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Weight Training: 1/24/2009

posted on January 24th, 2009 ·

It’s short course season in yards for swimming; almost every race focuses on speed. I have adapted a new weight training regimen - strength and swimming specific regimen. I lift heavier weight (approximately 90% of body weight) for 5 repetitions, and then drop to light weight, about 15 to 20% of my body weight, and do 12 repetitions for the same muscle groups. Heavier weight training will help me become more explosive in the water while lighter weight will help me to maintain endurance. Finally, I end my workout with core training, which consists of 5 core exercises for 3 sets of 15 repetitions each.

Protocol: heavy weight 4 x 5 followed by light weight 4 x 12
Goal: stronger pulls and kicks off the wall in transition

Weight Training:

  • Flat bench press: 135 lbs, dumbbell chest press: 25 lbs.
  • Deadlift: 135 lbs, squat: holding a 25 lbs. plate
  • T-bar rows: 115 lbs, stretch core swimmer: light weight stretch core
  • Push press: 95 lbs, upright rows: 65 lbs.

Core Training (circuit training style):

  • lower back lift (on a stability ball)
  • oblique crunches with extended arm (on a stability ball)
  • Shoe laces (with 4 lbs. medicine ball between feet)
  • full body crunches (with 4 lbs. medicine ball)
  • regular crunches (on a stability ball)

What’s your workout routine?

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Guinea Pig Visits Northwest: Whistler, Canada

posted on January 22nd, 2009 ·

Whistler, Canada was our last stop of our Pacific Northwest adventure. Whistler is the site for 2010 winter Olympics, and it’s one of the most visited winter sports resorts in the region; we saw people coming from as far as Wyoming.

On the way to Whistler, Canada, we saw other lesser known skiing resorts; they were just as overwhelming with their height and broad ranges.

Here we are…the city of Whistler!

Trails that we’d be snowboarding on, and those are only one-tenth of the number of the trails offered at Whistler skiing resort!

The gondola that took us up to one of the trails.

Overlooking the Whistler village and other trails that surround the resort. It’d take me at least few weeks (or months if my body can hold up) to conquer all of them!

Here we go…a painful and frustrating ride down the slope. I was glad to be alive at the end.

And this is it! The end of our 8-day road trip in Pacific Northwest.
From the left: Kelvin, Peter, me, Andy, Brandon, Sei-Wook.
via Sei-Wook, Barrel

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Guinea Pig Visits Northwest: Portland Part 2

posted on January 21st, 2009 ·

Not only is Portland area known for its biker friendly roads, but it also has many beautiful hiking routes located right outside of the city. We planned to hike only 5 to 6 miles. However, things can go wrong even when it’s only a short distance…

A nutritious breakfast: scrambled eggs with chives, roasted yukon potatoes, creamy steel cut oats, toasted French baguette, and bloody orange, before hiking.

Another shot of Mount Hood on the way to our hiking destination.

We arrived Multnomah Falls at 3:00 pm, which is sort of late for hiking…

At the start of our hike, which is about 5.5 miles according to the information center clerk.

A quick glance at the map (the route follows the outline of the shaded region), 5.5 miles…off we go.

On the way to the top of the waterfall, the cliff on the other side of the river looks tiny. Nonetheless, I had already been overwhelmed by the gigantic pine trees in the Pacific northwest region.

Finally, it took us approximately 40 minutes to get up to the top of the waterfall. We only hiked one-tenth of the 5.5 miles that we had originally planned.

The trail was amazing and breathtaking. Nature can be overwhelming but soothing at the same time.

For most of the hike, we walked on a 3-foot wide path with snow covered on it. Any one of us could have fallen with one misstep.

We also met other obstructions: fallen tree trunks, rocky paths, water falls (smaller ones), etc. The hike was extraordinary and amazing until…

we got lost and decided to turn around.

By the time we decided to turn around, we had only 1 hour of day light left. The sky finally darkened while we tried to find our way back. We slowed up our pace to avoid falling off the cliff and used our cellphone lights as the guide. We even called 911 to report our location as precaution. Finally, with a stroke of luck, we followed the right path back to the parking lot.

Never go hiking in the afternoon with only few hours of daylight left…lesson learned.

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Guinea Pig Visits Northwest: Portland Part 1

posted on January 19th, 2009 ·

Portland is an active city. We saw many people biking regardless of the outdoor conditions: dark, cold, rainy, windy, etc. We were very lucky to have few days of sunshine while we were at Portland, Oregon. We decided to rent bikes and explore the city.

We stayed in a well equipped (great kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and livingroom) house. Portland houses are surrounded by conifers.

Although the building looks old, a nice bike shop is set up in there.

Crossing the bridge to the other side of the city; away from downtown and towards industrial area.

Few modern buildings located in the center of Portland.

Biking around the industrial area with three other friends. We saw many colorful buildings.

An old hotel (might be out of business already) located in the industrial area. I like the maroon color of the building.

A pleasant looking coffee shop in the industrial area.

After exploring the industrial area, we biked across another bridge back to downtown and went up the slope to Washington Park.

A monument inside Washington Park. We stopped for some water and took some photos.

From the monument (picture above), we could see Mount Hood, which is covered in snow.

One of the most famous attractions in Washington Park, The International Rose Garden. Of course, no roses are blossomed in winter.

We walked up the overlook trail and took some gorgeous pictures.

At this point, we had biked approximately 3 miles and climbed 700 feet on our bike. Luckily, it was all downhill from hereon.

On our way down to downtown of Portland…the wind was blowing against our face ferociously.

We also explored a great amount of downtown of Portland on our bike. The city is very biker friendly and convenient. We had beer and burgers for dinner, and we stayed home and rested later that night to prepare ourselves for hiking the next day.

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Morning in Seattle

posted on January 12th, 2009 ·

I went for a 2 mile run this morning to Pike Place Market, Seattle farmers market. I enjoyed my short run along the harbor. Seattle is known for its fresh seafood because of its proximity to water. Being able to witness fishermen unloading their freshly caught seafood at 6′o clock in the morning is a luxury that I don’t normally experience back in Jersey.

My 2-mile route at Seattle in the morning.

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Guinea Pig Visits Northwest: Seattle

posted on January 11th, 2009 ·

I am a 8 day road trip with several friends in northwest. Our destinations are Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver. We are spending the first 2 days in Seattle.

Seattle can seem a little gloomy because of its wet climate. However, Seattle residents are active; they go to farmers market, bike (even in the constant rain), and hike. My friends and I have gone exploring Pike Place Market (the farmers market) and hiking to keep up with the pace of Seattle residents.

You know you are in Seattle when you see the “needle” (in the middle of the picture next to the red cranes)

Quest field - home of Seattle Seahawks

Safeco field - home of Seattle Mariners

View from our condo in Seattle, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

A little treat - a nice bottle of Indian Pale Ale, one of my favorite types of beer.

At the fish market in Pike Place Market. Those are freshly caught and brought to the market in the morning

The Creamery, this dairy shop has more than 10 types of egg selections, coming from different types poultry, such as chicken (many different breeds of chickens), ducks, goose, quail, etc.

Pepper bouquet. They look beautiful.

Colorful apartment that we saw on the way home from the farmers market. Seattle has many great looking building.

Brunch I cooked for us: Fantastic scrambled eggs, olive oil braised organic carrots and tomatoes, and crispy home fries.

Going for a 5 mile hike at Cougar Mountain Trails.

A wonderful hike. We soaked up the fresh air and exercised before going out for another eventful night in Seattle.

Stay tuned for more live blogging later this week from Portland and Vancouver.

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Are You Eating Any of These?

posted on January 9th, 2009 ·


My friend, Welton, was kind enough to send me a link to a New York Times article about the great and healthy foods that we aren’t eating enough. How many of the listed items have you had within the last year? (come on…2008 wasn’t that far ago!)

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Start to Finish: Chicken Noodle Soup

posted on January 7th, 2009 ·


Nothing is better than chowing down a bowl of chicken noodle soup when it gets chilly outside. Although chicken noodle soup comes in cans, which taste very salty, or can be made with store bought chicken stock, I opted out the above choices and made my soup from scratch, starting with homemade chicken stock.

Ingredients for making chicken stock are cheap and common:

  • cheap chicken parts (from organic or free range chicken) such as the giblets, wings, or neck
  • few stalks of celery and carrots
  • one onion (quartered)
  • herbs of your choice (oregano, bay leaves, thyme, etc)
  • black peppercorns


Heat the above ingredients until “almost hard boil”, and then turn down the heat to simmer, just below boiling point but no bubbles coming out. Scoop out foams that settle on the top of the pot occaionally, once or twice every hour, for a total cooking time of 6 hours. Making chicken stock is one of my favorite weekend projects when I can leave the pot on stove for 6 hours while doing other jobs.

The result? A rich, clean, and healthy bowl of chicken noodle soup that heals your soul!


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Don’t Need a Resolution

posted on January 3rd, 2009 ·

I have given up making new year resolutions long time ago. Life is too unpredictable, and I rather take it step by step. I do believe that we all need to set goals and strive for success, but in a more realistic way.

How many times have you seen a person’s new year resolutions would be like this: 1) go to gym 5 times a week, 2) eat better (what’s “better” anyways?) and 3) be less judgmental (which I am already violating). Having worked in fitness industry, I have realized that not everyone enjoys working out. As matter of fact, most people hate working out. I am guilty of that feeling few times in a month as well. Frankly, I don’t believe that anyone will go to the gym 5 times a week unless he or she has been a regular for many years. If you were to ask me to help you to get in shape a year ago, I’d tell you to get off your butt and go lift some weight. However, my view on fitness and health has changed drastically; I hardly tell anyone to sign up for a gym membership or go on a “chicken breast” diet anymore. I am currently promoting “living actively” - cooking and eating whole foods, gardening, traveling, biking, hiking, etc. I absolutely believe that anyone would look and feel beautiful without a gym membership (which could actually make that person feels fat and unproductive, if he or she does not use the membership regularly).

In 2009, to get in shape, I recommend everyone to choose an enjoyable sport and participate in it frequently. Also, fire up the stove and learn to cook simple meals. By learning new skills, whether on a playing field or in a kitchen, you would be accomplishing more than you have originally planned - I guarantee.

Happy new year, thanks for dropping by!

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Happy New Year

posted on December 31st, 2008 ·


Good luck in 2009 and live it up! Sweaty Guinea Pig will see you in a few days!

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