- Facing problems head-on instead of escaping from reality to avoid stress
- Having confidence and being self-aware nixes the need to be jealous or wary of a significant other's social circle, or worse, projecting one's insecurities on another person
- The lack of value of learning something if it would unlikely pose a drastic change to one's life, and further entails no benefit nor loss
- The significance of taking care of oneself via the latte joys in life, even if the reward is as simple as a can of cold beer after a long day
- Embracing the joys associated with interactions of "my people" rather than new faces
- Accepting that not every situation can be changed, and learning to be alright with the discomfort
- Taking opportunities at one's most dire and taking a leap of faith in response to others' sincerity
- Trusting the results of one's own hard work, despite lacking trust in oneself as a person
When readymade renditions could not be located at Loblaws, matters were, naturally, taken into my own hands. My request for dry pasta was met with a box of De Cecco fusilli instead of the standard Unico packages, much to my surprise. The premium-looking box and "Product of Italy" label raised eyebrows, for it shouted "Alert: Expensive!" from all angles.
In reality, the item was on clearance, thus cheaper than our typical budget pick, but superior in quality. Cooked in salted water to a consistency between al dente and soft HK Café spaghetti, the beautiful, swirled specimens retained their shape throughout the mixing and tossing process that would await them.
Having seen a splendid outcome with Sunday Baking's Pistachio Strawberry Cake, I deemed fitting to try her Best Pistachio Cake.
It was well worth the wait, though. Once chilled and aerated, its consistency was akin to buttercream, except much less fussy without the egg separation and tempering. Luscious, velvety, and incredibly stable, I would deem it a fantastic alternative to buttercream, especially for beginners. Of course, one ought be mindful of temperature, for chocolate and heavy cream is notably less stable at room temperature than egg whites solidified with sugar.
Unable to be salvaged, the cake was scrapped with dread.
Mousse was poured into individual cups and topped with a chocolate espresso glaze - a variation of the glaze used in Sunday Baking's Condensed Milk Pound Cake. After about five hours of chilling, I retrieved one for sampling: the glaze was too rigid and the mousse too thick, its lack of airy whipped cream evident. In hindsight, I ought to have reduced the amount of gelatin to prevent the excessively rigid outcome I received.
I dismissed the obvious need for more flour, and instead plopped the mounds into the lightly greased pan, pressing them flat with a hoddeok press. Within seconds, I would learn of my mistake, for the pancakes would adhere to the press and resist prying. There was simply no way of keeping them intact! The dough will tear, the syrup spill and scorch, and the pancakes char to an irreversible coal colour. Poor decisions had been made.
Throughout the class, she would proceed to call out different gear levels ("Base plus three!") and guide the room's participants through heart-pumping pop tracks and imaginary ascents and descents. Some sections involved thirty- or forty-second "sprints" while maintaining the gear level; others would transition between standing "climbs" and seated dynamic "recovery". In order to ensure adequate output from the students, the instructor would specify the goal RPM as seen fit: 95-100 for seated "runs" and 120 and over for high-power "sprints".
Cycle class was an energizing combination of HIIT, lower body strength, and endurance training, finishing with a few squats and static lower body stretches to prevent injury. The act of pedalling is straightforward, however the challenge came with changing combinations of speed and resistance. Overall, the fifty-minute series was challenging, in that it summoned enough sweat to sting my face and cloud my vision. That said, it didn't provide the most ideal scenario for training.
Due to the bikes being stationary, the element of balance was removed altogether. Users progressed through the class under exceptionally controlled conditions, where there were no turns, bumps, or gradients assessing one's ability to control the user-powered machine. Muscle imbalances, if present, would not be made known to the user, for one could continue to compensate with the stronger side without penalty. Standing up while riding was made easier with shoe nets, which would otherwise be unavailable on a standard consumer bike. (It is worth noting that cycling cleats could also be used on the stationary bikes, for the underside of the shoe net readily allowed the cleats to clip on.) In real-life applications, standing while riding requires a considerable amount of control, and is nearly impossible to sustain with severe muscle imbalances. I would also allude trail- and MUP-riding to be a greater testament of quad and inner thigh strength; while exhausted from dehydration, I wasn't necessarily fatigued in the thighs.
With my seventh visit and ninth group class at LA Fitness behind me, I arrived at the following:
Any student can succeed in group classes if they have good body awareness and adheres to instructor's directions. The classes are also versatile enough to be modified according to one's physical capabilities and fitness objectives, but also serve as a decent entry point for beginners. That said, to maximize the benefit of such classes, one should first undertake an initial assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses within one's body, as well as any biomechanical issues, and acquire a working basis of muscle activation fundamentals. From that point on, class attendees can cater the class to his or her respective goals without compromising on intensity. The duration may be altered, but efficacy can be conserved.
The names and packaging gave off the illusion of deliciousness, a property proven false upon examining the following day.
Dates, powdered egg white, and "natural flavour" made up the ingredient list. The visually unappealing strip was malleable from the dates, clinging to the teeth with each and every bite. First to be experienced was the sticky, sweet profile of dates; it was then succeeded by the synthetic taste of protein powder (much like the aftertaste of Ensure, a hit of artificial vanilla (nowhere as pleasant as vanilla extract), and, lastly, crunchy bits of almond - the bar's sole saving grace.
The blustering droplets intensified within a matter of seconds, transforming any and all depressions into puddles. In fear of another street splash, I stood at least two feet from the curb when waiting to cross an intersection.
I warily eyed the vehicles in the curb lane, outlining my escape route in the case of any unanticipated splashes. Further dodging scurrying sidewalk users devoid of rain gear, I ducked into Shoppers for a quick breather. "Dry socks?" I thought, "Sounds like a great idea right now."
Dollarama remains the singly most economic option in the city for impromptu daily essentials purchases (594). Six pairs of Fruit of the Loom socks in assorted colours rang in at just $4.50 plus tax.
For the vast majority, the moves were simple, permitting countless breaks and downward/upward dogs in between. While my first Yoga class - conducted by a different instructor - both challenging and relaxing, the change in instructors also entailed a drop in difficulty level. Transitioning between the positions commanded stability of the body, but frequent, extensive rest periods rendered the session for restorative than formative.
Correspondence regarding classes and a Beginner Reformer Program would take place over the weekend, potentially preparing me for a restart of studio lessons.
I would officially be joining LA Fitness as a member.