Tag Archive: cleanse

Cleansing Korean Kettlebells

All week I have been reeling from the cleanse kit.  It makes it hard to key up 2 hours of sitting in a forest of stationary bikes when you might need to sprint for the bathroom at any moment.  All week long.  The cramps have gone away, but I am a powderkeg.  Well, maybe a poo-derkeg!  See what I did there?

I wanted to cheer myself up, but didn’t know how to treat myself.  Then I noticed all the Korean restaurants close to my office building!  If you have never had Korean (it gets lost in the shuffle of exotic foods sometimes, living in the shadow of Chinese and Indian and sushi), you should try it!  I spent a few weeks in Seoul way back when I was travelling and needed somewhere to crash while I applied for a working visa to Japan, and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the cuisine.

Korean food tends to very colorful, spicy, with a variety of foods in moderate amounts.  A traditional, formal dinner might consist of dozens of small dishes with multiple kinds of foods.  This tends to help with the portion control.  Meat isn’t the dominating feature of the meal, just another supporting piece.  Veggies tend to take center stage, even over the rice.  Cooking methods don’t involve a lot of frying in general.  Not a lot of heavy high-calorie sauces either.  Not that you can’t stuff yourself with fried foods, rice and beef if you really want to, but it doesn’t dominate the menu the way it does when you go for Chinese.  Although, to be fair, those Chinese menus got that way because they know that’s what us Westerners want.  Authentic Chinese food can be much more light.  Yet still, you don’t get as much pandering on a Korean menu – they stick to the rustic and traditional.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than by Korea’s national dish:  kimchi.  Fermented spicy cabbage, basically.


Low-fat, high-fibre, chock full of vitamins, probiotic, what’s not to admire about it?  People get scared by the description, but it really is a superfood.  Koreans love it to death, they don’t even mind eating it for breakfast (I told my hosts in Seoul I love kimchi, and I got a big bowl of it at 7 am the next day, haha)!  They even had a museum in the city devoted to its history and all of the seasonal varieties, free samples at the end of the tour.  To my limited understanding, they pack the veggies and spices in pots and bury them in the ground for a while.  tada, kimchi.  Whenever I go to a Koerean resto, I always order some extra on the side, it cleanses the palate nicely.

So I ordered some bibimbap on Friday, its like a stone bowl full of seasonal veggies and a scoop of rice, some pork, topped with an egg, laced with chili sauce, served sizzling hot like a plate of fajitas.  Some cold veggies on the side (and kimchi!), and a pair of solid steel chopsticks and a long handle spoon (some of the rice bakes to the side of the bowl).

my bibimbap

my bibimbap

I might have been tempting fate by eating spicy fermented cabbage while on a cleanse, but I figured my depleted tummy needed probiotic food more than ever.  We shall speak no more if it!


After work I headed to the studio for a kettlebell workout with Leslie.  I soon realized that putting your new gym shirt in the dryer is a bad idea!  So yeah, out of respect for everyone else in the gym, out of respect for you my dear readers, and in recognition of the shreds of my own self-respect, I threw another shirt on.

shameless plug!

shameless plug!

Looking at that pic, it is clear which shoulder was the one that had been sprained.

We cycled back and forth between 4 exercises, and finished it off with a suitcase carry.


First circuit:

Kettlebell Swings 45×20 then 1 arm row 35×15 then Clean & Press 60×12, run through this circuit three times

rows done while in a lunge

rows done while in a lunge

the clean tends to bang up the back of your wrists

the clean tends to bang up the back of your wrists

Second circuit:  Goblet Squat to Press 40×15 then Pushups x10, run this circuit 3 times

pushups off the kettlebells

pushups off the kettlebells

notes:  by the second circuit I was feeling a little pooped, but hey.  Good times.

Finisher:  carry a 100 lb dumbbell in one hand while you walk for approx 30 seconds, 2 sets

Les trying to snap a pic without having to lift it off the rack, haha

Les trying to snap a pic without having to lift it off the rack, haha


notes:  Les was going to get me to use a kettlebell, but they only went up to 50 lbs, so I rolled my eyes and said let’s use the 100 DBs instead.  This is to work your core – you try to walk normally, compensating for the weight without overcompensating and bending in the other direction.  I held it for about 30-35 seconds, at that point my grip was starting to go, so it obviously is a workout for your forearms too, as long as you keep trying to squeeze the handle instead of just using your hands as hooks.


And that was Friday!  Then I went home and crapped my pants.  Every story needs a good BUTTON to it.

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Y’all come back now, y’hear?


I Choose

Lately, I have been having problems with my motivation.  I just don’t feel connected, mind to body.  When the mind and body are connected in your fitness goals, you feel “hungry” for success – you get excited at the thought of passing on that cookie, working out, pressing weight, making your heart beat faster.  Your mind tells your body what to do, your body does it, and your mind feels pleased.  Noone starts out with that connection, you have to force yourself to eat healthy and work out, and once you see the good results, you build that loop of events into your brain that makes you crave more success.  It is a way of staying focused.

I felt that connection, briefly, in November.  I was tired, doing the yoga challenge, pushing weight, but it MADE SENSE.  I could see the big picture.

Since coming back from Christmas, I have not felt that connection.  The new diet sucks, not enough carbs.  The work out is painful, ugh circuit training.  My energy has gone downhill most days at work.  I have felt less happy in general.  My sleep has started to suffer, I toss and turn a lot.  My appetite started to suffer, Leslie was looking at my food journal and saying I now eat less than her… a woman half my size in the middle of a cut for a fitness competition.  Food had been starting to lose its taste, between Thursday and Friday last week I had to throw out 4 meals halfway through because they didn’t TASTE like anything.  The diet feels like punishment, the workouts feel like punishment.  Am I depressed?

Part of me wonders if this is just a phase, like I need to adapt.  Part of me wonders if I am not maybe just reacting to life stress, and the fitness stuff is just an optional kick in the crotch while I am trying to find my balance.  I don’t feel BALANCED any more.  Am I depressed and my body is shutting down in response, or is my body shutting down and it’s making me depressed??

I have started to play around with my supplements.  I had been taking ZMA before bed, and I moved it to first thing in the morning.  Since I did that, I toss and turn less.  Can ZMA hurt your sleep?  It is supposed to HELP you sleep, and yet here I am, finding the opposite is the case.  But it feels better in the morning for me, so I switched.

Friday I did a kettlebell workout with Leslie.  Well, she saw how exhausted and strung out I was and instead she just had me try a variety of kettlebell exercises, so that she could string them together into a circuit for me.  It was like going through the motions.  I didn’t take pictures, I didn’t want to commemorate the moment.  And yet, by the end of the work, I actually felt more light-hearted, like for some reason swinging and pushing the kettlebells made me feel happy for a second.  Like the endorphin rush was a reward for me.

I thought about what was going on, all weekend.  I wanted to pick something I wanted to do, and then do it.  I wanted to reward myself and build that loop back in.

I had been thinking about signing up for the annual spinathon again.  Every year, the Goodlife gym chain here in town sponsors an 8 hour marathon of Spin classes back to back.  People come in and spin a ton, raise money for charity (Goodlife Kids Foundation) and have a good time.  I did it last March, I did 7 spin classes – spun for 7 hours, the whole routine over and over… races, intervals, mixed terrain, standing climbs, jumps.  I walked away from that feeling like I had blown myself away, like I did something I didn’t think I could do in my wildest dreams.  I decided to just keep going as long as I could and I had never spun for more than 2 hours and I did 7 and it blew me away!  That was the day I realized I had been selling myself short.

I wanted that feeling back.  So I have committed to doing the 2013 Spin4Kids Spinathon in March, and seeing if I can spin for 8 hours straight!!  I chose to do something about the funk I was in, and pick a challenge to serve as my compass point.

Sunday I headed out and did 2 spin classes in a row, the first time I had done that in probably 8 months.  My right ankle hurt a bit, but it felt REALLY GOOD.  I felt good about it.

I walked out of the gym on Sunday wondering if I needed to keep shaking the funk loose.  I went to the natural foods store and bought a 30 day cleanse kit.  Started taking it Sunday night.

Monday (today) the cleanse kit hit me harder on Day 1 than I ever thought possible.  I won’t get too graphic, but shit got downright APOCALYPTIC.  Signs and omens abounded.  My stomach was sore and cramping from the cleanse, but I still had a Monday workout with Leslie to go to!

I considered just going home after work and letting my guts settle.  Noone would blame me.  And yet.  I chose to go work out anyway, maybe not the wise choice, but it was MY choice.

Same workout as last Monday, lots of core – burpees and renegade rows and leg lifts and stepups and lunges.  My right ankle is still a little tender, and my stomach cramped the whole time.




In the past few days, my sleep has improved, my appetite has improved (except for the cleanse), and I feel a bit better.  Why?  Because I CHOOSE to be better.  I made my mind go look for my body and help it out through this rough patch.  Some weeks it doesn’t come easy, no matter your best intentions.  Some weeks you have to force it to work.  But it’s better than letting it sit and fester.  You have to choose to push yourself, even if you can’t see the goal any more, even after the race is lost.

As you get older, you watch opportunities and potential slip away.  Injuries last longer, some dreams slip away.  You feel less powerful.  Eventually, you realize there is only one real power in this world.  The power to CHOOSE.  You choose what your goals are, and choose to go do them.  You don’t wait for everything to line up, you make your fortune yourself.  The only real power there is in this world is the power of choice.  You can choose to pursue your goals even when you don’t think you can win.  And this week I chose my path all over again.