Tuesday, March 03, 2015

HFT / It's okay to go hungry sometimes

My best friend, Joandrea, told me to listen to "The School of Greatness," a podcast hosted by Lewis Howes. One of the episodes featured Yuri Elkaim, who talked about doubling one's energy the healthy way. I'll admit that lately, my energy levels are at an all-time low because I've been sidelined by injury.

Yuri talked about the benefits of fasting, which weren't exactly very new to me - my father converted to Islam when I was in my teens, and when he talked to me about Ramadan once. To the unfamiliar, Ramadan is an Islamic tradition, and all the faithful are expected to fast. My father told me that after the initial struggle, he's experienced a number of health benefits from fasting so he ended up doing it regularly.
24 hours.
(photo from the internet)
Not that I don't consider my father a credible source, but I'll admit that it was only after listening to that podcast that I really started to seriously consider fasting. My flatmate and landlord, Jerry, also does fasting annually, and he echoes my father's and the podcast's preachings. I also did my own research, and I stumbled upon an article on Lifehack that outlines the benefits of fasting (click here to read the whole thing). Weight loss is probably the most obvious benefit of fasting, but that's just a start. Studies have shown that fasting leads to a longer life, and improves the functions of the brain and of the immune system.

For obvious reasons, the first attempt at fasting was the hardest, but with a little bit of faith, I managed to pull through. From that point on, I tried to incorporate regular fasting into my schedule. Because I usually have full weekends, the best time for me to fast is from Friday, 4:00PM, to Saturday, 3:59PM. Good thing I don't regularly go drinking on Fridays! :)


Monday, March 02, 2015

GVM / Why good vibes?

Bruce Lee has the answer.
Life is too short, demmet
(image from the internet)
Have a great week ahead, folks!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

The best at being bad

The pilot episode of House of Cards opens with a dog getting hit by a car. Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) runs to the dog, which was whimpering in pain. In Shakespearean form, Frank starts to talk about the two kinds of pain - first is the kind that makes one strong, and the other is useless pain. Having no patience for the latter, and for useless things in general, Frank kills the dog. He further elaborates that moments like such requires someone who was willing to do the unpleasant thing - the necessary thing.
(image from the internet)
With an opening sequence powerful as that, I instantly fell in love with the American television series House of Cards. Each episode reeks Machiavelli, which appeals to the part of me that's a ruthless pragmatist. Although I am fully aware that Frank is the bad guy, I still want him to succeed. I want him to get his revenge. I want him to decimate his enemies. I want him to rise to power. He deserves to win, if only because he's not afraid to play the game, to get his hands dirty, to do whatever it takes. I have nothing but respect for Frank Underwood.

And I have just the same amount of respect for his loyal wife, Claire Underwood, played by an ultra-fit Robin Wright. Another character of note is Jackie Sharp, played by the incredibly talented and beautiful Molly Parker. I'll stop myself before I name another character, because I know I'll end up mentioning them all. Haha! The writing isn't Sorkin but it's close enough in terms of brilliance. It's entertaining, yes, but I like that it's so much more than that - it's intellectually stimulating (that's how and why it got me glued!).

If you haven't started watching it yet, I urge you to do so.

**knocks on table**


Friday, February 27, 2015

FTF / Burger burger burger

With the exception of Burger King before the Philippine franchise was acquired by the Jollibee Group, I absolutely abhor fast food burgers. It's not the healthiest food around in the first place, and how they prepare it at McDonald's or Jollibee just makes it worse in my humble opinion (they don't even taste good!).

But that doesn't mean I don't love burgers, because I do - I just prefer the more wholesome sort. Charlie's Grind and Grill is one of those places that serve the kind of burgers that I would eat without thinking twice - and considering that I'm a very picky eater, that means a lot! With my friends Franco and Cheska, I visited the branch in Kapitolyo, Pasig for the first time last October, and I've been a fan ever since.
I waltzed in with an empty stomach, but I had to crawl out because I was so full - that's how big the burgers are! But more than the size, it's the taste that really makes all the difference. With each bite, you just know that what you're having isn't loaded with preservatives or extenders. The meat is very juicy and really tender, and the veggies are crisp and fresh.

Even the fries are different in a good way - you know it's cooked in oil that hasn't been in the fryer for the past couple of months! Haha! If you want to stay healthy without giving up burgers, drop the fast food sort and opt for Charlie's instead. :)


Thursday, February 26, 2015

LT / All heart

I've been part of the MMA industry - the business side - since March of last year, and for that, I didn't really need to do a lot of introspection; I just wanted to contribute to the growth of the sport in the country. As I made my way through that world, however, my curiosity got the better of me. I started with boxing, and now I'm also learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I'm toying with the idea of competing in BJJ. And some nights, I dream about getting in the cage for an MMA fight.
Next reading
My friend Franco lent me his copy of Sam Sheridan's book, "A Fighter's Heart," when I told him that I've made a decision to embark on a journey in the world of martial arts. At the time he handed over the book to me, I was still reading BJ Penn's Why I Fight, which, as I have mentioned, taught me a thing or two about MMA as a business in addition to helping me understand my own reasons for taking this path.

Two chapters in and I couldn't put the book down anymore - it's that good. I daresay it's better-written than BJ Penn's, haha! And as a freshly-minted fighting enthusiast, I feel that this will be a better book for me to understand what I'm really getting myself into. :) If, like me, you want to start a journey in fighting, this just might be the book that will guide you.

I'll write about it again when I'm done reading. :)


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MW / Entry-level psychedelic

When I first encountered the song Fitzpleasure by Alt-J while watching one of my favorite television series ever, Suits, I totally flipped out and I began the frantic search for the song. I scoured the internet for leads until I finally found it, and it's become a staple in my playlist for when I'm hosting friends over for drinks.
The celebrated Alt J
(photo from the internet)
Click on this video to hear the song, in case you don't know it:

I'll admit I struggled a bit to understand the lyrics, so of course I ran to Google for help. I was surprised at what it meant! From my research, I learned that it was inspired by a chapter from "Last Exit to Brooklyn," a controversial novel written in 1964 by Hubert Selby, Jr. The book is said to be about the brutality of urban life, and the specific chapter that inspired Fitzpleasure is about gang rape.

The songwriter, Alt-J vocalist and guitarist Joe Newman, explained that he chose to write about gang rape because it was written so well that it really moved him. He believed that it was a very powerful subject, and that he didn't really know which way is up after he read the chapter. I'm not familiar with the book, and I'm not particularly curious, but I'm sure that if I do decide to read it, it will be worth my while, considering that it inadvertently spawned this awesome song.

What amazes me is how, despite the extremely gory topic, nothing in the melody would suggest such. The arrangement, plus the vocals, gives off a psychedelic vibe that sort of brings me back to the music of Pink Floyd, but with hints of heavy rock and even country (because of the guitar on some parts). But now that I know what it's all about, I know I won't be able to listen to the song the same way again.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

HFT / Elite!

One random day last January, I was so exhausted from office work that I wanted to just go home and plop on to my bed. But then I remembered that I had a big goal for this year - to become healthier, stronger, and fitter - I pushed myself to get off my lazy ass and head to the boxing gym (I did jiu-jitsu the night before).

I asked my officemate Gabby about Elorde Elite, one of the newest boxing gyms around, and he gave me directions - apparently, it's very near work! I just walked from Benavidez St. to Esteban St. in Legaspi Village, and although it was already past nine, they let me work out. Since it was my first time there, I got the trial rate of Php250 for boxing.
Nicest ring I've ever boxed in
Big open area for drils
FYI: the regular rate for non-members is Php350 for boxing, but if you pay the membership fee of Php2,000.00 for one year, each session will only cost you Php200. And if you buy ten sessions in advance, you only pay Php150 for each!

Since it was already late, I was one of five people training - this meant I enjoyed focused instruction from the coach. My session was overseen my Coach Sam, and he drilled me just as hard on footwork as he did on punching. He pointed out that I "punch like a man" (he elaborated that he meant it was strong) despite having relatively thin arms. That's a good thing, right? :)

Anyway, about the gym - the very first thing I noticed is that it's HUGE. I'm mildly claustrophobic (I never liked elevators even if I've lived in condos for the most part of my adult life), so I have great appreciation for wide open spaces. It's not air conditioned but it's still very comfortable because the air circulates freely. The bathrooms are clean (I hope they get to maintain this!), too! :)

For the same reason I enrolled in DEFTAC Makati instead of BAMF MMA Center for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I'm currently considering signing up for regular boxing classes here because it's near where I live and work - it's just so much more practical. Elorde Elite is located in 109 Esteban St. (the green building), Legaspi Village, Makati.