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Lou186000

Lou186000: Joining the Assassins for Challenge Numero 2

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Greetings!
 
The last challenge (and my first completion -- WoOt!) went really well for me with regards to strength training. I'm far from warrior status, but I'm really appreciating the body weight exercises, hence my decision to throw my lot in with the assassins guild for this challenge!
 
Fitness Goals
 
Main quest:
Increase strength!

The goals:
  1. 3 weekly strength sessions, at least 30 min each
  2. 3 weekly HIIT sessions, ideally on alternate days from strength sessions
  3. Do after-strength stretches! I always do warm-ups, and never do stretches after my regular strength sessions. I'm using this 6WC to get in the habit!
  4. Increase reps on one-legged push-ups (my current record is 7 on the first set, 4 on the two following sets). Ultimate target is 3 sets of 10.
 
Life Goals

I've been feeling a huge pull to make playing music a bigger part of my life. I'm a lifelong musician, but the playing ebbs and flows depending on what else is going on at the moment. I thought it would be cool to use the 6WC format to get myself to play more, and maybe even get a gig here and there. Thus one of my goals for this challenge is to create a profile on gigtown.com (an online talent agent of sorts), complete with sample recordings and a pic. This obviously won't guarantee me gigs, but it puts my hat in the ring. As the saying goes, you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. 

The next life goal for this challenge is a big one, and it's not optional. As we entered the sixth week of the last challenge, the company I'd been working for succumbed to some dire financial difficulties and I was laid off. Similar to the musician goal above, I can't make a company hire me, but I can set up conditions to make it possible: send out resumes regularly, work with a head hunter, network with others in my profession (I'm an IT guy).

With that in mind, here are some measurable life goals for this 6WC:
  1. Music: record and master at least 2 demos (covers, not originals) and upload them to gigtown.com, along with a photo of me and my guitar. (Yeah, this is one HECK of a step outside of my comfort zone.)
  2. Employment: make at least 4 job contacts a week. This can be any of the following: sending a resume out, applying for a job, interviewing for a job, meeting with a head hunter, cold-contacting companies. Scoring of this goal: if I am offered and accept a position, I'm calling this goal 100% successful.
I'm still mulling how to assign stats to these goals, but I'm happy with the goals themselves for the moment.  I'm looking forward to leveraging the 6WC format to level up my body and my life!
 
 
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Sounds like you want to continue with the same awesomeness you had at the end of your first challenge

 

mr_burns2.jpg

 

Thanks Ulfgard ---- I like to think that awesomeness is a side-effect of working towards one's goals!

 

 

That's a lot of goals, but I know you're up to the challenge! Good luck in particular with the job hunt.

your-hired_c_153694.jpg

 

Thanks bim, and awesome comic!

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Here you are, hiding out all stealthy like with the assassins!  I'm glad I found your new challenge thread.  You have some killer goals this time, can't wait to see you crush them.  I especially like the stretching and music goals. 

 

See you at the meetup tonight!

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Here you are, hiding out all stealthy like with the assassins!  I'm glad I found your new challenge thread.  You have some killer goals this time, can't wait to see you crush them.  I especially like the stretching and music goals. 

 

See you at the meetup tonight!

Thanks ML it was good to meet you! Little strange but cool to meet the non-NFers there too.

Looking forward to the challenge start!

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ready for the challenge tomorrow

 

I'm ready for the challenge to begin tomorrow. I learned a bit from the last challenge about what works for me regarding tracking goals and workouts, so I've made up nifty google spreadsheets to help me along:

 



 

Lots on my plate, but I'll aim to get a good night's sleep and begin tackling the goals on the morrow. For fun, I'm considering taking other measurements to see what if anything changes: weight, waist, neck.  But if I make things too burdensome for myself I'll let them fall by the wayside, so we'll see what happens. I may just go with weight, because even though weight loss is not a goal for this specific challenge, it's still the overriding theme in my fitness journey. Perhaps that will change when I'm down below 200lbs, but I don't see that happening until sometime in 2016. 

 

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Thanks ML it was good to meet you! Little strange but cool to meet the non-NFers there too.

Looking forward to the challenge start!

 

 

You, too!  Yeah, I totally thought that group would mostly be NF people.  They were nice, just surprising.  ;)

 

Can't wait to see you kill it again this challenge!

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challenge update: 15 sept 2015

I found myself in a rather foul mood yesterday. I guess it was just one of those days where the stress of the job hunt wore heavily. I've just begun my third week of searching, I have a network of people keeping their eyes out for positions for me, and I'm keeping abreast of new postings. I'm doing okay, all told. Still, yesterday was hard. 

Funny how similar this is to when I began my fitness journey almost a year ago. At that time I knew I wasn't going to see immediate results. How could I? I knew it simply was not possible. Go for a walk, eat well, just for one day, I told myself. It'll take time and diligence. And it's the same on the job hunt: write a letter, send a resume, and then give it time. Hard to wait, but the waiting is not optional. How I manage myself during the wait, that's where I get to choose.

Despite yesterday's dourness I feel like the first day of the challenge went well. I completed my first in-challenge strength session, did the post-session stretches to which I've committed, and even got a resume sent out. I'm aiming to do my HIIT later today, and possibly get my recording equipment set up for the music part of my goals. Once more unto the breach...

 
 

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Good on the goals so far today.

 

Strength + post-session stretches = done!

Resume contact for today = done!

 

Set the baseline for my goal of increasing reps on one-legged pushups: sets were 5, 4, 4.  I feel like I improved my form today on this exercise: went a little deeper, executed the moves a little more smoothly. 

 

It's a rainy day here. Might hunt down a coffee shop for hangout time after lunch. Rain or no, gotta get out of the house for a bit.

 

 

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Nice to see, that you are starting strong! Keep it p, man!

 

Seriously, one legged push-ups are awesome! very time I read this word, i have to read it again out of pure awe! I still struggle at normal ones!

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challenge (not much to) update
 
Well, no big progress on the goals today. Both the kid and the dog had me up in the wee hours this morning. Each of them effortlessly returned to their slumbers. Me, not so much. 
 
The bulk of the post-sunrise day was spent doing billable IT work, which I simply can't turn down at the moment. And I did good work. Solved some problems that were pretty tough and made the users' lives much easier. Problem solving takes a solid bit of energy, surprising enough, and it wore me out for the rest of the day.
 
The closest I got to any goals work today was to set up the mics for recording some demos. With the equipment in place it's that much easier to grab an axe, apply some chords, and hopefully leave some space for Truth to find its way in.
 
Off to bed early, strength + HIIT tomorrow!

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challenge update

 

I spent the morning volunteering at my daughter's 6th grade class. The teacher is "hiring" kids to do classroom jobs, things that she needs done throughout a given day and week. The jobs also provide an opportunity for the kids to learn and exercise responsibility and reliability and whatnot. She had all the kids fill out job applications a week or so ago and today I was a volunteer who helped interview the kids for the various positions. About half the kids I interviewed, I said: "Look, the truth is, you get hired by what seems like a great company, you FIX ALL THEIR computers, make them run RIGHT for the first time in FOREVER and THEN they LAY YOU OFF! THAT'S WHAT THE REAL WORLD IS LIKE. Start drinking now." Only a few of them cried when I was done. Okay, I didn't really do that. I didn't even consider it. Much. At any rate, it was a fun and gratifying experience, and I earned some pretty big daddy points in the process. I figure there'll be a time when my simple existence will embarrass the tar out of my daughter, so it's good to have this time where she still likes me to be around a bit.

 

Today's strength training felt good. It was hard, but it felt good. The big wins: I added a rep to my plyometric pushups, which was cool. Not part of my goals, but still felt really good. Also, I feel like I've finally gotten the hang of the fly steps that I put in the routine a month ago. Today was the first day they felt smooth and controlled, rather than "whew, didn't fall that time."

 


 

 

 

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challenge update 

Now that strength training for the first week of the challenge is done, time for some review and some tweaks.

Overall, I feel good about the strength sessions. I like the weight amounts I'm working with and I feel well challenged by the routines. One thing I realized during yesterday's session is that when I do dumbbell curls the target is 10 reps. I prefer to count each arm as "1," so when I get to 10 each arm has only done 5 reps. For next time I'm going to reduce the weight on the dumbbells and shoot for a count of 20 (10 reps per arm). 

I've also decided it's time to add another excercise from darebee.com. I already do the fly steps I learned from that site, and now I think I'll try climbers, also known as "mountain climbers." These actually look pretty deadly to me, but I find adding a new exercise to be really motivating. So I'll be giving these a go on Monday's session, and possibly adding it to Friday's session as well. The middle (Wednesday) session is a strength circuit that is already killing me, so I'll probably leave that one alone for the time being.

On with the weekend...

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challenge update

So far so good. Not perfect, but good.

Sunday was an interesting day. I rose with an unsual (for me) desire to have sugar. Desire almost immediately turned to determination, and the determination became a mission. I achieved the mission goals by heading to the bakery section of the nearest grocery store and getting half a dozen fresh-baked donuts. I resisted the full dozen, but only just. Once home, the family partook of a donut each, but I held the dubious distinction of ingesting 3.5 of the donuts, two in the morning, and then another 1.5 in the evening. What is fascinating to me is that Sunday was a 12-hour quantum leap to the distant past of a year ago, back to the way I used to live. The exception is that now I can't help but be conscious about food input. Still, for that day I ate what I wanted when I wanted. (I wrote everything down in my food log, of course.) I don't regret it in the slightest, but I am observing it as an interesting anamoly. Also interesting is that it was effortless (and frankly comforting) to return to my healthier lifestyle on Monday, when I both ate well and got good exercise in.

Yesterday's strength session went really well. Biggest woot: TWO dips in a row! I achieved dual dips only in the first set, and it used me up for the rest of the sets, where I couldn't even do a single dip for the fourth set. Still --- I'm counting it as a victory! Also, as promised, I added climbers to my routine yesterday. HARD, but satisfying.

Today's fitness challenge will be to do the HIITs, which I basically failed at last week. That's the whole reason I put them in the challenge goals, so I would get them done. I'm so wasted after a good HIIT session that I'm planning to leave it until the early evening. The danger there is that something else can get in the way and keep me from completing it, but I'll make the session a priority. After all, I kept the last challenge up through more daunting obstacles than moments of lethargy.

As for life goals, the job hunt is proceeding. I'm finding positions to apply for and the billable IT work is indeed a help to get us through. The music goal: I may get another bit of recording in today, but that may also wait until tomorrow, we'll see how things pan out. The test recordings came out pretty nicely, but not yet the quality I need. Some of that was my performance: recording can change my performance, so I have to practice being "me" even when the recording equipment is running. Interesting stuff, and fun.

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challenge update

 

Challenge is going okay. My motivation is kind of in the tank. It may sound a bit corny, but a quote from Darebee.com really works to get me up and going (wanderingcavegirl turned me on to darebee.com). The quote says, "I already know what giving up feels like; I want to see what happens if I don't." I did not want to do the strength session today, so much so that I left it until the last thing in the day. And when I thought, "Bah, it can really wait until tomorrow," this other quote about not giving up literally intruded on my thoughts, and I tore myself from the couch and headed downstairs to exercise. CURSE YOU DAREBEE AND YOUR MOTIVATIONAL MAXIMS!

 

Despite my low motivation, I feel like some good strides are being made. Tonight's strength I added a rep to one-legged push-ups on the first set! Felt awesome! AND it used me up for the rest of the sets. My Wednesday workout is a strength circuit: move from one exercise to the next without rest. Tonight I reduced the weight on the overhead dumbbell press so I wasn't so tired when it came to the one-legged push-ups.  I'm pretty sure that helped me achieve the additional rep. So this circuit for me is not only about strength training, but also about conserving energy and spending that energy where I want growth to happen. It's interesting. 

 

Other tweaks: on Monday's Exercise Ball Knee Tuck I tweaked my technique by moving the ball closer to my ankles. This made the exercise much more difficult, but it also feels more correct doing it this way. I was able to do all the reps on Monday, but as close to the last exercise in the circuit today, it was very tough. I could only get three reps in per set.

 

Lastly, I did manage to get my HIIT in last night doing walk/run.  I'll do my second weekly HIIT session tomorrow night.

 

Looks like my daughter and I will be attending the Salt Lake Comic Con this coming weekend, so she and I are preparing to nerd out for a couple of days.

 

Time for bed.

 

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dangit. caught a cold.

 

My daughter was home this past Monday and Tuesday with a cold. I did my best to avoid catching it: "Daddy, I need a hug," said a sniffly child. "Okay, I texted a hug to you. I'll be over here in this other room." Didn't work. I was up most of Wednesday eve, and had to acknowledge yesterday that yep, I've got a cold. I'll say it's not as bad a cold as I've had in the past, which is good.

 

Here's the twist.

 

My wife surprised us with tickets to the Salt Lake comic con. We'd not planned on attending (you know, kind of expensive, me not working). So we're planning to go today, cold and all. I'm medicating myself up, bringing tissue, and a bottle of water or two. The hard part is waiting to get in. I've only been to a couple of cons where entry was nice and easy. The rest I've attended meant waiting in lines, at least to get in. We're hoping to get in with time enough to see Jenna Coleman's panel today, and the same for tomorrow when Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie are doing a panel (and I'll bet a nickel Hayley Atwell shows too, since she'll be at the con at the same time). At any rate, there's lots of good, and hopefully the cold won't cause too much consternation for me or nearby nerds. Frankly, I'd be okay canceling, but my wife dropped some money on this that would otherwise go to waste. And my kid loves going. 

 

I started the day with a minimal strength session, and that'll probably be it until Monday's workout, when I expect to be mostly recovered.

 

Off to be a congested nerd in a congested area.

 

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challenge update: recovering from a cold + good nerding.

 

With a satchel full of tissues and meds, my daughter and I hit the Salt Lake City Comic Con on Friday and Saturday. We had a good time, all told.  Friday was nice because the crowds were not too overwhelming, and we had an easy time [a] getting in the door and  getting in to see Jenna Coleman's panel (Jenna's the current companion on Doctor Who). The panel was a ton of fun, and definitely a highlight for us. The rest of Friday's visit included walking the con floor where she was able to pick up a couple of collectibles, and then, thanks to my sniffly nose, we called it an early day. Saturday started with disappointment: we just couldn't get to the con early enough to get seats to see the Chris Evans/Anthony Mackie/Hayley Atwell panel. Saturday's crowds are what I'm used to at cons: we arrived at 9am, waited over an hour in line, and then made it in to the con (which wasn't bad, to be honest). Still, we realized had we wanted to attend that 10am panel we would have had to arrive at least an hour earlier, possibly more. Given my current nose-runniness, I just didn't have it in me to do that. We dealt with disappointment by participating in the Zombie Laser Tag --- my kid really enjoyed unloading laser rounds at actors playing zombies.

 

For me, the highlight of the visit was the Noon panel we attended yesterday. It was Jim Butcher talking about his books and some fun stories from his past. I told my daughter that as much as I wanted to see those actors, this panel meant so much more to me. I've spent untold hours reading JB's books and listening to the audiobook versions. Getting to be in the same room with him was a ton of fun.

 

Today was a full-on rest day. My wife was good enough to let me do what I need to do to recover, which is mostly nothing. I do feel like I'm past the worst of the cold now, which is excellent. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. My plan is to still do a strength session, though it may not be the full 30+ minutes or as intense as last Monday's session was. 

 

 

 

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challenge update: over the cold (mostly)

 

I remember hearing a comedian once say, "I don't know why God would put something wet and drippy like a nose upside down over our mouth." Yep, I've realized not much else in the world matters when my nose is running. Nevertheless, by yesterday morning it seemed the worst had passed and I felt well enough to attempt a full strength session yesterday afternoon, the first in a week. It went pretty well. I maintained my 2-dip record on the first set, which was awesome! The cardio-inclined exercises really took it out of me, but I finished it all, stretches included. I'm not so sure I'm up for HIITs today, but I may be up for some Intervals, minus the High Intensity. We shall see.

 

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challenge update: added reps!

 

Still living with a slight chest cough, but improvement continues. I did my strength circuit yesterday and it went pretty well. Biggest news: added reps to the one-legged push-ups! The baseline for this 6WC was sets of 5, 4, and 4. (Each set is one of several exercises in the strength circuit.) Yesterday's sets were 7, 3, and 4, so definitely an improvement! And by the end of each circuit I was really drained. The most surpising result to me was that I could barely do the exercise ball knee tucks, which are the last strength piece before I muddled my way through jumping jacks to finish the circuit. At any rate, some good improvement.

 

Now that I'm feeling more recovered I can return to the music goal I set. Of course, even through my disease-ridden week I've been viewing and applying for jobs, and really hoping that I didn't get a call when my nose was a running non-stop. I do have an interview next week, and LinkedIn tells me that employers to whom I've submitted resumes are glancing at my profile, which is awesome. I've entered Week 5 of unemployment, which is tough to admit, but there it is. I'm still doing a bit of billable stuff, which is indeed helpful.

 

Rainy day here in Utah. If it's not storming might take the dog for a damp walk in the park.

 

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