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snark's 1st challenge


snark

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Hi all, I'm a newbie to NF and also to focusing on fitness in general. Like many of you folks, I'm sure, I've just reached a point where I'd like to feel better and be able to do more, which means losing some weight, getting stronger, and eating better.

 

This challenge starts at a really great time for me--June 3 is the first day of my second summer of a project that involves a lot of time out of town in a hotel--I'll basically have a three or four day weekend at home every other week. Last year, I ended up spending a lot of my free time cooped up in my hotel room, eating too much crappy food and feeling sorry for myself. I've spent the last eight months or so coming up with ideas to not let this happen again, along with wanting to improve my fitness overall, and this challenge seems like the perfect format to keep me accountable and also to not try to do *too* much.

The other side of being away from home so much this summer is that my boyfriend and I have a craft beer hobby--tasting all kinds and also he has starting making some himself. I love this hobby, and I love the friends we have made through beer, but having a few months where this isn't as much of a focus for me seems like a really awesome opportunity for positive change. I'll definitely be drinking beer on trips home, so it's not going away, but will definitely be decreased.

 

Basically, my focus for this time around will be to not let this schedule shift mess up the good habits I have been forming lately and also hopefully to form a couple of new ones.

 

Fitness/health goals;

1) Keep track of everything I eat every day. (CON 2/WIS 2)

I've done this in the past for a couple weeks at a time (including the past couple of weeks), and I have always found that it encourages healthier choices, including just making sure that treats stay treats rather than becoming regular things. Eating relatively well on the road should be doable--the town I'm staying in has some great local produce stores and a farmers market, and I'm driving so will have some food prep items, probably including a toaster oven. I love cooking, so I'm trying to look at this as a cooking adventure.

Grading: 40+ days tracked, A; 38-39, B; 35-37, C; more than one week total missed, F

 

2) Three bodyweight sessions per week. (STR 3/STA 1)

I'm currently working on Basic Training from the Rebel Strength Guide and plan to continue into Bodyweight Brigade. Eventually hoping to be able to do pushups and pullups, but I think those are goals for a future session. The hotel has a gym, but I'm not sure what it includes, so at least for my first trip I'll be traveling with a door pull-up bar including the fabulous low bar for bodyweight rows that my boyfriend made for me out of PVC and a strap.

Grading: 17-18 total bodyweight workouts, A; 16 total , B; 15 total, C; 14 or fewer sessions, F.

 

3) Something active outside every weekend. (STR 1/STA 2/CHA 1)

When I'm there, my work involves long days, six days per week, including a decent amount of time tromping around in an empty lot in steel-toed boots and carrying some heavy things. But it's in a beautiful area with some great outdoor activity options, and, again, don't want to spend my free time as a blob in a hotel room. Likewise, I live in the SF Bay Area, so I'd like to start taking better advantage of this on my weekends at home, both for health reasons and just overall happiness reasons. A sub-goal to this is that I'm super uncomfortable on a bike but just recently acquired one that I'll be bringing with me and plan to make time to ride in the evenings (when still light out)--my work is in a much smaller and flatter town than where I live, so it would be great to get more experience on real streets at this lower difficulty level.

Grading: 0 missed, A; 1 missed, C; 2+ missed, F. If something happens (I get sick, etc), I'll adjust my definitions of "active" and/or "weekend" to accommodate, rather than letting myself completely off the hook. Really trying to build a new habit.

 

[Revised] Life goal:

4) Plan two nice dates with my boyfriend and at least one nice surprise for him while I'm away. (WIS 1/CHA 2)

Grading: Pass (A)/Fail (F). Again, this goal has a lot of flexibility built in already, and I can adjust my internal expectations as circumstances change.

 

I'll be home for three weekends during the challenge, and they are filling up rapidly with plans with friends, but I'd like to make sure that we have some quality time together while I'm at home. He's really supportive and understanding of my crazy work schedule and also most of my on-the-road insanity, so I'd also like to do at least one nice thing for him to enjoy while I'm on the road. These probably won't be very complex--like my other goals, just try to establish and maintain good habits and make sure my focus is in the right place. And as I said in the post when I changed my goal from the below, I'm still going to study Dutch, just prioritizing.

 

4) Spend at least an average of 30 minutes per day learning basic Dutch. (WIS 2/CHA 1)

I'm going on a trip to Belgium and probably the Netherlands in September, and the love for beer that I share with my boyfriend probably means spending more time in the Flemish part of Belgium in the future, plus I currently work for a Dutch-owned company. It's still not the most practical language ever, but I'm not the most practical person. I'm going to try to basically follow this guy's steps (at least the first couple during this challenge) and see what happens: http://lifehacker.com/5903288/i-learned-to-speak-four-languages-in-a-few-years-heres-how

 

Picking one life goal was really tough, but I think this is definitely where paring down from my eight months of thinking for this challenge should do me some good.

I have a test in October that I should probably spend about 30 hours studying for at some point, and there is also the possibility that I could take some fun cooking classes while I'm traveling, which is something I'd love to do. But studying Dutch will stretch my mind in a new way, and it's something I'd really like to try.

 

Thanks, all, and good luck--I'm looking forward to spending the next six weeks with you!

 

June 3 edit: Modified goal 4

June 9 edit: Added grading system

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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welcome!  let us know how belgium is.  I was debating going to Amsterdam.  I was kicking around in my head the idea of learning dutch.  I'd like to know some of another language, but none seem to stick.  Spanish was meh.  french was fun, but the verbal vs the written is so weird.

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Very SMART goals! Handy having such a useful boyfriend hey, ;)  I need to find someone to MacGyver a pull-up bar for me too. Good luck for the weeks!

Level 2 Imp. Assassin at heart, training with the Adventurers - Challenges: 1 , 2(Current)STR 3 | DEX 1 | STA 6 | CON 4,75 | WIS 4,5 | CHA 3,75

 

 

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough" - Mae West

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Thanks for the encouragement!

terosx, we actually went to Belgium last year, too, and it made us want to spend at least a couple of days there again this trip. So, um, highly recommended, particularly if you are a fan of certain beer styles!

and abs, he definitely does come in handy!

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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This is AWESOME. I plan on doing a tour of the Trappist monasteries in Belgium (and hopefully hit the ones in the Netherlands and Austria, too) this year. Doing a beer tour in a foreign country alone is the perfect plan, right?... Right?

Level 1 Hobbit Adventurer Looking to Become an Assassin with Some Druid and Monk capabilities

 

Current Stats: (STR) 1 || (DEX) 1 || (STA) 1 || (CON) 2 || (WIS) 4 || (CHA) 6

 

 

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This is AWESOME. I plan on doing a tour of the Trappist monasteries in Belgium (and hopefully hit the ones in the Netherlands and Austria, too) this year. Doing a beer tour in a foreign country alone is the perfect plan, right?... Right?

The monasteries tend to be a bit off the beaten path, so they may require that you have a car (be careful!) and also they don't all do tours etc. If you do your research and have an idea of what you're getting yourself into, it should be awesome. I'm super impressed--I've always been a bit of a wimp about traveling on my own. I'd love to hear how it goes!

 

And yes, teros, photos of the gym would be awesome!

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

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Staying healthy when outside of your usual arena is certainly difficult and it's great seeing someone with goals focusing on this aspect. Good Luck achieving your goals while traveling, it certainly sounds like it'll be awesome and fun.

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The monasteries tend to be a bit off the beaten path, so they may require that you have a car (be careful!) and also they don't all do tours etc. If you do your research and have an idea of what you're getting yourself into, it should be awesome. I'm super impressed--I've always been a bit of a wimp about traveling on my own. I'd love to hear how it goes!

 

And yes, teros, photos of the gym would be awesome!

Yeah a few of them don't actually have like, commercial tours of the places, and I'm ok with that. Just being outside some of them to take pictures, and then going into town to have their beer is fine by me. I don't think I'll have a car while in Europe, so there's some planning to be done...

Level 1 Hobbit Adventurer Looking to Become an Assassin with Some Druid and Monk capabilities

 

Current Stats: (STR) 1 || (DEX) 1 || (STA) 1 || (CON) 2 || (WIS) 4 || (CHA) 6

 

 

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Staying healthy when outside of your usual arena is certainly difficult and it's great seeing someone with goals focusing on this aspect. Good Luck achieving your goals while traveling, it certainly sounds like it'll be awesome and fun.

 

Thanks! It's really important to me after my rough time last year that I finish this summer at least as physically and emotionally healthy as I started, hopefully moreso on the physical side, at least. 

 

Yeah a few of them don't actually have like, commercial tours of the places, and I'm ok with that. Just being outside some of them to take pictures, and then going into town to have their beer is fine by me. I don't think I'll have a car while in Europe, so there's some planning to be done...

I definitely understand not wanting a car for the full trip and I hope you can work it out, but worst case, you could consider renting a car for a day or two just to hit the toughest spots. We overdid it on the car for our last trip, but I still think we are planning on having a car for a couple of days this trip to get to some places that aren't really accessible by rail. 

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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Woo first day! Woke up and worked out (despite screwing up my alarm), rented and packed the car, and then drove all day. Stopped and grabbed some fruits and veggies to snack on before leaving more civilized parts. Only had to put out a few (figurative) fires when I reached my work site, yay, and I did some shopping and got everything unpacked, including setting up the toaster oven so that I can have some decent breakfasts. The way my goals are structured doesn't lend itself to a real progress report (other than that I did indeed do a bodyweight session and track my food today), but it was basically a good day overall, hopefully setting myself up to succeed.

 

On a different note, I did some thinking during my drive today, and I decided to change my life-focused goal for this challenge. Last year, the extended business trips for the same project were pretty tough on my relationship, so I think I'd like to prioritize that rather than the Dutch. I do still want to study, I just want to make sure that my main focus is where it needs to be to keep my healthy in all of the ways.

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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Second day went pretty well, although my first toaster oven breakfast did not go amazingly well (baked the eggs for too long so they were slightly rubbery, and then I was a couple of minutes late to my site!) I'll get better. This was a pretty slow work day, but I still walked close to 10k steps according to my pedometer, so I will hopefully get a lot of walking in when we really get in the swing of things. Set my alarm for my first super early hotel room version of basic training, so we'll see how that goes--if it's TOO miserable, I may switch to evening workouts, but I'd really rather not. 

For my other goals, I need to do some planning. The weekend outdoor activity for goal 3 will be a hike, and I need to do some research to figure out which one. I'd prefer something that will have regular traffic from other folks since I'll likely be on my own, so I'll look into my options and find something beautiful that is at least a little popular. For goal 4, I'd really like to cook my boyfriend a big multi-course dinner next time I'm home, both to make him feel pampered and to get to actually use my kitchen while I'm at home. I'll start planning a bit but will probably hold off on final details until I get the list for our CSA box, hopefully on Friday or Saturday.

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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For my daily update, as I said earlier, I managed the early-morning bodyweight workout, but it could have been better. I'll mess around with my food options, and, worst case, I can switch to evening workouts when I'm in the field. I just really love getting them done first thing. Still tracking my food consistently, although I haven't been making the most amazing choices so far while traveling. I should have fewer distractions and more control starting tomorrow and through the weekend, and I'll hopefully get into a good rhythm as I figure out my best options for hotel room and local restaurant meals.

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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i like getting workouts done and over with first thing in the morning.  The problem is now that I'm doing strength training; I just have 0 energy when I first wake up.  It's a lot harder to wake up your arm muscles than your leg muscles.  When I went to the gym at 6am, it's ok to just start walking slow.  Weights?  not so much. 

 

don't get discouraged if things aren't perfect.  you say 'could be better' and that your not making perfect choices.  That's totally FINE.  this is a learning experience so don't think that 93% sucks because it's not 100%.  It's a 'glass half full' kinda deal.  Even if they're baby steps in the right direction, that still brings you forward.  oh, and I uploaded the powerwashed pics.  Finally figured out that I needed to use photobucket since NF gives me some weird error.  I also like changing your life goal.  I'm sure it'll be appreciated.  keep it up!

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terosx, your post was perfect timing--I just sat down to breakfast after my morning workout that included a mix of disappointment and awesome. I just couldn't do as many bodyweight rows as the last time I did them--I know that was at home when I was better rested and it wasn't so early and so on (like you said, it's just hard to make muscles do their thing first thing in the morning), but it was still tough to take. At least now I have a baseline for on-the-road bodyweight rows, I guess. On the other hand, I didn't get nauseous and did a 40-second plank, which is a personal best, so yay!

As expected, food went a little better yesterday because I had more control over my choices--I ended the day with a giant veggie and baked egg feast in my room and didn't even end up eating my planned treat because I was so sated and happy. 

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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Thanks, Tateman!

 

Today we stopped work pretty early, so I got in a short bike ride (so intimidating, but I will keep at it, trying for most days going forward but I think it will be tough with the long hours--also, my legs got grumpy pretty quickly). I also did some stretching--between my bodyweight work and the various stuff for my job, I've been a little tight/sore, and the stretching felt fantastic. I also found a hike for tomorrow, about 6 miles, "easy", supposed to have beautiful scenery, so I'm ready for my real outside time for the weekend, beyond the putzing about on the bike. I'm also very ready for a day of sleeping in.

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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So, I realized that tomorrow is a really early day, so I decided to do my scheduled bodyweight workout today, instead. The workout went well, and I was able to push myself a lot on the squats since it wasn't an early morning workout, for once. This was less good news later on when I went on my hike--I cut it short a bit, but I still got about four miles in and saw some beautiful trees and ocean scenery. 

 

Week 1 summary:

Goal 1 (food tracking) - tracked my food every day this week so far, generally made choices I was happy with (7/7 days total so far)

Goal 2 (working out) - due to the switch for my schedule, ended up doing 4 bodyweight workouts during the week, again generally happy with progress despite some rough patches (4/3 total so far)

Goal 3 (outside & active each weekend) - went for a hike today (my day off), was slightly shorter than planned but still definitely met my goal (1/1 weekend so far)

Goal 4 (relationship) - planning to cook a nice dinner for my boyfriend on Friday

 

I'm pretty happy with how the first week went, hopefully I can keep it up!

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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good going.  you know that you can do this.  will it be a paleo dinner with the b/f?  maybe some meatballs and spaghetti squash

Thanks for the encouragement!

And dinner will be protein and veggie focused but not paleo. I'm not even eating paleo on my own (just keeping an eye on where my calories and nutrition are coming from, which is definitely decreasing my hunks of white bread etc), and I'm still working on getting him to enjoy more kinds of vegetables, so this dinner will just be something tasty that includes whatever is in our CSA box, including the potatoes if they are there. 

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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I was so close to skipping my workout this morning, since I could easily push it to tomorrow, but I realized that would be my last hotel room workout for this trip if I got it done, so I did it. Phew. Two more workouts on Basic Training (Friday and Sunday) before I go to Bodyweight Brigade (which will be similar exercises, since I can't do pullups or pushups yet, but it will be 4 sets, plus I'm thinking of doing them as a circuit.)

Still tracking my eating regularly--I'm doing this week's mini-challenge, so there will be a focus on protein this week.

I also did a lot of stretching yesterday, and I'll try to continue to do that regularly because it seems to make a huge difference to how I feel. Between the bodyweight workouts that are still pretty new to me, the long field days, and the long travel days, I have a lot of opportunities to make my body less than comfortable this summer.

Level 4 Adventurer

STR 6 | DEX 2 | STA 6 | CON 8 | WIS 10 | CHA 5

current challenge

third challenge | second challenge | first challenge

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