There is little to be negotiated in the corporate environment, for endurance is a matter of survival of the fittest, supplemented by underhanded compliments to establish shallow working relationships. In what remains of my personal time, I make steadfast attempts to portion it out with the aim of achieving the most. The habit, while rational in its conception, is dangerous over extended periods of time. It involves pushing oneself to the brink of death, and quite possibly into a somber territory of lifelessness before retreating a few steps, then doing it all over again. Burnout lies at the end of this all-too-familiar path to exhaustion. Yet, despite knowing the consequences, I unconsciously default to it anyway. And now, my calendar is filled till mid-summer.
Schedule regulation was an act I had kept at the back of my mind, occasionally dabbling in it as needed. My routine had stayed relatively consistent over the past few years, especially given the dreadful, health-wrecking work-from-home situation, but the introduction of new priorities (needs?) demand a change. Frequently do I preach the importance of taking matters into one's own hands to yield the preferred result; I shall not be the hypocrite this time, nor any other time.
The week starts with unofficial meetings: Teams call after Teams call to address various issues. A mid-day boost is crafted from Paragon's Oolong tea powder and a few drops of ube extract mixed with sweetened condensed milk. The result was a two-toned Oolong Ube Latte with stronger notes of smokiness than sweet purple yam.
I had feared rigidity after refrigeration, but thankfully witnessed none. Excess chantilly cream had hardened to a smooth, mousse-like profile, while the castella was still decently soft.
My path would adopt a small portion of shaded trails, then switch to on-street bike lanes for speed. In hindsight, I ought to have adjusted my seat height for road biking; my thighs were strained tremendously.
The uphill portion was steep, dusty, and generally unpleasant due to private construction and loose aggregate deposits in the dedicated lane. These rocks would be gripped and tossed upwards into the air with every rotation of the tires, sometimes in the direction of my face.
An abrupt lane closure for the QEW/Credit River Improvement Project was another noteworthy surprise, for it forced cyclists from a dedicated pathway into live traffic. This experience was far from enjoyable amidst rush hour volumes.
Distinctly greyer and chillier than the previous day, I incorporated a winter scarf into my ensemble.
A foam roller was placed between the shoulder rests on the Carriage. Two red springs and one blue spring were hung onto the Reformer to keep the Carriage in a fixed position. We laid on top of the foam roller, with the pelvis assumed an imprint position and arms were placed in a "W-shape". Chest and pectoral muscles stretches were executed, combatting the extreme contraction of the upper back muscles from the previous day (and leading to much grief). With toning balls in one hand, we would raise the opposite leg to tabletop position and extend both limbs outward at a 45-degree angle for a foam roller-assisted Dead Bug. The other arm-leg pair would rest on the Carriage in the meantime, before completing the same routine. Finishing off the segment was a double leg extension. With both hands gently hovering about the toning balls instead of pressing into the Carriage, I began trembling tremendously. In spite of repetitive practice with my own foam roller and stability cushion, I was barely able to keep the legs extended with the hands away from the mat.
We shifted the foam roller off the Carriage, on top of tension cables. The edge of hands were placed on the foam roller such that thumbs would be directed towards the ceiling. In a kneeling position with an imprint pelvis, we would slide the hands forward to find a child's pose, hold it for a few seconds, then roll up without shifting the hips back. This core/upper back stretch was performed several times before moving onto upper body exercises.
Crossing the tension straps and gripping them with bent elbows, we would pull the straps towards the hips, then extend back for tricep engagement. Similarly, the final count would be held for 5 seconds before releasing.
Our grand finale consisted of side planks. The Reformer Box would be placed in the Short Box position above the gear bar. The bottom arm would rest on the Box with the hand touching its edge and elbow aligned with shoulder. The soles of the feet were arranged against the shoulder rest. Three variations of the side plank were executed:
- Extending the legs to push out the Carriage, upper hand placed on hip; hold for 5 seconds
- Extending the legs to push out the Carriage, upper hand raised towards the ceiling; hold for 5 seconds
- Extending the legs to push out the Carraige, upper hand raised towards the ceiling, and folding towards the Box for seven counts; hold final count for 5 seconds with upper arm raised.
A rolldown and forward/backward shoulder rolls were conducted at the conclusion of class.
I shall admit my indecisiveness to be frustrating, though her attitude didn't offer much help in narrowing down the vast assortment either.