Archive for the ‘Martial Arts’ Category

Healthy choices when you’re on the go and need to stay fueled

July 2, 2013 Leave a comment

Fruit ‘n Yogurt – delicious!

Breakfast Woes

This morning I unexpectedly had to come into work early, so I did not have my usual breakfast at home. One bad habit of mine is driving by the local gas station and stopping in for a breakfast taco. Sounds weird, right? Believe it or not, the local Stripes convenience stores have staff who make hot, fresh, made to order breakfast tacos that are delicious. But, they’re not exactly diet-friendly, for so many reasons.

My usual go to breakfast includes the following:

  • 1 large egg + 7 egg whites, scrambled and topped with a little bit of shredded cheese and picante sauce (my favorite is Pace Extra Mild)
  • 1 packet plain Quaker oatmeal, with sweetener

The above nets about 350 calories, 8 grams of fat and 35 grams of protein. Sure, there are carbs (about 20 grams, for those counting), but if you work out more than 90 minutes a day, you need some to keep your energy levels up. I watch my carb intake, but I’m not overly concerned about it for the most part. When I was keeping a much stricter eye on them, I was having issues with my energy levels when I’d get to martial arts classes later in the day. Once I eased up on the strict carb intake, I had more energy to burn.

That’s just what works for me though; your energy needs may be different from mine.

So, back to the problem I had… what choices can I pick up that won’t throw me off the rest of the day? We talked about tacos, which aren’t really an option. There’s other restaurants around like Burger King, Subway, and Jack in the Box. Who had the best healthy choice this morning?

Believe it or not, it was McDonald’s.

Their new Egg White Delight consists of a whole grain English muffin, egg whites, white cheddar cheese, and the usual Canadian bacon. Total damage: 250 calories, 7 grams of fat, 18 g of protein, and 32 grams of carbs. The hash browns are loaded with the bad stuff, so what’s an alternative side?

Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait (without granola) to the rescue!

At 120 calories, 4 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of Fat, and 24 grams of carbs, it’s the perfect sweet treat to satisfy.

A decent healthy breakfast at 370 calories is a great way to start the day.

Protein Bars and Shakes

I do strength training throughout the week, both in class and out. It’s important for women especially to build good muscle. I know a lot of females shy away from it because they don’t want to bulk up. The fact of the matter is, unless you’re eating 5000 calories a day and power lifting constantly, you will not bulk up.

The old argument that I’ve heard thousands of times is a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. If you look at strictly what a pound is, then yes it does. A pound of something is a pound of something is a pound of something. However, a pound of muscle is way more dense than a pound of fat and takes up much less room. So take two women who weigh about 160 lbs and are about the same height. One of them strength trains and has put on muscle, and the other does not. Guess which one looks leaner and more toned?

To stave off the soreness that can happen with strength training, I’ve been increasing my protein intake in the foods that I eat. I also partake in protein bars and shakes in between meals to supplement my diet and keep me from dying of the hunger.

You have to be careful with bars and shakes. Some of them are considered meal replacements. Sure they have 20 g of protein, but are also a staggering 370 calories a pop!

The downside to bars and shakes is that they can get a bit pricy, but unfortunately in this country, it’s cheaper to eat bad things than good.

Two options that I recommend:

Quest Protein bars (I like the Chocolate Brownie one):

Quest Bars nutritional information

Pretty decent for 170 calories, 6 grams of fat and 1 gram of sugar, yeah?

And then there’s the EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control line of protein shakes:

These particular shakes are great because they top out at 110 calories (depending on flavor), 3 grams of carbs, and 17 grams of protein. And they taste great. My favorite is the Rich Dark Chocolate. Plus, they’re pretty inexpensive, relatively speaking. A pack of 4 will run you a little under 5 bucks at Wal Mart. I make sure to drink one of these at maximum a half hour after training to help the muscles recuperate and limit soreness.

So there you have it; my little spiel on nutrition. As always, I’m still on the journey to health and swole, but I can definitely say that I’ve been seeing great results with adopting a healthier eating style and having a great fitness program. Martial arts + Yoga/Pilates + strength training keeps me working hard and constantly challenged and motivated.

The hardest part to all this is finding your personal combination of fitness and nutrition so you can stick with it. It’s entirely doable, but it all depends on you.

Happy training!

Why nunchuks can cause you to need a bandaid (funny)

April 2, 2013 Leave a comment

So yeah, some types of Nunchuks are encased in foam, as shown above. But, I have found after a couple months of practicing with them ย for Kung Fu class is even the ones in foam will hurt if you smack yourself upside your head a few times. I did do just that. But, after a while either you get used to getting bonked or you get better and don’t hit yourself. Takes lots of practice.

And so, here is a guy getting his practice on in a very public way. He should be honored; he got an amazing commentary to his practice without even realizing it!

Categories: Martial Arts Tags: , ,

DVD recommendation: Ip Man (also on Netflix streaming)

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

If you haven’t seen this martial arts film, I recommend it. Beware though, it can get quite violent.

From IMDB:

A semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun.

Set during the Japanese occupation of China in the early 20th century, Ip Man is a renowned martial arts master, content to quietly live with his wife and child. However, when the Japanese army brutally tortures and kills his friends and neighbors, he’s forced to act.

In later years, he would be known as an early teacher of Bruce Lee, showing him the ways of the Wing Chun style of martial arts developed in Southern China. It’s a very powerful movie, and Donnie Yen (Ip Man) has to have some of the fastest fists around.

I managed to find a trailer that didn’t spoil the entire story. The voiceover narration is pretty lame, but otherwise it’s a good trailer. Enjoy:

Movie recommendation – In Bruges/ some updates

November 5, 2012 7 comments

This is a flick from a few years back that I managed to catch on cable over the weekend. Starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, it’s the story of a couple of hitmen who pull off a job in London and are forced to flee by their boss (Ralph Fiennes) to a town called Bruges in Belgium. It’s a comedy, but probably one of the darkest I’ve ever seen.

It’s a nice change to see Farrell using his Irish accent again in a role. He just seems more relaxed being the Irishman that he is. Gleeson is amazing and plays the multitude of emotions the decisions his character gets forced into with such power that I felt almost shattered by the end of the movie. I won’t give any of it away, but his scenes really got to me. Check it out if so inclined:

In other news, I’m testing for my brown belt this week. Translation: every night I will walk into the house a shadow of my former self from a few hours before. It’s a very intense time in all the classes. For our part (higher belt rankings), we have to test on one full Kung Fu form, one weapons form (this quarter it’s the Fan), and then something like 8 combinations in Krav Maga. It gets difficult, but also gives me a sense of accomplishment to know that I got those forms down. When it gets time for black belt testing, all of those forms will be evaluated, so you have to remember then and get them down so well that it all ends up almost muscle memory in a way. I find it challenging, and that’s why I like it so much.

School is still in session, and I have about 3 presentations plus a final before it’s all over and done with. It’s funny how it works; one class gets really hard at the beginning of the semester with lots of homework and quizzes, and the other is pretty tame. After midterms, the ambiance changes, and the laid back class suddenly involves a lot of group work, papers, and presentations, and the other one gets laid back.

So, if you’re thinking about grad school, remember this one piece of advice: get used to the idea of group presentations.

Best wishes to those who are still suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Updates/ an awesome cake recipe

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Normally I don’t have much issue getting my posts uploaded. However, the last few weeks it’s been tough because the host wasn’t working right. So, I’ve been a bit behind.

Updates: Well, I started running again. I feel like I should start entering some races here and there in a couple months once I get my time back up to speed. Winter’s the nicest time to run down here because it can get a wee bit chilly, but not for long. Plus, it is part of the black belt test at my school, so I need to get my stamina, endurance and speed ready in preparation.

Second update: Back in school again. This time around, I’m taking a cryptography class. It’s pretty interesting, but involves a lot of linear algebra. I haven’t seen that stuff for years, so here I am relearning what I had already unlearned, so to speak.

I haven’t been cooking much lately, although I did make this wonderful chocolate turtle cake recipe from Betty Crocker. I highly recommend it. A couple of recommendations: Go easy on the caramel sauce, and I don’t really think you need the extra chopped turtles in the middle. Here’s why:

See how the caramel sauce pools at the bottom in my version (above photo)? Not cool, compared to the picture on the Betty Crocker website:

The right way to do caramel. Isn’t that pretty?

I’m trying to be a good little warrior, so I made the cake for my nephew’s birthday party and left the remains at my mother’s house. It was hard not thinking about the goodness later with a glass of milk, but it had to be done. I recommend it for holiday gatherings, or any time you feel like having some awesome chocolate cake. It’s not overly sweet, and you can even use sugar free turtles for the topping without anyone really noticing. That is, unless you know folks sensitive to Splenda.

Interesting that a rich chocolate cake and words about fitness make it onto the same post somehow, but that’s how I do things sometimes ๐Ÿ˜‰

I like how the dulce de leche blends well with the frosting and doesn’t overpower the overall flavor of the cake. Plus, using semisweet chocolate chips and a wee teaspoon of coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor without too much sweetness.

Steel Leg Stretcher. Why would I buy something like this?

August 8, 2012 Leave a comment

This is what it looks like:

Increasing flexibility is the goal

When I was a kid, I was pretty flexible, and doing center splits were no problem. Fast forward more than a few years later, and it’s not as easy toย  have that amount of flexibility, even with regular sessions of yoga thrown into the mix. To aid in my goal of getting all the way down to the mat and increased range of motion in kicks, I bought a leg stretcher. The high end ones start at 150 dollars and up, but as I’m merely road testing them at this point, I got one on Amazon made by Tiger Claw for about 20 bucks. It’s identical to the above picture.

I’ll post a review when I try it out. Hopefully it will be a positive experience ๐Ÿ™‚

Hydration and its importance in an intense workout

June 8, 2012 Leave a comment

As you know, we’re in the tail end of spring. Springtime in South Texas has a nasty habit of combining 100% humidity with high temperatures, so as you’re walking to and from anywhere, you could very possibly be drenched in sweat. I’m a native to these parts, but it never gets easier. I think the older I get the more I complain about it, but that stands to reason, I suppose.

I take classes in the early evening at a martial arts dojo, usually two back to back at a time. For example, one day it can be Kickboxing then Kung Fu, or Kickboxing then Krav Maga. Think about a situation where the thermostat reads about 78 degrees in a room, only there’s about 40-50 folks in that room and they’re working out with much intensity. Stands to reason it gets really hot, right? You’re absolutely correct, it does.

That being said, it’s very important to keep hydrated before, during, and after class. I learned this the hard way recently, as I had a few bouts of dizziness during the workouts. I didn’t even realize that my fluid intake could have even been the problem until our instructor reminded us about increasing hydration levels to stay on point. So, instead of taking a 32 oz bottle of water, I take a half gallon jug and an extra bottle of Powerade to sip on occasionally. No more dizzies, and I’m getting electrolytes, which is what plants crave (just kidding):

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