Tag Archive: health


Body Sculpting – Week 54

Last week I said I would do the following:

  • Experiment with preparing two lunch meals night before
  • Include kung fu drills into exercise routine

Bah, I know I missed another week.  Sorry, guys.  But I’ve just been so busy after getting a job AT AMAZON!  Woo-hoo!  I can’t tell you how exited/relieved I am.  Just finishing up my first week, and my coworkers are great and I really enjoy the job itself.

On a related note, being at work has forced me to pack my two lunch meals, which has been great.  I’ve been experimenting with including my kung fu drills into my daily routine, but it’s been difficult, since I have limited time now in the mornings before I have to go to work.  For now, I’m doing the drills (there are four of them) on Mon, Wed, Fri.

I’ve decided to do P90X, due largely in part to a strongman friend who put my fears about the program to rest.  You see, I have been afraid that if I do this intense 90-day program, my metabolism would plummet afterwards.  But my friend assured me that no, after I’ve completed the program, I’ll have more muscle and a higher metabolism, and therefore my body will be more efficient at processing food and developing muscle even after I’m done with the program.

I figure I’ll start P90X once I get my first paycheck from Amazon, because the program includes a diet, which I’ll have to most likely buy.

Next week:

  1. Look at P90X diet and plan what foods I will need to buy & eat for the next 90 days
  2. Find way to do kung fu drills every day
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Body Sculpting – Week 50

Last week I said I would do the following:

  • Look into integrating (as opposed to substituting) “The Ultimate 28-Day Six-Pack Programme” into routine
  • Research local wushu/kung fu schools

Looked more deeply into the exercises in “The Ultimate 28-Day Six-Pack Programme” – they have a lot of really great exercises.  I’m hesitant to incorporate them into my routine just yet, because I’m actually still trying to find middle ground with my current routine.  I want to do at least 40 pullups MWF, and I’ve also been toying around with doing P90X’s Ab Ripper twice a week.  For now, I’m confident I’m getting a decent workout that works out all major muscle groups.

I’ve been putting more attention and focus into my diet; the phrase, “It’s 60% diet, 40% exercise” is really starting to sink in.  I noticed from year-old photos of myself that I have indeed gained weight around my mid-section.  Ugh.  I remember my diet a year ago – steel-cut oats for breakfast, tortilla chips & hummus for lunch, and dinner was usually whatever was available at the house.  I’m thinking one portion of that diet worked extremely well – not eating a lot for lunch, since I like eating a big meal for dinner.  So,  this week I have been eating very little for my one or two lunch meals – less than 10 almonds, some dried seaweed, some sort of protein.

I visited the two local kung fu schools today.  One was closed.  I’m going tomorrow to the other school for a free 30-min lesson.  I want to learn some sort of acrobatic martial art, because I’ve always wanted to be able to do flips and move gracefully.  I always wanted to take gymnastics when I was younger, but my family couldn’t afford it.  So, I figure an acrobatic martial art combines aerial movement with self-defense – the best of both worlds.

The teacher at the latter school informed me that the type of kung fu I want is called wing chun.  I’ve heard of this type of kung fu, but didn’t know it was acrobatic.  The teacher said that at this particular school, they actually do a more grounded form of kung fu, but that their school in the surrounding suburb offers wing chun.  I’m excited to go tomorrow and learn some basics.  I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to start this journey.  It’s been because of lack of money.  But, I guess I’ve finally reached that point where I’m not ashamed to barter; I was thinking of offering to clean the studio or something.

Next week:

  • Iron out current routine with pullups & core exercises
  • Eat less for lunch meals

Last week I said I would do the following:

  1. Find and reach out to at least ONE website centered on film/movies, and offer my awesome writing services
  2. Diversify my writing portfolio every day

Similar to last week, I have found it difficult to find time to do the above two tasks everyday, due to my sporadic schedule.  But actually, a larger factor is my poor quality of sleep these past two weeks.  I’ve been waking up exhausted, barely able to function after I do my morning workout, which makes it extremely difficult to add the above two tasks to my daily routine., let alone function properly.  I think I need to recognize this sleep issue first and find a way to solve it.

I’m sort of at a loss of ideas as to what to do while I wait to hear back on a potential job offer.  It would be a very opportunistic company, and I really hope I get it.

Next week:

  1. Tap for better sleep
  2. Find and reach out to at least ONE website centered on film/movies, and offer my awesome writing services
  3. Diversify my writing portfolio every day

15 min writing

Day one of my effort to write everyday, for at least 15 minutes:

Talked with my mom last night.  I’m so tired of seeing her struggle financially.  When one struggles their whole life with something, how can they turn it around?  Is it really in their power?  We need help from others – opportunities & support.  Where would I be if I didn’t have a safe home growing up?  What kind of mental state would I be in without emotionally grounded and financially stable parents?  Makes you sympathetic to homeless people; you don’t know someone’s story.

I feel so angry because I don’t know what I can do to help my mom, to help myself.  My entire family has struggled with money our whole lives.  It’s difficult sometimes to imagine us wealthy, because I’ve never experienced such an emotion or state of being.  It just seems so hard to believe.  I guess one could compare it to a fat person becoming skinny.  But, I immediately object – there is a basic understanding of how to lose weight – eat healthy and exercise.  I know there are gimmicks out there trying to sucker people out of their money through fad diets and fad weight machines, but for the most part, most people know that in order to lose weight, they just have to put in the work of eating right and exercising regularly.  Not so with money.  It seems there is an orgy of misleading information out there, trying even harder to sucker people out of their money.  Stay-at-home mom schemes, owning your own businesses schemes, blah blah blah.  It’s hard to know which one to trust, and who to trust.

Am I complaining?  A bit.  But I’m also a highly analytical person, so I feel I’m also searching for reasons how I got where i am, in order to better understand how to get myself out of it.  Is that so wrong?

I admit, I feel complaining is an old habit, as I used to do it a lot when I was younger. Seeing everyone around me in a better financial situation didn’t help matters.  “It’s all their fault!  My environment, my peers, my (lack of) mentors!”, I feel like screaming.  Point that finger.

What actions to take?  How to enjoy the journey at the same time?  How can one enjoy being poor?  I know they say you don’t have to have money in order to be happy.  But whoever says that apparently hasn’t had to live without money for a prolonged period.  Am I making excuses again?  Yes, I’m angry.  I’m angry that some people have to struggle financially, health-wise, etc, while others do not.  It’s not fair.  It’s not just.  “So what?”, a wise person might say.  “Go out there and be the change you want to see in the world”.  I’m trying.  I really am.  But the problem is, I haven’t seen or felt progress, and that can be one of the most debilitating feelings I’ve ever known.

What actions to take.  I want someone to tell me, to guide me.  I’m so tired of running into walls.  Not because I’m afraid of failure – I got over that recently – but because it seems like with money, every time you “fail”, you’re in a worse off situation than before, and life really does get more difficult due to lack of money.  How does one keep positive in such instances?  It’s funny how I often feel like my family and I are alone in our struggles, when I know there are tons of others in far worse situations than us.  But still, that hasn’t helped ease my pain for a while now…

Action.  What actions can downtrodden people take?  Where do we turn for support?  For a safe, stable haven?

Even if I am complaining, I debate whether I should “get it all out”, or just stop doing it.  I know that before, complaining wasn’t helping me progress closer to my goals, but now, I feel I’m just analyzing the reasons why I’m not moving fast enough or hardly at all, towards my goals.

Body Sculpting – Week 43

Last week I said I would do the following:

  1. Do full body workout before & after meals
  2. Continually be on the lookout for a 20-lbs kettlebell
  3. Replace white carbs with beans
  4. Do myotatic crunch & cat vomit exercise 2X/week
  5. Add the following routine before breakfast, 3X/week:

1 set: 20 2-legged glute activation raises from floor

1 set: 15 flying dogs, one set each side

1 set: 50 kettlebell swings (start with weight of no less than 20 lbs)

I’ve been getting better about remembering to do a full body workout before meals.  I’m just starting to remember to do them an hour AFTER eating.  It’s just a matter of installing this new habit by repetition and reminding myself.  I’m excited to see a more slim, toned body as a result of doing this.

Haven’t found a 20-lbs kettlebell yet, but the 19-lbs dumbbell I’ve been using has proven to be adequate.

Been doing better about replacing white carbs with beans, though it can be difficult with no income.  I applied for food stamps last week but haven’t heard back, so I’m kind of in limbo right now.  My career goal is/was to have a flexible, part-time admin job by May 31st – one that will pay the bills and a bit more ($1,000 per month), so that I can buy more beans & veggies for when we run out at home or when I’m with my boyfriend.

I’ve been doing the two ab exercises – myotatic crunch & cat vomit – twice a week and man do I notice a difference after doing them.  Namely, that annoying bit of tummy fat feels a lot tighter.  I can definitely see that doing these two ab exercises will really help tone/tighten my abs, so I will definitely keep doing them.

I’ve also been doing good about doing the kettlebell routine three times a week before breakfast (or if I don’t do it before breakfast, I’ll do it before lunch or dinner).  After reading some people’s reaction to using a kettlebell, I’m getting more and more convinced that the kettlebell is one of the most efficient compound exercises for muscle gain and fat loss.  Just discovered Lisa Johnson’s fitness blog, where she also wrote a review of her experience following “The 4-Hour Body” regimens – she does a great job at explaining and summing up her experiences in her post, “The 4-Hour Body”: Thoughts on the First Week.

I’ve been getting frustrated with the annoying presence of love handles.  They just don’t seem to want to go AWAY!  I thought doing the above tasks for the week would at least reduce my love handles, but I don’t really notice a difference.  I’m now rethinking my decision to cut out that love handles workout from Kozak Sports Perform.

Next week:

Basically just keep doing what I’m doing, and look for results…

  1. Do full body workout before & after meals
  2. Continually be on the lookout for a 20-lbs kettlebell
  3. Replace white carbs with beans
  4. Do myotatic crunch & cat vomit exercise 2X/week
  5. Add kettlebell routine before breakfast, 3X/week:

1 set: 20 2-legged glute activation raises from floor

1 set: 15 flying dogs, one set each side

1 set: 50 kettlebell swings (start with weight of no less than 20 lbs)

Body Sculpting – Week 39

Last week I said I would do the following:

  1. Read “The 4-Hour Body”
  2. Read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  3. Do one of two love handles workouts from Kozak Sports Perform every other day
  4. Continue experimenting with 5 small meals per day
  5. Continue experimenting with doing different full body workouts

I know this post is a bit early, but I’ve actually been trying to get back to posting on Sundays or Mondays, so it’s more consistent with a standard week.

Started reading “The 4-Hour Body” and it’s very well-written and entertaining.  The author, Tim Ferriss, writes in a very rapid-fire, concise manner and is definitely very engaging.  So far, one of the biggest hooks he has introduced is that of the Minimum Effective Dose (MED).  For example, “To boil water, the MED is 212 degrees F.  Higher temperatures will not make it ‘more boiled’.  Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.”

Along these lines, Ferriss claims that his book is chock-full of such MEDs for different areas of health & exercise.  Exciting, but the too-good-to-be-true voice whispers in the back of my mind.  I’m excited to learn more about it, regardless.

Keep forgetting to read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”.  I think I’ll be devoting more time to reading “The 4-Hour Body” since I have to return it to the library soon.

Well, I did one of the love handles workouts from Kozak Sports Perform the other day, and my obliques were still burning two days afterwards.  So I might not be able to do these love handles workouts every other day; perhaps I’ll just do them 2-3 days after my normal ab workout, so I don’t overwork my core.  But it felt good to feel that burn on my obliques!  6-pack, here I come!

Been running out of steam about eating five meals a day, but turns out “The 4-Hour Body” also promotes this lifestyle, so I’m thinking I should revisit this possibility and see what I can do to make it work, if only for a week.  I think this will definitely be an easier transition once I have more money and can afford to buy an adequate amount of complex carbs & proteins.

Been experimenting with doing different full body workouts everyday, and so far, my body is fairly exhausted after doing my normal morning cardio + strength training, and just one full body workout later in the day.  So I think I’ll just stick to that routine.

Next week:

  1. Read more of “The 4-Hour Body”
  2. Do one of two love handles workouts from Kozak Sports Perform 2-3 days after core workout
  3. Continue experimenting with 5 small meals per day
  4. Keep doing one full body workout everyday; make it a habit

Body Sculpting – Week 38

Last week I said I would do the following:

  1. Read “The 4-Hour Body”
  2. Read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  3. Try out and monitor results of different workouts from Kozak Sports Perform
  4. Continue experimenting with 5 small meals per day
  5. Continue experimenting with doing different full body workouts

Well it’s been 3 months since I posted any pics of my progress (or lack thereof), so here they are:

7/25/2011

8/23/2011

9/28/2011

11/8/2011

1/12/2012

4/25/2012

Damn.  Looking at all these photos, I don’t see any major progress.  ARGH!  So frustrating!  Though I don’t want to get frustrated, since I know that doesn’t help anything.  But at the same time, I find it difficult not to be a bit disappointed.  I thought adding strength training to my routine would help produce noticeable results, but not so.  At least, not yet.  Sigh.

Read just a bit of “The 4-Hour Body”, but wanted to finish reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which I did!  Hoorah!  Very good book.  I highly recommend it.

Chipping away at reading “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”.  I’m finding that I forget to read it since it’s an ebook.

So far, I’ve only been trying out the “The Ultimate 10 Minute Cardio Workout At Home” from Kozak Sports Perform, though I’ve been eager to try the following workouts:

“Amazing Spiderman Workout”.

“How to Lose Your Love Handles Workout”

“Get Rid of Love Handles Workout”

I feel like if I can just melt away these love handles and excess tummy fat, my six-pack will be visible.  But I’m not sure if I should focus more on strength training or on workouts specifically targeted for getting rid of love handles.  So here’s what I’ll do – Do one of the above love handles workouts once every other day, while still doing my strength training.

Blah.  This 5 meals per day thing is really difficult to manage, especially since I can’t afford to buy all the food I need to constantly be eating the recommended protein & complex carbs prescribed by the author of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”.  Plus, it’s hard to keep to this diet when I’m at my boyfriend’s place.

So far, I’ve only managed to do one of John Stifferman’s strength training workouts every day.  I’ve mostly been doing pullups, dips, and deadlifts.

Next week:

  1. Read “The 4-Hour Body”
  2. Read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  3. Do one of two love handles workouts from Kozak Sports Perform every other day
  4. Continue experimenting with 5 small meals per day
  5. Continue experimenting with doing different full body workouts

Body Sculpting – Week 37

Last week I said I would do the following:

  1. Read half of “The 4-Hour Body”
  2. Read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  3. Try out and monitor results of different workouts from Kozak Sports Perform
  4. Continue experimenting with 5 small meals per day

Haven’t been able to read any of “The 4-Hour Body”, since I’m still trying to get through The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Haven’t read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”, so will do that today.

Was at my boyfriend’s house the majority of last week, so I didn’t do the “The Ultimate 10 Minute Cardio Workout At Home”, since that involves dumbbells.  I have, however, been experimenting with doing one of John Sifferman’s 5 workouts for strength training.  So far I’ve done the Pyramid Workout and 100 Reps in as Little Time as Possible Workout for dips, handstand pushups, and pullups.  Today I’ll do one of Sifferman’s 5 workouts for planks with leg lifts; probably the Personal Record Workout.

Next week:

  1. Read “The 4-Hour Body”
  2. Read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  3. Try out and monitor results of different workouts from Kozak Sports Perform
  4. Continue experimenting with 5 small meals per day
  5. Continue experimenting with doing different full body workouts

Body Sculpting – Week 36

Last week I said I would do the following:

  1. Look into doing another physical challenge
  2. Continue reading “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  3. Eat at least 5 small-portioned meals everyday

Well, I do not do very well at eating 5 small meals when I’m at my boyfriend’s house on the weekends.  I think this is because I feel like I’m not spending quality time with him (meal time = social time), so I end up just going back to eating 3 large meals per day.  But, I do really well at eating 5 small meals when I’m at home!  Along the same lines, I think this is because I’m usually alone when I eat the majority of my meals.  Hmm, what’s the solution?  I think I’m going to bring a container of cooked steel-cut oatmeal with me to my boyfriend’s house this weekend, so I can at least eat a hearty breakfast and maintain some part of my regular meals.

I looked into other workouts and found this great YouTube page: Kozak Sports Perform.  I found this specific HIIT workout which I really enjoyed doing two days in a row now: “The Ultimate 10 Minute Cardio Workout At Home”.  They have some other really great workouts that I’m looking forward to trying out.  Two things I really love about their vids:

  1. Their sporadic motivational phrases (“The exhaustion is all in your mind!”, “Remember your motivator!”, “Think of how happy you’ll be once you have a 6-pack!”)
  2. The dubstep music – it really hypes me up

I’m also going to do 2-3 full body workouts throughout the day.  When I had a job, I would do 3 sets of a full body workout during breaks (i.e., handstand pushups, pushups, dips, lunges, planks, etc), on average 3 times during the day.  But after reading John Sifferman’s blog post about “My Top 5 Favorite Pullup & Chinup Workouts”, I’m going to use the same 5 workouts for different full body exercises, to see if that will produce better results (more muscle, faster weight loss).

Here is a list of some full body exercises I can do:

  • Pushups
  • Handstand pushups
  • Dips
  • Planks w/leg raises
  • Pullups
  • Deadlifts (if I have the barbell or free weights)
  • Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Leg lifts
  • Air jacks
  • Lunge + curl w/dumbbells
  • Bent over rows
  • Dumbbell posterior swing

If you guys can think of other full body exercises that you enjoy, please share!

I haven’t read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”, but I DID check out the book “The 4-Hour Body”, by Timothy Ferriss, thanks to Noel’s recommendation; thanks, Noel!

I’m a little skeptical of this book, since Ferriss’s other famous book, “The 4-Hour Work Week”, received mixed reviews.  But glean as much as you can from anything, I say, so I’ll skim through it and glean as much as I can.  It’s a pretty big book though, so we’ll see how fast I can skim it!

Next week:

  1. Read half of “The 4-Hour Work Week”
  2. Read more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  3. Try out and monitor results of different workouts from Kozak Sports Perform
  4. Continue experimenting with 5 small meals per day

 

 

Body Sculpting – Week 35

Last week I said I would do the following:

  1. Continue reading “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  2. Eat at least 5 small-portioned meals everyday

Woo-hoo!  Been reading more of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”!  Current thing I’m learning is that eating 5 small meals throughout the day doesn’t have much of a fat-burning effect, unless each meal consists of the following:

  • Lean protein
  • Complex carbohydrate

Good to know.  I’ve been including almonds in my morning/afternoon meals, to ensure I at least am eating protein.

I’ve been entertaining the idea of starting a new physical challenge, like the “How to Rapidly Increase Your Pullup Numbers in 3 months or Less. Will look into that this week.

Next week:

  1. Look into doing another physical challenge
  2. Continue reading “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”
  3. Eat at least 5 small-portioned meals everyday