PowerSwim: Baby steps to learning swimming

There was a moment last Sunday when I felt shivers down my spine.

No, it was not due to the unheated swimming pool at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil. Though I have to say, having to immerse yourself in cold water when your body is still warm and toasty at 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning is not the most pleasant thing in the world. A more pleasurable alternative would be the English breakfast at Jarrod & Rawlins, but I digress.

No, it was not caused by the half-naked Caucasian male overseeing his two sons doing the backstroke at the very same pool. But you should have seen him – tall with a good mop of wavy hair, stunning manly facial features and oh, the shoulders the abs the arms! Any more beautiful, he would have been the Vitruvian Man.

It was at a time when I felt so frustrated because I was not getting it right. I asked my swimming instructor, Abdul Hafiz if I could skip learning how to swim freestyle and jump to breast stroke as the latter is something I already know how to do. Not perfectly, could use a lot of polishing but it doesn’t give me the problems I’m encountering with learning how to do it freestyle.

Then he looked at me, smiled softly and said, “I know you can do it Suanie. Just give yourself time to learn. Give me time to teach you, because I know I can do it.”

Okay lah. You’re the swimming expert, I trust you πŸ™‚

Swimming lessons with PowerSwim
With my swimming mates, and instructor Abdul Hafiz of PowerSwim

So yes, I’m learning how to swim. Will tell you more about it later!

The PushMore experience… well, almost

Many moons ago, Lynn commented on my blog suggesting that I give PushMore a try. I had heard about PushMore and how tough it is, so naturally I was reluctant to give it a go.

From what I understand, PushMore’s workout is based on CrossFit programmes, a methodology that combines a mix of gymnastics, weightlifting and metabolic conditioning for the ultimate fitness. It is used in many gyms worldwide and by fire departments, law enforcement agencies as well as military organisations. You can read its Wikipedia entry here.

Anyhow, one fine day I decided to take up Lynn’s offer. Rallied some of my OBC mates for a trial session and off we went to Merchant Square where the PushMore centre is located.

Said hi to the super duper fit Lynn and Jonathan who are PushMore trainers. Believe me when I say super duper fit, I mean SUPER DUPER FIT! Bit on the quiet side, but can see that they are serious about their profession. The place itself is simple, sufficient, no-frills. None of those extravagant machines you see in assorted gyms because that’s not what they are about.

Lynn took us for our warm-up – a run around the block followed by 3 sets of sit-ups, push-ups, squats, something to do with stretching, another thing to do with stretching, probably something else which I’d forgotten and pull-ups. According to Niki, the warm-up was more than his usual gym routine, heh. Luckily I read a lot of blogs and I know how elaborate their warm-ups are, and so I have that mental preparation already.

BootCampers at Pushmore
Most photos nicked from Cynthia

For our work out, we were teamed up in twos to do burpees and pull-ups, as many as we can in 10 mins. Kevin partnered with me because in his words, “I want to take it slow…” WTF!!! Grrrrrrr….

Of course it was tiring, especially more so when you have Tate and Nicholas next to you going at full speed. Then you try to keep up with them and you really cannot because… okay I have to reveal this now… THEY ARE NOT HUMANS!!! Yes, they are in fact aliens who came here a long time ago to spread the words of the Church of ‘COME ON YOU CAN DO IT!’. Then you buy into the hype and you try and you try then you realise at the end of the day that human and alien strengths are just too different and there’s nothing you can do and it’s okay. Life goes on, ending this ridiculous paragraph of nonsense that I wrote in 5 minutes during lunch hour.

What we did was rather mild compared to their Workout of The Day, of which you can obtain information from PushMore’s Twitter, website, blog and Facebook group. I’m sure you can get other information from any of the links as well.

Would I join PushMore? Hmmm… it took me this long to go for the trial session, so honestly I don’t know. I do see the benefits and I would really recommend it to anyone looking to SERIOUSLY improve their fitness level. The equipments are more than sufficient and the people are great. But for personal reasons that I shall not get into (for now), I think I’ll chill for now. Who knows in the next few months… πŸ™‚

Thanks Lynn and Jonathan for having us. Was a pleasure and eye-opening experience!

skytrex adventure @ taman pertanian malaysia, shah alam

As some of you already know, I have the unfortunate tendency of saying ‘yes’ to some things before giving them much thought. That was how I ended up doing the SkyTrex Adventure a couple Sundays ago with some of my OBC friends. I had no idea what it was… something about ropes, dangling wires, dangling planks, up to 22m above ground…

What’s more, we ended up registering for the Extreme Challenge. BootCampers mah, damn fit mah, lansi mah, can do more mah… Never mind that the brochure recommends that you do the Big Thrill before going for the Extreme. Haiyah, two or three additional challenges only what… can one lah!

SkyTrex Extreme 01

Bloody hell. SkyTrex was a huge slap in the face for me ok. Perhaps I didn’t show it, but I went home feeling rather deflated and disappointed with myself for not being able to complete all the challenges. That’s right, I cheated. Didn’t take the chicken exit, but I skipped about 5 challenges which according to my friends who completed them, were the toughest of all the challenges. Thinking back, I don’t think I could have done them then. Maybe next time lah. Errr next time? Probably never, lazy already.

After we were geared up and shown how to use our harnesses and cables, we had an easy trial run before our first challenge. Those were damn easy, I skipped and hopped through them. Hah little did I know.

The first challenge was hauling your arse up a long-ass ladder made of massive PVC pipes. We were stuck there for a while because there were 21 of us, and only one person could go up at one time. Some of them made it look so easy, e.g. Yati, Hafiz’s wife. So I tried to copy her style but massive phail, unfortunately. You’re supposed to kick yourself up to get to the next rung, right? Well I ended up using my arms a lot because gravity can be unkind.

SkyTrex Extreme 02

The second challenge was a long flying fox across the stream. To me, it was the second most difficult challenge because I have a slight fear of heights. I got up there, prepared myself to fly (so to speak) but somehow my legs wouldn’t cooperate. Want to go, don’t want to go, legs akin to trembling jelly, wondering if I could just go home now, wondering wtf was I doing there on a Sunday morning when I could be sleeping or eating bak kut teh…

Then I heard my name being screamed from far below. I could make out Farhanah from OBC KL Alpha’s face and voice as she encouragingly urged me to take the next step forward. It was by coincidence that some of the OBC KL platoon recruits were doing SkyTrex on the same day as us, though at a later time.

Okay lah. Squat down… buttocks back, lean forward and… FLYYYYyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!11111111

Damn fun lor.

SkyTrex Extreme 03

My arms nearly gave way at the 2nd massive ladder up. It was the longest and most difficult for me and it took everything I had to get to the top. As Fireangel was at the same station as me, she took the ladder with the smaller PVC pipes and I took the one with the large massive pipes. That killed.

Another flying fox, and I decided to take a short cut because I couldn’t balance myself at the hanging barrels. I could see Bev et al struggling at the more difficult challenges. So I zipped through a flying fox to a station where a tiny ladder was waiting for us and ended up following behind Tate and his fiancΓ©e.

The rest of it was actually pretty okay. The only parts that hurt after that were my hands because the RM3 gloves we bought were sucky and only covered half our fingers. If you’re planning to do this, I suggest that you bring your own, better gloves (not made of cotton though).

Sorry, not much details of what we did because I’m in the process of blocking the painful ones out πŸ˜› Also not a lot of photos of us in action because I didn’t bring my camera while doing the challenges. But here’s one of my bruised and battered left arm…

SkyTrex Extreme 04

Whine whine whine. Okay lah it looks worse than it actually is, heh. Well, at the end of the day I had fun. Might not do it again because I’m a lazy @#&*@#, but at least I did (some of) it! Hehehe thanks people πŸ™‚

For more information on SkyTrex Adventure, check out the website here. If you ask me anything not already listed on the website, I’m most likely to ignore you πŸ˜›