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The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge: Week 3

The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge: Week 3

    So, we have made it to the third week of the challenge and I am officially sore! You know the saying “I’m working muscles that I never thought I had”? Yeah, I think I know what that means now.

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    Anyways, it’s been a big week for both editors here at Lifehack as we move forward with the challenge. Here is our experience from week 3 as well as our results.

    Mike’s Take

    I’ve gotten better over the past week with my eating, but not so much with my exercise. I’ve only started to get back into the NerdFitness stuff (only to be fully aware that I’m traveling again this weekend to watch my wife run in the Tough Mudder) and my Run 2 5K workouts have been non-existent since that first week.

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    Basically, I’ve fallen off the wagon and am slowly making my way back on. It’s clear to me that CM is going to take this thing, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up. After all, I’m not doing this just to win a challenge amongst editors; I’m doing this to improve my overall health.

    There hasn’t been much in the way of change of measurements, which is a good thing (I suppose). But Week 4 has to be better. It just has to. Here is where I’m at as of the end of Week 3 (initial results are in parentheses):

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    Tale of the Tape: Mike Vardy

    • Weight: 178 lbs (177.4)
    • Waist: 35.8 inches (35.75)
    • Hips: 40 inches (41.75)
    • Biceps (flexed): 12.6 inches (12.5)
    • Legs (mid-thigh): 19.9 inches (21)
    • Total inches: 108.3 inches (111)

    CM’s Take

    I decided to challenge myself this week by upping the weight and reps in the NerdFitness routine. I added significant weight to my leg exercises (30 – 40lbs) as well as upped the number of reps in my deadlifts. Also, I moved from inclined pushups on the stairs to full on pushups on the ground which has kept my heart rate up as well as help work out my core muscles more. I’m also making sure that I am using the right combination of weight and reps so that when I get close to the last rep per set I am exhausting my muscles.

    I decided to switch up the 5K program to biking instead this week. The reason; I hate running. I’ve always been more of a “mechanical” kind of guy, so the idea of using a decent bike, repairing it, etc. is cool. Plus, I get to see more when I’m out for a ride and it’s far less boring. A couple of years ago I was turning into a biking fiend, so this fitness challenge has lit the spark.

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    As for my diet I am still sticking to a modified paleo approach. I have let a little more sugar slip back in (my wife bought me a mammoth peanut butter cup from a local chocolatier), but other than that I have been eating well. According to some different calorie counter apps I’m currently under the number of calories that I need to be eating, but I feel OK and my blood sugar seems correct, so I’m not too worried about it. Once again, the thing that I probably don’t consume enough of is water. But, in good Lifehack spirit, I have set up a few reminders on my iPhone to help me remember.

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

    Tale of the Tape: CM Smith

    • Weight: 201.4 lbs (208)
    • Waist: 41.75 inches (43.5)
    • Hips: 42.1 inches (43)
    • Biceps (flexed): 14.25 inches (14)
    • Legs (mid-thigh): 23.5 inches (23.5)
    • Total inches: 121.6 inches (124)

    (Photo credit: Muscular man lifting weights via Shutterstock)

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    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 July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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