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    Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Back by popular demand!

    Lots of us pagans (and non-pagans, too) want to be in better shape--because our path might regard the body as the ultimate temple, because it would allow us to better serve or honor our god(s), because we simply want to improve our health generally, or a host of other reasons--but our community seems too often to be heavy on the bookishness and light on the athleticism. Here's an attempt to rebalance that a bit.

    No, we're not going to groom a horde of Schwarzeneggers (though if you're in that league, that's fine, too.) The idea is to use this thread as mutual encouragement to get us all to make incremental improvements in our fitness, no matter where we're starting from, and no matter what physical challenges we may face on a daily basis.

    Here's how it works:

    1) Set your goal. Things to consider when you do--
    • Evaluate where you are now and what would be a good place for you, personally, to be fitness-wise.
    • Make sure the goal is achievable. If you've never done a pushup, don't set your goal as "bench press 300 pounds in the next 3 months," because then you're just setting yourself up to fail. Yes, it should be challenging--whatever that means for you--but give yourself a reasonable chance at success, so that when you win, you can build on that for the next goal, and the next.
    • Make sure the goal is measurable. No, not "feel better in the morning." Something like "lose 10 pounds and keep it off"...and guess what? If you achieve a measurable goal, odds are you'll feel better in the morning, too. (But maybe a little sore the first couple of mornings. In a good way.)
    2) Announce the goal in this thread to all us lovely people. We'll egg you on and keep you honest. Promise!

    3) Check in to this thread regularly to let us know how you're doing. At least once a week, people!

    and best of all

    4) ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR SUCCESS!

    END DATE for this iteration of the Fitness Challenge: March 21, 2017.

    (The spring equinox, about 3 months from now. That will give us most of the winter, even after the inevitable gluttony and slacking of the holiday season, to get our act together.)

    Shout out your goals here now, folks! No shaming, just tough love--as in "YOU set this goal; now we're going to see to it that you stick to it."

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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair View Post
    1) Set your goal. Things to consider when you do--
    • Evaluate where you are now and what would be a good place for you, personally, to be fitness-wise.
    • Make sure the goal is achievable. If you've never done a pushup, don't set your goal as "bench press 300 pounds in the next 3 months," because then you're just setting yourself up to fail. Yes, it should be challenging--whatever that means for you--but give yourself a reasonable chance at success, so that when you win, you can build on that for the next goal, and the next.
    • Make sure the goal is measurable. No, not "feel better in the morning." Something like "lose 10 pounds and keep it off"...and guess what? If you achieve a measurable goal, odds are you'll feel better in the morning, too. (But maybe a little sore the first couple of mornings. In a good way.)
    2) Announce the goal in this thread to all us lovely people. We'll egg you on and keep you honest. Promise!

    3) Check in to this thread regularly to let us know how you're doing. At least once a week, people!

    and best of all

    4) ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR SUCCESS!

    END DATE for this iteration of the Fitness Challenge: March 21, 2017.
    Now that I finally got a tape measure, I can post my goal. The lying liars of the men's apparel industry have lied to me! Though the pants that fit me are routinely marked as having a 34-inch waist, the tape measure says my waist is really 35-1/2 inches. So my goal for the winter is:

    Lose 2 inches off my waistline (from 35-1/2 to 33-1/2).

    I've had similar goals in the past, but this time I've got the tape measure to hold my feet to the (actual, not lying liars' fake) fire. This should be achievable, but not easy; I have a body type halfway between a mesomorph and an endomorph (stocky build, like a rugby player), which means my body loves to pack on mass (muscle if I'm training right, which is good) but tries to hang onto fat, making it very difficult for me to get cut (which is bad). Plus at 53 years of age, fat weight doesn't come off easily.

    But the biggest hurdle will be me. I'll have to retool my diet, and my brain will resist any change that I perceive as jeopardizing my hard-earned muscle. Tough! If a little muscle has to go to hit my waistline goal, so be it.

    (Remind me of that last bit, people, when I start to whine...)
    Last edited by Altair; 26 Dec 2016 at 07:22 PM. Reason: added boldfacing

  3. #3
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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair View Post
    1) Set your goal. Things to consider when you do--
    • Evaluate where you are now and what would be a good place for you, personally, to be fitness-wise.
    • Make sure the goal is achievable.
    • Make sure the goal is measurable.
    2) Announce the goal in this thread to all us lovely people. We'll egg you on and keep you honest. Promise!

    3) Check in to this thread regularly to let us know how you're doing. At least once a week, people!

    and best of all

    4) ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR SUCCESS!
    Ok, saw this thread when it went up, and balked. Made all kinds of excuses: have too much going on right now, don't want to join another project (as I am finishing up one, in the middle of one, and about to start three!), and just don't want to commit to something that I may fail (or don't 'want' to do....)

    But here goes!

    Where I'm at right now: I am a stay-at-home mom, who is working on building up my writing into something that will actually bring in money. I have a big, year-long project that I am going to be starting for 2017 that is going to involve not only some big personal work, but also public sharing (so more writing!). I also joined a year long art-journaling program, so will be getting weekly art prompts. Plus I blog every week, and do some other online community building things with my local Pagans. Oh, and hubby and I run a guild in a MMO (computer game), so I spend a decent amount of time a week doing stuff in the game. I am also the primary driver for mom-in-law to take her to doctors visits (which she typically has a couple a month). So even though I don't have a traditional job, I do have a lot of things I do during the week.

    And most of that is quite sedentary. I spend a lot of time sitting at the computer. I do have some knee issues, sometimes some back issues, and Ulnar nerve problems with my left arm (that effect me being able to lift stuff well with that arm). I know I need to be more active, I always feel better when I am, but I struggle trying to work in working out into my day (not just the time to work out, but also to shower after, and trying to do it at a time that fits with the rest of my day).

    So my goal: work out at least 3x a week. And measure myself (with tapemeasure, we have no scale) at least once a week. Then (*eek) share my progress here (once a week)

    I actually have a hard deadline for a writing piece that needs to be finished by the end of the month, so I will start at the start of January.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylara View Post
    Ok, saw this thread when it went up, and balked. Made all kinds of excuses: have too much going on right now, don't want to join another project (as I am finishing up one, in the middle of one, and about to start three!), and just don't want to commit to something that I may fail (or don't 'want' to do....)

    But here goes!

    Where I'm at right now: I am a stay-at-home mom, who is working on building up my writing into something that will actually bring in money. I have a big, year-long project that I am going to be starting for 2017 that is going to involve not only some big personal work, but also public sharing (so more writing!). I also joined a year long art-journaling program, so will be getting weekly art prompts. Plus I blog every week, and do some other online community building things with my local Pagans. Oh, and hubby and I run a guild in a MMO (computer game), so I spend a decent amount of time a week doing stuff in the game. I am also the primary driver for mom-in-law to take her to doctors visits (which she typically has a couple a month). So even though I don't have a traditional job, I do have a lot of things I do during the week.

    And most of that is quite sedentary. I spend a lot of time sitting at the computer. I do have some knee issues, sometimes some back issues, and Ulnar nerve problems with my left arm (that effect me being able to lift stuff well with that arm). I know I need to be more active, I always feel better when I am, but I struggle trying to work in working out into my day (not just the time to work out, but also to shower after, and trying to do it at a time that fits with the rest of my day).

    So my goal: work out at least 3x a week. And measure myself (with tapemeasure, we have no scale) at least once a week. Then (*eek) share my progress here (once a week)

    I actually have a hard deadline for a writing piece that needs to be finished by the end of the month, so I will start at the start of January.
    Excellent, Kylara! Glad you're here; it was getting a bit lonely.

    Looking at where you're starting from, your goal is quite wise, I think; these days nearly all of us spend so much time sedentary in front of computers (kind of self selecting if you're in this forum to begin with) that some sort of activity would be a real boost to the health.

    Since the workouts themselves (the number of them that occur per week) is the measurable goal, I'd suggest aiming for 4x per week; that way, if life throws you a curveball and you miss one, you still have a workout "banked", so to speak, and your goal is intact. Maybe the fourth workout can be a light one, mostly stretching.

    And then if you *don't* miss a workout that week...then you've just gotten that much more exercise.

  5. #5
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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair View Post
    Excellent, Kylara! Glad you're here; it was getting a bit lonely.

    Looking at where you're starting from, your goal is quite wise, I think; these days nearly all of us spend so much time sedentary in front of computers (kind of self selecting if you're in this forum to begin with) that some sort of activity would be a real boost to the health.

    Since the workouts themselves (the number of them that occur per week) is the measurable goal, I'd suggest aiming for 4x per week; that way, if life throws you a curveball and you miss one, you still have a workout "banked", so to speak, and your goal is intact. Maybe the fourth workout can be a light one, mostly stretching.

    And then if you *don't* miss a workout that week...then you've just gotten that much more exercise.
    Yes, I do tend to try to go beyond my goal, but 3 is sort of a baseline...I won't feel like I've skimped out if I only end up with three. I know I can/have done workouts every day, but then missing one completely breaks my momentum and makes it so much easier to skip out on more
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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair View Post
    Now that I finally got a tape measure, I can post my goal. The lying liars of the men's apparel industry have lied to me! Though the pants that fit me are routinely marked as having a 34-inch waist, the tape measure says my waist is really 35-1/2 inches. So my goal for the winter is:

    Lose 2 inches off my waistline (from 35-1/2 to 33-1/2).

    I've had similar goals in the past, but this time I've got the tape measure to hold my feet to the (actual, not lying liars' fake) fire. This should be achievable, but not easy; I have a body type halfway between a mesomorph and an endomorph (stocky build, like a rugby player), which means my body loves to pack on mass (muscle if I'm training right, which is good) but tries to hang onto fat, making it very difficult for me to get cut (which is bad). Plus at 53 years of age, fat weight doesn't come off easily.

    But the biggest hurdle will be me. I'll have to retool my diet, and my brain will resist any change that I perceive as jeopardizing my hard-earned muscle. Tough! If a little muscle has to go to hit my waistline goal, so be it.

    (Remind me of that last bit, people, when I start to whine...)
    It is definitely a balance trying to find that sweet spot between muscle and fat (one reason why I don't like scale numbers.....muscle gain doesn't equal weight loss).

    I really dislike the clothing industry too! Vanity sizing is not only frustrating (when trying to find clothes that fit), but also kind of makes me mad and can be depressing (when you find something you like and it's drastically not the size you thought you wore). Men's tend to be closer (at least your sizes are modeled off of inches), but yeah that sucks when they aren't sized properly.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair View Post
    1) Set your goal. Things to consider when you do--
    • Evaluate where you are now and what would be a good place for you, personally, to be fitness-wise.
    • Make sure the goal is achievable. If you've never done a pushup, don't set your goal as "bench press 300 pounds in the next 3 months," because then you're just setting yourself up to fail. Yes, it should be challenging--whatever that means for you--but give yourself a reasonable chance at success, so that when you win, you can build on that for the next goal, and the next.
    • Make sure the goal is measurable. No, not "feel better in the morning." Something like "lose 10 pounds and keep it off"...and guess what? If you achieve a measurable goal, odds are you'll feel better in the morning, too. (But maybe a little sore the first couple of mornings. In a good way.)
    2) Announce the goal in this thread to all us lovely people. We'll egg you on and keep you honest. Promise!

    3) Check in to this thread regularly to let us know how you're doing. At least once a week, people!

    and best of all

    4) ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR SUCCESS!
    Okay, family has finally left my house for the holidays so I have my computer to myself again. I've had time over the past few days to think about what I actually want and need as far as fitness goals. So here's my situation:

    Years ago (five? six?) I was actually in really good shape. I did weightlifting three times a week and could do 10 chin-ups and deadlift 1.5x my bodyweight. Then I got a job in retail, and it sucked out all the energy I had for working out. However, I managed to stay fairly fit despite that because I spent so much time each day throwing boxes and walking miles and miles around the store. Eventually I got sick of being undervalued and underpaid, though, and I went back to school.

    I left my job in October of last year to focus 100% on school, and since then my fitness level has dropped dramatically. I've only gained about 10 pounds in weight, but I can see that I've had a huge loss in muscle mass turning into fat. Instead of spending my day walking a sales floor, I was parked for hours in a desk.

    This semester, though, will be different. I'm a Junior now in my BSN program, which means that 2 of my 4 days a week will be practicum- up to 8 hours a day spent in hands-on patient care. Next semester I move up to 5 days a week, with 3 days being practicum. On those days I'll be giving a lot of physically demanding care- turning and moving patients who cannot move themselves. I need to be in better health to handle what's going to be expected of me- both physically and mentally.

    To do this I need to get back into weightlifting, which means not only bringing my freeweights out of storage but actually tracking what I do and when. So my goals are in two parts:
    1) Keep a personal log tracking my workouts, which I will try to do three times a week but no fewer than twice a week. (I have to give myself some fudge room for test weeks.)
    2) Be able to perform at least one complete pullup (palms out) by the March 21st date. This is actually pretty challenging, since I've always been better at chin-ups (palms in) than pullups.

    I know these are things I can do, because I've done them before- I just need to break out of this stupid rut I've been in for the past few years. The good news at least is I won't have to tweak my diet much at all- the eating habits I established when I lost weight years ago have mostly stayed with me, which is probably why I've managed to (just barely) keep my BMI out of the overweight range.

  8. #8
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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair View Post
    Here's how it works:

    1) Set your goal. Things to consider when you do--
    • Evaluate where you are now and what would be a good place for you, personally, to be fitness-wise.
    • Make sure the goal is achievable.
    • Make sure the goal is measurable.
    2) Announce the goal in this thread to all us lovely people. We'll egg you on and keep you honest. Promise!

    3) Check in to this thread regularly to let us know how you're doing. At least once a week, people!

    and best of all

    4) ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR SUCCESS!
    Okay, after some thought, I'm going to throw my hat in the ring. I'm also coming from quite a sedentary lifestyle in terms of my fitness. I volunteer two days a week at a tiny op shop, but the rest of the time, I'm at home, looking for work. And I am not in great shape. It's taken me a long time to get to the point of wanting to do something about it. My first baby step was to start incorporating a short tai chi qigong routine into my morning ritual, which has been great for my asthma, but I know I need to do more.

    So I've managed to find a beginner's 30 min workout routine that I like and that is achievable for me, easy on my knees, and doable in my tiny bedroom with virtually no extra equipment, and I think this is a good place to start in terms of beginning to build up my fitness. I haven't done any serious exercise since high school fifteen years ago, and I've never had a regular workout routine before, so that's my level.

    My goal: workout three times a week.

    I'm taking it slow because my knees are dodgy af and I have hypermobile joints, so I'm only going as fast as my body can handle. And if I lose a bit of weight too, well, that'll be a nice bonus. But mostly I just want to get my body moving more, and slowly get used to this sort of routine first before I think about going further.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Noctua View Post

    To do this I need to get back into weightlifting, which means not only bringing my freeweights out of storage but actually tracking what I do and when. So my goals are in two parts:
    1) Keep a personal log tracking my workouts, which I will try to do three times a week but no fewer than twice a week. (I have to give myself some fudge room for test weeks.)
    2) Be able to perform at least one complete pullup (palms out) by the March 21st date. This is actually pretty challenging, since I've always been better at chin-ups (palms in) than pullups.

    I know these are things I can do, because I've done them before- I just need to break out of this stupid rut I've been in for the past few years. The good news at least is I won't have to tweak my diet much at all- the eating habits I established when I lost weight years ago have mostly stayed with me, which is probably why I've managed to (just barely) keep my BMI out of the overweight range.
    Great goals! tracking definitely always helps me. Sounds like the work you will be doing will definitely benefit from a body tune up
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  10. #10
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    Re: Fitness Challenge: Winter 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Sobekemiti View Post
    My goal: workout three times a week.

    I'm taking it slow because my knees are dodgy af and I have hypermobile joints, so I'm only going as fast as my body can handle. And if I lose a bit of weight too, well, that'll be a nice bonus. But mostly I just want to get my body moving more, and slowly get used to this sort of routine first before I think about going further.
    Body issues definitely make regular workouts a bit tricky. I like that your goal is focused on not only a specific number of workouts, but also on moving more and building a workout practice versus a number on the scale...I find that no matter how much I may want to 'weigh less', the idea of feeling better and more at ease in my body is more motivating for me.
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