Sea Level

Day 1 of the challenge is here.  The day of reckoning has arrived.  Do you go through with it?  Put every bit of your strength and being into the pursuit of positive change in your life?

For me, the answer is yes.

Imagine that the ocean is the turbulence of your life lived recently, or so far.  Deep, dark, constantly moving, with little sense of direction.

Day 1 is stepping out of the oblivion of upheaval, and onto the firm shores of terra firma.  It’s making our first voyage into a positive net of altitude.  We base all heights on Earth on their relative positioning to that of the sea.  Why is that?

Bay of Bengal

Because the sea is what we escaped.  It is the biggest thing on this world.  It controls our lives and can wreck them without a care.

We trek to the sea for enjoyment, relaxation, grounding.  Because the sea is what we escaped.  And is what we can return to if we are not careful.  And we know that.  Going to the beach is a reminder of how far we have come, and how far back we could fall.

My habits for this challenge are as follows:

  1.  4:30 A.M. Wake-Up. Every Day.
    • If I don’t do a 4:30 wake-up, I am less likely to do the work required of myself to get better.  I need that extra time.  I will balance it with appropriate sleep, wherever possible.  But even if sleep comes late, a 4:30 wake-up will still be required.
    • My proof:  A screen grab every morning when I wake up, with time and date from my phone.
  2.  5 Miles Rucked.  Every Day.
    • The most healthy I have been in the last 10 years of my life, was when I walked home from work every afternoon.  It was 5 KMs.  But we are in America now, so I am going with miles.  Time to get back to healthy.
    • My proof:  A screen grab from MapMyRun or other app used to track distances covered.  I may have to make it up through a few different journeys each day, but the total will be 5 miles or more.
  3.  50 Push-Ups.  Every Day.
    • It doesn’t matter if I do 50 consecutive push-ups, or if I do them 5 at a time.  My goal here is to recover my strength and build the discipline of exerting myself every day, even when I can’t make it to the gym.
    • My proof:  I don’t really know how to “prove” this.  It will have to be on the honor system.
  4.  Drawing.  Every Day.
    • If I had a certain skill that I would like to improve most, it would be my ability to create art, both for purpose, and for a stress relief.  My goal is to take this time for myself to focus only on the art.  Take that break from overthinking.  Hone my skills.  Get better.  Get productive.  And maybe, profitable?  We will see.
    • My proof:  I will show something I have drawn every day, even if it is unfinished or not up to my standards I hold for myself.  This goal is about getting better.
  5.  Journaling.  Every Day.
    • To be introspective, is to know yourself.  Learn your own quirks.  Get stronger mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I will use this habit to examine my own missteps, define my passions, and build toward a better understanding of myself, and where I need to grow.
    • My proof:  I will share something from my journal every day.  A thought or discovery or question based on my own introspection.  The journal will be personal, so I won’t photograph what it is I write about.  Perhaps these posts here on my blog can serve as proof?

The temptation with this challenge is to throw in 23 different things to do.  But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I won’t build habit in one day, especially when my focus is too scattered.  With that in mind, I have held to only 5 habits to hit on my list of must-do actions.

What are your own habits?  What are your struggles?  What is your why?

Calm Before The Life Changing Storm

08312019_Calm Before The Storm

The calm before the storm.

The day before a change.

Tomorrow begins a long slog upwards toward the summit of what I can achieve.  A journey of improvement.  A pinnacle of self-reliance.

I don’t know why I am so sure that “this time is different”.  Why I have failed in other attempts to get on the right path, and failed…quit…gave up.

There is a certain steeleyness in me now, is all I can say.  As if I have glimpsed the downward slide into oblivion, this world of inadequacy and failure and self-loathing, and know that it isn’t for me.

There are other worlds than this.  And I aim to explore every one.

Tomorrow, we climb upwards.

Forever.

Join us.

September Challenge – Habit Forming

“Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.” – Jocko Willink, from the book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win”, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Image may contain: one or more people, text and nature

Do you consider yourself a leader in your own life?

I do, sometimes. Other times, I feel a little aimless. Floating. Coasting. Wasting.

When I do feel like I am leading my own life, I feel charged up. Amped. Unstoppable. The feeling is a good one. So why can’t I sustain it?

Habit, is the simple answer. Lack of good habits, or an abundance of negative habits, both play apart in why sustaining excellence can be extremely difficult. We have all tried to implement good habits or break bad ones in our own life.

  • January 1st, go to the gym. 
  • Every birthday, stop smoking. 
  • Each crummy day at work, start learning new skills. 

We typically start these habits off with a bang, but end up with a whimper. Why is that? Why, even though we recognize the value of the habit, we still fail to do the work needed to make these goals a HABIT?

James Clear, famed author of the book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” utilizes the 21/90 rule. This rule states that if you commit to anything for 21 consecutive days, doing it with purpose, you WILL create a new habit. Continue that habit for 90 days, and you have implemented a permanent lifestyle change.

A habit, much like climbing a mountain, is most successful when taken ONE STEP At A TIME. That’s why I am calling our Dad Level: Viking September Challenge, the Summit in September.

The goal is to choose a habit that will add value to your life, and implement it EVERY DAY in September, from the 1st until the 30th. The 30th will be Summit Day, and it will be the point where we look at where we are, and back to where we came from, and decide if we have created that new habit. If it is valuable, I recommend that everyone keeps going, all the way to the next summit. Until that habit has become an integral part of our daily life. Until we no longer lament the inability to make lasting, positive change. But instead, get excited for the next challenge to conquer.

Join us over in the Dad Level: Viking Facebook group to keep up with the challenge and learn from other men who are doing what needs to be done to become better.

Stop blaming and start doing.  Get some.

Week 1 Results – The Fruit of No Fruit

Week 1 for my weight loss challenge was a success. 8.6 lbs lost in week 1. I had a lot of good wins, a few good losses, and a refined idea of how I will improve in Week 2.

What are you guys doing to get better this week?

I cut wa back on carbs, for one, but other than that, I really didn’t do anything too hard core.  I just counted my calories, and made sure that even if I did have a small cup of cie cream, I was still below my self-imposed daily limit.

Week 1 = 7 Days, 7 Wins (100% stuck to my goal)

I had some good improvements, and some not so good actions.

Week 0 vs Week 1_Results
Week 1 AAR
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Starting Weight: 337.0 lbs
Week 1 End Weight: 328.4 lbs
Week 1 Weight Loss: 8.6 lbs
Total Calories Allowed: 15,190
Total Calories Consumed: 12,352
Calories Below Limit: 2,838
Calories Burned By Exercise: 89
Calories For Maintenance (3,170 per day): 22,190
Calories Below Maintenance: 9,538
Week 2 Daily Calories Limit: 2,084
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What did I get done this week?
* I lost 8.6 lbs, which is 2.55% of my starting weight.
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What didn’t I get done this week?
* I was aiming for 10 lbs. I thought I was on track, but didn’t quite make it.
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What did I do well?
* I hit my challenge goal of staying below 2,170 daily calories, 7 days in a row. That was a 100% success.
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What didn’t I do well?
* I didn’t eat very clean. While I stayed below calorie levels, some of that food was definitely not something that someone who is aiming for fat loss, SHOULD be eating.
* I did not get nearly enough exercise in.
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What will I do better this week?
* I will eat more clean, adding more vegetables and fruits, while paying more attention to my macros (especially protein intake).
* I will start a weight training program this week, and return to rowing. I will also aim to get a minimum of 15 miles per week in from rucking.

Start and Stop – The Way To Get Nowhere

“Ugh.”

That is what I feel every morning I wake up and step onto the scale.

I have been failing in my….attempt, to lose weight.  I hesitate to use the word “attempt”, because I don’t know if what I have and have not been doing, meets the definition of the word.

I am currently at 337.0 lbs, as of 7:00 AM this morning.  40 years old, and 337.

That is not acceptable, not for the life I am working toward living.  At that weight, I won’t be much of a Viking Dad for my son.  At that weight, I will be lucky to even BE a Dad, for much longer.  I can’t change my age, but I CAN do something about the weight.  And I am.

Why now?

I am tired of not feeling full of energy.  Too fat to feel comfortable in most settings.  Dressing “comfortable”, aka slob style, because nice clothes don’t fit me properly.  Pools and beaches being my own personal hell, because I damn sure am not taking my shirt off in public.

Rock bottom for me was January of 2018, when I was at 371.  In 2018, I worked hard to make it all the way down to 318.  Then I stopped.  Got lazy.  Got passive.  Lost discipline.  Made it back up to 337, with each 5 lbs increment being my “will not pass this weight” point.

2019 has been the year of “going to”, so far.  I’m GOING TO lose the weight.  I’m GOING TO row 1,000 KMs, etc.  Still waiting for that time to come, which it never will, unless I make changes.

I am changing the nomenclature to “doing it”, now.  I have no choice.  I cannot falter.  I cannot regress.  I can only do it.

This is the end of my old story.

This is the start of my new story.

I am committing to sticking to my goal of caloric deficit, which will come through having a sane diet, and a commitment to exercise.

My current weight each day, multiplied by 10, will be my daily threshold to maintain my current weight, and measure my weight loss goals against.  I will aim for 1200 calories below that threshold, factoring in burned calories to the equation.

For example, today my threshold is 3,370 calories.  If I go for a ruck and burn 600 calories, that number goes up to 3,970 calories.  As long as I hit 1,200 calories below that number, which would be 2,770 calories, I hit my goal.  Calories will be tracked via MyFitnessPal, calories burned via apps on my phone (and calculations for exercise where an app doesn’t measure calories burned accurately, like with weight lifting).  Here’s the equation, for any math nerds who are interested:

337.0 X 10 = 3,370 calories
600 calories burned by rucking
3,370 + 600 = 3,970 calories
3,970 – 1,200 = 2,770 calories limit for the day

The penalty if I miss my goal, beyond remaining a fat fuck and scoring an ❌ for the day instead of a ✅, is 25 burpees, videoed, and shared for all to see.

I will post each morning, with the results of the previous day’s calorie count.  Video will come shortly thereafter, if I need to.  But I don’t plan on making many of those burpee videos.

I am allowing myself NO CHEAT DAYS.  If I decide to have a cheat meal, I will burn those excess calories off via exercise, or I will do the burpees.  Simple as that.

Thanks for those of you who are in this challenge with me, or those who follow along for accountability and/or encouragement.  I appreciate you.

Full disclaimer….I don’t know if this is necessarily the BEST way to lose weight and reach my goals…but it is the way I am committed to following, until I realize otherwise.  I have done some research on this, but I am NOT a doctor, so don’t take anything I say here as reason to follow.  Consult with your physician before starting any exercise or diet plan.

Here I am currently:

Starting Body Photo_5-24-19

Starting Weight Photo_5-24-19

400K To Prepare For May – Day 25 (April 29th, 2019) – The End

Well, we made it to the end, Day 25.  I knew that 400K steps in 25 days, was going to be difficult.  I slacked, myself, only completing a very tiny amount over halfway. That being said, we had a lot of really great performances, including 3 finishers who surpassed 400K steps!

All in all, I would say that the challenge in April was a success.  So, without further ado, I give you the final data for Day 25, and the overall challenge.

Total Steps for Day 25:  205,199

Total Steps Over 25 Days:  4,438,483

Participants for Day 25:  14

Day 25 Daily Leaders_ID_Logo_PS_Zoom

Leaders for Day 25 were:

1.  Jorel Gilbert –  Super impressive grit in this guy!

  • 25,255 steps on Day 25.
  • Exercise for Day 24:  Shadow Boxing

2.  Aaron Smischney – Finishing out STRONG!

  • 23,525 steps on Day 25.
  • Exercise for Day 25:  Weight Training

3.  Joe Aagard – Back in the top 3!

  • 22,430 steps on Day 25.
  • Exercise for Day 25:  Rucking Squats

The overall standings at the end of the Challenge, are below:

Day 25 Overall Leaders_ID_Logo_PS_Zoom

Overall Leaders After Day 25:

1.  Pramit Baul – In the overall lead for a VERY impressive 10 consecutive days!

  • 447,680 steps to close out

2.  Matthew Halk – Saved the best for last to break 400K!

  • 413,162 steps to close out

3.  Jorel Gilbert – My man made it VERY interesting at the wire, but couldn’t QUITE catch up to Matt.

  • 410,429 steps to close out

The remaining challengers finished with the following steps:

4th Place:  Ryan Gillett – 346,974 steps
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5th Place:  John Winsborough – 334,717 steps
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6th Place:  Aaron Smischney – 329,410 steps
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7th Place:  Dustin Charbonnet – 320,702 steps
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8th Place:  Nicolas Bean – 291,605 steps
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9th Place:  Jeff Bennett – 263,741 steps
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10th Place:  Joe Aagard – 254,770 steps
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11th Place:  David Ford – 241,086 steps
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12th Place:  Mike Denmon – 200,039 steps
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13th Place:  Nick Martinson – 140,974 steps
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14th Place:  Jim Mahan – 130,188 steps
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15th Place:  James Patterson – 121,521 steps
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16th Place:  David Yancey – 101,595 steps
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17th Place:  Nick Hyllestad – 67,000 steps
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18th Place:  Jarrett Harris – 22,890 steps

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Participation

Our participation rage varied from day to day, and it was hard to keep a really accurate graph during the challenge, because people would sometimes post their steps a couple of days (sometimes weeks) late.

  • We averaged 14 participants per day
  • We had 18 total participants over the 25 days

Daily Challengers_400K To Prepare For May - Final_PhotoShop

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Steps Per Day

The steps per day also seemed to vary, and not necessarily in accordance with reduced or increased participation counts, which was kind of strange.

  • Maximum daily step count of 230, 468 steps
  • Minimum daily step count of 140,012 steps
  • Average steps per day was 177,539 steps

Daily Steps_400K To Prepare For May - Final_PhotoShop

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The Climb To 4 Million + Steps

The final numbers, while not quite as high as the 5 million steps I was HOPING for, 4 million steps in 25 days is still pretty impressive.  We definitely would have reached 5 million if we had went the full 30 days of April.  There’s always next time!

  • Total Steps:  4,438,483
  • Average Steps Per Challenger:  246,582
  • 400K Finishers:  3
  • Maximum Individual Steps For The Challenge:  447,680 steps (Pramit Baul)
  • Maximum Individual Steps For One Day:  32,918 steps (Aaron Smischney)

 

I will probably come up with more stats to share, but for now, my wife is looking at me with purpose, which means it is time to take our son for a walk.

The purpose of this challenge, was to get people moving AND exercising.  One thing that I didn’t really share in the daily updates, was the type of exercises that people were doing.  Anywhere from weight training, to bodyweight exercises, to building fence, boxing, and dancing.  I will probably share this in another post, when I have time to collate all of the data into something that seems interesting.

For now, I will go do what this challenge was intended to do.  I will get up, and get moving.

Thanks for following along!  And sincere thanks to everyone who put in the work on the daily to get their steps and exercise in, and make this challenge such a success.

 

 

 

400K To Prepare For May – Day 24 (April 28th, 2019)

Day 24 was a drop in steps, but still in the 6 figure range…so at least there is that.  I really thought that we would top 4 million steps on Day 24, but it looks like we will save the best for the last day.

We still only have one challenger at 400K, which is surprising, even though it was a bit of a stretch…I thought for sure Matt would close the distance to 400K on Day 24.  But there is always Day 25!

Here are the results from Day 24 of the 400K To Prepare For May Challenge:

Total Steps for Day 24:  104,428

Total Steps so far:  3,996,890

Participants for Day 24:  8

Day 24 Daily Leaders_ID_Logo_PS_Zoom

Leaders for Day 24 were:

1.  Jorel Gilbert –  The man won’t quit!

  • 18,635 steps on Day 24.
  • Exercise for Day 24:  Cycling

2.  Matthew Halk – Painfully close to 400K, but not quite over the top yet!

  • 16,015 steps on Day 24.
  • Exercise for Day 24:  Abs

3.  Pramit Baul – Cruise mode, engaged!

  • 15,330 steps on Day 24.
  • Exercise for Day 24:  No exercise

The overall standings so far, are below:

Day 24 Overall Leaders_ID_Logo_PS_Zoom

Overall Leaders After Day 24:

1.  Pramit Baul – Still steppin’!

  • 428,345 steps so far

2.  Matthew Halk – Almost to 400K!

  • 396,187 steps so far

3.  Jorel Gilbert – Closed the gap to 2nd place a bit…will he make a charge?

  • 385,174 steps so far

I fully expect 3 400K finishers by the end of tomorrow.  Time will be the judge!