Category: Fitness Challenges

Capricorn Full Moon Goals

Well we’re a little over halfway through July already. The moon is moving into Capricorn today (or maybe it was yesterday or tomorrow for you). I’ve realized that while I can make lists—trying to make the master list is one of the things that almost put me into an anxiety attack. So, I’m going to try to do one this weekend—but I will call it a brain dump (and see how I emotionally process that).

So, since it is the eve of the full moon, one can look at “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland and find a series of questions that you can ask yourself during this time:

Have I been ambitious to the point of ruthlessness?

Have I been obsessed with work to the detriment of my personal life?

Have I been hard-headed, hard-nosed, or just too hard on others?

Have I allowed my head to overrule my heart?

Have I been planning my life enough? Or too much?

So if I were to answer the above questions (again, numbering them 1-5), I think my answers would be as following:

  1. No, I don’t think that I’ve been ambitious to the point of ruthlessness. I’m pretty sure that people will tell you that I’m not ambitious enough, and that I currently go with the flow. I know that to make it in industry (at least move up the ladder or between companies, and to have good mentors), I need to become a little more ambitious that what I currently am. I also know that currently I’m not in a good mental space to really care of how ambitious (or not) others perceive me to be—there are too many other problems in the world, and I don’t rate this very high on that list.
  2. I don’t think I’ve been obsessed with work to the detriment of my personal life. That is one nice thing about having to clock my forty hours—even if I wanted to go over on the weekends—it probably wouldn’t be approved, therefore why bother. I will also be the first to admit that I really don’t have much of a life (I feel like I’m currently in the middle of a midlife crisis, with trying to figure out what the next career stage is going to be). Currently in terms of my personal life—I’m my own worse enemy here.
  3. No, I don’t think I’ve been hard on others. I really don’t interact with that many people in my current position, and I’m also the bottom of the totem pole in terms of hierarchy within my little unit anyway.
  4. Yes, I have let my head overrule my heart—while I really want to adopt a puppy, I’ve realized that I should wait until I either have moved (or am closer to moving), so that the puppy will be more or less totally raised in an apartment. I feel like it would be easier than having one that is used to the yard, and then having to all of a sudden be satisfied with two or three walks a day on a leash.
  5. Here, I actually think that I haven’t been planning my life enough. I’ve always been more to go with the current or flow and not try to battle my way upstream. This however has resulted in me taking several different positions that I probably should have passed on. I’m now trying to plan my life a little more—but going back to question 1, I have to try to do it in a way that it doesn’t induce an anxiety or panic attack.

So the Capricorn full moon is also going to be traveling through my third house (or my communications zone). This is the zone that deals with basically the people you see more or less on a day-to-day basis: friends, coworkers, and siblings. Also it reminds us that there is a to-do list that items that needed to be taken care of. Luckily, I can’t think of any major disagreements that I’ve had lately—I know that not everyone agrees with my idea of a “reboot break” but I’m going to do it anyway—I’ve decided that since I’m going to be 39 this year, it’s about damn time that I start putting myself first a few times.

So my goals for the Capricorn full moon period will include:

Continuing to work on my drafting my “reboot break” and also working on my transition plan to move from academia to industry.

Read (finish) at least one personal or professional development book.

Finish my second round of Country Heat.

Slow steps towards progress are better than trying to make running jumps and ending up falling behind on everything. I’m slowly figuring out ways of coping with my anxiety and stress, and as I continue to find better solutions to the triggers of both—I’ll continue to make more and more progress towards all of my other goals.

Motto for now: Progress not perfection.

No Comments Fitness ChallengesFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

New Moon Goals in Review: Update on the Aries goals

So the moon will be moving into Taurus this weekend (as a new moon), and we are somehow in May and the year is flying by. We’re a third of the way thorough the second quarter of the year, and that means it’s time to look back on the goals that I set for the month of April (in terms of the new moon).

So my small list of things to focus on during the Aries new moon included the following:

            Making a 12-month plan. This is going to encompass both personal and professional area of my life.

            Recommit to a workout program

            Work on my eating habits (I do know that quite a bit of my bad habits stem from both stress and poor sleeping). Notice I didn’t say diet—but habits. I’m trying to work on basically having things in moderation and working on serving sizes.

            Read a book on positive thinking (I’m pretty sure that I have one or two on my large to-be-read e-pile; but I’ll look at amazon and see what I either have or I will purchase a book or two).

            Then finally, continue to try to mediate nightly. I’ve realized lately that my mind still races a little too much when I do try to mediate and I call it quits after about two minutes. Also I’ve realized that my racing thoughts have also made it a little difficult to do an accurate and decent tarot/oracle card reading—I may need to meditate for a few minutes before attempting to do a reading.

So how did I do with each one?

The 12 month plan is somewhat made, and will be continuously revised throughout the year. I’ve realized that I overthink things, then try to make numerous lists to help with the overthinking and that just puts me in the middle of a massive week long anxiety/stress attack. I’ve also realized that when it comes to deciding on my career—I need to start looking towards different companies—I can’t keep saying that I’m going to be a research scientist in “X” years or months if I don’t have an idea of where I would like to work.

I managed to make it a week with a workout program last month. Part of the issue was that another dog in the house (and one who likes it if everyone is in the same area at the same time), and I wasn’t always certain how the wifi/internet were going to be holding up. I am going to start back with a program (though it may be going between different DVD workouts if possible—our wifi/internet service can be spotty at best lately).

My eating habits are slowly getting better—though I spent way to much money again on campus this month, and I bought way to much sweets. The weight is slowly going down (I did weigh myself and I am down compared to the beginning of the year; but I’m still at one of my heaviest at the same time). I do know that I need to start eating more veggies during the day (when I managed to drink my shakeology daily I was getting a good amounts of veggies in that), and it probably wouldn’t hurt to eat a little more fruit either during the day.

The one book that I finished reading this month could be slightly on positive thinking—it was actually on how nice it can be to slowly declutter your life and realize how few things one actually needs to survive. This is something that I’ve slowly been starting to do, and it does take time and constant evaluation of things to ask yourself if you really need to spend money on “X”, “Y”, or “Z” and if you need the thirty or forty different t-shirts you have hanging in your closet.

In terms of meditating nightly—this is something that I am still working on daily. Some days are better than others in terms of being able to quiet my mind. I know that isn’t the total point of meditating, and that I should just be able to acknowledge my thoughts and let them pass—but sometimes I’ve found that I sleep just a little better if I can try to quiet my mind before bed. So there are times when I’m then meditating again after reading before falling asleep.

All in all, I think that I may actually have a plan (more or less) in place for trying to get things accomplished over the next coming year. I’ve realized that every April/May/June I fall into a mild bout of anxiety/depression and while I can usually pull myself out of it—it also has a habit of potentially causing other problems (namely not working out and eating too much junk food). I’ve also realized that I need to do the search for companies to work for on a smaller scale (so that I can keep my anxiety under control), and have decided that I’m going to aim for three to six at a time—have several documents/pages of notes on them so that if I get to the point of interviews I know what I’m talking about.

No Comments Fitness ChallengesNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Book Review and list of different 30-day challenges together in one post.

So one of the books that I finished in February was “The 30 Day Challenge Book: 500 ideas to inspire your life” by Clare Hudson. This book was divided in to different areas such as intellectual & educational 30 day challenges, social, relationship & kindness 30 day challenges and then self improvement, inner life and meditation 30 day challenges (just to name a few chapters).

So one thing I decided was that I’d go back through the book and list the different 30 day challenges that either I found interesting or would be helpful to try. I know that there are certain ones that I currently won’t be doing (such as running, following a specific eating trend [vegan or vegetarian], or going to a religious service), or that I’ve already been doing (hitting 10K steps/day, watching the sun rise, or bird watching). But the following is a long list of different challenges that I will slowly start incorporating into my life:

Dance every day (for 10 minutes); I can do this in the privacy of my room. Just turn on the ipod and dance freely without anyone watching or judging.

Celebrate small accomplishments. I use to do this with my fitness/nutrition—I’d break things down and once I reached a milestone there would be a certain reward. I need to get back in the habit of doing it again (will probably work wonders for the fitness/nutrition and also the job searching/transition).

Keep a general diary or journal. Again this is something that I use to be good at doing, but feel out of habit doing daily. This will probably help with the anxiety and stress more if I plan to sit and write at least once or twice a day in a journal (either paper & pen or digital).

Create a new daily routine for yourself.

Give up waiting around for the ‘right’ time. I know that I’m guilty of this (especially in terms of the job search/transition). So this is something that I need to continuously work on.

Doodle.

Try free drawing.

Spend 15 minutes a day coloring. I actually started this one a couple of months ago, but then got busy with life and quit. But I do enjoy coloring, so I may pick this one back up again.

Design tattoos.

Keep an idea book for 30 days.

Write a blog post daily (and it doesn’t always have to be published right away).

Teach yourself photography.

Photograph one beautiful thing a day

Photography theme for a month

Create an online course

Film the progress of your 30-day challenge

Make jewelry

Make rubbing of interesting surfaces & textures

Make a sculpture from random objects

Bucket list of 30 things in 30 days

Revamp your garden

Learn copywriting

Recycle your stuff

Read a poem a day

Learn how to say common phrases in different languages

Learn a new word a day

Research prominent women throughout history

Learn about a different historical person each day

Learn about politics

Learn about a new country a day

Put a pin on the world map & learn about that place

Find out how different cultures express themselves through art

Use the Khan Academy

Teach yourself economics

Learn about prominent scientists throughout history

Learn the periodic table (I had at one point memorized most of it as an undergrad—but that has been quite a few years ago). J

Learn computer programming (I’ve actually bought several different little e-course bundles to learn how to do programming—I just haven’t gotten around to sitting down and going through them yet).

Do Sudoku or crosswords. I use to do the Sudoku puzzles all the time, but haven’t done one in awhile. This is something else to get back in the habit of doing.

Read an article on a different subject (or different articles on the same subject but with different points of views).

Pick a subject you’re interested in & develop really niche knowledge within that subject

So these were the ideas from the book that I’m going to slowly start working on (probably just one challenge here and there), in addition to the ones that I’m already doing (steps, bird watching, working out at home).

So in terms of 30-day challenges—I am slowly teaching myself photography. I am trying to get out on the weekends to take new pictures, and if I spot something during the week, which catches my attention I’m going to snap a picture of it with my iPhone. I’m coming to the realization that photography today means more than just using a camera—it means using both a camera (can be either digital or one that actually uses film), and the camera on the phone. It also means learning how to use different programs to process and edit the pictures as well. In other words—it is a challenge that will take longer than 30 days to master—it will take years. Luckily it is something that I’m really enjoying doing.

No Comments Book ReviewsFitness ChallengesLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Trying to get back into a workout routine

So one of my goals from my 101-goal list is to make it through at least 250 days of Beachbody workouts. Now this doesn’t mean that it’s all going to be back-to-back (because you do need rest days in addition to workouts), but that I’d make sure that I’ve done at least 250 days of exercise over the next 1001 days. Yes, this does seem small when you compare the days—but if you also add in rest days, walking, and possibly biking and/or hiking come late spring & summer—you get the 1001 days. Plus, the 250 days is just the minimum, I will probably go over the total by the end of the time period.

I’ve also decided that it needs to be 250 different workouts—so it will probably be done in more than 250 days. Because if we look at what I’ve done in January—I’ve done a workout I’d say 20 out of the past 30 days—but I’ve only done 3 programs (most of my workouts have been country heat, one LIIFT4 workout & 1 combat workout). So I’d only count all that as doing 7 different workouts (as I’ve been doing all 5 of the country heat workouts). I’ve also realized that while it’s good to try to go all in on a workout—when it’s been a year or so since you’ve done the workout, you should probably dial back the intensity just a little.

Basically, on Monday I did combat 30 for the first time in probably a year or so—I love the program, but have never made it all the way through (mainly because the later two workouts are 45 minutes & an hour long—and sometimes I don’t have that amount of time during the week to do a workout; 45 minutes I can almost squeak in—the full hour workout not so much). I slept really well Monday night, and didn’t feel all that sore for most of the day—but around 3 or so yesterday afternoon, my back and legs decided to remind me exactly what I did on Monday. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been this stiff and sore (I’m hoping the acupuncture mat helped relieve some of the stiffness, but I still took today as a “rest” day–though I walked a good 45+ minutes on campus today), and I’ve realize that I’m going to have to start a little slower than I want—but since it’s been about two or three months since my last consistent workout schedule, I really shouldn’t be surprised.

So I think that I’m going to have work in some Pilates or yoga for awhile to help stretch out the muscles before I jump back into any hard core cardio. One goal is to see if I can make it through all of the workouts that I have on DVD from Beachbody before starting on the ones that are solely available via the online streaming platform. Also for the programs that are pushing the hour time limit–they will be done on the weekends, when I have that time to spare.

No Comments 101 GoalsfitnessFitness ChallengesPersonal Development

Hybrid Workout Schedule for the month

Since I’ve been having problems with sticking to a routine this fall (I did great up until September & then everything spiraled downhill on me). I’ve decided that I was going to make a hybrid workout schedule for the month–if I manage to stick with it, I’ll make a longer one for the new year.

Hybrid Workout Schedule

The workouts are a mixture of programs–some I have the DVDs of (which is good, since one of the programs isn’t carried any more), and others I will have to log into the online platform to do. I don’t mind doing “on-line” workouts–except for there are times that I don’t want to be getting on my computer after work, which is why it’s good to have physical DVDs (or one can also go to a gym–but that isn’t my cup of tea when it comes to working out).

The programs are also a mix of strength training (I do love LIIFT4), yoga/pilates (PiYo & Yoga Booty Ballet), and cardio. When it comes to our health and fitness, there isn’t a one size fits all in terms of programs (or nutritional advice either). I’ve decided that while I can do programs from start to finish–some times I need variety and that is where my hybrid schedule is going to come into play.

This schedule may also change–I might try to sub in an 80 Day Obsession workout during the Christmas holiday instead of one of the shorter ones that I have currently listed. The only way to know if I would enjoy the workouts is to give them a try. So far day 1 is complete–I do enjoy the cardio dance workout of Country Heat.

No Comments fitnessFitness ChallengesHealth

LIIFT4 Week 1 Completed

So yesterday marked the end of week 1 of LIIFT4, and I’m sore as hell. One of the reasons why I decided to give LIIFT4 a go is that it’s a four day a week program (two days on/one day off/two days on/two days off), so that you can almost make your own schedule—picking two days to start, taking the next day off, going two days, and then having a full two days off before starting the second week. So this isn’t the first weight training program I’ve done through Beachbody (I’ve done CharleanExtreme, Les Mills PUMP, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, and T25—all of which are either majority resistance training or a mixture), and I’ll have to say that it’s nice to know that I haven’t totally loss my ability to lift semi-heavy.

Now I know that some people will say that lifting five to 8 pounds isn’t lifting heavy (or even semi-heavy), but when you haven’t been working out consistently for months—I think it’s pretty damn good that I can lift that amount for three rounds of 10. Though I did order a 10-pound dumbbell set (and it should be delivered before week 2 starts), and then I can use those for some of the exercises where the 8-pound did feel a little light. There were some exercises where I didn’t lift any weights (reverse lunges), mainly because those are my weak points. So I do have a goal that by the end of the program I can hopefully hold weight through at least two repetitions of the reverse lunge, and that I might be able to do three triceps pushups on the floor (and not elevated or standing).

 

I’m also going to try to do active recovery days (potentially trying to fit in either a cardio dance [country heat or CIZE], or something more pilates or yoga based)—that way once the next week starts I will be a little more loose and limber.

CIZE (c)beachbody.com

Country Heat (c)beachbody.com

PiYO (c)beachbody.com

 

If interested in anything Beachbody related—links are at the bottom of the page, or drop a comment and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

No Comments fitnessFitness ChallengesHealthPersonal Development

Starting LIIFT4

LIIFT4 (c)Beachbody.com

So as many know I’ve been trying to figure to get back into a fitness and nutrition routine since the beginning of the year. I’d be going good for awhile and then slide backwards, and then crawl forwards, and slide backwards again.
I’m a firm believer in Beachbody workout programs—I’ve been a customer since I think 1999 (basically whenever Yoga Booty Ballet came out)—and yes, I’ve been struggling with my weight for basically 20 plus years. But that issue has been solely on my shoulders—I cave to mistakes way to easily, and then allow the problem to get even bigger before I try to take on a fitness routine again.
I’d made a good start several years ago when I started with T25 (it is a great workout program that is only 25 minutes a day for 5 days), then went on with a few other programs as well (CLX—Charlean Extreme, 21 day fix, 21 day fix extreme, Les Mill Pump), but at the same time slid backwards on my nutrition and allowed an injury that sidelined me for about two months to stretch into about three and half years. During those three and half years—I gained all the weight I lost and then some. While I didn’t (and don’t) really hate myself—I am disappointed in myself for allowing myself to slide so far back (basically I’m back at my grad school weight).
So I’ve decided that I’m going to start again, and this time in “community” setting. I’ve decided that I’m going to try LIIFT4, which is one of the two new programs that beachbody is going to be rolling out this fall. LIIFT4 is basically a program that combines resistance training (weights) with HIIT intervals; and it’s only 4 days a week.I enjoy doing weight training (Les Mill Pump is still one of my favorite workouts), and decided that maybe trying something new in terms of weight training is the way I need to go. So day one is done—my chest muscles and upper arm muscles aren’t really talking to me (I don’t know how well I’ll be able to move my arms tomorrow). So far the only exercise that I’m going to have to figure out modification/replacement for are doing the tricep pushups—I don’t have the upper arm strength, and I’m not sure my arms like going in that direction anyway. So stay tune, within the next two months I will hopefully be sharing at least one series of comparison photos (it may be just the before and after—not sure).

No Comments fitnessFitness ChallengesHealthPersonal Development

Second Quarter Update on 101+ Goals

So I thought of just cutting and pasting in my 101+ goals again with the “newer” notes added to it. But then decided that having two or more extremely wordy posts getting posted might be pushing it for the day. So I’m going to just post what’s been going on this second quarter in terms of meeting some of the goals. There are now only 820 days left in the challenge, and what I’ve gotten checked off the list includes:

Finishing up the modules for two programs that I’m in within another group (these are to help transition into an industry position).

I’ve visited one new national park:

                     Ceiling within the caves

Had gone to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico last month. It was a great experience, but next time I go–I want to be in better shape so that I might go on one of the guided tours, which goes into other caves. The self guided tour is only in the main cavern (which is still like a round 2 mile hike). Also visited a new national monument (White Sands) and a new wildlife refuge (Bitter Lake), both of which were also in New Mexico. So while I had list one new state or national park–I’ve met the goal, but would still like to see more (both state and national) over the next couple of years). Also with the trip to New Mexico, visited a new city: Roswell.

                        Aliens have landed

I loved the UFO museum.

I got a new camera, which I used to take numerous pictures both in New Mexico and since I’ve been home. Its nice having two (well technically three if you count the cell phone) cameras for photography–you don’t have to worry quite as much about how much memory you have when you’re out and about. You can take as many pictures as you want, then if any look bad once you get home, you can delete them.

I created my digital vision board:

               My current Vision Board

Which is serving as the background for my laptop. It’s reminding me of the more critical things that I need to be focusing on right now: my transition into industry, and getting into shape. Everything else can be accomplished once I have managed those two things. My current position is a dead end position with no possibility of advancement, and I need to get into better physical condition if I want to be able to do different outdoor activities.

Other things I have also managed to get done:

Cleaning up my desk (and trying to keep it straightened), and thinning out the monkey grass around the maple tree in the front yard (it doesn’t look that bad anymore).

So I have about six things that can be checked off as done (where I’ve at least reached the minimum of one). There are other things that I won’t know the final tally of until the end of the challenge (the total days of: taking my vitamins daily, drinking 70oz or more water daily, meditation, journaling, things like that). Other things will be able to be checked off once they’re completed. So it will be interesting to see over the course of this third quarter of 2018, how many other things I can get accomplished.

No Comments 101 GoalsFitness ChallengesHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Spring Squat Challenge

Squat Challenge

 

So I’m starting a new monthly challenge again–and starting off with the squats again. This is similar to the one I posted back in September–though it goes 5 days before the first rest day. I’ve decided that while I’m having a little problem with sticking with an entire program right now (day in and day out), I’m going to do this as a mini-challenge. The mini-challenge is that my daily exercise only has to be the squats (anything else is bonus), and see if that helps get back into the routine.

No Comments Fitness Challenges

October Fitness Challenge

Well since tomorrow is a new month–new challenge.  I decided that I’d try to focus on an exercise that I didn’t like mainly because I wasn’t that good at it. So this month its going to be burpees.  There are two ways that one can do the burpees–squat down, and then jump back into the plank position and then jump back into the squat and jump up (this is what I’m calling the advanced form and what I’m hoping I may be able to do at the end of the month–at least being able to do a 1/5 of them this way) and then the more basic–squat down, and then step back into the plank position, and then step back into the squat and then do a calf raise (or you can do a mini jump).

The fitness challenge for the month of October–Burpees.

No Comments fitnessFitness Challenges