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**********quick note: the links are to songs that popped into my head as I was writing this. I'm going to think of them as the soundtrack to my challenge**********

 

The Motivation: Doomsday

I'm a graduate student; I'm getting a PhD. Now, this may sound impressive but let me quickly disabuse you of the notion: in reality, this means I'm an indentured servant. That's right folks, I've sold my soul to my PI (<-stands for principal investigator, aka the professor I'm working with to get my PhD) and so for the next four to five years (I'm two years in) the term 'work-life balance' is a far off mythical dream-- just kidding! This is NerdFitness! There are no such things as far off mythical dreams, only goals you work towards...right?

 

For two years, I've been watching my fellow graduate students pack on the pounds, get bags under their eyes, break out, freak out, and complain constantly... then (July 15th) I realized that I was the pot calling the kettle black. 

 

Accordingly, the epic quest, the dream, the giant monster that must ultimately be vanquished to this sound track: establish some vestige of work-life balance.

 

Because my graduate school friends are mostly miserable, they aren't the most supportive crayons in the box (assuming crayons can be supportive). They tend to look at me, say that I need to not make them look bad (by trying to work out more, trying to sleep more, etc), and then move on. Terrible! So, I'm turning to the rebel army for support. 

 

The Goals

 

Goal the first: Warrior's Call

With very little time (can anyone say 60+ hour weeks?) and even less energy, getting my butt to the gym is a struggle. Since I’m currently training for the level 1 test in Krav Maga, I need to slay this monster.

 

Goal: Go to the gym 4x a week, at least two of these sessions have to be Krav Maga (24+ gym sessions total, 12+ of which are krav)

 

Grading: I'll give myself a point for each gym visit and track them weekly

A: 24+ pts (12+ pts krav)

B: 18-23pts (9-11 pts krav)

C: 12-17pts (6-8 pts krav)

D: 6-11pts (3-5 pts krav)

F: <6pts

 

Loot: Awesome workout clothes! RYU women's fight shorts

Since I’ll be increasing my weekly workout schedule from 2-3 times a week to 4+, not only will this improve my strength and dexterity, but it should also increase my overall stamina.

 

Goal the second: Summit

I need to get on a schedule! Or at least some semblance of one...

 

Goal: make 2 slight changes to my life 4 days a week (not necessarily on the same day) for a total of 8 changes.

Slight change one: get to work by 8:30am 4+ days a week

Slight change two: get 7+ hours of sleep 4+ nights a week

 

Grading: each change will be 1pt (2pts max per day)

A: 48+ pts

B: 36-47 pts

C: 24-35pts

D: 12-23pts

F: <12pts

 

Loot: TBD

 

Goal the third: Jump Around

I’m in pretty good shape, but I haven’t been able to get under 140lbs for the past 3 years (graduate school isn’t kind to fitness goals). That ends now. Using some of the principles from this site, I want to exceed my goal and get down to 138lbs. I'm also working out ALOT as a part of this challenge: if I can't get down to 138lbs because I'm adding muscle while loosing fat, I don't want to fail if I'm actually meeting my aesthetic goals. Accordingly, I can also beat this goal by getting down to 20% body fat.

               

Goal: Get weight down to 138lbs or 20% BF

 

Grading:

A: 138lbs or less  OR 20-21% BF

B: 138.1-140lbs OR 21-22% BF

C:140.1-142lbs OR 22-24% BF

D:142.1-144lbs OR 24-25%BF

F: 144.1+lbs OR 25% BF

 

Loot: TBD

 

Starting Stats:

 

Goal related:

Gym: 2-3x a week (working on increasing to 4+)

Sleep: 3-5 hours a night (working on increasing to 7+)

Work: Arrive between 7:30am-10:30am (working on getting there by 8:30am)

Weight: 145lbs

 

Other:

Female

Height: 5'4''

BF%: ~25% (photo method)

Squat: 50lbs

Deadlift: 40lbs

Pullups: 2 (unassisted)

Running mile: 12:34

Swimming mile: 38:47

 

Progress Tracker

 

If you have any suggestions (music, fitness, or otherwise), I'd love to hear them!

"Whatever doesn't kill me... had better start running."


Challenge: 1, 2


 

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Hey Snow! I'm a fulltime student too (med) and a first time challenger to boot. I'm also trying to keep my chin up and create that mythical balance thing *real* humans talk about so much. Happy to see ya here and looking forward to reading your goals! Mine are posted in this thread if you're at all curious :)

Current Challenge Goals:

1. Workout 3x/week || 2. Eat Primally when at Home || 3. Make the Bed 

 

Daily Battle Log 

My Accountabilihomies: DISTRICT 12

Food I Make

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Hi Snow and TheHalfie, another graduate student here! I also just completed my second year (only four to go!), so I know how hard it is to have any sort of balance (sometimes the hardest part is that, even when I have free time, I'm too tired to do anything).

 

Anyway, good luck in your challenges!

Level 3 Human Warrior


STR 11 : DEX 1.75 : STA 5.75 : CON 10 : WIS 9.75 : CHA 1


Mango joins the warriors!

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@upirygirl, thanks!!! Though I just realized that a Drowning Pool song might not be the best background music for a relatively tame goal like work-life balance... :-D

"Whatever doesn't kill me... had better start running."


Challenge: 1, 2


 

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Another PhD student here! Almost 5 years down, aiming to be done and defend in December. I'm rather tired of the graduate student life, you could say.

I'm sure that you'll rock the work/life balance! And, it will help you succeed with your PhD - burnout will do you no favours; been there, done that!

A Level 3 Wood Elf Finding Her Way


 


“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.†William G.T. Shedd


 


 


 My People  :livid:


 


Current Challenge: Taking Time


 


 


 

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@upirygirl, thanks!!! Though I just realized that a Drowning Pool song might not be the best background music for a relatively tame goal like work-life balance... :-D

 

whatever gets you motivated! i think it's a powerful song. feeling powerful helps me feel like i can conquer anything - even something simple like saying "no" to someone. (which certainly helps with life-work balance!)

this person really wants to delete their account but can't because it's not allowed.

 

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@PhDifferent, Awesome, congrats! If you have any words of wisdom, I'd love to hear them! If you don't mind my asking, what are you studying?

 

Thanks! :) Hmm...words of wisdom, eh? Now, keep in mind that I'm not in the 'hard sciences' (I study political science/International Relations/security studies), so some of this might be different, but, here goes:

 

- Do your best to get sleep! I know it's tough sometimes, but sleep is awesome. Try not to succumb to the 'well, *I* only got 3hrs of sleep last night' oneupmanship. I know, it's like a graduate school badge of honour, but doing it for too long wears you down and can lead to burnout. Speaking of; do take time for yourself and take a full day off every now and again. It helps keep you fresh once it's crunch time and I find if you go too long without taking a break, you hit a wall and then you spend weeks doing nothing very productive because your body and mind force you to 'break, or take a break'.

 

- The writing process is both 'inspiration' driven, but also a habit. Making sure that you write 15min/day and then work from there to build the writing habit is key. But, some days it will be super easy to hammer it out, and others, it will be difficult to get a paragraph down. Sometimes, that's just how it goes! Or, at least, it has for me.  

 

-While you're doing your research and writing, don't compare yourself to all of the published manuscripts you use/come across. Chances are, they've been at it a long time and those things have been seriously edited before publication. I always get caught up in this one, doubting my work because 'it doesn't sound like' so and so in a published article. But then I remind myself of all the 'not so great' submissions I had to read while I worked as an editorial assistant for a journal.

 

- If you want to be an academic after you're done, that's cool; if you don't, that's cool too. I think, especially in the soft/social sciences, there is a *ton* of pressure to teach and be an academic upon completion; even if that means working for really low pay and having no job security. This works for some people if they don't have past student debt and/or have a spouse or family member that makes decent $ (re: you can afford to only be making $20,000/year if you only get one class/term to teach). It's hard not to get caught up in the pressure and feeling like a failure if you don't get a tenured teaching/research position, but in a lot of ways, the odds aren't good as there are way more PhD grads than TT jobs. *However* this doesn't mean that all of the stuff you learn during your PhD can't be applied to a rewarding career elsewhere, it's just hard to beat that sense of 'failure' because you 'didn't do what you were supposed to do'. But then again, we're all nerds here - so, we're used to bucking convention ;) 

 

I see quite a lot of grad students here, so perhaps we can create a group of acountabilibuddies with that in mind? 

A Level 3 Wood Elf Finding Her Way


 


“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.†William G.T. Shedd


 


 


 My People  :livid:


 


Current Challenge: Taking Time


 


 


 

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While not a grad student, I do work in higher education (librarian). It's great to see folks of all stripes here, especially folks closer to my area of life. I wish you the best of luck on your research and on your challenges (and that goes for all you grad students). :)

 

Seeing loot tables for each challenge, I couldn't help but look at this like you were attempting to progress through a raid. Heh.

Level 1 Draenei N00b

 

STR 0 | DEX 0 | STA 0 | CON 0 | WIS 0 | CHA 0

 

Challenge | Group: Full Metal Penguins

 

Favor the road traveled by few.

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Hey, those goals look fantastic! I'm wondering if you have a concrete plan to get the weight down? It sounds like we are in similar boats (I'm 5'5, 141-145 lbs, and generally having a hard time budging that number) and I'd love to hear the plan. Also, I loooove how concrete your grading system is. Maybe its the over-analytical part of me, but there's something freeing about just keeping track and then knowing EXACTLY what grade you get at the end. 

 

This is shaping up to be a little academia nerd circle within nerd fitness! How fun :)

Current Challenge Goals:

1. Workout 3x/week || 2. Eat Primally when at Home || 3. Make the Bed 

 

Daily Battle Log 

My Accountabilihomies: DISTRICT 12

Food I Make

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@PhDifferent, thanks! :-) You've hit the nail on the head with many of the things I'm currently struggling with; I'd be happy to count you among my accountability-buddies during this challenge!

 

@TheHalfie, I've been counting calories for the past week and realized that, while my diet is pretty good, I completely mess up during lunch. I typically forget to pack my lunch and end up buying stuff from the cafe by my office, but I've discovered that even the healthy options result in my downing about 600 calories for lunch. So! Part of the small changes I'm making is an effort to pack a lunch and snacks so that I can A. save money and B. eat better. I'm working on bringing leftovers for lunch but here are some snack ideas I've been trying out this week:

 

Edamame: I've recently really gotten excited about bringing frozen edamame (HT's organic is ~$1.99 for a big bag) and popping them into the microwave

Walnuts: I know they have super fancy nuts in the snack food isle but they have a lot of salt and other stuff (and can be expensive!). I noticed that you can get nuts (that are only nuts) in the baking section of the grocery store for a faction of the price. Having walnuts at my desk has been awesome!

Hard boiled eggs: Delicious and super easy to grab!

 

With these changes, I've been able to stick to around 1200 calories a day and feel full/happy. Maybe calorie counting could help you too?

"Whatever doesn't kill me... had better start running."


Challenge: 1, 2


 

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New article just reviewed in Science about metabolism: 

Red Hot Chili Peppers Rock Obesity Research

 

Now, I'm definitely not obese, but as someone with weight loss goals, I think this study is really interesting.

Here's the summary (by Amir Tirosh, http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/5/195/195ec123.short):

 

Brown fat, a heat-producing organ in human infants and hibernating mammals, was shown recently to be present in human adults and to participate in energy expenditure. Although brown fat seems to be a logical target for obesity treatments that enhance the organ’s ability to burn energy, disappointing studies show that most obese people display undetectable levels of brown-fat metabolism. Now, a study by Yoneshiro et al. shows that hope remains in the quest to target brown fat for weight loss.

The authors treated participants who displayed low or undetectable brown-fat metabolism (as assessed by fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography) with 6 weeks of daily exposure to cold (17°C for 2 hours), which resulted in significant activation of brown fat—and thus energy expenditure—in 50% of the study participants. These individuals lost an average of 5.2% of their body fat mass over a 6-week period after cold treatment. Cold exposure is known to be a powerful physiological stimulus for brown-fat metabolism, which is mediated through activation of the sympathetic nervous system by transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in the periphery. Capsinoids—small molecules that are naturally present in red chili peppers—were also shown to activate TRP channels in both in vitro and in animal models and, therefore, might mimic the effect of cold exposure on activation of brown fat. Indeed, daily ingestion of capsinoids for 6 weeks resulted in an increase in brown-fat metabolic activity and energy expenditure among a second cohort with low or undetectable brown-fat activity before treatment.

This study demonstrates loss of body fat in humans by recruitment of brown fat and provides a rationale for long-term studies to assess the safety and efficacy of capsinoid therapeutics as a weight-loss strategy. Although chronic exposure to cold is not a practical treatment approach, an odorless and tasteless chili-pepper extract may be a convenient alternative.

 

T. Yoneshiro et al., Recruited brown adipose tissue as an antiobesity agent in humans. J. Clin. Invest., published online 15 July 2013 (10.1172/JCI67803).

 

Might want to add some chili's into my diet. :-)

"Whatever doesn't kill me... had better start running."


Challenge: 1, 2


 

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I am going to follow. Krav Maga intrigues me greatly :)

Sleeping more intrigues me greatly.

 

Good goals.  Tracking food is a good way to start with the weight loss.  While there are some things I LOATHE about MyFitnessPal (the forums, for example), I really like the food diary and exercise diary part.  Do some research on Total Expended Calories - you might actually be eating too LITTLE.  1200 calories for a person working out 5 times a week is pretty low.  You might want to look into doing a reset program for a month (though these are a challenge in and of themselves - and you need to do some research, because some of them are a little crazy - there is a Whole30 thread here, and that is one of the more sane ones).  The point of a reset is to not have to drop your calories into starvation range in order to lose weight.   Your mileage may vary.  I know my goal is actually to work on UPPING my calories to around 1500 for sustainable weight loss, but I have quite a bit more to lose than you do, and I am very unfit and just starting with the exercise.

Level 2 Halfling Adventurer

Strength 1 Dexterity 1 Stamina 3 Constitution 4 Wisdom 3 Charisma 2

Current Challenge Thread

First Challenge Thread

Fit to Eat: my posts on the Sweatpants & Coffee Site

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Good luck with grad school, Snow! I just exited a Ph.D. program (computer science) after four years (got my Master's instead), when I realized that it was not what I wanted to do with my life. What field are you studying? I don't think you said.

 

It sounds like you are surrounded by energy vampires - good luck defeating them! We're here to help with that!

 

You have some good goals! For your second goal, if you find yourself having to choose between getting to the office early and getting more sleep, err on the side of sleep. Getting an extra hour of sleep (as long as you're not oversleeping) will make you far more productive than getting into the office early.

Level 1 Human Onion Knight

Str 1, Dex 0, Sta 3, Con 2, Wis 3, Cha 1

Threads: Introduction | Challenge | The Brigade

Other Sites: Fitocracy | MyFitnessPal

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Hello Snow, hello other graduate students.

As someone hoping to be a graduate student himself in the near future: I hear you. All the graduate students I've talked to have told roughly the same story of stress, restlessness and 60+ hour workweeks. I hope you follow through with your goals, so that I may have both an inspiration and a blueprint for how to tackle the same problems when it's my turn to face them. In return, I'll offer whatever motivation and accountability I can.

(Interestingly enough, in my corner of the world (Munich, Germany), my experience is that if you're still "young" (<35) and unmarried, then you tend to get weird looks from colleagues if you admit to actually not doing any sports at all. Go figure.)

 

Great goals, and I love the loot idea. If you don't mind, I may have to steal it ;) The idea, that is, not the loot

+1 on this.

 

- Do your best to get sleep! (…)

 

- The writing process is both 'inspiration' driven, but also a habit. (…)

 

-While you're doing your research and writing, don't compare yourself to all of the published manuscripts you use/come across. (…)

 

- If you want to be an academic after you're done, that's cool; if you don't, that's cool too. (…)

Advice taken to heart, for a future in which I may need it.

 

I see quite a lot of grad students here, so perhaps we can create a group of acountabilibuddies with that in mind?

+1 on this, too.

M (the 13th letter). Lvl 6 Elven Monk.

Mathematics, computer science, martial arts and bodyweight strength training. Also, sometimes, fiction.

Hello, world!

Challenges: “Consistency†⟶ “Preparation†⟶ “Multiplexing†⟶ “Sanity†⟶ “Escape†⟶ “Lockdown†⟶ “Probation†⟶ “Detention†⟶ “Foundationâ€(×3) ⟶ “All In!†⟶ “Happy Hourâ€

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Snow and 'M' - even though I've given the advice, it's still something I struggle with for sure! Especially the whole comparing myself to others/finished written work and being at peace with 'I probably won't be an academic' once I'm finished. It's all a work in progress though, and every day is a little bit better.

 

Speaking of - Welcome to Day 1 of our first 6 week challenge! Rock it, everyone!  

A Level 3 Wood Elf Finding Her Way


 


“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.†William G.T. Shedd


 


 


 My People  :livid:


 


Current Challenge: Taking Time


 


 


 

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Hey guys! Thanks for all the support! Sorry I've been AWOL the past few days leading up to the challenge; grad school attacked pretty hard the past few days. :-(

 

However, I feel like I've totally kicked butt today so I had to update this: today not only did I survive my krav maga class, but I've done a total of 130 burpees. While I may feel a bit like death, I also rocked my own expectations.

 

For some context, this is my Krav Maga gym's website; the lead instructor's name is quite appropriately 'Molotov'.

"Whatever doesn't kill me... had better start running."


Challenge: 1, 2


 

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Thanks guys! Yea, the 130 burpees was unintentional; I'm taking part in a daily burpee PvP and so I'm only supposed to do 30 a day. On Monday I did my 30 before my krav maga class and halfway through class the instructor told us to drop and do 100 burpees in a single set. Felt like I was going to die at the time but I'm ok now. :-)

"Whatever doesn't kill me... had better start running."


Challenge: 1, 2


 

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Hey guys with weight loss goals, another cool research article!!! (this is a re-post from the Brigade thread)


 


I'm at work (recall biomedical PhD student) and came across a really interesting article on fat metabolism. It's a review of the major 'fat burning' compounds that you've probably heard about on the news/commercials but it looks at the actual biomedical data to support (or throw out) those assertions. Here's the link: http://onlinelibrary...11.00908.x/full


If you have a hard time viewing it, let me know and I'll send you the PDF. 


 


Some highlights: Caffeine and green tea have demonstrable effects on increasing fat metabolism


 


I also recently put up a link (post #14) to a study looking at the effects of capsaicin on body composition.


 


Cheers!


"Whatever doesn't kill me... had better start running."


Challenge: 1, 2


 

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