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spacecoyote

spacecoyote's not-gonna-suck challenge

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I was pretty displeased with my results last challenge, so I need to make up for that this time. So, here's the low-down:

1) Stronger. Last challenge I started going to the gym at my office and I want to keep doing that once a week, with 2-3 bodyweight workouts at home throughout the week as well. The goal is to raise my gym weights by 25 lbs (I shoot for 5 sets of 5 reps, so that's consistent) during the challenge - exercises include bench, squat, deadlift, barbell row. For bodyweight, I've been digging the Primal Bluepint Fitness Essential Movements progression so I plan on boosting all my exercises there up at least one level from where there are now.

How? Eat more protein, visit gym regularly, keep up bodyweight workouts between gym visits

Challenges? Getting to the gym during work (i.e. random meetings at times when I'd go to the gym), being too tired/lazy after work for a workout

2) Calmer. I want to learn a qigong (chi-gung) routine to the point where I don't need a video to follow along with.

How? Regular practice, probably daily (or almost)

Challenges? Limited time, possible learning curve, getting frustrated

3) More efficient diet. This one kind of merges my fitness and life goals...basically, I want to get better at preparing meals ahead of time so eating healthy is easier and less frustrating.

How? Using my crock pot more often, finding recipes ahead of time and shopping appropriately

Challenges? Bad habits of half-assed planning

4) Focus on writing. I just (as in last week) started a gardening blog and I want to focus on getting it up to speed and actually having content there.

How? Set time aside daily to work on writing, staying focused

Challenges? Setting time aside daily to work on writing

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Ehh...I'm kinda doing StrongLifts 5x5. Whenever I get to the gym that's what I follow, but I don't do the every other day gym routine. I mix it up with bodyweight stuff at home, so I only go to the gym about once a week. But I like the simplicity of StrongLifts 5x5: 5 sets, 5 reps, increase 5 lbs...keeps things easy to remember. So since I only hit up the gym once a week I usually do bench, squat, barbell row, and deadlift on the same day. I'm not a big fan of the OH Press because it just feels...awkward - but I plan on working it in gradually.

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Crock pots are life savers for busy life eating better,

Also if you can pre-cook time consuming items ahead of time (like chicken or pork) and keep them in the fridge so all you have to do is cook the veggies and heat the meat when it's dinner time that helps too.

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Not a whole lot to report yet, but here's where I stand so far:

1/31:

Tried to do 2 full sets of bodyweight workouts as per Primal Blueprint Fitness...1st set, success; 2nd set, not so much. Details -

push-ups: 1 set of 50, 1 set of 20

squats: 1 set of 50, 1 set of 20

wide grip pull-ups: 1 set of 12

plank: 1 set for 90 seconds, 2 sets of 45 seconds for each side

dive bomber push-ups: 1 set of 15

No qigong or writing today, but I've been utilizing some leftovers for hassle-free supper.

2/1:

No workout or qigong, still more leftovers to use up. Set aside a little bit of time for writing but didn't get too much accomplished...still better than nothing.

2/2:

Quick and easy bodyweight workout at home, since I plan on going to the gym tomorrow afternoon.

push-ups: 2 sets of 25

squats: 2 sets of 25

plank: 2 sets for 30 seconds

dive bombers: 2 sets of 10

Other goals: TBD

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Looking good so far mate. My time saver tip for the busy chef is to buy frozen veggies instead of fresh. They have more vitamins than the 'fresh' stuff you get from the super market and are already prepared. Just nuke them in a bit of water for 5 mins and you're good to go.

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Looking good so far! I am SUPER jealous that you can do so many push ups. They're my nemesis right now.

I think the crockpot is a great idea. I just used mine last night for a quick and easy pot roast. My experience has been, you find a few recipes that you really like to eat and that aren't a pain in the neck to cook and you make those your foundation meals. This is the kind of thing that you could make a few times a week and not get tired of it.

Start adding one or two new recipes each week to expand your repertoire. Pretty soon, it'll feel really easy and will go by a lot faster.

Here's a link to a blog where the writer made something in her crockpot every day for a year. Not everything turns out well and not everything will fit into your diet but most dishes can be tweaked to fit your needs. This is a start, if nothing else for you.

Glad we're on the same team! Thundercats, HOOOOOOOO!

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Thanks for all the tips everyone...definitely putting some of them to use. It's been a fairly scattered week or so, thus I don't have a whole lot of good news for my goals.

2/3:

1) My aforementioned trip to the gym at work yielded-

bench:1x5x165, 4x5x155

squat: 5x5x125

deadlift: 1x5x50, 1x10x50

pullups with knee raises: 1x10

I wasn't really thrilled with these results...honestly I get better workouts at home so maybe I need to re-evaluate. I think that's it for the goals from this day, which is kinda sad.

I didn't do a very good job of record-keeping over the weekend since we were to and fro quite a bit, but I did get some writing in and had some success with cooking easy meals. No workouts of any kind though.

2/8:

1) Primal Blueprint Essential Movements workout -

pushups: 1x50, 1x25

squats: 1x50, 1x30

wide grip pullups: 1x12

plank: 1x90sec, 1x45sec each side

dive bombers: 1x15

Holy crap did I feel this workout today...it wore me out. I usually do this in the evening when I get home from work and before supper. I'm thinking I need to have a quick snack when leaving work to push me through cause I felt whipped pretty good.

2) Gonna do some qigong as soon as I finish this update.

3) Made steak salads for my wife and me. George Foreman grill makes the cooking part easy and we had a bunch of salad trimmings ready. And yum! :)

4) Will try to get it in, but probably not enough time.

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2/9 update:

1) rest today

2) no qigong :(

3) Ended up working late, so my wife picked up supper on her way home (also working late). She's not as on-board the paleo eating train though...first time I ate pasta as a main dish in a looong time. On the plus side, this reminded me why I find eating paleo so rewarding: not feeling like I swallowed a cannonball. :)

4) Worked on some setup/configuration of blog stuff...not technically writing but also important.

2/10 update:

1) A few notes I want to mention about these workouts: A) when your arms feel like they're gonna fall off, they won't; B) 90 second planks SUCK (but in an awesome kinda way); C) ending these workouts w/ dive bombers is probably a terrible idea.

pushups: 1x50, 1x30

squats: 1x50, 1x35

wide grip pullups: 1x12, 1x9

plank: 1x90sec, 1x45sec/side

dive bombers: 1x15, 1x8

Also, I think I'm officially putting the gym workouts on hiatus for now. Pushing myself through these high-rep bodyweight workouts seems to be helping my cardiovascular conditioning more than lifting weights does so I want to focus on that.

2) I'm failing on this qigong goal so far. Makes me sad... :(

3) Free supper from in-laws. :) Beef veggie soup = tasty

4) More configuring.

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Not a whole lot to report from me. This weekend was kind of a wash...didn't make much progress, but didn't lose any ground either.

1) I've been pretty mentally exhausted from work the last week or so, thus strength training workouts aren't tops on my list. That being the case I decided to work on some fast but furious jump roping sessions - I'm starting to remember how much I enjoy jumping rope as a warm-up/workout. So that's what I did today (2/15) and sunday (2/13). I mixed in some push-ups too to give a little strength training - overall not bad for ~10 min workouts.

2) Still no qigong, but trying to learn something new when I've been learning something new for the last 8+ hours just doesn't work for me...can't wait till my daily normalizes again. I'm really gonna try not to let this goal falter for the remainder of the challenge.

3) I took some time this weekend to make some large-ish batches of stuff that I can use for various recipes: chicken, sausage, beans. I'm hoping this will help make meals quicker to prepare throughout the week. So far it's worked out well.

4) Not a whole lot going on as far as writing. I tried but it's hard to focus when my brain tells me not to. I did a little behind the scenes technical work, which is good, but need to hit the writing hard here soon.

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1) Ditto for me, too. Work is hard, yo. I need to pick up a jump rope for myself. It sounds like a great workout. I'll just have to work hard and not trip myself.

2) Cooking a head of time is really awesome. It's just taking the time to get the food ready that I have a problem with. I'll be doing great for a while and then I'll eat everything and have a few days where I just don't know what to pack. That's when I end up having really weird lunches.

3) The best thing I can suggest for getting writing done is to set a timer for 15 minutes. You only have to write for that long. It really helps. You might go over the time alloted and get more writing done than you planned for but that's an awesome result, right? Btw, have you linked us to the gardening blog? Do you WANT to link us to the gardening blog? I'm curious. :)

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Haha, I was waiting for someone to call me out on my lack of linkage...My inner perfectionist doesn't want to share it because it seems so raw to me, but I figure the NF community doesn't really represent the internet as a whole. In other words, my ego and self-worth won't be ripped to shreds...hopefully. Anywho, I added the link to my profile so it should show up if you click 'Home Page' under my profile here.

...be gentle...

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Hopefully I can help you out there, rdwagner. I actually just started gardening in earnest about 2 years when we bought our house so I do a lot of research for myself. That was a big factor in deciding to start a blog on the subject - do a lot of the heavy lifting so others don't have to. I'm open to suggestions on helpful topics, so fire away with ideas or questions :)

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I am LOVING your gardening blog. Great advice and your writing is awesome. The links are great, as well. I am really getting into the urban gardening site. I may be able to pull something off at my place by making some window boxes... you've really got me inspired!

Thank you for sharing!

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I am LOVING your gardening blog. Great advice and your writing is awesome. The links are great, as well. I am really getting into the urban gardening site. I may be able to pull something off at my place by making some window boxes... you've really got me inspired!

Thank you for sharing!

DITTO! I think I'll start with some seeds in a few egg cartons. Do you think if I start now, the timing will be right to plant outside in a month?

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Thanks for the confidence boost, I'm glad you're enjoying. I agree that the Urban Organic Gardener site is pretty sweet...I've toyed with containers in the past and they're a lot more work (in my opinion) than simply working a plot of ground so he's pretty awesome to take on that much at once. If summer ever gets here, I plan on using some old window boxes for herbs on my back porch...I'll be sure to document the process.

How cold is your climate, rdwagner? That will have the biggest impact on the timing. You want to try and shoot for starting your seeds indoors 1-2 weeks before the last frost -- that's kind of a vague time frame but it's the best I've found. For me, spring could come anywhere from mid-March to mid-April so it's really variable. I did, however, just start onion seeds about 1.5 weeks ago (need to finish that post...) but onions from seed take longer than other plants so I wanted to give them plenty of growth opportunity. I'd hold off a little for most things, but if you're thinking of onions then now would be good. I hope that's helpful.

As far as my challenge goals, I've been out of commission for a lot them the last 4-5 days with some nasty sinus issues. Finally getting back to normal though so time to press on!

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How cold is your climate, rdwagner?

I am in the midwest, so it can get to 80 degrees like yesterday, or freeze with ice like tomorrow. This pattern can hold out until April-ish. I'll hold off. For the kids and I, I figured some carrots, green beans, maybe romaine, maybe zucchini. Are strawberries hard to grow? I think they don't come from seeds, but from plants, if I remember correctly from helping my aunt when I was a kid.

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Are strawberries hard to grow? I think they don't come from seeds, but from plants, if I remember correctly from helping my aunt when I was a kid.

Yep, strawberries are generally sold in plant form (probably too hard to grow from seed). I've had mixed results with strawberries, mostly because I didn't take very good care of them my first year. But my folks have grown strawberries for years and they're usually pretty reliable once they get a good start. One thing to be aware of with strawberries is they spread like crazy by sending out "runners" to set new roots - not all types do this but many do.

Btw, zucchini is PROLIFIC. One healthy plant should give you plenty for quite some time, 2 should give you lots of extra for freezing, etc...don't do 4 like I did last year :) Unless you really, really love zucchini.

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Yep, strawberries are generally sold in plant form (probably too hard to grow from seed). I've had mixed results with strawberries, mostly because I didn't take very good care of them my first year. But my folks have grown strawberries for years and they're usually pretty reliable once they get a good start. One thing to be aware of with strawberries is they spread like crazy by sending out "runners" to set new roots - not all types do this but many do.

Btw, zucchini is PROLIFIC. One healthy plant should give you plenty for quite some time, 2 should give you lots of extra for freezing, etc...don't do 4 like I did last year :) Unless you really, really love zucchini.

I think one zucchini plant will be good! My dad has planter boxes he had strawberries in a couple of years ago for my kids to come pick when they visited, and then last year he had strawberries growing on the ground around the bricks the planters were on. I think that is really funny.

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I think one zucchini plant will be good! My dad has planter boxes he had strawberries in a couple of years ago for my kids to come pick when they visited, and then last year he had strawberries growing on the ground around the bricks the planters were on. I think that is really funny.

Duh!!! moment. I should really talk my dad into making me some planters!

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Thanks for all the suggestions- do you think strawberries would work in a window planter, if they had enough sun?

Also, how did your challenge come out? :)

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