Wednesday, November 28, 2007

oh those gym characters!

I recently started this thing where I write letters to those crazy people at the gym. Though some of you may have thought I was was just joking around, I just wanted to let you know that I'm not the only one who notices those crazy gym characters! Enjoy this story. Lazy clickers, you know the protocol!

The 10 people you'll find in any gym
Posted: Oct 2nd 2007 1:43PM by Chris Sparling

Step in any gym in any city in any state in this entire country and you're sure to find the same people. Of course not the exact same people, but the same types of people. Though their accents may differ when they yell their rep count out loud and their music selection may vary as it blares through their oversized headphones, these same people seem to magically appear in every gym throughout the nation. Some of them work out hard, some don't work out at all, and some do exercises so bizarre that it's clearly not safe to be within a fifty-foot radius of them. Who are the people in your neighborhood gym? Pretty much the same as those in everyone else's.

1. The Gamma Radiation Victim – While they aren't green (yet), these guys are so large that they look like they could either live forever or die any second. Their clothes fit them like paint and their veins practically form roadmaps on their arms and legs. Fortunately for them, if they ever get lost on the way to their steroid dealer's house, they can use their bodies like a AAA Trip-Tic. These are also the same guys that you should never ask to spot you, because if you are struggling to bang out your last rep with what you believe to be a respectable amount of weight, they will simply lift it off you with one hand ... and then beat up your dad with the other.

2. Thomas Edison – Stay the hell away from this guy or girl, or else you're bound to get hurt. There's truly nothing scarier in the gym than the people who feel the need to invent their own exercises. As you and everyone else go about your daily grind, these people are rolling around on a physio-ball while balancing a soft-spoken Peruvian child on their head. A common explanation for the purpose of their whacked-out maneuvers is that this new exercise is great for working their 'core.' The truth? It doesn't work their core at all. In fact, it doesn't work anything...except to bring utter chaos into a weight room. Get these people on a treadmill and that's when things really get dangerous.

3. Sparkle Motion – Remember the girls in college who used to get dressed to the hilt for an 8:00am class? Well, ten years later these same ladies are still going for cosmetic gold, primping and teasing their early morning glamour for a pre-work trip to the gym. The hair, the nails, the matching pink running shoes/zip-up sweatshirt ensemble, and even the unabashedly applied glitter lipstick...all at 5:30 in the goddamn morning. Most people with even an iota of sanity are still asleep at this hour. These glimmering gals, however, are already into their fourth cup of iced coffee and forty-third minute on the elliptical machine by this time.

4. The 'A Bit Too Personal' Trainer – Signing-up for a gym membership in itself can be a rather daunting process for some people. When you factor in a personal training session with someone who feels the need to tell you about all of their life problems, things can quickly go from uneasy to downright weird. "That's can do mother died from advance stage syphilis." Uh...what? Who needs to hear that? And how is that possibly motivating? I may be wrong, but I don't recall a single scene in Rocky where Mickey told Rocky that the reason why his skin looks so healthy is because he refuses to poop after 8:30 at night.

5. Bob the Builder – Fancy health clubs may be the only place where this guy doesn't show up, but for the rest of us whose annual gym memberships cost less than the price of a new Nissan Maxima, this unfashionably coarse fellow is a staple (Puns, kids. That's what they're called.). Sometimes it's a pair of work boots and jeans, other times it's a pair of overalls, and on some occasions it's a line of clothing seemingly purchased from the Paul Bunyon collection on QVC. How do these people work out in all those layers? The grunge epoch may have ended in the late nineties, but flannel somehow managed to survive thanks to carpenters whose parents clearly never made them put on their 'play clothes' after school.

6. The Unworthy Screamer – Although it is true that the huge guys do sometimes yell while they work out, it is most times the mostly-fat-but-partially-muscled guy who feels the need to grunt and groan at the top of his lungs each time he curls a thirty-five pound dumbbell. Even worse, when it turns out that the dying moose sounds you hear emanating from the far corner turn out to be the Herculean cries of a one hundred and fifty pound man wearing Puma sweats and a Riptide headband, banging out his last two reps of triceps extensions. Feel that burn, you annoying S.O.B.

7. The Teen Titan – Obesity rates for youths and teens are at an all time high, which is why you see less and less fat kids getting picked on today (fat is the new skinny, or at least it would seem). So, to see any teenage kids in the gym is, in and of itself, a good thing. Problems usually arise when a group of four of five teenage boys collectively decide to dive head first into a workout regimen that would make Ronnie Coleman sleep in. Their form is all out of whack and they do their best to shove around as much weight as their barely post-pubescent bodies possibly can. All goes to hell once a 45 pound plate slides off the side of the bar during an attempt at a one rep max bench press and the other side comes crashing down onto their spleen. Even worse is when they use far too much weight on the cable crossovers and end up being violently yanked backwards like Sweetchuck in Police Academy 2.

8. The Doctor of Style – Look, we all think it's very impressive that you work at a hospital. You're clearly a very intelligent and noble person. And, depending on your particular occupation, it's likely that you probably make some serious money, too. But, is it still necessary to wear your powder blue scrubs to the gym? These people work all day long in these draw-string pants and v-neck shirts...don't they want to change out of them? They may be comfortable and they may "breathe," but that's still no excuse for wearing your work clothes in public. Do the world a favor and pick-up a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, will you please?

9. Scarface – Though he's not a cocaine drug kingpin, this guy is still to blame for leaving the weight room looking like the backroom of a bakery. Despite the fact that the signs clearly say that "Weightlifting Chalk is Not Allowed," this dusty fellow claps his hands together with pride before each set, leaving everything and everyone around him covered in a layer of white powder. Only making things worse is the industrial size weightlifting belt this guy straps around the waistband of his ultra-tight spandex shorts, essentially forcing everyone in the gym to 'say hello to his little friend.'

10. The Senator – Treating each visit to the gym like a stop on a campaign trail, these types want to talk to you and everyone else about utter and complete nonsense. They never, ever shut up. Ever. Even while you attempt to finish your last five minutes of an hour run on the treadmill, or even worse, as you labor through your last set of squats, this person will find that to be the most opportune time to ask you how your family is doing, or how your job is going, or if you know a good place to buy deck stain. Your best attempts at ignoring them or hint dropping for them to leave you alone are about as effective as using gasoline to put out a fire. Maybe these people really should run for office.

Don't believe that these people are at your gym? Try looking around the next time you go and you'll see them. All of them. But, if for some reason you have trouble identifying one of them from this list, well, I hate to break it to you, but that person might be you.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day All!

I just wanted to wish you and the wonderful people in your lives (as well as mine) a fantastic Thanksgiving. Okay... so the origins of this holiday are totally embedded in the imperial takeover of this country and the genocide of Native peoples. Therefore, it's not exactly the greatest holiday on earth. However, I'd like to take the time to tell people to gain some of that knowledge. (End rant.)

Though this is a holiday of abundance and good eats, please be mindful and continue to take care of your health. There is nothing more important than that. I went to an early morning spin class just so I could take bites of everyone's dishes without feeling guilty:) A big THANK YOU to Warren for teaching class today. You know what to do, sir. BUY THAT IPOD! Also, to show my family that I truly care about their health and well-being, I opted to make healthier veggie side-dishes. Feast your eyes on this!

Instead of a creamy, gooey, crunchy green bean casserole, I decided to make a green bean salad. It's quite tasty if I do say so myself. It's made with mustard, garlic aoli, balsamic vinegar, shallots and olive oil. The green beans were blanched to maintain some crunch.

Everyone loves mashed potatoes - including me! However, to mix it up a bit, I made a cheesy cauliflower mash that I seasoned with chicken stock and a touch of fat free sour cream for that creamy goodness. I made veggie dishes just so that the family could have some non-meat items because well, you know how Filipinos do it! I found the recipes on the food network site and made adjustments as needed. (If you know me, I never follow recipes exactly. Also, this photo is not in its final stages. Before it hits the table, I'm going to heat it up and garnish with fresh chives just to make it extra pretty!)

Finally, for dessert, I made guinataan. I love making this when it's cold! If you haven't tasted my guinataan, I feel sorry for you. You haven't lived. For this batch, I made it with fresh ube, yams and plantains. As always, it's filled with the gooey mochiko balls and langka. Apologies. There are no substitutions here. It's filled with all the traditional yummy goodness. For health's sake, eat slowly and in small dosages. If any of you live locally, give me a call and I'll share a container with you. I made a HUGE pot for all to enjoy!

Cheers to good health for the holidays!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

to GI Gym Guy

Dear GI Gym Guy,

I greatly apologize for ignoring you while you were talking to me. I didn't realize that the woman you brought to the gym was your sister. Though you were clearly facing me, I thought you were talking to her from across the room. Please know it's not in my nature to completely brush people off. In fact, I'm a very friendly person once you get to know me...

Which leads me to my next point. GI Gym Guy, you don't know me. Clearly, I don't know you. Did it ever occur to you that there is a reason for this? I'm sure that the exotic women who surround the military base you're usually stationed at (1) look like me and (2) flock to you like white on rice. However, this is California - not the random third world country you happen to be stationed at. When I go to the gym, I'm actually there to work out, and not "keep you motivated," as you mentioned. Your random cat calls while I'm hard at work doing squats, lunges and yoga stretches does not interest me whatsoever. In fact, it sparks the urge to kick you in the balls - a random act of vengeance I am more than happy to do. However, knowing you, you'd actually see that as foreplay.

Please GI Gym Guy, when at the gym, I kindly suggest you pay attention to your own workout.

Yours Truly,
The Fierce Runner

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

to mr. moaner

Dear Mr. Moaner,

I'm so glad to see that you've taken the plunge and decided to take yoga despite being only one of perhaps three men in the class. It's always refreshing to see a man take on the class, and take it so seriously as you do.

Yoga is definitely an expression of the body and mind. It's a place where you can let yourself go and indulge in the various poses the instructor puts you in. Granted, I've talked to Professora Yoga and though she won't outright admit it, I'm pretty sure some of the things we do in that class is for her own personal amusement. Hence, why one needs a great sense of humor in yoga. Ahem, back to my point Mr. Moaner.

When Professora Yoga says to make noises when you breath, I'm not sure she means make orgasmic noises. Granted, I'm not one to judge or figure out one's yoga experience. I have no idea and have no interest in knowing what goes on in your mind as you come out of your downward dog. However, do you think you could pipe your moaning down a little bit? I try not to pay attention to others in class and try my best to simply zone out. However, my zones have been broken lately by your loud moaning and grunting.

I know what you're thinking Mr. Moaner: "Hey, it's my class too, bitch!" And you're right. It is your class too. However, when your obnoxiously loud faux orgasmic moans interfere with me reaching my state of zen, then we have a problem. I'm not asking you to stop moaning. Moan all you want. But please, Mr. Moaner, pipe it down just a tad bit. I'll let you reach your state of zen as long as you allow me to reach mine. Thank you!

Yours Truly,
The Fierce Runner

Sunday, November 18, 2007

get your veggies on

Truth be told, when I go grocery shopping, I like to buy fresh veggies. They look better. They taste better. The thought of fresh veggies just warms my heart. In theory, fresh veggies are fabulous... until I open my veggie drawer about three weeks later and find the whole rotten lot. UGH! Anyway... I've decided to take control of that by immediately saute-ing my veggies. See the photo? Nice, huh? This is also why I l-o-v-e those handy dandy ziploc disposable plastic containers. They rock. Another little discovery I made through my sister are these green bags that make your food last longer. (You can also buy them here at a better deal.) I've looked at the online reviews and they seem a bit mixed. However, I totally love them. If I want to keep my veggies raw, then I cut and prep them and store them in the bags. I'm not sure if you're actually supposed to do that. However, it totally works for me. (Here's a tip: knot the bags, don't use a twist tie.) You can also store fruit, which is what my sister does and it works for her. I go through fruit pretty quickly so I don't need the bags for those. Anyway... I hope this helps you get your veggies on!

Friday, November 16, 2007

to Manang Cell Phone

Dear Manang Cell Phone,

I applaud your efforts in getting healthy by showing up to every single yoga class I happen to participate it. It is, after all, a public class that is open to anyone who is a paying member of Bally's. Seeing a woman of your generation actually puts a warm feeling inside my heart and inspires me. You make me think to myself, "Wow. When I'm 100 years old, I can still drive, go to yoga, own a cell phone, and exercise the pleasure of answering my cell phone at my leisure - even in the middle of yoga."

Besides, who cares about everyone else's concentration level? Who cares that everyone gives you dirty looks when your cell phone rings at full blast during every single class? Who cares that you let your phone ring 2-3-4 times before you answer it? Who cares that you carry a full-on conversation with whoever called in the middle of yoga class? Who cares that the lovely folks at Bally's have posted signs all over the room clearly stating to "Please keep cell phones and all other electronic devices OFF during class. Thank you."

Who cares? Definitely not you, Manang Cell Phone. At 100 years old, you've earned the right to bother everyone else in class with your obnoxious conversations. You've earned the right to disrespect the instructor and her way of teaching. You've earned the right to try to deny all 100 years of your existence by showing up to class with your hair and makeup all done up, sporting your extra-low rise spandex pants because you think that's what the kids are wearing these days, showing off your gold sparkly jewelry hanging from your body, and trotting in with your designer gym bag that happens to hold your extra-expensive cell phone. You've earned it, Manag Cell Phone. Anyone who has lived through both world wars has earned it:)

One day, when I'm 100 years old, I hope to be as clueless and obnoxious as you.

Yours Truly,
The Fierce Runner

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

CrossFit One World W.O.T.D.

Run 800 meters THREE times

Complete 3/3/3/3/3/3/3 reps of:

Joanne's weight: 43/53/63/63/68/68/68

And then...
FOUR rounds of:
25 abmat sit-ups
25 supermans

Notes (to myself) about this workout:
I came in early and ended up doing a lot of running. I don't like pushing a lot of weight. In fact, I was going to skip this workout all together and do the "Michael" workout (hence all the running). However, I figured I should at least try to nail the movement. My low weight shows that I'm pretty weak, but also need to work on technique. I tried to do 73 lbs twice, but for some reason I couldn't get it high enough. Personally, I think my boobs were in the way. heh! The bar has to be pretty close to the body, so when it passed my chest, I got stuck. I don't think they Oly lifts were meant for busty women. I've been trying to file formal complaints, but no one has called back yet. ha ha ha!

Notes (to myself) about the Challenge Restart:
I've been bad. Actually, I've been doing my best. My meds are working out fine. Today I had a fantastic interview in SF and my interviewee took me out to lunch at We Be Sushi and coffee/desserts at Tartine Bakery. Tartine rocks! My interviewee was extremely generous and paid for all the food. For dessert, she bought three different things because she wanted me to have a little taste of everything. Luckily, I didn't go overboard and literally had a taste of everything. She then let me take it all home, which I did. However, I passed it on to my niece and nephews because though they may not have appreciated the fine taste of the desserts, I'm sure they liked having them anyway.

Balancing the health stuff with school stuff has been challenging. But I'm hanging in there. A big thanks to Margaret for letting me bitch and moan over the phone. UGH! I hate it when I get that way!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

spin away

Today's workout: One hour of spin. This is Warren, my spin instructor and it was taken from his website . He teaches spin classes on his bus when he's not teaching at Bally's. I like Warren's classes. Even though he doesn't use an ipod, I like his classes anyway! Besides, I have to give him props because when I first started taking his classes (my first year in grad school), he was all about the cassette tapes. Now he's made the transition to CDs. We're just hoping he makes the final leap to the ipod! Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Oh! I also took belly dance class for two hours. It's no big deal since it was the first class of the series. The workout was pretty light. I got to use Dolian's fancy-schmancy $50 zils. Very nice. They were silver, loud, and made pretty noises. The only thing that sucked was everyone could hear me fuck up. This old haole woman kept giving me dirty looks. I wanted to tell her that "I'll stop clanging on the zils when you learn to dance on beat!" Oh don't you just love those new-agers?!

Notes (to myself) about the Challenge Restart: I'm still trying to figure out timing my meals with the byetta. UGH! Also, I visited my sister's house and there was nothing to eat except cup-o-noodles and Halloween candy. I felt like I was going to pass out, so I opted for the cup-o-noodles. Not the greatest choice, but I needed to eat. UGH!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

short, simple day

Today's workout: one hour of yoga. I couldn't find it in me to wake up early enough for CrossFit. Plus, I just don't like the idea of heavy sweating before yoga. Call me a snot. This week balancing workout time with interview and "get your shit done" time has been challenging. This week, I'm learning the art of just listening to your body. Being forgiving, and learning to adjust.

I'm in the thick of research right now. I've been conducting on average 2-4 interviews a week (more like 4 interviews per week the past three weeks). Though they don't seem like much, I'm always mentally exhausted and rejuvenated when I meet people who share so much of themselves with me. It's a great experience. My only regret is the red tape at Berkeley. I could have been conducting these interviews a long time ago! Oh well. Coulda, shoulda woulda.

Anyway... with all that's on my plate, making time to workout has been challenging. But I'm hanging in there. I've decided that not going to CrossFit on as regular a basis as I'd like does not make me a panty. Counting an hour of yoga as my daily workout does not make me a panty either.

Notes (to myself) about the Challenge Restart: I swear, figuring out when to take the new Byetta I'm taking is hassle enough. Before meeting Lupe for dinner, we ran into Jorge and Alex and started chatting with them in front of Tully's. Knowing I had to take my Byetta shot, I had to briefly excuse myself while "shooting up" in a corner. I can administer the shot in my tummy, upper arm or upper thigh. I chose the tummy then because it was the most discreet. Doing something like that also means being very public about your diabetes. I don't mind it, but I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable.

A note to you Byetta users: (cuz y'all would understand this lingo) always reset to the right direction arrow after taking the shot. It makes it so that there are no air bubbles in the pen and that you're not wasting your medication. Lesson learned for me. After taking the shot, there would be extra liquid coming out of the pen, meaning that there was medication that didn't make it into my system. To avoid this, reset to the right direction arrow.

I used up two cheat meals today. For lunch I had a decadent meal with an interviewee, who was nice enough to treat me to such a meal. This is the thing about interviewing people who have more money than you. When they're nice, they're really generous! Yes, my portion sizes are smaller. It's the Byetta kicking in.

My dinner cheat was unintentional. Lupe and I had pho. Pho has noodles. I ate away.

I don't feel guilty.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

CrossFit One World W.O.T.D.

Row 100 calories (The first one to 100 calories set the pace, so in reality, I did about 70 calories.)
Medicine Ball sequence

As many rounds as you can in 30 minutes of:
Run 400m
10 one arm dumbbell clean and jerk each arm 15#
20 lunge steps (each leg; 40 total)

Joanne's Final Count - 3 rounds plus 400 meters and 6 dumbell clean & jerks

Notes (to myself) about this workout:
This is one of those workouts where I wish I was all by my lonesome. Ideally, I would have liked to finish the prescribed workout of 5 rounds. However, in the interest of time, Freddy cut the workout at 30 minutes. In truth, I really don't mind a workout that lasts a long time. It's actually good for me. Next time I do this, I should up the weight a little bit. I did 15# which was fine. But I could have pushed it.

OWMA Quotable Quote
"This workout fools you into thinking you're buff. Then you look in the mirror and see that you're not buff!"
- Beast a.k.a Kitten

Notes (to myself) about the Challenge Restart:
I've had to make adjustments to my challenge. Again, the purpose of the challenge is to develop good eating habits. I decided that having an entire day to binge wasn't healthy. Instead, I'm allowing myself three cheat opportunities per week. It's equivalent to having three cheat meals in one day. It's also better for my sanity. I've been on and off lately. So Monday I officially started again. I'm getting better at cooking. I have a checklist that allows me to mark off my cheat meals. I also use it to try to eat 3 fruits and 3 veggie servings per day. I'm trying and I'm learning each and every day.

I started the Byetta on Friday. My doctor gave me the first month free. She’s right. It does suppress your appetite. Right now, I’m noticing that I don’t crave the large portions I usually do. I’m also noticing that I need to eat a lot of small meals. There’s something about the 1-5pm time block that makes me really hungry. After some point in the evening, especially if I’ve worked out at night, I just have no appetite. I’m learning and adjusting.

Here’s my diabetes travel pack. A big thank you to Fritzie for helping me buy this little under $7 pouch! It fits my Byetta pen, 10 needles, pink blood sugar meter, test strips, finger pricker, extra lancelet, tissue and control solution. It’s an efficient package – just like me!

I have to inject the Byetta 30-60 minutes before breakfast and dinner. I’m getting used to it. There’s something about sticking a needle in your upper arm, upper thigh, or abdomen that still flips me out. It makes me feel failed. It doesn’t hurt. It just makes me feel failed. However, the Byetta is something I have to take in addition to (not instead of, like I originally thought and was hoping due to high costs) the Metformin. Byetta controls sugars while eating, while the Metformin does the trick in between meals. The two together really make a difference. I haven’t seen my blood sugars higher than 150. Plus, it really helps me with my night and waking sugar levels, which are usually off for me.

Anyway… this is your diabetic next door signing off!