Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why You Should Stop Drinking Green Tea and Start Drinking Coffee Instead

My colleague gave me some Nescafe coffee to try this morning. She told me her hubby got it from Philippines. Aptly named as Nescafe Protect , it supposedly contains thrice (yes, you read this correctly!) the amount of anti-oxidant than green tea. Wow, sounds too good to be true, you think?

Sniffing at the coffee granules, I was rather disappointed. No nice and strong whiff of coffee beans (try sniffing at Nescafe Gold to see what I mean, or just walk into any coffee joint).
I made myself a cuppa and was pleasantly surprised that it tasted better than I expected. I was expecting a puny cup of black liquid disguised as coffee but surprisingly, it wasn't bad at all (although it was no jaw-dropping, awesome coffee, ok). Add the fact that 1 cup gives you 3X the amount of antioxidant compared to green tea, one better start downing this coffee - hehe.
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Nescafe Protect protects you. Wow, a revolutionary revelation indeed..... ;-)

What On Earth Did They Do To Nescafe 3in1 RICH?

Nescafe 3in1 undergone a revamp not too long ago. Packaging was changed and taste wise, was changed too (supposedly for a new and "improved" taste).
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The new Nescafe 3in1

I do not know what they did to it but I couldn't taste any "improvement" in my favourite coffee premix, Nescafe 3in1 RICH. The new one has "this" scent to it which reminds me of the "Tongkat Ali Coffee Premix". Blech...! Not as good nor as rich as the old version although there's one "improvement" with the new version -it has fewer calories than the old one. *grin*

Give me back my old Nescafe3in1 RICH..............! boo..hoo...
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Nescafe 3in1 (previous version)

PS: I tasted the new Nescafe 3in1 ORIGINAL and I really think that the "old" one was better too.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Shiok Saturday's Marathon

Had another mini GX-class marathon on Saturday, last weekend. This time, I brought 2 friends as guests to The Curve. I used to "drop-by" The Curve on weekends occassionally. After all, it's nice to lounge around the mall after gym for some food and shopping. But then, traffic and parking over the festive holidays became unbearable and I just scrapped the habit altogether.

Anyway, we were there for RPM, BP and then BA. They looked like they enjoyed themselves although for awhile, they were slightly disoriented when the overly-enthusiastic members rushed into the studio for the popular BP class (but hey, isn't that part of this gym culture? *wink*) Kudos to them for finishing the classes though (2 classes for Ann and 2.75 for Danny - hehe).

But darn, why is the air-cond at the main studio so darn cold? Don't remember it being this cold before. And don't get me started on the water pressure in the showers. I was lucky I came out from the shower without blistering my skin from the cold/hot/bloody hot combination in the shower due to inconsistent water pressure.

Proceeded to Rojak Rojak for a cuppa after gym before heading home for family dinner. My SIL makes a mean popiah and boils a superbly good bird nest tonic. ;-)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Be Careful of What You Wished For, It Might Just Come True...

I have been lamenting of the cardio machines at WC forever, particularly the stepper (which is also the only machine that I use since I just do not like the rest). They have been around since the club first opened its doors. Over the years and heavy usage (and probably mis-use too) by members (DISCLAIMER: I am totally innocent with the latter) and the fact that there are only 6 miserable steppers in WC, they became "creaky" and "cranky". Sometimes, they can be embarassingly noisy. Not only that, they are also "literally" real steppers. Step on one and you will feel yourself being "lowered step-by-step" as opposed to one smooth motion, all the way down. Other times, the machine just had a mind of its own when it refused to co-operate with the control panel. *sigh* I lost count of the number of times I complained this to the management and was promised that there will be replacements soon in return (yeah, right..., dream on...)

So imagine my surprise when I literally smelled new machines when I entered the gym at WC last week and further delight when I discovered that there are spanking new cardio machines (i.e., treadmills and steppers) in the gym. The treadmills are similar to the ones at newer branches such as Summit, MA and etc (yes, WC was that "backward") but the steppers are something else. They are of a newer breed never seen before in other branches. With an impressive control panel and build, it looked very "canggih" indeed!

Since I am a fan of steppers, I wasted no time in trying them out. That's when I regretted what I wished for.
Complaint #1: The control panel is just too complicated. I prefer the older version where you could either choose your exercise by the quickstart, manual or pre-set tracks option. This newer ones have just too many mind-baffling buttons and options. And no, I am not a technical idiot.
Complaint #2: The build of the machine. The newer machines are of bigger and more solid build. For the "vertically-challenged" me (yes, it pains me to admit this), I find it uncomfortable to exercise properly on the stepper. The upper hand rest is slightly too high for me to hold on comfortably whereas the lower hand rest is also slightly too wide for me. Purists would say that the best way to utilize the machines is not to use the hand-rest at all, but come on, is one really expected to do that throughout a 40-60 minute workout session on the stepper? Probably yeah, if you turn down the intensity to "tortoise-pace". I am a competitive person when I am on the stepper, the higher the intensity, the better....

So, gone are my old qualms but in its place, is my new rant. Sigh, I am not an easy person to please, I know, but only when it comes to this matter (seriously!). I guess I just have to adapt to the new machines (hopefully, my limbs would somehow magically grow longer - haha). In the meantime, I can't help but to prefer going to other clubs since they have "nicer" and "older" steppers. I wonder what the management would say if I approach them to complain about the new machines and demand for the older ones back??? *duck and hide*

Oh, the irony of life sometimes....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

G(X) New Release Review (BP61, BA56, BS67, RPM34)

Way overdue since this is the 2nd week (or is it the 3rd already) into the newly-launched tracks for G(X) classes. Here are my 2 cents on these new releases:

BodyPump 61
Despite being told that this launch is rather tough (probably just a scare tactic from the instructors), I don't really agree, at least not for all. I like the warm-up track, "Love Changes Everything", nice song although the new combi/repetitions (instead of the standard 4/6/8 could be a bit confusing. Squats track, not tough. It has been pre-warned that there are lots of singles and bottom halves but the bottom halves are just merely 2's and 4's. As for chest track, no push-ups (yay) but the "slow's" (4 repetitions) are tougher than I thought, particularly during the last round. As usual, 8 bottom-halves are rather taxing as well. Still, I managed to increase another 2kg during the last round (after the break). The song is pretty cool too (I'm Not Dead by Pink). Quite hillarious when I overheard some gung-ho's who find the track easy saying "I am not dead, just sleeping" (haha). Back track, 1 of my weakest track. No surprises here although the recently-introduced method of wide-hand-grip and pulling the bar towards the chest especially during the 7-rows are rather taxing. End that with 6 lifts at the end, I could really work out a sweat (particularly when I increased another 2kg for the last 6 lifts). Triceps are not tough but not so easy either thanks to the kick-backs (the singles and upper-half-pulses) but that's the climax. By the time you work with the bar, it's almost like cool-down already. Biceps: short track. Some people commented not liking the song (Original Fire) but strangely, it grew on me. Not very tough. Lots of bottom-halves. Control and good form are the key words here. I've seen a couple of guys loading up for this track (probably were foretold that it's gonna be easy) only to sway/swing their body a lot or to stop frequently during the track. What's the point? Showing off or working hard? Lunges: Step board is back again. Need I say more? Tip: If you find it difficult to balance yourself on the step board, I find that placing the mat over the board and standing on the mat helps. Shoulders: For once, it does not begin with push-ups but you get them at the end. No need to use the bar too. Deceptively easy. Yes, those "mac rise" could be quite a killer. However, those push-ups at the end are unexpectedly easy. Still, shoulders are rather sore after this workout. Abs: Not much comment
Overall: Ok. The new changes found in this release are pretty alright.
Current Weights (for BP61): SQ=32kg, CH=15-17kg, BK=17-19kg, TR=12kg, BI=10kg, LU=22kg (down from 24kg), SH= 2.5kg plates x 2 or 7lbs dumbell x2

BodyAttack 56
I still haven't decided whether I like this release or not. Compared to the previous release, I daresay that this is easier. Not much to say about track 1 and 2. Track 3 has lots of jumping jacks after the "superman" move. Track 4 (1st peak) mimics a volleyball court. I like the beginning of the song. Quite glad that it does not have any power lunges (not my favourite because it's very easy to get injury in power lunges due to the high impact it places on joints). The new "pendulum" move in track 6 is quite fun. Again, quite easy compared to the previous release. Not much to say about track 7, not my favourite. The last 2 power tracks can be pretty challenging. I remember track 8 not having real breaks in between intervals, and as for track 9, well let's just say the last bit with the high knee-ups will surely bring your heart rate to your desired maximum target heart rate zone.
Overall: Not as challenging as the previous release. But with the "right" instructor, all BA classes could be very challenging.

BodyStep 67
Music not bad for this release. I like track 4 and 6 for this release. Something different but yet work you out alright... Particularly track 6, when you thought you are done, there comes another "box step" repetition followed by series of single knee. Tiring! Other than that, track 8 (speed track) feels more like a "party" track with te "cha-chas". Track 9 (power track) is not very inspiring. The upper body conditioning track is rather cute (song: Oh Yeah). If you find this release too easy for you, I suggest adding in a jump whenever you can (and whenever the instructor allows it) and upping the step board level throughout.

I have to admit I don't quite like the songs in this track but the new (and not-so-new) twists added to this release are welcomed (such as the 2 hills in track 2 and the standing climb in track 6 - speed track). I like the song "Pretty Vegas" in track 5 though (did this before in one of the previous release of Body Attack); and the opening (warm-up) track "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" is quite cute too. Other than this, there is no other extremes found in this release. The most challenging being Track 5 (interval) followed by Track 7 (mountain) but these are not that difficult than say, Track 5 (Scream) from Release 32 or Track 7 from Release 30 (Going Insane), or "The Night Train" from Release 26 and another one by Ricky Martin (can't remember song title). Track 4 and 6 are ok if not a little dull, but can't be compared to my favaourites such as Bend and Break (Track 4) and Rise Again (Track 6) from release 32. Hmmm..., seems like I quite like release 32.

There you have it, my rather long review on the current new release.


Did I manage to do it? Yes, I did. Managed to attend all 3 classes (BodyAttack+BodyPump+BodyStep). Not a big deal actually, Body Attack was a shorter class of 45 minutes (where Track 8-Interval Training and Abs are excluded) so it felt more like a warm-up class for me. Continuing with my experiment with the TIMEX HRM, heart rate averaged at about 65-70% with a peak at about 85-89% towards the end of the last power track. The mediocre HR is also probably due to the fact that it was the 1st class of the evening so the studio was reasonably cold (I hate it when that gave me goosebumps). But darn, I kind of "mis-stepped" a little, causing a little sprain to the "bridge" of my left foot (the area between the arch and ball). That happened before and it could be quite a pain in the neck in the sense that it could be persistent and be a hassle when doing high-impact exercises (e.g., BodyAttack and BodyStep).

Next was BodyPump. Nothing extraordinary to mention. Average HR zone was in the 70-80% region (probably some were in the 60-70% region), highest was during the Back track, probably because I increased my weights during the last 6 lifts. Upper body felt a bit tired at the end of the track, particularly the shoulder.

Last, was BodyStep. By now, body was a little fatigued due the fact that muscles were already worked out during BodyPump. And true enough, the little "sprain" that occurred during the earlier BodyAttack class started to bother me a little but it remained hardly noticeable until the "gallopping" in the "Speed" track. Today's HR was not as high as the other day, although mostly was still in the 70-80% region with the max at about 169-172 bpm. But what I can conclude is not to underestimate BodyStep. It is easily on-par with "powerhouse" programs such as BodyAttack and RPM especially if you take on the challenge of increasing the step board to the highest level*.

Such a Nice Lazy Weather this morning

Fell asleep when watching my current favourite TV drama, Grey's Anatomy. Woke up at about 2-ish to discover that it was raining. Aaahhh..., my ultimate favourite weather for a good sleep. Surprisingly the rain lasted till mid-morning today, thus resulting in a nice, cool weather. The air-cond in my office makes the environment seems even cooler. I like it like this; it feels like I am overseas, in a foreign country during cooler (winter/autumn) season.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Marathon today?

Thinking of doing a marathon* today. Need to burn off some excess energy (fats). My plan is to do a BodyAttack/BodyPump/BodyAttack combo-class back-to-back today. Body feels fine (no aches or sprains) today so should be ok. Whether I can make it in time for the classes or not is another question. We shall see....

*My definition of marathon: Min. 3 back-to-back classes (2 cardio + 1 strenthening) of BodyAttack, Body Step, RPM(or Challenge) and BodyPump combo. Not to be done on a daily basis though....

Surprise! Surprise!

Hard-core RPMers and BodyAttackers will say that BodyStep does not have enough "oomph" (losely translated - easy). I would even daresay some kinda sneered at this class. I used to think so too (to a certain extent aka in certain tracks) once I figured out the routines (rather repetitive even with new track launches).

Recently I have been playing around with my Timex Ironman Triathlon HRM watch (ok, not mine but my brother's). I want to see my actual heart rate zone during the different classes that I participated in. Anyway, I measured my heart rate zone during Body Step class the other day. Was surprised to see that on average (even during the lower impact tracks), my HR zone stayed in the 70-80% zone with spikes in 85-90% in certain tracks (such as Track 4 and 6 in BODYSTEP® 67). And this is similar to a regular RPM class. So who said BodyStep is easy???

Oh, I should probably mention that I normally increase the step board to level 3 throughout the BodyStep class.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

What I Like...

So that you know, I am not just a "makan kaki" (foodie) but also a "gym kaki". Which works fine for my as a way of balancing my waistline (although it does not always work in the way that I wanted it to). My favourite gym programs are mainly LesMills classes or otherwise known as GX classes. And top of my list includes BodyPump, RPM. BodyAttack and BodyStep. Used to be a regular of BodyCombat and PowerYoga classes but had since stopped going (not so much time to go to all these classes lar...). Not a fan of BodyJam and BodyBalance though. As for cardio machines, I like the stepper but dislike everything else. Oh well, if there is no stepper, I might be persuaded to use the threadmill (really boring to me) or the "butt-buster" wave machine.


Needed another blog to post my thoughts on non-food/baking-related stuff....(yes, I have other things on my mind other than food you know).
So, here it is. A space to just talk about stuff, particularly my other interests in life - gym, shopping, and er...., stuff.