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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)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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