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I Refuse to Be a Rabbit

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This week, my workout routine went through a major overhaul in my desire to stop being a frickin’ cardio bunny. I am now more focused on weight training and have split my days into upper body days and lower body days, which I have also split into upper body day 1 & 2 and lower body day 1 & 2 when I saw that the workouts were too long. I still do steady-state afterwards for the sake of endurance but I do it for only 15-30 minutes. I also managed to do HIIT after my lower body day 2 (Thursday) since the exercises I did didn’t seem to be that taxing (I found out the day after, however, that they were actually as tough as my lower body day 1 exercises when I could not do a single Russian Twist due to my glutes hurting like hell) and I will do another HIIT round later afternoon.

So now my schedule looks like this:

Monday – Lower Body 1 + Steady-State

Tuesday – Upper Body 1 + Steady-State

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Lower Body 2 + HIIT

Friday – Upper Body 2 + Steady-State

Saturday – HIIT

Sunday – Off

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I think that what’s amazing about weight training is, while you’re doing it, it doesn’t feel like it’s going to do that much damage because it’s not steady-state cardio that’ll squeeze all the air and sweat out of you. It’s fun and almost relaxing at some point. But then, the next morning, your muscles prove you wrong by being sore and stiff to the core. The pain slowly sneaks up on you and I prefer that a whole lot more than feeling death looming over me while I’m on the elliptical.

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I expressed my desire to do yoga in my last entry and I’m glad to announce that I have began practicing the beginner poses and am loving them. I don’t do yoga for a long time, though; I just do it whenever I feel like it. My favorite poses are the ones that stretch my calves and hamstrings nicely such as the downward-facing dog pose and the wide-legged forward bend. I’m hoping that my gargantuan calves will slim down in the future.

As for other, still-somehow-related-to-health updates, one of my close friends asked if I wanted to go with her to a place here called Sagada. It’s a tourist spot that’s pretty far from the capital where I am, around 14 hours. She suggested that we take a packaged tour but when I made my own itinerary, I found that we could decrease the expenses by $30 (the tour costs $130) while doing more activities. The trip will involve spelunking and generous amounts of trekking, a.k.a. fun exercise! I have yet to ask my mother for money (I’m unemployed and not looking and I’m not sorry hahaha) but knowing that I could plan a cheaper, more action-packed trip on my own makes me feel really good. I may not be well-traveled but I will be in the future. I have to start practicing my backpacker skills if I want to be a successful wanderer. 🙂

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Bored to Cardio Death

Steady-state cardio. I thought I could learn to love it; after all, I have a friend who practically lives for running hours at a time and has found that it helps her clear her mind. I, however, am simply not a cardio baby. I know that steady-state cardio has benefits but man, it is boring. I have no idea what my friend thinks about while she’s running but by my tenth minute on the elliptical, my brain is already going, “Stop, stop, STOP. This is pointless. You have forty more minutes, what the hell. This is a waste of time. I want a fucking nap. Give me a nap, woman!” I swear, I feel like a hamster on a wheel while I’m doing steady-state. And yes, I’ve tried the treadmill, and goodness gracious, using it is even duller than being on the elliptical–at least in the latter, you have three poses of choice, but that doesn’t add a lot of excitement.

Perhaps the only cure for this is to do HIIT instead. Months ago, that was my cardio of choice. Twenty minutes of huffing, puffing, and sweating torrents felt awesome, and boy did I lose weight. Still, I think I’m not yet fit enough to handle HIIT again (I’ll probably do it once I finish the 30 Day Shred), and if I remember correctly, doing HIIT and weight training on alternate days wore me out to the core, which led to me quitting exercise altogether. I don’t want  that to happen anymore. I want to exercise six days a week, eat healthy foods, and improve my body image forever and ever. I have to figure out a routine that I can stick to in the long run.

I’m thinking of doing yoga to add variation to my exercises but my number one problem about it is the time. When do I practice yoga? For how long should one session be? Can I do it before weight lifting or cardio? I don’t want to take yoga classes because, well, I can’t afford it and I might not be able to commit to it. Hmm, I have a lot of research to do. I took yoga for PE for one semester when I was in Korea but other than that I am an ultimate beginner. Though I’m also interested in Pilates, I’m not sure if I can acquire the equipment needed for it.

Writing this post has been triggered by the fact that even listening to Welcome to Night Vale (which I have recently fallen in love with) did not keep the almost suicidal and homicidal thoughts away while I was on the elliptical. Ugh, the road to fitness is a true bitch on a stick.

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Tiny Lifestyle Update

I’m rejoicing because we have apples, bananas, papayas, and jackfruit in the house. I usually just eat apples and bananas (which is a sucky way to live, by the way) so the additional variety is awesome. I was also able to buy soy milk yesterday to use for post-workout nutrition. Hopefully this week will be better to me than the last one. I’ll be alternating cardio and strength days with my rest day being Sunday. Cardio alone just doesn’t work for me. Also, a high raw vegan diet has given me the fastest weight loss results. That’s how I reached 96 lbs. before, and that was without exercising. That was a bad idea, though, because I ended up being kinda skinny fat. I’m not sure what the results of cardio + strength + a high raw vegan diet will be but I’ll keep you guys updated.

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Of Boybands, Muscles, and Friendly Fats

I was able to set a personal record today: 52 minutes on the elliptical! And that was after the 20-minute 30 day shred workout! Normally I wouldn’t last on that machine for that long because steady state cardio bores me even more than classical music (contrary to popular belief, not everyone enjoys it, and I’m a prime example) does, but I did something to keep me sane.

I jammed to boyband songs.

Backstreet Boys, N Sync, One Direction, Super Junior, Beast, and BTOB were my workout buddies for 52 minutes and boy did they keep me motivated. (Those last three ones are Kpop boybands, by the way.) I put all their energetic songs in a playlist and blasted away, singing along and even dancing a little just so I don’t have to think about the time passing by and the burning sensation in my muscles. I felt like stopping a few times but as soon as one song ended and another upbeat tune began, I felt like moving again. It was, to say the least, a heck of a lot of fun, and I’ll make sure to keep it up from now on.

Time for a bit of an update. The soreness in my upper arms hasn’t gone away; in fact, the pain has spread down to the upper half of my forearms. I haven’t had a rest day since I started exercising again three days ago because, well, I thought of how cavemen had to exercise everyday hunting, walking from place to place, lifting rocks and wood or whatever, and I figured that if they could do it day to day for survival, why in the world can’t I? It’s a bit stupid, I know, but it has a bit of sense to it, right? Right? Also, I noticed that my arms only hurt like hell and damnation whenever I’m not exercising. Take right now. I’m typing this, resting my body before I take a shower, and my arms are back to being stiff little shits. I can’t straighten them at all–it hurts like a hundred bitches–and this doesn’t go away even when I’m sleeping. Is this normal or did I unknowingly tear my muscles?

Well, even if it was the latter, it’s not like I’m going to do anything about it. In our family, people don’t go to the doctor. You’re sick? Take some medicine. Drink lots of water. Sleep, for fuck’s sake. You feel nauseous? Go to the bathroom and stay there, or take this frickin’ bowl with you to bed. True story: I spent a week in agony, still going to school and all, thinking that I just had a terrible stomachache or diarrhea, when in fact my appendix had blown to bits. I was being poisoned for seven fucking days yet my mother did not think it was anything serious. Sunday came around, I woke up wailing because the pain was beyond excruciating, and when they took me to the emergency room, lo and behold, they found out I had appendicitis. Or rather, I had had appendicitis; the thing that remained in my body was a swollen, rotting piece of flesh that, by some sort of miracle, ended up being surrounded by my fats. That was the only reason I didn’t die. There’s a lesson to be had here: Fat is your friend.

Okay, I need to freshen up my stinky self. Before I go, hello to my new followers! I have no idea how you guys even found me. This is weird. Anyway, have a nice day!

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The V Word

I went to the beach with my cousins and their parents this past July. I wasn’t supposed to go with them because one of my aunts thought that I was still employed when in fact I had already quit my shitty job the week prior. After my mother agreed for me to come along, my ticket was booked the night before our departure. Being a twenty-something woman, they were not worried about me misbehaving during the trip and whatnot. Also, I got along well with my cousins so I certainly was not going to be a burden. But then the ultimate question popped up:

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“What are you going to eat there?”

Ever since I became a vegan, I’ve had trouble with social settings. Food is such a big deal here–it’s practically the string that keeps relationships intact and connected–and when you cut meat and dairy from your life, you’re giving up around sixty to seventy percent of the dietary choices present, including the social implications they carry. I can no longer eat out just anywhere with my friends; what we do is find a vegan-friendly place, or I bring my own food, or I skip eating altogether. I refuse to eat pizza and donuts brought home by my parents for us. I don’t go to social events that involve food knowing that meat will most likely be the pièce de résistance.

To be honest, that’s the most difficult part about this way of eating. It’s not the cravings; believe it or not, I don’t ever get them because when I see a burger or a piece of steak, I see nothing but the carcass of an animal that was slaughtered just to satisfy someone’s “dietary needs,” and that makes me angry, not hungry. It’s not the limited types of food I can eat; one will discover that the diet is still abundant with variety and that there are plenty of plant-based foods available around. The hardest part of veganism is the social aspect of it, the fact that when you change your food, your ways of bonding with other people change as well. I certainly struggled in the beginning–I didn’t even attend my own graduation dinner because there was nothing for me to eat. I was irritated because although I was telling everyone how wonderful and beneficial being a vegan was, none of them even tried to follow my footsteps. Growing up as an omnivore all her life and not encountering the alternatives, it took a while for my own mother to understand my lifestyle. She has always encouraged me to eat more vegetables but to skip meat and animal products altogether? The idea seemed too radical for her.

Now, months into being a vegan and going strong, things have fallen into their proper place. My mother buys fruits for me to eat and our housekeeper makes sure that there is a plant-based dish in every meal, including special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Whenever I go out with my family, we go to places that serve vegan-friendly dishes. My friends, too, have made efforts to look for restaurants where I don’t have to bring my own food to. The people closest to me have accepted my lifestyle and have adapted so that I can continue to spend time with them with minimum fuss. Knowing that pulls at my heartstrings and has caused me to stop stressing over the matter. I realized that food may be a great part of building relationships but it’s not the most important one. If your family and friends truly care for you, they will accept you and do everything to keep you in their circle even if it means going through the hassle of checking out menus in advance or helping you look for fruits to eat at the public market during a vacation. It all boils down to compromise, compromise, and more compromise. Everyone’s efforts will be worth it in the end, believe me.

To all the vegans out there, I salute you. I know that some of you may have found it difficult to make the drastic change but you know well that this isn’t just for you, right? Choosing this lifestyle has far bigger implications than just our health. We choose to preserve the richness of our environment. We choose to spare the lives of animals that are beautiful, intelligent, and that deserve to live undisturbed like we are. We choose to create a future that does not have to involve unnecessary violence. We choose to survive in a way that other creatures, too, will be able to do the same.

VIVA VEGANISM! VIVA VEGANS!