The COVID-19 enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or something that feels like a lockdown or house arrest has so far exposed talents that most of us never knew we have . Some friends have given in to TikTok even without the influence of alcohol, just driven by pure boredom. Thankfully I haven’t had any video using this app although I now have the TikTok on my phone ready when better judgment fails me. Or when the spirit of alcohol kicks in.
But there are things that piqued our curiosity more than TikTok dances and with nothing but extra time on our side, we tried a couple already.
Dalgona coffee challenge. First seen trending on Let’s Eat Pare Facebook page, this foamy coffee refreshment immediately captured my attention but comments about having to whisk like an hour waned my interest in it. Then wifey, as usual, took on the challenge armed with a manual egg beater.
It didn’t take long for her to churn out a Dalgona foam–long whisking myth busted. She was able make one serving in just about 10 minutes which we both shared, unequally, me getting the most of it. I don’t have a benchmark on how it should taste but ours ended up literally bittersweet which I like. Not bad for our first Dalgona coffee.
Handstand t-shirt challenge. My sister tagged me on Facebook on a post showing a video of the Spider-man star, Tom Holland, putting on a t-shirt while upside down. I got more excited when I realized it wasn’t really a strict handstand so in a couple of hours after finding a gap in my work at home I tried it.
First try was just to check how my video would look like. It was my first attempt to lift one hand while on face-to-wall handstand position so there’s some hesitation when I tested if I can wear the shirt. I gathered enough courage and balance on the second video recording and was able to complete the challenge in less than a minute. See video below.
The ECQ has been extended until April 30 so I now wonder what internet challenges I’d do next.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Getting used to working from home.)
We need to do our share in this fight against COVID-19 and you don’t need to be a frontliner to do it. Many of us are Globe prepaid users yet most of us don’t even know that rewards points exist and these could expire any time soon.
Don’t let your points expire, make each of it count. My wife made me aware of this donation drive and true indeed I got enough to contribute. In a matter of minutes I was able to download the app, register, and donate all my points. You can do it too and you can do it now. #COVID19
Mood: 6/10 Honks! (First week of community quarantine.)
Ashfall and the threat of novel coronavirus stopped me from running since I arrived from my one week trip to Kansas. I was also sick when I landed back–FYI, with a common cold–and it took time for me to recover as my nasal cavity was bleeding for another week more when I returned to work. Blame the cold weather of Overland Park.
It’s been relatively cold as well here in the Philippines so bed has been more attractive than the road. But today, I braved all. I finally stepped out of the house and ran. It was chilly and I was slow. While I really didn’t gain weight, contrary to my fear over the amount of Kansas barbecue and American meal servings I had during the boot camp, I paced myself slower so I don’t injure myself.
I also picked running on elevated ground, doubled back several times to increase distance, instead of my usual path to avoid the morning crowd. You see this corona virus seems to continue to spread and in fact, I learned that a couple of running events have been cancelled because of health concerns.
There are now some news about people getting treated from corona virus infection. I can’t wait to see the day when all this will just end up like a bad dream. For now I’m just happy to get back on track, healthy and running.
Mood: 5/10 Honks! (We have only few masks at home, need to find new stock soon.)
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.
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).
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.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Tonight’ the night we make waves.)
Any day out of the ordinary is always welcome. Yesterday was one of those that break routine and I would say it was about breathing fresh air…or hoping to get one.
All schedules aligned, Marcus finally had his chance to undergo the tests that’s been suggested by his doctors years ago. The first one was easy peasy although relatively expensive. The 2D Echo test at the heart station of St. Frances Cabrini Hospital was a breeze. As expected, Marcus finds the procedure ticklish and at the same time interesting. He smiled when the doctor made him listen to his own heartbeat. I smiled when she said Marcus’ heart is normal for now.
However, it was a different story at the pulmonary function test. Marcus had difficulty sustaining at least three seconds of the required prolonged breathing. Perhaps it was stressful for him to have his nose clipped and be asked to breathe normally, then suck air on cue, and then exhale continuously until the technician says stop which by the way is just half of the process. It took almost an hour to prep Marcus and I was eventually advised that we could come another day when he is ready for the test.
Then there’s me at work. Incidentally, I went to the office wearing a shirt with a print that says “Inhale…Excel.” It was a gift from my current boss that I like–vague subject-verb arrangement intended. But the interesting part doesn’t end there. It was also on this same day I went for an interview for another job position. My first this year. Sigh, inhale, exhale.
While Marcus no longer walks and haven’t engaged in something athletic ever since, it doesn’t stop him from understanding sports. For one, I find it amusing that he knows skateboard moves despite lack of experience or even exposure to extreme sports shows on TV. And recently he discovered more on game pass. This past days we’ve been on fairways and football fields. We can now score some pars and have had our winning moments with the Chelsea team. Thanks to Xbox, Marcus can run around sans the need of real life stamina.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Fingers and toes and heart crossed.)
When we walked the aisle on that very day we professed the ultimate commitment of our love for one another we made a promise. It was the sweetest, it was binding, it was the bravest vow any couple would ever make. Untildeath do us part, right?
Then life goes go one after the fanfare. Life as a couple, ideal it seems at that time, moves forward. We’re now husband and wife, ready to face the world. Then we’d have kids, the family grows from just two to more. Married life is bliss. Our love holds for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse…
But sometimes life would test further. Life would soon remind us the boldest commitment we’ve ever made, those romantic promise, likely in our then absent-minded state. In sickness and in health we’d later realize would be our mantra as we face head on the toughest of the toughest trials that would come our way.
Fact is, true love is easier said than done. It is skin-deep if it exists just for fun and in good times. For all we know, true love isn’t a party for it goes beyond looks and sex and marriage vows. It is anything but true love if it doesn’t survive ‘in sickness and in health.’ True love is an adventure, it’s a journey. Hair-raising but rewarding journey. Again, that is if we survive it, if we don’t give up midway.
This is why I admire married couples, more so the elderlies, I see in hospitals. These guys beat lovers in the malls anytime. I envy those who persevere, who try their best to make their balding cancer-stricken spouse smile; those who wheel in day after day their immobile husband to complete another challenging physical therapy; those who hold hands until their partner’s last breath. That, to me, is true love.
If I have my way, however, I do not wish to see the day I’d have to prove myself, to walk the talk, to prove true and deeper love. But when that day comes I wish and pray I’d be the strong person than I am today. “In sickness and in health…’til death do us part.”
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Words inspired by this recent week’s event.)
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.
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.
The frequency of pull-ups I’ve been doing since I installed the Domyos pull-up bar has its downside. Yes, I now do various routines with it but all the gripping plus the weight my hands have to bear resulted to unsightly calluses.
It was something I despised at first. I was already considering workout gloves until I saw a post from Dan Kavadlo. (Duh!) His hands have far thicker calluses. I was too naive not to expect to see such with the way he does bodyweight workouts. His human flags for one are crazy.
Since then I wear my calluses with pride like my black toenails. I have to ensure though that it does not get any bigger and thicker as my wife and I take turns in giving Marcus a bath. He would always remind me to be gentle when I scrub him because he can feel my calluses and is annoyed by it. This is the reason my cube reeks of Burt’s Bees Hand Cream. Sorry about that folks.
As it turns out, running isn’t exactly a minimalist sports that we all thought it to be. The farther I run the more I agree with expert advice that it pays to switch to a different pair of shoes every other run.
And I’m a sucker, or let’s say I’ve been assimilated. So yesterday coming from a company event in Tagaytay, while fighting lack of sleep, I dropped by Paseo de Sta. Rosa to look for running sneakers.
I was in luck. The Nike Store has an open box item and although it’s not really a stability shoes I got it anyway. Half the price markdown was convincing enough. Can’t wait to test it soon. Crossing my fingers that my toes don’t get calluses.
Getting sports supplies is now a lot easier and better than before. I now have access to whatever I need to support my efforts to stay active and fit, thanks to Decathlon store located inside Festival Mall Alabang. This place is sports heaven for adults as Toy Kingdom or Toys ‘R Us is to kids.
We dropped by yesterday to check out running stuffs on my list and once again Decathlon didn’t disappoint. I got my two-bottle belt (Php800), race bib number belt (Php250), and smartphone armband (Php450). I can now take selfies during my runs. Just kidding. Online stores like Lazada sell similar items, could be even cheaper, but being in a physical store allows me to check the quality and fit so I prefer doing it if I have the time.
On non-running days, normally weekdays, I do daily cross-training at home before I go to work. Weeks ago I started progression on handstand and I can now do it facing the wall. Then I discovered I could perform the human flag progression without a straight pole–though I might have one fabricated in the guise of the kittens’ scratching post and trail. I also found a way to start front levers. Hint: pull-up prep (using Domyos pull-up bar from Decathlon which I bought November last year).
To improve cross-training I also added one small but helpful item in my shopping list–50-kg band. I already tested it today and it made me achieve pull-ups drop sets. A worthy purchase for only Php480.
Marcus also loves Decathlon even if he can’t walk. (I just feel guilty seeing him watch kids use the trampoline and test the bikes.) He likes wearing and trying out items on display. Yesterday he donned the boxing headgear and gloves. Then he asked me to demo the parallel bars and pull-up rack. He also played goalie while I kick the football to him. I hope he keeps the positive attitude.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Didn’t run but an hour bodyweight training burned yesterday’s cheeseburger.)
There was once a time when losing weight was quite a struggle. There’s the gym but it requires membership. There’s your friendly liposuction clinic but obviously it’s invasive not to mention expensive. There are also self-help books on counting calories but these have limited recipes and rarely include nutritional info while some of it have ingredients that aren’t available locally. Where do you get kale, collard, cottage cheese, or quinoa? Go figure.
Fast forward to the era when almost everyone has mobile phones and almost everything starts to have its own app. Modern technology now makes losing weight interesting and fun. Weight watchers nowadays have more control, timely feedback, and could take actions fast like passing off on a slice of shortcake because calorie goal has been reached. Freeze it and tomorrow’s another day.
Seven months ago I was looking for a solution to my weight loss plateau. It’s the dreaded point of anyone trying to lose (or even gain) weight. Common knowledge dictates eat less, exercise more but it is easier said than done. Often times this hit or miss leads to under nourishment, sickness, and eventually, failure. I’ve seen people going back to square one and never attempting to cut weight ever again due to disappointment and/or lack of motivation.
This is where the apps come in. There are several apps that help count calories but I use Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal which is among the popular ones, if not the most, under its category. Since I started using it in August I have never turned back, never skipped a day without entry of my meals. The results gradually followed and goal finally reached. Thanks to data-driven weight loss.
MyFitnessPal allows its users to customize their own weight loss plan. Goal could be as aggressive as a 2-lb loss per week or just take it easy at .5 lb per week.
The app’s weight goal factors in the user’s activity level from Not Very Active to Very Active. Mine should be the former but since I have the leisure to take short breaks when my Garmin says Move! I set mine on Lightly Active. I normally achieve 10 stairs level (up) and 5,000 steps daily.
Of course, counting calories means food consumed versus daily calorie goal. This is where MyFitnessPal’s huge food database becomes an advantage. You may now start throwing away those diet self-help books you bought from the thrift shop. If you’re Filipino or Asian or anyone but American most likely those paper books do not include local dishes. So far everything I ate are on MyFitnessPal: sinigang, tulingan, sisig, tuna pasta, pizza, adobo, kamoteng kahoy, kangkong, balut, bulalo, sweet potatoes, bananas, eggs, etc. Whether it’s English or Tagalog food name, this app would have a match for it.
After all meal entries are in, the app predicts possible weight result. When I started months ago I smirked when it said I would be 145 lbs. Well, it happened, breached it even further and I never doubted the app since then.
Interestingly, sooner or later calories wouldn’t be the only thing that matters. Anyone who gets more serious about diet and nutrition would be asking about nutrient details like sodium, cholesterol, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and trans. Then there’s also the question if where the calories are coming from. Does it come mainly from carbs, fats, or protein? MyFitnessPal got these covered.
There’s a big caveat to all this. MyFitnessPal computes based on accuracy of the user’s entry so honesty is a big factor here. User details like height, initial weight, activity levels must be all correct. Needless to say, if it’s two slices of apple pie you ate it must be two apple slices that should be entered or else weight predictions would remain a number and not a reality. And your bathroom scale would surely know.
There are also basic tools I use to complement the app. I have a cheap digital kitchen scale my wife got online and on most days I wear a Garmin Vivoactive HR watch that records calories consumed based on my physical activities such as running, walking, intervals, stairs climbed, etc.
The Garmin smart watch pairs with MyFitnessPal app and calorie goals are adjusted accordingly. I found some discrepancies though on how MyFitnessPal adjusts so I would ignore the big numbers whenever I see them.
MyFitnessPal is free but it has a premium package if you want to be more detailed about your diet. Free works for me for now.
Revision: I won’t sleep tight if I don’t include the barcode reader screenshot and change the boring title.