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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)

    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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