June 24, 2008

Summer Fitness

I thought about this about 30 seconds ago, and I figure I should act on it before pussying out because I've been telling myself this since spring break. This summer, I'm going to set out some fitness goals to ensure I stay active and maintain some sort of resolve in my daily activity. That said, I'm intend on reaching the following by the end of the summer (and I post this for two reasons: to solidify my goals so that I actually follow through with them and so maybe you could set some fitness goals for yourself as well to stay in shape, especially because you have a lot more time now than you did throughout the school year):

  • 70 pushups (As of 5 seconds ago: 46)
  • 30 chinups (Currently: 25)
  • 30 pullups (Currently: 22)
  • 5:25 mile (Currently: 5:40)
  • Running 12 miles at once, preferably in between 1:15 and 1:30 (Currently: unknown. Haven't maxed out since cross country season)
  • Weighing 145+ pounds (Currently: 137 ± 2 pounds)
I guess that's all for now, but I think/hope posting this will push me a little harder to continue pursuing these goals by the time school starts (and to keep me in shape to maybe make my last year of cross country worthwhile...and maybe to try to keep up with Eric for a change. He's getting too good for his own good (that is to say, too good for my self-esteem haha)). As of now, I intend on updating on this journey every two weeks or so. That way, I can kick my own ass if I'm not making progress.

While I may/may not be inspiring you to make fitness goals for yourself, check out "An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-Up," by Tara Parker-Pope, one of the more prominent Health and Well columnists for the NYTimes. In the article, she discusses the prominence of push-ups as the most frequently-used measure of fitness; however, even beyond that, push-ups are an extremely good measure of fitness, physically speaking. She says,
The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness. It tests the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. It requires the body to be taut like a plank with toes and palms on the floor. The act of lifting and lowering one’s entire weight is taxing even for the very fit.
Obviously, I wouldn't swear by pushups, but they should definitely build a good portion of the foundation of any workout routine, so get down and give me as much as you can do. Then strive to double that if you're anywhere less than the 20-25ish range. Might sound impossible, but you can do it. Trust me. I'm the kid who couldn't run a full mile without pausing for a break just 3.5 years ago. Now I'm pushing to run 12 straight. Aim high. You got this.

Get healthy (and stay there),

June 23, 2008

Alone Time

I get quotes every day from this online service called Living Jain (and if you don't know already, I'm not the most religious of individuals, but I certainly like to live by a set of positive ideals), and a little less than a month ago, I got this quote by a man named Arthur Brisbane who I now know, through the divinity that is Wikipedia, was a huge newspaper editor in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. He said,

Get away from the crowd when you can. Keep yourself to yourself, if only for a few hours daily.
I read this a month ago, but in the midst of all the nothing I was doing, I kind of forgot about it a few seconds after I read it, but I was looking back at the Living Jain quotes to rekindle something that I lost in me. I don't really know what it is, but whatever it was, it's back now (by the way, if you care to receive the quotes daily, check out the Living Jain site and subscribe. It's not religion-based at all despite the site name. Totally worth it). I thought about the quote, though, and realized that the time I spend alone is certainly the most peaceful time I ever have. Now, I'm not antisocial or anything to the slightest extent, but often times, I'll decline invites to places simply to spend time with myself. I haven't completely analyzed it, so I don't know what exactly I get out of these solitary sessions, but what I do know is that my mind is so much clearer post-solitude.

Though I'm trying, I don't think I can control my emotions -- specifically, the occasional anger/frustration that comes at really random times (aka the male PMS) -- any better than the next person, but when I spend a little bit of time just sitting, breathing, and simply existing, I have been able to flush out the unnecessary chaos in my mind. I'm currently reading The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle (pronounced Tole-ay. Don't make the mistake when talking to people that know about him because you'll just sound stupid like I did), and a good point he makes is that when you boil it down, negative emotions are all a consequence of some form of pain -- fear, stress, anger, frustration -- or resistance to the present moment. Negativity is denial of "the Now," and living anywhere but the present allows these negative emotions to build up and it certainly reflects in one's poise or responses to different circumstances. Giving myself time to breathe, unaffected by the circumstances around me, has helped me brush off negativity from others and prevent it from rising within myself in the last few weeks, and I've found that the pain has returned any time I went more than a day without at least 15 minutes to myself.

I tend to have a very light perspective on negative situations, but I don't think this would be at all possible if I were to dwell in the past or anticipate the future. If the title weren't indicative enough, Tolle's book is all about how living in the present moment, focusing on what's occurring right now without judgment from past experience or what something may lead to in the future. Trying to be where I am has proven to reduce the fog in my mind, allowing me to approach things a lot more positively, and in my opinion, it's just another huge stride in the direction of true happiness (that is to say, pure, constant joy, as opposed to pleasure from something external that could easily be flipped to its unfriendly counterpart, pain).

If that all didn't make sense to you, grab The Power of Now and read up. Tolle can explain these things much more effectively than I can. It's one of the few books everyone should read and will be able to appreciate (and if my recommendation isn't enough, Oprah agrees with me). Even if you don't read his book for a while (as I didn't read it for at least six months after I was told about it), try giving yourself some alone time to clear out your mind, breathe, appreciate what you have, or to simply think about anything every other day or so without any distractions (not the way you do your homework with "no distractions," but rather, with actually no distractions). Tell me what you think.

Stay you,

June 18, 2008

I thought Mulberry was just the name of a street.

No, this isn't the more insightful, thoughtful post I said I was going to write, but I have something far more interesting that excited me more than anything since I've started this raw business. While I was walking to Vivek's house with Vivek, Naomi, and Grace, we passed a tree with lots of berries all over it, and I was thinking of maybe eating a few being weird and whatever, but then I thought they might be poisonous, but then Naomi ate one so I had one and they were really good. Then I spent the next 15-20 minutes eating these purple berries (there were red and white ones too, but they were less ripe. They'd turn purple and sweet eventually, so I let them be).

SHOCKINGLY ENOUGH, I go to the blog of Anthony Anderson (the Raw Model) just about 10 minutes ago and find that he JUST blogged about finding mulberries along the west side highway. Basically, now I know that I just found a whole stock of mulberries that'll only be good for the next two weeks or so, so I'm going to go back at least every other day and harvest them because berries can cost anywhere from $5 - $10 per pound, and here I am getting all these kickass berries for free, straight from the source.

Simply put, I was on a natural high upon eating these berries, and if you speak to Vivek, Grace, or Naomi (or the few people that passed by as they were walking home -- Timmy Joyce, Chung Hei Sing, and a few others), they'll testify to my absolutely creepy excitement at the time. Tomorrow, after my English Regents, I'm going to go back and take pictures while I'm collecting just to add them here.

If you think I'm crazy, you really have got to try picking wild fruit (that you know is safe, of course). You get to appreciate nature so much more when you directly receive from it, rather than buying its gifts from the supermarket.

Love your mother,

June 9, 2008

My inability to give this a title is part of the reason I don't do posts like this.

As I've gotten requests for a dive into my "normal teenager life," I'll give y'all a brief update as to what I've been up to (because I'm sure you're so interested):

School's over. I have my English Regents tomorrow and Thursday, US Regents Friday, Physics next Wednesday. Finally, summer will have begun (is it weird that after my Spanish final today, I can't stop thinking of "haber + past participle" every time I say have/had + something?), and I don't really know what'll change after that. Life seems to be just too good right now to get any better. I'm doing everything I want to, and I've removed myself from my computer screen for more than 23 of the 24 hours a day, and what I've found is that I have a lot of trouble sitting down in one place and doing things at a desk. It's a rare occurrence that I'm actually in the mood to do quiet, desk work. That's not to say I don't like doing work. I just need to be moving around and need my blood to be flowing, ergo I dread sitting at the computer.

I threw Rohan a surprise party Saturday, June 7 (it feels like it couldn't have been more than a week ago. Time really flies), and because I don't have much to say about it other than that it was a freaking blast and that I love Rohan more than he even knows (and he doesn't even read this blog, so there's no need to elaborate on that. I profess my love for him more than enough to him. No homo, for the few unrelenting individuals), I'm just going to throw in a bunch of pictures from the party.

I don't know what I'd do with myself without these guys.

Oh yeah, and I just found out about this raw event in the city on Thursday evening. An inspiration, named Tim VanOrden (www.runningraw.com), is going to be speaking at Bonobos for a presentation that's going to be documented by Food Network. They're doing a special on him and his journey to prove the effectiveness of raw veganism (sans supplements) for any individual by pushing himself as a 40-year-old to various athletic limits. He's close to breaking a 4-minute-mile, among his many other amazing athletic accomplishments. He's been doing it raw since 2005. Can't wait to hear him speak.

I have some more general things to discuss, but I'll probably write about that tomorrow. Time for bed!

Stay real,

P.S. I really had no purpose to this post. I just wanted to put up pics from Rohan's =). If you were looking for something "faker" (i.e. more interesting, thoughtful stuff), come back soon hahah

P.P.S. Watch Oprah's Commencement Speech for the Class of 2008 at Stanford:

(If you're in a rush, skip to 6:50 and watch from there)

P.P.P.S. I found the video of Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech (for Class of 2005) at Stanford that I referred to in one of my earliest posts, so I thought I'd put that up for your viewing pleasure as well. Great lessons to learn from Oprah's and Jobs'.

The entire speech is golden. Don't forget this one.

June 3, 2008

Raw in the Mainstream

I just wanted to share that Jason Mraz has been a raw vegan since April 1 (just a day after I started). Simply put, we're twins. See his blog at http://freshnessfactorfivethousand.blogspot.com/ (catchy title, no?)

Aside from that, his new album, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, is a hugeee hit. I haven't been able to get my ears off it for the last week. My favorite tracks are "Make It Mine," "Dynamo of Volition," "Coyotes," and "Lucky (featuring Colbie Caillat - who's voice is beyond belief)." Definitely check them out on youtube or iTunes (yes, I actually paid for his music. Shocking, no?).

Make It Mine - Jason Mraz

Okay. I don't have much else to share, but just thought I'd throw Mraz's rawness out there. Hopefully his new health conscious living will inspire more of his fans to follow his practices (as much as I hate it that it takes a celebrity to make something popular). He even quit smoking :).

Stay real,

P.S. I drink the same green "sludge" Mraz does every day. So good.

June 1, 2008

Child Rebel Soldier - Us Placers

Thanks to Sajeeb for introducing me to this hip-hop supergroup. This video isn't official, but it was produced by an amazing fan. Lupe Fiasco is the child, Kanye is the rebel, and Pharrell is the soldier. Looking forward to seeing more work from them.

P.S. Big ups to Kelly Lester from Long Beach. She's taking on a one-week raw challenge starting today. Can't wait to hear how she's feeling about it.

P.P.S. Happy Birthday to Arpit! You have no idea how much influence you've had on my life. Words can't begin to describe how much I appreciate your presence in my life. Stay real, bro.