Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Oh Nine Resolution VANQUISHED

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

[Singing] Jaa-anet, FUCK YEAH!  So today was the test of my 2009 resolution to do a pull-up.  To be honest, I didn’t really work all that hard towards this goal until around September, when my trainer, David Morris, put me on the assisted pull-up machine and I said offhandedly that I wanted to be able to to an unassisted pull-up by 2010.  That made a fire light in his eyes and he vowed that it would happen.

Here’s the thing you need to know about David Morris.  He totally rules.  In four months, I lost an inch off my waist and am at 17.59% body fat – something six years of my teaching spin, kickboxing, step, Hollywood Trainer, strength training, and Krank had failed to do.  Every day is different when he trains me – capoeira drills, handstand pushups, Indian clubs, crescent slap kicks.  He is my gold-chain wearing therapist, comedian, father figure, and sensei all in one.  He’s beyond a black belt in a trillion different martial arts, and even though he is close to seven feet tall, he moves faster than anyone I know, and can do crazy yoga balance moves like crow into a handstand.  Awesome.

He also is full of weird information.  Topics that he’s enlightened me about in past sessions: motorcycles that have two wheels in the front instead of the back, prednisone, how to make friends, age of consent in different countries (Canada has the youngest, younger even than Thailand), the fact that Safeway was sold out of mineral water yesterday, grinding your own meat with antique meat grinders, people who piss in stairwells, Thai food, breakdancing.

He also has this habit of saying “-what” to elicit participation from whomever he’s talking to.  For example, he’ll say, “So this exercise is great because you feel it in your – what?” and I chirp “GLUTES!” and he says, “That’s right.”  Sometimes he doesn’t wait for you to answer, though, but it’s still the same thing.  ”We’re gonna work hanging crunches so that you can improve strength in your – what?  That’s right.  Core muscles.”  This vocal tic gets even more random at times.  Just today – “Flax seed is great when you mix it in with – what?  That’s right.  Bisquick.”  My favorite one is “I want to stay healthy and strong so that when I get old I can – what?  That’s right.  Pick fruit from my fruit trees.”  WTF???  He makes me laugh so hard.

Anyway, he is now taking new clients, so if you are anywhere near the bay area, hit him up!

Oh, I forgot to even talk about the fact that I did in fact succeed in doing a pull-up.  Four, in fact.  Me = BAMF.

LA Beer Fest 2009

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Did you miss it?  Oh, man.  You should feel really, really sorry.  The first ever LA Beer Festival (I just typoed “Beef” Festival!  That would be super awesome too!), put on by DrinkEatPlay, was this past weekend.  I went with Christopher, Daniel, Vic, and Oregon – some excellent drinkers who can put it away.

It could have been awful.  The first time they’ve done it, you know? It could have been oversold and super fucking crowded with awful music and shitty companies like Budweiser on the hottest fucking day in April ever.

The last two were things true.  Otherwise, the execution was lovely.  It was on the Sony backlot in Culver City (Christopher and I bussed :D ), and the average wait time to get a pour was zero minutes. The band (on Saturday – Petty Cash: A Tom Petty / Johnny Cash tribute band described as “As awesome as it sounds” by a friend; Sunday when we went – Hollywood U2, a U2 cover band) sounded like a U2 CD, and while their music was piped thru speakers throughout the lot alleys, it wasn’t too loud to talk.  Everyone got an adorable 4 oz mug to get their beers, which was the perfect amount of beer – even the hoppiest bitter brew was finishable in that amount.  The length of the festival was good, too.  Even 15 more minutes and I would have been KO’ed on the fake cement cobblestones.

 

The food was decent as well!  Though the wait was awful, we ended up with yummy sausages and mac-and-brie.  The mac could have used a big dose of salt, but my BP is pretty intensely high right now so I’m sure that was better for my health.  Nevermind the 12-15 beers I imbibed and their effects on my blood pressure.

 

I was recovering from the second worst hangover I’ve ever had (even my hair stank like old booze according to Christopher), so forgive me for not remembering any of the breweries.  I know Budweiser was there.  Also, whoever owns Stella Artois and Kirin.  Oh, and Sapporo.  And Sam Adams.  But see, it’s stupid to name the big breweries that were there.  I wish I could remember the lil’ guys.  I know San Miguel was there, because Christopher snuck one of their keychains on my keys (he thinks this is funny).  And some skunky Phuket beer.  Annnnd some beer for sipping that was some insane % alcohol and tasted like Chocobeer.  

OK, so I fail as a blogger.  Maybe Daniel can append some more information when he gets back from taxland.

But I DO remember the breweries that had LOOT!  Anchorsteam, Karl Strauss, Alaskan, Deans Bros, and Coronado Brewing Company.  Let that be a note to you, breweries.  Cheap free shit and you get a mention on MTFB!

Book Petty Cash here, because let’s face it, that’s the most intriguing part of this post, no?

An Important Message on Safety

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Whoo hoo 2009! And as Janet’s shown, now is the perfect time to set some goals for the upcoming year. Whether your resolution is to stop eating the maple donut just because you think it looks lonely, or to actually talk to the cute girl at the coffee shop on the corner -at least so you don’t have to drink the horrible coffee just so you can see her, I’m asking you to add just one more: Always keep safety in mind.

Ok so I realize that’s a pretty broad subject that could apply to anything. But I’m not about to make this post about safe sex or making sure you wear your safety goggles while you work in the chem lab. Nope. This is about general safety in your general adventures and/or do-it-yourself shenanigans.

Example #1:
Safety while cutting. A while back I posted about my homemade solution to having a trendy bar scene going on at your very own sophisticated par-tay. And what could be more sophisticated than throwing your own inauguration ball/dance/prom? So after you pick up the requisite shrimp platter but before you start cutting the cardboard for your own Lit Bar Shelf (there needs to be a better name for that), keep this in mind:

OK so that wasn’t the worst picture, but you get the idea. That little number was done using a standard all-purpose scissor. I literally cut a chunk of my palm off. Hopefully now that you have that image seared into your brain (and if not, stare at it and think about what you would name it), you’ll always be sure to keep your body parts free of any harmful apparatus, because Hand does not equal Cardboard. If you plan on attempting any type of carpentry/craft(ery?)/knife work, perhaps you should invest in these:

This is totally a Psycho-style Knife Thrust Fail, but it clearly demonstrates the awesomeness that is a cut resistant glove. Can you imagine how bad things could have turned out if I had been drunk during that last project? Maybe I need to get some gloves.

Speaking of being drunk…

Example #2:
If you were to look in my desk drawer, you’d find two cardboard eye patches, one with a creepy blue eye drawn on to mismatch my brown one, and one that says “Don’t Peek!” While these things may somehow fit my career as a sometimes pirate, it is actually detrimental to my accounting work. So what’s the deal?

My friends know by now that sometimes when I over-partake of fine wines and strong spirits, I run into some issues with my eyes. Specifically, I have now on two occasions managed to scratch my cornea.

If you’ve never had this pleasure, let me just say that it feels like there is always something stuck in your eye and it makes your eye extremely sensitive to light. I had to turn off the lights in my office and spent most of the time crying from the pain my own computer screen caused me. Maybe this is just something that happens to me, but in the off-chance that there are others out there that suffer from this, I urge you to heed my warning after your inauguration party winds down and you head to bed. But be advised: I once had the presence of mind to remind myself I was drunk and shouldn’t take out my contacts. I failed anyway because I woke up the next morning missing the left contact anyway.

Lucky for me there’s a wikiHow on How to Remove Contact Lenses.

Anyway, now that we’re done with my display of undeniably fantastic motor skills, I have one last suggestion: If you’ve really got an itch to be extremely crafty and/or creative, but don’t have the knowledge nor materials to complete your idea, head over to Ponoko.com. You can either submit your own designs or ask an expert to help you out in creating whatever your overactive brain can think up.

New Year’s Resolutions

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Happy New Year! Hard to believe it’s 2009 already. Remember when people were freaking out about how that Prince song wouldn’t be relevant anymore in 2000? Seems like just yesterday.

Anyway, I was thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions, and to hold myself accountable, I will post them here on MTFB.

But first, let’s check on how I did on last year’s resolutions.

Last Year’s Resolution #1: Stop Eating When Full
Very difficult for a food blogger. I think I did best during summertime, when it’s more uncomfortable to eat till bursting. But summertime also equals flowy summer dresses, which makes it more comfortable to overeat. Hmmm. I think I give myself an A- on this one; big fat F when intoxicated.

Last Year’s Resolution #2: Be OK With Leaving Food On Plate
Wait, this is the same thing as Resolution #1, I think. Can you tell it’s very difficult for me to not overstuff my tum?

Last Year’s Resolution #3: Eat Slower
Are you sensing a pattern here? I’m embarrassed.

Let’s move on.

This Year’s Resolution #1: Become a Locavore
Locavore” was New Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2007. I think locavoreianism (doubtful that this the correct term) also often means eating organic from farmer’s markets and such, and since I live walking distance from the country’s best farmer’s market, I should really get on that shit. This resolution also means devoting more of my budget to food, which I should be OK with, but there’s some cheapie Asian DNA squiggled inside my cells that I have to fight, so.

This Year’s Resolution #2: Be Able To Do A Pull-Up
After I spent several uncomfortable (for her) minutes creepily yet brazenly watching a badass chick at the gym do them, I was inspired. I made my hand into a fist and said “She WILL be MINE!” even though that wasn’t the right idiom (it was the closest saying that expressed my inspiration), making the situation even more awkward for her I’m sure. The key to this resolution is which grip I’ll be resolving to do. Underhand, parallel, overhand, mixed, modified one-hand grip with towel and without, etc. etc.

This Year’s Resolution #3: Spend Less Time Online Looking At Cats
Hey! I’m NOT a cat lady. In fact, I’m allergic to the point where I get skin rashes when I’m around cats. But I spend what probably amounts to weeks, cumulatively, looking at the critters on Stuff On My Cat, I Can Has Cheezburger, Daily Kitten, and, when they show up, on Cute Overload. This must stop.

This Year’s Resolution #4: Blog At Least 5 Times Per Month
Daniel is in on this resolution as well. This means at least 10 posts per month, which means at least one every three days, which is acceptable, right?

I hope so, because I don’t want to be that bitch who’s like, “Why you never call me?” and then never pick up the phone when you do call. Because I love you.

Many happy returns on the year~! Go 2009!

Nike Sport Music

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

I hope this post is relevant to CM readers in this New Year’s Resolution season.

In my non-blogging, non-researching life, I am a group exercise leader. GEL is the newfangled PC term for “aerobics instructor” and is actually a better term because on top of aerobics I also teach spinning, pilates, weight lifting, kickboxing, and sports conditioning. However, it’s an awkward term so for the rest of this post I’ll stick with aerobics instructor.” That’s not even what this post is about anyway.

The fitness industry is a documentary-worthy, fascinating subculture. I’m going to an annual fitness convention in June so expect a post this summer with my funny antics and pictures of many super fit, dirty-hot aerobics instructors decked out in their finest lululemon.

Anyway, I am going to reveal a secret, and I hope to click “publish” before the aerobics industry police come to kill me: Aerobics instructors hate exercise just like everyone else. We all have a love-hate relationship with physical activity. ((Some people, like my ex-boyfriend, truly love exercise. These are the people you should focus on hating.)) I obsessively hunt for the closest parking spot to minimize walking. I take the elevator down one floor (but only after hours because during the day I will get dirty looks). I will tear my hands to shreds carrying ALL the grocery bags from my car in one go so that I don’t have to take multiple trips.

For people like me, and probably you, Nike has teamed up with Apple to provide tools to make your workout more pleasurable. ((Before anyone gets excited, this is not a post about the Nike running chip thingie that you put in your shoe that communicates to your iPod nano. I also have that but have barely used it, so I’ll leave that post for James (an avid user) to write.)) One of those tools is called Nike Sport Music. It’s accessible via the iTunes Store but a bit hard to find .

I just downloaded the Nike Treadmill Training: Mixed Terrain 1 Workout with Jay Blahnik, who is one of the bigwigs of the fitness industry. You can also get other types like for running outside, but who wants to do that? Fresh air, ew.

Anyway, I used it for the first time today and it was fantastic! All I could think about while running was writing this post.

For the price of $11.99 (it varies; some are cheaper), you essentially get one big file that has a bunch of songs mashed together. When you buy the mix, you also get the individual songs that are in it separately, which I thought was a generous touch. Voiced-over the songs are instructions from Jay, who leads you through a 30-minute workout consisting of a warm-up, hill training, speed intervals, and a cool-down. There are four different intensity “Zones” that you aim for: Zone 1, which is an easy pace for warm-up, recovery, and cool-down; Zone 2, which is your basic jog (“comfortable but challenging,”between 4.5 and 6.5 mph); Zone 3 which is your “race pace”; and Zone 4, which is your all-out, “anaerobic breathless pace.”

The warm-up was to “I Want You Back (Z-Trip Remix)” by Jackson 5. Jay told me to set the speed to 2.5 miles per hour, which timed my feet perfectly to the beat. While I was grooving out, he then led me through some warm-up exercises that made me look a little bit stupid like kicking my heels to my butt (like scraping mud off my shoes) while I walked.

The hill training portion consisted of three hills: 6% incline for 30 seconds, rest, 4% incline for 30 seconds, rest, and 6% incline for 90 seconds. Since I am a fast-twitch muscle fiber kind of girl, this was no problem for me.

The rest of the workout consisted of four speed intervals. Jay lets you choose the speed but it has to be in Zones 3 or 4. The intervals are 50 seconds, 70 seconds, 90 seconds, and 50 seconds with rest in between. These were harder for me, especially the 90 seconds one. But Jay chirping in saying “Be aggressive! You’ll get a longer recovery after this one!” and “Only 15 seconds left! You can do it! push through!” helped.

Things I really liked about this workout:

1. Basically the whole thing takes place at a 1% incline (except hills, which are higher inclines), which seems small but kicks your workout up a notch if you’re used to flats.

2. Jay strikes the perfect balance of being encouraging but not over-the-top enthusiastic. Even when you are just recovering for a couple minutes, he checks in every minute to encourage you and tell you what’s coming up. This might be annoying to some but I really liked it since I never felt lonely and it broke up the workout into manageable one-minute chunks.

3. Lots of specific direction. Jay counts you down to your intervals “Ready…set…GO!” (very motivating!), he gives you specific incline percentages, and sometimes the specific speed. Again, this might feel confining for someone who’s not an obedient Asian, but I really liked it.

4. Chumbawamba.

Things I didn’t really like but didn’t mind too much:

1. The songs for the speed intervals were fairly chill. I wanted like a “I’m Not Okay” (My Chemical Romance) type of song to go crazy fucking fast to, but instead I got a rather chill “Fired Up” by the Funky Green Dogs (who?) for what was supposed to be my most intense speed interval.

2. My treadmill was broken so the fastest I could go was 7.5 mph. Next time I’ll really kick ass, I promise.

All in all, I loved it. Next I’m going to download Treadmill Training: Hill Repeats 1. Soon I’ll be such an insane runner that you won’t be able to catch me (except you will catch me easily as I will be on a treadmill).