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fitness goals (revisited)

Tis a beautiful spring day on the farm! (Please be here to stay, spring. I’m about done with your random end-April snowstorms.) I’m not much of a morning person, but have been dutifully trying to turn myself into one because it lets me get more done each day.



It’s been almost 1.5 years since I made my list of fitness goals. I feel like an update on progress + some new goals may be in order, especially because my friend and I just administered PPD tests on each other and we think we might actually live.

I also got my hospital ID for my clinical rotations!

1) Get my BF% down to 20%. (Ideal goal = 17-18%.)
I have no idea where I am with this one right now because I haven’t found anyone to fat-caliper me, but I am fairly certain that I’m not under 20. I do have discernible definition in my abs though, so hooray hooray!

2) Be able to deadlift 1.5x my body weight. (Ideal goal = 2x BW)
As of 09/14, I could deadlift 275 and it felt easy!

3) Be able to squat 1.5x my body weight. (Not sure what my ideal goal is yet. We’ll see what I can do.)
I’ve been lagging on this one, but I squatted 180 on 09/14 and that also felt easy, so…achievement unlocked.

4) Be able to bench press my body weight. (Same as with squats. We shall see.)
My best thus far is 125 lbs! Goal reached!

5) Run a 7 minute mile. (Ideal = sub-7).
This girl has not been running. ._.

6) Teach and perform a hula for the international festival in January.
The International Festival is held every year by PAX (my school’s international medicine/cultural interest group) to raise money for the medical service trip to the Dominican Republic (which I got to go on this year (I think I have about 5-6 posts on this; post #1 here!). Follies is annually at Carnegie Hall and raises money for the Family Refuge Center/domestic violence shelter in town.

Last year, I informally started a dance group and we performed a hula to the song, “Love and Honesty.” This year, I got to teach weekly dance classes at the gym; we performed an ‘aparima to “Ti Ti Raina.” I decided to take it a step further (probably because I really miss Na Keiki ‘O Hawai’i) and we made our own hip heis (+ armbands and headpieces). Our first priority was obviously still med school, so getting enough practicing in and all that was a struggle, but we managed to raise a substantial amount of money for both causes. :]

7) Get a resting HR of under 60. Hooray for increased stroke volume?
…I haven’t really been doing much endurance-related anything.

2014 Goals!

1) Be able to deadlift > 310 lbs.

2) Be able to squat > 215 lbs.

3) Be able to bench the “big wheels” (that’s what I like to call the 45-lb. plates).

4) Be able to do 15 pullups in 1 set.

5) Find some way to keep dance as a constant in my life.

6) Try to stretch/do some form of flexibility training for just 10 minutes/day.

7) Intervals at least once a week!

8) Get my BF down to 20% (Ideal goal = 17-18%).

9) Run a 7 minute mile.

10) …I still want all the state powerlifting records in my weight class. Hopefully, I’ll actually be able to go to a powerlifting competition sometime this or next year!


the punching bag

Although I really shouldn’t complain, since we’re lucky to even have one (with “free” membership, since it’s included into our monstrous tuition), there are a few things I really wish our gym could have. I’ve been getting kinda pissy at whoever’s been leaving all their weights everywhere. (If I knew who he was [I can safely assume that it’s a dude since I’m basically one of about three females that frequents the weight room], I’d likely tell him off, but alas, I do not, and I don’t want to stoop to leaving passive-aggressive notes.) A lot of people there seem to  have really terrible gym etiquette. In my mind, if you can take the weight off the rack, you’re perfectly capable of putting it back where you found it. It’s not that hard to not be a douche, but no, some people just really insist on being douchey.

Whoever did this was rather clever.

Anyway, my friend voiced one of his wishes today (it coincides with mine) and a rather hilarious conversation ensued.

M: I wish the punching bag at the gym was in a private room so you don’t have to feel like a such a douche when you want to workout with it…
M’s dad: Hit it harder than everyone else. Strike fear in their douche hearts.
M: Jesus, dad, that’s embarassing.
T: You should just embrace your role and make grunting and growling noises.
A: Deadlift near max, then drop the weight and look around and eye dominate everyone…then go hit the bag after you change into your tapout shirt… Let everyone know you train UFC.
M’s dad: That’s my job.
J: Stab it. Punching’s for pussies.
A: To be even more badass, ask for a spot…then tell someone to hold the bag and blast it with sidekicks.
M: Haha, AJ! I hate “that guy” and that’s how I feel when I work out with the bag. It’s terrible…
Me: Don’t forget to never rerack the weights after deadlifting near max too; then people will have a constant reminder of your badassery.
M: Hahaha, yes! I’m doing it. Sidekick with a spotter and then stab the shit out of it. Then I’ll just do a backflip and scream something in korean before I stare at everyone as I walk out. Farrah, you wanna spot me?
F: Only if you’re doing sidekicks.

I’ve always wanted to work out using the punching bag (using it to practice would be really nice), but I kinda hate that it’s basically in the middle of the room, and also that it would just fly all over the place when I was kicking it (hence, why I think the resistance-band/weight contraption was pretty awesome). :[

While I’m at it, I’d really, really love it if we had a dance room with mirrors…and an indoor track. But I’ve really just been spoiled by the ARC. Miss you lots, Davis. :[

fitness goals

My neighbor mentioned the other day (yesterday) that he’s glad he’s managed to stay in shape, because a lot of people in our class have started to “let go.” (All the stress and studying.) The most common excuse is always “I don’t have time.”

Not true.

You don’t have the time because you don’t make the time for it. There is a definite difference. (We had this concept ingrained into us in EXB from Dr. Paul long, long ago.) If you have time to get drunk every day of the weekend and partially into the weekdays, I think you do in fact have the time to work out. You just choose not to. As long as you own up to the fact that you are prioritizing other things in favor of exercising, we will not have a problem.

For instance, I definitely haven’t been exercising every day, but I am consciously aware of my decision during finals week to forgo working out in favor of more studying. Sometimes, I wonder if this is a mistake, because I’m generally a whole lot more functional/alive/energetic when I do exercise that day, but the stress and the “what if I look at that one slide one more time and it’s actually on the test and I missed it because I went to go work out instead of reading it!?” gets to me.

I try to continue to work out regularly for a variety of reasons (e.g. I like collecting brag rights, I don’t want to be a disgrace to my undergraduate major, I want to be able to practice what I preach/lead by example because no patient is going to listen to me when I tell them to eat healthy foods/exercise if I’m a fat blob, and let’s face it, I’m also kinda vain), so I thought I’d make a list of goals that I want to accomplish. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s a fan of making lists and crossing stuff off of it. There’s just something about it that makes you feel all accomplished and stuffs. I have a bad habit of making a billion overly ambitious goals, so I’ve been trying to remedy this by doing progression-type lists. Here’s my newest one (to be completed, maintained, and/or surpassed hopefully by the end of the school year)!

I’m just gonna go ahead and say that the first goal will undoubtedly be the most difficult for me because it’s a compound goal that involves all kinds of lifestyle changes that I need to keep consistent (clean eating, I have down most of the time, but the drinking water and cardio? Yeah, no. I’m about the farthest you could get from a “cardio queen.” ._.)

1) Get my BF% down to 20%. (Ideal goal = 17-18%.)
Basically, this goal involves clean eating, probably drinking 6+ more cups of fluid than I usually do because my natural state leans towards being a human cactus without the water storage part, and actually doing cardio instead of just strength training.

I actually have no effing clue what I’m at right now, so this may be somewhat of a stretch (stretch only because I am a bottomless pit when it comes to food). When I offered myself up as lab material for the hydrostatic tank back in spring quarter of 2010, I was at 21-22%. I ran a half-marathon about half a year later, so it likely went down…but my year in NJ probably screwed it over like no other. Oh, the joy of unstoppable eating when it’s cold and the plethora of good food around me. ;_; Not that I was complaining, but definite repercussions went along with that. :[ So I want to work to remedy this! Unfortunately, it probably really just means not consuming foods like the black hole that I am, and possibly actually doing cardio again, because I think I’m mildly beasting the weightlifting part. If you were to punch my stomach, you would feel abs of steel! Underneath the pudge.

2) Be able to deadlift 1.5x my body weight. (Ideal goal = 2x BW)
I can technically already do this, but I want to recheck form.

3) Be able to squat 1.5x my body weight. (Not sure what my ideal goal is yet. We’ll see what I can do.)
I’m at 170 right now, so only 10 pounds more!

4) Be able to bench press my body weight. (Same as with squats. We shall see.)
I’m…at 90, so I have a ways to go.

5) Run a 7 minute mile. (Ideal = sub-7)
The fastest I’ve gone is 7:30 on a treadmill. But treadmills are infinitely easier than real-life running, so I’m not sure yet which one I mean. I hate cardio with enough of a passion that it might just be “sub-7 minute mile on a treadmill.” :[

6) Teach and perform a hula for the international festival in January.
This may just turn into me performing a solo hula for the international festival in January, because we have yet to meet so I can teach em’, and time’s a-tickin’.

7) Get a resting HR of under 60. Hooray for increased stroke volume?

I have way too many pole dancing goals, so that cannot go on here or the list would never end.

super badass

I am in rather joyous spirits! :D I managed to convince myself to get my ass to the gym yesterday (this is somewhat of an ordeal at times, because, much as I do love working out, school can be pretty draining), and it was a good thing I went! (I happened upon a whole lot of ego boosters.)

I’m basically the only girl that ever ventures into the free weights portion of our gym, and there was shit everywhere today (a lot of the kids here are apparently incapable of re-racking their weights). I saw one of the guys in my class at the bench press and asked if he’d been in between sets on the squat rack or anything (he was not). He helped me move stuff out of the way so it would expedite the process of me being able to use it. He’s a good soul. I liked his story on how he “lost a high school cheerleader” (aka 100 pounds) when he first decided to start lifting/eating healthy.

I do not have such an inspirational story because I’ve always been pretty scrawny (I’ve only really gained around 52-ish pounds and 4 inches in the past 13 years; I weighed 68 pounds and was 4’11” in 6th grade, so go figure). Aside from not wanting to disgrace my major, my goal when I first started lifting was to look small and unthreatening, but to be really effing strong, so people would be in for a surprise if they ever tried to mess with me. While that still remains a goal, it has expanded to basically encompass my desire to be able to do half a billion moves on the pole and on silks that requires a crapload of strength, flexibility, or both.

I’ve taken to just doing abs in between sets of heavy lifting for maximum time efficiency, so during one of those “breaks,” aforementioned guy (I can’t exactly call him a friend because we haven’t had too many conversations in weeks’/months’ past–he forgot his ID, so I let him into the gym a couple weeks ago and that’s basically how we met) turned to me and said, “You’re a beast, Farrah!” (I’d been doing squats.)

F: Why thank you, good sir! (Yes, I really do talk like this to people in real life. :X )
S: You’re really strong. Did you used to compete or anything?
F: hahaha, no, I’m not that hardcore. I just do this for fun. One of my goals is to be able to deadlift twice my body weight. (Since previous goal of 1.5x my body weight has been achieved. :D!)
S: Really? I’m surprised you can’t do that already.

I explained to him my slight apprehensions of adding too much more weight on even though I know I could do more because I was afraid of effing over my already somewhat-misaligned spine. To me, it’s really saddening because deadlifts are actually my favorite lift. (Although these days, because of my wariness, squats have been fast catching up on my list of favorites.) The breaks I’ve had from lifting have been due to stupid shit like effing over my spine in late 2009-early 2010 and late 2011-early 2012, as well as the lack of a gym with free weights from fall of 2010-early 2011 and…let’s face it, it’s also because I fell in love with pole dancing and spent over half of 2011 basically living at Bel’s studio. I was like a piece of furniture that moved around there.

So if you take all that into account and then backtrack to when I first started lifting (last day of March in 2009), my deadlift started at 70 and (so far) has peaked at 185. I started squats at 65 and am currently at 155. Progress has been pretty slow-going though, because I’ve honestly only improved 65 and 45 lbs, respectively, since early May of 2009. Suffice to say, my weight lifting awesomeness was a lot better when I first started (which is typical due to a whole lot of physiology that I will not go into). I still partially attribute this progress to my ex, since he’s the one who started me up on it, partly because he saw the potential greatness in me (haw haw :O ), but also because my living habits at the time frightened him. (Let’s just say that he met me shortly after I’d climbed out of ochem hell, where I would often have a billion cups of jasmine green tea and Nature Valley Oats & Honey granola bars. I ate over 500 of those and the Fruit & Nut ones that school year, so really, I can’t blame him for being horrified. It was a dark and terrible time.)

Unfortunately, I have since acquired a couple stupid habits and my form for deadlifts has apparently gone to partial shit since then, which would also explain the effing up of my lower back. I started out with Romanian deadlifts and I’m not sure I ever actually learned the proper way to do a regular one. After I did one rep, guy-in-my-class (Steve) asked if I’d mind if he gave me a few tips. (Nope. It was nice of him to ask though; tip guys at the gym are usually the worst.) It was like magic. :O What I’d been forgetting to do = flexing my butt, which was putting all kinds of strain in my lower back. He alerted me of this by poking me at where my piriformis would be located (this attests to the comfort level our class basically has with each other; after OPP and anterior L5 counterstrain, this kinda thing doesn’t faze you anymore) and demonstrated its effectiveness by having me poke him while he was doing one without flexing vs. flexing. I also haven’t been driving the bar straight up. Mysteries solved! I’m not all apprehensive of doing deadlifts anymore! :D!

He also showed me a super easy way to drag the weights off the barbell (easily my least favorite part of lifting, especially when assholes decide not to put their shit away–can you tell that’s one of my pet peeves? >_>), and got me to simultaneously realize and kick the habit I apparently had (I seriously never noticed ._.) of looking at the bar/shifting my weight around while I was picking up the bar to do squats, and the weird shifty one-side-at-a-time sort of deal I’ve been doing (and will never do again, because I just realized how terrible it was for my back, holy shit no wonder it would hurt ._.) when I’m putting the bar back into the rack.

Load up the bar, pick it up, take a good step back with one foot and then the other. Don’t move em’ anymore. Do your thing. Step forward until the bar hits the rack on both sides–you don’t need to look at it while you’re doing that because it’s not like it moved or anything while you were lifting–and set it down. Why did I never do this before?! ;_; Better late than never, I guess.

S: I’m going to make you a champion, Farrah. You definitely have the talent for it.

Hells yes! :D (I find this particularly flattering because he used to compete in powerlifting. :D!) Mark my words, kids! I am on my way to greatness! (Or at least, I’m working on it.)

the latest

My newest nickname is the “Asian shrimp.” More often just shortened to “shrimp.”

It was also, in essence, self-imposed, because we were talking about games we used to play during recess. I happened to mention that one of the things I’d liked other than wallball was Red Rover, because the opposing team would always pick me due to the fact that I was an Asian shrimp (in 6th grade, I was 4’11” and weighed 68 pounds, so there is little else you could’ve called me) and they tended to underestimate my ability to hurtle at them at a rather quick speed with unexpected force.

They think it’s particularly amusing because I can’t even eat shrimp.

I think it’s cute though, so I’ll take it. :O

While we’re talking about my shrimpy status (I’ve gained 52 pounds and 4.5-ish inches since then), I’m pretty proud of my latest two accomplishments (more so of the running than anything because if you know me, I am basically a shit when it comes to endurance/running anything more than a sprint)!

#1: I ran a 7:30 mile!
Just to clarify, this is exciting because from the start of elementary school to age 14.5, my fastest mile time was a 9:14. Yep. In my sophomore year of high school, our mile runs were graded on improvement, and I (stupidly) ran the fastest mile I’d ever run (8:19) and had to improve on that throughout the year. I made it to an 8:02, due in part to the fact that I gave up sprinting the last 10 feet because I thought 8 minutes had already passed. (sigh.) I’ve only gone running like…4 times since June (which I really don’t recommend, by the way), so whoa there. :O Where did this come from?

#2: I’m up to squatting 150 lbs! :]
But my deadlift has gone to shit (I think it’s mostly because I’m afraid of murdering my spine again. I should really go get that fixed one of these days). Slowly but surely!