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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 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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