Saturday, December 31, 2011


reposted from 

"There's actually very little secret to success: just put in the work." 
Junyong Pak, Winner of World's Toughest Mudder 2011


Recently I started keeping tabs on how much I spend, how much food I eat, and how much I workout. The most important part of this log is that it helps me to be aware. Developing awareness is the foundation for fitness, and it is the first step to behavioral change.

Many times, we become aware when it's too late. To be aware, you need to be intentional. You cannot be lazy and have to take the time to form this habit. Over time, your decisions will be influenced by this awareness:

"Do I have the disposable income to spend on coffee / eating out / new toy?"
"Can I still feel great if I eat this?"
"Given my other priorities, do I have time to watch another movie?"

Be aware. Be fully present. Be engaged.

FOD 2011.12.31

Late post from New Year's Eve. The FOD posts won't be as regular as I hoped. I need to find an easier way to transcribe everything. It gets a bit depressing having to log everything, since I eat quite often. But maybe that's the point - awareness. And increased awareness influences behavior. While my ultimate decisions may not always be optimal, my decisions are becoming more informed and less naive. Progress :)

- 2 Crackers (pre-workout :P)

- Vega Protein Shake + Recovery Accelerator (post-workout)
- 1500mg Omega 3 (NutraSea)
- Multivitamin

- 1 Chicken thigh
- 3 eggs (2 egg yolk) + salsa
- 1 cup of French Vanilla yogurt :)
(this was definitely too much ... I could have done without either the chicken or the eggs)

- Pickles (2)
- Banana
(random snack)

- Coffee (Tall Pike)

- Family dinner (lettuce wrap + meat :D)
(feel quite full - tendency to overeat with tasty foods, especially if they contain sodium)

WOD 2011.12.31

11:00 @ CrossFit Markham

30 mins of Dodgeball :)

- Then -

20:12 min AMRAP
- 20 KB Cleans (L) (55#)
- 12 KB Swings (55#)
- 20 KB Cleans (R) (55#)
- 12 Push-ups
- 20 Toes to Bar
- 12 Burpees
(Completed 2 Rounds + 12 KB Swings)

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

WOD 2011.12.28

1. late post - Wednesday's WOD, workout of the day
2. new design inspired by: crazy people

Front squats
- 185 lbs x 5
- 185 lbs x 5
- 185 lbs x 5
For Time:
- 100 Power Cleans (95 lbs - could not do RX weight - 135 lbs)
- 4 burpees EMOM (every minute on the minute)
(took ~20 mins. left wrist still injured)

Snowboarding @ Dagmar :)
(lesson: waterproof gloves / gear is key - especially with temperatures around -15 C)

Run (4 x 1 mile)
- Each mile was around 8-9 minutes, on snow-covered sidewalks / roads
- Distance is approximate
- Started the run every 10 minutes

Heart's Desire: The Courage to Lead

FOD 2011.12.30

- 2 eggs
- rice noodles + fish balls + sodium infused soup base :P

- dad's famous noodles :)

- Coffee (Starbucks, Tall Pike - black ... as always)

- 1 chicken thigh
- napa
- multivitamin (Progressive)
- 1500mg Omega 3 (NutraSea)

23:45 @ Timmy's
- 1/2 bagel (Cinnamon French Toast) with butter
- medium coffee (black)

*FOD: Food of the Day

Friday, December 16, 2011


The snatch requires incredible intensity and focus. While running helps calm me over the course of an hour or so, the snatch clears my mind in an instant! Too bad my wrist is currently out of commission :(

My morning commute took about 1/2 hour, much less than my typical 1-1.5 hour commute. Toronto's congestion is unbelievable! Waking up early though is awesome :)

Finding time for reading the Bible has been tough. A friend suggested doing it during lunch break (I usually take my lunch and eat at my desk). A stroke of genius!

While I still have a wrist injury (I think I overdid it earlier this week on my snatches), I still had a pretty good workout today at CrossFit Markham. My workout looked something like this:
2 Rounds
27 Box Jumps (24")
27 Front Squats (35#) - instead of the wall ball shots
- Then -
10 min rest <-- My favorite part of the workout :)
- Then -
10 min AMRAP
3 Deadlifts at 80% 1 RM = 225 lbs (okay, I'm weak, I get it...)
7 Ring Pull-Ups - instead of ring dips
(Apparently, my dad - a physio - told me not to do any movements that would aggravate my wrist, especially any pushing ... pulling was okay. Foolishly, I did handstand push-ups, "heavy" cleans, and more snatches. The next day, I wished I took the advice.)
- Part way through the AMRAP (i.e. after the first round) -
Quit / bail (Pain from deadlifts! Should have listened to my dad)
Continued with 5-7 Kipping Ring Pull-Ups every minute on the minute for about 10 mins
- Then -
2x10 GHD Sit-ups
2x10 Reverse Hype
- Then -
2k row (attempt) <-- bailed around 700m
500m of just rowing
While this looks like a lot of text, it really is just a lot of bailing :P Nevertheless, it's here for the record. Over time, I hope to quit less. To have greater staying power and to persevere, nevertheless.

Warrior Poets

"In the year of our Lord 1314, patriots of Scotland, starving and outnumbered, charged the fields of Bannockburn. They fought like warrior poets. They fought like Scotsmen and won their freedom. Forever."
- William Wallace (Braveheart)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Waffles and Spaghetti

I heard Bill and Pam Farrel talk this morning on Focus on the Family about the differences between men and women. The introduction began with something along the lines of:
Bill: Some women can't believe men think about nothing. They would ask, "Hunny, what are you thinking about?" "Nothing." "You have to be thinking about something." And then we would be forced to lie! All the men here know that it is possible to be thinking about absolutely ... nothing! [chuckles]
Their analogy was that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti. First, I will make the disclaimer that they did. This is an oversimplification, and much of how we think and interact depend not only on our "hardwiring", but also on our upbringing, personality, and maturity.

Now back to waffles and spaghetti.

Men are like waffles. Our lives are broken up into all these tiny boxes. We have a "work" box, "watching TV" box, "working out" box, "relationship / listening" box, and so on.

Women are like spaghetti. All of their seemingly unrelated thought are connected somehow. Like the spaghetti, multiple dimensions of their lives are emotionally connected.

Here's a link to Part 1 of the broadcast (click here).

I found this analogy helpful in learning how to relate to my future wife and women in general. The most helpful thing for me was learning that I shouldn't be in a "work" (or "workout") box, when a woman needs me to be in a "relationship / listening" box - when I should just listen, and not try to solve a situation.

Generalizing, in pursuit of relational fitness (a subset of emotional fitness), we need to understand each other's unique personalities and how we communicate. Our "natural" instincts and responses are not always the wisest.

What are your thoughts on men and women?

How do you relate to others (men or women) with different ways of thinking?

How does this apply in your current context? (home, work, friends, relationships)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rediscovering smiles: Finding joy inexpressible

A lot has happened recently. Relational stress, demands from work, and uncertainty were among the "excitement" in life that dulled my smile.

Situations that bring difficulty. Trials. The "storms of life". We can face them and let God use them to help us become more like Him. Or we can run away. I ran away.

It's important to know when you should fight and when you should run. Whether a situation is challenging, or toxic. You usually realize after the fact whether your decision to fight / run was the right one.

For me, my situation was toxic and I had to run. Looking back, I can't help but smile :) While it was a hard decision at the time, I've been more at peace. I've been able to focus more on work, invest in my family, serve at church, and connect more freely with others. Most importantly, I've been smiling more freely.

I find the smile that flows from an inner peace comes from a man or woman living according to their conviction. Living honestly is sometimes painful, but it's good. I know life won't be always full of smiles, nor do I think we must always smile and be happy. Rather, I pursue an inexpressible joy that even expresses itself through tears (Wait ... then it wouldn't be inexpressible, would it?! Whatever, you get the point!)

"and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory" 1 Peter 1:8

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mending a broken heart

My Vibrams had a small little cut, which grew larger over time. Today, I decided to sew it up (even in the low-res image, you can see where the cut is because of my amateur sewing skills). I don't usually sew - at most once a year. And I realized how tough sewing can be.

Sewing requires patience. And even after patching it up, it is still a patch job - it is not the original.

The human heart is similar. We can try fixing what was once broken. But even then, there will be scars, remnants of the pain.

To heal a broken heart, you may need something more than just patch jobs. You need a new heart. Well, I suppose it is your mind and not your heart that feels all this. So more correctly, you need to "renew your mind" (Romans 12:2).

I have found my human efforts only take me so far. True renewal. True change. Treating the root causes, and not just the symptoms. Perhaps these require something supernatural. A divine intervention, if you will.

Fitness is the ability to do what you want to do (or what you were made to do). Perhaps the pursuit of fitness begins with the pursuit of God, or something deeper than going to the gym, hitting the books, or listening to motivational speakers.

Indeed, what we do flows from who we are.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Poor nutrition

  • Drank coffee today ... 2 cups in the morning, 1 cup in the afternoon, and a short double long Americano in the evening
  • Need to stop stress-eating at work (I'm talking to you, Chocolate Chip Muffin!)
  • Gave in to Popeye's Friday special: Popcorn Shrimp, only to realize that it is mostly batter. Palette experienced instant gratification, body paying the interest on the "cash advance"
  • Injured wrist / forearm - probably from lifting without warming up
  • Oh well, I'll just use the weekend to get off coffee. I need to get continue waking up early and find a way to get some exercise in the morning - perhaps a light run in the crisp air.
  • Had Vega for breakfast and as an afternoon snack :) I can feel the difference quality nutrition makes
  • Went to CrossFit today and had so much fun, even though I came in feeling drained
  • My smile is returning =)

Thursday, December 8, 2011


On my way home from work, I usually listen to the radio. For the first 1/2 hour back home, I left it off, listening to the traffic, city life, and my own thoughts. I feel drawn to the silence. No noise. No phone calls. No nothing. Just me. My thoughts. And God.

The whole day wasn't like this though. Serenity was the last thing that came to mind. Stress continued to escalate throughout the day, along with the coffee consumption (btw, I'm going to stop drinking coffee). I felt the stress and the caffeine during my workout after work. While I did get a decent workout, it was short and a bit slower than usual. Nevertheless, it was fun :)

I'm in McDonald's right now, eating a Filet O Fish Meal - yea that's right! Vegan all day until now :) And no regrets :) In the midst of everything going on, I have found a bit of calm, peace, and joy.

The Work-Life Balance

I recently started a new job. My morning commute ranges from 1-1.5 hours (30-40 mins if I leave super early in the morning). With the long commute (and the associated stress from traffic) and the daily demands from work, I find it hard to stay sane. Especially the past few weeks, I found myself more irritable, losing my patience, frustrated, ...., and ultimately, just plain selfish.

This stress has affected every area of my life, including family, relationships, and my spiritual life. I thought I would be immune to it all and could smile my way through life. Turns out that the pursuit of happiness is not immune to life's harsh realities.

I cannot change my current work situation, but I am starting to discover (and rediscover) how I can change my mind (renewing my mind, Romans 12:1-2). Physical health plays a key role in my mental and emotional well-being. To illustrate, here's a reflection from today.
I was tired and stressed from work and relationships. I've been coming home the past few days, caring for no one else other than myself. I was selfish and grumpy. Today was no exception. Before heading to my company's Christmas party that evening, I decided to head to the gym. I didn't have much time so I figured I would do Fran. While I had a slow time (12:21), I was working so hard during the workout that I didn't have the mental space to think about my work or relational stress. I took a refreshing shower and sat meditatively in the steam room. My thoughts were clearing and the storms in my heart were passing. I arrived at the party excited and full of energy. Even though I knew working out would help, I didn't really know. 4-Dimensional Fitness is much more important than I had imagined. I have been spending so much time on one area of fitness and neglected the other dimensions of my life. Each area of my life is just as important. Body. Mind. Heart. Spirit. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Keller on Marriage

The Christian view of marriage, presented by Tim Keller @ Google. My favorite quote: "The purpose of marriage is deep character change through deep friendship." I still have much to learn.