Otagenki Report 2: Fit Expo 2014

I really was not expecting to enjoy myself so much at Fit Expo 2014, because Fit Expo 2013 was such a lame experience. I don’t know if the people who run the show read my piece on this blog, but this time it was a big difference.

It seems like a new, and very welcome IMHO trend is REAL FOOD. Yes, you now can get a fair choice of nutrition bars and other fitness goodies that have ingredients you know and can pronounce. The only food like that you could find last year was at the Ralphs booth, and from a small company that sends a box of organic produce to your house every month. Yes, the frankenfood peddlers were still there, as were some very questionable supplements, (Ephedra? Oh really?) but there were a lot more items that were labeled organic, and a lot more with identifiable ingredients.

Another difference was a lot more experiential stuff…a lot more exercises to try, and mini-classes. The exhibitions were more interesting too, including some amazing feats of strength by professional athletes and very well trained amateurs.

So yeah, here’s another Otagenki Report. This doesn’t have any commentary…my goal with the Otagenki Reports is to tell the story with footage, not with words. I want to create something universal, that’s understandable in any language. I’ve always loved video essays and photo essays, they’re a real art form, and narration sort of breaks the mood.


Ride across the San Fernando Valley, 12/26/2013

Apres-ride CBTL...Burbank and the Hollywood FreewayLA Valley CollegeWoodman and the BuswayOdessa and VictoryThe former Valley Teen Center
Halfway point: Oxnard and White OakDe Soto and VictoryCanoga Metro Orange Line StationSaticoy and CanogaNordhoff and CanogaFinal Map

I actually did it! 18.6 miles! I feel really good, although I imagine I’m going to feel sore tomorrow. No problem…it’s a rest day.

“What you should fear is being old and weak.”

Grandma sets a World Record

This, in a nutshell, is why I’ve gone whole-hog for weight training. I’m almost 50. I have observed my grandmothers and my great aunts as they aged and died. Most had osteoporosis to some extent or another…grateful for the fact that my bones are pretty damn dense for my age. Fat chicks tend to preserve more bone mass than skinny chicks. And I want to keep my bones that way.

Right now, as I write this, I’m still sore from the WOD I programmed and followed through on last Thursday. I am sore in places I’ve never been sore in my entire life. However, it doesn’t feel like injury sore, unlike that one time when I worked with a trainer who really didn’t do his job and I injured myself during the session. Gotta hand it to Golden State Crossfit in Sherman Oaks: every trainer there is really good about preventing injury and teaching the right way to do things. I still have tons to learn, but at least what I know, I know the correct way to do it. I can’t afford continuing there but they are a top-notch box and I wish them the best.

I am sure that I have been beat up more by distance walking than by weight training. You don’t get plantar fasciitis from lifting weights. Yes, I have to be more careful than a teen or a twenty-something when working out with weights. And if I do injure myself, it takes a longer time to heal up. But the more I learn, the more I realize a balanced approach to fitness that comprises both cardio and strength training is the way to go.

BTW, the quote referenced at the top is from this excellent article. If you need more info about why strength training is important for women, read it and internalize it. The pictures are pretty unrealistic, and send the wrong message, (Lift weights and be HAWT!) but I cannot disagree with the text.

Vera Cosa The Barbarian!

And no, you won’t wind up looking like “her” when you do this.

In the confession booth about progress this month.

Medians as of 2/2013

Mileage as of 2/2013

OK, this is where I’m at now. I was sick in December and also in February. My stats reflect these illnesses. I’m not proud of how much of a hit I’ve taken in my progress but progress is never a linear thing. There are valleys as well as peaks. At least my scale weight hasn’t gone up…it’s pretty much stayed plateaued at about 194. However, this is the first day of March, and day one of any month is a perfect time to start over. Tomorrow morning I hike in Griffith Park with Ali Vincent and her posse, tomorrow afternoon is The Art Of Fit at Titmouse Cartoons. Today I’m prolly going to take a walk to Le Target…that’s an almost 5 mile round trip.

Time to kick it back into gear. Here I go…

Defining the missions of two sites in one swell foop…

OK, now that I have two fitness-oriented websites running here at WordPress.Com, I need to define what they’re both about. I figured best to do it here because I started Less Fat Chick (LessFatChick, lessfatchick) first.

Mission of Less Fat Chick:
1.) A personal weblog about my fitness journey.
2.) Posts here tend to be more political and more personal than at Otagenki.
3.) This is not a community site, although I suspect that both the fitness and the feminist community online might possibly be interested in stuff I have to say here. Or maybe not, who knows.

Mission of Otagenki:
1.) Building a community of geeky folks who want to get healthy.
2.) Organizing Otagenki events.
3.) Eventually multiple authors will be able to post articles here, but I’m going to be picky about whom I choose to write here.

What will both have in common?
1.) Focus on health instead of thinness, with a dose of realism in the mix. If you are obese, it is not likely you will become thin. You can become less fat, though, although “less” has varying values depending on the individual and their genetic makeup.
2.) Focus on nutrition that emphasizes real food and does not sell fake diet foods.
3.) Size positivity: no fat shaming allowed. You do not have to fat shame people to get them to get healthy. A person can be big and healthy, just as they can be thin and sick.
4.) Promote free resources whenever possible. There might be gadget geek aspects to Otagenki, but I really want to emphasize fitness on a budget. Just because I like my GPS watch and use it as a training tool does not mean it’s a necessary tool. Before I got it, and after I found out that my smartphone’s GPS was too flaky to use as a training tool, I used walk.walgreens.com which allows you to map a walk and find out how far you went. That is 100% free and usable even on old computers. Google mashups tend to be like that, and walk.walgreens.com’s “Map My Walk” function is a Google Maps mashup.
5.) Debunk gimmicks and flim-flammery whenever possible. There are too many people getting rich off of people’s frenzy to lose weight and get fit. Most of the time what they are selling is useless or worse. Some of the time what they’re selling is even harmful.

This Otagenki thing has mushroomed.

I’m going to try and put together a community for geeks who want to get fit. It’s up now but not much is happening there at this point.

My goal here is to promote healthier lifestyles in the fandoms I’ve been involved with since childhood. I am hoping that I bring together people who will perhaps find other like-minded people and support each other in their fitness journeys. I am also hoping the merch store on Cafe Press might perhaps make this effort sustainable.

UPDATE: I am sad to say the forum I initially set up did not work out. I need to find a new solution because community is a very important part of what I want to build here. I might just have to rely on Facebook or something like that, but I would rather have a forum proper.

In spite of that, still not bad for work casually done in the space of a couple or maybe 3 hours over a weekend…


Anime Girls At RecessWhat is Otagenki?

Definition: a portmanteau word that mashes up two Japanese words: お宅, Otaku, loosely translated as “fanboy,” and 元気, Genki, meaning “full of life and energy.” In this context, the combination of the two means a pop culture fan who is also committed to a healthy lifestyle. This is not a contradiction in terms, as I will explain.

As geeks, most of us have lived our lives in opposition to the values of jocks. We value smarts over brute strength. We tend to think our way out of a problem rather than fight our way out of it. In the food chain of our schooling, it is the jock who is valued over the geek most of the time. Most of us geeks have, as a consequence, developed a self-imposed allergy to anything physical. We don’t want to resemble in any way, shape, or form, the hated jocks. By doing this, we have denied ourselves a very important aspect of our lives. Our bodies have evolved to be active. The sedentary lifestyle that is made all too easy by the modern world is not the way nature intended us to live. More below the fold.
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