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Balsquith’s 3rd challenge


Balsquith

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My second challenge was a learning experience and an attempt to establish routine. In terms of success it was very much a mixed bag.

  1. Evening
    routine – Stretching before bed. Grade: A
  2. Exercise
    routine – 3 times per week. Grade: D
  3. Morning
    routine – Getting up to the alarm. Grade: D
  4. Paleo
    Diet – 100%. Grade: Fail


In reality I think I was maybe a little hard on the grading for the exercise challenge while at the same time being very lenient with the morning routine. The paleo challenge was also deliberately strict based on how well I had done on this in challenge 1. In terms of how happy with how I did at these challenges my grading would be:


 

  1. Evening
    routine – Stretching before bed. Grade: A
  2. Exercise
    routine – 3 times per week. Grade: C
  3. Morning
    routine – Getting up to the alarm. Grade: Fail
  4. Paleo
    Diet. Grade: C



 

My evening routine was the easiest part and was a great success. My exercise and diet habits were improving well. My morning routine flopped and never got close to being a routine.


A few months down the line and I find myself having just moved to a new country and at rock bottom in terms of my lifestyle. Stretching before bed has persisted, but I haven’t exercised for a couple of weeks and for
the month before that it was irregular. My diet is now solidly back in convenience food territory and I feel rubbish as a result of it.


With this in mind, I am going to do something quite boring (but what I need) and challenge myself to the same tasks as in the 2nd challenge.

 

  1. Morning routine: Getting up to the alarm

    Due to still not quite having got my sleep patterns in order after moving this
    could make this an unpleasant challenge to start with, but as long as I give
    myself a good 8 hours plus of sleep time then it can no way be a bad thing.

    The getting up to the alarm is the most important part of this goal so I shall
    grade it on the number of days I can get up to my alarm, any delay counts as a
    fail for that day. I want it to become a habit and shall therefore grade based
    on consecutive days rather than a total.

    21+ days - A, 18+ days - B, 15+ days - C, 12+ days - D, less than a chain of 12
    days – Fail.

    Points awarded: Wis +2 Con +1 Cha +1



    2. Evening routine: stretching and relaxation

    I was planning on not including this as a target again, but it occurred to me
    than whilst it became a habit some days I just did one stretch and so the whole
    thing was a rush. I would like to modify the goal to be a full stretching
    program every night to count. I want to introduce some new stretches too, but
    am not sure how to work that into the scoring.

    Not completing a full stretching sequence counts as a fail for that day.

    33+/35 - A, 31+/35 - B, 28+/35 - C, 25+/35 - D, 24 and below - Fail

    Points awarded: Dex +2


    3. Exercise routine - 3x fitness per week

I want to create a regular habit of working out. There is an inexpensive gym here on campus which I can use so no excuses. Only a maximum of 3 sessions
will count per week, although I will try to do more.

In the last challenge I managed to push my press-up maximum up to 19. I will again have a bonus challenge of trying to get up to 50 straight normal press-ups.


15/15 - A, 13+/15 - B, 11+/15 - C, 8+/15 - D, 7 or less - Fail

Points awarded: Main goal Str +2, sta +1 (Bonus challenge Str +1, Sta+1)



4. Primal


Last challenge I decided to push for 100% primal and was quite strict in my
grading. In the end I was keeping at around 66% and throwing in a few 100%
days. I was also feeling pretty good.


I now find myself in a new country full of unfamiliar food and have allowed
myself to fall back on the things I know. Back in with fast-food and cola is
not where I want to be, so the challenge will be to get myself back into eating
something along the lines of a primal diet.

90-100% = A, 85-90% = B, 80-85% = C, 70-80% = D. Less than 70% = Fail.

I will generally grade this daily around my 3 main meals therefore potential
daily percentages are 0, 33, 66 and 100.



Points awarded: Con +3, Wis +1



 

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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Day 1:



Not a great start. The only challenge completed successfully was the stretching routine which was more extensive than usual.


 

I need to start cooking myself in order to get the paleo challenge going. Time to get to the shops and buy myself some pots and pans. Hopefully that will happen this evening.


 

Exercise: I need to get myself a gym membership.



Getting up to my alarm: Annoying fail. I will place my alarm away from the bed tomorrow.

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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Day 2:



Both stretching and getting up on time completed. Putting the alarm away from the bed worked wonders, no option except for to get up!

 

Exercise: Completed 5 sets of press-ups (max today 15). Need to get myself back into a gym.

 

Paleo: Haven't made a start on stocking up the fridge so still at 0% paleo, 100% junk. Something needs to be done!

 

 

 


 

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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Day 3

 

Morning and Evening routines successfully completed

 

Exercise: Started the 100 day burpee challenge to get me doing something everyday. Day 2 completed.

 

Paleo: No progress made towards removing the junk. The plan is to go to a potentially paleo friendly restaurant for lunch today.

 

Still a lot of work to be done to get myself moving in the right direction 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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Day 4

 

Morning and evening routines completed successfuly.

 

Excercise: Burpee challenge day 3 and press-up routine (max 20, new PB!!)

 

Paleo: Only managed one paleo meal yesterday but found a good place to eat in the future.

 

Everything is going quite well at the moment except for the paleo which is going through a slow and spluttery start. At least it has started.

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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Day 5

 

Morning and evening routines completed successfuly. I think I want to expand these by including a daily exercise programm and maybe some yoga poses in my stretching routine ( I don't know any yet though!!)

 

Exercise: Went for a hike, which doesn't count towards the challenge, but is good nonetheless!

 

Paleo still hasn't made it off the ground.

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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Day 6/7

 

Morning and evening routines completed successfuly. The morning routine is quite painfully difficult at the moment though! I haven't incorporated a daily exercise routine yet.

 

Exercise: Went for another hike and also did a test for maximum number of press-ups in a row. New PB: 23!! Later in the day I saw a pull-up bar and decided to see if I could manage one without the assistence of a band. I managed not 1, but 2!! So a great day for personal bests, which is strange given that I haven't really done all that much exercise of late.

 

Paleo: Not yet started. I need to get myself going somehow!

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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Week 1 summary:

 

Morning routine: Chain 5 days and counting (going very well)

Evening routine: 7/7 (going very well)

Exercise: 3x press-up work outs (new PB = 23), 6 days Burpee challenge. Total towards challenge 1.5/3 (getting better)

Paleo: 4.7% (total fail)

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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Day 8

 

Morning routine fail, there goes the chain!! Evening routine successfully completed.

 

My exercise routine also didn't happen with the excuse being that I needed to clean up my apartment after the washing machine flooded the whole place. Fair excuse but I need to keep the exercise going. This evening without fail!

 

Paleo: The plan is to go and buy some pots and pans (and plates) this evening, so hopefully soon I will start cooking myself some healthy food 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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Day 9

 

Morning routine didn't work again due to not having set an alarm. I need to get this one back up and running again, otherwise I start the day without motivation and that is not the way to be productive.

 

My evening routine rolls on successfully. I must pay attention to the fact that it is slipping back into the short form which I have had going for a while. I think I need to decide exactly what I want to do each day and maybe search around and find a new stretch to add to keep things interesting.

 

My exercise targets took a bit of a blow, but I managed to fit in a press-up routine this morning and now have my staff card at work so I can join the gym here. No excuses now!!

 

Paleo! Well the excuses keep going here. Everyday I plan on going and buying plates and a pan, but everyday I don't follow-through with this plan and continue to eat poorly (read fast food). This is not at all good, to the point where I am constantly without energy and motivation. I know that I need to change this and I know how, I just need to take the next step!

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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Day 10

 

Morning routine painfully back up and running. Chain: 1 day

Evening routine has been beefed out slightly with an ITB stretch.

 

Didn't manage to get the gym yesterday to sign up but started an air squat routine this morning which should keep me going. I have some plans for when I manage to get signed up to the gym, so this will be a priority today.

 

Paleo! This is turning into a major problem with this challenge but some progress towards starting it is being made. I now have an almost fully equipped kitchen, so tonight I will be buying the last couple of things I need and some food. Hopefully this part of the challenge can start with a vengeance tomorrow. It really needs to start soon, I am feeling totally without energy at the moment. Too much junk is going in. Sadly at the moment this statement accurately reflected what I am eating, it is not even close to a traditional healthy diet at the moment. Biscuits, crisps and take aways seem to be the order of the day at the moment, which pretty much negates anything else that I am doing.

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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Day 11

 

Morning routine completed (chain =2). Extended evening routine completed.

 

Still didn't make it to the gym, so it turned out not to be as much of a priority as I intended. It is on my list again today! On the plus side the burpee challenge rolls on, I just realised that I must have lost count of the day number though as I did 11 today rather than 10, oh well!! I also did my press-up routine today, but sucked! I'm not sure why I was feeling so tired (probably my diet!). I still managed to complete more than half of what I intended so all was not lost.

 

Diet. Still not happened. Life got in the way of going to buy food. I need to get organised. Luckily I have the weekend coming up so I will have more time to get these sorts of things sorted out.

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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Day 12-14

 

Morning and evening routines are rolling along nicely again. The morning routine is a long way from leaping out of bed and onto a motivated morning though. I want to structure what to do after I get up better so that I can streamline this process to get me off to a great start each day.

 

I took a big step in my exercise goal by joining the local frisbee team. 4 hours of practice later and I can barely walk (first time wearing these cleats!!), but it was great to be playing a team sport again and should encourage me to make this a regular engagement. Didn't get signed up to the gym yet, I need to nip this inertia in the bud and get down there. The aches and pains from frisbee means that this will probably be wednesday now.

 

Paleo: Finally this has started again, by which I mean that I am now one breakfast into sorting out my diet. I have been receiving lots of grief from my parents for restarting eating paleo as they warn me about the history of high cholesterol and heart problems in our family. This makes the whole thing a bit tricky as these are the people I trust. In there book fat is the enemy and I don't really have the information to hand or the desire to argue against them. I'm not sure how other people deal with this type of resistence.

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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Week 2 summary:


Morning routine: Chain 5 days and counting (2nd attempt)

 

Evening routine: 14/14 (going very well)

 

Exercise: 2x press-up work outs (PB = 23), 2x squat work outs, 13 days Burpee challenge. Ultimate frisbee training. Total towards challenge 3/3. (Total: 4.5/6)

 

Paleo: 4.7% (total fail for 2 weeks, but actually going to start from week 3)

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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Mini-challenge

 

The mini-challenge was set at 50 press-ups. Given press-ups is one of the things I have been trying to work on improving it doesn't seem fair to take on any bonuses as I complete more than 50 in my current routine. I want to set myself a slightly different mini-challenge to complete 50 clapping press-ups in addition to my current routine. We shall have to see if this is possible, it will be tough for me though.

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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Day 15.

 

My morning routine is plodding on, not yet as the extended version that I am looking for but I'm quite happy that I am at least getting out of bed! I really like my evening routine but it is in constant danger of getting shorter and shorter. Maybe I need to set myself a timer to make sure I am not taking shortcuts.

 

I can still barely walk after frisbee on Sunday, this is mostly in my glutes, quads and feet. Definitely a sign of doing too much too soon, but also an incentive to get fit again so this doesn't happen after every session. I completed my press-up routine today which also proved hard work (about 60 press-ups in total). I guess my whole body is still a bit exhausted! I'm planning on doing clapping press-ups for my next workout on Thursday, based on this evidence getting to 50 of those could be a real challenge.

 

Paleo. Hooray, managed to pull off a whole day of paleo looking food. It wasn't perfect but it was a big improvement. The only problem is that I still didn't really eat enough and the craving for snacks (which I don't have) was pretty high. I still need to get my supplies sorted out and a few herbs and spices brought into the kitchen to make this work. Overall though I am very happy to have started.

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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Day 16.

 

Nothing has changed yet in either my morning or evening routines, but both are plodding on at least. My morning exercise routine hasn't quite become a routine and certainly after the overexersion of the weekend's frisbee this week it is not going well. The squat workout and the burpee challenge that I started have both fallen by the wayside. The problem is that I don't have enough of a plan as to what I want to do everyday (this sadly relates to all areas of my life!). The real challenge which towers over all of the challenges listed here, is to get my life organised. This however is the hardest to define and implement. However it is clear that if I don't make some steps towards doing this then all the other challenges will be forgotten and no real progress will be made. I'm not sure how I am going to do this, but organisation will be my plan for today.

 

Sadly my paleo has hit a stumbling block almost immediately in the shape of a broken refrigerator. I need to get this back up and running before I can get anymore meat. Annoying and with my level of willpower, hopefully not something that is going to derail the whole effort.

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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Day 17

 

Unfortunately my morning chain ground to a halt again today. I'm not sure whether I should give myself an exception as I was feeling quite unwell, but I managed to get up later so I don't think it would be justified. This is a shame, but in some ways reflects the fact that the getting up was not really becoming routine and the period immediately after it was unstructured too. I know that it is best not to change too many things at once, but maybe I should have at least a rough plan written out so tht I have an optimal morning to aim for.  The chain reached 7 days and will start again tomorrow, bigger and better.

 

Despite everydays talk the evening routine remains unchanged, but it is at least working so I am not unhappy.

 

Work and life have got in the way of my excercise for the past couple of days and have probably contributed to me not feeling so well today. I will see how I am feeling later in terms of doing some excercise, but I should at least go to the gym and check out the facilities there so that I can plan what I can do when I am back up and running.

 

My diet is also likely to be one of the reasons that I am feeling so under the weather in general recently. Regardless of paleo or not, I don't think my current diet is good in any way and I am most likely not getting enough calories in general. refrigerator will be fixed on Friday so I need to make sure that I am ready to go at this with a vengeance after that, and try to clean it up as much as I can beforehand.

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 I managed to go and check the gym out and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.

 

The good things are: 

 

I don't need to be a member

it is pretty cheap for single visits

it is only 5 minutes walk from my work.

it has a swimming pool

it has a running track

 

The bad things:

 

It doesn't have any barbells

It doesn't have a pull-up bar

It doesn't have any air conditioning (not a major, but in summer it could be a problem)

 

 

So the gym is basically lots of running machines and weights machines.

The free weight area was very small and neglected in the corner and consisted of 2 old benches and some dumbells.

 

Maybe I am just making excuses for myself (in fact almost certainly!!), but the problem is that I know which barbell exercises I want to do, but don't really have much experience with dumbells, so I'm not sure what to do with them. Hmm, I should probably just go along a couple of times and see what I can do.

 

Maybe I will have to start using machines, but they seem so much less effective, hmm.

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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Hi Balsquith, almost any exercise you can do with a barbell you can do with a dumbell (not so the other way round).  You also get balanced development because your strong side can't help the weakside out.  Just go a little lighter until you get the balance sorted.

 

If your gym has a smith machine you can use the horizontal bar for Reverse Rows in place of pull ups.  Lat pull down machines can be used if there is absolutely nothing else but best bet is find a bar somewhere and do your pull-ups elsewhere.

 

Good luck with the rest of the challenge, I hope you get your food sorted out because, according to Marks Daily apple, it is 80% of the battle.

Ranger Level 1

 

Current - Beach Bod part 2  #3 - Beach Bod part 1  #2 - Recovery   #1 - Skiing

 

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."  Goethe

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Hey Dean,

 

Hey Dean 3579, thank you very much for the advice. I think I was just a little unsettled when I first saw it. I have been used to the comfort of a crossfit gym where all the exercises are shown to you and technique corrected. All the exercises which I have learnt have been barbell exercises. Your point about balanced development makes a lot of sense. I guess I was worried about instability and actually getting the dumbells into position given there is no rack there to help me, but as you say, start lighter and work up.

 

The gym does not have a smith machine (no bars at all as far as I can see). It does have a pull-up machine though, this should be of some benefit, right? I will go back today and have a closer look at some of the machines.

 

The key point is that going to the gym is much better for me that not going to the gym because it isn't absolutely perfect.

 

Same goes for food, I'm letting myself go and making excuses to justify it, perfectly natural thing to do, but something I need to change. I've been reading a few of the challenge threads on here and realise that I am incredibly good at letting small obstacles get in my way and stop me, it is very motivating to see how dedicated people on here are. I need to show to myself that I can do the same.

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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Day 18

 

Morning routine - Fail (alarm clock broke)

Evening routine - completed

Exercise - going to the gym this afternoon (watch this space!)

Paleo - Fridge being fixed (hopefully) today, then no excuses!

 

It's been a rough few weeks of challenge so far and I haven't made any great progress, but I feel that at least a few things of benefit have come out of it which should hopefully mean that I am heading in the right direction for the future. When I get my diet back up and running I will be a lot happier.

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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3 Week Summary

 

Morning routine: Has turned into a real mess, I got overconfident and moved my alarm back to next to my bed, since then I haven't managed to get up effectively. Maximum chain so far is only 7 days.

 

Evening routine: 21 days out of 21. None of the proposed additions, but a longer routine being carried out everyday. Relatively happy.

 

Exercise: This week has been a bit of a disaster as far as exercise goes. My 'excuse' for this is my feet. They are still hurting a week after playing frisbee so clearly I have done something a little more serious. I term this an excuse in that I don't need my feet for all the exercises I do. I juet let myself get lazy and didn't do any more than a few press-ups. I went biking at the weekend, but this doesn't count(5/9)

 

Paleo: Finally got myself up and running. Over the last week I have eaten at around 50% paleo and moved up to a 100% day yesterday. Still need to work out my planning for cooking and bringing food into work, but definitely a step into the right direction. Will have to work out something for snacks to, particularly in this opening phase, as I am feeling pretty ravenous already today!

 

Overall, a very mixed bag, which also describes my life in general at the moment. I need to get myself organised, focused and motivated. On the positive side, I realise this and am taking small steps in the right direction.

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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Day 22

 

Morning routine: The morning routine is back up and running today due to alarm placement. I need to work on the rest of my morning routine though, rather than just wander around aimlessly trying to wake up. I managed to finally get a few things done, with which I am happy, but ended up getting to work on-time rather than the earlier time I wanted to. Oh well, it is a step in the right direction.

 

Evening routine: Keeps rolling on happily. I realise now that maybe I should have been more definite in what I wanted to acheive from this in my challenge, rather than including it just to get an easy win. It has become a routine now and it would feel strange not to be stretching my quads while I clean my teeth!

 

Exercise: The excuse of my feet still plagues me, but I managed to at least get a press-up workout done. I need to find myself a chiropractor or a physiotherapist maybe, I'm not really sure.

 

Paleo: Yesterday comprised of scrambled eggs for breakfast (3 eggs) (paleo), Fried rice with lamb for lunch (with my co-workers) and then pork, bok choy, brocolli and aubergine for dinner. So 2 paleo meals for the day which is also heading in the right direction. I noted that I was insanely hungry in the morning with no snacks to get me through. Today I changed to having eggs, bell pepper and some more pork for a larger and more rounded breakfast (not feeling hungry yet!), I also got myself a bag of jerky for snacks just in case I need it. I'm not sure how I am going to handle my lunches in future. If I go out with my workmates it is going to mean rice almost everyday and sometimes noodles. Maybe I should start to bring in lunches now and again.

 

Overall. A few things changed and while it doesn't yet feel as if I am taking the challenge on as well as I could, it does feel as if I am moving in the right direction.

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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Day 23

 

The morning routine is not fully worked out yet, but today involved getting up to my alarm and doing some burpees and planks which hopefully won't be all the exercise I manage today, but we shall see!!

 

On the paleo front, I had 4 eggs for breakfast, which seemed to last me through until lunch without hunger. Lunch once again involved a lot of rice. I guess I should just learn to ask for just a little bit or none. I'm not sure if that is possible, but it is worth a try.

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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