Friday, February 26, 2010

Golden Chestnut

I was saddened upon hearing news about my haircutter/hairdresser/hairstylist.. I like to use "haircutter" coz all she really does is cut my hair. Anyway, I was gonna get a haircut yesterday but was told that my beloved haircutter migrated to Dubai. PERFECT. What am I supposed to do now, Pacita?! There you are frolicking in dunes and riding camels yet here I am wallowing in my awful hair!! It's extremely hard to find the right person to cut my hair. Pacita knows my hair like no one else. Today I mourn. :(

As an act of rebellion, I went to my health store and grabbed a box of hair dye and picked out the Golden Chestnut shade. It's the lightest brown I've tried. I was sort of hoping to get a very obvious brown but kinda hesitating at the same time. What the heck.. if I screw this up I could always get Pacita to shave my head.. Wait, she's in Dubai!!! **facepalm**

I fumbled through the instructions like an amateur. I have dyed my hair before using one of those instant all-in-one dyes that came in tubes scribbled with Japanese inscriptions. If memory serves me right, I had to squeeze the dye on a brush and comb it through my hair. This time I had to mix two solutions into a bowl till it becomes thick. Then, with plastic gloves, plop the mixture on my fingers and apply it to my hair. I waited 30 minutes for the dye to set in. Hmmmm...

The result was disappointing. My hair is the same color, cept that my white hair disappeared. Pffft.

This morning I gave myself a trim since I'm too lazy to scout for a new haircutter. Looks pretty good I might say. :D

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two Became Four

I've mentioned to a few folks that I have what I call "two-pack" abs. Even joked about it a couple times. I'm talking about a pair of abs below my chest that have been there for as long as I can remember. They kinda just stood there in a shroud of nothingness... lol.... In my New Year's Resolutions post I said:

(My goal is to) Have a complete set of abs. It's a frustration of mine that will no longer be a frustration! Going to the gym and being healthy never fail to cheer me up.

No, I have no intention of going into modeling or acting or anything porn-related (lol -- at least not yet). Attaining abs is just a consequence of my goal to keep myself fit and active. Unless you're anatomically blessed with a nice figure, getting abs is extremely difficult. It is harder than developing biceps or triceps or pecs and it requires a higher degree of patience. Why? Because, like I said, they are the consequence of how well you take care of your body. There is no magic exercise to achieve abs. No matter how many situps or crunches you do, your abs will never show up unless you push your whole body to work up a sweat. And how do you do that? Cardio! Yes, during cardio, almost every muscle of your body is a participant. Good examples I cited before are running and spinning. I recommend swimming and boxing too. All of them are intense exercises that burn more calories at a shorter period of time.

Ab exercises (situps, crunches etc) do almost zilch if you don't tandem it with a cardio routine. Every person, boy or girl, young or old, thin or fat, have abdominal muscles. It's a matter of burning the layer of fat that keeps them hidden. Cardio and a watchful diet can get rid of that layer of fat, not ab exercises. At best, ab exercises tighten and strengthen your abdominals. Stronger abs do help burn fat faster, but that has value only during cardio and other muscle conditioning activities. Although abs are nice to look at, they are not the barometer of one's fitness level. You can still be fit without ripped abs.

Since I made it one of my resolutions, I am working twice harder than before to get those abs. I'm now down to a size 28 and my weight has gone down to 131 lbs. The great thing is the "two-pack" is actually a "four-pack". It was the fat on top of it that made it look like two. So yeah, two more abs to go! Should I aim for an 8-pack? lol.. we'll see.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

HongKong Here I Come

The last time I was in HongKong was in 2008 while on a sidetrip from Macau. It was but a fleeting moment -- I was there merely to take my niece to Disneyland. We spent a few hours in the park, enjoyed the fireworks, then hopped on a boat back to Macau. What attracts me to HongKong is its vibrancy and abundance of food and shopping options. There's not a dull moment in HongKong and that is why I'm coming back! On a whim I purchased a ticket the moment I heard that Cebu Pacific had a seat sale. I timed it to be around my birthday in June. The catch is I bought the ticket without consulting my family or friends, or even asked any of them to come along. I don't care!! So yeah.. HongKong, watch out... The Dork Knight is coming! hehe

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So yesterday I was in my mom's bathroom to look for some cotton buds to clean out the 1-week old wax buildup from my ears lol.. I know disgusting right. As I cleaned my ears I eyed the measuring tape hanging on one of her wall hooks and thought of measuring my.. well.. waist. I took off my shirt and placed the tape around my belly button area. Carefully, I pinched the metallic tip on to the 28 inch mark. Whoa, I wasn't even cheating! Last time I had a 28-inch waist was when I was in high school!! I'm happy because this is my target waistline. The downside of this triumph is all my pants have become loose. Oh well, but my work is paying off! Don't bet on me slowing down though coz I'm still working on those abs. This may take a while... :(

Friday, February 12, 2010

How to Save Money on the Paris Subway


Getting around Paris takes patience and skill. It took me a few days before I got the hang of it. My cousins had to put up with my constant backtracking and fuzzy navigation, but they had no other choice but to go where I went.

Aside from the labyrinth that we had to put up with, using the subway is not cheap. It costs 1.50 euro per ticket (about P90). That's more expensive than the New York subway ($1.50 or P70). What most people don't know is there is such a thing as a carnet (car-nay) which is basically a 'book' of 10 tickets. You can purchase this at any Paris subway station. During my last trip, a carnet costs 11 euro, or 1.10 euro per ticket. We saved 40 cents per ticket. Not bad right? To buy a carnet, say 'Un carnet sil vous plait' (un car-nay see voo play) to the nice French person inside the ticket booth. Hope you find this helpful!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Burning Calories

Here's a quick way to find out how much calories you burn during certain physical activities. Click here to check.

It asks you to enter your weight because the number of calories burned depends on your weight and fitness level. Heavier people burn more calories because it takes more effort to perform exercises. That goes down as the person becomes fitter and attains more muscle. With more muscle, more calories are burned even at a sedentary state. Anyway, right now the stuff that I'm active in are spinning, running and badminton (social & pro). I calculated how much calories I burn for each activity (at 137 lbs. / 60 minutes) :

Spinning - 437 calories
Running - 582 calories
Badminton - 370 calories

For me, the best types of cardio exercise are the ones that keep you moving with little or no rest. Why? Because we tend to equate the time we spend inside the gym to the time we supposedly spent exercising. Sitting around and people watching don't count as exercise! In my spinning class, we are hardly given time to rest, thus we push ourselves to the limit and burn more calories. That is why I recommend spinning to anyone who's serious about losing weight. It is difficult at first -- I know a couple of people who've had tragic aftermaths following one session. But like all activities, you get better and better as long as you try and do it right. The added benefit of spinning is it isn't boring. The loud music and the natural adrenaline rush keep you alert and time ticks away virtually unnoticed.

I also run from time to time, often to warm myself up for a moderate weight lifting session. The calculation above is for 60 minutes, which I have never done on a track. I have run continuously for an hour on a treadmill. They are two different things though. I find running on a track a lot more difficult because 1) I'm exposed to environmental factors such as heat from the sun, dust and pollution 2) the terrain is more unpredictable 3) my pace is dependent on the strength of my legs, not on a conveyor belt. Despite those inconveniences I prefer running outside just because I feel like the extra effort that put into it helps me burn more calories. Treadmills are still good. In fact I recommend them to those who are starting a cardio routine. But in the long run I suggest that you wean yourself away from the treadmill to other activities such as aerobics, spinning, kickboxing, running or yoga. Why? Because treadmills eventually become tiresome and boring. Once you get sick of it, you tend to never come back to the gym.

Badminton is another great way to get active. It is the staple sport of yuppies, office workers and barkadas. In order to get its full effect (e.g. burn 370 calories), you'll need to play 60 minutes straight. The trick is to play in smaller groups that you are familiar with. With fewer people, there is less turnover, thus more play time for yourself. You may book one court for two hours or two courts for larger groups or opt for a trainer. The trainer can teach you the proper way of playing and at the same time force you to travel more across the court. The problem with playing with large parties of strangers of varying skill levels are 1) you play less 2) those who are good play more (good for you if you're one of them) 3) no one is willing to teach you the right way to play 4) you will not get the workout that you need 5) you play for fun, but others are ready to eat you alive. Definitely go for a group of friends and/or a trainer if you want to pursue badminton. It is big fun if done right.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Before and After


Four years ago, Four years after

I couldn't say I was unhappy about myself when I was overweight. Eating is FUN but it came to a point where I realized that I needed to do something about my health (and my hair LOL). I enrolled at the nearest gym but I didn't know what I was doing. I kept eating and gaining more weight until I stopped going to the gym again. Then I started again last year and really put effort into my workout. I began a jogging regimen and attended spinning classes 3x a week. On other days I lifted weights and did ab exercises. This was the only time that I saw good results. I'm not quite there yet but yeah people say I look fit. I'll give you tips on how I did it in succeeding blog posts.... on a new blog? We'll see.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sick of Being Sick

Okayyy. Let me rant a little bit about my situation. My doctor diagnosed me as having pharyngitis and respiratory tract infection. I thought I had a much simpler case of tonsillitis and common cold. But when she held the stethoscope against my back, she suspected something more sinister. She prescribed an antibiotic to fight the infection and another to lessen the coughing. This totally sucks. Just when my #1 goal for the year is soooo close, I have to take a recess and wait longer. When I'm not going to the gym I tend to eat. Like today.

For lunch I had humba or caramelized pork knuckles. Those three words put together spell disaster. But it was soooo goood. Our cook put a lot of love into making it. She knew I loved mushrooms and chorizo and there were a LOT of it in the stew. I might as well have called it a mushroom and chorizo stew with caramelized pork knuckles. When I got to my office I ordered chicken noodles. An hour later I went out with my secretary to Jaltan to eat puto and ginataan / binignit. Wow, the ginataan was fantastic. And it was cheap (P15)! The puto was nice too. Lani had a slice of biko.. Yeah I know. She says she's on a diet. IKR.

Moving forward, I will get back to writing about my European trip. I believe Italy is next. Watch out for that and please don't take this post as part of my promise to write about fitness LOL Ciao!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fitness Blog?

Last night, over dinner, my friends suggested that I write a fitness blog. I guess I can be a little pushy when it comes to exercise and eating right. It *kinda* worked on them, but will that "pushiness" rub off on my readers? Problem is I feel that I have reached my limit of number of blogs. I've lost count and for some I even forgot my passwords. To make my friends happy, I'll just write some fitness stuff here too.

Oh right, before dinner we played badminton. My friends have improved a lot and beginning to become more aggressive and competitive, which is good coz if not there would be no drive to hone their skills. Though I prefer to play badminton for fun, a little bit of challenge is always good.