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Balsquith's first challenge!


Balsquith

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My health and fitness have been going in the wrong direction for a while now (mostly since I moved to Austria and got caught up in being embarrassed about my lack of foreign language skills and stopped playing Ultimate), so this is the perfect time to set some goals and turn this situation around.

Diet: Get to being at least 80% Paleo

My diet has always been pretty poor and now it is starting to show so I have decided to make the move to paleo. One of the biggest obstacles is how I am going to cope with the work canteen, little chance of paleo there.

Fitness: Run 3x week

I used to run a lot but have got out of the habit. I have signed up for a 5k (which will fall just after the end of the challenge) and my sub-goal is to finish this in under 25 minutes.

Fitness: Strength training 3x week

I have never got myself into a strength training habit and as a consequence have always been fairly weak. I aim to do a body-weigh training circuit on a regular basis and improve my ability to perform some of the standard movements. I can currently do a maximum of 15 press-ups and as a sub-goal I would like to be able to do 30 in one set. I also aim to be able to do at least 1 unassisted pull-up.

Lifestyle: Speaking German everyday

Since moving to Austria my lack of ability with German has been a constant problem for me. Many of these problems are of my own making. I have denied myself doing things like playing Ultimate because I wanted to do it in German and not end up speaking in English, however, I barely speak any German in public as I don't want to be embarrassed and make mistakes. Therefore I have ended up in the ridiculous position of knowing a fair bit of German, but not being able to do fairly simple things like talk to the assistant in a shop and not playing the sport I love (either in English or in German!). I want to make a daily challenge of saying something in German everyday (I am surrounded by people who speak German) to try and get over this fear of speaking.

Wish me luck.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

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The challenge has not got off to a good start as a result of having a lurking cold for the past couple of days. I contemplated going for a run, but then decided that it was probably more productive to get better first.

Disappointingly the other parts of my challenge have also floundered.

Diet (80% Paleo):

Paleo breakfasts (scrambled eggs) - no problem

Paleo Lunch - Every meal at the work canteen seems to contain either pasta or rice, or at best potatoes. I think I need to rapidly start thinking of paleo lunchs that I can bring with me, otherwise I will be having cheat meals everyday, any ideas?

Paleo dinner - Meat and vegetables. I have been a little unsure about what to fry the meat in, my options at the moment are olive oil or butter, potentially both are ok, but the butter always turns a slightly dubious colour!

Next step - Work out a way to get a paleo lunch and also paleo snacks.

Life goal (speaking German): This goal was always going to be tough as it is something I have wanted to do for a while and something which I know that I can do, but haven't had the courage. I realised that setting it as a goal has not really made any difference, as I haven't thought about exactly how I am going to achieve this. Therefore I have continued in the pattern I have set myself for the past year and a half and didn't speak any German, or put myself in a position to have to speak German.

Next step - Really think about how I am going to achieve this goal. Situations I can put myself in which aren't critical but will force me to start speaking.

Not a great start, due to not having planned my course. A bit of thinking required today, then hopefully I can get myself back on course.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

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A start is a start.

Olive oil is a paleo friendly cooking oil. Butter not so much but if it is real can provide a fat boost if your meals are really lean. Does your work have any meat that can be cooked up with the pasta or rice? Any sides of veggies?

Saying Guten Tag is always a start. Lunch or break casual conversations maybe. Tell your co workers your goal so maybe they can help.

Try everything once. If it kills you don't do it again.Paleo- So Easy A Caveman Can Do It

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Very true, a start is certainly better than not starting.

Thanks for the information on olive oil, I shall make this my go-to cooking oil in future. Cooking things in butter at lower temperatures seems to work too. Unfortunately my work canteen is very inflexible. 3 set meals a day, all of which seem to use pasta or rice. Today I could get schnitzel with potatoes, which is not ideal due to being breaded. They do have a salad bar aswell which I could investigate. Otherwise I shall have to think about bringing my own lunch in, which is a shame as I would miss the convenience and sociable nature of the canteen.

The simple Guten Tag is a good suggestion. I tried this a while ago, coming in and saying Guten Morgen, it felt a bit awkward and my co-workers always replied to me in English which was a bit off-putting. Telling my co-workers what I am trying to do surely can't hurt in this challenge.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Having a cold blew out the first week of the challenge for me, but now there are no excuses and still nothing is getting done, time to reboot the challenge.

Paleo: All my breakfasts and snacks have been paleo. My lunch at work has been wildly erratic, I think I need to cut loose and start bringing lunches in. Discovering the kitchen at work would also be a good idea. Evening meals have also been challenging. When I am at home cooking for myself they are no problem, but I seem to spend many evenings after work doing things that require me to think of an alternative. Hmm, I need to find a way to make this work.

German: I have spoken a few times in the past week, but only in classroom situations as before. This challenge is more about courage than anything and that is going to require some additional pushing. Maybe I should set myself some specific challenges.

Running: Hasn't started yet, despite being a week and a half into the challenge! not good enough.

Strength training: In a week and a half I have pushed out about 30 press-ups in total. I don't have a set plan and that is killing this challenge.

All in all, I haven't really made any sort of start with these challenges and must go back to the drawing board and actually make a start rather than just having good intentions.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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A day and a half after the challenge reboot things are going better:

Eating: All paleo so far. Started to bring lunches in.

Running: Went for a 4km run yesterday night, it is a start.

German: Had a couple of German-speaking friends over last night for a paleo meal and asked them to speak in German. I didn't say much, but it was a start.

Strength: This hasn't happened yet. I still need to get a plan drawn-up.

I have just ventured onto the rangers main page and discovered that I missed the burpee challenge completely, but I am going to use these mini challenges to motivate me, and thus will go for some sprints tonight.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Things haven't been going all that well, but at least now a few things are at least going:

1. Paleo diet - I have found myself cheating a few times, but have generally been pretty good. All breakfasts have been paleo. The weekend was a little trickier what with going out with friends for meals. I have tried to eat as well as possible without beating myself up too much about not being perfect. Hopefully this week I can work out a few more solutions and do even better.

2. Running - Last week I managed 1x 4km run and 1x sprint session (1200m). This week I want to be more consistent and get in at least 2 runs, and as I enjoyed the sprint session, try to get another set of sprints in.

3. Strength - Last week I didn't get a plan sorted and therefore didn't do very much. This week I have 2 workouts at the gym planned for Wednesday and Friday so that should cover my aims.

4. Speaking German every day - I have just about managed this, but mostly in nice 'safe' situations such as with a friend. This week I want to set myself some challenges in the community, such as going to the bank and post office.

I haven't been very organised yet in this challenge and therefore I haven't achieved much. This week I have put a couple of fixed dates in my diary, so hopefully I shall achieve more.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Hey Balsquith,

Here's a little motivation for you from a native Austrian ;)

btw, the last quarter of the video is pretty much a promotional video so just stick to the first 3/4 of it.

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Maximus "ActionMan", level 1 Half-Elf ranger

STR 2|DEX 3|STA 4|CON 2|WIS 3|CHA 1

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Balsquith,

If you want to work on some strength, this is a good intro to it. I know a few people who have started with this and said they received good results. I am using this for the next few weeks and it seems to be working.

http://www.jimwendler.com/2011/09/531-for-a-beginner/

Regarding your meals, I would recommend making a large batch of food the night before you go to work. I follow a 85-95% paleo diet (with a little brown rice and potatoes thrown in) but I began to notice that if I wanted to gain the muscle I want, I need to eat more food more often. Also, I'm a university student who has a busy schedule. What I usually do is make a very simple arrangement of vegetables with a lean and healthy protein.

One meal I would make would include: half a head of cabbage, two onions, two cups of cherry tomatoes mixed with bell peppers. Ill also make a large portion of roasted potatoes for extra calories. I cut up the cabbage, onions, tomatoes and peppers and mix them together. I then pour the mixture into a few cooking trays, coat it all with olive oil and roast it all for about 45 min at 175 C. All that, along with the meat I cook (usually salmon) I will portion up and take with me to school, work or the gym.

Hope this helps, Max

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Maximus "ActionMan", level 1 Half-Elf ranger

STR 2|DEX 3|STA 4|CON 2|WIS 3|CHA 1

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Hey Actionman,

Thanks for all the advice, it is very much appreciated.

For strength training I haven't really got my act together yet, but I'm going to start going to crossfit again with my training partner this week. I haven't quite worked out how to make crossfit work as it always seems to be targeting different areas and there seems to be long periods between doing the same exercises. I guess I just need to start going regularly. I like the look of the 5-3-1 workout you linked though.

I think you are right with the paleo, I need to start being proactive and preparing food in advance for the next few days rather than trying to make the food that confronts me in the cafeteria or wherever work for me. I shall find some food storage boxes and have a go with the roast vegetable idea.

Cheers

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

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I'm currently feeling that having 4 challenges isn't working for me as I am neglecting them.

Diet: I think this is the only challenge that I have really been working on. If I am being strict I would put myself at 2/3 paleo on an average day, which is pretty good. I need to work on lunch solutions if I want to take it closer to 100%. I am overall quite pleased with my progress on this one.

Running: Well I have been for one run so far this week so I could say that this one is on track, or it could be like this time last week where my one run turned out to be my only run (except for some sprints). I need to put a training plan in my diary.

Strength: I haven't really done any strength during this challenge (except for a few press-ups), which isn't really very good. I'm lined up to go to cross-fit twice this week so should at least have some done. I need to be more intelligent with planning (i.e. do some!)

German: I have spoken on a few occasions in the last week, but it has all been with friends or in class. This is not a terrible thing by any means, but it is random and irregular and is probably no more than I was doing before. I didn't define any challenge situations for myself and therefore haven't put myself into any.

All in all, out of all of my challenges, only my diet has really been started. 1 out of 4 is certainly much better than nothing, but I want to try and get at least one of the other challenges up and running consistently during this period. This will probably be running in light of the fact that I have signed up for a 5k at the end of the challenge period.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Things are plodding along:

Diet: Happily running at about 2/3 paleo. Still need to work on lunches and snacks. Buying a lunch box at the weekend will be a step in the right direction.

Running: Still only one run done this week. Legs still feeling sore from crossfit. Planning runs on Sunday and Tuesday.

Strength: One crossfit session done so far this week (front squat 1rm: 70kg (PB!), 21.15.9 Thrusters and box jumps). Legs are still a bit sore, but I have another session planned for tonight, then a break until next Wednesday.

German: I haven't really done anything with this challenge. I had a german fail at crossfit though. The trainer said something twice but my brain wasn't working and he switched straight to English. This happens a lot and is very depressing, it always puts me in a bad mood. A personal challenge for me should be letting these failures wash over me and not get so beat up about them, otherwise it is counterproductive.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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On a side note, I seem to have fallen back into an old habit of buying a cup of coffee everyday, I had managed to wean myself completely off coffee during the week for a couple of months. I'm not sure why this has happened, I guess my will-power is a bit low from trying to change things and the old comfort cycle kicked back in. It is not the end of the world, but it is an unnecessary waste of money for no real gain (it's not even good coffee in the work canteen), so I shall try and stamp this out before it takes hold again.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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The only half-way successful part of my challenge so far (paleo diet) suffered badly over the weekend, faltering at around 1/3 on Saturday and then being blown out of the water with a big fat 0% on Sunday. I think my girlfriend has pretty much quit our paleo attempt and this made a weekend at her parents quite tricky in terms of food choices. At the end of the day though one of the good things about this challenge is that I am actually thinking about what I eat and that is a very good start. I am not beating myself up about this slip and will return to normal (hopefully greater than 2/3 paleo) again today.

Strength: 2 Crossfit sessions last week. After a long lay-off my body suffered greatly during these sessions and consequently I am still completely sore from fridays session (deadlifts). Worryingly my back is also painful, not sure if this is general soreness or worse, I guess I will have to wait for the general soreness elsewhere to die down before I can tell.

Running: Just one run accomplished last week, mostly as a consequence of extreme leg soreness from crossfit. I have a run penciled in for tomorrow so hopefully I can work up to 2 runs this week at least.

German: Still no specific challenges accomplished. I have really not done this challenge any sort of justice. I guess by putting it down as a challenge I hoped that it would magically start to do itself, obviously as it wasn't happening before, it has failed to happen now. The problem is, I'm not sure how to frame this challenge in a way that I will actually know what I want to accomplish and how I will go about doing it.

Overall: Not very positive. Need to get the diet back on track. Keep up with the strength training (2 sessions penciled in for next week), try to get a 2nd run going. Try to salvage the german challenge by deciding what it actually is!

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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My lower back is still hurting 4 days after doing deadlifts at crossfit, I think that pretty much means that my form wasn't good and that I have succeeded in injuring my back! I'm not sure what this will mean in terms of being able to keep going with the strength challenge. Annoying.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Hey Jimmie,

No I haven't tried either massage or a chiropractor yet. The one thing that is giving me hope is that my hamstrings and upper back muscles are also still sore and tight, therefore it could just be my body complaining in general, albeit it feels a little different. I have been using a heat rub on it and taking ibuprofen.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Update:

strength: My training partner pulled out of our planned session so I ended up not doing any. This probably for the best as my back and glutes are still a bit sore (6 days later!). There is still the chance of a session (or 2) at the weekend.

running: Haven't done any yet this week. Will power/time fail. Hopefully one tomorrow.

paleo: After the weekend slump I have shot straight back up to at least 2/3 paleo. My 1/3 is usually lost by cheating with a couple of sweets I still have temptingly lying around the house. The only problem I am having with paleo is that I find myself hungry quite a bit (I should count the calories that I am taking in as I am possibly underdoing it!).

german: Unfortunately this has been a non-starter. I never worked out what I would do exactly and therefore nothing happened. This is not to say that I haven't been working on my German. I have done some German everyday, with some days listening to a few hours of audiobooks. However I haven't worked on my courage to use the language in the real world which was the goal of the challenge. I still want to do this, so I will try to think of ways to start working on this goal. Any advice welcome.

thoughts: This challenge has been a good learning experience, in the majority of cases for what doesn't work for me.

1. Trying to start too many new things at once wasn't successful. In fact if I am honest only one of my challenges was really focused on, and that has been relatively successful (paleo)

2. While my normal day is not particularly hectic, it does involve a commute to and from work, which means that despite my best intentions I generally end up not doing any exercise in the evenings (unless I am doing it with someone else) as I am tired/hungry and it is too easy to change plans.

3. It seems like my morning (before work) is the best/only time of day where I am realistically work on developing an exercise habit.

4. This will first require me to develop the habit of getting up with my alarm in the morning rather than snoozing.

5. I find that I am generally not very flexible and stiff, and that I carry pains from working out around for too long. I think a great way to avoid this would be to develop an routine of stretching before I go to bed in the evening.

A lot of food for thought. I think my next challenge will be to work on my morning and evening routines (maybe just concentrating on one to begin with).

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Update

Strength: No strength sessions completed this week. Grade:F

Running: No runs completed this week. Grade:F

German: No attempts towards my German language challenge made. Grade:F

Paleo/Primal diet: During the week I averaged 2/3 (still not putting into practice lunchtime solutions such as that suggested by Actionman. This is blowing out my paleo day as the lunch options in the canteen are cheap, but usually do not have one that could vaguely be termed paleo. At the weekend my paleo dropped to less than 1/3, which is basically a normal diet but with more fat, not particularly good. My girlfriend has basically stopped her paleo challenge (I haven't asked specifically), and has started to ply me with sweets, soft drinks and bread. I haven't been doing a very good job resisting. Spending half of the weekend with her family meant that paleo basically went out of the window. Despite making solid progress (albeit plateauing) during the week, I am worried that my non-paleo binges at the weekend basically means that my body is not being given the chance to adapt leaving me with a diet unhealthier than my old one. I had really awful stomach pains last night after my also total non-paleo Sunday, which is undoubtedly a tell-tale sign of this. Grade:D/E

All in all, very depressing reading. This is not an excuse to not get something going well this week though. I hope I can actually do something rather than just being all hot air.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Today is a new day!! Don't let the lapses keep you from making the right choices today.

HALF-OGRE
Level 3 Ranger / Level 1 Sexy Grandpa

Str: 10.75 Dex: 11 Sta: 9.25 Con: 7.5 Wis: 6.75 Cha: 5.75

"The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right nowâ€. ― Zig Ziglar

Introduction
Current 6 week challenge
My workout log


Specialization is for insects. Do all the things!

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Update

Strength 2 Crossfit sessions over the weekend and a couple of light circuits at home mean that this week I managed to achieve my goal of 3 sessions for the week. Grade:A

Running No runs completed this week . Grade:F

German Several attempts made to speak to strangers in German this week. All count as a success for me trying to start conversations. Sadly the majority also count as very de-motivational as the person I was buying train tickets from/buying a sandwich/coffee from etc replied to me in English, albeit answering my question. This counts as a fail as I then continued the conversation in English rather than pulling the same trick and replying to their English in German. This new strategy was suggested to me by a German-speaking friend, I'm not sure I'll be able to do it though as it feels a bit rude switching the language (even after it was switched on me!), but it would at least allow me to stick up for all the language learning that I have done. Grade:C

Paleo Unfortunately I allowed my Paleo diet to be attacked on all sides this week. Monday and Tuesday were very good. Then my parents came to visit and I had to show them the local food and I succumbed to temptation (convenience) and ate it too albeit trying to hold back on the bread, pasta etc. Then I spent the weekend with my girlfriend who is no longer trying to eat paleo and doesn't seem to be very inclined to make it easy for me. That said I was still eating at about 50% paleo, but it wasn't particularly good. Grade:E

Not a very good grade card, but a little less damning than last week and more knowledge gained.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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So far this week:

1 of 3 strength training sessions

0 of 3 runs

0 of 7 speaking German with strangers

Eating paleo around 75% of the time

Thoughts:

Trying to go from 0-1 strength and runs per week up to 3 was a bit ambitious. Choosing one or the other would have had more chance of success. I never started to put runs into my diary and therefore they never started to get done. Weight training has started to go in the diary and is getting more likely to happen.

Speaking German at all (and particularly with strangers) is something that scares me, that is why I wasn't doing it before and why, without a plan and targets, I am not doing it now.

Paleo is going well when I am not with my girlfriend, otherwise not enough willpower.

Wood Elf Ranger - Level 10

 

STR 11.75|DEX 11.5|STA 9.25|CON 11|WIS 11.25|CHA 8.5

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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I think choosing either strength or running would be a good idea. You might try looking at some programs, such as Couch-to-5k for running or one of the bodyweight programs on the main Nerd Fitness site, to help you get started as well.

HALF-OGRE
Level 3 Ranger / Level 1 Sexy Grandpa

Str: 10.75 Dex: 11 Sta: 9.25 Con: 7.5 Wis: 6.75 Cha: 5.75

"The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right nowâ€. ― Zig Ziglar

Introduction
Current 6 week challenge
My workout log


Specialization is for insects. Do all the things!

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