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MAIN QUEST: Do my first pull-up.

Mini-main quest: Continue my "year of consistency." I'll get my time in under the bar, continue working on mobility, figure out how to eat in a way that supports my health, strength, and happiness, and see what happens...

 

This is my first New Year's with NF! Now that I have a good foundation for fitness and health, it’s time to work on the weak points. Which brings me to the theme of this challenge:

 

Hakuna Matata

a.k.a. Don’t Stress About Food

 

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I’ve been focusing on eating “clean,†and I definitely feel better as a result. However, that alone doesn’t mean that I’m eating optimally for my goals (whether that’s gaining strength or cutting bf%). I need to add more structure into my nutrition, but without getting frustrated by slow progress or bogged down by perfectionism. That brings me to my first goal:

 

Goal 1: Counting with curiosity [+3 WIS, +1 CHA, +2 STR]

 

I’ll be tracking food with the goal of figuring out what works best for me. Possible questions that I can answer with this data (albeit not all at once) include:

  • What does “eating at maintenance†mean for me?
  • What is a sustainable calorie deficit for me?
  • Am I eating enough protein?
  • Do I feel better if I eat more/fewer meals?
  • How does my carb intake affect how I feel?

In addition to tracking food on My Fitness Pal, every day I’ll also log how I feel (energy-wise, mood-wise, etc.).

 

I tried something like this during my second challenge and it quickly turned into a fiasco because of lingering body image and food issues. Why will it be different this time around?

 

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  1. I’m going to eat more, for starters.
  2. MFP now thinks that I’m a very active individual who wants to maintain her weight and therefore won’t tell me that I’ve exceeded my calorie goal on a regular basis. Turning my daily stats red isn’t cool, MFP.
  3. I will NOT measure my success by “results†(i.e., fat loss, which is an eventual goal). Any information that I gain from this is valuable. Also, there will be less frequent tracking of these results. I have a before photo and the fit of my clothes to track changes during the challenge, and I know my approximate starting measurements/weight if I want to check these down the road.
  4. Different motivation—this is for the lifts. I want to be strong for my size, and I don’t want inconsistent intake to mess with my progress. As a novice, I’ve gotten away with not having on-target nutrition, but that won’t always be the case.
  5. I *think* I’m better prepared for this challenge now than I was last summer. For one thing, I’ve fallen in love with lifting and it helps keep me sane. Life outside of the gym is going pretty well, too.

So, that’s the big goal for this challenge. Other things I need to work on:

 

Goal 2: Mindful eating [+2 WIS]

 

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When did eating at the computer become a habit again? For this challenge: always eat sitting down, and at least one meal each day should be eaten without distractions (computer, reading, etc.—music and conversation are fine).

 

Goal 3: Conditioning 2x/week [+3 STA]

 

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I’ve neglected conditioning work since I started lifting. However, even though strength training is my main goal, I do want a base level of conditioning for my daily tasks, hiking, and powerlifting. This challenge I'll build the habit of incorporating conditioning of some form into my weekly routine. The workouts will probably consist of rowing since I hate treadmills, don’t fancy running in the cold/dark/wet, and don’t have access to a swimming pool unless I purchase another gym membership.

 

Goal 4: Scheduling for sleep [+2 CON]

 

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I have trouble getting to sleep on time because of 1) evening workouts, and 2) messing around on the computer in the evening. To make sure bed time doesn’t get pushed back by these things, I’ll

  1. Get to the gym by 6:30 pm so I can change, warm-up, and be ready to lift by 7 pm.
  2. Stay off the computer for leisure purposes (Facebook, non-work email, reading blogs, watching movies/shows, Nerd Fitness…) after 8:30 pm. Ideally I won’t do any chores (e.g., grocery shopping) or school work on the computer after this time, either.

Life Quest [+2 CHA]

Go to two swing dance events (lesson, dance, etc.).

 

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Yeah, no lifting goal because getting the lifts in is now easy for me. This challenge starts at my 16th week of Starting Strength, and the workouts will mostly be posted in the battle log. Not quite sure what will be posted here... probably ramblings, food photos, and Lion King gifs (and please contribute to these :) ). I don't plan on posting much raw MFP data, but if anyone's curious about what I'm trying (macros, meals, etc.), feel free to ask.

 

 

tl;dr:

  • Goal 1: Track food on MFP without the tracking becoming a source of stress. Also track how I feel that day.
  • Goal 2: Work on mindful eating (eat sitting down + one meal/day without distractions).
  • Goal 3: Conditioning 2x/week (probably rowing)
  • Goal 4: Get to the gym by 6:30 pm and get off the computer by 8:30 pm (at least for non-work activities) so I can get to bed on time.
  • Life Quest: Start swing dancing again by going to at least 2 swing somethings.
  • Lifts ( = Starting Strength) are in the battle log.

hakuna-matata-o.gif

  • Like 2
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Week One Recap

 

Tracking: Missed a few days because of traveling after all, but I'm slowly accumulating data since I started on Jan. 1. First observation: I think I do feel better when I get more protein. I'm guessing I was getting ~130-150 g/day before. That's adequate, but I'm feeling better (less cravings/hunger) at ~165-185 g (i.e., around 1 g/lb body weight). Right now I'm largely making up the previous deficit using an aptly named protein powder (Warrior Blend).

 

And sanity levels are high. I'm trying to be relatively consistent so I can tell what works, but I'm not fixating on the numbers.

 

Mindfulness: Receptions during travel = some eating while standing; otherwise, on track here.

 

Conditioning: 2 rowing sessions (Tuesday and Sunday). On Sunday I ran into two of the other girls from the lifting club with the same plan, so I had company for that day's conditioning :).

 

Sleep scheduling: In my brain-numbed state I accidentally started flipping through Facebook on my phone after 8:30 pm one night (whoops), but otherwise this goal is going well. A great side effect is that I now have more time to read in the evenings. I've already finished a Terry Pratchett book (Strata) and am now on to a collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov.

 

Swing: none yet... unless you count a few spins and Charleston kicks with friends during the trip :tongue:.

 

 

Week Two Recap

 

Tracking: success

  • I think I've found a consistent calorie intake that's easy to sustain and doesn't hurt my workouts. Now it's just a waiting game to see where it lies in relation to my maintenance. TDEE estimates are all over the place depending on the specific calculator, activity level, and bf%, so it's down to empirical data to figure out which one is accurate.
  • My fruit intake has also gone waaaay down--I'm just not interested in eating that much fruit (possibly because I'm getting enough protein now).
  • Sanity levels are still good, too, although I need to stay OFF the scale. I was trying to get a good baseline, but all the traveling has made that a bit difficult. I'm still reading about a kilo high compared to the fall, but that's probably accurate now...so, baring doctor's visits and the like, no need to weigh until ~the end of the challenge (at the earliest).
  • I forgot to add that my lever belt serves as a good "measurement" too. I had to let it out a hole post-holidays, but I think it's time to move it back now that the post-travel bloat is going away (yay).
  • Did I mention that I'm happy that the traveling is done? And that I can eat ALL the veggies (not just the ubiquitous potatoes)?

Mindfulness: done

 

Conditioning: rowing on Monday (500 m intervals x 4), Thursday (15 min., with a power 10 every 500 m), and Saturday (10 min, again with a power 10 every 500 m). I like rowing, but I may have to find a substitute if the elbow issues persist. We'll see. Also, I'm getting faster!

 

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Sleep scheduling: I'm getting to the gym on time and, besides reading (but NOT responding to) a non-work email too late on Monday, I'm following the computer guidelines, too. I was going to lift earlier in the day on Wednesday because of a Thursday morning exam, but, since some of the exams are in the multipurpose room next to the free weights area, all of the platforms were closed and deadlifts were off limits :(. (Yeah, I get why, but still... no deadlifts is sad). So I lifted with the club after all and got my deadlifts in :).

 

Swing: yeah, I need to get on this

 

 

Week Three Recap

 

Tracking: one more week of data collected, and I stayed off the scale

 

Mindfulness: done

 

Conditioning: thought it was three sessions, but turned out to be four when I checked my log book: rowing on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday

 

Sleep scheduling: done

 

Swing: maybe this weekend?

 

 

Week Four Recap

 

Tracking: the data collection continues. One thing that I've realized is that if I ever want to up my carbs significantly, I'm probably going to have to add back rice (which I don't think bothers me)--I can only eat so much sweet potato and fruit.

 

Mindfulness: yep

 

Conditioning: rowing on Monday, upper boday circuit on Wednesday. I'm going to buck the general Warrior trend and say that I'm not a huge fan of strength-based circuits for conditioning. They're a great tool and I'll still do them periodically... but I like focusing on strength when I lift. I like my low reps and rest sets.

 

Sleep scheduling: two small infractions on the Internet front. Once was starting to look at converse all stars on Amazon because mine are starting to fall apart; however, I soon realized that given color options and sizing constraints, it wouldn't be a quick purchase so I tabled it for later. The other was to send a quick Facebook message to my lifting club in order to register for the April push-pull competition :).

 

Swing: between me dragging my feet and resting my leg, probably isn't going to happen this challenge.

 

 

Week Five Recap

 

Tracking: look at me--I'm still tracking and everything and not going insane. Huzzah! After crunching some numbers, I realized that trying to keep carbs below x amount would start me on the path towards obsessiveness, though, so I'm being a little more lenient with the low carb goal. Focusing on leafy greens (and reds--mmmm red cabbage) in place of root veggies, and (after my 10 day intro period) limiting starches/rice/fruit to after workouts should keep the carbs sufficiently low for this to work.

 

Mindfulness: done

 

Conditioning: only one session (yogalates) unless you count doing glute exercises on a circuit...

 

Sleep scheduling: 5 min. late to the gym one evening, and an hour late off the internet on Saturday because of squat research. It's always the squats that get you...

 

Swing: *whistles*

 

 

Week Six Recap

 

Tracking: done. I started my 10 day low carb streak on Wednesday, which means I can start adding back post-lifting carbs this Saturday. So far I feel fine with these macros (well, I felt icky most of the week, but that was because of a cold, not lack of carbs).

 

Mindfulness: missed one mindful meal

 

Conditioning: snuck in 2 eleventh hour sessions (now that the leg feels better and I've gotten over the cold): a very short rowing session on Saturday after lifting to see if it would bother my leg, and a 45 min. walk today. I finally made it out onto the town moor--I love how UK cities have so many green spaces.

 

Sleep scheduling: yep

 

Swing: *crickets*

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Seems appropriate.

 

Very appropriate since that's my other motto. (Roaring counts as a motto, right?)

 

 

Hakuna matata.... what a wonderful phrase!

 

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can't wait to see how you answer some of your questions above! Simba's got some protein ideas for you...

 

And SWING DANCING! I want to get back into it, but I haven't been impressed by the community here. :(

 

Haha, I think I'd prefer some of his other protein suggestions...

 

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Yay for swing dancing! What type(s) do you like to do? Having a good community definitely helps... part of my recent slump is from moving away from a great Lindy Hop community with a wonderful instructor (seriously, it was like a NF version of swing dancing). But I DO know of a couple of regular dances here, and I can even hop on the metro to get to a weekly lesson/dance. Now that I've gotten settled and sorted out sleep issues, I really don't have any excuses for not dancing.

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[...] Yay for swing dancing! What type(s) do you like to do? Having a good community definitely helps... part of my recent slump is from moving away from a great Lindy Hop community with a wonderful instructor (seriously, it was like a NF version of swing dancing). But I DO know of a couple of regular dances here, and I can even hop on the metro to get to a weekly lesson/dance. Now that I've gotten settled and sorted out sleep issues, I really don't have any excuses for not dancing.

 

Primarily East Coast, but I loved when I got the chance to Lindy, and took a few awesome classes in Balboa. You mention metro - you're not in DC area, are you? I am, and the community I really tried to break into was very closed - tried to ask organizers a question one time and felt like I was the most awful inconvenience based on their reaction to me. There will also be large dances out in a non-metro accessible area, but I've had to put my car down, so that's out. :( Came from the community in Grand Rapids, MI, which was just incredible, so it was a real bummer to feel so closed out here. That being said, there's another group that I haven't really tried out much beyond a set of classes, so I do need to give them a chance now that my ankles are repaired.

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Current Challenge #39 - 15.02.23  |  Challenges: #38, #29  |  Fitocracy: redtomato501

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Primarily East Coast, but I loved when I got the chance to Lindy, and took a few awesome classes in Balboa. You mention metro - you're not in DC area, are you? I am, and the community I really tried to break into was very closed - tried to ask organizers a question one time and felt like I was the most awful inconvenience based on their reaction to me. There will also be large dances out in a non-metro accessible area, but I've had to put my car down, so that's out. :( Came from the community in Grand Rapids, MI, which was just incredible, so it was a real bummer to feel so closed out here. That being said, there's another group that I haven't really tried out much beyond a set of classes, so I do need to give them a chance now that my ankles are repaired.

 

Sounds like you've sampled most of the swing dances :). If you haven't already guessed, Lindy's my favorite, but I started with East Coast and have also done some Charleston and a little Bal (which was quite tricky!). I'm actually in the UK for a year--hence the excellent public transportation. I hope you find a good group in DC!

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Love the Lion King theme! As always you can do it! You are going to be amazing!

 

Thank you! And how could I not be when I have awesome people cheering me on? :)

 

-----------------------------

 

I forgot to mention that I'll be traveling for most of the first week of this challenge (Jan. 6-10). I won't have my computer with me, so I'm going to disappear for a bit--good luck with the first week of your challenges!

 

Traveling plan:

  • Get the lifts in on the morning of the 6th and when I return on the 10th, and conditioning on the same days (or perhaps the 11th as an alternate).
  • Eating out is going to mess up my data accuracy a LOT, but I'll continue tracking, either using the MFP app or on paper if that's a hassle. Also taking my protein powder with me.
  • Other goals should be relatively easy since 1) I'll be eating most meals with people, 2) I won't have the computer with me (so I just need to stay off the internet on my phone, and I usually just use it for essentials anyway since it is sloooooow), and 3) no evening workouts.

Also for fun: 2015 goals from the Battle Log

 

2015 GOALS

  • Progress to intermediate programming (i.e., a weekly progression) for powerlifting
  • Lifts (at least one rep)
    • 200+ lbs squat
    • 145+ lbs bench press
    • 260+ lbs deadlift
    • 105+ lbs OHP
  • Test my 1 RMs in the Big 3 (squat, deadlift, bench)
  • Compete in a powerlifting meet
  • Drop bf% to 20’s
  • Complete a set of 5+ pull-ups
  • Do a pistol squat (left and right)
  • Reduce 2k time on a rowing erg to 8:40 min. (assuming I continue using rowing for cardio)
  • Alternate goal if I start running again: 5k in <= 30 min.
  • Learn solo jazz/Charleston steps (enough that I can comfortably dance a song by myself)
  • Learn the Shim Sham
  • Submit a paper for publication in an academic journal
  • Find a dance community/dance friends when I move in the fall (turning friends into dance friends by introducing them to dance counts ;) )
  • Find a lifting community/lifting friends when I move in the fall (same as above)
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Where are you going?

 

Northern Ireland, for academic-related stuff. It should be fun--I'll get to see a new part of the UK and hang out with some really cool people. But it will also be pretty busy and I'll need to hit the ground running when I come back in order to be prepared for my exams.

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Good luck on your goals and can't wait to see your results :smile-new:

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Mel The Hangry, Level 7, Aussie Gnome, Ranger Druid

STR 9.5 | DEX 7.5 | STA 18 | CON 19.5 | WIS 14.5 | CHA 6.5 

Current Challenge: TBA

 Last Challenges: Mel The Hangry is getting back to basicsMel The Hangry is making changesMel The Hangry is turning into a Druid

 

"Some days you eat salads and do yoga, Some days you eat cupcakes and refuse to put on pants, It’s called balance."

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hullo! here to watch you kill it this go round :D

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Awesome challenge!  And swing dancing!!  I've never had a good partner for dancing, so I'm a little jealous.  Loved me some 2-stepping back in the day, but my husband is more of a "junior-high-arms-length-away-sway" type of dancer.

 

ZOMG!!!!!!! HI!!! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEEEEEEEEEEN?!?!? (I know, living life... I guess that's okay. But hi! you're back!)

 

 

/threadjack

 

Ireland! Where we at? 

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"I'm just going to remember to not eat like an asshole most of the time" - MoC

three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: one must squat.- Brobert Frost
 Half-Elf Warrior | Current Challenge
 New Battle Log | Old Battle Log
Special thanks to AkLulu for drawing my awesome avatar!

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Good luck on your goals and can't wait to see your results :smile-new:

 

I love your goals. And your theme. And that your lifts are going so well, you don't need a goal for them. Keep up the great momentum you have going. I can't wait to witness your awesome! 

 

hullo! here to watch you kill it this go round :D

 

 

I'm PrincessHeather and I approve this challenge :D

 

 

Thanks everyone!

 

Awesome challenge!  And swing dancing!!  I've never had a good partner for dancing, so I'm a little jealous.  Loved me some 2-stepping back in the day, but my husband is more of a "junior-high-arms-length-away-sway" type of dancer.

 

I think part of the reason for my dancing slump is that my dance friends are all back the United States. But I'm sure there's plenty of great partners for me to meet on the dance floor here... so I have no excuse!

 

ZOMG!!!!!!! HI!!! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEEEEEEEEEEN?!?!? (I know, living life... I guess that's okay. But hi! you're back!)

 

 

/threadjack

 

Ireland! Where we at? 

 

Threadjack all you want :)

 

Northern Ireland (so still part of the UK!)--Belfast, specifically.

 

Ooh! Have a blast! Ireland is beautiful from what I understand! :D

 

Thanks! Unfortunately I didn't make it out to the countryside, but we had a really pretty day in the city.

 

So. Updates. The trip was fun but also absolutely exhausting (10-12 hr days, plus only 3.5 hrs of sleep Friday night thanks to a late night and early flight...). But, since I started most of my goals early it was pretty easy to pick up where I left off once I returned (and got some sleep). Lifts didn't happen on Saturday, though, since I've learned previously that lifting when I'm *that* sleep deprived doesn't go well.

 

Week One Recap

 

Tracking: Missed a few days because of traveling after all, but I'm slowly accumulating data since I started on Jan. 1. First observation: I think I do feel better when I get more protein. I'm guessing I was getting ~130-150 g/day before. That's adequate, but I'm feeling better (less cravings/hunger) at ~165-185 g (i.e., around 1 g/lb body weight). Right now I'm largely making up the previous deficit using an aptly named protein powder:

 

 

Sunwarrior-Warrior-Blend-Raw-Vegan-Prote

 

 

And sanity levels are high. I'm trying to be relatively consistent so I can tell what works, but I'm not fixating on the numbers.

 

Mindfulness: Receptions during travel = some eating while standing; otherwise, on track here.

 

Conditioning: 2 rowing sessions (Tuesday and Sunday). On Sunday I ran into two of the other girls from the lifting club with the same plan, so I had company for that day's conditioning :).

 

Sleep scheduling: In my brain-numbed state I accidentally started flipping through Facebook on my phone after 8:30 pm one night (whoops), but otherwise this goal is going well. A great side effect is that I now have more time to read in the evenings. I've already finished a Terry Pratchett book (Strata) and am now on to a collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov.

 

Swing: none yet... unless you count a few spins and Charleston kicks with friends during the trip :tongue:.

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love having more time for reading! nice job :)

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read harder challengeBattle LogNROLFW

Challenges: 13-1 | 13-2 | 13-3 | 13-3.5 | 14-1 | 14-2 | 15-1 | 15-2 | 15-3 | 15-4 | 15-5 | 16-1 | 16-2 | 16-3 | 16-4 | 16-516-6 | 16-7 | 16-8 | 17-1 | 17-2 | 17-3 | 17-4 | 17-5 | 17-6 | 17-7 | 17-8 | 17-9 | 17-10 | 18-118-2 | 18-318-4 | 18-5 | 18-6 | 18-7 | 18-8 | 18-9 | 18-10 | 19-1 | 19-2 | 19-3 | 19-4 | 19-5 | 19-6 | 19-7 | current

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Sounds like a great first week!

 

Breaking that computer habit can be quite a challenge - congratz!

 

love having more time for reading! nice job :)

 

Reading has been a good carrot for making sure I get off the computer at a decent time. And if I use my Magnesium oils just before I start reading, I'm ready to go to sleep about 20-30 min. later (so I'm not tempted to read the entire book).

 

 

You are now my official Warrior inspiration :) And I want that protein!

 

Ah, thanks! I'm not used to being anyone's fitness inspiration--I'll have to make sure that I continue to make the grade :)

 

I do really like the protein powder, which I found last summer when I was searching for a Paleo-friendly supplement. The brand makes a few different blends, and the Warrior one is pea, cranberry (who knew that's a possible protein source?) and hempseed protein. I'd be willing to deviate from Paleo for a good protein supplement, buuuuut I'm wary of soy because of the hormone issues, brown rice protein didn't sit well with me in the past, and I'm hesitant to try whey (I'm not sure what it is about milk that doesn't agree with me). Some people don't like the taste of the pea protein, but I'm not one of them--actually, I have the chocolate flavored blend now and appreciate being able to have a daily dose of chocolate without the sugar + cravings.

 

Other news for the week: I went to see the sports chiro/ART physiotherapist again on Friday to get some work done on my ouchy knee/IT band, tennis elbow, and misc. back issues. I now have a sticky note on my laptop reminding me to keep my sternum raised--I've gotten into a bad habit of slouching at my desk, which doesn't help with the back issues.

 

As far as my goals go:

 

Week Two Recap

 

Tracking: success

  • I think I've found a consistent calorie intake that's easy to sustain and doesn't hurt my workouts. Now it's just a waiting game to see where it lies in relation to my maintenance. TDEE estimates are all over the place depending on the specific calculator, activity level, and bf%, so it's down to empirical data to figure out which one is accurate.
  • My fruit intake has also gone waaaay down--I'm just not interested in eating that much fruit (possibly because I'm getting enough protein now).
  • Sanity levels are still good, too, although I need to stay OFF the scale. I was trying to get a good baseline, but all the traveling has made that a bit difficult. I'm still reading about a kilo high compared to the fall, but that's probably accurate now...so, baring doctor's visits and the like, no need to weigh until ~the end of the challenge (at the earliest).
  • I forgot to add that my lever belt serves as a good "measurement" too. I had to let it out a hole post-holidays, but I think it's time to move it back now that the post-travel bloat is going away (yay).
  • Did I mention that I'm happy that the traveling is done? And that I can eat ALL the veggies (not just the ubiquitous potatoes)?

Mindfulness: done

 

Conditioning: rowing on Monday (500 m intervals x 4), Thursday (15 min., with a power 10 every 500 m), and Saturday (10 min, again with a power 10 every 500 m). I like rowing, but I may have to find a substitute if the elbow issues persist. We'll see. Also, I'm getting faster!

 

7ad6c5eafa3fa03a478645bece663d40.jpg

 

Sleep scheduling: I'm getting to the gym on time and, besides reading (but NOT responding to) a non-work email too late on Monday, I'm following the computer guidelines, too. I was going to lift earlier in the day on Wednesday because of a Thursday morning exam, but, since some of the exams are in the multipurpose room next to the free weights area, all of the platforms were closed and deadlifts were off limits :(. (Yeah, I get why, but still... no deadlifts is sad). So I lifted with the club after all and got my deadlifts in :).

 

Swing: yeah, I need to get on this

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Not slouching is so hard to do! Especially with smart phones and computers being so big in society.

 

As for swing, you can do it! I have faith you'll get back into the swing of things. (Couldn't resist the pun. ;D)

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Race: Tiefling

Class: Assassin

[Level: 2STR 3DEX 2 STA 2CON 2WIS 1CHA 2 ]

I don't want to be skinny. I want to be dangerous.

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