Week IV – The Genesis

This chapter deserves another kind of introduction about myself – what I used to be, where I started, where I tripped over, picked myself back again and repeated the whole thing one more time and once again. Let this chapter serve as an inspiration to others to follow the suit or remain a form of entertainment (probably this whole story is both for me).

I always smile brightest when I recollect myself as a kid – I cannot complain about my childhood. I had everything as any kid could dream of. My parents had stable jobs, I had my Sega console and eventually computer cult of my own, completed home-works on time, hated physics and chemistry at school, feasted on big thick warm sandwiches with the freshest of sausages (my mother worked at the meat factory, you see), had a bunch of friends and yet more holidays, which I would dedicate to gaming, watching movies and simply enjoying myself as a kid with very few responsibilities. I was absolutely jolly about my childhood “set-up”. My mum did her best to feed me with more Ukrainian dishes and my dad, being my dad, would throw a few jokes here and there about me being a fatso. It was heaven and I find myself missing and cherishing it even up to now.

As the time passed by, I had to step out of my home and move away to do studies. My student’s budget imposed some restriction on the diet of my liking, so I definitely dropped a few kg during my first couple of months. I would go jogging during the first year and to the gym once in a while, so I remained somewhat in shape so my folks would still be able to recognise me. A year later, I went to the US for “Work & Travel” programme in a small town of Ocean City to be a kite flyer expert. I tried adopting to the local merits of feasting on big portions, various cuisines and cheap meals but utterly failed at that. My diet shrank to occasional slices of pizza, pasta, sweets and tea/lemonade for the whole summer. I could never eat American size foods on a daily basis, probably as any average European, and I also had to walk a lot in the town, since bus schedules were a myth. Those three months were a blessing in disguise and I lost quite a lot of weight and saw my cheekbones starting to protrude. Once I arrived home though, I hit the gym and my will always re-directed me to go to a store on my way back and buy some sweets. Expensive gym membership did not last long and neither did my will for maintaining the shape after my trip.

Half a year later, I headed to Germany to do my Erasmus. Obviously, with the amount of great food and beers that the country had to offer, I could not resist the temptation. Also, I started working for restaurants and hotels that would not offer healthy but a lot of free and fatty foods. Although, I would still go to the gym (during my last third semester) three times a week, I only managed to remain to be around the same weight when I firstly arrived to Dresden. Could be worse!

Back home, I continued working out and jogging once in a while with my Italian mates but surely and slowly I would start getting covered with layers of indifference to continue my workouts, so eventually I gave up. I simply had too much on my plate at a time – relationship, two jobs, studies… Not compatible with my will for pursuing to reach the limits of what my body was capable of. Once I had got a full-time job though, I lost all the time that I ever had with the reality and got involved in the office world and finishing my studies. Life became really busy and so did my stomach at digesting heavy and infrequent loads of whatever food would land on my table. A couple of years flew by and I became quite big and cheeky.

The lack of consistency and habits have become daunting and I wanted to establish a rock-stone foundation with the walls around it and a small door, which would lead me to a realm of freedom only once in a while. What I mean by that is that I spent too much time in that realm and because of that, my body and mind softened up, literally! As I am getting older (naturally, no surprise here), I wanted to take full advantage of what my mind and body could be capable of when contained within a routine of a healthy lifestyle. Here I am in 2018, being and feeling refreshed and polished! I feel like I have been made anew. It certainly feels great to be in a brand new shape I am in now.

Since we have approached the topic even closer, I wanted to sync you in on the detox drink that I brought up in my previous blog – I am quite glad to have completed a week of drinking it! Since I have already been on a diet for quite some time (half a year), I did not expect any major changes. It did not reflect on my workout either but it was certainly interesting to try it out. That being said, I would still recommend it to everyone else, who wants to prepare themselves to get started with a healthy diet and eventually start working out. My friends, who recommended the drink to me told me that it made a great impact on them and certainly helped clean their stomach up from all the trash food. Since I have not been heavy on trash food (especially during the time of the pact), my stomach did not have much dust inside, so to speak. The recipe is quite easy though – simply slice a cucumber (about  100-200g), a full lemon and some ginger (do not the spice though) and put them all into a bowl of about 1.5-2 litres of water and leave the bowl in the fridge for the night. Drink it throughout the day (obviously, you do not need to eat cucumbers with lemon and ginger). Although make sure not to drink it during the workout!

Speaking of the workout, I surely am feeling better throughout the day and during my training sessions. I am proud to be four weeks strong into the pact. I am slowly gaining muscle strength, losing weight and enjoying the routine. However, the biggest achievement within it all is the challenge of overcoming my previous bad habits and moving towards something greater than my old self.

Your Body Is Your Temple

So about half a year ago (August 2017) a friend of mine had told me about a workout called “Insanity”. The name definitely caught my attention and having ended my membership with a local gym (their chain of gyms offered the best locations in the city but charged heaps of money and you always had to notify them a month in advance that you would want to put your membership on hold and still pay a small fee for that), I was eager to start with a workout that did not require me signing up for a gym. Luckily for me, my work offered a free room dedicated to young spirits, willing to push their body to its limits and cover the floor with sweat. The motivation was in place as well so naturally, my only question to my friend was “When do we get started?”.

Insanity workout was 2 months long and was separated into two sets of workouts – first month, basically to get started with syncing into cardio, muscle raining and developing control and the second month was more intense where the workouts would be 50-55 minutes long instead of regular 35-40 minutes in the first month. The start was rough but we climbed quite swell together and pushed each other. After a couple of workouts and spreading some sweat at work’s gym, we went to Vilnius for a couple of days, anticipating Shaun T (trainer of insanity) to remain with us in spirit and pick up where we had left off in Vilnius. However, Karina’s (my friend) other friend from Poland came to Vilnius for a few days to accompany us and so did a couple of bottles of magic Polish beers. Karina could not resist them and neither could I so we reluctantly came to a conclusion that it would be a sin not to drink those beers. We agreed that when we get back to Tallinn, we could start the workout anew and keep up the spirit. By Jove I enjoyed my time in Vilnius though!

We resumed with the workout in back home and kept up the spirit. We managed to continue pushing one another to get better and do as much as possible. The workout, however, came with a price. We both had to change our diet and pay more attention about what we ate. Karina pulled out her notebook, noting down the calorie intake and I started eating at scheduled times and limited my portions. As the weather was not particularly warm and the sun seem to have forgotten to rotate over the country, I could not manage my diet without a couple of cheat meals during the week. Workout was 6 days per week, meaning that I felt righteously obliged to go to a shop on Sunday and buy literally anything that looked appetizing to me and as much as I wanted of it and literally consume it at home. I would buy a 6-pack of ice-creams, pizza, some sweets, Coke Zero (cutting on sugar right there) and just…enjoy myself. Then Monday came and I would get back on track until Saturday and Sunday the feast was ready to be commenced.

Despite all of that, I still managed to lose weight and gain decent amount of muscles. I finally started feeling better at work, my mood improved and I felt more energised during the day but goddammit did it feel hard (“that’s what she said”, I know). I could not just take a day off, buy a 6-pack of beer and fall unroll onto a couch eating crisps. I mean, I could have done it on my cheat day, yes, but my combining high intensity workouts with alcohol was and never is a good idea. My body needed a good recovery and I did not want to fall back on the training routine. I have to admit, however, then I would sometimes have a few extra cheat meals than usual (after my Friday’s workout) and a few strong drinks (obviously mixed with Coke zero!) but it was tough to get back on track. Then again I could not refuse my other friend with that, who I do not see too often. I mean you’ve got to let yourself go once in a while but I did my best at not extending this “once in a while” to more than 1-2 times per month.

Those two months put my mind and body to the test – I was very satisfied to have passed it and the gains were the biggest motivation to continue working on myself but most importantly, I learned that if one can challenge their body, then they could challenge their mind. Just like Confucius temple, I am holding on strongly to the aspirations of my mind and body and do not give up. The challenge goes on!