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Jon Firestar Looks to the Horizon


jonfirestar

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It never does anybody any harm to look up from time to time and take a view of the bigger goals. It is so easy to get lost in the details that you lose all focus on the bigger picture. The big picture doesn't care if you did 5 sets of squats this week at 200lbs or 205lbs. The big picture only cares that the squats were done each week in such a manner to further the goal. 

 

My last challenge was a great success. I hit all of my major goals but it left me feeling completely worn out. Close to burnt out. The reason for this is that I always focus on the details of today rather than taking a view the larger goals. This lead to me pushing too hard, not getting enough rest and simply beating myself up. 

 

Taking a step back is going to be a challenge for me. My nature is to go at things with all my effort until I can't give it any more. Then I go onto the next shiny thing. My fitness, health and life goals have to be different. I need to give myself somethings sustainable. 

 

This challenge is about balance. 

 

Health and Fitness:

Food:
I've been doing pretty well here. This is an area I traditionally struggle hard with. I've a problem with binge eating and that is something I want to avoid but mainly I want to try and bring the enjoyment back into eating. I had it but lost it somewhere this last challenge when I started to eat the same stuff every day.  

Maintain healthy eating most of the time. (food log)

Experiment with something new once each week (probably Saturday)

Spend more time on the weekend planning and prepping the weeks breakfast/lunches (avoid boredom by with prep, planning and changing things up).

 

Water:

I'll be honest I kind of think that tracking water intake is a little redundant. I drink water when I'm thirsty, I don't really drink soda but I do drink copious amounts of coffee. With that being said I am open to having this opinion changed. I want to experiment with hitting a water target each day. The target will be 2 liters of water and won't include the 1literish of water I tend to drink during a workout. This whole thing will be incredibly anecdotal but I basically want to see if I think it makes a difference. 

Drink 2 liters of water and log it every day. 

 

Fitness:

Running:

The running has been going pretty well and I feel like I'm making real and quick progress towards my goals.

Run 3 times per week. (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). 

 

Cardio:

I am probably going to add something new here. The goal is to have some longer steady state cardio. If I could I'd choose running but my body just wouldn't hold up to it for any extended period of time atm. Cycling outdoors is harder because the time I have to do it is now perfectly dark. I'm thinking of something in the gym and it is probably going to be stationary cycling or the rowing machine. Or a mixture of things maybe. The goal here is not to get good at any particular movement but to get my heartrate up for a longer period of time. 

30-45 minutes of steady cardio (Thursday)

 

Lifting:

I need to pull back on this one. I've been leaving myself beat up. For starters I'm changing leg day to Friday evening. Struggling to walk through a busy week was interesting one week but got a little too much by the third. I'm doing this whole business so I don't struggle to walk. With this in mind I am going to pull back on the weights I've been hitting (keep the volume the same but cut back on intensity). It will be a bit of  trial and error but I want to find something that I can recover reasonably from and then gradually increase it from there. 

Lift 3 times per week. (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

 

This is more or less the same as what I have been doing. I've changed the days to Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday rather than Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Saturday. I've become less enthused to workout on Saturday now that it makes so much sense to do it after work.

 

Study.

I have a training course in the new year and I want to be ready for it.

Do some study 20 minutes per day. 

 

Sleep.

I want my average sleep for the month to be > 7 hours.

  • Devices off at 10pm
  • Relax (read) before bed. (kindle is ok, ipad is no)
  • Main lights off at 10pm (lamps only)
  • Meditate 5-10 minutes before lights out
  • lights out at 10:30

 

 

This will be surprisingly difficult for me. I really don't like sleep and I kind of loath the need for it. I don't sleep well and struggle with staying asleep (falling asleep is fine). My plan will simply be to go to bed at 10:30 and get out of bed at 6am and eventually my body will get used to the idea and I'll be asleep for more of it. It hasn't been part of my goals in my previous challenges but I have been working on this. I've increased the amount of sleep I get from 4-5 hours to 6-7 hours. I think this is playing a major part of why I'm struggling to recover. 

 

I can't control how well I sleep but I can control that I give myself the best chance possible to have a good night sleep. 

 

Adulting:

This is basically a list of things I need to get done over the average week. Some of this is a team effort some of it is what I myself do. What really matters is that it all gets done. 

Stick to the budget! (or better be under)

Cut back on wasted money (identify and cut over one per week over the course of the 4 week period)

Chores:

  • Laundry 2x times per week. Wash folded put away
  • Change bedding
  • Clean kitchen (on cooking nights, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Mop the floors 
  • Clean living room. 
  • Clean Bathroom
  • Clean one additional room Saturday
  • Clean one additional room Sunday
  • Prep Lunch

 

Scoring: 

 

It'll be slightly different for the categories. Food, water, sleep, study and gym are all liner. Either I've done it or I've not. The Adulting goal will be awarded as I cross things off the list. At the end of each week it will be graded. A*-F, I want to be above average so I'm aiming for B minimum. C is acceptable but should do better and anything below is a fail. 

 

After the 4 week period for any grade that is below a C I'll give away one of my PS4 games. For every grade A or A* I'll put £10 into a pot towards some new lifting shoes for after Christmas. 

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I think I have the opposite problem to you in that I focus too much on the overall goals and let the daily stuff slip because there's "plenty of time" so I think I could do with taking a leaf out of your book! Following! :D

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Those are some ambitious goals. If you are running 3 times a week why do you feel like you need additional cardio on top of that? Especially if you are also lifting 3 times a week.

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19 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Those are some ambitious goals. If you are running 3 times a week why do you feel like you need additional cardio on top of that? Especially if you are also lifting 3 times a week.

 

This was my thought too.  Dang you are doing a lot!!!  It's no wonder you're getting fatigued and run-down with so much intense activity! :D

 

I like the water goal, if just for data!  Sometimes I think I'm getting enough water because I'm not thirsty, but if I really am mindful of it and drink a pint each hour or so, I feel like I have so much more energy.  Silly brain, thinking it knows what it's doing... XD

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11 hours ago, Atrytone said:

I like your challenge, I'll be following along.

Thanks! Happy to have you :) 

 

9 hours ago, bker1370 said:

Following along.

Good to see you bker

 

9 hours ago, Cascade said:

Following again!

Happy to see you back again. 

 

8 hours ago, deftona said:

I think I have the opposite problem to you in that I focus too much on the overall goals and let the daily stuff slip because there's "plenty of time" so I think I could do with taking a leaf out of your book! Following! :D

 

Yeah extremes in either direction are not good :) It's easy to fall into both groups. Why is balance so hard!? 

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Those are some ambitious goals. If you are running 3 times a week why do you feel like you need additional cardio on top of that? Especially if you are also lifting 3 times a week.

Honestly? I enjoy moving and because I've got nothing better to do with the time other than sit in traffic and get annoyed. I go to the gym for an hour and I miss the traffic and it only takes me 20 minutes to get home rather than an hour I feel better. 

 

The more thoughtful justification? 

 

I like working out 4 days a week but it's only been since I really upped the intensity of the lifting that I started to feel worn down. I'm backing way off in that. I'm also not doing anything approaching intensive cardio anyway. The running program is still in it's early days and very light. Although it will ramp up rapidly over the course of this challenge and it is something to keep in mind. 

 

Finally, I'm still experimenting. I felt like I had a lot more to give so I ramped things way up last challenge to see what that would be like and it was great until it wasn't. So I am trying to keep the amount of activity I'm doing the same and reducing the intensity of it (lower numbers all round) to see how that goes. If it is still a problem I'll adjust something else. 

 

I'm really talking about something light for that day although I realise that I'm probably looking at 30 - 45 minutes maximum for it. I'm also not afraid simply to drop it if I feel like it is detrimental. 

 

2 hours ago, shaar said:

This was my thought too.  Dang you are doing a lot!!!  It's no wonder you're getting fatigued and run-down with so much intense activity! :D

 

:) yeah. I did say give all I had until there was nothing left. Funnily enough this feels like a cut back. I'm trying to keep up the activity but make it way less intense. 

 

2 hours ago, shaar said:

I like the water goal, if just for data!  Sometimes I think I'm getting enough water because I'm not thirsty, but if I really am mindful of it and drink a pint each hour or so, I feel like I have so much more energy.  Silly brain, thinking it knows what it's doing... XD

 

I'm still not convinced ;) but I've been proven wrong before. Nothing wrong with a bit of self experimentation to figure out what works. 

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Following along again!

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I hear ya. Until I'm ready to bulk again I'm taking it easy on lifting.

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On 23/10/2016 at 6:16 PM, Charlie_Quinn said:

Following along again!

Glad to have back! 

 

On 23/10/2016 at 9:05 PM, Curl Brogo said:

I hear ya. Until I'm ready to bulk again I'm taking it easy on lifting.

It'll be a long while before I can even think about something like bulking. I'm just getting used to the idea that my body doesn't work the same way as it did 10 years ago when I last took this gym thing seriously. I'm also comparing myself 4 months back to working out to after years of intense training. 

 

Week 0, Monday! 

 

Feeling pretty great today! The rest over the weekend left me revitalized and my new goal of not going quite so hard has given me some motivation back. 

 

It's my first day as acting boss of the support department at work. It's not the first time I'm way too introverted for man-management and it also means I've got two jobs to do. I've been working on my 'managerial skills' recently and I feel like I'm getting better at it. I still really don't want that role. I'd much rather manage systems than people. 

 

I have (or will shortly after posting this) adjusted my original plan to cut down my Thursday Cardio session to 30-45 minutes and add the obligatory adulting goal that I found super helpful last time round. 

 

Food: 2/7

I ate to plan today. I don't really food log on MFP but rather do detailed food plans and then try to stick to it. It seems to work better for me that way. I've made lunches for the entire week and just have to remember to pack them. I've brought all the fruit I need. 

 

Water: 2/7

2L done during the day. I noticed I peed a lot more! I kind of just got myself into the mindset that if I got up to make a coffee I'd come back with a pint of water. The coffee in our office gets made in rounds and I made three rounds so drank 3 big glasses of water during work. Plus a 500ml bottle of water I drink every morning.

 

Study: 2/7

Well, some badish news today, my training course has been pushed back to the new year. It is also no longer local so I'm going to be commuting into London for two days. It does mean I have 4 months between now and then and I want to get through my text books during that time! Study today has been done. I have a view that if I can do this I can jump straight into the higher level courses right afterwards. I always feel stupid when the discussion gets to internet level networking and I want to bridge that gap. 

 

Adulting: 2/7

I set out my budget for the coming month. I've got an app to help with this rather than the spreadsheet I've been using. Money is a little less tight in the coming month but I've also got Christmas coming up. 

 

Sleep: 1/7

According to fitbit sleep last night was 6:45. I did go to bed at 10 but there was a conflict of interest between my water goal and my sleep goal which meant I didn't go down until 10. To remedy this I've decided to do my watering during the day and cut myself off after dinner ;-) 

 

Fitness: 1/4

The run felt really good today. The program has kind of ramped up a lot this week but I'm feeling really good about it. 

 

The weights also felt good and light. It was back day although I'm laying off the deadlifts for this week and am aiming to pick them back up at about 70kg week 1. Everything else felt good and I don't feel like I left everything I had in the gym, which is what I'm going for this challenge. The big thing for today was the barbell bent over row at 123lbs, this felt really good. I think I could have bumped it up another 2-4kg and still hit the reps but that is kind of what I'm going for. My upper back isn't one of the areas that has been getting me down so I'm happy being a little more adventurous here. 

 

I stuck in about 20 pushups for @Muir's co-op. It has been a few weeks since I've done any push-ups (since about week 2 of last challenge) and they felt really good. My form felt better and I felt a lot stronger in the movement.

 

I've been making a point to get in a decent amount of stretching too because I find that helps. I'm hyper-flexible and I think I must make quite a sight when stretching given my size :D but my body responds very quickly to stretching (hypermobility there are many disadvantages to it but again I find stretching and strength training helps that). 

 

Time to hit the hay. 

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" Always aim for something stupidly crazy." - Charlie Quinn

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13 hours ago, Muir said:

Sounds like you're nailing your goals for this week! Keep up all the good work.

 

Nailing everything apart from that pesky sleep one. So far that's an epic fail. Although it's not for lack of trying or intent. I went to bed on time last night but only got 5 hours sleep and not all at once either. Same old story. No problem getting to sleep but I I cannot stay asleep. There are people who just don't want to wake up no matter how hard you try. I just don't understand how that works!

 

 

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2019 Roadmap

Spoiler

 

" Always aim for something stupidly crazy." - Charlie Quinn

2019 Races: Cliveden MTR 06/01 | Nuts Challenge 02/03 | Reading Half Marathon 17/03 | W.A.R 27/04 | RRDW 11/05 | Nuclear Oblivion 19/05 | Man vs Lakes 20/07 | Spartan Trifecta Weekend 05-06/10 | OCRWC 11-13/10

 

Current Challenge: First Steps

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1 hour ago, jonfirestar said:

 

Nailing everything apart from that pesky sleep one. So far that's an epic fail. Although it's not for lack of trying or intent. I went to bed on time last night but only got 5 hours sleep and not all at once either. Same old story. No problem getting to sleep but I I cannot stay asleep. There are people who just don't want to wake up no matter how hard you try. I just don't understand how that works!

 

Could this be stress related? I used to be like this and I always just assumed I was a light sleeper but as certain aspects of my life have fallen into a better place I now realise it was anxiety/depression/stress (some aspect of those three things that are often just different sides of the same coin) and I sleep really well now. Have you tried a de-stressing bedtime routine? Maybe some yoga or meditation?

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I'm more than adequate. Leave Kanye out of this. 

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Following along, Jon! 

 

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For me, having some carbs and protein right before bed seems to keep me asleep longer.  Normally I sleep like the dead, but I had to pick up a few extra tricks when I am on nights and need a solid 8 hours in the middle of the day.

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“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

― Neil Gaiman

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1 hour ago, deftona said:

 

Could this be stress related? I used to be like this and I always just assumed I was a light sleeper but as certain aspects of my life have fallen into a better place I now realise it was anxiety/depression/stress (some aspect of those three things that are often just different sides of the same coin) and I sleep really well now. Have you tried a de-stressing bedtime routine? Maybe some yoga or meditation?

 

Definitely could be! I live a lot of my life in one big ball of anxiety (and like you say this is related to depression and stress). I have been sleeping better in general recently and last night was, thankfully, the exception rather than the rule. I expected to wake up early because I went to bed earlier than usual. Instead,

1 hour ago, Sea Level said:

Following

I just had a horrible night. I was actually thinking about creating a before-bed routine today. I've been meditating int he morning but I think doing so before bed would be beneficial. I also think that I really should start switching off at least 30 minutes before bed. I live a lot of my life in front of one screen or another and it would probably do me a lot of good to turn off. That will be a very difficult challenge for me ;)

 

25 minutes ago, Cascade said:

For me, having some carbs and protein right before bed seems to keep me asleep longer.  Normally I sleep like the dead, but I had to pick up a few extra tricks when I am on nights and need a solid 8 hours in the middle of the day.

 

I kind of credit years of night shifts for breaking my sleep patterns ;) I don't do night shifts any more but my sleep just hasn't been right since I got used to doing it. I am not a particularly light sleeper but when I wake up I tend to snap awake without any of the drowsy fugue  that others seem to get. I'm told that it is amazing that I can wake up in an instant good mood. The tiredness will creep up on me if I've not had enough sleep. Like today. I was wide awake at 3am. Right now... guh

 

200.gif

 

1 hour ago, Wild Wolf said:

Following along, Jon! 

It's great to see you. I hope life has been treating you better!

 

1 hour ago, Sea Level said:

Following

Welcome aboard!

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2019 Roadmap

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" Always aim for something stupidly crazy." - Charlie Quinn

2019 Races: Cliveden MTR 06/01 | Nuts Challenge 02/03 | Reading Half Marathon 17/03 | W.A.R 27/04 | RRDW 11/05 | Nuclear Oblivion 19/05 | Man vs Lakes 20/07 | Spartan Trifecta Weekend 05-06/10 | OCRWC 11-13/10

 

Current Challenge: First Steps

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19 hours ago, jonfirestar said:

Adulting: 2/7

I set out my budget for the coming month. I've got an app to help with this rather than the spreadsheet I've been using. Money is a little less tight in the coming month but I've also got Christmas coming up. 

 

ooohh, an app for budgeting.  I'll be tackling my fiscal responsibility in a few challenges.  Care to share which app you are using?

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1 hour ago, jonfirestar said:

I was actually thinking about creating a before-bed routine today. I've been meditating int he morning but I think doing so before bed would be beneficial. I also think that I really should start switching off at least 30 minutes before bed

 

A bedtime routine is a must. Switch off all electronics 30 minutes before sleep time, do your toiletry stuff, read for a bit, then do some meditation in bed. Meditating always helps me relax at night. :)

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This is so in line with the goals that I had last month and the goals I plan to have this month. Really looking forward to seeing how you do! Following :) 

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2 hours ago, LadyShello said:

ooohh, an app for budgeting.  I'll be tackling my fiscal responsibility in a few challenges.  Care to share which app you are using?

 

It is very inventively called 'Home Budget' I got the free version. It does the bare minimum that I wanted and was the first one I found that did so there are probably better ones :D 

 

2 hours ago, Muir said:

A bedtime routine is a must. Switch off all electronics 30 minutes before sleep time, do your toiletry stuff, read for a bit, then do some meditation in bed. Meditating always helps me relax at night. :)

 

It all makes sense and I am very much 'all the stimulation until I close my eyes' which I know can't be helpful. The problem is that, as mentioned in my original post, I despise the need for sleep. If I could do without it I really would. I am, however, going out of my way to do little things on the off chance that it might be the healthier option when the big glaring issue with sleep is right in front of me. It's not like I enjoy being tired. 

 

So for the duration of this challenge my sleep goal is going to be. Devices off at 10, bed by 10:30. I expect it to be the hardest part of the whole challenge. 

 

 

2 hours ago, Calanthia Cobbin said:

This is so in line with the goals that I had last month and the goals I plan to have this month. Really looking forward to seeing how you do! Following :) 

Why hello! I'll come out and admit that your Galadriel's Mirror section in your last challenge that got me thinking about the water thing a little more seriously :) 

 

Week 0, Tuesday:

I've been tired all day. Not particularly productive but not stressful either. I'm really glad I wasn't scheduled to hit the gym. 

 

Food: 3/7

I was as good as gold. Even turning down an offer to go to Five Guys (which took some doing). I felt really hungry all day though. Nothing has really changed in terms of food composition so I'm going to chalk it up to lack of sleep. 

 

Water: 3/7

I was a lot worse with water today. My morning bottle. Two pints at work and a couple of smaller glasses when I got home. (~2l) I pretty much did the whole water thing in two large doses and I'd rather spread it out better. I did also drink a lot less coffee (which is weird cause I'm tired). 

 

Study: 3/7

 

My training is now confirmed for Feb 4/5. With luck it won't change again. Instead of being local it is in London and, despite being close enough to commute, I'm being put up in a hotel. I don't often go into London (once in the last 3 or so years) so kind of fun. 20 minutes of reading done. 

 

Adulting: 3/7

I realise I'm not sure how to score this one. I didn't really do anything adulty in my own life - except made enough dinner to have leftovers for tomorrow so there is no cooking when I come in from the gym. I stuck to budget (payday is tomorrow so I've no money anyway), I stuck to my schedule.  I loaded the dishwasher. All good things I guess. 

 

Sleep: 1/7

Yep. nuff said about this today. Trying to add a sleep routine and switching my meditation to last thing. With luck I'm tired enough I'll sleep though. 

 

Fitness: 1/4

Delicious rest day! I need to do some rolling of my upper back tonight. The ball works really good for the tightness I get. 

 

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" Always aim for something stupidly crazy." - Charlie Quinn

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18 minutes ago, jonfirestar said:

Why hello! I'll come out and admit that your Galadriel's Mirror section in your last challenge that got me thinking about the water thing a little more seriously :)

 

I'm glad to have helped! I've learned in my attempts to do water challenges that it is super helpful to have water bottles already filled in the fridge, that way when you finish one you just have to grab the next one! Especially for people who are just slightly lazy or lack motivation like me ;) 

  • Like 1

Calanthia Cobbin: Level 3 Hobbit Ranger

Rogue of Stick 'Em With The Pointy End! 

STR: 2.13 | INT: 2.37 | DEX: 4.25 | STA: 11.23 | CON: 11.88 | WIS: 8.72 | CHA: 5.81  

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