Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Fitness: My Boxing Gym Workout Regimen

There are a lot of different types of gyms. The most common type of gym is the kind that hones one's general fitness. This type of gym normally has a treadmill, a bench press, and a set of dumbbells that comes in varying weights along with a few other pieces of equipment. A boxing gym is different from your regular gym and for this blog post I'm going to show you my workout regimen when I put the gloves on.

A boxing gym is much more spacious than your regular gym.

Before I start with my workout regimen I want to tell you how different a boxing gym is from the ubiquitous kind that I mentioned a while ago. A boxing gym has all sorts of different equipment that you won't ever see in your average gym. In the boxing gym I go to, Elite Boxing Gym, these are:
  • Heavy punching bags (obviously)
  • Double-end bags
  • Speed bags
  • Wall Bags
  • Kettle Bells
  • Lightweight dumbbells
  • Jump ropes
  • A Spar Bar
  • A boxing ring (I think that counts as equipment)
I don't utilize all of the equipment listed above; I usually ignore the wall bags and I just casually toy with the spar bar from time to time. The rest of the equipment I use though, and they're great for improving one's technique and form in boxing just as much as they're useful for breaking a sweat.

A boxing gym will typically have a boxing ring and a timer.

Now that I've painted a picture of what the boxing gym has to offer, let's get right to my workout regimen:

1. Jogging - 3 rounds

That's right my first exercise doesn't include any of the equipment I listed down. Not yet. I jog around the gym for 3 rounds. For those of you who don't know a boxing round is 3 minutes in length with a minute of rest in between each round. 

When I jog I try to jog at a pace that's near sprinting speed. I avoid jogging leisurely to keep the blood pumping. The jog serves as a warm-up after all.

2. Jump rope - 2 rounds

Once I'm all warmed up from the jog, I grab a jump rope and start skipping. Naturally, I go into the Boxer's skip for this exercise. If I hit the rope while skipping that's alright, I just carry on my way like it didn't happen. To prevent the exercise from getting monotonous, I like to incorporate a view tricks and moves into my skipping. I must admit I only do 2 rounds of these because I want to save up my leg energy for the other exercises that are yet to come.

3. Shadowbox - 2 rounds

Before I start shadow boxing, I wear my hand wraps. This takes a while so I get more than my fair share of 1-minute rest from the previous exercise. This is when I try to get into the rhythm of boxing. I'm more focused on form, technique, and defense in this exercise than working a sweat.

Ideally, the first round of shadowboxing is done with lightweight dumbbells in my hands and the second round is done without any dumbbells to improve my speed, but sometimes I just do both rounds without any weights at all.

4. Mitts Work - 3 rounds

This is where the fun begins. My trainer puts on the boxing mitts, I put on my boxing gloves, and then we begin our combination drills. Focus and concentration are of utmost importance in this exercise. There is a delicate balance between speed, power, and soundness of technique. My trainer critiques my performance if I'm not boxing properly. I try to keep the quality of my punches consistent throughout all 3 rounds without showing any signs of exhaustion to improve my stamina and endurance.

5. Heavy Bag - 3 rounds

What comes after 3 rounds of punching? Even more punching! And there are more punches to come after this exercise too. A heavy bag is a simple tool that's made to be punched, but it's important to not neglect technique when using this equipment. The aspects of boxing that I take into consideration the most when I use the heavy bag are distance, range, and accuracy. The bags in the Elite boxing gym have a logo at eye-level so I like to make that my target when I work the heavy bag.

6. Double-End Bag - 3 rounds (and beyond)

This is my favorite tool to use in the boxing gym. I'm only required to use this piece of equipment for 3 rounds but I aim for 6 rounds with this. It develops good habits, speed, and hand-eye coordination. The double-end bag instills the rhythm of boxing into the individual practicing on it. I make sure to work my head movement and footwork when I use the double-end bag.

7. Mitts Work again - 2 rounds

My arms are already tired by this time in the workout, but that's when my endurance and stamina start to improve. I focus on keeping my hands up at all times while I do my combination drills.

8. Speed Bag - 3 rounds

Although it's called a speed bag, it doesn't actually improve speed, per se. It hones my rhythm and -- given how exhausted I am by this time -- it improves stamina and endurance even more. This can get repetitive just like the jump rope exercise so I like to mix it up by alternating between punches from ones to twos to threes.

9. Ab workout - 2 sets of 5 different exercises

This is the most difficult part of the workout because my body barely has any energy left to complete this set of exercises. It's also the last one. I try to do 2 sets of several different ab exercises like crunches, planks, Russian twists, burpees, and so on.

That's about it for my average workout regimen in the boxing gym. If you tally the number of rounds from each exercise, excluding the ab workout, we have about 21 rounds in total, which roughly translates to 63 minutes of exercise. Sometimes when I'm feeling really energetic, my coach likes to add in other exercises in what he calls circuit training, which is a hundred times more difficult. Circuit training is for another blog post. Sometimes my coach puts me in a sparring session, which I already made a blog post about here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Food: Ranking 5 Burger Joints from Worst to Best

Recently I've been craving for good burgers. So much so I've tried several different burger joints in a relatively short span of time. Not all of them are good, some are better, and only one of them is the best. When I try a burger, taste is king. Second most important thing I take into consideration is the size. Third thing that sways my opinion is the overall price of the burger. Without further fluff, let's delve into the five burger joints I've tried on a near-consecutive basis :)

Note: I'm not saying these are the top 5 best burger joints I've ever tried. I'm sure there are some really good burger joints out there that I won't be mentioning, like 8cuts.

5. Zark's Burger

Zark's Classic doesn't taste super delicious (the patty is oily yet dry at the same time...) but it's kinda big for its price. Nevertheless, this burger joint is still in my "bad" category -- I might have offended some fans of this burger joint but that's my two cents! You get what you pay for.

4. Shake Shack

For a burger joint with so much marketing behind it, I have to say I'm somewhat disappointed when I tried their actual product, the Shack Burger. The taste is fine -- nothing like the taste of pure Angus beef patties --  but it's just so incredibly small for its price; no one would argue the price is expensive. I might be hurting some fans of this burger joint but for me, this burger joint falls under the B-A-D bad category!

3. Burger King

Burger King's signature Whopper is juicy and packed with ingredients. My only criticism is that they go overkill on the mayonnaise on their burger. Out of all the burgers I tried, this monstrosity probably packs the most calories. Its price is justifiable by its size so the rest is all good. A decent all-around burger joint.

2. Army Navy

Technically not a full-blown burger joint but burger is one of their specialties. It's a bit on the pricey side but the size is right and the burger is deliciously flavorful with all sorts of ingredients; if you like the taste of onion then you've come to the right place. On a side note, service in Army Navy can take a while because the burger is made-to-order. A great burger joint.

1. Pound

Once again on the pricier side of the spectrum, but still not as expensive as a Shack Burger. The serving size of the Pound Burger is slightly small but what it lacks in size it makes up for in taste. Pound lets you tell the waitress how you want your burger. Delicious meaty juices ooze at the medium-rare levels, and they top it off with crispy caramelized onions. A high-end burger joint that deserves the term "high-end".

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Reflection: Getting Through Thanatophobia

[Death Anxiety] Also referred to as thanatophobia (fear of death), death anxiety is distinguished from necrophobia, which is a specific fear of dead or dying people and/or things; the latter is the fear of others who are dead or dying, whereas the former concerns one's own death or dying. - Wikipedia

I've been dealing with some less-than-happy thoughts lately. These unhappy thoughts have been plaguing me for months. Yes, my feelings are related to the quotation above. I've been having Death Anxiety. I'm scared about death and the process of dying not just for myself but for every one of us that has to go through with it eventually. It's driven me mad for the longest time but I think for now, I'm able to stop myself from spiraling out of control, hopefully for good which is why I'm writing about it. I'm no longer afraid to open up about what's really on my mind.

I started having Death Anxiety (or Thanatophobia if you want to get romantic) about a couple of months ago when I had to take care of my lola at her place. Nothing bad happened to her. She's still fine and healthy as of the writing of this blog post. But regardless, it was during that time I realized that life would not go on forever. I'm already 24. I'm no longer a kid. My parents are getting older and so are my sisters. Time is ruthlessly marching forward every second and we have to make every moment count. It was truly agonizing for me to learn of this because I've reached the point where I just want time to stop; I'm perfectly happy with where I am and my family are in life.

A long life is something we all desire (well, all of us that aren't suffering from feelings of depression anyway) but no matter how long we can make our lives be, it will still come to a dreadful end. And how dreadful it is when you think about it! Eventually, we'll all face a fate that I don't think any of us are ready for. None of us on planet Earth have been dead before except for the very few people that went through some sort of near-death experience. They may recall what it feels like to die, but even then we can't rely on their accounts of what happens because technically they haven't been truly dead yet.

I think my mental health medicines really worked me over. Instead of having suicidal thoughts, I've been afraid of death like it was a corona virus plague. Being dead scares me, and the process of dying scares me even more. Who's to say we aren't eternally trapped in suffocating blackness when we die? We'll be taking our last breaths after all. What does it feel like to slowly lose our senses over our bodies? At best there is an afterlife, but what if there isn't? Hopefully death feels like an eternal slumber if there is nothing that comes after death.

This lengthy blog post doesn't have to come to a grim end. I've learned a lesson from all my overthinking over this matter. For now I keep all these terrible thoughts buried away by keeping busy, and by keeping my Faith. At least these thoughts have motivated me to live my best life while I still possibly can. Be good to others, be great in what I do. I still think life would be so much more fun if it didn't have a deadline, but it does so we might as well enjoy it to the fullest while we still can.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Other: Rest in Peace, Lulu

About a year ago I wrote a blog post about the growth of my girlfriend's desk cactus. Seeing it grow was quite the journey. Sadly, the crested bunny ears cactus -- affectionately called Lulu -- has finally perished. I know this isn't a big deal for most people because it's just a plant, but I'm a sentimental guy so even the smallest of goodbyes mean a whole lot to me. I intended to write this within the week I heard the news of Lulu's departure but I wasn't able to find the time except for now.

One of Lulu's ears fell off :(
After Lulu's ear fell off, the rest of her started to crumble away. It seems cacti of this species has a lifespan of about a couple of years. My girlfriend isn't neglectful when it comes to taking care of Lulu. She watered the cactus every day she was at the office so this isn't a case of mistreatment. Nevertheless, Lulu's time has finally come. She had a special way of brightening up the office with her light shade of green. We may replace Lulu with a different cactus but that doesn't mean we will forget the uniqueness of Lulu.

March 2018 - December 2019

Friday, January 10, 2020

Travel: MERALCO Christmas Lights

If you're looking for a nice place to visit in the holidays that's absolutely free then you've come to the right place. The holidays are over but it's still nice to keep in mind this one place for future plans.

The headquarters of MERALCO in Ortigas opens its doors to all visitors during the holiday weeks. The electric giant has been doing this for several years now. There are numerous attractions in the area to bedazzle the whole family, the largest one being the light show that plays over the facade of the main building. This plays every 30 mins starting at 6:00 PM and ends at 11:00 PM, I believe.

Apart from this, there's also this giant sculpture of Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and baby Jesus made out of copper wires. This attraction is always on display every time MERALCO lets visitors in.

There's also a small train that annually chugs along a small railway, but when we visited it this year it was broken so I didn't take any photos of that.

Another attraction that's great to have a selfie with is the Tunnel of Light. I believe this attraction is new.

And there are a plethora of other attractions and light spectacles.

I wasn't able to take any pictures of the food stalls but they also have a small Bancheto-like area in the vicinity so if you want some snacks during your leisurely stroll with your loved ones you can go right ahead and get some.

I wouldn't say MERALCO's headquarters is the best place ever to spend your holidays in, but it's free and nothing beats the low low price of $0. Touring the entire place takes more or less an hour. I recommend making the MERALCO headquarters one of many Christmas light displays to check out in Metro Manila during the holidays when other buildings and offices are also showing off beautiful light shows like the Ayala Triangle.

What other places nearby do you know are also letting in tourists for free during the holidays? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below :) Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Reflection: 2020 New Year Essay

Almost everyone has been posting their end-of-the-year essays on social media so I thought I'd write my own even if it's a couple of days late. If you're one of the people who wrote about their experiences with 2019 then chances are I've seen your essay on my news feed. I've noticed that depending on who you ask, 2019 was either a good year or a bad year. It was a good year for those who were able to achieve great things within the year, and it was a bad year for others because they lost loved ones. My condolences goes out to those who lost their loved ones in the last year.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, 2019 for me was a year that was full of ups and downs. So much so that the ups and downs balance each other out. That's not entirely true. What I said was a very broad generalization that doesn't even begin to cover what I've witnessed in 2019.

I've experienced hurt, joy, depression, anxiety, love, stability, instability, freedom and a dreadful feeling of oppression in 2019. Not necessarily in that order. The highlight of my year happened around August, ironically when I was sent to the psych ward. While others would call that a bad event in my life, I actually think that it was a blessing. Not only was I able to curb my awful behaviors stemming out from my deteriorated mental health after I got out of the psych ward, but I was also able to meet people just like me who showed me I'm not alone during my time in it.

My lowest point in the year happened prior to my incarceration in the psych ward. I blame my troubled mental health for causing such misery on my part despite being fortunate enough to be financially stable. I was seeing everything through dark-tinted lenses; it was so difficult for me to look at the bright side of things because I couldn't see any bright sides at all.

If I was to graph my experience with this year, I would say that the months of January-May are tumultuous but generally reaching very high and very low points, while the days from June-July is my lowest point, and then the days from July-August are the highest point. The rest of the year sort of plateaus in the middle.

Despite all this, I can fortunately say that 2019 has been a year to remember happily for me. The more I think about it objectively, the more I look at the year in hindsight through the pictures and videos stored in my Google Photos account, the more I see that there are far more good things that happened that outweigh the bad. I'm thankful for all the great things that happened and I hope that more great things will come in 2020!

A Happy New Year smile from me, my mother, and my sister! :)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Food: Buttery Coffee Recipe

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year this 2020! :) It's the start of a new year. And also the start of a new decade. Everyone has their own experiences regarding 2019. Some people didn't have a great 2019 while others fortunately fared better. For me, it was a year that was full of ups and downs that kind of balances out each other. For this blog post, I'm going to share with you a delicious new drink that I learned about in 2019.

I've always been a huge coffee fan for as long as I can remember. I normally like my coffee with lots of milk, making my favorite cup a flat white. That doesn't mean I'm the kind of person to shy away from trying out unusual concoctions. Inspired by the Keto-friendly Bulletproof Coffee recipe, I've devised my own coffee mixture dubbed Buttery Coffee.

Now, butter coffee isn't new. There are dozens of different recipes online but what makes my recipe different is it's more delicious than the rest because the recipe below contains sugar as a sweetener, which butter coffee traditionally doesn't have. Some say that defeats the purpose of butter coffee, which is meant to be a healthy alternative that avoids carbs and sugar, but I'm creating butter coffee not for health's sake, but more for the taste buds' sake.

Without further ado, here are the things you'll need for a delicious cup of butter coffee:

1 cup of hot brewed coffee
1 spoonful of Ghee or 1 spoonful of Butter
1 spoonful of Coconut oil
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
1 large spill-proof thermos

All you need to do is to combine all the ingredients into the thermos, and then shake violently for a couple of minutes. Once done, pour out the contents of the thermos into a cup and it should look like this:

Notice the small layer of foam on top of the cup. That means the ingredients mixed well together.
I really like making butter coffee because it has such a unique taste and texture to it that hits the spot unlike all other coffee concoctions I've tried thus far. The brown sugar added to the average butter coffee recipe really makes it such a sweet treat, kind of like a liquid cupcake in a, well... cup.

I hope to one day make Butter Coffee for you, dear reader. Sometimes I picture myself owning a lemonade stand, but instead of lemonade, I'm pouring out Butter Coffee for customers.

For those of you that have tried Butter Coffee, what do you think of the drink? Are there other unconventional coffee mixtures you've tried that are just as good? As always please feel free to leave a comment below :) Thank you for reading my blog post and once again, have a Happy New Year!