Boxing Days Are Here

I hate to admit it but running starts to become too much of a routine. More often lately it feels more like an obligation than a stress reliever that I started to cut my running days and participated less in free running challenges recently. The mileages I used to monitor closely after each run don’t seem to give that much satisfaction anymore and the body weight workouts I used to enjoy have been set aside more often and it doesn’t feel right. I realize a balance must be set.

Work-life balance

Few days ago I deleted my Adidas Runtastic app and started to review my favorite workouts before the treadmill came. As I look at my faded cheat sheet that I pinned on my bedroom door I even had to figure out how some of it are done. Windshield wipers, pistol squats, and atomic crunch for a sec sounded foreign. That long since I stuck to my body weight workout plan. Don’t get me wrong, running isn’t a real bore but as they say “too much of a good thing is bad.” I need to mix things up. (FYI, I still have my Garmin Connect, Apple Fitness, Pinoy Fitness, and Strava apps. Runtastic was just something that’s not user friendly and maybe was the trigger I ended stressed out after running.)

After long consideration, and amid anxiousness of making an impression that purchasing a pricey treadmill was a bad idea, I finally decided I could use another workout though one that involves an additional equipment in my already crowded space at home. So yesterday—lo and behold, wifey like it or not (hehe)—the 2nd heaviest sports item I bought online arrived. I now have a 20-kg punching bag.

I need gloves. Those hand wraps take time to put on.

The last time I remember boxing was way back when I was very young. Young like early elementary days young. Back then local amateur boxing was famous in our place so my parents hang a sack filled with sand in my father’s workshop. I had boxing gloves and I even sparred with some neighbors of my age. I didn’t have the chance to compete locally but I think I boxed better before than when I grew older. I had martial arts lessons in college and from my previous job but I feel I was more of a better kicker than a puncher which is why I don’t really hit the bags in the gyms and not even shadow box when there are people around because I think I have an awkward boxing form.

But things could change soon now that I have a punching bag hanging at home, ready to be hit anytime. I’m excited to box and with the constant stress and the regular feeling to hit some people in the face, I don’t think I’d have a hard time finding motivation. Kidding.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Extra day off and sleepy weather.)

My Worked Out Hands Take A Rest

I must admit that I haven’t given my hands the care that it needs. Almost seven days a week I would have a workout that involves putting pressure on my palms and fingers. One day I’d be doing pull ups, next day push ups, and other days I’d do hand stands. Running days are only when the hands get its rest.

Then the bug finally hits me. Despite extra measures to avoid catching the dreaded cold virus that seem to have been all over since the start of this year, an unplanned trip to our clinic to visit a sick direct report caught me unguarded. The clinic was small and enclosed, I was in close proximity as we talked, I got nowhere to hide, and I forgot to wear mask like I would whenever I take public transport. Boom, sick me.

A week since then I had to take the needed break from intense physical activities. I was able to report to work but like the warning on my son’s newly downloaded F1 2018 game whenever he drives the cars too hard, I was forced to continue on low fuel mode. Slow pace in short, functioning in bare minimum just to survive the day.

But sometimes something good comes out of bad things. Sans workout sessions I noticed that my hands have become better. No more splits, no more cracks. Even the calluses are almost gone. “Looks like I have to change my workout routine, I’d do more running, ” I told my wife. “So?” she asked, question prolonged. “I need new running shoes, ” I joked, half meant.

Frankly, with or without new running shoes, I am excited to start fresh. I plan to workout again soon but I will pay more attention to hand care. I am currently using either O’Keeffe’s Working Hands cream (I keep this at work as it doesn’t have any scent that could annoy anyone nearby whenever I apply it) or Bag Balm which I should remember to use every after my exercise sessions. I also need to wear gloves consistently to prevent my hands from direct contact and pressure especially during heavy workouts.

Trust me, this is an improved state.

Now that I mentioned heavy, I may have to change my routines soon. Stuck on our refrigerator is a printout of my exercises when I still have my strap for suspension training. Last February, however, I responded to Decathlon’s Domyos strap recall and was surprised to learn that the only option I have is to refund the item instead of exchanging it. Now my suspension routines are permanently suspended (pun intended).

Looks like pomade but it’s for the hands.

Then there’s also Marcus growing up and heavier. He is starting to fall off the small foldable stool we bought at S&R back in 2018 when taking a bath so this week I modified his Medline Bath Safety Chair that he only uses to reach the bathroom sink so that this time it fits our narrow bath tub. Some elbow grease did the trick to bend the aluminum legs within 14″ width. Bathroom scale also shows he is now 60 lbs (27 kgs) which is why carrying him is becoming a pain in the back.

All these factors considered, I need to align my workout to the demand. Heavy lifting requires strength which means, obviously, more strength training than running sessions. For a while there, I thought I could engage my hands lesser but it wasn’t realistic expectation. So at least until I have recovered fully, the hands take a rest.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Tonight’ the night we make waves.)

Counting Calories for 365 Days

One year!

They say do something for 40 days for it to become a habit but I made more than just that. I did 365. Two days ago I hit the one year mark since I decided that counting calories is the way to go if I need to succeed in hitting my target weight. On August 8, 2017 I started using MyFitnessPal app.

A down trend that I like.

The journey didn’t start easy. I had some doubts but I soon trusted and believed in the process of counting calories. It was a conscious effort of knowing what I should eat and how much of it I should take on a daily basis based on the app’s recommended calorie intake. It also involved lots of exercise which happened almost everyday as well. Food minus calories burned from working out was my guiding formula.

Gradually I hit 130 lbs in February or six months later. I was never this light and fit since college days. Next challenge though was to maintain it. Like every weekends I would feel anxious whenever the scale shows I gained weight. I soon learned to embrace the spike and labelled it as mere “weekend weight.” We all deserve guilty pleasures, right?

I recently posted a pic of my work drawer showing food I thought would help me lose weight. Everything looked like healthy food but I soon discovered some are culprits to my weight plateau. Since I logged my meals on MyFitnessPal I avoid anything white as these are highly processed. So lesser white bread, crackers, and even pasta. These don’t directly get one fat but because they aren’t retained longer by the body due to less fiber, the next cravings come sooner. This is why brown became my favorite color since then.

I plan to let go slowly of my dependence to Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal app. No specific program or diet yet but I’ll just likely eyeball it or just use ratio and proportion as what others do. We’ll see if this one works for me. Wish me luck.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (It’s Marcus’ therapy day.)

Gloves or No Gloves

We often ignore that our body continues to send messages to us. It tells us what it can do and what it can’t at any given moment. Most times, out of arrogance or stubbornness for example, we dismiss these messages but there’s limit to it. At some point, mind over matter just won’t work and so the next smart thing to do is to listen to our body.

Among the most recognizable message is pain. It’s the body’s way of telling us that something’s broken, something’s wrong. No pain, no gain they say but if the pain persists and becomes visible, it’s time to stop and check.

It starts with a callus then the crack follows.

Two weeks ago I went back to the dermatologist to get my hands checked again. Last year she said that the reason my small digits are dry, peeling off, and cracking is due to some form of dermatitis. This last visit seeing that the condition remains she asked, “What do these fingers do?”

“I do pull-ups almost every other day.” This revelation made her recommend that I use a stronger hand ointment plus that I start using gloves to lessen the pressure on my hands whenever I work out. I stepped out of the clinic in under 15 minutes–barely a fourth of my waiting time–with her expert opinion noted but with the thought to break it immediately once I start my bar activities again. Unfortunately, that same week the dreaded flu bug struck. Some timing sucks.

I took it as a sign to lay off. I concede but I continued my daily stairs breaks at work–at least 10 flights a day–but any exercise involving the hands was set aside.

Almost two weeks later, my intakes of Berocca and extra doses of zinc once again paid off. My frequent use of lotions and hand cream also worked. So last Friday I gradually started working out again. This time I used the gloves I got from Decathlon. It fits my hands and grips the bar better than expected, however, I might not use it most times.

Good fit but the Garmin has to go.

For one, it does not allow me to use my Garmin at the same time as the velcro wrist strap gets in the way. Then I learned from a channel on YouTube that what I got may degrade its grip as I sweat because the lining inside isn’t made of leather or similar material. A poor grip while doing the windshield wipers would be a disaster.

(Left) Leather-like outer material allows good grip. (Right) Inner lining could affect grip when sweating starts.

I’m partly following the doctor’s advice though as I can see that my hands have improved during my lay off period. It seems that the cracks are indeed induced by excessive pressure and friction from gripping the pull-up bar so I need to switch from gloves to towels when I do pull-ups routines. Let’s see if this sub-500 pesos gloves will last or else I’ll check if the pricey Nike or Harbinger gloves would take care of my sensitive old hands better.

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Mood: 6/10 Honks! (Rainy Monday and someone needs to be grounded.)