Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No More Running

I've made the decision - I won't be running anymore. At least not for the time being. Every time I run, especially on pavement, my left knee and the right side of my hip hurt for days. The pain interferes with my other workouts.

I really do what to be able to run, but now is not the time. It's something that I want, but it's not something that I love (yet).

So, I'm going to focus on my other fitness activities - weight lifting and MMA training plus cardio, either walking or on the cross-trainer.

This decision of mine is actually not just about fitness. It's about me finally realizing that I can't do everything, and that it's ok. There have been way too many times in my life that I have done things I didn't want to do or that I've sacrificed things that I really wanted to do for things that I interpreted as things I 'should' do.

Instead of overwhelming myself, I'm finally making decisions (that are becoming much easier to make) in favor of the bigger picture -- in favor of making myself happy in the long term, not just right now.

Monday, March 24, 2014


On Friday night, I had my first real car accident. I had been in accidents before, but all of them were minor and I was the one who was hit (most often while I was waiting at a stop sign/traffic light or stuck in a traffic jam. This is the first time that I collided with another car.

It was scary to say the least.

Thankfully everyone was fine; waiting for the police and having the paperwork for the insurance done wasn't too painful. There is damage to each of our cars (hers more than mine, after all, I drive a Hummer), but it's not too bad at all.

The only thing that has been lingering for me is the sound of the crash. I just can't get it out of my head. It's been haunting me as I've been driving. Plus, I'm hesitant on the road now. Normally I'm a confident (and I believe very good) driver. Now, I'm extra cautious -- which isn't a bad thing. I just wish it wasn't fear that was behind the cautiousness.

Although I am still quite distressed over the whole incident, I have to remind myself that everything is ok. Nothing terrible happened. The most important thing is that everyone is fine.

I'm trying not to let my thoughts spiral out of control with 'what if' scenarios. The incident is over. The 'what ifs' didn't happen nor are they going to happen.

It's over. We're all fine.

Onward and upward, right?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Recent Fitness Adventures

A couple of weeks ago, I went for a walk/jog near my apartment. It was a beautiful morning - a great way to start the day before heading off to work plus the perfect chance to try out my new Asics sneakers. Just as I was getting ready to head home, I reached into my pocket and realized I had dropped my house key somewhere along the way.

I walked for another 1.15 hours (adding another 4 km) looking for the key. I was so distraught that I had both D and my brother leave work and come help me find the key (I didn't want to have to deal with changing the lock and telling the landlord - not when leaving for London is right around the corner!). Luckily D spotted it and saved the day. I've been slightly paranoid about losing the key ever since!

My Brazilian Jiujitsu practice has been going really well lately. There were a number of moves that I had a lot of difficulty with before. It's hard to approach training when you know you're going to do something that you're not good at. Whenever I approached the mat knowing that I was going to practice a move that I struggled with before, I would overwhelm myself with negativity.


Why do I do that to myself? I mean, it's not like I'm afraid to work hard or try. However, the fear of failure and the disappointment I feel in myself when I get something wrong is really strong.

In any case, I'm happy to say that all of the moves, and I mean ALL of the moves that I felt hesitant about went wonderfully. I just felt strong and ... determined. I felt determined. That's what it was. I wanted to get it right. That combined with what I can only link to perhaps an improvement in my overall fitness really helped. Plus we kept practicing and practicing until I felt comfortable with each move. It's been great. Really, really great.

Straight Armlock from Guard - love this move! 
If I pull his wrist downwards, into my chest, I could totally break his arm. Guard up! 

I've been timidly testing my strength at the gym with weights. I started really, really light. I'm talking 3 or 4 kg dumbbells and at max a 10 kg barbell. I was so paranoid about straining my wrist that I was doing very simple exercises - just to wake my upper body muscles up (my lower body workouts pretty much remained the same). Each day I'd get a bit stronger, and that felt so good. I'm still not ready to lift anything nearly as heavy as before, but I'm slowly making progress. At least I'm lifting again -- what a relief!

My first post-wrist injury deadlift - only 25 kg, but no pain! Progress!! :) 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Banana Pancake

One of my biggest challenges during the Whole Life Challenge is coming up with different breakfast options. I can eat eggs only so many times a week! A lot of times I would find myself having lunch or dinner leftovers for breakfast. I didn't mind that at all. However, I still wanted something different. After doing some investigating on line, I modified different ones to come up with this recipe for a banana pancake. It's definitely a winner.

Banana Pancake

1 banana, mashed
2 eggs
2 tablespoons all natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon butter

1) Peel and mash the banana.
2) Add the two eggs. Mix them together very well.
3) Mix in the peanut butter and cinnamon powder. Mix it really well, though it's ok if it is slightly lumpy.
4) Heat a non-stick skillet pan. Put 1/4 tablespoon of butter in the pan, and then add the batter. I usually put 2 generous tablespoons of batter per pancake.
5) Cook until golden brown (around 2 minutes per side)

Nutritional Information
Banana Pancake (3 pancakes; info below if per pancake)
Calories 170
Protein 7.5 g.
Carbohydrates 12 g.
Fiber 2.2 g.
Fat 12. 5 g.
Saturated Fat 2.7 g.

Friday, March 7, 2014

My FitBit Flex

I'm really happy with the changes I've made to my lifestyle. I feel healthy and strong. I enjoy exercising, and I enjoy eating clean. I exercise daily (varying intensities), but I know that my wrist injury and not being able to give 100% during my training and having to stay off weight lifting for 4 months has affected my strength, and in turn, it has had an impact on my body (shape, body fat%). Still, I do the best I can whenever I can. My diet is not perfect, but when I do go off track, it really is just that single incident versus an endless binge-fest.

Despite my good habits, my weight is at a standstill. I knew that I needed to be a bit more careful in tracking my food and my movements. That's what led me to buying a FitBit Flex. I asked a number of people who use it (and are all fitness inclined) whether they found it helpful. They all said yes. One of my friends has a similar exercise routine to me, and she said that despite her natural enthusiasm to work hard and push hard all the time, having a FitBit helped motivate her to move more.

So, I decided to get one.

My FitBit Flex

I've only had it for a few days, but I love it so far. It's easy to use, and I love the fact that it syncs up to my phone.

I'm always a bit skeptical of the numbers that appear on calorie counters and other similar gadgets. I feel like they overestimate the numbers. So, even though numbers, such as the ones I got on my first day (pictured below), make me feel happy, I'm taking them with a grain of salt. Just because it says that I burned 4,005 calories doesn't mean that I can eat at least another 1,000 calories and still be able to lose weight.

I think you still have to be sensible - eat at the right time and eat the right foods.

So, I'm using the FitBit as an extra source of knowledge for me. I'm tracking my foods. I'm tracking my movement. I'm monitoring my water intake and my sleep. Hopefully I'll be able to use all of this vigilance to my advantage!

If you're on FitBit and want to connect, look me up!

My Day 1 Stats: I worked out for 4 hours that day 
(1 hour weights, 1 hour Kajukenbo, 2 hours Muay Thai)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fight Club

One of the things I really, really wanted to do was train Muay Thai with Fight Club Kuwait.

The opportunity came up for me to do so, so I jumped on the chance.

This meant adding another 2 hour workout 3 times a week on top of everything else and back to back with my Kajukenbo class.

A big part of me was overwhelmed with the thought of doing that. However, it's what I really, really wanted. So I decided to suck it up and just get on with it.

My first day of training with them was on Sunday.

Since I had been on a 10 day holiday, I was doing my workouts at home/outdoors. So on Sunday, I was back at the gym in the morning. We also had a break from Kajukenbo, and Sunday was our first day back. With that in mind, you can imagine that I was a little bit apprehensive about whether or not I would have the energy to do it all. Fight Club's coach is notoriously known for long, intense warm-up sessions. I wondered, for a moment (or two), whether I had bitten off more than I could chew.

Anyway. We had a good Kajukenbo class, and then I rushed off to change and get ready for Fight Club. Luckily they're both held in the same place, so no travel was required, and I could at least stretch/sit for about 20 minutes between classes.

Our warm-up: 30 minutes of jump rope.

Ya. 30 minutes.

I tried not to think of the time. It was broken down into 3 segments (5 min, 1 min rest, 10 min, 1 min rest, 15 min). I just concentrated on jumping. On the first day the coach had techno music playing. I just imagined I was at a club dancing around :) It definitely helped! For the second class, there was no music. It was a lot tougher. I tried to find something to think about to distract myself from the time, but it was tough.

Overall, I'm pleased with how I did. I had to stop a few times, but I made sure I was still moving (doing footwork) even when I wasn't jumping.

After that, we got started on technique practice and drills.

I loved it. I still have to take it kinda easy because of my wrist (which has been healing really well by the way), but it felt so good to put boxing gloves back on and actually hit something!

In terms of doing 2 big workouts back to back, I know that making rest and food a priority, like I mentioned in yesterday's post, has really helped. I want to do these classes, and I want to do them well. Any hint of tiredness has to do with my mind more than anything else. I just have to believe that I am strong enough to do this (because I am)!

When I was driving back from class on Tuesday, I thought to myself, at the very least, it takes a lot of mental resolve to even get through the entire class (Muay Thai) without giving up. You have to really dig deep and do it. That thought was particularly relevant that day because we had had quite an intense Kajukenbo session just before that.

I love being physically strong, but the mental strength that I've been gaining through my MMA practices as well as my general fitness improvements has been priceless.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Marching Forward

From what I've seen in the blogging world, when bloggers go silent or start to post infrequently or evasively, then it's a sign that they've probably/possibly gone off track.

I'm happy to report that that hasn't been the case for me.

I've been wanting to sit down and blog about what I've been doing, but I've just been too busy doing it! My days are even more packed than before. I didn't think it was possible, but it just goes to show, if you want something, you've got to make time for it.

So very briefly, here's the latest:

1. The Whole Life Challenge ends on Friday. I'm in tied first place (out of over 10,500 people worldwide). The challenge has gone well, though there were a few struggles along the way. I'll talk about those in another post.

2. The upcoming move to London, as you can imagine, is occupying my thoughts in a BIG way. Not only is there the physical packing up of the house, selling off of furniture, tons of paperwork to process out of Kuwait and process in to London, but more significantly, there's the emotional/mental difficulty of saying goodbye to a country that's been my home. Part of me is not ready to say goodbye, and another part of me already has one foot out the door. It's hard to find clarity or mental peace when you've got this huge change happening in your life.

3. The good thing about having a lot going on is that you're forced to be disciplined and diligent. I've got a general plan, but one thing that I've learned, especially over the past year and a half when I've dealt with traveling a lot, being really busy, and having many, many unscheduled interruptions, is that the best way to get things done is to JUST GET ON WITH IT.

4. The most positive thing I've noticed in my habits is that when I sat down to write my general routine, the first thing I allocated time for was sleep/rest/recovery. I of course had to block off time for work - there's no getting out of that one! I then scheduled in my workouts. After that, I allocated time for meal planning, grocery shopping, and food prep.

Then of course there's organizing, packing, research, personal training, blogging, and socializing. Those have been the toughest to schedule!

I'm trying to go to bed a bit earlier and get up a bit earlier. I'm making sure I have some work with me wherever I go, so if I find myself waiting for something or the other, it's not wasted time.

I know that before, I wouldn't have thought so much about sleep and food. I would just make do with whatever I could. As much as I love the quote that I posted above, I decided to apply it to other aspects of my life, not food and sleep. Those were anchored into my schedule. If I was going to workout the way I intended to, then I knew that I would not be able to mess around with my food/sleep.

All my efforts have to be focused on reaching my goals. I don't have time for much else. I honestly don't have the desire for much else. I'm focusing on what's important to me and what makes me happy. Luckily those things turn out to be the same, so I know that all the effort and time that I put in is totally going to be worth it.