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The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge: Week 2

The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge: Week 2

Lifehack Editor's Fitness Challenge Week 2

    We are a couple of days late on our 2nd week results for the infamous Lifehack Editor’s Fitness Challenge, but it has been anything but a normal week (especially for Mr. Vardy). From traveling like a mad man to back cramps due to improper form, here is the low down on how the Lifehack Editor’s 2nd week of the fitness challenge held up.

    Mike’s Take

    I’ve dropped the ball over the past week. Turns out that traveling and exercise isn’t as easy to do in tandem as I’ve been led to believe. Mind you, I think that those beliefs have overshadowed whatever willpower and discipline I had going into the last week or so.

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    So, despite bringing along exercise gear on my travels, I didn’t complete any of the NerdFitness workouts. Nor did I proceed into the second week of Run 2 5K. That’s not to say I didn’t do any sort of exercise while in New York City. I did a lot of walking.

    And I mean a lot of walking.

    I walked for over 10 hours last week throughout Manhattan. That caused me to burn over 2600 calories alone. So i wasn’t all bad.

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    The eating part…a bit of a different story.

    I ate less pasta, but still ate out a lot. And my lack of anaerobic exercise and less-than-stellar eating habits over the week led to the following weight and measurement results (initial results are in parentheses):

    Tale of the Tape: Mike Vardy

    • Weight: 178.8 lbs (177.4)
    • Waist: 36.1 inches (35.75)
    • Hips: 40 inches (41.75)
    • Biceps (flexed): 12.6 inches (12.5)
    • Legs (mid-thigh): 19.8 inches (21)
    • Total inches: inches (111)

    CM’s Take

    I feel like I made some great process this week. I increased my workouts considerably, doubling my weight on my deadlifts, DB presses and DB rows. This was the exact right amount of weight because it was easy to work at first, but at the end of each set I started to feel the burn. I also increased my reps on pushups (moving from inclined pushups on the stairs (8) to knee pushups (15) ), squats, hips raises, pretty much everything. I’m loving NerdFitness so far and can’t wait to dig in even harder this week.

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    One thing that caught me off guard though (and something that Mike was very adamant about last week) was not paying attention to proper form. I got a severe cramp in my back on Sunday afternoon when I wasn’t keeping my back straight for deadlifts. So, word to the wise; make sure to keep your form when working out.

    The running has been difficult this past week. I found that increasing my running from 45 seconds at a time to 90 seconds proved to be difficult. I also cramped up during running. After talking to some people that have completed marathons and the like, all of them said I was probably dehydrated. So, I made sure to keep up with my water intake during the day, and boom, cramps are gone. I may redo week 2 of the Couch to 5k to not make Mr. Vardy feel so alone (actually, so I can complete the workout, but don’t tell him that).

    My diet has been awesome. I’m eating a “modified” paleo diet and have done an awesome job of keeping out the processed sweets which have been my downfall in the past. I had a day where I had some fries, but nothing terrible. I feel like when I concentrate on working out that my diet just “falls into place”.

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    Here are my results for the past week (initial results are in parentheses):

    Tale of the Tape: CM Smith

    • Weight: 202.6 lbs (208)
    • Waist: 42.1 inches (43.5)
    • Hips: 42.5 inches (43)
    • Biceps (flexed): 14.25 inches (14)
    • Legs (mid-thigh): 24 inches (23.5)
    • Total inches: 122.85 inches (124)

    (Photo credit: Dumbbell on Red via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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