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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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