Just saw this one on Facebook and it made me sad yet at the same time happy that such campaign to let everyone know how a simple gesture could go a long way. This is something any parent with a kid in a wheelchair would appreciate big time.
Also on Facebook, Lad Bible posted a video of a guy in a wheelchair doing dips in a gym. Looking at the weight he has to deal with is like me and Marcus combined. Dips has been one of my favorite routines since I started working out. I still do a variation of it at home and Marcus’ therapy session also includes same exercise though assisted by physical therapists. He just finished his second day today.
This week I am due to pay my monthly gym membership fee but I’m passing up on it. I have been thinking about discontinuing my payment since October but the main reason that would make me finally cease from taking that 10-minute walk from home has not happened even until now. This time, however, I have decided to save my P500 whether I like it or not.
It is true that going to the gym is addictive, I can attest to that. Like any other gym rats, I discovered that sense of pride and the accompanying high I get, thanks to endorphins, even just after an hour of intense workout. To conquer that next dumbbell in the row is always rewarding and it progresses to the start of a new goal–heavier weight, you’re next.
Going to the gym was never a thing for me. I hate competing with anyone else, more so tolerate the thought of having to deal with, and the sight of, people who loiter and spend time doing anything but workout–like those excessively staring in the mirror and taking selfies all day. Thankfully, a change in mindset made me overcome this pet peeve. The gym I realized is where my focus is tested, where I compete with myself rather than against the others. But could I still workout if I stop going to the gym?
Questions I have in mind about other options in staying physically fit sans the machines were answered by one of the few books I purchased on Amazon using my almost maxed out credit card.
Strength Rules by Danny Kavadlo provides fresh insights on plain body weight training. It opens new potentials of what anyone could achieve without using any complicated equipment and costly gym membership. Dan’s only requirements are the following: something to step up on, something to hang from, and one that’s readily available, something heavy, which, if you still don’t recognize yet, is our own body.
Danny Kavadlo reminds us that our body is a workout equipment if we know how to use it and how to keep it running. He stresses the importance of natural food over artificial supplements that one I have eliminated sooner (whey protein) and the other I have never bought (creatine). I used to take whey protein regularly but budget and having egg and chicken breast fillet as alternatives—not to mention good sources of natural protein—made me stop buying another 2.2 lbs more of my then favorite workout shake. As Danny says, “Eat muscle to build muscle.” That’s chicken and beef meat. Plain and simple.
There are more things to like about Strength Rules. Danny Kavadlo does not have sets of exercises that he wants to be followed by the number. In fact, he encourages his readers to perform whatever is possible at the moment. He does not believe that a strict routine should be adhered to for one to attain his or her personal fitness goals.
This book is also ideal for those who are tired of fad diets that were neither sustainable nor practical for most. His take on this? ”Should you have three big meals a day or six small ones? Who cares? Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Don’t overthink.” Again, natural foods such as apples and banana only please, so forget about that tempting granola or protein bar as these are not only expensive but full of sugar as well that could negate all the efforts we make to trim down and stay healthy.
Strength Rules is available on Amazon and costs about P400 which I consider a worthy expense. The book has 2100 plus locations with pictures and illustrations that improve comprehension of the variety of exercises that revolve around the basic squat, push, and pull.
Until when I would have my layoff from the gym workout I really can’t tell. Whether it will be temporary or not, remains to be seen as I am looking forward to test myself against plain body weight training. My routine in the next months would change but the main goal why I wake up to go to the gym stays the same: be fit for Marcus, be the muscle for him. Wish me luck.
The gym will be one of the very few places I will miss in Dasma.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (We’ll have Marcus visit a manghihilot later.)
I like Christmas but I have been anti-Christmas tree. This year I survived another begging from wifey to buy one as, to reiterate same statement I say every year, I find it a waste of money and that I would feel guilty staring at a new Christmas tree when I could have used it for charity or something more important.
I am no Grinch, however. (This is where I expect to see people, including wifey, raise their eyebrows.) I don’t sneak into Christmas trees and secretly breaks it. I am a kid at heart whenever I see the sight of Christmas trees at the malls and someone other houses. I am just not ready, nor could afford, to buy our own.
It does not mean though that I couldn’t or wouldn’t build one. In fact, wifey and I made one again. Thanks to the stash of empty Berocca–more than a year’s worth–canisters I kept up the ceiling a new Christmas tree is born. The past years we built one made of badminton shuttlecocks which we used for more than three Decembers.
We must always remember that Christmas will always be Christmas with or without a Christmas tree. There are always ways to feel the spirit of the yuletide season and the more we understand that it should come from within and shared with the others the better it will be.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Early this year I stopped using Berocca to try out two products being endorsed, forced may be appropriate, by wifey. Berocca was something hard to let go as I personally find it an effective supplement so I had hesitations welcoming Royale’s Spirulina and Performax into my routine. We even had to compare side by side the content of Berocca versus Spirulina and based on supplement facts Berocca wins. Anyway, to cut the story short, I gave Spirulina plus Performax a try and surprisingly I adapted to it. I use Performax when I go to the gym and I can attest to its potency. On top of my other routines I can now do two sets each of 50-lbs dumbbell flat and incline press. Placebo? Who cares.
It’s eight more days before our diet will be tested and fifteen more days before we realize our resolution to lose weight has failed.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (The gym has not replied, looks like they’re closed when signal # 2 typhoon strikes.)
There is always yin and yang, there is–or should be–always balance. This is the message that I realized from just two simple stickers.
On Sunday I got a break from the weather and was able to finally give the car a wash and wax session. And with glasses all cleaned of bugs and sap and dust and bird droppings I was able to place the sticker that will soon make our vehicle, hoping that considerate people still outnumber those who aren’t, to be a legit occupant of that PWD (People with Disabilities) parking slot. (It should be noted that this sticker is meant to complement the government-issued card we got recently.)
Unexpectedly, after I was done with my workout this morning the attendant gave me their gym sticker. This surely will cause some raised eyebrows at the parking area but I’m sticking it anyway.
So yes, simple things could remind us that there is yin and yang. Life is balanced. Life has opposites. Sadness and happiness. Sickness and health. Father and son. Life and death. Oppss. My avid readers–all five of them–said that my recent posts have been dark and sad so I’m striking out the last juxtaposition. Cheers.
Discovered today that I can run on the treadmill and read an ebook at the same time. Had an interesting 5K, thanks to Angela Marson’s Silent Scream. Yes, been a fan lately of discounted Kindle books.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (What do ‘ber’ months has in store for us?)
I am on my second year of frequenting the gym a lot more than before. My personal goal when I started once again to sweating it off in the gym was just like anyone else–try to burn fat. Just that. Besides it was either I kill time reading a book or lifting weights at the gym right across Marcus’ school while I wait for him to step out of his class.
Recent turn of events, however, changed everything. The goal now is to become stronger physically as well as mentally and spiritually. For the three of us, for Marcus. Time has been ticking, time will come to lift Marcus. When that time comes, God willing, we should be ready.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (We draw our strength from prayers, from everyone.)
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us…
These are a couple of lyrics from the Macklemore song Can’t Hold Us and it is one of Marcus’ favorite songs. It played when I was warming up in the gym yesterday. It was supposed to pump up my mind and body as it always does. It is just like its effect on Marcus every time he views this one YouTube montage of Halo. He goes crazy, he dances. Yes, it is a song that he introduced to me and I have come to loved as well.
Saturday’s gym session, however, was different. I was pedaling while I was holding back from crying. I could have let go of my tears and made it mix with my own sweat which are starting to drip on the rubber floor but I couldn’t. I’m in a gym. Men do not cry inside the gym unless maybe they got hit by a dumbbell.
The song eventually ended and I was able to move on. It was so far the saddest stationary bike warm up I ever had but I know that I will have the same feeling again in the next days if I hear the same song again. It would make me imagine the Halo characters in that montage where all are mighty and brave, all are strong and muscular, everyone fast and invincible. Marcus likes them. Marcus wants to be one of them.
Last Friday we learned that this will not happen.
Our second visit to another doctor this week made us discover that Marcus all along has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This condition is a genetic problem that results to progressive muscular wasting that causes all the muscles—the heart included—to fail at some point. What got us so devastated was when the doctor confirmed what I have read from the article that wifey posted on my facebook private message—DMD does not have any cure for now.
Muscles of people with DMD weaken over time. We now understand why Marcus at age seven still cannot run just like the other kids. He cannot climb stairs. He cannot stand up on his own. He falls for no reason. And it is not his fault—never was. I now feel guilty expecting too much from him and forcing him to run just so he becomes the hero he wants to be. I have required him to run inside the house every time his Xbox timer expires. We once all thought that he just lacks exercise.
Our awareness to his condition hit us. Suddenly everything changed–our plans, our focus, our dreams, our faith. I know things will be different in the next days, in the next years. But DMD can’t hold us. Should not hold us.
…Return of the Mack, get up!
What it is, what it does, what it is, what it isn’t.
It has become apparent that I haven’t traveled a lot more than some of my Facebook friends. I realized I do not have enough pre-vacation planning because when my wife made a weekend reservation I never knew what to expect until I got a kilometer closer to the hotel. We got stuck in traffic in the middle of a narrow bridge and at some point bumper to bumper while on an ascending slope.
We were in Binondo, a Chinatown, to check in to Ramada Manila Central for an overnight stay last weekend. For my birthday, wifey got a discount package online and based on recent trips I imagined the hotel to be situated somewhere decent, somewhere driver-friendly, at least.
But we soon discovered that not only the streets of Binondo lack parking but as well as the hotel’s. Ramada Manila Central barely has 20 parking slots. Yes, for a 15-storey hotel, it only has that much slots—approximately one car for each floor? Lucky us, we arrived just in time to avail one except that it is a double parking slot which means that I need to leave my car key to the guard on duty.
What lacks in parking though, the hotel makes up in staff courtesy and other hotel accommodation essentials. Upon check in we received a surprisingly nice welcome drink made from cucumber, so good that Marcus who is a very picky kid gave it a thumbs-up. The hotel’s attention to detail also shows in our room. The sheets are clean; towels do not smell clorox-esque but rather refreshingly sweet; and the bathroom fixtures are shiny and everything works—bath tub, rain shower head, and all. The room also has a glass desk and a matching leather chair good for those who need to finish a report while on vacation. In our case, it became a good place to line up Marcus’ Legos.
Breakfast is also something to look forward to. Located on Ramada Manila Central’s ‘M’ floor, the News Café, despite the smallest buffet area we have ever been to, offers one of the best-tasting menus.
Ramada Manila Central also has a room that anyone who downed extra servings of omelet, steamed rice, and sandwiches for breakfast would appreciate—a well-maintained gym. Overlooking the busy Ongpin intersection, its gym has several high-end treadmills each facing a flat TV with dedicated cable TV channel; a multi-stack equipment; clean benches and free weights; and a shower room. Gym is available to any hotel guest with a room access card.
The hotel sits strategically in the middle of popular Binondo Chinatown destinations. The 168 mall is about a kilometer away for those who want to haggle around. Restaurants serving authentic Chinese cuisine are just a few blocks away. And if you want to spend some quiet time in reflection the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz is just right across the hotel.
Ramada Central Manila is like anything in Chinatown. It is a great bargain for anyone who knows how and where to find it.
Our hotel discount package includes a trip to Manila Ocean Park good for two so we have to pay extra for Marcus.
The Jellies place is a must see. I never knew that jellyfishes can be that interesting to see.
Makan Makan’s Nasi Goreng and Nasi Lemak. Take my word, do not waste your money on these menu. Buy Jollibee instead.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Wifey and kiddo in a field trip and typhoon Hagupit is lurking.)
Three days ago the radio station I have been listening to for several months already started to give away tickets for the sequel of the movie 300. On twitter, the DJ asked for suggestions on how they should go about the contest which on a whim I tweeted, since the original 300 movie brags a cast with washboard abs, “How about sending a profile pic showing good abs. One that can be verified on Facebook or twitter.” Lo and behold, they picked up the suggestion and got willing participants to strut their stuff. I was tempted to send my own yet let go of the idea with an alibi, “…300 days more.”
Perhaps if I maintain my current gym regiment, however unscientific it is, I might achieve, or at least get closer to, the form that I should have had years ago. While low in the standards of weight training, considering I started being more serious about it just when I reached that age when they say life begins at, I cannot believe that I have upped the ante in terms of the weights I am now lifting. The significant of which is with my chest and shoulder exercises wherein I have transitioned from the embarrassing 20-pound to 70-pound dumbbells in a matter of weeks—and that’s sans any drug supplement such as the creatine I once planned to buy. The problem now is that school will be over soon and I won’t have the opportunity to kill time at the gym, so as early as now I need to plan an alternative training schedule. I plan to be more frequent this summer and would need more of wifey’s perfect carbo-filled breakfast. (Yes, she can now cook again.)
Every Monday morning as I wage my personal war against body fat and laziness, just a street across the gym, Marcus fights his own battle—the start of his school week. Remarkably, despite the usual resistance to report to school, he has been making good progress inside the kindergarten classroom. After earning the top three spot in his class in the third quarter of the school year, his next monthly exams were a lot better. In fact, he excels in Math and Science subjects wherein he perfected his recent exams. (Reading and writing though present some challenges but I am quite impressed nevertheless.) So if in the previous grading period wifey gave him Ben 10 CDs—and a regular supply of imitation Lego figures—this time I got him a genuine Minecraft for Xbox 360. It was dream come true for him after spending several months of just watching walkthrough YouTube videos of this game from this person with the name StampyLongHead.
Marcus has stopped playing the game due to the Zombies and Creepers which I think is a good thing since the last exams for this school will happen next week.
Be calm. No need to censor. But I’m trying not to say this dreaded F word, FATS. That’s because right now I’m facing a tough problem. Tougher than the impending unemployment and tougher than facing an unending oil price hike. It has something to do with my weight. And the horrifying number is seventy pounds. That’s how heavy I am right now. And that’s seven pounds more than my required weight.
In gym lingo, I’ve reached the hated plateau. No matter how much I do treadmills, weight training, and hopeless crunch and abs workout, my body just got bored with these routines. And like an employer running out of manpower, my body has posted a vacancy sign outside its doorstep. It’s accepting fats and calories like Vietnam is accepting all the multinational companies.
I know I can’t do anything about Vietnam but I’m sure I can do something about this weight. A battle must take place though to achieve once again my ideal weight as I don’t find it amusing anymore seeing our bathroom scale displaying a value higher than the last time I stepped on it. So instead of crying over spilled beer…I mean milk, I’d like to write about this new weight goal so I can get back to it soon and feel good about losing – weight, that is.
For me to be back on track, a re-assessment has to be done like anything that has gone awry or in this case what I’d call SNAFU – Situation Normal All Fat’s Up. Got to go back monitoring what I eat and when I eat. I have to say goodbye to Jollibee breakfast, goodbye to Burger King Whopper, goodbye to heavy dinner, goodbye to beer. The last could be the challenge.
As part of my reflection, I’m wondering what I have done recently that made me accumulate such weight. So let me focus at least on this past week’s activity.
Monday. As scheduled, I played badminton with a couple of colleagues. Although known as the fastest game and tagged by some as a good cardiovascular workout, I find this game as a false sense of exercise to complement a diet. Why? Normally, the heart-pounding and blood-pumping game for the whole day will bring us to a fast food restaurant to recover what we skipped during lunch. This last game, we found ourselves eating spaghetti and having a couple of beer in The Old Spaghetti House.
Fats – 1. Diet – 0.
Sunday. I was in Batangas with wifey to attend a birthday and a farewell party. The Red Ribbon chocolate cake and the predictable spaghetti were there and were looking mouth-watering as ever. I must have blacked out in front of the table but I found my stomach bulging and my lips colored brown and red.
Fats – 2. Diet – 0.
Saturday. Finally, I attended my first TUP-V summer outing after several postponed dates with my batchmates. So right after a hard day’s work (at least I believe so), I found myself worthy of good food and good company. Without wasting time, I drove my way from Cavite to Sta. Rosa Laguna; and a hundred wrong turns and a couple of hours later (thanks to the perfect map), I eventually located Dictado Resort where most of the attendees also got lost which is probably why the program started late. Despite the exhausting drive, it was fulfilling to meet long lost friends, schoolmates and other new alumni. It was also nice seeing some of the faces behind the aliases in the Tup-Vian’s yahoogroups. It was a ”tagalog-free” night and it felt like being home in Bacolod with everyone around speaking Ilonggo. The feeling of nostalgia is of course never complete without Beer. Lots of it. Tiabi.
Fats – 3. Diet 0.
Friday. Coming from work, I picked my wife at home and went back to SM to watch the most anticipated movie of this year – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I don’t know if the peanuts we brought inside was responsible for my calorie pile up that night OR the film being the MOST boring (sorry, I can’t help but emphasize) Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg film I’ve ever seen. So boring, my metabolism almost stopped working. If I haven’t seen any of their previous works, I could have included them in my never-to-watch-films list. Watching Indiana Jones is like watching a chopsuey of films such as X-files, Tomb Raider, Alien vs. Predator, Armageddon all rolled into one. And that’s not a compliment either.
Fats – 4. Diet – 0.
Thursday. Failing to bring home something to eat after my shift ended, I asked my wife for a dinner at the nearby David’s Tea House. Meal was picked to have the least calorie content that we can think of. I ended consuming the dumplings that my wife did not eat. By the way, did I mention I had beer that night? Well, I did.
Fats – 5. Diet – 0.
As much as I’d like to add more days in this list, it’s becoming more obvious that Diet is losing the battle. I can imagine a fictional referee raising the Fats’ hands after winning the unanimous decision for the 5-rounder battle. But the fight is not yet over, Diet is calling for a rematch and I’m making sure we will win next time.