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Estral's First Challenge


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My first challenge!

 

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CHALLENGE 1: SHOVELGLOVE, JUNE'S SISTER CHALLENGE, SQUATS

 

The month of May has seen a lot of squats, and while I'm proud of it, my gains were minimal. I know everything takes time, but I need to add stuff in that will show me results or I will get discouraged. I also ran into some issues with my back over May, and I want to see what I can do to minimize tightness/soreness/pain in that area by strengthening it up so I'll be fiddling with different exercises for that. Also arms because one day I want to have truly impressive guns. I lift a lot of kids and boxes full of books and beer on the reg, so any muscle will help. 

 

GOAL

  •  Do the June challenge my sisters and sisters-in-law participate in. Do 50 squats 3 times a week. Do shovelglove 3 times a week. The StrongLifts program will have to wait for a better time in my life.

 

OBSTACLES

1) TIME. I don't have time. I have 2.5 jobs, a partner, and a dog. It eases up over summer but I don't want to build up something that's unsustainable come autumn. I need to figure out a way to shoehorn this into my schedule without it being getting up at 4 am. 

 

CHALLENGE 2: CHANGE FOOD HABITS

 

This one seems simple, and it should be, but most of us know that food issues are dark lords that just don't seem to stay down.

 

GOALS

  • Drink water (I am not bad at this but there's always room for improvement). 
  • Eat clean when you can (and just don't beat yourself up when there's nothing you can do about it). 
  • Really be mindful of how much you're putting in. Stop when you think you're about 80% full and give the rest to Thor or save it for later if possible. REMEMBER THE PICNIC SANDWICH.

 

OBSTACLES

  • My mother-in-law 
  • Forgetting my water bottle again
  • Not paying attention or not caring when I start to feel full. YOU NEVER LIKE TO FINISH THE FUCKING BURGER. JUST GIVE IT TO THOR. 

 

CHALLENGE 3: DO WEEK -1 C25K FOR 4 WEEKS

 

I just need to get my heart rate up sometimes from something that ISN'T stress. I've tried this out a billion times and I've never kept up with it. I don't know if I can keep up with it this time; I might need to lose a significant amount of weight first for a real 5k run to be a real possibility). On the bright side, I can start getting my 5k walks done faster if I jog at least part of it, and that means time saved!

 

GOAL 

 

  • Week -1 (Challenge Week 0): Run 30 seconds, walk 60 seconds. Repeat once. Try it out and see what happens.   

 

OBSTACLES

  • Needing to breathe
  • Needing the energy
  • I don't see myself being able to do this. Even week -1 sounds too difficult. 

 

 

Any constructive criticisms about narrowing down or specifying goals is more than welcome. I haven't thought of any rewards (or punishments?) yet. I don't want it to be food, and buying myself something I want/need is based on where my budget is and not on my fitness progress. 

 

EDITED HEAVILY FROM ORIGINAL GOALS BECAUSE I NEED TO PACE MYSELF AND BE REALISTIC.

 

I'm ready!

 

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Wooooot! Some solid goals there. Following.

 

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Welcome! What is the Picnic Sandwich? You do sound like you are super busy. You said you've been doing squats. How did that fit into your schedule before? I'm asking because you said your two big obstacles were time and anxiety, and so I wondered what your plans were to combat that. Have you been to the gym already? Do you find that your anxiety lessens a bit each time you go? I don't go to the gym, but as far as working out in front of others, the more I do it, the less anxious I feel about it.

Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' Luke 10; 27

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12 minutes ago, Elastigirl said:

Welcome! What is the Picnic Sandwich? You do sound like you are super busy. You said you've been doing squats. How did that fit into your schedule before? I'm asking because you said your two big obstacles were time and anxiety, and so I wondered what your plans were to combat that. Have you been to the gym already? Do you find that your anxiety lessens a bit each time you go? I don't go to the gym, but as far as working out in front of others, the more I do it, the less anxious I feel about it.

 

After cutting out a LOT of carbs for about a month and a half, Thor and I decided to have a nice picnic dinner since the weather is finally getting nice. He bought a big baguette that we split in half and made sandwiches on. I didn't really think about it but once I ate the sandwich and it was time to leave the park, I was really really bloated and in a ton of pain. I was so uncomfortably full. It SUCKED. I don't want to feel that way, and there's an easy way to avoid that! Don't fucking eat it!

 

I have indeed been doing squats. I fit them in where I can, so in the mornings I'll do some after I pee but when I just sort of stand there for a second, some in the shower, while I brush my teeth, etc. Sometimes I will just put on a song or two and try to bust them out in between whatever I'm doing at home. 

 

I have been to the gym occasionally in my lifetime. It's much, much easier with friends but friends are also busy and lazy and it never happens more than a couple times before it peters out. My anxiety does not really lessen as I go, but I don't know if I've gone enough for me to really be able to say that with certainty. 

 

I'm not honestly sure how I'll fit the gym in. I am a teacher, a bookseller, and a part-ish time bartender/head cook/baker. I get up at 5 am and am just about constantly busy until I fall into bed. I like to start my bedtime routine around 8 and be in bed by 9 (most nights I do actually have my shit together regarding sleep, although it has really killed my social life or like... any kind of life outside work and housework). I think it would be unrealistic to get up earlier, which leaves early to mid evening, maybe? I'm pretty physically tired by then, though. I guess I'll just have to force myself? And figure out what will have to be left by the wayside...

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:lol:Now, I get the picnic sandwich. Yep, I find remembering how lousy I felt after eating something is a good deterrent.

 

Ok, not trying to talk you out of lifting weights if that is something you really want to do, but have you considered other ideas? If you do Bodyweight stuff at home, you avoid the problem of being in front of people at the gym and you save time of not having to go drive to the gym. I use kettlebells at home and love them. Sounds like you are doing a great job of figuring out how to fit in squats into your busy schedule, and that is a great sustainable way to get in shape.  Looks like most of your jobs are on your feet, which is great. Maybe it would be more doable to keep up with that method instead of trying to find a big block of time. Do a set of squats, and then do some pushups from the counter. Put on the song, do some squats, lunges, and pushups, and you've done a nice bodyweight circuit.

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Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' Luke 10; 27

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Love the challenge, but I see your point about not really having time for the gym. Is there any way you can lift in your home instead? I don't know where you would find weights in Sweden, or how much they cost, but if you could find some it may relieve a bit of the time crunch. Kettlebells, as Elastigirl suggest, are phenomenal; dumbells are also excellent. You can find fillable versions of kettlebells, which allow you to increase their weight incrementally (so you don't have to buy different ones for different weights), and there are adjustable-weight versions of dumbells that fulfill the same purpose.

If the cost is too great, you can always use homemade versions. Plastic jugs filled with water, sand or kitty litter can function as both dumbells and kettlebells. You just need a scale to weight them on when you fill them. You can also make homemade medicine balls by filling cheap plastic kids balls the same way (although I'd recommend not using water in those, as they're trickier to seal).

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Evicious, Khajjit Ranger STR 7 | DEX 13 | STA 3 | CON 6 | WIS 16 | CHA 4

Current 4WC: Evicious: The Unburdening II + Blitz Week!

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Keep up the momentum!

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8 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Ok, not trying to talk you out of lifting weights if that is something you really want to do, but have you considered other ideas? If you do Bodyweight stuff at home, you avoid the problem of being in front of people at the gym and you save time of not having to go drive to the gym. I use kettlebells at home and love them. Sounds like you are doing a great job of figuring out how to fit in squats into your busy schedule, and that is a great sustainable way to get in shape.  Looks like most of your jobs are on your feet, which is great. Maybe it would be more doable to keep up with that method instead of trying to find a big block of time. Do a set of squats, and then do some pushups from the counter. Put on the song, do some squats, lunges, and pushups, and you've done a nice bodyweight circuit.

 

I was going to suggest something similar. One idea would be to plan to go to the gym some number of times per week, but to substitute some kind of home workout when you don't have much time. Stronglifts is great, but 10 minutes of pushups, situps, etc is WAY better than nothing. You might even try an app like the "7 minute workout" or some of the free online Darebee workouts.

 

As far as anxiety at the gym, here are a couple thoughts:

(1) Wear some clothes that you feel good in. If your gym clothes are unflattering, and you can afford it, buy yourself one new piece of clothing or outfit. It will make you feel instantly more confident. If you don't want to spend money on gym clothes, spend a little time looking through what you have and pick out something that makes you feel good. (I'm not saying you need to look any particular way, just that clothes can have an effect on our confidence).

(2) Go into the gym with a plan. I've been going to the same gym for ~15 years, and it's not a very scary place. But I still get frazzled if I don't know what to do next, don't know where some equipment is, etc. I usually go in with a list. If many of the lifts are new to you, it's fine to start with a subset and gradually increase. If some equipment tends to be busy, have a back-up plan.

(3) Baby steps. Maybe one part of your goal could be literally just to go to the gym. Go there, do whatever you feel like doing. Skip things that seem stressful. Go home when you feel like it and declare victory. Just build up a habit.

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Xena, Level 14+ Valkyrie Ranger

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12 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

 

Ok, not trying to talk you out of lifting weights if that is something you really want to do, but have you considered other ideas? If you do Bodyweight stuff at home, you avoid the problem of being in front of people at the gym and you save time of not having to go drive to the gym.

The gym is less than a five minute walk away from my place. If I opened my front door and yelled, you could hear me if you were standing outside the gym. I already do squats, occasionally do pushups on the counter, and some hip rises/bridges and supermans and some other stretchy glute things at home. 

 

11 hours ago, Evicious said:

Love the challenge, but I see your point about not really having time for the gym. Is there any way you can lift in your home instead? I don't know where you would find weights in Sweden, or how much they cost, but if you could find some it may relieve a bit of the time crunch. Kettlebells, as Elastigirl suggest, are phenomenal; dumbells are also excellent. You can find fillable versions of kettlebells, which allow you to increase their weight incrementally (so you don't have to buy different ones for different weights), and there are adjustable-weight versions of dumbells that fulfill the same purpose.

If the cost is too great, you can always use homemade versions. Plastic jugs filled with water, sand or kitty litter can function as both dumbells and kettlebells. You just need a scale to weight them on when you fill them. You can also make homemade medicine balls by filling cheap plastic kids balls the same way (although I'd recommend not using water in those, as they're trickier to seal).

 

The homemade versions sound like a nice project to work on! I will need to find some jugs (they don't have milk jugs or anything with handles here like in the U.S.). I think weights here cost about the same, but I don't want to spend a lot of money on stuff I'm not sure I'll use. I'd really like to use the barbell...

 

3 hours ago, Xena said:

As far as anxiety at the gym, here are a couple thoughts:

(1) Wear some clothes that you feel good in. If your gym clothes are unflattering, and you can afford it, buy yourself one new piece of clothing or outfit. It will make you feel instantly more confident.

(2) Go into the gym with a plan. 

(3) Baby steps. Maybe one part of your goal could be literally just to go to the gym. Go there, do whatever you feel like doing. Skip things that seem stressful. Go home when you feel like it and declare victory. Just build up a habit.

 

My gym clothes probably aren't intensely fashionable but they're all black (pretty much everything I wear is black, I am the casual-est of goths) so I'm fine in that area, although I would LOVE to one day find a real sports bra that does what a sports bra is supposed to do. 

 

I'm trying to work on a written down plan! I have a notebook that I carry around with me everywhere so hopefully my plan will be hashed out soon and I'll share it here. 

 

And I think you're right about the habit thing. I just, I love the idea of me doing barbell stuff, but I hate the idea of doing it as a lumpy space princess in the middle of a bunch of tall, blonde, perfectly shaped, beautiful Swedes (I'm not bitter at all...). It's nerve wracking. 

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30 minutes ago, Estral said:

And I think you're right about the habit thing. I just, I love the idea of me doing barbell stuff, but I hate the idea of doing it as a lumpy space princess in the middle of a bunch of tall, blonde, perfectly shaped, beautiful Swedes (I'm not bitter at all...). It's nerve wracking. 

I feel you on the gym anxiety thing. Can't quite remember what challenge it was in now, but a few months ago, this was me exactly. I was terrified of the free weight area, because of the people in it. It's a 'bro' area most of the time. What works for me is to go literally when they open. I'm often waiting in the foyer with 3 or 4 others to be allowed in come 6.30, because most there will be doing cardio that early (don't know why, it's just the way it is in my gym) and even if it starts to fill up, being one of the first in means I at least walk into a near empty space, nab a station and focus. Unless someone talks to me, I ignore whatever is around me and just get on with what I'm doing. I do Stronglifts too (though I'll probably make the switch to juggernauts soon. The weights increase a little too quickly for me ;)). It does get easier the more you go. Just remember that you have just as much right to be in there, using that equipment, as any of the others.

 I've also been in there when there's maybe an hour till close (one of my yoga classes is a late one), and the area looks pretty empty then... but thinking about your early rises that may not work for you. This was about 8:30 - 9 in the evening. 

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10 hours ago, Estral said:

It's still happening, don't worry! I usually do it while making dinner or use it as an excuse to not fold the laundry for another few minutes :P 

Oh wait, I totally forget you were the sledgehammer gal. Do the sledgehammer that will get you in shape. If you love the idea of lifting barbells, then just do it as it fits into your schedule. I don't think you need to make it as a goal yet. Just try  it as it fits into your schedule. Right now I'd think of it as an experiment, and keep up with the squats and sledgehammer

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Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' Luke 10; 27

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1 hour ago, Elastigirl said:

Oh wait, I totally forget you were the sledgehammer gal. Do the sledgehammer that will get you in shape. If you love the idea of lifting barbells, then just do it as it fits into your schedule. I don't think you need to make it as a goal yet. Just try  it as it fits into your schedule. Right now I'd think of it as an experiment, and keep up with the squats and sledgehammer

 

Yep, that's me! And yeah, maybe I'll change my goals up entirely... sigh. 

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14 minutes ago, Estral said:

 

Yep, that's me! And yeah, maybe I'll change my goals up entirely... sigh. 

Zero week is a good time to see what works for goals and what doesn't. 

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Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' Luke 10; 27

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I feel you on gym anxiety. I get anxious around people in general and going to the gym when really out of shape was a hard step. I find that I need to be very billergerant with myself and not give myself time to talk myself out of it. Don't think, just do is my main strategy for dealing with anxiety. I found the anxiety did wear off after a while. Knowing exactly what you want to get done while you are there really helps. 

 

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If you're absolutely jonesing for a barbell (and really, who isn't? :P) you can make one yourself with either PVC pipe or a metal pipe. You'll need to fill the PVC version with something (I've read about water, sand, gravel (weighs less than sand but takes up enough space to keep thing stable) and - in some extreme cases - concrete) to give it heft. Metal pipe you can do some math and approximate the thickness of pipe you'd need. I don't know how it works in Sweden, but in America most places that sell those supplies will also cut the material to length for you.

 

Just remember, whatever you make is likely NOT going to be of the same caliber strength as a manufactured bar, so don't get overzealous later on down the road and try to load it up with 1,000Lbs or anything crazy like that. ;) 

Evicious, Khajjit Ranger STR 7 | DEX 13 | STA 3 | CON 6 | WIS 16 | CHA 4

Current 4WC: Evicious: The Unburdening II + Blitz Week!

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If you want to do barbell, do barbells. But really Shovelglove and body weight is enough for anyone.

 

The important thing isn't so much what you're doing as it is what you're doing consistently. May I suggest that this challenge be exploratory and you use it to figure out what your thing is?

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12 minutes ago, Xena said:

 

Hey that's a pretty awesome description. If you feel anxious at the gym, maybe just remind yourself of that. It's pretty badass!

Estral the Badass Sledgehammer Gal

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Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' Luke 10; 27

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How's it going so far? Still working on narrowing down and solidify in your goals?

 

I totally feel you about the rewards. My budget is so tight that if I can afford to buy myself something cool, I'm not going to resist buying it based on succeeding or failing at some other goal. If I can afford something, it's past due and I'm just going to buy it.

 

Anyways, the thing about rewards that you want to keep in mind is the whole intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. You really don't want to set up external rewards and punishments for activities that you find inherently enjoyable or would like to find inherently enjoyable, because your mind gets so distracted by these external motivators that you forget to enjoy the process. That totally happens. 

 

So the best motivators for activities that you want to enjoy are just intangible rewards like a sense of accomplishment. Pat yourself on the back. Crow about it on Facebook. That sort of thing. If you are going to buy rewards for enjoyable activities, they should be things that directly reinforce your fundamental enjoyment of the activity, like nifty new equipment, but as you mentioned, that takes an amount of disposable income.

 

The best thing for you and I to do is really just focus on intangible rewards. Realize that congratulating yourself on a growing mastery is actually more of a boost than you might give it credit for, and that really is the most productive form of motivation for anything that you want to enjoy, and not just muscle through for the sake of the bribe.

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Ok, goals drastically modified. Here's a chart for what I plan on doing this month:

 

59307313bd4b2_ScreenShot2017-06-01at10_00_45PM.png.8634612c317c532d3e6c8e694743f7d3.png

 

 

For crunches, hip raises, leg raises, squats, and counter pushups the number indicates how many I will do.

For planks, the number indicates the seconds.

For shovelglove, the number indicates the circuits or scenarios.

For back, the number indicates how many different moves to try out. I will be going by this video for starters. I will probably do 10-20, or maybe I'll go by seconds? I don't know, it'll be experimental. 

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On 5/31/2017 at 0:33 AM, Nianne said:

How's it going so far? Still working on narrowing down and solidify in your goals?

 

I totally feel you about the rewards. My budget is so tight that if I can afford to buy myself something cool, I'm not going to resist buying it based on succeeding or failing at some other goal. If I can afford something, it's past due and I'm just going to buy it.

 

Anyways, the thing about rewards that you want to keep in mind is the whole intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. You really don't want to set up external rewards and punishments for activities that you find inherently enjoyable or would like to find inherently enjoyable, because your mind gets so distracted by these external motivators that you forget to enjoy the process. That totally happens. 

 

So the best motivators for activities that you want to enjoy are just intangible rewards like a sense of accomplishment. Pat yourself on the back. Crow about it on Facebook. That sort of thing. If you are going to buy rewards for enjoyable activities, they should be things that directly reinforce your fundamental enjoyment of the activity, like nifty new equipment, but as you mentioned, that takes an amount of disposable income.

 

The best thing for you and I to do is really just focus on intangible rewards. Realize that congratulating yourself on a growing mastery is actually more of a boost than you might give it credit for, and that really is the most productive form of motivation for anything that you want to enjoy, and not just muscle through for the sake of the bribe.

 

 

You're right. I've been thinking about it a lot and for one thing, my squats over the course of May DID bring a lot of benefits, and I consider those to be the reward/motivation. Besides a general sense of feeling a bit stronger, some things have changed. The way I pick stuff up off the ground, the way I stand up from a chair or my bed, etc. I say in my initial post of this thread that the gains were minimal, but I'm not sure if that's accurate anymore. 

 

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Alright, day 1 of my chart done. Plank was hard. Things (hips?) popped a bunch while doing leg raises. No pain, but disconcerting sound all the same, especially since it was an inside pop and not an outside crack, if that makes sense.

 

Good thing for this challenge: I have discovered the joys of sweet potato toast. 

Bad thing for this challenge: Swedish chocolate company has recently re-released my favorite chocolate, for a limited time.

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