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Greetings all! Long time reader-first time contributor to the Nerd challenge. Woot! 


I'm a 30 year old Active Duty ER nurse in the World's Finest Navy currently stationed in Italy and working on a Master’s in Emergency Services Management.


Long -underdog- story short - for the past year I have been plagued with some medical issues that have kept me from pursuing much physical activity other than the minimal effort required to maintain at least a "good" status on the PFT.


Main Quest


Try to take over the world!


Or I guess for this challenge -  gradually increase my lifts to where I was before I had to stop over 4 months ago, increase my running distance while decreasing my run time, and explore Europe!


Quest Goals


1) Lose enough weight so I can fit back into my khakis comfortably, (uniforms are expensive!). I will do this by returning to a 3-day/week lift program with 30 minutes minimum of cardio on my non-lift days.

2) Improve my run distance and overall time. 'Nuf said.

3) Conquer cravings I am reinstituting the food/exercise journal to track calories and to better balance my eating choices. After all, I turned 30 this year, this metabolism isn't getting any faster.


Side Quests

  1. Lose at least 1 pound per week.
  2. Visit/engage in three new places or activities by the end of 6 weeks.
  3. Complete at least one graduate class by the end of the challenge.
  4. Teach my new puppy to jog with me.
  5. Learn one new Italian word per day.



"In the cold, dark night before the battle, when the steely fangs of evil are sharpened and poised to strike,  
the hero must go and face his greatest challenge alone." (Rhino)




Forget the grades. Do or do not. There is no try.



Knowing I am be-awesome.

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I can relate to your need to want to explore and broaden your horizons, I've started going to museums and doing all that I can. Much luck to you and your success! :)

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I feel for you. Military life is demanding and generally not very understanding when it comes to chronic health issues. Thanks for serving and may the rewards for your efforts be bountiful!

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Thank you ladies!


Motivation for the day: "The black knight always triumphs!"


Sunday I lifted for the first time in 4 months (squat, bench, row, situps, pushups, and a 1-mile jog: 1/2 mile with each dog). It's been 3 days and I'm finally starting to walk without the zombie shuffle and as of this morning I no longer need the handicap bar in the restroom. Progress.


Despite the intense soreness in my legs (and core and shoulders and back), I managed to get in 30 minutes on the bike the last 2 nights at work in between patients, as well as overhead press and curls. I have also increased my fresh veggie and fruit intake to the tune of being able to log my total calories at around 1300 for the last 2 days that I've worked. [shamefully, I must admit I gave into temptation tonight and ate 3 peanut m&ms - oh the horror!) I didn't quite meet my goal of doing a heavy lift session every other day dut to my lower half being too stiff yesterday, but I think after one more nights sleep I should be back to a state in which I feel I can deadlift safely.


And the Italian word of the day is rabbit = "coniglio" (co-nee-lee-oh).

Or the phrase of the day: "È il coniglio" = "It is the rabbit"

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Motivation for the day, "the impossible is possible when you are awesome!" (Rhino)

Well I just got through another day off that didn't feel like a day off. But I prevailed!

Got up early to teach an EMT class (and when I say early I mean midnight because that's what it feels like to get up at noon when you're currently on a night shift rotation). Ugh.

Took a nap.

Got 2 assignments done for one of my graduate classes.

Got my second lift session in for the week! Today was squats, overhead press, and dead lift day. Also jogged about 1/2 mile with one of the dogs. Next time I'll do the jog before the lifts so I don't feel like jello. I'm almost embarrassed to even admit I could only do 1/2 mile tonight without losing steam, but all good comeback stories have humble beginnings right?

Spent some quality time with the hubby watching minecraft videos. Ok, so I fell asleep during those, but hey we were in the same room together. :)

I realized tonight that I never posted my beginning stats so here they are.

30yo female, height 5'6, weight 145lbs

Starting max weights (lbs) on my lifts, 5x5:
Squat 65
Bench 65
Row 35
Overhead press 45
Dead lift 100
Curls 25

Here's to seeing what those numbers look like in 6 weeks.

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Day 7 Sitrep:


Starting to feel like a Rebel!


Since Sunday I have successfully lifted twice. The initial squat soreness really put a damper on my lift plans for the week, but I think I'm past the Zombie shuffle. 


Earlier in the week at work I got in two 30-minute cardio sessions and tonight I was able to jog a 3K (slow - 22 minutes), walked 1K, then ran the last 1K for a total of 5K in 39:53.


Pretty soon I'll be moving like the zombies in Dawn of the Dead! (the new one) Or at least fast enough to run away from the shambling ones.


As far as nutrition, I've done pretty well in that I've managed to stay at or below 1500-1600 calories per day. Tonight I even got up early enough to make a sausage & cabbage soup for my (nightshift) lunch and a side salad with crumbled bleu cheese and chicken strips. The EMTs I work with always cook something at night, but I have conquered their temptations to partake of their non-waist-friendly grub.


Feeling confident. Since I started on Sunday, I will post my week-1 weight update tomorrow.

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End of week 1 update:


Beginning weight: 145.0lbs. Weight when I got up today: 142.0lbs


Managed to get to bed early last night and consequently woke up early enough to get my third lift session in today.


Beginning max weight on:

Squats 65lbs  Today 85lbs

Bench press 65lbs  Today 80lbs

Bent over row 35lbs  Today 40lbs

+ 4 sets of decline situps for 50 total


And I still have a whole night at work to fit in some extra cardio. Huzzah!


Italian phrase of the day: "Mi piace!" (Me pee-ah-chay) = "I like it!"

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Just took a quick cardio break at work. Ran my first under-10-minute mile in many months!


1.61km (1 mile) in 9:56 with a 6 minute cool down walk bringing the total up to 2.14km in 16 minutes. Erid Liddell eat your heart out! Ok, so I'll never be as amazing as Eric Liddell, but I'm feeling like watching Chariots of Fire all the same.


Menu for the day: steak and eggs for breakfast, garden salad with lite balsamic dressing, leftover turkey sausage and cabbage soup, and dinner is yet TBD... I have an orange on standby for emergency snackage.


Onward and upward!

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Sunday update: steady progress


Almost got thwarted by evil adversaries key lime pie and apple strudel at work last night. Almost. Finished out the day at about 1400 calories total and managed to squeeze in 30 minutes on the bike at work last night. It was a light-moderate workout but it was better than nothing.


Also finished up my next graduate assignment a week in advance. Booyah.


Italian for the day is "fa caldo" = it is hot.

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Whoever mentioned earlier about accidentally hitting the backspace button and losing all your text - yeah I just did that. Stupid quick key.


Well, it's Day 11 now I guess. I dunno what happened between Sunday and Monday but if I was a Sim my energy bar yesterday would have been in the red zone. I was tired and hungry all day and wasn't feeling too well so Day 10 turned into a nap, Netflix, veg on the couch, Skyrim, nap, kinda day. The one productive thing I did manage to do was book hotels for our not-too-distant vacation to Transylvania for Halloween, which at least corresponds to one side quest. Excited for October!


Today, however, has been the exact opposite of yesterday. Since I got up I've managed to go grocery shopping to restock my fruits and veggies, washed all the dishes (and I do mean ALL the dishes), cleaned the kitchen, swept the downstairs, vacuumed the upstairs, did laundry, and even rescued my husband from the Navy College where his motorcycle battery had gone dead. 


AND I've already lifted for the day, results as follows (5 reps each x 5 sets):


o   Squat - 55, 65, 75, 85, 90
        Bench press - 55, 65, 75, 80, 85 (had to dig for that last set)
        Bent over row - 25, 30, 35, 40, 45
        Decline bench situps - 6 sets of 12 = 72 total

        Military pushups - 20

o   Jogged ½ mile before rows (5min.) and Â½ mile after rows (5min.) for 1 mile total to keep the HR up


And just for comparison, below are my Lift Day 1, Week 1, weights:


o   Squat - 45, 45, 55, 65, 65
        Bench press - 45, 45, 55, 55, 65
        Bent over Row - 25, 25, 30, 30, 35
        Decline bench Situps - 5 sets of 10 = 50 total

        Military pushups - 10

I may have to cut my losses with the side quest of jogging with my dogs. They're just too undisciplined right now and they end up hindering my workouts. That may have to be a side-side-quest preferably in the fall when it gets cooler.
Ciao tutti!

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Was unable to get in any cardio at work last night as we were unusually busy with ambulance runs, baby deliveries, and a few other urgent scenarios. I'm not complaining though, it was a nice change of pace as we are usually pretty slow here at night.


But today one of my coworkers working an overlapping shift has been gracious enough to allow me to come into work late, so I intend on using my extra time productively.


So far I have finished my last and final paper/assignment for one of my graduate courses (YAY) which is exciting, because now I can fully concentrate on finishing the other. And now I am putting together my lift plan for the evening as I sip on my first mug of coffee for the day.


Did anyone else read the latest newsletter on intermittent fasting?  I just skimmed through it, but it was actually kind of nice hearing that it's OK to skip breakfast every now and then.  I have on many occasions found myself eating because I felt like it was what I was SUPPOSED to do rather than what my body was actually asking for at the time.  Breakfast is often one of those moments.  Some days I'm just not hungry in the mornings and I'd rather have a cup of tea or coffee than steak and eggs or the like.


So cheers to Nerd Fitness for supporting my desire to skip breakfast!  :)

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Day 13 update:


Today was a lift day. Still making steady progress. i may have to declare war on the mosquitos soon though - they are vicious right now! I must look like I have the pox with all these bites.  Grrr.  


 Lifts for today (lbs): squat, OH press, deadlifts, curls (5x5)


o   Squat - 55, 65, 80, 95, 100
        OH press – 30, 35, 40, 45, 50

        Deadlift – 95, 95, 100, 100, 110

        Decline Situpss – 7 sets of 12 + last set of 20 for 104 total

o   Military Pushups - 22 (1set max)

o   Jogged 1.23 miles in 12:45 keeping avg pace of 10:18/mi


Got a few more bodyweight squats in when I got home and found that the puppy had got his paws on a brand new roll of paper towels.  I think it was his way of rebelling against the fact that I've been jogging without him.

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Hey!  You're making great progress on your lifts!


Where are you in Italy?  I just went to Milan for a few days the other week [i'm from the US but live in Portugal] - the heat and humidity were awful enough, but the mosquitoes just made it all even worse!  My ankles looked terrrrrrrrible.


I really like your goal of learning one Italian word/phrase a day - it's so quick and easy that it seems kind of ridiculous to not do it, right?  Five or ten words would be much easier to put off.


I did intermittent fasting for a while and really enjoyed it - for me personally, it was a good way to control myself a little bit more when it came to food.  I spend a lot of time at home and can therefore easily start grazing and snacking even though I'm not really hungry - but if I know that I'm not "allowed" to eat anything during a certain timeframe, it's much easier to stick to that.  I'd like to get back to it at some point.  If you're not hungry, don't force yourself to eat!  At the same time, though, make sure you're still eating enough over the whole day - from what I've been reading, even 1500-1600 might be a bit low for someone as active as you are.

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Hi - thanks.  I've moved my progress reports over to my new Battle Log if you want to follow.  We are in SIgonella, Sicily right now and yes the mosquitos have been TERRIBLE. I haven't ventured out of Sicily yet to explore the rest of Italy (or Europe for that matter) but we have a few trips planned for the not-too-distant future when it cools down some.


How is Portugal? What took you over there from the states?

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Ah, okay, I'll go check it out.


Portugal's pretty great - I love living by the ocean!  Long story short - after college, I worked in Germany for almost two years.  While I was there, I visited a friend in Portugal a few times and really liked the country, and I had already been wanting to learn the language for a while.  So when I was kind of "over" Germany and was figuring out where to go and what to do next, I just figured I'd try out Portugal!

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Wow. This thread is just full of so much win that I just don't know what to do with myself. Monty Python references, language tutorials, and getting to cheer on both a nurse AND a military professional (neither of whom get enough credit, in my opinion), and grad school success? Man. Congrats on your progress so far!! :)

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What places have you visited/are planning to visit? :) I've been to Italy a couple of times and loved it. Want to get back for more exploring. Where about in Europe you want to go? 


Aaand back to fitness topic, amazing progress!! No, really amazing :o

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Well, in and around SIcily we have been to Agrigento and the Turkish Steppes on the West coast, San Vito lo Capo (beach) on the North coast, and Taormina and Cassibile (beach) on the East coast.  I've also been hiking at Cava Grande (beast mode) and Alcantara, and I have enjoyedf a few cooking classes at a farm in Mineo and an epic Sicilian progressive dinner at an agriturismo in Borgo.  We were supposed to go snorkeling at Marzamemi Sunday night, but the boat broke down, so that adventure may have to wait for a while. In Italy, we would like to get to Rome, Tuscany, and Venice at some point.


In Europe, my husband and I have differing "must go here" lists, but together we both want to go to Scotland and Ireland. My husband has expressed interest in Kiev and Budapest, whereas I really want to go to Sweden and Iceland and I would also love to be able to say that I have been skiing in the Swiss Alps at least once.  I've also heard good things about visiting Germany at Christmas, so that might be a fun trip as well.


In the next few months I have plans to visit London to meet a friend, and then to Romania for Halloween.  I was actually looking online at ordering vampire fangs just for fun for that trip. I found a website that sells red theatrical contact lenses - but they require a Dr's order in order to purchase them, even if they're non-prescription. Since I'm overseas and in the military I'm not sure that would fly too smoothly, so I guess I'll have to pass on the Twilight eyes.

And thank you! I appreciate all the support and encouragement I can get.

Any suggestions about places you've been around Europe?

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Definitely go to Germany [or Austria!] around Christmas!  I'm actually not even all that into Christmas, but I love hanging out at a good German or Austrian Christmas market with a hot mug of mulled wine.  Ahhhhh...

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Was just looking at my initial thread/main quest. While I think I have moved away from some of my initial stated goals, I feel like I'm doing really well overall.  (Specific details posted on my Battle Log)

WIN: I've stayed pretty consistent on my diet as far as keeping calories in check and I've been able to increase my protein intake slowly with new cleaner eating habits. I have no intention of going 100% paleo because I don't feel like it's realistic or sustainable, but I have been trying to find creative ways to increase my lean protein and fruits/veggies per day. I lost 3 pounds the first week into this and have remained there ever since - however I don't count this is a loss because I can tell that my clothes fit different and I'm feeling a little bit more comfortable/confident in my skin every day, so I know my body is slowly reconstituting itself.


While I was able to squeeze back into my (3yr old) khakis this past week, I have come to the realization that even if I did slim down a bit more, I'd still need to purchase a new uniform because my thighs are now too thick to fit comfortably into the slacks. So while I was hoping to not have to buy new khakis and go through the tailoring process out here - I think it's inevitable. I'm ok with that now.


WIN: I've made substantial improvement in my lifts since I started almost a month ago and I'm pretty much back up to where I was 4 months ago when the household goods got packed up to ship to Italy. 


WIN: And I have now visited 3 new spots in Sicily: Beach at Cassibile, Dinner in Borgo, and Rock Climbing at Castelmota. 


WIN: I finished my first graduate class and am halfway through the second.

LOSS: I haven't maintained my new Italian word each day or taught the puppy to jog yet, but I am quite pleased with my successes so far.


This has been a good challenge. Thank you Nerd Fitness and Nerd Fitness Family.

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(Copied from my Battle Log but felt like I needed to post it here too to finalize the first challenge:)


Monday's Numbers - End of First 6-week Challenge Results:


(for reps)    Week 1              Week 6

Weight:        145.0lbs             141.4lbs

Squat:          65lbs                  135lbs

Bench:         65lbs                   92.5lbs

Row:            35lbs                   65lbs

OHP:           45lbs                   57.5lbs

DL:              110lbs                 145lbs


Overall: loss of 3.6lbs


Measurements from Week 3: August 15, 2013

ü  Thigh: 23†at widest point

ü  Hip: 36†at widest point

ü  Waist: 32†at belly button            

ü  Bicep: 10.5†at widest point

ü  Calf: 14.5†R, 14†L


Measurements from Week 6: September 9, 2013

ü  Thigh: 22.5†at widest point

ü  Hip: 35†at widest point

ü  Waist: 30.5†at belly button            

ü  Bicep: 10.75†at widest point

ü  Calf: 14.5†R, 14†L


Not bad for my first challenge.  Although my goals definitely shifted about halfway through as far as focusing more on strength than cardio.  
1) I got my lifts back up to my pre-overseas-move weights and beyond for a few new PRs.  
2) I also did well on my adventure goals (Cassibile, rock climbing at Castelmota, Mineo, snorkeling off Marzamemi, etc.) and I have taken up rock-climbing as a new hobby at the indoor gym on base.
3) Finished my first grad class and am 2 weeks away from finishing the second. Enrolled in the third which will start in about a month.
1) The teaching the puppy to jog campaign has been put on hold as I am teaching him to use a new gentle-leader style leash.  
2) I also did not do as well keeping up with my Italian word-of-the-day.  
Overall - I am going to give myself a grade of PASS WITH FLYING COLORS simply because this challenge helped get me out of a pretty wicked funk that I had been in for a while and the "losses" were minimal.  The reward of feeling better and finding my motivation again was well worth it. Bring on the next challenge (to be continued in a new Battle Log...)

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