Weekly Workout Recap: Soreness is Godliness

This was the week of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Last week, after trying out Paul Katami’s Ultimate Kettlebell for Beginners, I was wrecked and can barely walk and it felt good! I noticed the soreness was in my leg muscles (hello, squats!) and not my back so I knew I was doing something right in terms of form.

Getting Stronger

I feel myself getting stronger. I can actually do a burpee without feeling like I am going to fall on my face. I can probably do about 3-4 and rest a bit and do a bit more. Of course I want to get to the point where I am doing unmodified burpees for the entire 30 second duration of that particular circuit.

I’ve decided that I will be doing Ripped in 30 after this augmented 30 Day Shred program. And then after that, I will be doing Jillian Michaels Body Revolution (more on that below).

Getting Smaller

I am pleased to report that the pants I am wearing is nice and loose. These are my favorite new corduroy pants that fit snugly before. Now that I am a bit slimmer, it’s nice and loose. I mean, not baggy, but like comfortable loose. I like it.

This sounds stupid and is probably hyperbole, but I am feeling like the fat is getting cut down especially in my tummy. You know how you get giant rolls in when you sit or bend? Instead of bunching up like thick curtains layered with fat, it’s a bit thinner! And when you pinch my tummy, the rolls are not as giant and floppy. Huzzah!

Hitting the Motherlode!

Cathe DVDs

Ever since I started, I have been on high alert to build my training video collection, had set up price alerts, and had been scouring the various second hand venues for videos (online and offline). It’s sort of a morning ritual now. One of the sites I check is an internal classifieds portal at my job where staff are able to post and purchase things. By golly… I hit the motherlode!

I spent $50 bucks for over 50 training dvds. WOWOWOW! We’re looking at less than $1/piece. This person was looking to downsize and wanted to get rid of stuff (I got some kitchenware for cheap too). She has some of Jillian Michael’s DVDs as well as her Body Revolution and Body Shred programs. There was some Beachbody stuff like P90X (which I already have), 21 Day Fix, Insanity, and some series and trainers I haven’t heard of but will definitely be getting acquainted with like Cathe Friedrich, Jari Love, and Denise Allen. Unfortunately, no Paul Katami (who I really like as a trainer as well!). But holy cow. I can’t believe my luck!

Daily Observations

1/2/17: Since today was the last day off before going back to work, I was planning on doing Banish Fat Boost Metabolism, but as I could barely walk from the kettlebell soreness. I opted to try out JM’s Killer Arms and Back, Level 1 instead since I assumed there would be less leg work. I was wrong! My arms and shoulders did get a decent workout but I half-assed on anything that had to do with my legs.

1/3/17: Back to work today. I am still sore as heck from the KBs but I still did the BFBM that I missed the previous day. Unfortunately, it was a bad workout. I had eaten a before working out and waited an hour before starting. That was probably not enough time since I got a bit crampy in the middle of working out and felt nauseous (wanting to throw up on a few occasions) by the end of it. I did take it easy due to the soreness and the general feeling like crap.

1/4/17: Funny how muscle soreness works. Once day you’re dying and the next day when you wake up, you’re fine! (for the most part) I was going to wimp out and do yoga today, but since the soreness has subsided a great deal, I decided to get back to the 30 Day Shred, Level 1 and also Paul Katami’s Ultimate Kettlebells for Beginners (only the swings part of the intro video).

1/5/17: I did 30DS1 and it does feel noticeably easier. Not sure why, but I was feeling particularly impatient and I wish that time has already jump forward 3 months so I can have those results already! I had to remind myself that it hasn’t even been 2 weeks and that I will get there eventually.

1/6/17: Another blah workday. 30DS, Level 1 once I got home from work. At least it’s Friday!

1/7/17: Finally the weekend is here. With more time, I did NMTZ instead of 30DS1.

I also realized that I have been screwing up my push ups since forever. I finally noticed as I was “modifying” one of the plank exercises, and then realized that I kind of didn’t need to. This particular exercise called for me to keep dumbbells in front of my shoulders so I can pull it (row?) from the plank position. When I did, it was EASY (relatively). I was expecting to struggle like I do with push ups since its a similar position, but it was indeed easier. Then it occurred to me why other “modified” plank positions were easy, particularly the ones where I am alternating my hands and pulling to the side. It’s because  I have been doing push ups WRONG for a very long time. Most of this is due to my really narrow frame. I widen my hands out like I have a normal frame and that makes push ups so much harder for me. Idiot! Here’s a helpful video for anyone interested:

1/8/17: It’s Sunday, day 14. I did BFBM and the intro video of the Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners. Both workouts went well and I feel good!

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Weekly Workout Recap: The First Week for the Rest of My Life!

This was a big week for me, since it was the very FIRST week of my workout program.

I delayed the start since I had the entire week from Xmas to New Years off and it made sense to start it on the Monday following Xmas. I had decided to do a mix of Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred with the Banish Fat Boost Metabolism and the No More Trouble Zone videos, when there is  more time to work out.

Looking forward to this week!

A nice garish color combination! Probably why it only cost $15? 

Before starting, I treated myself to a pair of KSwiss Sneakers (X Lite Tubes) that I intend to only use during my home workouts. It was on super sale for $15 on Amazon, score!

I want this to be a new healthy habit. I want to feel like something is wrong if I don’t work out. At this point, I want to be a fitness nut. I want to look like the helpers in Jillian Michaels’ videos. I want to be strong and able to do the advanced versions of all these moves! You get the idea. This is a first step in a big change. (pun intended, haha)

Losing a bit of weight

Prior to starting the program, I lost about 7-8lbs, from ~138lbs through intermittent fasting (IF). I cut out breakfast, but kept eating everything else as normal. For the most part, I my intake was about 1300-1400 calories, in some cases going as high as 1600-1700. IF was not terribly hard to implement, although it got a little uncomfortable sometimes when I was feeling hungry in the morning. By the time lunch rolls around 11am or so, I am starving and just about anything tastes delicious which is why I have been getting away with eating salads for lunch.

Losing those extra pounds made me feel a bit smaller and more agile to be able to work out, although I am still flabby and floppy. Once the workout groove gets going, I will focus on eating better and cleaner. Eventually, much like working out, I hope the healthy eating will become second nature.

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Get Psyched to Workout!

To stay motivated, I read a lot of Amazon reviews on various workout videos. It is addicting and it gets me excited to try out a video (and get sweaty!). It’s a way of visualizing how the future can be for me through other people’s experiences!

Not somewhere I want to be unless I am the only person there!

So I’m reading the reviews and occasionally someone would mention how they have been doing exercise videos for decades and self-identify as intermediate or advanced exercisers (or specifically mentioning that they are not beginners). Many would follow up with how they do not go to the gym, ever.

After reading that statement as many times as I have, I realized that I want to be like these people and just workout to videos at home. I want to be like those who have been doing it decades!

And why is that?

Because like them, I don’t want to go to the gym to workout. I have a certain loathing for the gym as you know it, a big smelly room full of equipment and mirrors. Frankly, I don’t know the first thing to do and just feel like a moron when I go.

I mentioned before that I am the perfect gym customer: someone who pays the yearly fee, go once or twice, and never come back. It’s not for the lack of motivation, but because it is embarrassing for me to go. It is embarrassing not because I am out of shape (sure, I can tone up a bit), but because I feel like a clueless idiot! I am a clueless idiot, but I want to be a little secretive about it and not broadcast to the world, ha!

The whole point of a gym is to work out and feel better about yourself right? But not at a gym like that for me. I feel like I have to work out and get some experience just so I don’t embarrass myself.

So there you have it. If all I need is a TV, DVD player, a mat and some hand weights to get a good workout, that is all the gym that I need. The best part, is when it is in your home, you have NO EXCUSE to work out!

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Weekly Workout Recap: Planning for Fitness and “Testing” Some JM Videos

Umm.. no way will this ever be me. (*hides*)

I have been thinking quite a bit about the goal that I want to work towards.

Initially, I figured I needed to join a sport of some sort since it would be easier to visualize. So maybe working towards a body competition, you know, the fit ladies who are super tanned in skimpy bikinis? I had a friend who was into it and I know she devotes an inordinate amount of time to prepare for it. I then remembered that I am an introvert and doing anything on stage practically naked is probably not a good idea.

So what about rock climbing, boxing, cycling, triathlons, half marathons, power-lifting, etc.? It dawned on me that choosing a specific sport too soon is too much commitment in time and money for something I don’t know if I will like just so I can force myself into a goal.

I figured I should start with the journey before I determine an “end goal.” So ultimately, I decided that…

  1. I want to get into the best shape I have ever been
  2. I want to incorporate exercise videos into my life as a daily habit (I want to feel weird if I go a day without doing it)
  3. I want to be able to develop my cardio endurance enough so that I can participate in a 5k without stopping, maybe in a Disneyworld 5k!
  4. I want to be able to do a proper pull-up/chin-up, 5 total! (for now)
  5. Lastly, I want to be able to do a hand stand, hand stand push-up, and maybe walk on my hands!

Yes, that’s literally it. Those are the goals for now. I would like to learn how to swim eventually and maybe even do a proper cartwheel. Heck, I might even work up into playing basketball or some kind of adult sports league. We’ll see!

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Weekly Workout Recap: Leading up to the Dieting and Soreness Prep

I will be posting in this format which will allow me to write freely and post it once a week to avoid annoying any readers (my mom, ha!). I would much rather devote the daily energy to working out and and watching what I eat!

During the time leading up to the great big “Sore Weekend,” I was still attempting my daily Fitbit goal of 10k steps a day, which I will regularly reach after walking to and from work and marching in places or pacing around the apartment to finish off the remaining 2k steps or so. If it is a busy walking day where I might clock in 15k steps, I would be sore the next day! So while I was much more active than the previous 5 years, I was still out of shape.

Starting in early November, I slowly incorporated Intermittent Fasting as a part of my “diet” although I feel it would be more apt to describe it as a habit instead. I’ll post a longer entry on it eventually, but the gist is that I follow an 8/16 hour cycle of feeding and fasting. I would eat within an 8 hour window and fast in the remaining 16. It amounts to basically skipping breakfast and having lunch at noon and dinner finished by 8pm. I would adjust the dinner time accordingly depending on when my first meal of the day was. Eating between the lunch and dinner hours are fine too and I do snack as normal. I found that cutting breakfast had removed about 300-400 calories from my diet which was hovering about 1600-1700 calories a day. I was now keeping it about 1200-1300 per day which is recommended for someone who sat around all day as I did.

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Fitness Lifestyle 2017

I did not want to turn this into a journal detailing the minutiae of my day, but I needed some kind of accountability to reach my goal of having fitness and health become an integral part of my life. Starting brand new blog explicitly for fitness was not a good idea since the single events/hobby blogs I start tend to fizzle out after time and get wrapped into this blog anyways.

I also didn’t intend to have this become a New Year’s resolution event post either, but the proximity of New Year’s and finally starting my workout happened to coincide with major events going on. I am honestly not the type of person to do New Year’s resolutions (rolls eyes). I find them silly because if you want to improve something about your life, you should do it ASAP and not let holidays push you around!

My original intention was to start concurrently with the last semester of grad school, but I underestimated the workload for my classes (2 intensive classes + full-time job = not easy). I also accepted a new job offer and was transitioning during that period. The workout start date kept getting delayed, but was always on my mind.

Fast forward to December. I technically started working out on December 9th to get the soreness out of the way as to avoid using soreness as an excuse to stop working out once the program began. I was also heading into a very busy 2 weeks of work at the new job (13-14 hour work days), and I didn’t want to stress over trying to fit in exercising while things were getting crazy.

I decided on December 26, 2016 as the official start date as I would be done with school, I would be done with the work crunch, I would be done with the temptations of Thanksgiving and Xmas, and my work literally shuts down the days between Xmas and New Years Day, so I was home and able to focus.

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Things on Cat

This is a post about things on a cat. Box on CatThere is a box on a cat.

Box on CatCat does not seem amused.

Mouse on CatNow there’s a mouse on the cat.

New Notebook on CatAnd a brand new notebook.

Lime Juice Bottle on CatAn empty bottle of lime juice.

Cardboard on CatA piece of cardboard on his belly while he’s trying to nap.

Calculator & 3DS on CatAnd a calculator and a Nintendo 3DS.

Cat on DeskCat says “No!” and now he’s on my things.

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I Finally Got a New Smart Phone, the Sony Xperia Z3v

Yep, that’s right. I finally got a new phone after spending 2+ years on the Samsung Galaxy S3. I held out for so long because I wanted to find an acceptable (to me) Android replacement. I rely on Google products too much to move to an iPhone.  I kind of (really) hate Samsung so I was not going to get the S5 (bleh). The other alternatives were too ugly for me.

I had Sony’s Xperia Z3 on my radar for a while and wanted to hold out for the Z3 Compact version (love the orange chassis!). But since my carrier is Verizon, I had to either get their inferior Z3v for barely anything + contract renewal or pay the full retail price of $530 for the Compact. I am on a family plan so it’s not like I would go to some other service so $530 for a phone is not economical for me.

Sony Xperia Z3v Packaging Verizon

So… I sucked it up and got the Z3v with Verizon. Since I can’t take a picture of the phone with the phone, I took a picture of the box… and noticed how ugly and cheap it was.

Sony Xperia Z3v Packaging Verizon

Good job Verizon! I guess they’re cutting costs on the packaging. Whatever.

The Z3v is actually heavier than the Galaxy S3 since it is keeping with the Z2 chassis, not the lighter Z3 chassis. A goddamn shame, really.

I am enjoying using the latest Android version, Kit Kat as opposed to whatever it was that the S3 was stuck on since Verizon wants to develop it to force their crapware on us. I am still undecided on the phone itself. I’m sure I will get used to it eventually. It’s super nice to have a phone with GPS that works though.

Maybe by the time the contract is up again in 2016, there will be more options for Android phones.

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Zeus Cat & the Red Stools

I really don’t know what’s going on here. I sent my sister these pictures and she thought I stabbed him with some red poles.

Zeus Cat & the Stools

I am a kind person. I don’t stab cats with red poles. So don’t worry. He’s fine. He’s just wrapped around the legs of two stools.

Zeus Cat & the Stools

This cat is a weird one. Meow.

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WP Post Thumbnail Hard Crop Not Working?

WordPress is great. Jetpack is great.

It is a plugin suite that has many useful little knickknacks. I actually wish there was a plugin where I can create my own suite of plugins so I don’t have to find and download them one by one. Yeah, I have a folder full of them that I manually upload to all new sites (not that I am creating any new sites recently, but I digress). I guess that’s good enough.

Anyway, so Jetpack. At the time of this writing, there are 33 features that you can enable via Jetpack.

Jetpack Features

Buttloads of goodies.

This site is pretty much where I come to test things live. I have some local WP installs, but since I’m on shared hosting for most of my sites, it’s easier for me to troubleshoot it here. Besides, it’s kind of fun to see how badly I can royally screw my site and then try to fix it.

Case in point is encountering…

Why did the WordPress Post Thumbnail Hard Crop cease to work?

This was kind of a big deal because I use it as the post excerpt image header. The issues was all of a sudden having the full, un-cropped image as the header and it made things look kind of lame. Comon, I want to sort of look like I know what I’m doing!

Now onward to the troubleshooting… (some are redundant)

Then there was a lot of head banging because nothing seemed to work. So I tried what I should have done to before all of this. I deactivated all the plugins and suddenly, the hard crop worked again with the dynamic image resizing!

It turned out to be a plugin conflict.

But which one? By process of elimination, it turned out to be WP’s Jetpack. And then I remembered that I enabled a bunch of the new features.. one of which was Photon.

Jetpack Photon Details Screenshot

It was you all along.

When you read the descriptions for Photon, you can see that it is neat. Unfortunately, because it conflicts with the Post Thumb (and TimThumb), it’s kind of a jerk if you rely on controlling your featured images in that manner.

So there you have it. If you’re having issues with the hard cropping with WP Post Thumbnails, try everything! But try deactivating plugins first!

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