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huSTLer's First Challenge


huSTLer

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Hi everyone!

 

I'm a new challenger here, and I'm ready to get my fitness on! I found the NerdFitness website a couple months ago, and I really like the idea of leveling up. I've been working out off and on for about a year and a half, and I'm ready to take on a few new challenges for the new year.

 

Some info about me:

Height: 6 feet even

Weight: 160 lbs

 

This challenge I will be mostly focused on stamina, with some strength training involved.

 

Goal #1: Run a 5k without stopping (secondary: in less than 20 minutes)

Starting Point: Ran 4 minutes (about 2/3 mile) without stopping on 1/7/2013 (probably could have run more if I had to)

 

How to get to 5k

1. Run/Walk 5k 3x per week (Mon,Thur,Sat)

Modified C25K program, but really as long as I'm running more every week than the week before, I don't mind how I do it.

Running should be done at a pace of about 9.3 - 9.6 mph

2. 400 meter intervals 2x per week (Tue,Fri)

Start with 8 increase by 1 per week for 6 weeks

Each repeat should take less than 90 seconds

Rest 1.5 to 2 minutes between intervals

 

Attribute Points: 5 STA

 

Goal #2: 50 consecutive 2-handed swings with a 50 lb kettlebell

Starting Point: I have zero experience with kettlebell exercises

 

How to get to 50/50

1. Learn what the hell I'm getting myself into, watch youtube, ask for help at the gym, look in the mirror, work with lighter kettlebells, etc.

2. Do 50 swings. Not necessarily consecutive. When I get tired, rest for 60 seconds, and then continue until I reach 50

2x per week (Wed, Sun)

Eventually I'll do 50 straight!

 

Attribute Points: 2 STR, 3 STA

 

Goal #3: Eat My Veggies Every Day! (Okay, not every day, but 5 times a week)

Starting Point: I will irregularly eat my veggies like spinach and broccoli, maybe twice a week at best. I do love to cook though, so I just have to make some adjustments to my shopping and cooking habits.

 

How to eat more veggies

1. Make a salad with spinach, avocados, and other delicious green (and not-so-green) things for lunch 5 times per week. Drench it in (healthy) homemade salad dressing.

2. Roast some broccoli and garlic in the oven whenever I make dinner at home. (~5 times per week)

3. When I want a snack, make some kale chips with a bunch of delicious herbs and spices. (Also, buy kale.) 

 

Attribute Points: CON 5

 

Well, I'm off to go do my repeats!

Level 3 Warrior

STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Forgot my "level up in life" goal! The most important goal of all.

 

I have a lot of a goals for this year, but few of them are completely achievable in the next six weeks. I can and am taking the first steps to achieving them. For example, one of my goals this year is to spend a month in Ecuador, so last week I signed up for a couple of frequent flyer credit cards (don't worry, I'm being smart about it, I'm just gaming the system).

 

Another goal of mine is to read a biography on every president of the United States (before we elect number 45). While I can't do that in six weeks without devoting more time than I have available, it's much more easily measured.

 

Goal #4: Read 2 Biographies on U.S. Presidents

Starting Point: So far, I have read 0 biographies

 

How to read biographies (R-E-A-D spells READ!)

1. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

2. John Adams by David McCullough

 

I figure if I read for 60 - 90 minutes per day I should hit my goal. I'm a really bad speed reader (350 - 400 wpm) Maybe I should make that one of my goals!

 

Bonus points if I watch the HBO mini-series John Adams starring Paul Giamatti. 

 

My research (aka really quick Amazon and Google searches) gave me the indication that these were the best biographies available for the first two presidents. If anyone has recommendations for different books, let me know. I'm all ears (except for my other parts).

 

 

I'll have to adjust the attribute points to total 15 as follows:

 

Goal 1: 4 STA

Goal 2: 2 STR 2 STA

Goal 3: 4 CON

Goal 4: 3 WIS

 

Quick update: 400m repeats (part of goal #1) kicked my butt today. Got through all 8, but fell off the 90 second benchmark after number 5. Repeat number 8 took 104 seconds.

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STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Alright, my inner-history teacher loves your life goal. The John Adams biography by David McCullough is fantastic, so enjoy it. Your other goals look intensive to me because I'm a workout newb, but based on your introduction post I think they're perfect for you. Best of luck on your challenge!

Storytelling Rebel
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"“You've seen my descent, now watch my rising." ~ Rumi

 

 

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Great goals!

 

If you need simple veggie ideas, let me know.  I've been unofficially working on this and trying to cut down on fruit and incorporate more veggies.  Carrots and parsnips are really easy to roast.  I make a huge batch of roasted veggies (carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, everything) and then freeze it in little ziploc bags.  Then I add it to dishes I make. 

 

If you like beets, you can boil them til fork tender, peel under cold running water, chop and keep them in the fridge.  Just throw some on the salad you make.  You can roast asparagus or green beans the same way as broccoli.

Danielle, Level 2 Forest Nymph Adventurer

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Great goals!

 

If you need simple veggie ideas, let me know.  I've been unofficially working on this and trying to cut down on fruit and incorporate more veggies.  Carrots and parsnips are really easy to roast.  I make a huge batch of roasted veggies (carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, everything) and then freeze it in little ziploc bags.  Then I add it to dishes I make. 

 

If you like beets, you can boil them til fork tender, peel under cold running water, chop and keep them in the fridge.  Just throw some on the salad you make.  You can roast asparagus or green beans the same way as broccoli.

Thanks! Unfortunately, I can't seem to acquire a taste for beets. I've tried them this way and that, but they always taste gross to me. To each his own! I will have to try the roast and freeze method for when I need something quick and easy.

Level 3 Warrior

STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Thanks! Unfortunately, I can't seem to acquire a taste for beets. I've tried them this way and that, but they always taste gross to me. To each his own! I will have to try the roast and freeze method for when I need something quick and easy.

 

Haha yeah I'm the same with artichokes and kale.  I keep thinking that it's something I'd like and then realize I still don't like them.  If you can get turnip greens or especially radish greens, they're awesome baked like kale chips.  The radish ones are peppery.  I had a CSA share over the summer and made it my mission to use every last edible part of everything I got.

Danielle, Level 2 Forest Nymph Adventurer

STR 6.5 | DEX 2 | STA 4+1 | CON 9 | WIS 6+1 | CHA 3+1

Inventory: 5 silver pieces, a free dinner (full of vegetables), shiny belt of Endurance, Babel Fish

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"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

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Awesome goals! You have a great plan, not only for what you're planning to do, but how you're planning to accomplish it.

 

Thanks! Unfortunately, I can't seem to acquire a taste for beets. I've tried them this way and that, but they always taste gross to me. To each his own! I will have to try the roast and freeze method for when I need something quick and easy.

 

I can't seem to get a taste for beets either. It's all about finding the ones you like! Until I found nerdfitness, I think I literally had only ever tasted broccoli, onions, and corn, in my LIFE, as veggies. And it was like ten years ago when I last had them. Now I've discovered plants I didn't even know existed that are DELICIOUS. Especially like 1. Kale 2. Spaghetti Squash 3. Plantains <this looks like a banana. Don't make the mistake i did; it tastes kinda like a potato. 

 

Goal #2: 50 consecutive 2-handed swings with a 50 lb kettlebell

Starting Point: I have zero experience with kettlebell exercises

 

How to get to 50/50

1. Learn what the hell I'm getting myself into, watch youtube, ask for help at the gym, look in the mirror, work with lighter kettlebells, etc.

2. Do 50 swings. Not necessarily consecutive. When I get tired, rest for 60 seconds, and then continue until I reach 50

2x per week (Wed, Sun)

Eventually I'll do 50 straight!

 

WOW that's a beast of a goal. I'm still with a 15 pounder and it kicks my butt. 

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WOW that's a beast of a goal. I'm still with a 15 pounder and it kicks my butt. 

I might have to modify it, but from what I've read, I think this is doable. I'm going to have my first experience this evening, and I think I'll start with just 25 lbs to get a feel for the motion.

Level 3 Warrior

STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Update #1

 

Goal #1: Run a 5k Without Stopping

No work on goal #1 today. I went and ran my intervals on the HS track yesterday. Didn't quite break 90 seconds on all of them, but that's okay. It's the endurance that I care about most. I'm just going to give myself "bonus points" if I can hit my goal time, meaning I'll do something really fun. I'm open to suggestions and want to hear how you guys all reward yourself for being awesome.

 

Goal #2: 50/50 Kettlebell Swings

Just got back from the gym and my first ever kettlebell session. I found a 25lb kettlebell and practiced my form in the mirror. I had looked up several videos and read a couple of articles, and was pretty sure how it should feel. I mostly concentrated on keeping my heels down, shins vertical, back straight, and most importantly clenching my butt cheeks together like never before. The 25lb weight was not that great of a challenge, I made it through 50 consecutive swings (barely) after a few minutes of practicing form and doing some practice swings. Although my form may have loosened up about half way through.

 

What surprised me most was the load it put on my shoulders. I thought this was a leg and back exercise, but I definitely felt it in my shoulders by the time I was done swinging. (That sounds dirty.)

 

Next time, I'm going to go after the 50lb bell, and I'll do 50 swings. I'll rest 60 seconds when I get tired, and then keep going. Wash, rinse, repeat. We'll see how I do on that, and adjust my goal if necessary.

 

Goal #3: Eat My Veggies!

Broccoli and garlic are ready to go in the oven for roasting, and I had my salad for lunch.

~2 cups spinach, 1/2 avocado, handful of cherry tomatoes, palmful of walnuts, a couple of mushrooms

Doused in plenty of EVOO, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

 

Goal #4: Read Biographies on Our First Two Presidents

Downloaded Washington: A Life onto my Kindle and I'll read for about an hour after dinner. I hope to read for an hour a day four or five times a week. I'll read more if I need to in order to finish each book in 3 weeks. They're really big books. I'll also have a couple plane rides in the near future to get some reading done.

Level 3 Warrior

STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Sounds like good progress! 

 

For goals/rewards, I do this quite a bit.  I have my earndit account so I cash in those points every once in a while and then I have my monthly goals.  My biggest issue in the past was just flat out falling off the bandwagon.  I would go hard and then just drop off completely.  So I've set the first of every month as a reward marker.  If I'm still making fitness progress (which I measure as working out pretty much every day I'm in the office for now) then I get to do something that requires money.  So far I've gotten:  full set of workout clothes so I don't have to do laundry so much, supplies for an expensive project, a new smaller sized work wardrobe, an HRM.  My future rewards include supplies for another expensive project, a pair of nice jeans and a new piercing.  Basically I take things I'd want to do anyway and put them as my goals.  That way I'm keeping myself in check financially and fitness-wise.  If I didn't have a gym membership I'd probably put fitness stuff on there too.

Danielle, Level 2 Forest Nymph Adventurer

STR 6.5 | DEX 2 | STA 4+1 | CON 9 | WIS 6+1 | CHA 3+1

Inventory: 5 silver pieces, a free dinner (full of vegetables), shiny belt of Endurance, Babel Fish

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Update #2:

 

Unfortunately, I missed my workout yesterday. I felt tired all day after a bad night's sleep, and let my unproductive workday carry over into an unproductive evening. I don't want to make excuses, and I know if I had just taken the first step, I would have made it all the way. The first step is always the hardest. 

 

Anyway, I'm going to do yesterday's workout today, and skip over today's scheduled 400m repeat workout.

 

I'm still eating my veggies. I'm eating a bowl full of spinach right now. I fear I might not maintain my diet next week when I go to LA, but a lot of my friends and family are all into healthy eating too, so it shouldn't be too far from what I'm used to eating. We'll probably eat out more than I'm used to though.

 

I didn't read any last night, I was too tired to focus on a book as dense as Washington. Tonight might just be a quiet night in though, as my friends are throwing a big party tomorrow night that I want to be well rested for, so it's a perfect time to catch up on Washington's life as a young adult.

Level 3 Warrior

STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Sounds like you have a solid plan to make up for the down time!  Hope you're successful :)

Danielle, Level 2 Forest Nymph Adventurer

STR 6.5 | DEX 2 | STA 4+1 | CON 9 | WIS 6+1 | CHA 3+1

Inventory: 5 silver pieces, a free dinner (full of vegetables), shiny belt of Endurance, Babel Fish

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"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"

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Update #3

 

Goal #1: Run, and Don't Stop

Yesterday was a beautiful day outside. Thanks global warming! So I had the pleasure of running outside again. I ran/walked my 3.1 miles. I was able to run for the first 5 minutes, although I did notice I slowed down to about 7-8 min/mile pace for the last minute. I probably could have kept going a little longer, but I wanted to keep something in the tank. My total time was just over 28 minutes with about 10 minutes of walking and 18 minutes running. Today, I'm aiming for walking time to total less than half of running time, and I'm going to start off going 5.5 minutes straight.

 

Personal Mini-Challenge: Sub-6:00 Mile

 

On Monday, assuming the workout goes well today, I'm going to test my mile time instead of my usual workout. A mini-challenge, so to speak. I want to run it on the treadmill with 0 incline in less than 6 minutes. I know this is easier than running outside, but it's still a nice confidence booster.

 
Specifically, I want to run it in 5:49 because ultimately my goal is a half marathon that I want to complete in sub-1:30:00. Using a race calculator from runnersworld.com, I found my corresponding 1 mile race speed should be 5:49. Now, I know since 1 mile and 13.1 miles are quite a distance apart, the calculation probably isn't that great of an indicator of future success, but it's still a nice goal to shoot for.
 
Goal #3: Vegilicious
Eating my veggies like a good boy.
 
Goal #4: Get to Know a President
I was able to sit down and read for a good 1.5 hours last night before the texts and phone calls pulled me away toward pitchers of sangria, Bosnian DJ's, and all-around good times. Oh Friday night, you beautiful temptress.
 
Anyway, I'm about 10 percent of the way through the book according to my kindle, but there are probably a bunch of end notes and the like in the back, so it's likely inaccurate. Regardless, I'll need to finish up in the next two weeks, and move on to John Adams.

Level 3 Warrior

STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Update # 4

 

I ran my 5k on the treadmill at 0 incline yesterday, which made it way easier than running outside. I ran the first 5:30 (0.84 miles @ 9.5 mph) straight and ran for a total of just over 18 minutes again, but was able to cut the walking part down to 8.5 minutes. The treadmill kept my pace up, which will hopefully translate onto the road eventually. Tomorrow, I'm going to tackle the mile at a pace of 10.5 mph. It should take just a little longer than the 5:30 I ran yesterday as the treadmill seems to take about 15 seconds to get up to speed. I estimate I'll finish at about 5:49.

 

I've been doing a good job of eating my veggies, and have become practically addicted to the balsamic dressing I make to put on it. It's pretty simple, but balsamic just tastes so good!

 

I didn't read any of the Washington book yesterday, and I might not read any today with the football games on. I'll be travelling for about 6 hours tomorrow, so I'll have plenty of time to catch up on my reading then, and hopefully I'll find some time before bed to read a bit each night while I'm in LA. 

 

I'm off to go swing a big kettlebell this afternoon. I'll post a quick update on how it goes later tonight.

Level 3 Warrior

STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Well not too bad! Good work on the exercise and the veggies.  Don't stress too much about the reading, you are doing it even if it's not everyday.

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Quick update:

 

Apparently my gym doesn't have a 50 lb kettlebell. I saw one the last time I was there, but apparently it belongs to one of the personal trainers there. So I took the 25 lb kettleball and swung it around. I focused mostly on form, and it looked pretty damn sexy in the mirror if I do say so myself. I kept playing the song "Pop, Lock, and Drop It" by Huey in my head and ended up losing count of how many swings I did. I'd estimate about 100 total with 2 breaks of about 60 seconds.

 

Anyway, this leaves me in a situation where I can either buy a 50 lb kettlebell for at home workouts or change my goal to work around the 25 lb kettlebell. What do you guys think?

 

Next week, I'll be in L.A. where my brother's fiance has told me her gym offers 7-day trial memberships AND 25 kg kettlebells. So I'll get a chance to try out the heavier weight.

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STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Quick update:

 

Apparently my gym doesn't have a 50 lb kettlebell. I saw one the last time I was there, but apparently it belongs to one of the personal trainers there. So I took the 25 lb kettleball and swung it around. I focused mostly on form, and it looked pretty damn sexy in the mirror if I do say so myself. I kept playing the song "Pop, Lock, and Drop It" by Huey in my head and ended up losing count of how many swings I did. I'd estimate about 100 total with 2 breaks of about 60 seconds.

 

Anyway, this leaves me in a situation where I can either buy a 50 lb kettlebell for at home workouts or change my goal to work around the 25 lb kettlebell. What do you guys think?

 

Next week, I'll be in L.A. where my brother's fiance has told me her gym offers 7-day trial memberships AND 25 kg kettlebells. So I'll get a chance to try out the heavier weight.

 

If you ask the gym about the 50lb kettlebell is there a chance they'd purchase one?  It kinda cracked me up that you were playing that song in your head so you lost count.  Reminds me of the time I lost track of how far back I was on the treadmill because I was watching the Mythbusters segment on fainting goats.

Danielle, Level 2 Forest Nymph Adventurer

STR 6.5 | DEX 2 | STA 4+1 | CON 9 | WIS 6+1 | CHA 3+1

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If you ask the gym about the 50lb kettlebell is there a chance they'd purchase one?  It kinda cracked me up that you were playing that song in your head so you lost count.  Reminds me of the time I lost track of how far back I was on the treadmill because I was watching the Mythbusters segment on fainting goats.

It's unlikely, but it never hurts to ask.

 

I didn't get a chance to work out yesterday and test my mile on the treadmill. My car broke down, and I was unable to get to the gym before my flight to LA. I just went for a hilly run in Pasadena though, and ran for 8 minutes straight (1.13 miles) before taking a break which is pretty awesome. I went 3.1 miles in 28:34, which is slower than last week, but also involved a lot more hills. Of the 28:34, 21:34 were running, so that's a good sign that my endurance is picking up dramatically, but my pace is still a bit slow (that's what 400m repeats are for).

 

Being in L.A. my diet might suffer more than I expected. I'm going to steal some avocado from my brother's fridge and scavenge for some nuts to eat.

 

I made some excellent progress on my Washington book while travelling yesterday. I'm about 15% done with it, and I'm going to try to read at least 3 chapters per day while I'm here. There are about 70 chapters total FYI. 

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STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Update #ILostCount

 

Got to use my brother's fiance's fancy LA gym on Wednesday, where they have 24kg kettlebells. I did 19 swings before I had to break. Then 16 and 15 to complete my 50. I'm hoping my twice a week strategy will result in some good progress, but only time will tell.

 

I ran on the treadmill yesterday, and tried to test my mile to get it under 6 minutes. I tired out about 3/4 of a mile in and had to hit the stop button. I rested for about two minutes and started doing 400m repeats at 11 mph. I did six after going about 1200 meters during my mile trial.

 

Going to do 3.1 miles again today outside in the beautiful LA weather.

Level 3 Warrior

STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Hey everyone,

 

It's been awhile since I last updated this, so I'll catch you all up.

 

I just got back from a working vacation in LA, which was awesome! I was mostly able to stick with eating my veggies every day while there, mostly eating salads with spinach from local farmer's markets. On Saturday, my brother and I went and toured some breweries and drank in excess. We also had Ethiopian food and Pizza to keep our stomachs happy. Not to mention our midnight run to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. It was an epic day of gluttony, and totally worth it.

 

I was able to run outside for the most part. I did 1 day of treadmill running, and ended up running intervals. My 5k time has improved as I'm running larger portions of it, but I haven't broken the 25 minute mark yet. I still need to break the 6 minute mile mark as well, and hope to do so today after falling short last week.

 

My kettlebell swings saw a huge improvement. I was able to complete 27 consecutive swings with the 24 kg kettlebell. Then I did 16 and finished with 7, but probably could have done more in the last round, but I hit 50, so I stopped.

 

I got stuck in LA two nights ago, which threw off my schedule a little. I did get some nice gifts from the airline in exchange for my patience, and I got to see Albert Pujols in person as I stepped onto my plane. Worth it! The advantage was that I knocked out a big portion of my Washington book, but still have quite a bit left.

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STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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Sounds like all in all you're doing well!  Glad you took the opportunity for some farmers market produce...I'm counting the days til ANYTHING is in season in MA again.

Danielle, Level 2 Forest Nymph Adventurer

STR 6.5 | DEX 2 | STA 4+1 | CON 9 | WIS 6+1 | CHA 3+1

Inventory: 5 silver pieces, a free dinner (full of vegetables), shiny belt of Endurance, Babel Fish

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Hey again. Realized I haven't been posting my updates. Rest assured I'm still (mostly) sticking to everything.

 

Goal #1 - Running: I completed my sub-six minute mile last week. Finally! I used the treadmill at 0% incline, but I'll take it. I also was able to run 15 minutes straight never going slower than 7.5 mph. It was about 2.1 miles. I need to improve both my pace and endurance to beat the 20:00 mark, so I'm still doing 400m repeats tonight. In my long runs I'm going to focus just on going as far as I can, and lower the speed as I need to. 

 

Goal #2 - Swinging: In all honesty, this goal has gone down the tanker. Since my gym doesn't have a 50lb kettlebell, and hasn't heard enough demand to purchase one, I was left to the 25lb bell. It felt way too easy for what I was doing, so I didn't feel the workout like I did when I used the 50lb bell in LA. I wasn't very proactive in creating a more challenging analogue exercise, and now I've completely gotten out of the habit.

 

Goal #3 - Veggies: I eat my veggies every day! Except for when I don't. Sometimes, usually Saturday or Sunday I'll give myself a cheat day. There were a couple times where I didn't eat at least a salad for lunch.

 

Goal #4 - Read about Presidents: I finally finished the George Washington book last night. That might have been the longest book I've ever read cover to cover. Well, "digital" cover. Pretty great, but it will be tough to finish the John Adams book before the end of the challenge. Getting started tonight. 

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STR 12.5 | DEX 3 | STA 5.5 | CON 10.5 | WIS 5.5 | CHA 3

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