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The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge: Week 4

The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge: Week 4


    It’s that time of the week again.

    This is the time where we, the Lifehack editors weigh in to show you just how many inches and pounds that we have lost during the last 7 days and what our experience was during that time. We have gone a full 4 weeks since the beginning of the Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge and we all know what that means; if we stuck to the plan for a full 30 days, the chances of us making this a habit is greatly increased.

    So, how did we do? Take a look at our last week below.

    CM’s Take

    I’m very happy because this was the week that I finally made it below 200 lbs! I haven’t seen this weight for at least 4–5 years with 192 lbs being my lowest “adult” weight. So, it’s pretty awesome that I made it this far.

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    My strength training regime is getting pretty intense as I have increase the weight yet again on all of my lifts. I have also increased the number reps per exercise. In 1 month I’ve gone from doing 20 second planks to just over 60 seconds. It sure does hurt, but it shows me that I am physically getting stronger. Since the beginning of the challenge of added 40 pounds to my squats and 20 pounds to my overhead DB presses. I’m feel super energized and can’t wait to keep moving forward with my fitness goals.

    Eating has been OK, but I could probably cut some sugar out of my diet as I tend to eat more fruit and processed peanut butter than I need to (peanut butter is my downfall). I’ve tryed to switch over to freshly ground almond butter, but I need to lay off that type of food a little more. Other than that I have cut out a ton of horrible food in my diet and have made a huge change in the past 4 weeks.

    I’ve completely given up on running, mostly because I hate it, and as Lifehack contributor Clint Cora keeps reminding us, we need to make sure that we do activities that we like. I like bicycling, so I have been doing that for 30 minutes every other day and am up to 6.5 miles in 30 minutes. Not too shabby.

    Here are my stats (starting measurements are in parentheses):

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    Tale of the Tape: CM Smith

    • Weight: 198.2 lbs (208)
    • Waist: 42 inches (43.5)
    • Hips: 41.25 inches (43)
    • Biceps (flexed): 14.25 inches (14)
    • Legs (mid-thigh): 23 inches (23.5)
    • Total inches: 120.5 inches (124)

    Mike’s Take

    Why is my take appearing after CM’s for the first time since we took on this challenge? Simply put…he won.

    I could say that the timing of the challenge was a problem for me. I could say that eating properly and maintain an exercise routine while traveling is virtually impossible. I could say that I was far too busy to give this challenge the attention it deserved.

    I could say all of that…and they would be excuses.

    I’m not saying I didn’t accomplish anything during the last four weeks. In fact, I did learn quite a bit. I learned that I was eating too much fast food, and even while traveling I cut back significantly on that. I learned that making a public proclamation may not be enough for me to commit to working out regularly and eating better; perhaps I need a trainer. But those things paled in comparison to what I learned over the course of this past weekend as my wife not only took on — but completed — a Tough Mudder challenge.

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    I learned that I really, really want to be able to do something like that myself.

    I have all of the tools at my disposal. I know I have willpower to tap into because I use it regularly to exercise my writing muscles. I just need to apply it to getting fit and eating a more balanced diet. I have to take the time to make it happen so that I can make the time to make it happen.

    I may not have fared too well this past month, but this challenge instilled a mindset in me that compels me to get in better shape. So while I didn’t win the Lifehack Editor’s Challenge, I certainly didn’t lose it either.

    Here are my stats (starting measurements are in parentheses):

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    Tale of the Tape: Mike Vardy

    • Weight: 180.2 lbs (177.4 lbs)
    • Waist: 35.6 inches (35.75 inches)
    • Hips: 40.1 inches (41.75 inches)
    • Biceps (flexed): 12.8 inches (12.5 inches)
    • Legs (mid-thigh): 21.3 inches (21 inches)
    • Total inches: 109.8 inches (111 inches)

    Did you take on this challenge? How do you stay motivated to keep up with your fitness routines? What do you need to keep at it? Let us know in the comments…and thanks for following us during this journey. Who knows? We may provide updates again down the line, so stay tuned.

    (Photo credit: People running in city marathon 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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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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