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The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge: Week 1

The Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge: Week 1


    Well, we’ve finshed up the first week of the Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge and there is one thing that both CM and I have in common as of right now: We are both very sore people.

    Let’s get into our own experiences with this challenge so far, shall we?

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    Mike’s Take

    I’m certainly glad we took on the Rookie level of the NerdFitness Rebel Fitness Guide because for me that was a challenge from the get-go. I haven’t done any real exercise in many months (almost a year) and the 2 routines that are part of the guide are tough. One of the things I’ve been concerned about is proper form, as I don’t want to injure myself and/or not get the true benefits of each exercise.

    I’m using resistance bands for my workouts, as I’ll be traveling several times during the course of this challenge. So I’ve had to watch videos on how to adapt certain exercises to be performed with resitstance bands rather than free weights. As a result, my workouts are taking longer to do than I’d initially thought – but once I’m in the groove I am pushing through. And that’s a good thing.

    The running hasn’t been as challenging, as I’ve only been away from that for a few months. Still, the first half of each Run 5K app routine seems way longer than it should. Luckily i’ve got my own custom iTunes playlist to keep me company, along with a solid set of earbuds that manage to stay in my ears throughout (Note: If you’re in the market for some new earbuds, Lifehack Deals is currently offering BodyGuardz Moxy Earbuds for 50% off). Next week the stakes get a little higher as the time spent running during the routine will increase. I expect that’s when I’ll start to really feel the burn.

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    Speaking of feeling, did I mention that I’m very sore?

    I’ve not altered my diet too much, but am definitely noticing that I really can’t eat as much pasta as I have. Same goes with breads in general. Maybe it’s time I start to look at going Paleo…

    As for my weight, it has actually gone up by 1.2 lbs since I started. Go figure.

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    So, where am I at after the first week? My starting weight and measurements are in parentheses below, preceded by my current ones in this shortened week of the Lifehack Editors’ Fitness Challenge

    Tale of the Tape: Mike Vardy

    • Weight: 178.6 lbs (177.4)
    • Waist: 36 inches (35.75)
    • Hips: 41.75 inches (41.75)
    • Biceps (flexed): 12.5 inches (12.5)
    • Legs (mid-thigh): 18.5 inches (21)
    • Total inches: 108.75 inches (111)

    CM’s Take

    I have to admit; I sorted of cheated a little on this fitness challenge as I started “working out the kinks” for the past couple of weeks. Because of that a lot of my soreness was worked out initially. To compesate for that I ended up doing higher amounts of reps this week in the Rookie level of NerdFitness. That made it challenging and kept me pretty sore. I realized after today’s NerdFitness workout that I need to add some weight to my squats and step ups at the beginning of next week. I will also add 5 pounds to all of my shoulder presses and rows.

    As for the running portion of our challenge, I feel like it’s the perfect balance of walking and running. The first half or so of the workout is pretty easy, but once I get above 20 minutes, I really start to feel the burn in my legs and the workout becomes hard.

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    My diet has been somewhat paleo for almost a year now. I haven’t touched any bread since Fall 2011. The biggest change in my diet this week was to cut out processed sugars completely as well as make sure to drink around 8 to 10 cups of water a day. I haven’t necessarily had too much trouble with process sugars since I’ve gone paleo, but I made sure to cut them all out, at least initially to really cut the fat.

    I have to say I am pretty happy with my first 5 days of results; I’ve lost weight and lost inches where it counts and am highly motivated to continue with the challenge. Also, as an indirect result of working out, I’ve found that my energy levels during the day are much more balanced.

    Tale of the Tape: CM Smith

    • Weight: 203.4 lbs (208)
    • Waist: 42 inches (43.5)
    • Hips: 43 inches (43)
    • Biceps (flexed): 14.25 inches (14)
    • Legs (mid-thigh): 23.5 inches (23.25)
    • Total inches: 122. inches (124)

    (Photo credit: Flexing via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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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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