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Steve

Steve the Troubadour Assassin Returns

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Hey guys!

So I realize I'm late setting this up, but I'm back in the Challenge! I'm not gonna lie, I freaking ROCKED this past month. After surviving Camp Nerd Fitness and then a week on the west coast, I returned to Nashville exhausted, after what had felt like a year of nonstop travel and events and weddings.

 

I spent the entire month of October getting back on track. I didn't travel anywhere for the first time in probably...like 3 years. I turned down two trips, said no to a wedding, and said no to a lot of other things. My October consisted of sleep, write, read, eat, game, and lift.  I got into bed before 10pm, was up generally before 7AM, and never missed a workout.

 

At the beginning of the month my weight was down to 170 lbs, and for a guy packing on weight that was far lower than it should have been - attributed to running like crazy at camp, travel, etc.

 

So I spent October eating like a madman (quality calories), and didn't miss a single workout. As of this week, my weight is up to 183, the most I've weighed since I was probably 22 or 23, so I feel really encouraged. I'm starting this challenge with a full head of steam.

 

MY GOALS FOR THIS SIX-WEEK CHALLENGE

 

My goals for this are as diverse and ridiculous as my life is currently. NOTE: The only reason my goals are as plentiful and varied as they are as these are all current habits or habits that I have been building for a while. 

 

1) WARRIOR QUESTS: I'm hitting PRs in all of my lifts lately, and although this extra weight is making all of my gymnastics stuff harder, it's also making me stronger, so I'm more than okay with some extra size along with the muscle. My goal for these next six week is to put on another 4-6 lbs, and I will do that by accomplishing the following:

  • 3-4 strength based workouts per week. Two upper body days and two lower body days. Lower body is heavy barbell, upper body is primarily gymnastics or bodyweight focused.
  • Continued focus on quality and plentiful calories. Powerbomb shakes, lots of chicken and rice, whole milk, tons of vegetables. Aim is for 3500-4000 calories on training day, less on other days.
  • 8 Hours of sleep per night. This was a focus in the month of October and I noticed how much it improved my life!

2) ASSASSIN QUESTS: 10 minutes of handstand training, six days per week. I usually get this on every week day, and I'll add it in at least one weekend day.

 

3) DRUID QUEST: 2 minutes of meditation every day using calm.com app on my iPhone. I just broke an 11 day streak this past weekend - friends in town for a wedding and I forgot, but I'm back on track and started a new streak yesterday.

 

4) TROUBADOR QUESTS: I'm adding a lot of 'Bard' challenges to this one, as I live for music and I happen to live in music city. Honestly there's not a day that goes by where I don't play music in some fashion: guitar, piano, now violin or singing - it's my stress reliever.

 

And I like the word Troubadour better than bard. So these are Troubadour challenges: 

 

1) Play the violin for 20 minutes a day, six days a week. I have it currently set up next to my desk so I have to look at it all day long while I'm working, and I take violin lessons every Tuesday. I'll see if I can post updates or some little ditties today and then follow up with where I am in 6 weeks. 

 

2) Practice singing 10 minutes a day, six days a week. I just started taking voice lessons last week, as I set a goal of standing on a street corner next summer with a guitar/keyboard somewhere and playing a 5-6 song set list and not embarass myself. Just singing in front of other people is terrifying for me, but after my first two lessons I'm learning I'm not nearly as bad as I thought I was and have already noticed a marked improvement since adding formal training.

 

TL:DR RECAP:

  • Pack on another 4-6 lbs of quality size with 3-4 days a week of strength training, calorie surplus, and sleep.
  • Continue to work on handstands for 10 minutes per day, getting closer to goal of a 60 second free standing handstand.
  • Meditate for 2 minutes every morning, six days a week using calm.com
  • Play the violin for 20 minutes a day
  • Sing for 20 minutes a day, six days a week

This is quite the diverse challenge, I admit, but I'm excited to write about it and share the story. Let's do this thing!

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MONDAY: November 10

 

Meditated, did handstands, played violin, sang!

 

Weight: 183.

 

WORKOUT

 

A1) Neutral grip pull-up

 

Perma-warm-up: 5xBW, 5x+20lbs

  • Week two: 3x4x+47.5 lbs.

A2) Weighted dips

 

Warm-up: 5xBW, 5x+20 lbs
  • Week two: 3x4x+55 lbs.
B1) Tuck Front lever hold

 

3 sets @ 6 seconds

 
B2) Tuck Planche hold
 

3 sets @ 6 seconds

 

C) Ring complex -

 

3 sets –

1. Muscle-up

2. Muscle-up

3. Hold ring support position for 10 seconds

4. Retract + depress for 10 seconds

 

D1) Reverse curls

 

12x20lbs, 12x20lbs, 12x20lbs

 
D2) Ring rows

 

8, 8, 7

 

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TUESDAY:

 

Up early. Meditated, crushed a lot of content for NF, did handstands, big lunch.

 

Singing lesson #2: Worked on scales, finding pitch, and testing my range. Worked on two songs while playing along (well, trying to!). "I and Love and You" by the Avett Brothers, and "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead on guitar. 

 

Violin lesson #7ish: Worked on some irish jig jams, and trying to get better at sight-reading sheet music. Trying to sight-read and make sure my hands are both in the right position was mentally exhausting and it was a super challenging lesson, but I'm glad. 

 

After a morning full of writing and then two intense lessons, my brain is fried!

 

Good day though! Assassin's Creed: unity just showed up in the mail so I might unwind with a bit of that. Or some Call of Duty :)

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Awesome challenge. I love how you are working on your music skills. The goal of standing and singing on the street corner is inspiring and brave.

 

This scares the crap out of me, as I'm currently struggling to get myself to sing fully in front of my voice coach. A long way to go.

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Believe it or not, I actually came on to this thread to joke about how with a name like that, people might think you were THAT Steve.

I guess I was technically correct :tongue:

What are you working on in handstand training? Getting a handstand? Improving one? Advanced stuff like a tuck/straddle handstand?

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This scares the crap out of me, as I'm currently struggling to get myself to sing fully in front of my voice coach. A long way to go.

 

 

Wow, this is an excellent goal. This'll be great to watch. 

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TUESDAY:

Up early. Meditated, crushed a lot of content for NF, did handstands, big lunch.

Singing lesson #2: Worked on scales, finding pitch, and testing my range. Worked on two songs while playing along (well, trying to!). "I and Love and You" by the Avett Brothers, and "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead on guitar.

Violin lesson #7ish: Worked on some irish jig jams, and trying to get better at sight-reading sheet music. Trying to sight-read and make sure my hands are both in the right position was mentally exhausting and it was a super challenging lesson, but I'm glad.

After a morning full of writing and then two intense lessons, my brain is fried!

Good day though! Assassin's Creed: unity just showed up in the mail so I might unwind with a bit of that. Or some Call of Duty :)

I LOVE Fake Plastic Trees!! Way to have two great first days!

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You should do a recorded song for the NF faithful. It may help bridge the gap where in a way it's performing in front of people and in a way it isn't. Might be easy to rationalize it as no big deal, get through it, then be able to perform directly in front of people because it's actually fewer people than what you did here.

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*points*

Hey, I recognise that bloke!

Interesting challenge goals (handstands FTW!). I might have missed an update or two, but I remember you posting a while back (on an update called "What Would Iron Man Do?") about some spine problems that were going to prevent you doing warrioresque, lifty things and pushy you in a more scouty/druidy direction, but I see you've got lifting as a goal here. Does that mean you're over the problem now? I mean you're not just pushing your luck, I hope? Do I need to look at you sternly over the top of my glasses and tell you to reconsider? Because I will if I have to, you know.

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Believe it or not, I actually came on to this thread to joke about how with a name like that, people might think you were THAT Steve.

I guess I was technically correct :tongue:

What are you working on in handstand training? Getting a handstand? Improving one? Advanced stuff like a tuck/straddle handstand?

 

Working towards holding a 60 second freestanding handstand. At the moment I'm up to 45 seconds: 

 

You should do a recorded song for the NF faithful. It may help bridge the gap where in a way it's performing in front of people and in a way it isn't. Might be easy to rationalize it as no big deal, get through it, then be able to perform directly in front of people because it's actually fewer people than what you did here.

 

Ha, another one of my goals is to write and record a song...so we'll see :)  I think the progression will be something like:

1) Learn and perfect a 5-6 song set at home

2) Record the songs and put on internet (gasp)

3) Perform the set on an empty street corner in the middle of nowhere

4) Perform that set on a busy street corner

5) Profit :)

 

Actually I don't have aspirations of being a rockstar, though I do live for music and think it would be a blast to end up on a stage sometime as it just looks like SO MUCH FREAKING FUN. Probably as the 3rd guitarist in the back :)

 

*points*

Hey, I recognise that bloke!

Interesting challenge goals (handstands FTW!). I might have missed an update or two, but I remember you posting a while back (on an update called "What Would Iron Man Do?") about some spine problems that were going to prevent you doing warrioresque, lifty things and pushy you in a more scouty/druidy direction, but I see you've got lifting as a goal here. Does that mean you're over the problem now? I mean you're not just pushing your luck, I hope? Do I need to look at you sternly over the top of my glasses and tell you to reconsider? Because I will if I have to, you know.

 

Haha, no need to yell at me :)  I've been working with a coach for the past 10 months and slowly (VERY slowly) increasing my strength and core and have had no problem with squats and deadlifts. My core is stronger than ever and my back hasn't been an issue at all other than when I sit for too long in a bad way.  Set a PR on deadlifts last week and will do the same this week, and next week...and the next week...

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I'd love to stand on a street corner and sing with you!

 

I miss my instruments - and need to get my vocal instrument back into working order!

 

Love that you are putting into practice the very core of NF!

 

And - I love you, man! ;-)

Gabe does too!

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Workout Day B

 

weight: 185
 
meditated
handstands
 
A) Back squat
 
Warm-up: 10xbar, 5x95
 

3x3x115 [1.5 reppers]

 

B1) Snatch grip romanian deadlift

Warm-up: 10xbar, 5x135

 

3x8x185

 

C1) Pistol squat-4 sets @ 2 reps per set w/ 3 second pause @ bottom

 
C2) L-Sit on parallel bars – 4 sets @ 10 seconds hold 
 
D) COMPLEX - 3 total sets

D1) Straddle compression leg lifts x 3 with a 1 second pause

D2) Straddle V-ups x 3 x 3-10

 

E1) Calves, 3x20 – RPE @ 8-9 50lbs dumbbells

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Huzzah for another bard!  I started singing/playing mandolin about five years ago, with no true background in either, and the idea of performing a song in front of a crowd scared the crap outta me.  Now (well, technically next year), I'll be returning for my fifth season as a full-time musician at the Georgia Renaissance Festival.  

 

And since I know you're a Carbon Leaf fan, if you want to work on some of their stuff, look at either Blue Ridge Laughing (4 chords) or Sad and Alone (3 chords).  Both are very easy to pick up and probably won't take more than a day or two of practice time to get worked out on guitar.

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Singing in front of people scares the crap outta me too.  Although that comes from having an older sister with an amazing voice.  I do love performing though - a year from now I hope to be in the instructor showcase at the aerial arts studio I just got hire to teach at!!  Aerial hoop performance, here I come!!

 

I've really started to get into the calm app too.  At first it annoyed me, but I'm getting used to it now.  Last night I fell asleep while using it and woke up an hour later wondering why the light was still on! lol 

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Haha, no need to yell at me :) I've been working with a coach for the past 10 months and slowly (VERY slowly) increasing my strength and core and have had no problem with squats and deadlifts. My core is stronger than ever and my back hasn't been an issue at all other than when I sit for too long in a bad way. Set a PR on deadlifts last week and will do the same this week, and next week...and the next week...

OK, that is acceptable. We will let you stay at our website.
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This scares the crap out of me, as I'm currently struggling to get myself to sing fully in front of my voice coach. A long way to go.

This is what makes it so cool. You are an inspiration!

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It's great to see you include music in your goals.  I always have juggling goals in mine.  I even started a Circus Accountabilibuddy group.  http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/56069-join-the-circus/

 

There are lots of us that want to pursue creativity as well as fitness.  It counts as mental health. It improves dexterity, mental focus, stress relief, strength, etc.  

 

I am a contact juggler and it's meditative for me.  It helps me hit the FLOW state.  It's the balance between mastery and challenge.

http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow

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This scares the crap out of me, as I'm currently struggling to get myself to sing fully in front of my voice coach. A long way to go.

 

Sing with a group on a lit stage - with the house lights down/off.  You can't even tell that there are people out there unless they cough.

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