu-Tze) - though I always find  that trying to pick out a favourite Discworld book is like trying to pick out a favourite type of cake- they are all so good! 😆

Screenshot_20200510-051520_Sheets.jpg

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Well, here we are! Day One! It's been a mixed success, but I have high hopes for the coming week. I've already found some resources to look into for new exercises; I'll try to start adding stuff from those into my regular workouts this week. I'm tracking what I'm doing in more detail in my daily logs but I'll still post about major events here. 😊

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One thing you could try if you want some variety in your exercises could be a gamified approach. Find six exercises each in different categories (core, legs, pull, etc.) and roll the dice to see which exercises you'll do that workout. It's not so good for advancing in a particular skill, but it's great for avoiding boredom.

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Welcome to the forums! happy to have you along :) 

 

Looking forward to seeing your strength journey. Do you have a certain progression or program you're doing? Or just whatever you feel like works :)

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Feel free to post everything here, then you can get some “way to go!”s or other thoughts/encouragement :) 

I love that you first went to the gym with your dad! Is he also doing home workouts with you?

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4 hours ago, KB Girl said:

I love that you first went to the gym with your dad! Is he also doing home workouts with you?

Yes, he is! I try to coordinate my workouts with him as much as I can, both because it makes them more enjoyable & easier to stick to and because my dad finds himself missing workouts due to his work so it helps both of us stay accountable and on track. B) 

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~  Week 1 Summary  ~

 

Well, here we are! End of week 1, start of week 2. I successfully worked out 3x this week, though I moved my Saturday workout to Sunday due to a really full schedule. I did some various light exercise a couple times this week, including jogging outside around the neighborhood/local trails, which is something I've missed all winter. I learned one new exercise, dragonflys, though kind of at the last minute. Still counts though. ;) 

 

Overall this first week was a success. I met the goals I'd laid out for myself even though there were a couple points where I really didn't feel like doing it at the time. My one major struggle has been dealing with snacking & boredom eating. The biggest issue is the fact that once I start I have a lot of trouble making myself stop, which means the only winning strategy is not to start at all. That is somewhat hard at best and nigh-impossible at worst; partly due to the fact that of the three other family members I'm currently living with two don't really care about tracking food/snacks at all and don't know/understand what kind of a problem this is for me. If it were up to me I just wouldn't keep any snacks in the house and then I wouldn't have to deal with them but that isn't an option right now. I'm still trying to find a way to handle this situation that doesn't rely solely on my own willpower (which I don't have a lot of). I might consider adding something about that as an extra goal for the rest of the challenge, though I don't know how much it would help. Ultimately I need something to help me out in the moment I'm making the decision, not beforehand or afterward when I'm on my computer.

 

Next week I'm planning to do roughly the same thing workout-wise, strength training Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday and some sort of lighter exercise on at least one off day, ideally more. I hope I can do better on the snack issue. I'll see if I can add in two new exercises rather than just one; I think that could be a fun challenge and it'll be interesting to see what I come up with. I'm still tracking my progress in detail in my daily logs. I didn't get around to posting updates on this thread last week but I'm going to try to do that a bit more this time around. Wishing myself luck for the week(s) to come!

 

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On 5/11/2020 at 6:19 PM, juliebarkley said:

One thing you could try if you want some variety in your exercises could be a gamified approach. Find six exercises each in different categories (core, legs, pull, etc.) and roll the dice to see which exercises you'll do that workout. It's not so good for advancing in a particular skill, but it's great for avoiding boredom.

Hmm, that sounds like it could work! I'll see if I have enough exercises in enough different categories. It seems like it would go well with my usual 2-3 supersets of 3 exercises each workout structure.

 

On 5/14/2020 at 4:42 PM, miss_marissa said:

Welcome to the forums! happy to have you along :) 

 

Looking forward to seeing your strength journey. Do you have a certain progression or program you're doing? Or just whatever you feel like works :)

Thank you! :D 

I don't have a clear progression/program but I know I want to build up to full bodyweight pull-ups, non-assisted pistol squats (eventually with weights too), and standard flat-ground push-ups. Until the coronavirus I'd been using how heavy a dumbell/how much assist I was using for each of those as a progress marker and felt like I had a clear track to follow. Now, not so much. 😞

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I just hit a major milestone in my fitness journey today: I did my first sets of freestanding pistol squats in a workout! 😄🎉

I only did two sets of 8 per leg and didn't get as far down as with assist, but they were pistol squats nonetheless. I'd thought I still had a ways to go before I could handle single-leg squats without something to hold on to but I wound up surprising myself! I'm glad I decided to take a chance and go for something a little more challenging.

 

I can remember a time when doing box squats was difficult. Now, I'm doing them freestanding on one leg. Wow. Moments like this remind me why I like working out even though some days are going to be hard/boring. My glutes are pretty darn tired now so I'll go easy on leg exercise the next few days and make sure to stretch them out periodically. So far, the week seems to be off to a great start! 😁

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Got another new exercise into my workout today! I've been wanting to add more things that could specifically help me improve the skills I need to get good at to do parkour. The only problem is we don't exactly have a lot of good equipment/places for practicing anything nearby. I've been wanting to learn some basic vaults but there's nothing to vault over in my area. 😢 But what I was able to do is do "box jumps" using the stairs. Right now I'm only jumping to the second stair and focusing on maintaining good form for jumping & landing but in time I hope to move up, literally. 😉

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you are really strong! Hope you can find some other creative ways to practice parkour 🙂

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Week 2 Summary ~

(And a long post on the history of why I hate tendinitis)

So... the second week of my challenge didn't quite go as planned. I did my strength workouts and found a cool new exercise but didn't do anything on my off days. I wanted to go jogging but the weather didn't cooperate and I was pretty much completely unmotivated to do anything else. So, 2 out of 3 goals met. Could be better, could be worse. I had some ups and downs with snacking, but along the way I realized something important: boredom snacking is, well, just that. It's a response to my brain being understimulated, which for someone with ADD is a horrible feeling/situation to be in. And I am way, way, waaayyyy more understimulated than my brain wants to be right now and have been for the past, like, 3 years.

 

A bit of background:

~3 years ago I started having problems with my wrists. It got to the point where anything from using my computer/phone to writing with a pencil made them hurt and the more I did the worse it got. We went to several doctors who at first said, "Ok, looks like tendinitis, do this for six weeks and it should get better." Long story short, I did whatever they said for six+ weeks and it didn't get better. We went so several wrist/hand specialists who told us more or less the same thing but after repeating the same pattern again they would basically shrug and say, "Ok, well, somethings clearly going on. Not entirely sure what." We got an MRI, we did blood tests for autoimmune/Lyme/etc. and got nothing. It was beyond frustrating; during all this time I couldn't play video games, text my friends, write or draw, or basically any of my other favorite activities that I use to express my creativity and feel like are a core part of myself. I was completely cut off from the world around me and nearly all the things I enjoyed. And no one could tell me how long until it would get better. They couldn't even tell me if it wasn't going to get better, which would've at least given me closure and removed the uncertainty. They just said it would get better, "eventually." That kind of waiting for an unknown long period of time is not easy.

 

I finally found a physical therapist who identified part of the problem as muscle weakness from resting it for so long and I was able to gradually start building up strength again, which helped, but didn't solve it entirely. At that point the pain wasn't really the issue: if it meant getting to go back to doing the things I loved I'd put up with a lot. But I was worried about causing permanent damage to my wrists/tendons if I pushed through even a little bit of pain. So as time dragged on, I still wasn't seeing any change and was growing more and more depressed and despairing over how long it would take, if ever, for me to get back to normal. Several months ago I went back to a wrist specialist who said it was ok to push through the pain a little as long as it wasn't hurting too badly. That gave me a bit more freedom, but still only so much. Right now, I can type posts as long as I'm careful and I can do some basic stuff on my phone, some simple mouse movements, and a little bit of drawing without having problems but the kind of high intensity/speed/tension movements needed to effectively play most video games are still way out of bounds.

 

Now, back to what this all has to do with snacking.

Many people with ADD, including me, find feeling bored/understimulated extremely unpleasant, especially if for prolonged periods of time. I know from experience that I need a certain amount of high-dopamine, easy-reward type activities in my life to keep myself stimulated and fully functional. The past 3 years my wrists have been problematic I've had next to zero of any of those. My brain gradually fell further down into a stimulation-deprived slum of depression and hopelessness. Now that I can do a little more things have gotten a little better, but again, only by so much. And recently I realized the problem is a bit deeper than it appears on the surface. After having been deprived of the fun, stimulating activities I need in my daily life for so long, my brain is essentially treating anything that gives me any kind of instant-reward as though it might be the last one in existence and goes berserk trying to get as much of whatever it is as it can before it's too late.

 

Obviously, "this is my only chance to do this for who knows how long" isn't really the case, but my brain is so starving for stimulating activities that as soon as it gets even a little taste of something it can't stop. This shows up in several ways, including when I sit down at the computer after lunch for maybe an hour of some simple, low intensity game and the next thing I know it's nearly 7pm and I still haven't had dinner, or, as you might've guessed, when I decide I want a little snack or a little taste of something and then I can't seem to stop myself even if I was already full when I started. It's not the food that's the problem- it's the fact that putting something tasty in my mouth counts as an instant-reward activity and my brain desperately needs those right now.

 

I have reason to believe that if I can let my brain binge on some sort of stimulating activity enough times it will figure out I'm not stranded in chronic understimulation the way I was anymore and then everything will get easier. But in order to do that I need something that won't have negative consequences. Right now all the stimulating things that involve my wrists have to be kept in moderation so I don't lose what little progress I've made. So those are out. Eating too much is also hardly an ideal solution. I'm still trying to come up with possibilities to deal with this situation but haven't had much luck yet. Still, just being able to know and understand what's really going on makes it much easier to feel like there is a path forward even if I haven't found it yet. At least now I know where to look. Understanding the problem better also makes it much easier to be sympathetic and compassionate with myself when I do go off track. Chronic understimulation sucks. Having my brain not quite caught up to the fact that I'm actually partway out of it also sucks. But, with any luck, now that I know what to look for I'll be able to find something I can use to jump-start my brain and start feeling more like myself again. :)  

 

P.S. Right now I'm also considering other possible wrist-problem culprits besides tendons. I know I have noticeable hypermobility in my upper body so it may be a ligament issue at the core, even though it's generally the tendons that hurt. It's also possible it's something Lyme related even though the blood test said no current Lyme infection since I did have Lyme years ago when I was a kid. Or maybe it's some form of carpal tunnel? Who knows. 

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Hmmm...I have no advice on the medical front.

 

The other problem seems more solvable...sort of. We could brainstorm other kinds of activities, but that might be incredibly irritating for you. A couple years ago I hurt my back and was really sad that I thought I might have to give up running. A good friend said "well, couldn't you just take up biking." Even through it came from a good place, it made me really irritated. First because I wanted some sympathy for my "loss" and second because it felt overly simplistic to me. Just because I like running doesn't mean I like biking. I felt like I probably would find some substitute activity eventually, but it wasn't like interchangeable legos.

 

So....yeah, I could imagine other things you might like to do, but unfortunately I think you have to figure them out for yourself. I guess the things that I can think of that might sort of fit into a similar niche as some video games would be jigsaw puzzles, crosswords and other pencil and paper games, board games, art/craft activities, coloring, reading. Maybe building things like an electronics kit or something. Some other kinds of activities that don't seem at all the same but could stimulate your brain: photography, gardening, yoga, dance.

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19 hours ago, Xena said:

A couple years ago I hurt my back and was really sad that I thought I might have to give up running. A good friend said "well, couldn't you just take up biking." Even through it came from a good place, it made me really irritated. First because I wanted some sympathy for my "loss" and second because it felt overly simplistic to me. Just because I like running doesn't mean I like biking. I felt like I probably would find some substitute activity eventually, but it wasn't like interchangeable legos.

Oh my gosh, I know exactly what you mean. Most of the people I talked to about my wrist issue (my parents especially) said things like, "Ok, well if you're unhappy and bored because of what you can't do because of your wrists, just find something to do without your wrists." It felt really invalidating; it seemed like they didn't understand what I was going through. Sure, there are some other things I enjoy that don't involve my wrists but they aren't close to the things I was missing and they could never replace them. As you said, it's not like interchangeable legos. And since in these conversations I was usually also wanting sympathy the "just find something else to do" responses felt particularly insensitive. Still, I suppose I should appreciate that they were trying to help even though I didn't find it very helpful.

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I saw this article and thought of you.

 

https://www.wbez.org/stories/dont-learn-the-oboe-and-other-advice-for-boosting-brain-focus-during-coronavirus/b64ffcf6-276c-4753-af0d-21edfebd1893

 

I was hoping it would be a more useful article. As is, I think it's only so-so, but I'm thinking the part about needing some novelty is probably true. It doesn't have any super practical suggestions on how to find that.

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I wish I had more useful feedback for you on the wrist issues. I’m sorry, it sucks. I’ve had my share of wrist issues as well, though nothing so long-lasting. Rehabbing one arm completely after a wrist break, Some mild to moderate tendinitis, a nasty case of forearm splints.

 

For what it’s worth, the inevitable solution for these sorts of issues, from what I’ve seen, has always been first, modifying the activities that hurt you so they aren’t applying the same stresses... and second, achieving a high level of strength so that the activities that used to cause your problems don’t overstress your body anymore. Tendons (and even ligaments, to some degree) can be trained just like muscles. But it takes a lot of time, and dedication. And often, help along the way from a medical professional. But you have two things going for you: you’re actively looking for solutions to your wrists, and you have solid goals for where you want your strength to go. You will need to keep working at it and considering what sorts of strength might be likely to get you out of pain, but if you keep going, I have no doubt you can get there.

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