A Week in the Life #7

Last week was the final one in my Nike Training Club “Lean Fit” plan, and I left it feeling quite transformed from the weakling that couldn’t quite get to 10 push-ups in a go. (Now I can, but I still have to do them on my knees.) It also gave me quite a different perspective on how much exercise one needs to get in shape.

I’ve spent years training about an hour or more each day, but in the past few weeks exercising four to five days a week for less than an hour a day, I’ve managed to make myself feel and look good. As the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat; so there are also many ways to control weight, many ways to shape the body, and many kinds of fitness to pursue. The time will come when I can regain my endurance and swim, bike, and run long again, but for now I am quite happy dabbling in all sorts of exercise. Continue reading “A Week in the Life #7”

A Week in the Life #6

I’m truly happy my health seems to have taken a turn for the better. Isn’t that the point of trying to live a healthy active lifestyle: to improve quality of life?

Despite the radical number swings on my weighing scale, I have been consistently exercising and have avoided bingeing on junk food. Last week I even managed to coax my abs to peek out from behind the belly fat, which boosted my self-esteem even though I don’t walk around in cropped tops on a regular basis. I guess it’s true what they say: abs are made in the kitchen! Continue reading “A Week in the Life #6”

A Week in the Life #5

Did you get to watch Wonder Woman yet? Because if you haven’t, you are seriously missing out on one of the cultural touchstones of our time. The titular character of Wonder Woman brought to life onscreen has become inspiration for boys, girls, men, and women alike. The film has certainly fired up many people I know, in many different ways.

I won’t give away any spoilers and you’ll have to go to Rotten Tomatoes to get a real review, but Wonder Woman celebrated strength and empowerment without diminishing others and addressed societal ills without being preachy thanks to director Patty Jenkins and the marvelous cast led by Gal Gadot.

I think the biggest fitness take-away is how strong the Amazons were and how the scenes showing them in training and in battle portrayed them as real women with scars and wrinkles, not as objectified bombshells who were exercising only for how it makes their bodies look. The women cast as Amazons were not just fitness models, but also athletes.

From Entertainment Weekly:

From an Olympic bobsledder and a heptathlete to a police officer and the former Miss Greece, these real-life Amazons hailed from around the world and helped populate Diana’s home of Themyscira. Some of the Amazons, like Kroes, auditioned, while the filmmakers plucked others from the athletic world β€” Brooke Ence, an American Crossfit champion, and Madeleine Vall Beijner, a Swedish professional fighter, among them.

Continue reading “A Week in the Life #5”

A Week in the Life #4

The thing with training and exercise is you’ve got to be consistent at it to see any change. Aside from being consistent, you also have to be patient. The human body has its own time scale measured in incremental changes that can take weeks or even months to manifest. For those of us who have instant access to everything thanks to technology (email instead of sending letters, online shopping instead of going to a store, Google instead of flipping through card indexes), the tedium of waiting to see changes in your body can be brutal.

You measure improvement in ability by testing if you can do the same thing faster or longer or multiple times. With weight loss, improvement is measured by the numbers on the scale ticking down. Continue reading “A Week in the Life #4”

Intro to Brazilian Jiujitsu at UFC Gym Philippines

I don’t really watch much TV these days, let alone sports coverage or games. But even in the insular world of triathlon I haven’t escaped UFC — the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which has elevated the profile of mixed martial arts from niche to spectator sport.

When I heard that UFC Gym would be opening branches in the Philippines, though, I began considering what kind of impact such a gym would have on our fitness landscape. Sure, we have boxing gyms that also offer other martial arts on the side like Muay Thai, but the UFC branding would definitely bring a glamorous sheen to combat sports training and attract a different sort of market.

UFC Gym Philippines Brazilian jiujitsu trial session
a little demonstration from UFC Gym Philippines in the Octagon

At the same time, UFC Gym would have to be legit, with top experts in each of the mixed martial arts disciplines overseeing the training regimens offered. With the first few branches opening in August, UFC Gym has temporarily set up its Octagon on the 4th Level of Robinsons Galleria where they have started offering introductory sessions to the public and to their pre-selling members.

Lucky me happened to be one of the first participants in UFC Gym’s introductory Brazilian Jiujitsu class taught by their BJJ head director, Mark Doze. Continue reading “Intro to Brazilian Jiujitsu at UFC Gym Philippines”

A Week in the Life #3

“Noelle, your skin is well-rested from the sun. Fair and smooth.”

Ang puti mo na. Hindi ka na mukhang triathlete.” (You’re so fair now. You no longer look like a triathlete.)

One coach I know once told me, “‘Pag gumaganda ang atleta ibig sabihin hindi nagta-training.” (If an athlete starts looking pretty it means they’re not training.)

These comments are fairly amusing. (See what I did there.) Chalk this up to our cultural norms of what makes a woman beautiful: the fair, smooth skin unmarred by sun exposure, the face that looks well-rested with no traces of labor or lack of sleep. The skin-deep beauty is heavily reliant on leisure, and to be sure I’ve had a lot more rest and less physical work in the past few months. At the same time, it’s been hard to see the golden tan I earned during hours training in the sun and the outward markers of being a triathlete fade away.

But that’s all they are: outward markers. Continue reading “A Week in the Life #3”

A Week in the Life #2

I’ve been sleeping through way too many gun starts lately, but I’m glad to have logged all my scheduled workouts last week, plus one extra for good measure.

I’m not training for triathlon; instead, I’ve been using the Nike+ Training Club app’s Training Plan function. I selected a “Lean Fit” six-week program because I want to get lean and improve my overall fitness. I input the amount of time and access to equipment I have into the app, and it selected a series of workouts for the next six weeks. All I have to do is download each of the workouts before I head to the gym and just push “Start” when I get there.

This has been instrumental in getting me out the door, through an hour in the gym, and back at my desk without completely draining me of what little energy I have these days. And with every workout I tick off during the week, I feel like I’m pushing back this fog of ennui that’s crept over my life. Continue reading “A Week in the Life #2”