1.24 mi run in 12:06 min (pace: 9’45″ / mi)
Music: International Departures with Myon & Shane 54 Episode 140
5.5 mi – 1.24 mi = 4.26 mi to go until Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Not bad… I’m back to a sub-9:00 again since the last time I checked in with the mosquitoes. My solution? Decorating minced garlic cloves by my bedside. It works wonders – mosquitoes hate me now :D
Today I strictly focused on my agility and flexibility of my legs, as opposed to the usual full-body strength and speed. I’m not confident yet in terms of my endurance, but I’m pretty sure that can build up in the long run.
Another ultra-buff staff PT approached me. In less than a year so far, the same gym has offered me three free personal training sessions. Each session consists of two nonconsecutive days, so that equals to six days of the year I was offered free personal training sessions. (This is one) (This is two) (And then there’s today). I didn’t count all those times I got approached when I have not started accounting my workout sessions in the previous years before, when I wasn’t even a member yet at the gym. Every time the approach goes the same way: “I saw how you train and it seems like you’ve been trained somewhere else. Care to share where?” I try my very best to be friendly each time (with each different trainer) because deep down I’m extremely annoyed. I repeat to myself: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Still working on that and will keep on working.
Let me make it clear once and for all: It’s not that I know any better than they do at bodybuilding, because I’m no bodybuilder. And it’s not that I’m more agile, more speedy, more flexible, more enduring, or much stronger than the certified professionals (duh), but the main focus out of my workouts now is to release life’s stress, train my mental power, and feel relaxed after that (because I’m bad at relaxing myself, and every one’s temperament is different). Over time, my fitness goals are really not that ambitious anymore, and not so much to build my physical strength, but for resistance of the mind. For me the gym is just a training ground for life, not life itself, whereas PTs make a living out of the gym. Life is difficult as we know it, and I want to earn a living too, the way I do in my dreams, so it’s no wonder that I’m always seen sweating like a pig at the gym. All these efforts to be consistent follows through in all areas of my life, and I just try to discipline myself in any way that I can.
I train myself to be self-directed and increase my self-control, physically and mentally, so that I can apply that into my life. I know that those are the essential skills everyone needs to succeed, especially for freelancers who need to master time management.
I know I’m going out of topic, but to me it’s all the same. Pretty much like how all the PTs say the same thing (except the one I had in SF): “Try intervals at 10+km/h”, and/or “Try the machines at the weight room.” OK, I confess: In the four years I’ve been going to the gym, I’ve never, ever, ever used the fanciest machines in the weight room, except those that target my weakest muscles like my hamstrings and the inner and outer thighs. I’ve always relied on dumbbells, kettle balls, and the mat. And all the cardio machines. That’s it.
Why focus on individual parts of the body when you can do it all at once? Well, with the exception to the individual muscle groups I’m weakest, I pretty much always do circuits and stretching or the usual weights and cardio combo, as long as I’m not bored and my workouts are always different, but challenging.
Sometimes, temptations come into our lives in the mask of challenges. We thought it’s a test of our tolerance, but if you’re not confident about it from the beginning, you will fail. If someone challenges you to run a 5-min mile when you’re 50 pounds overweight, and you take that challenge, it will only harm your self-esteem in the long run as you fail repeatedly. Why am I saying this? Because I see people like this everyday and I myself used to be that kind of person. Now I’d rather look ridiculously stupid but sooner or later I can run a 5-min mile at my own time, at my own pace, which is why I refused all those personal training offers.
Over time, I try not to stress my body anymore, but to listen to it and respond accordingly. I heard that regular 30-minute-or-more exercise lowers stress, strength training slows down aging, and that you should never underestimate rest and recovery in your training: Canadian Olympians who maintain good sleeping habits from early on perform better than those with sleeping problems. America’s renowned marathoner Ryan Hall says: “Sleep is huge in my sport. Recovery is the limiting factor, not my ability to run hard. I typically sleep about eight to nine hours a night but then I make sure to schedule 90 minute ‘business meetings’—aka naps—into my day for an afternoon rest,” whereas most endurance athletes tend to experience insomnia on most nights.
Amanda L. Ebner, MA, MEd, tells Everyday Health: “If you focus only on the old-fashioned cardio-and-weights duality, you will miss out on some amazing workout alternatives, such as power lifting (strength), high-intensity interval training (speed), team sports (agility), marathon/triathlon training (endurance), and yoga (flexibility).” Her advice? “Try to identify the areas of fitness in which you are weakest and take up a workout activity targeted at building those missing skills.” (Source)
The most important lesson I learned is that prevention is better than cure, in fitness and in life. That’s a quote from my boyfriend, and I have a lot to learn from him. He’s cautious and I’m risky. He’s careful and I’m careless. And so on. We have very different temperaments, that’s why I think we go well together.
Ever since I’m with him, I have tried and will keep trying to stay safe with my workout progress, knowing that I can go further and faster in time but not right now. I’ll go slow like a turtle and get approached by personal trainers who offer free training sessions so that they can stop the perspired hog from huffing and puffing.
If you want to know whether I’ve improved, well, I have. Last time I measured, my waist-to-hip ratio was 0.78 (25.5 and 32.5). Now it’s 0.72 (25 and 35). That’s close to a sweet spot of 0.7, which is the ideal proportion for a woman.