Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Emiko: Day 47, When Drawing a Line

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I warp reality in my life, and specifically with the PCP. Adrian has noticed how obsessive I have become with my progress, and I am having to deal with that. I have been getting down on myself for not losing fat, and then pushing myself too hard during workouts. I do this as if it will make me change faster. Patrick has warned us against this mindset, but I still let myself fall into it.

I feel like this obsession is rooted in my low self-esteem regarding my body and ability. In the past, I have never had the will-power to follow a healthy diet or exercise with any regularity. This was probably mostly because I didn't believe that I could change myself. Now that my life is changing so much, my attitude has also changed. Or has it? I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed. Because I am not used to this amount of effort, I don't really know where my boundaries are. I don't know when to draw the line and say, "hey, maybe I should just stop." I don't know where that line belongs.

So that is where my challenge lies now, in learning my boundaries and respecting them. These past few days I have tried to be aware of my body and scale back on an exercise if I needed to. But I am also scared of using this search for boundaries as an excuse to ease up too much. I am still scared of falling back into my old lazy patterns, and doing only the minimum when I could do more. I am having trouble finding the middle way, feeling out where the line should be drawn. But I'm trying.

Adrian: Day 47, Resting

I've been sleeping a lot for the past couple of days, in an effort to get my body refreshed from the recent strain. I've been getting 9 hour nights of sleep and long naps in the afternoon. I was exhausted after my workout last night and passed out pretty early. I forgot all about posting an entry. But still, I feel amazed because my body seems to be fighting off sickness, going through the motions and recovering quite well. Anyway, that's all for tonight, I'm going to get in bed early again.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Adrian & Emiko: Day 45, Hot Crossed Buns

Both of our bodies were sore all over today, and just getting up from a reclining position was strenuous. We thought that our PCP training would prepare us for the parkour class yesterday, but it was on a whole new level of physical activity.

Even our butts were sore all day, because we did the 8 minute buns workout last night after our regular workout. We did it mainly out of curiosity and thought it would be funny, but it turned out to be very difficult and painful. It was a real butt buster.

As a result of our soreness, our workouts today felt like pure torture. Emiko said that it seemed 10x harder than usual, and Adrian agreed. Adrian struggled to get halfway to his minimums and got whipped in the neck with the resistance bands while doing the "Standing Ovation" exercise. He ended up wearing one of Emiko's scarves to protect himself. Emiko called him a "Cutie Bear". It was an emasculating experience for Adrian who vented his frustration and pain by cursing at the resistance bands. Later, he sneezed and felt a deep burn in his abs.

After our workouts, we still had some chores to do. Emiko washed some dishes and boiled eggs while Adrian mixed up a new batch of Turkey Patties. Adrian felt a burn in his shoulder as he mixed up the ingredients, and had to take several breaks. It was getting late, and it was a bit of a struggle to get through chores. Hopefully, our bodies will be healed up tomorrow, so that we can move around without hobbling around in pain. It's all worth it though, we both feel like we're getting stronger.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Emiko: Day 44, Our First Parkour Lesson!

Today Adrian and I had our first lessons in Parkour. There was a beginner's class hosted by members of the SF Parkour community on the UC Berkeley campus. I was pretty nervous, because I felt like I was such a beginner. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. They had set out a list of moves that they planned to go over, but I wasn't sure how many of them we were expected to attempt. But, as we found out, Parkour is all about going through the action rather than just listening to someone explain the moves, so... surprise surprise, we were expected to try them ALL. They just threw us in head first, and it was HARD!

Except for a tiny bit of jumping around, I've never practiced Parkour in any real way. I am pretty okay coordination and flexibility-wise, but I really don't have the same 'bounce' that Adrian does. That guy is bouncy! Adrian can jump really far distances, it's pretty awesome. But my un-bounciness was a big disadvantage while attempting all the different sorts of jumps over a concrete wall. The one female instructor there said that women have a much lower center of gravity, and that the wall we were working on was most definitely difficult because of that. Of course, then she vaulted right over it with no problem. Practice makes Parkour, I suppose!

Early on, my right ankle became sore from all of the rough landings. That went away after a while though. But as we started trying out the 'Kong Vault', I got into trouble. I ran and jumped up with and placed both of my hands on the top of the wall, then tried to bring my legs up and forward between my arms. The tips of my shoes landed on the edge of the wall, but as I put my weight onto my feet I slipped off.

Here are my legs after the session, as we were waiting for the train home. I scraped my shin pretty good. Later I bumped my knee while trying to vault over the wall again, and when we got home it had swollen to the size a little golf ball. Later I scraped my back on a cement divider wall when trying to maneuver under a rail. Many bumps and scratches for the day!

The jumping drills were a little discouraging, because I was unable to complete all of the movements except for one. I was the one who completed the least amount of movements properly. I think my shortness and a lack of confidence played a big part in that. I was a little bummed, but tried to cheer Adrian on, especially when we got the hang of the Kong Vault which is so awesome.

After the drills, we moved to a different part of the campus and tried to use what we had learned in a more free-flowing way. We stopped at a ramp that had hand rails and used those to jump over, under, and to 'Cat Walk' on top of. I excelled in the Cat Walk, which involved crawling on all fours on a rail. Balance was key in that movement, instead of bounciness, so I was happier. It was also just a lot more fun to concentrate our movements in a small area. I could really see how much work it takes to become efficient and quick. And the fact that the moves can be practiced almost anywhere is really cool.

The best part was how supportive everyone was for each other. Complete strangers who had come together to practice Parkour all of a sudden became a group. We all struggled and messed up and cheered people on together. Although I still feel lacking in self-confidence, it will be cool to practice with these people as time goes on.

Today's class really beat me up and made me exhausted, but I look forward to training and improving. I know that we are going to get so much stronger just by practicing.

Adrian and I plan to attend this week's Thursday practice session, which I am excited and nervous about. Tell you about that when the day comes! Adrian suggested that we drive around and find places to practice on our own, and that we could find a shorter wall for me to practice vaults on. I am happy and excited to begin this discipline!

Adrian: Day 44, Parkour!

Woke up feeling sort of sick today, had a bit of a cough and a sore back. Wasn't too excited to get out of bed, but zazen instruction was at 8:45 a.m., so Emiko and I reluctantly rolled out of bed and went through the morning motions. We skipped out on the lecture at 11 so that we could go home and eat lunch before parkour class at 12. We got home about 10:40, so we had a very early lunch. We left the house at 11:10 and made it to the Ashby BART (subway) station at about 11:30. We caught our train at 11:40, got off at the next stop in Downtown Berkeley a couple minutes later, and then made it to the rendevouz point at U.C. Berkeley at about 11:45. It was lucky we got there early, because I had a full bladder all morning from tea, soup and airborne and had been pissing like a horse.

We met up with the rest of the beginner's group at "the Practice Wall", which is about 4 ft. high and 40 ft long. We started out with a very brief stretch, and then the instructor, Jeff aka Meatlad, had us jog a few laps along the perimeter of the lawn. We ran forward, sideways and backwards. When we got back to the wall, we immediately started the warm-ups, which they called "QM" or quadripedal movement. We crawled from the top of the hill (where the wall was) to the bottom on all fours. We did this with several variations (check out the video Nate posted of Jereme's warm-ups to get an idea). I was heaving after the warmup, and I didn't feel like I was in any shape to start jumping. But jump we did, and many, many times at that. We split up into several groups. Our practice leader was Albert aka Lethalbeef. Here's a video sampler of him in action:

I had a difficult time getting some of the jumps right, because I am very uncoordinated. I ended up jamming my knee into a wall right in the beginning. The hardest move for me to get was the 'kong vault', which involves jumping straight at a wall, pulling your knees up between your arms and using your hands to propel you forward and over. I had to break the movement up into two parts - jumping up on the wall and then jumping over. But I finally got it right at the very end. And it felt good! I was so excited that I got it, I had Emiko take a video.

Later we did some stuff on rails. We did a move called the 'cat walk', which I was completely unable to do for more than two steps. Emiko was a natural at it though.

The beginner's parkour group. Emiko and I are standing up for some reason.

Falling on my ass while people are trying to have a conversation.

Emiko going up for a kong vault.

Adrian doing a cat leap. That's Lethalbeef on the right.

Landing a cat leap. I fell into that bush behind me numerous times attempting this move.

The event was a ton of fun, and we plan on doing more training with these guys and girls in the future. I'm gonna end the post here, I have to get to my PCP workout!

See you in 24 hours!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Emiko: Day 43, Five Seven Five

I was going to write a normal post, but I can't get anything out but haikus. So here they are...

Pulled out his bad teeth
I waited in the lobby
His smile still perfect

Awoke, back aching
Standing bent while making soup
In bed, a massage

I don't want to work out today. It's already nine. I may just do 8 minute abs and call it a night. Sorry this post is so short, it's been a long day.

I can't believe it's Week 7! Kind of a weird start for Adrian and I, but tomorrow is a new day. I Hope that you are all really well.

Adrian: Day 43, No More Sweet Teeth

I had two molars extracted today. One from both sides of my face. Those teeth have been bothering me for a couple of years now, and they've both been filled multiple times. The fillings had cracked on both teeth. Actually, I cracked the filling on the left side just a couple days ago, while eating the chicken that Emiko made. There was a small crunch, and I thought I had chewed up a chicken bone, but I realized really quickly that it wasn't.

I drove home across the Bay Bridge through heavy traffic. One hand holding an ice-pack to my cheek, and one hand controlling the gear shift and steering wheel. Right when I saw the traffic, I had an impulse to scream. But I didn't, and the feeling passed, and everything was good.

When we got home, I passed out on the couch while Emiko made me chicken soup. The vegetables were extra tender. I decided to skip out on my exercises completely today so I could rest up. Unfortunately, we missed the Qi Gong/Yoga class that we were planning on going to tonight. But I'll be ready for the parkour class tomorrow. We'll post about it tomorrow!



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Adrian: Day 42

Quick update:

I nearly just choked on some brown rice. I was pretty dazed for a minute - my eyes teared up as I staggered about coughing and gagging. I tried drinking water, but that made it worse. Finally, I got my wits together, stumbled into the bathroom and induced vomitting to get the rice unstuck. The first 41 days of PCP flashed before my eyes. Now I know how our cat Gus feels when it happens to him.

Adrian: Day 42, Clothes

I haven't bought much clothing in the past couple of years.  I've pretty much had the same wardrobe for quite awhile now.  But now, my clothes don't fit the same way.  It's a little strange seeing myself in the mirror; it almost feels like I'm wearing someone else's clothes.  But actually it all works out for the best because my clothes have always been too small for me.  Now, they're just right!

Emiko: Day 42, Are Those Shoulder Pads?

Hey gang,

I just finished another work out and a fabulous round of 8 minute abs. Today required a lot of mental strength to get through my work out. Not only is it physically difficult to do these new, more concentrated sets of exercises, but I am struggling to keep my body from cheating when things get tough.

My heightened awareness of this was all triggered in a small but eye-opening moment. Earlier, Adrian and I were hanging out in the living room, chatting and laughing and basically feeling pretty carefree. I moved from the sofa to sit on Adrian's lap in our armchair. A minute later, he put his head on my shoulder to rest his head. All of a sudden, he got a confused look on his face, and lifted my sleeve to look at my shoulder.

I thought to myself, "Oh, my shoulders must be getting so strong! Adrian must not have been expecting the muscle to be so hard." I was getting all proud inside of my head, and casually asked him, "What is it?" Adrian replied, "Oh, your shoulder just felt so soft and puffy, I thought you might be wearing a shoulder pad." I was so mad! First, I would never wear shoulder pads. Second, I thought that my shoulders were getting stronger after so many days of sweating through Shoulder Raises. What is going on here?

So I decided not to let myself cheat anymore. During tonight's work out, I focused all of my mental energy on the muscle I was supposed to be targeting with each exercise. For each individual repetition, I checked my movement to see if other muscles were 'helping out' the muscle I was supposed to be working. This was for the most part really affective, and I actually had to do less reps because I was finally doing the exercise right. But, as Patrick says, quality over quantity is always best. Feeling really positive about that. It is really rewarding to struggle and overcome bad tendencies, and being able to honestly say that I was giving my all in every moment.

Hopefully soon my "shoulder pads" will get harder. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Emiko: Day 41, Sweet (potato) Eats

Hello, hungry-bellied friends! Here I am going to offer you the two newest additions to our virtual cookbook. The ingredient featured in both of these recipes is the magnificent Sweet Potato. These are so delicious, yet sometimes under-appreciated. 

I am posting a delectably simple recipe for sweet-yet-spicy Sweet Potato Fries. So easy, so yummy! Next will be a Whole Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Carrots recipe for the slow-cooker. Here is what the finished product looks like (with some of that Quinoa recipe on the side still left over from last time, and by the way it keeps really well!):

Looks awesome, right? Well, I would have taken pictures of the Sweet Potato Fries too, but we ate them too fast! So no pictures. But here's the recipe, and if you make then you will get the delightful bonus of getting to eat 'em, too. What could be better?

Sweet Potato Fries

4 medium-sized Sweet Potatoes
1 tbsp Olive Oil, plus a dash to grease the baking sheet
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
A sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper, or to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. As the oven warms up, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into long, square strips. You know, like a french fry! Place the sweet potatoes into a sealable plastic bag and add the oil, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Shake the bag until the potatoes are evenly-coated. Pour a small amount of oil on the lined baking sheet, just enough to grease the surface. Spread out the fries evenly, in one layer. It is very important to have just one layer, or some fries may burn/remain soggy. Bake in the oven for a total of 25-30 minutes, checking in every 10 minutes and flipping them around. After 20 minutes, try a fry (be careful, they're hot!) to see if you want them any spicier, and if so add more cayenne pepper. Keep a close eye for the last 10 minutes, to assure your fries don't burn. Remove from oven, and serve immediately. And enjoy!

Slow-cooker Whole Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

I got this recipe from familyoven.com, I will link to it here. In my version, I am changing it slightly by substituting sweet potatoes and carrots for the mushrooms in the original. We used an unfrozen chicken, and removed all the skin and most of the fat. We came back to check on the chicken after 7 hours, and it was just right. I also think that there is definitely too much butter in the original recipe, so try it with less before you add more butter to the paste. We also didn't add any salt, and it still came out fantastic.

1 (about 3lb) frozen or fresh whole chicken (make sure it will fit in your slow-cooker!), giblets removed
1 lb sweet potatoes and carrots (about 1/2 lb of each), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2-3 cups water
1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1-3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp honey

Place the potatoes, carrots, and about half of the onions in your slow-cooker, and pour just enough water in to cover the vegetables. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, and set the slow-cooker to low. Cover with lid. Place all the other ingredients in a food processor and blend them into a paste. Remove the lid from your slow-cooker, pour the paste evenly over the chicken, and replace the lid. Let cook 6-8 hours, depending on how hot your slow-cooker runs. If you are using a frozen chicken, it may take up to 10 hours. The meat should be falling right off of the bone, and the vegetables also very tender.

Adrian: Day 41, Cravings

I've been craving fast food a lot lately.  I was flipping through a slow cooker recipe book this morning, looking for a good chicken curry recipe, when I started daydreaming about Japanese style curry, and Indian Curry.  I snapped out of it and saw a recipe for sweet and sour chicken and then I started daydreaming again about Chinese take-out.  Later in the afternoon, I took a short nap, and dreamed that I was stuffing my face with chocolate.  I felt guilty but I didn't stop. When I woke up, I was relieved that it was just a dream.

I think what's most appealing about these foods is the convenience.  When I was daydreaming, I wasn't sitting there imagining delicious tastes and smells.  I was visualizing completely prepared dishes.  

A couple months ago, it was very easy to get a variety of completely prepared dishes.  We'd just log onto yelp.com, figure out what kind of ethnic food we wanted, find a place with a good user review rating, and then drive to the restaurant, order, wait 10 minutes and then eat.  Flipping through recipes these days, the food takes so much longer to appear.  First, Emiko and I have to decide on what dish we want to share.  Then, we have to make a grocery list, drive out to the grocery store, come home, prep the kitchen, divvy up the tasks, and then start cooking.  Most of the time, the food comes out quite well, but sometimes it doesn't.  Also, we've been pretty much eating the same stuff; we don't vary our food all that much, or that often.  Variety takes a lot more work and effort, and we haven't had much time as it is.

Things have been going pretty smoothly for us lately, at least when it comes to sticking to our diets.  But I'm really starting to see how changing our diets (and habits in general) can be a big mental game.  The key seems to be repetition.  We're almost halfway through now, and I've been wondering - "Will 90 days really be enough time for me to change?"  Even though it's been a bit tough at times, and I've doubted myself, its been a much more fulfilling and engaging way to live than what I'm used to.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Adrian and Emiko: Day 40, Working Together

We tried out a new recipe for lunch today. We made chicken with sweet potatoes, carrots & onions in our slow cooker. The recipe also included a paste made of garlic, onion, honey, rosemary & pepper, and butter, which we made with our blender. (The full recipe is coming tomorrow, along with a sweet potato fries recipe we made yesterday.)

For dinner, Emiko made Adrian an apple & banana smoothie, but it had a garlicky after taste. We used honey to cover it up, but that just made it really sweet - with a garlicky after taste. Luckily, Adrian loves garlic.

Adrian was in a really bad mood this morning. He even cursed at the carrots and sweet potatoes as he was chopping them up for the chicken recipe. The mood followed him all the way into the evening. But, after going out to do jump-ropes, the negativity magically lifted. From then on it was all hugs, smiles and laughter. It's amazing how quickly these things can change.

Today we both really realized how much of an advantage we have because we can do things together. We have been able to help each other during our workouts in a bunch of different ways.

One thing we've been able to do is to point out mistakes the other person is making. For example, when Emiko was doing her tricep extensions, Adrian noticed that she was using her entire arm to get through the movement. After bringing this up, Emiko was able to correct herself and do the rest of the exercise properly. Later, while Adrian was doing his tricep dips, he mentioned to Emiko how easy they were. Emiko then pointed out that he was going through the exercises too quickly. After slowing down his pace, Adrian had a much harder time, but in the end got a better workout.

We are also big source of encouragement for each other. Today, while Emiko was doing her jump-ropes, she showed off some cool jump rope dance moves for Adrian which made him laugh. While she was fooling around, Emiko was able to do her first double-jump, and later Adrian did the same. It was lots of fun and broke up some of the monotony of jump-roping. Also, Emiko usually cheers Adrian on while he is struggling through a tough exercise like v-sits or tricep extensions, and it gives him an extra boost to go the extra mile.

These aspects are of course present in other parts of our relationship. We have decided to work together to put what we learn in school directly into use. Although we signed up for a Web Design class together this Fall, we decided today that our time would be best used if Emiko stays in the class and passes information along to Adrian, while he uses that time to create content for the website we are going to create. In this way, we are learning how to optimize our time, and to work together to complete tasks. It is exciting and motivating knowing that we are working as a team in order to move forward in our lives together.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Emiko: Day 39, Or Is It?

Well, my back is not completely better, but it is improving. My back definitely didn't affect my jump ropes like it did yesterday. Jump roping would have been a lot easier today if I wasn't already so sore from yesterday's workout. 

Like Patrick warned us, I feel like I'm back at Day 1 as far as being used to my exercises. The new routines are hard! During my jump ropes, I was hindered by my quads which were so weak from yesterday's pistol squats. Although I complain about it, I actually like being challenged in that way. But it hurts the day after, that's for sure.

Also, I kept whipping myself in the butt with the jump rope. Must have happened about ten times. I must have been tripping on the rope in a new way because of my sore muscles. It was unpleasant, but a little funny too.

Another weird thing happened to me today. I went to bed
around 11 pm last night, very sleepy. This morning I had to wake up earlier than would be ideal, around 6:45 am to finish my drawing homework. Because I went to bed so sleepy, and felt the same sleepiness upon waking and throughout the morning, it was almost as if I was experiencing last night and this morning at the same time. Like a parallel plane of time or something. As I was driving Adrian and myself home from school today, I felt that I was simultaneously getting ready to go to bed the night before. I cannot explain it better than that. It was a strange feeling, though.

I had better go get ready for bed now, again. Am I experiencing tonight, or last night, or both?


Adrian: Day 39, Flexibility...

I have none.

I haven't been stretching before my workouts this whole time. Why? Rigid personality. I have been doing it lately though...since yesterday. I plan to do it every day from now on so I can go from


Emiko and I were talking this morning about flexibility, and we decided to get a yoga dvd to help us get more like Stretch Armstrong. We were also talking about going to meditation groups outside of the Zen Center, and we found out that there's a free yoga/qi gong/mindful movement class at the East Bay Meditation Center every 2nd and 4th Friday night. We were both pretty excited about that. I know what you're thinking - Yoga on Friday nights? Awesome! We think so too. We're going to check out the class this Friday, and we'll let you know how it goes. That's it for now!

See you in 24 hours!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Emiko: Day 38, A Crick in My Back

This morning I got up, stretched a bit, and was happy to note that my back was much less sore and achy than yesterday. As I mentioned in my previous post, after jumping around on trampolines for an hour on Friday, my back was in quite a state on Saturday. So I was really glad that it felt so much better.

I went out behind the house in the evening to do my jump ropes. It was then that I realized that my back was not in much better shape than yesterday. I noticed that my back would curl slightly with every jump, and with that curl I felt strain in my muscles and spine. It was a little challenging, but I did all of my sets and went upstairs the rest of the workout, on the other hand, was much much harder (Pistols!).

I just finished sitting half an hour of zazen, and my back was a continuous source of distraction. It was difficult to maintain my posture, and toward the end was painful to just sit there. It makes me really appreciate Tim's strength to go through all of this, as I know he has chronic aches and pains. I can see why he goes to get massages regularly.

Definitely can't wait to lie down in bed and rest my back muscles. Adrian also promised me a back massage before bed, so off I go I can't wait!


Adrian: Day 38, New Exercises.

I made my first attempt at the new exercises today. Here's how it went:

Pistol squats: These one-legged squats were tough, but I was able to hit the max on most reps. I had to use my arm a bit to get me back up off the ground.

Creep: I remember this exercise from high school. I did this several times as a warm-up in Kung Fu class. But instead of doing a certain number of sets, we were required to walk a few laps around the entire studio. We called it duck-walking. My legs are still very strong today because of my martial arts training from years ago, and so this exercise is very easy for me. I could probably do 100 steps before getting tired, but I'm sticking to the max for now so I don't put too much stress on my right knee.

Pull-ups: This was tough. I was able to do 3 reps on my first set, but only went a quarter of the way up on my last set before my body quit.

Pull-down: Easy, but tiring.

Tricep dip: This is easy for me. I can hit the max reps without a problem. I haven't tried going to failure yet though.

Triceps extension: This was tougher than I expected. Hit the max reps on all sets, but felt a deep burn getting there.

V-sit: This exercise feels like torture. When the burn comes on, my whole torso feels like it's being squeezed dry and my neck feels like it's being pinched. I find it difficult to breathe fully while doing this.

Side crunch: Hit the max for all 4 sets. It was easy, but I felt a nice burn.

8 minute abs: Still experiencing neck strain. It's getting better though.

I also tried doing hand stands tonight to work my upper body. I can't do them for more than a minute before getting tired.

Well, that's it for now gang. I'll see you in 24 hours!

That was an 8 minute abs reference for those of you who haven't seen it yet. Haha.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Emiko: Day 36 & 37, A Birthday, Briefly

Good evening, everybody! Today was a bit of a special day, because it was my 20th birthday. Adrian made me the most wonderful present to wake up to... origami animals that filled our bedroom ceiling, all hanging down to greet me good morning. As I first awoke, I could see their silhouettes in the morning light, but didn't realize what they were until I turned the lamp on. Who knew that this was the surprise that Adrian had been working on in secret this whole time? So so so neat!

But that wasn't the only surprise he had in store for me! My first birthday surprise came yesterday, when Adrian took me for a drive down to Santa Clara. He wouldn't tell me where we were going, all he said was, "Don't dress up." When we arrived, I realized why. We were going to be jumping on trampolines!

At first I was a little embarrassed, because we were definitely the oldest people there besides parents supervising their children, and one old guy. The old guy was in a maroon jumpsuit with a matching headband, and was having extreme fun jumping and twirling in one little square of trampoline for an hour.

We only got to snap one photo before the attendants busted us and made us put our camera away.

I was also really scared to try anything ambitious on the trampolines. I attempted a few front-flips, but landed on my butt every time. I tried some old gymnastics moves before finally going for a back-flip, which I was almost positive I couldn't do anymore. But Adrian kept encouraging me, "Try it! Just try it!" And guess what? I did it! My body somehow remembered the movement from like 10 years ago when I could do all that flippy stuff. After that, I was able to do a bunch of back-flips, and I started to have a lot of fun.

Today I am a little sorry for getting overzealous with the back-flips, because I think I may have injured myself. My back just ain't used to this stuff no more! I suppose that this experience just reinforces the necessity of stretching before doing anything to your body. Also, Adrian and I both got tired out really fast because we had already done our exercises for the day. Made me feel old!

But still, Adrian and I do plan to go back for more jumping, and possibly use the space to practice parkour once we learn some moves at a beginner's class next Saturday. Even the walls are made of trampoline (your can see it in the photo), so that should be lots of fun to work with.

After getting all tired out from jumping, and then Adrian insisting that I go to bed early so that he could "set up" my present, I totally forgot to write a post last night! So I feel a little bad. But hey, it's my birthday so I gotta cut myself some slack.

Well, that's all I have to say. I had better go to sleep and rest up for a new day. I really hope that my back doesn't hurt as badly tomorrow!

Goodnight, lovely people!

Adrian: Day 37, Introspective Post # 205

Last night, after Emiko had fallen asleep, I began to work on her present, stringing up the origami figures I had created on the ceiling over the bed. When she woke up this morning, she was very surprised, maybe more so than our cat, who kept swatting at the birds. When she turned the lights on, she was delighted, smiling up at the paper stars and creatures floating above her head. I wish I had taken a picture of her face at that moment. It's one of those images that I wish I could save forever.

Later in the morning, I found myself walking up and down the sidewalk, with my right hand placed over my left fist, placed over my solar plexus. I was briskly walking single file with a group of strangers. Every one of us completely silent. Each person had their eyes plastered to the lower back of the person walking in front of them. I thought we were a strange and silent parade, but the joggers and dog walkers didn't seem too interested in us. I caught myself daydreaming for a moment, and when I snapped out of it, I woke up and began to question my situation. Where am I? What am I doing here? How is it that my life has led up to this? I had no idea. I began to feel lost and alone.  But I felt like I was in a group of lost people.  Suddenly, the line slowed down. The period for walking meditation was over. We all walked back onto the Berkeley Zen Center's grounds, past the steel gate and into the zendo.

The lecture today was given by a jovial and smiling Buddha - Steve Stucky, the co-abbot of San Francisco Zen Center. He was a large, pasty, bald-headed old man.  I could see his legs through his robes, I thought to myself, "I hope that doesn't happen to my body when I get older."  But at the end of his lecture I was thinking, "What an amazing guy. I hope to be more like him when I'm older."

For the second week in a row, the lecture topic seemed to be aimed right at my thoughts, and the feelings I was having. He began the lecture with the question, "Where am I?" He went on to talk about how important it is to continually wake up to life with that question.

He told us the story about the time the forest surrounding Tassajara Zen Mountain Center was engulfed by wildfires, and everyone in the area was evacuated. He and a group of 4 other monks decided to stay, in order to fight off the fires and save what they could of the buildings and structures. He and the other monks worked intensely, sometimes for 6 hours at a time with the fire dangerously close to their eyebrows. In the end, they were able to save much of the Zen Center, but they still lost a few buildings - a couple cabins, a bathroom, and some other structures. He said that he 'grieved' over the losses. After the story, he showed us a humorous comic strip that was published in the newspaper around that time. It featured a monk greeting the fire and talking it out of burning everything down. The fire-fighters were very impressed, and a little child proclaimed that it wanted to be a 'fire-monk' some day.

The account about Tassajara was about the impermanence of life, and how we cling to the things we hold dear. We shouldn't cling, because everything around us is changing and dying. But even so, we can't just give up. Even though our lives and our relationships don't last forever, we should take care of them with the utmost of our ability while we can. What's the best way for me to take care of my life? Probably to just pay attention. To be there for whatever happens to be present in my life, rather than just letting myself float by.

That is something I'm still learning how to do, and it's been a struggle.  But I hope that if I keep at it day by day, eventually I will not be so perplexed by the question, "Where am I?" It is precisely because I take my life for granted that it passes me by and I get confused by it.

The Beatles said, "Living is easy with eyes closed". But, I've noticed that even though my eyes are open, I'm not awake. I have to keep trying though. I have to wake up, again and again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Emiko: Day 35, And The Fat Lingers...

My left ankle started to hurt today while I did my jump-ropes. I decided to mostly ignore the pain and continue, and to just place most of my weight on my right leg. I mentioned my ankle pain to Adrian, and he had to give me some tough-love in order to get me to stop jumping. He made me realize that my ego was really getting in the way, and I was unable to simply listen to my body. 

After reaching such a high point of being able to do 1,600 jumps in a row, it is hard for me to allow myself to ease up even when I am in pain. I was getting stubborn about reaching that number each time I did my jump-ropes, and that is just dumb if your body is hurting. And it's not just jumps, my ego is attached in this way to my other exercises to, thinking that I won't be good enough if I don't push myself hard enough.

So, it was only 1,300 jumps today (should have stopped at 1,200, but like I said I was being stubborn), and I skipped the floor-jumps. I could hear an inner voice saying, "you're kind of a failure," but I heard Adrian say, "this is what's right for your body now" and I knew that he was right. Because he injured his knee recently, this stuff is definitely on his mind.

Another reason that I am getting so attached to finishing all of my exercises to the max is because I still feel...well...FAT. I have lost a lot of the fat surrounding my abdomen, and my legs are turning from flubber to muscle. My silhouette from the front is much slimmer, but when I turn to the side, not much has changed! There is still a bump there. The belly fat lingers...that big 'tire' as Tim calls it, or 'kangaroo pouch' as I think of it, it just won't disappear!

Just as I am reaching the height of my frustration with this, of course Patrick chimes in with an email about 'visceral fat' —the fat that makes the kangaroo pouch— and how it is the toughest fat in the body to get rid of. I guess that's why so many people give up working out, because they don't feel like it will ever go away. But, like Adrian wrote just now, it will eventually give way after a while as long as we stick to our diets and exercise regimens. I can't wait for that to happen, because then I will finally be able to see the results of all these 8-minute Abs workouts!

Adrian: Day 35, Back in the Valley

We both got lots of sleep last night. 9.5 hours for me and 10.5 hours for Emiko. This was nice because of the lack of sleep we've been having, but we both ended up feeling groggy all day. I skipped my chores this morning, and I wasn't able to tackle the rest of my tasks throughout the day with any zest. The day seemed to float by as if I were vegging out in front of a T.V.

I kept my workout somewhat light because the knee is still bothering me, but I did the 8 minute ab routine again. I didn't enjoy the workout today; I went through them all like chores. I gave myself a couple nasty welts while doing my jump ropes too. I blamed the jump rope for hurting me and I threw it at the wall. The cats weren't happy about that move.

I feel like I'm back in the PCP valley. I keep thinking to myself, "Why don't I feel energetic all the time?" and, "Why don't I feel or look much stronger yet?"

We got an email from Patrick the other day talking about "visceral fat" - the lardy stuff that's really hard to get rid of. He says it's gonna stick to the 'bitter end' (it's definitely sticking to my bitter end), but if we keep on top of our diets, it will start to go around day 40. I can believe that after looking at Kazu's pictures. He made a really big change between week 5 and week 6. It's inspiring to see.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Adrian & Emiko: Day 34, Eat your vegetables..Seriously.

We forgot to eat our vegetables after lunch today and felt a big dip in energy while doing chores later. After the laundry came out of the dryer, Adrian became very distressed. Just the thought of folding our sheets made him give a little sigh.

We both became famished, and just wanted to eat vegetables really bad. Not pizza, not hamburgers, not burritos, VEGETABLES! We couldn't stop talking about veggies. Adrian wanted a bowl of spinach, but Emiko said 'No, you can't eat the same vegetables twice in the same day'. Adrian gave a little sigh.

When we got home, we had a huge bowl of peas each. And happily ate the rest of our dinner - egg whites, milk (Emiko), banana and a spoonful of rice (Adrian). This probably sounds lame to most people, but it's actually quite satisfying. We never go to bed on full stomachs like we used to, and it feels good to do.

Earlier, we worked out at the same time, staggering our exercises because we only have 1 resistance band for both of us. Adrian did a round of the 8-minute Abs video while Emiko was doing her Chest Flies. The instructor's motivational phrases in the video are hilarious. Emiko started laughing so hard at a certain point that she could not physically finish her chest flies. The same thing happened to Adrian later. We both really love that 8 minute abs guy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Emiko: Day 33, A New Hero

I have been venting my frustrations with sugar for the past few days, and was feeling kind of low today (a.k.a. was in a PCP Valley). Having temptations again is frustrating, because I feel like I am falling back into my old habits and addictions all over again. I have resolved to give up anything sweet besides fruit (that means no occasional honey on my toast, agave nectar in my coffee/steamed milk, or dates...which is the toughest of all!). These things are only going to keep my body used to, and reliant on, extra sugar as a part of my diet. Well, think again, body! That sweet stuff is history!

Later on in the day, I had a revelation about my PCP hero. Patrick has suggested that if we are having intense cravings or struggling through a work-out, to think of our heroes for the Project for the strength to do what's right. Patrick used to carry around a picture of Bruce Lee to give him motivation during his Project. But, in these situations, I don't think of my official PCP Hero for inspiration. Although I admire Michelle Rodriguez for both her body and her attitude, she is not who I think of to get me through the tough times. My real PCP hero is none other than Adrian Velazco, my partner in this project and in life.

Adrian started the Project with much less body fat than I, so right now his muscles are really starting to pop out. I am motivated by his energy and his results to keep my cravings from affecting my actions, and to always push myself to do my best with each of my exercises. His excitement about getting into shape and, now, beginning training in Parkour is so contagious.

A recent example is that I recently started doing 1,350-1,700 jump-ropes in a single set. I would not have attempted even close to 1,000 jumps if Adrian had not done so first. He has also inspired me to add the 8-minute Abs video to my work-out every day, to take my exercise up a notch (which, by the way I LOVE that video). Also, Sunday night when I was really hungry and (gasp!) almost ate a bunch of extra carbs at night, I called Adrian hoping he would tell me to go for it, but he simply said something to the effect of, "Well, you are hungry. So be hungry." So I was able to just know my hunger, not let it take me over. His constant support and his attitude are so awesome.

So, thank you Adrian for being my real hero! I admire you in so many ways.

Adrian: Day 33, Some pain

I haven't been able to get much sleep for the past two days. I've been thinking too much at night and I've been completely unable to relax. I felt tired all day today. My right knee's been aching too - I hurt it yesterday during meditation. I could really feel it while doing jump ropes today, so I tried to keep most of the action on my left leg. I cut the jumps to 1200 instead of the usual 1600. I skipped the floor jumps altogether. I did manage to get through the rest of the exercises. I feel like I've gotten a little bit stronger, though Emiko says my muscles look a lot more defined.

She suggested that I skip the workout completely today, because of my hurt knee. That idea sounded pretty good to me. But, I've been feeling very motivated lately, and the idea of not working out for two days in a row (I took my rest day yesterday) just seemed wrong to me. I think I'm starting to like exercise... Weird.

I did the 8-minute abs video Patrick sent us for the second day in a row today. It's hilarious. Two or more people watching together in the same room will result in fits of laughter. But the workout really does burn. Some of the exercises feel like they put too much strain on my neck though, and that's not fun.

That's all for now. I'm gonna go cut my hair. Have a good night everybody!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Emiko: Day 32, No Fair!

I just got home from another night at work. Like last night, I was ravenously hungry the entire shift. Luckily, I planned ahead by not eating my vegetables at lunch, but rather saving them for when I got to work. That helped a lot, because unfortunately I forgot to eat my post-work-out egg-white yet again! Oof. Tomorrow I will make sure that not to forget. It really is so necessary!

Ever since our indulgence last week (chocolate brownie sundaes), I have been craving the sweet stuff. Anything sweet is much more tempting than it was before the indulgence. My body was like, "Hey, I remember this sugar substance! I was addicted to it. I want more of it!" All while I shed a tear, staring longingly at the pastry case at the cafe where I work. My manager also bought me and another of my coworkers a pint of gelato each, as a thank you for picking up a shift in an emergency. Of course, the gesture is what counts, but I was sad to have to say no to the yummy looking melon sorbet.

Work is definitely providing a lot of temptation for me again, with all of the sweet and creamy foods and drinks everywhere. It's almost like I am back at Day 1! I am definitely planning on something savory for my next indulgence.... >:(

Adrian: Day 32, New Record

I just peeled a boiled egg in about three seconds. Any challengers?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Emiko: Day 31, For Hungry Bellies

Doesn't our lunch look delicious?

We have officially crossed over the 1-month mark, and a lot of our cravings and habits are melting away in exchange for more positive things. So, Patrick has been telling us, "It's all fun from here out. The hard stuff is over." Time to celebrate and just go along with for the ride, right?

Well, not quite. Tonight was hard for me.

After doing a single set of 1,4oo jumps before rushing off to work (yet again I had to cut my jumps short), I arrived at work ready to chomp down on something filling. But wait a tick— I had already had lunch! From then on it was fruit and ONLY fruit for the rest of my shift, plus a little milk. It was a loooooong 8-hour wait until I got home and was able to eat my (forgotten) post-work-out egg white, Dinner egg-white, and late-night veggies. All of which I devoured!

The real purpose of this post is to share with you all a couple of recipes. The first is that for our delicous turkey-patties, and the second is one that I made for the first time today, which is a quinoa dish. Both are really good, PCP dishes that you can make in advance (and they both make quite a bit) for future meals.

Quinoa with peas, onions and spices!

Ady's Famous Spicy Turkey-Patties

Patrick has also started to hound on Adrian and I about making sure we have a lot of variety in our protein sources (he knows we love the patties), so although we won't be making another batch of these for awhile, we hope that you will enjoy them as much as we do.

Play around with the spices, especially the chili powder. If you want it spicy, use the max given here...or even more! Also, having a lime at the ready to squeeze over your turkey burger is an absolute must. Remember that yo
u can experiment by trying different meats such as ground chicken or even fish. Have fun!

(Makes 9 patties with 100g protein, 10-20g carbs)

2.5 lbs ground, Lean Turkey (or substitute)
2 slices Whole-Wheat bread
1/2 cup sliced Green Onion
8 cloves minced Garlic
5 squirts (or about 5 tbsp.) Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp. Non-fat Yogurt
2-4 tbsp. Chili Powder
1 heaping tbsp. Thyme
1 heaping tbsp. Curry Powder
1 heaping tbsp. Smoked Chipotle Powder (optional)


1 Large Mixing Bowl
1 Big Knife
1 Cutting Board
Cookie sheets, or some other flat surface/container to place the patties on while freezing
Saran Wrap
Freezer Baggies
Aluminum Foil

Preparation: Thaw the turkey until it breaks apart easily. Break up into small pieces into a large mixing bowl. Also break up the whole-wheat bread into very small crumbs and place in the mixing bowl, and set aside. Slice the green onions, mince the garlic, and add both into the bowl. Add the yogurt, mustard, thyme, chili powder, curry powder, and chipotle powder (optional). Use your hands to mix up the contents of the bowl thoroughly.

Shape the turkey mixture into 9, equally-sized patties, placing onto cookie sheets (or other surface/container) as you go. Place in freezer for 30 mins, or until patties are firm but still malleable. Remove patties from freezer, reshape if necessary, and wrap individually in saran wrap. Place patties into a couple freezer bags, and freeze. Voila!

To Cook: Thaw turkey patty for an hour or two, or defrost in microwave being careful not to cook the meat. Turn on the broiler, and place a sheet of aluminum foil on the broiler rack. Place turkey patty on the foil, and broil for 10-12 mins. on each side.

Quinoa with Veggies

Quinoa is a grain that is new to me, although I've heard really good things. It fairly high in protein, and is supposed to be a "complete" protein unto itself.

Adrian found this recipe on Google. It is the first link that comes up when you search for "quinoa recipes." I will link directly to it here
. We decided to double the amount of cinnamon, and want to add bell peppers to the mix next time because it needs something more. Again, play with it!

Serves Six to Eight


1 cup Quinoa
1½ tbsp. Vegetable Oil
½ Onion Diced (about 4 or 5 ozs.)
1 tsp. Grated Fresh Ginger Root
½ Fresh Green Chile (Finely Chopped)
1 heaping tsp. Turmeric
1 heaping tsp. Coriander
¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon (or to taste)
1¾ cups Water
½ cup Fresh or Frozen Peas
  1. Rinse quinoa with cold water. Use a fine mesh filter or coffee filter. If you're a klutz like me use the fine mesh filter or a lot of quinoa is going to wind up in the sink!

    Quinoa is coated with a natural substance called saponin that protects the grain by repelling insects and birds. Rinsing the quinoa is important to avoid a raw or bitter taste. You can tell if there is saponin by the production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water.

  2. Place oil and diced onions in a heavy saucepan. Saute the onions on medium high heat for four to five minutes.
  3. Add the ginger root, chile, and quinoa. Cook for one minute stirring constantly.
    A fine, white spiral appears around the grain as it cooks.
  4. Stir in the turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, and salt. Cook for one minute stirring constantly.
  5. Add the water and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in peas. Cover and cook for four or five minutes or until peas are tender and all the water has been absorbed.
  7. Fluff with a fork before serving
*Optional Ingredient: 1 to 2 Tbsp. Chopped Cilantro.

Well, I know this post looks really long, and it took me quite a bit of time to write it all out. I hope that you can enjoy these recipes.

Good night everybody, and go do some happy, healthy eating!

Adrian: Day 31, Parkour

I got excited about Parkour today after reading Nate's latest blog post. I've known about parkour peripherally for some time now, but I've never done anything except watch other people do it on youtube. Lately though, my confidence has been rising, and today I had the thought, "I want to do that!"

So I did a search on google, and I found this group based in the Bay Area who are giving a free class on parkour basics a couple weeks from now at the U.C. Berkeley campus. I'm planning on going. I know it's going to be fun, and I'll probably take some pictures so that I can post about it here. There seems to be a small community growing around here of people who do it, and right now it seems like a good idea to me to try and get in on the fun they're having.

The fundamental workouts for parkour seem to be pretty similar to what I'm doing now in the PCP, and it would be awesome if I could make it a part of my routine.

Thanks again for the inspiration Nate!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Emiko: Day 30, IT'S DAY 30!!!

Wow guys, I really can't believe that PCP2 has been going for a full 30 days already! Has it really honestly been a month? Time has flown by.

I just finished whipping up another batch of Adrian's delicious recipe for lean turkey burgers. You can see a picture here of the mixing bowl. Doesn't it look just fabulous? We decided to double the amount of chili powder this time to make it extra spicy and exciting. We'll let you know how it tastes in a couple of days when we try the new round of patties.

These 100g-o'-meat patties have been our staple for lunch. Love 'em!

Anywho, I set another new record for myself in jump-roping today! I did one set of 1,700 jumps. Woo woo! Again, my body complained and complained through the first couple hundred or so. I almost stopped at 250 jumps to take a breather, but then a little voice in my head said, "Let's see what you feel like after another hundred. Just feel it out." So I did, and it kind of kept going that way until I hit 1,000. By that time I had decided to push myself and finish the full 1,600. But once I got to 1,600, the voice chimed in again..."Let's try another hundred, eh?" I stopped there, though.

It's amazing to experience how far I have come. Just a few weeks ago, I was doing sets of 100-150 jumps, 300 at most. Now 100 is nothing. I can just say, "Let's do another 100!" That's so amazing to me!

Speaking of progress...I am kind of embarrassed to show you all this, but here is a previously unseen Day 1 photo that I uncovered as I was helping Adrian upload a picture for his post half an hour ago. Oh my god, you guys! I can't believe how pudgy I was! Even by the end of Week 1 (the first photo on our Flickr photostream) you can see a big difference. In this photo I look pretty bloated in the belly. After the half-diets, the puffiness went down a bunch.

In finding this picture after a month on the PCP, most of the surprise didn't come from how much weight I've lost since then. That's maybe 10% of it. Mostly I can see now how stark the difference was between the image I had of myself and how I really, truly was. I never really realized that this was how I appeared to the world, because when I looked in the mirror I didn't want to see the truth. I compensated for my fat by sucking in just a little bit. You know you do it. I did it. And I still do it!

The initial shock of seeing this photo right after Adrian took it was actually part of the reason I didn't put much effort into uploading it. I didn't want it to be real. Well, now my secret's out!

Off to do my chores before bedtime! Good night, all.

Adrian: Day 30, How and Why

I had originally planned a very short post for today about something very specific, but I can't remember at all what it was. But I did realize that we're already a third of the way through, and I never really talked about how I found out about the PCP in the first place, and why I decided to do it, and why there's a picture of Manny Pacquiao and Michelle Rodriguez at the top of this blog. So I'll take this opportunity to tell you all about how we discovered this thing. I think this story starts near the end of July...

I was home alone one day in July - probably a very hot day, and I was listening to a podcast on itunes from the San Francisco Zen Center. I must have been very bored, because after listening to a couple of these lectures, I decided to search itunes for other podcasts about Zen Buddhism. That's when I first discovered Patrick & Gwen's podcast Zen is Stupid.

I think my first impression was shock. Shock that other young people were into Zen. I had been practicing at home with Emiko for a few months up until then, and the times we had been to Zen centers, there were only old people there. Also, I didn't know how to use my time very well back then, and it seemed to me that most of the hobbies I had been interested in up to that point were things only old people liked (jazz, blues, gardening, chess, walks around the lake, etc.). Anyway, their talks about Zen seemed very different from other talks I had heard in the past, in that, they were just two friends talking about their lives. So, I was pretty happy to see that other people my age were into this sort of thing.

Around this time, I was also drawing a lot, and I was taking lots of pictures of various things to draw, like Emiko, and our cat Peppermint stuck inside a pair of pants.

I also decided to start drawing self portraits at this time, and I took a picture of myself from the waist up (no shirt). After looking at the picture, I realized how I had really let myself go physically. I was pretty ashamed, and I didn't end up drawing myself in that light. But I vowed on the spot to get my body in shape, and I started jogging and doing crunches, push ups, and planks every day, and I started paying closer attention to my diet. At the same time, Emiko became inspired by what I was trying to do, and started going jogging with me. But I wasn't seeing much progress in either one of us. I figured I needed a solid fitness plan designed by someone who actually knew what they were doing.

So what happened next is a bit blurry to me, but a couple days after first hearing Zen is Stupid, I stumbled onto Patrick's PCP blog, right after he had completed his 125 days of training (please check out the above links. I get a free indulgence if you do). I had a "Eureka!" moment. It was exactly what I was looking for. I was so excited that I showed Emiko and we've both been hooked on the PCP ever since. We both emailed Patrick shortly afterward and we combined our wish-power to send our pleaseletusparticipate vibes into the outer space.

I remember when the email came back saying we were in. Emiko was in the living room, and I was in the kitchen. Suddenly Emiko let out a primal yelp and called out my name. My first instinct was extreme panic, because it sounded like someone had died. But then she jumped at me and yelled "We got in!" And then we did the dance of joy.

Soon after, we started getting regular emails from Patrick with explanations of how things would work, and we were introduced to the rest of the group (check out their blogs if you haven't yet!). Emiko and I were accepted as a couple, instead of individually, as an experiment.

One aspect of our participation in the project is that we were supposed to choose heroes for ourselves. Basically, people with really awesome bods that we wanted to model ourselves after. When Patrick first asked us to send him our hero choices, I started to get sort of anxious. I started thinking, "Well, I don't really have any heroes. And there's no one in particular I want to look like... I just want to be as physically fit as I can possibly be." But I decided that it was sort of a cop out to think that way. So I chose the boxer Manny Pacquiao.

Honestly though, I don't know much about Manny Pacquiao. I haven't seen any of his fights (though I've seen a couple short clips on youtube), and I haven't watched boxing since high school. I only know about him because there seems to be a lot of hype surrounding him at the moment, and he's always on the cover of the Filipino newspapers at my parent's house. And the dude is made of rock! I wouldn't mind having a stomach like that.

I'll keep my face though.

Anyway, that's all I can think of saying for now, so if you've got any questions about this thing, ask!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Emiko: Day 29, Untitled

I just got home from an emergency call in to work, so I don't have the time or energy to write much.

But, like Adrian, I set another new record for jump-ropes today, doing all of my 1,600 jumps in a single set! At first my body was like, "No, not again!" but stopped complaining soon after and it was fairly easy. The work out was hard because I was sore from yesterday's exercises, but it was good.

Man, today I am really feeling this equation in my life: optimism about life + caffeine + in love with Adrian + exercising my muscles = Awesome!

I feel a very humbled sense of happiness, because I am working to positively change my life, which is positively affecting other's lives. Adrian and I are learning a lot during this journey together, and are having to really work as a team both PCP-wise and in general with life. Things are changing for the better in so many ways. I will elaborate more later, but now....sleep!

Love to the world! G'night and sweet dreams.

Adrian: Day 29, Out of Body Exercise

I had the black tea again today and the caffeine boost I got from that one cup seemed to push my energy through the roof. After tea, Emiko and I had a really lucid talk about feeling excited about life. We both feel a lot clearer mentally these days, about where we are in life, and how to proceed together. Soon afterwards, I felt a rush of energy to start my workout. I ended up setting a new record for myself today - 1800 jumps in one set. I felt so good that I plowed through the rest of my exercises like Super Mario on mushrooms. I was listening to music the whole time, and during my leg ups I entered a transcendental state in which I felt the vibrations of the music going through me. Lesson for the day: Say yes to exercise.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Emiko: Day 28, Strong n Tough!

Today both Adrian and I were secretly daydreaming of naughty, un-PCP foods. I guessed a little that he was thinking similarly to myself, because while waiting in line at the grocery store he kept picking up the chocolates and candies and inspecting their nutritional facts. I found myself at one point craving something really greasy, something I used to indulge in growing up and up until a few months ago: KFC potato wedges.

It kind of grosses me out thinking how much of them I could eat. I would eat the entirety of a large box of these oily, squishy wedges. It would make me sick, but I was happy anyway. Why was I happy after being sickened by my food? Addiction. But now that I am (mostly) free of that, I can think about them, and maybe my thoughts will linger on them, but I don't have a physical need to turn the car around and head for the drive-thru anymore. Those days are over.

After returning home, eating lunch and drinking tea, Adrian and I settled in for a movie, but like he said that didn't work out (but did later, happily!). So Adrian started his work-out first, while I studied and waited for him to get through most of it. But then Adrian told me that he had just completed a set of 1,000 jumps and was ready for more, and I could not believe it! I was so proud of him and in awe of that number. That part of the routine usually takes me at least 6 or 7 sets to complete, bare minimum, and the most I had ever done in a set was 600, and that felt like a heck of a lot!

Near the end of his work-out, I jumped into my sweats and found I had a new bounce in my step. I was totally inspired to begin my work-out, and finally felt that "YES, I get to work out today!!" attitude, rather than saying "Aw man, I've still gotta do my work-out today."

My first set was 250, which is pretty okay for me. But my during my second set, I was determined to go for something much bigger. I wasn't sure what, but I wanted something impressive! After 4- or 5-hundred jumps, I realized that I was still breathing easily and I felt like I could do more. It kept going that way until I reached 900 jumps, and decided to just finish up my 1,600 jumps for the day. So I totalled at 1,350! That's more than twice my previous record of 600!! Woo!

I felt really strong and tough after that, which are not typical Emiko feelings. It was pretty cool. Those are two aspects that I admire in my PCP Hero, Michelle Rodriguez. She is an actress, and always plays those 'tough chick' roles. That is pretty much the opposite of my personality and character, and having a doughy body only complimented my easy-going, non-threatening appearance.

But now that I am getting stronger, I can at least pretend to be tough!

Here is a trailer from Girlfight, a film starring Michelle Rodriguez. She plays a young, aspiring female boxer who has to fight through a lot of barriers. So you can really see what I'm talking about!

Anyways, I'm pooped from all of the running around and jumping in place. My last note is that, after some calculations, I have discovered that right now Adrian and I have over 100 eggs in our fridge. Isn't that insane?? And they'll be gone quick, too, since tomorrow we start our new, eggier diets!

Until then, good night all!

Adrian: Day 28, Climbing a new Peak

As you know, Emiko and I have been kind of on a bum trip lately, both of us feeling low on energy and motivation. Today, while we were out running errands, I was feeling lethargic, and decided to be the passenger. I slumped in my seat, checking out all the ethnic food diversity that Oakland has to offer; passively daydreaming about quitting the PCP and eating out at different restaurants.

At the grocery store, I walked about in a hazy daydream candyland, stuffing my face with potato chips, chocolate bars, sugar-dried fruit, and even granola. When I came to, I was carrying a grocery bag full of grains, and loose-leaf tea.

Afterward, Emiko dropped me off at home so I could prepare lunch while she went out to do more groceries. I plopped down like a sack of steel cut oats in front of the kitchen table with a bowl of carbs to chow on. After the snack, I equipped myself with knife and cutting board and set off for battle with our vegetables.

At around 6 p.m., Emiko and I had a pot of black tea - vanilla almond and snacked on some fruit. We were trying to get a movie to work on our computer, but it took so long to set up that we decided to start our exercises before it got too dark.

I started the jump-ropes, while Emiko listened to some audio lectures for Buddhist Philosophy class. My first set was 400, which was about my previous record for jumps. My first set is usually 100-150, to warm up, but this time, I wasn't tired at all and I didn't need a warm-up. I felt strong, and ended up doing another 550 in the next two sets. For my third and final set, I hit my all-time record of 1000 jumps! I was able to do jumps on one leg, and also while alternating my legs. I didn't want to stop, and I felt like I could do 500 more, but I decided to end it there, fearing an adrenaline crash. So all in all, I did 1950 jumps today. I ended up nailing the rest of the work-out too, but still only hit the minimums on the shoulder raises. Still, this is the strongest I've felt this whole time.

I was glistening with pride after my jump ropes.

I felt a renewed sense of energy and inspiration during this work-out, and I think it was mainly because of the tea. I think I'm gonna have it before work-out from now on. As I type though, Emiko has just taken the wind out of my sails by doing 1350 jumps! That girl is crazy, yo.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Adrian & Emiko: Day 27, In the Valley

We've been experiencing a dip in energy this week, and we think it's due to the reduced portions of our diets.  We haven't been getting very hungry, but we've felt our energy levels drop, and the exercises have been a bit tougher to complete.  Tomorrow is the beginning of week 5, and we start our new diets.  

For dinner, Adrian gets a new item on the menu: a spoonful of cooked rice.  "WTF?  How do I cook a spoonful of rice?  Is this some kind of joke?  I don't have a hobbit-sized rice cooker."  He also gets 50 grams of veggies for dinner.  Meat at lunch time has been cut by 20 grams, which isn't too much of a difference, because he's been eating only 100 on most days due to forgetfulness.  Dinner milk is gone, which means no more smoothies, or banana & milk soup ;(.  He's also boosted to a whopping 5 eggs a day.

Emiko's diet is exactly the same as it was before, except that she no longer gets a banana for dinner. So she will also have to go without banana-milk soup and smoothies. Noooo!!! The only new addition is a post-work-out egg-white, which is not so nice as a banana.

So we're sticking to these portions for the next few weeks, and then they will be gradually increasing. It will be interesting to see how our bodies and energy levels will be affected during the next month. Hopefully we will adjust to these new diets, especially because life has been very busy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Adrian & Emiko: Day 26, Indulgence Time!

Before we describe the delectable indulgence we had today, we're going to briefly summarize just what it is that we've been eating for these past 26 days, for those of you who are just now tuning into the wonderful world of PCP.

Basically, we started the project by cutting all our food intake by 50%, and surprisingly, we found that we weren't hungry after eating only half of what we usually eat. For the next phase of the project, we were given very specific diets, which were very high in vegetables, fruit and hard-boiled eggs. For those naysayers out there who think that we aren't living by restricting ourselves to a strict diet regimen, you are mostly wrong. Actually, since starting this project, we've learned how to improvise a variety of new, homemade dishes. Whereas we used to just make sandwiches and eat out most of the time. But we do get a sort of break from the diet once a month or so, and this week was the first such opportunity to indulge.

Lately, we have been craving both chocolate & ice cream, but we've been unable to decide which to have for our indulgence. We have a couple pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream (purchased prior to PCP) which have been taunting us whenever we open the freezer. One flavor in particular has been teasing us seductively - Vanilla Honey Bee. Adrian describes the taste as 'creamy delight'. The problem is, the temperature around here has suddenly dropped by about 40 degrees, so ice cream hasn't been as attractive.

So Adrian came up with the idea to combine chocolate and ice cream! We bought a brownie from the bakery at the corner of our street, nuked it for 30 seconds in the microwave, and split the then warm and gooey square in half. As a bonus, the frosting on the brownie melted to a liquid, and acted as a hot fudge. We topped it with 1/2 cup of ice cream each and voila! Brownie sundae delight.

It looked really freaking delicious.

The first few bites were awesome, and we both felt really happy with our choice of indulgence. But after a minute, our throats began to burn because the brownie frosting was so incredibly sweet. That took the fun out of the brownie part, although the Vanilla Honey Bee stayed delicious the whole way through.

The sugar definitely affected us though, Emiko got aura (usually the first stage in migraine headaches, which she used to get often) and Adrian got really hyper and giggly. He even faked a sugar-induced heart-attack which involved kicking off his shoes and attempting to revive his heart by massaging his chest.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Emiko: Day 25, A Day in the Life Of My Tummy

Tonight my coworker Lauren said that she wondered what a PCP diet looks like compared to hers or a more average diet, and I realized that I have not posted anything about my daily eats in a while. Also, in the past I have used grams to explain my portions, but here I will try to make it a little more understandable for those who don't weigh all of their meals on a scale!

So, here we are! Today's Food:

-A full bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk
-A medium-sized plate of broccoli (with a portion about as big as my hand if I held it over the plate)
-1 whole hard-boiled egg (side-note: Ma, those special-colored eggs are DELICIOUS)

Morning Snack:
-1/3 of a nectarine

-1 home-made (by my lovely BF & BFF Adrian!) turkey patty made with lean turkey, NF yogurt, green onions, cayenne pepper, whole-wheat bread and garlic.
-1 whole-wheat tortilla
-1/2 of an avocado
-3/4 of a tomato

Afternoon Snack:
-Tiny bowl of granola with a little LF milk
-Should have had some fruit (as much as morning snack) but forgot! Woops.

-16oz smoothie made with 1 banana, 3/4 of an apple, a dash of milk and some ice.

Evening Snack:
-1 hard-boiled egg (white only) sprinked with pepper
-A handful of broccoli

So, I think you will see that I truly am eating a lot of food, but that it is very low in fat, consists of almost no sugar (except the granola, and maybe a smidge of honey in the cereal), or empty calories. Carbohydrates are almost always something whole-wheat or whole-grain. We eat lots of stuff that comes right from the earth or from animals, such as fruit, eggs, veggies, beans, milk, meat, etc.

So there you have it! A random daily run-down of what goes into my body. Maybe I'll make more of an effort to post what I am eating every now and again.

Also, I still haven't decided what to indulge in this week! Patrick told us that we can have something non-PCP, as long as it is in moderation (equal to or less than 400 calories), but I don't know what I want yet! I am thinking it will be chocolatey, but I'd really like some suggestions if you've got any (go CRAZY...I wanna hear it!).

Thanks all! Can't wait to hear what you suggest. Good night.

Adrian: Day 25, A Semi-Lazy Day

I felt a bit sick when I went to bed last night. Had a feeling sort of like nausea. My mind was clear though; I didn't have the usual 'this sucks' kind of feelings that I tend to have while sick. And I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, and relaxed - to the point of not wanting to do anything but maneuver my body into different reclining positions. Gus was sitting on the bed however, staring me down intently. He was attempting with all his willpower to communicate with me telepathically that he wanted food, and he wanted it A.S.A.P.

After feeding the cats, I had a bowl of protein-enhanced cereal and a plate of broccoli for breakfast. Not too exciting. I felt sort of indifferent to being awake. I was reminded of this girl I used to know, Lorena, who used to say that eating vegetables made her feel bored. I never understood, until this morning, but only just a little bit.

For lunch, we were planning to cook up some fish that we bought at the Temescal Farmer's Market yesterday, but once we got back from school, Emiko pretty much had to rush off to work, so there was no time for us to have lunch together. Instead, we broiled up turkey patties, and Emiko packed her lunch. At around 8 p.m., I visited Emiko at work, and she made us banana & apple smoothies.

I decided to take my rest day today, because even by late afternoon, I felt pretty lazy. I started doing my jump ropes in the apartment (because my downstairs neighbor wasn't home) and I ended up getting a burst of energy and decided to do the rest of the exercises.

I kept Patrick's high school track & field story in mind. His coach told him that if he felt tired while running that he should at least try to make it to a tree some ways ahead, and when he made it to the tree, to keep going and to choose another tree further up ahead to stop at, and when he got to that tree, he would choose a new landmark to stop at, and to keep going this way until finished. Patrick also mentioned that he was overweight in high school, but that's hard to believe, because he looks like Spiderman now.

PCP senses tingling!

Anyhow, I'd better cut this post short. I still haven't finished dinner, and I've got some chores to do.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Emiko: Day 24, Flapping My Chicken-wings

Hello folks! Thanks for reading this post. It is after midnight so I don't know how good it is, but I hope you like it.

Well, exercising was a little difficult for me today. After achieving my recent record of 600 jump-ropes in a row, I thought that my endurance while jump-roping would simply escalate from then on. Apparently not so! Today I was able to do sets of 100-300, but I struggled through each and every one. My body just seemed very resistant the the activity I was making it do, and I had to play some mental games in order to get the job done in a timely manner because I had to go to work soon, and of course I was still late (Sorry Sara, Terra, and Brian!).

The new exercises are also brought up a notch to give us more of a challenge. And it burned! The extra reps kept me working hard. Also this new exercise, the 'Chicken Wing' I know for sure that I am doing entirely wrong. Patrick, this means I need help! I was surely not a chicken in a past life, because right now I am not really engaging the shoulder muscles, I am just straining my shoulder joints. SOS!

One cool thing, though, was that I flexed my arm kind of randomly in the mirror and I was like WHAT! I can actually see some definition in there! Although I can't do the Chicken Wing for s***, some of those shoulder exercises must be working because there are now two separate shoulder and bicep muscles!

On another note, I emailed all of my coworkers yesterday with the link to this blog and a super brief explanation of what it is Adrian and I (and the other present PCPers) are doing. Tonight I worked with Sara, and she had looked at the blog so we started to talk about how the process is changing my routine, perspective, habits, etc. Later in the evening, I told all of my coworkers about the PCP at our monthly staff meeting. I thought it was going to be a lot more exciting, but people didn't seem too phased about it. Maybe in the coming weeks, as my body and energy changes more and more, it will pique people's interest. It is nice to have it out in the open nonetheless. Mostly I just want to have a broader community of people reading these blogs, commenting and maybe being inspired or influenced by our experiences.

Thus, I have taken another step in spilling the beans about the PCP! Now all of my coworkers know, and it's just time to contact friends that I don't see too often and clue them in to this exciting project we are all involved in.

Good night everyone. My kitty is meowing at me that it is bedtime, so off I go. Bye! Oh, and hello coworkers if you are reading this! Night night!

Adrian: Day 24, Week 4, Workout 2.

Jump rope: Piece of cake.
Lunge: No problem.
Pull down: Fine.
Chest Fly: Easy.
Triceps dip: Not Bad.
Chicken wing: Ow. (Why am I feeling the burn in my neck?)
Leg-up: Ouch. (Make it stop.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Emiko: Day 23, Life Comes Together

I mentioned yesterday how satisfying the days have been since we started the Project. I wanted to continue that thread, because I am feeling so thankful for it. It is such a beautiful thing!

I really feel like I am tackling life in every moment. Because of that, I am gaining so much sensitivity, becoming more aware of the present and more grateful for whatever it is that is happening in that present moment.

Like Adrian mentioned today, we had a pretty intense meltdown yesterday following a fight. Fighting hurts, and sometimes working it out can be painful, but I feel that my attitude has shifted and I can be appreciative of those moments.

Also, activities that used to slip past me without thought have now come into and equal focus with the rest of my life. I don't put such a heavy emphasis any one piece of my day, and totally ignore another because it is not 'important.'

Now, steaming broccoli at night is just as clear in my memory as making a drawing, hugging Adrian, or petting my cats. Of course of all of these I would love to hug Adrian the most, but you know what I mean. My day feels fuller because I am not sorting my experiences by 'worthy' and 'unworthy' of remembering or paying attention to, and I feel so much more balanced and, well, alive!

I am on a feel-good trip, and I can't stop listening to this song right now:


I love you all! Good night and sweet dreams. <3 Emiko

Adrian: Day 23, The Practice of Sitting

I just finished my period of morning zazen, and while sitting, I realized that neither Emiko or I have described the nuts and bolts of our meditation practice. So, in this post, I would like to describe my own personal experience with meditation.

Emiko and I practice zen meditation, or Zazen - which literally means seated meditation. Though the meat of the practice is sitting, meditation actually occurs throughout the entire day. Thus meditation can occur while walking, while standing, while cooking, while eating, and even while lying down.

During seated meditation, our practice is to focus on the rise and fall of the breath, counting each exhalation from 1-10 and then beginning again at one. While doing this, one notices how nearly impossible it is to reach the number 10 without becoming lost in thought. So it is that we are instructed to let all thoughts and sensations arise and pass; with acknowledgement but not interference. In short, to just pay attention.

A common misconception about meditation is that the purpose is to stifle all thoughts - the logic being that if one is free from thoughts, then one can be free from the suffering caused by thoughts. But actually, stifling your thoughts will make you suffer. Another misconception is that meditation is the practice of relaxation. But too much relaxation gives the ego free-reign. Those two examples are microcosms of the two extremes - ascetisicm and hedonism. Our meditation is the middle way, and we meditate to see life as it actually is.

During meditation, we realize that much of our lives are spent in thought. We reminisce on the past, plan for the future, replay conversations, have imaginary conversations, reflect on the image we think we present to the rest of the world, and so on and so on forever and on continuous repeat. So we sit, and we focus on the breath so that we can see these tendencies of our mind, and eventually we see that we live life in self-created bubbles.

It is said that the ultimate reality is like a vast ocean, and our individual lives - the false images we create for ourselves, are like bubbles in the ocean. When the bubble pops, it rejoins the the vast ocean of life. And in this state, the totality of life is experienced. Actually, "experienced" is incorrect. When the ego bubble pops, there is no one there to experience anything. Life just is.

Sure, meditation is a form of mental conditioning, and skeptics could correctly label it as hypnosis, but what in life are we not hypnotized by? And ultimately, we condition our minds with meditation to be free from hypnosis.

I once asked a philosophy teacher, "People meditate to be free from conditioning, but isn't meditation also a form of conditioning?" He replied, "Yes, but you have to start somewhere."

It has become obvious to us PCPers that we have spent much of our lives hypnotized by food and convenience! That is why we are training ourselves to live with the right habits, right now! And it's neither easy, nor convenient.

I remember reading in one of Patrick's old posts that PCP had made his zazen practice better, at least physically. Today, for the first time, I was able to sit in the correct half lotus position, with both knees touching the floor. At first, there was pain, but gradually, my body settled into a state of comfortable stability that I have not experienced during meditation before. Even breathing was easier.

But the mental aspect is a different story. I have noticed during my zazen lately, that my attention has been completely bound up with aspects of the PCP - the posts, the responses, the exercises, my self image, the grocery lists, etc., etc. And yesterday, Emiko and I had another fight.

Since starting the PCP, tensions have been higher than ever, and I lost my cool yesterday just because the recycling was mixed up. I came to a realization - I'm still stuck in my ego-based bullshit! I have tendencies towards order, and Emiko has her tendencies towards disorder, and I wasn't able yesterday to just let things arise and pass without interference. I wasn't able to notice, to accept, to correct without getting my feelings mixed up with it. Instead, I yelled and belly-ached like a fire-breathing monster.

I pointed out what she did wrong, but that wasn't all. I pointed out all she had done wrong in the past. And I noticed that while doing this, I was pointing out everything that I thought was wrong with me.

After finally calming down, I became somewhat depressed. I thought: I meditate, I exercise, I eat right, I study philosophy, I practice my artwork, but why am I still acting like this person I never wanted to be?

Sure, with meditation I've gotten rid of 90% of the anxiety I feel on a day to day basis, but fundamentally, I am replaying the same patterns of tension that I experienced growing up. It's as if I'm a re-enactor.

My thoughts started telling me, "You'll never change, it's hopeless. You've been fooling yourself this whole time. You're the same old jerk." But instead of going along with these thoughts, I acknowledged my tendency to give up on myself and changed my thinking to "You have to keep trying. You can't give up. You can change, you already have."

So I hope that everyone reading deeply realizes what I'm trying to say. These ways we have of thinking about our lives is not reality. It's exactly these ways of thinking that cause pain and tension. Don't beat yourself up or others because of your ways of thinking, and don't relax yourself to the point of sedation. The ego grows happily under both of these conditions. It's only thought which makes life seem like a beach or a tight-rope. Whatever it is, keep steady, keep balancing.

I hope everyone is well,