Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting Better All the Time

Know what's awesome about working out? You can only get better at it, and it can only become easier to do -- at least easier to choose to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kung Fu for Me and You!

I really pushed myself on my workout today and had to take a couple short breaks to recuperate as I felt as if I was going to up-chuck. It was worth it, though, as that feeling of making it through a difficult workout is highly motivating.

Now to channel this energy in getting some work done.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Little Experiment

The other day I was indulging in some junk when I thought, "I've had enough of this," and pitched it before I was finished. I'm going to try a little experiment where I don't finish everything on my plate for a week to see if I can train myself to not clean my plate every time.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I often become downtrodden when trying to make big changes in my life. I am far from a defeatist, I am not a quitter, and I am an optimist; but changing one's eating habits is so hard.

I recall the year I did the PCP. About five months prior I had gone pescatarian. This combined with the Patrick's direction and exercises for the PCP had me feeling better than I ever had, and it was also easier to accept dietary change as I had just made a radical one. I also recall the day I gave up pescatarianism. I gave it up because I felt that it had become a bit of a game to me, to see how long I could go. What I failed to realize at the time was that I shouldn't have seen it as temporary to begin with. I should have seen it as a permanent change in my lifestyle.

I am still struggling to accept exercise, a healthy diet, wellness as a permanent lifestyle change. It's so ingrained in us to see seasons such as winter-weight season and "bikini season". I'm also used to tackling life in seasons, especially professionally. I love change.

Change. Environment is crucial to change.

When I was on the PCP, I stood out amongst my peers like a pimple on an otherwise blemish-free face: "Why are you doing this?" "So you're not going to eat tasty food any more?" "I just don't get it." I was never ridiculed, but I was certainly "different". At the time it felt really good to be that disestablishmentarian odd-man-out, that salmon swimming upstream. Now I just want to physically, emotionally, spiritually feel the way I did. The KFB is certainly helping me get there all over again, but my environment is still disheartening.

I do have more local support this time than last. Two of my best friends, whom I actually lived with at the time of the PCP, have completely turned around their eating habits for the better. We talk shop about health, diet, nutrition, and recipes from time to time. It certainly helps to have that mutual understanding and appreciation of nutrition with others, and I look forward to moving to a bigger city where healthy eating is more "cultural" and healthy food is more easily accessible.

Thanks also to you, my teammates and readers, for the encouragement, feedback, and support. It's time for me to stop bitching and to start problem solving.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Traveling on the KFB

I apologize for my digital absence. Over the past two weeks I've been tied up with my brother's wedding. It went well, but now I'm ready to get back on track with the KFB.

Some observations on travel in America:

Eating healthy while on the go is hard.

I have no idea how anyone does it. It's much easier if you have control of your transportation or are with others of similar dietary interests. Alas, I had neither. I did the best I could, vying for the "healthier" choices, but we all know what that means -- it's still bad. Not KFB approved, thats for sure.

The KFB is portable.

This is one of my favorite aspects of all of Patrick's teachings: you don't need a gym! Now to be honest, I am behind with my workouts as I was editing video morning to night when not engaged in other family activities, but it felt good to be able to throw my jump rope and pushup bars into my suitcase.

Be an example, not a preacher.

This is particularly hard for me. I love to discuss and debate. However, I have the most impact on those around me when I demonstrate healthy choices. Rattling off, "This has 31 grams of sugar!" can be annoying to some. I will say that it helps to make tangible comparisons. For example, "This has more sugar than a can of soda." Everyone accepts that soda is high in sugar. To exceed that shows how rich in sugar something is.

Alas I am home and feeling better as I was sick yesterday. I am sorry to keep you hanging. Being that travel appears to be a regular part of my future (my next trip is next week), I'd be grateful to hear how you cope with travel and health.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why We're Screwed

This is why we're screwed in America:

A milkshake containing 2,010 calories -- equivalent to eating 68 strips of bacon or 30 chocolate chip cookies -- has topped a list of the 20 worst drinks in America compiled by Men's Health magazine.

The Cold Stone PB&C milkshake, made with peanut butter, chocolate icecream and milk, contains 68 grams of saturated fat and 153 grams of sugar, according to nutritional details on the company's website.

Day 12 - Posture

One of the hardest things about doing the poses that are part of the KFB is maintaining proper posture. Being that I primarily sit at a desk all day, my posture already isn't great. During these exercises, I'm constantly struggling to hold my neck, spine, arms, etc. in alignment. It's a chore and a workout in and of itself, yet I see it as another area I can challenge myself in.

I'm definitely looking forward to going to detailed diets next week. While I haven't eaten terribly over the past week, not all of it has been KFB friendly. This week our dietary mission is to cut out processed foods. I figured this would be easy until I realized a bunch of my soup no longer qualified. Ah well, I'll just have to try to make asparagus soup again.

While I haven't experienced any drastic changes, I am feeling more alert; and I have to say, that energetic sensation you get after finishing working out is an incredible feeling.

There's quite a different dynamic to the KFB versus the PCP. With the PCP, it's about strength, powering through the workouts. With the KFB, there is a lot more mental activity involved. Landing punches, guarding yourself, focusing as you hold the yoga positions, meditation -- it's mentally intense yet exciting.

Sleep has also been vastly important in giving me the energy to get through my workouts. Thus, I better head off to bed soon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 2 - Sore

It is only day 2 and I am already sore. Like yesterday, I did my workout first thing after waking up. I am going to try to stick to this pattern as if I do not, I will have to tear myself away from whatever I am doing to work out, and that usually never goes well.

Prior to the KFB I knew that I was flabby, but I did not realize what a Tubby Lumpkins I was until I was doing the twist stretches against a wall. I had such a hard time breathing, and I started breaking a heavy sweat. I was miserable and felt sick. Of course, this was coming down from the rest of the exercises, so my heart rate was already elevated.

While I try to focus on the exercise itself, sometimes my mind wanders and I think, "Why am I doing this? Does it really matter that I be this flexible or in control of my body? Does it really matter that I lose weight and look good? Why does any of this really matter today?" My thoughts then transition to, I am sure cliché, images of feudal Japan where these men were creating and designing things like Kung Fu. I imagine myself there, making mistakes in my posture and form; the teacher explaining to me, "You must bring your shoulders back here. Lift your hips there. See how I can pull you off balance? See how little power you have here?"

In this moment, I see how these forms were creating for combat and defense; but I also get a sense of something deeper -- mastery of the body.

Slothful Me: "But why? Why do you care if you master your body in the 21st century? We are knowledge workers, not warriors!"

Real Me: "Why not? Why not have complete self control? Why not seek to better yourself? It is like wearing a seatbelt or a bike helmet: you wear them for when they are needed. You will need the full extent of your body someday. Besides, why wouldn't you want to feel better about yourself?"

Slothful Me: "Bah! I look good enough-"

Real Me: "There's good and then there's great. Go beyond the mere vanity of others and do it for yourself. Do it so that when you wake up, you know that you are a better you -- you are the real you! You have confidence, posture, self esteem, power and flexibility. The mind and body are one."

Slothful Me: "..."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 1 - It Has Begun

It feels good to part of another conditioning project. There is something powerful about being on a team with others. It is inspiring, motivating.

I just finished my first workout of the Kung Fu Body. I struggled and put on a sweat, but I feel damn good for doing so. I think I pushed myself pretty well for just having come off of a short road trip where pit-stops at unhealthy food joints were my daily food intake.

Time for a 180.

The part of the KFB that I had been looking forward to the most is the meditation. I have been meaning to do this for, well, a very long time; but I never took the time to do so. I found that a five minute meditation goes very fast. I did try meditating once back on the PCP, but I found myself incredibly frustrated with my lack of ability to control my thoughts. This time, I just let go, bringing myself back to the pitter-patter of rain outside my window. This time, meditation was relaxing and... educational.

I really enjoyed the punching and kicking we had to do as part of our agility training. I put some muscle into it and imagined some bad guy targets, but I found myself mostly concentrating on form, watching where my punches landed in correlation to where I wanted them to land. Were my hands protecting my face at all times? How did my shoulders and hips rotate? Patrick told us that these agility exercises were in order to link our bodies and minds. I think I get it.

The hardest part of the workout, by far, was my stomach flab that kept getting in the way. Even worse, it made it hard to breathe in various poses. Having stomach flab is like living in a claustrophobic you. I can't believe I ever let myself put it back on post PCP, but I know exactly why. I told myself, "Hey, you worked so hard for three months. You can lighten up a little bit." Yeah, well a little bit became a lot.

I'm not going to proclaim that I won't make any future mistakes when it comes to my health. I am not going to try to tell myself and those reading this that I am a changed man, one whom will be destined for that Kung Fu Body for life. Instead, I will simply say this:

I am a changing man. I will continue to make mistakes, learn, and refine. My hope is that I will continue to change for the better, than a year from now I will have the body I will have in three months. But let us not get caught up on future things. For now, I change.