August 19, 2010

Is this the end? Part Two

Now, about the food. To be honest I have to say that I wasn't 100% faithful to the no sugar, no alcohol rule. It would have been interesting to see how much more my body could improve on a strict diet. The positive thing is that PCP nutrition is so good that I learned to love it and I eat like that every day. I don't weigh food anymore, except when I don't trust my eye or have a lot of time. I don't crave big portions of sweets and I naturally choose veggies instead of processed food. But I didn't want to say no to a glass of wine for dinner or to a delicious cookie a friend just baked.
I decided to trust myself and see how much I had learned about nutrition. I let myself free and I'm very proud of the choices I make. I know that I'm ready to navigate "normal life" with all its temptations and social gatherings. 

Having learned how to eat correctly during PCP and working out in the morning proved that I didn't have to spend so much time on this project, which was liberating. The only aspect that suffered was the blog; this time I had to concentrate on my job more than ever, it was summer and I moved to another country. Blogging was specially hard for me because writing about very subtle and small improvements seemed uninteresting.

To my relief the angry monster didn't awake during KFB. I remember how rebel and infuriated I was during PCP. Well, this time I felt calmer, I was able to deal gracefully with a stressful situation and now there's a feeling of strength inside me: I can say "no" easily (Emily, I needed the contrary!) and I recognize better when I need my own space and my own terms. In other words: I feel cool.

Another important achievement is the sense of confidence I have that if the occasion should arise, and believe me that I wish with all my heart that It doesn't, I would be able to at least throw a good kick. That makes a world of difference to me and I didn't know it before KFB.

Achtung, baby!

Final Thoughts:
KFB is a very good training program. It's fun, hard, revealing, humbling and makes you stronger, leaner and more flexible.
It requires a certain level of fitness because the workouts are tough.
It's better if you have a bigger place to train, specially when it's freestyle kicking time.
Except for the pull-ups bar, this is a portable and flexible training method.
Nothing gives you leaner and harder abs than all those kicks and leg rises.
Punching makes your arms beautiful.
Since you only need your body and some chairs, this is a great program if you like to go outside for a good workout.

A good park has it all

Some Suggestions:
As a former PCPer, I would have liked to learn more about nutrition, new secrets and have little challenges to see if we could push the diet to another level. Is there another level? A super nutrition system? A super zen diet?

Maybe one week out of three, or once every week, to keep KFBers alert and playful, introducing a whole bunch of exercises with all kinds of props, like the double punches with stones; something like balancing while holding some china... but definitely not carrying bucks of water with dagger bracelets under the arms.

Some way of keeping track of progress. Fat level, monthly photo, a special test to perform every week?

I was expecting some special weekly tasks announced at the beginning. I imagine they were going to be exciting little exercises to apply mindfulness during ordinary situations.

What comes next?
I'm taking a break. I needed to stop training for a few days after these intense and fantastic eight months of exercise. I'm very excited to see what maintenance plans Patrick is preparing for us.
As soon as my body gives approval I will begin to workout again. I'm thinking about a combination of PCP, KFB and yoga.

So, this is not the end. It's the beginning.

Patrick and Chen, thanks for considering me for this project. Congratulations on this great idea. I know that soon you will have the KFB working better and rounder.

Note: Unfortunately, I'm recovering from the worst cold of my life, so I won't be able to post a final photo today. But I will as soon as I get better.

Is this the end?

These past 90 days of KFB have passed very fast and are hard to describe. As Patrick said, the results of KFB are subtler and thus, harder to grasp and explain.

I'll try to explain as best as I can what happened during the 90 days and since it's going to be a long reflection, I'll make this a two parts tale with photos of my outdoors training at the lovely Wittener Park some three weeks ago.

flying like a crane

I loved the idea of joining the pilot KFB group because I was thrilled with the results of PCP and I felt that I didn't want to stop there, my body wanted to keep on exercising and it's always fun to join brilliant people on their new adventures.

I have to admit that I was ready for the daily training but not so eager to be strict with food weighing or not having summer treats. I guess that's my old mind set and body wanting to take a break from the hard time that PCP was.

I was also a little afraid that this new training period would consume as much time and focus as the PCP, which I couldn't afford this time. And on the emotional level I was also a bit tense to think that my angry monster would wake up again.
There was only one way to find out so I signed in and the fun began.

From the first day I loved the exercises. They were a great way to use all the strength and muscle I have gained plus facing new challenges like improving balance, endurance and coordination. 
At times I felt discouraged with the new exercises. How clumsy I felt the first session with the ping pong ball or never being able to knock down the paper; and how ridiculous I must look at the freestyle mix sets.
But as soon as I understood that it was only natural to suck at something I have never done, exercising  turned into a fun moment and the next time I enjoyed it. So I learned the beauty of sucking at something, giving it a try anyway and improving. A big lesson for my ego.

I swear I can do at least 10 push ups per set

I also learned to workout first thing in the morning. I can only recommend it. You feel invigorated and begin the day doing something great for yourself.

The KFB exercise routine has a peculiar effect. With the weeks you begin to feel that it is always the same. Same moves, same sets, same combinations. This has the risk of making you loose interest. But on the other hand, those fixed exercises are never easy. You never feel like you have mastered the moves or that you finish the sets without effort. There's always something to improve; as a result, everyday feels different. So I think that for our cluttered and fast internet / tv / stress loaded minds doing the same simple thing over and over again is the hardest challenge. In this way I learned patience and constancy.

On the physical level I can say that my body did change. I shrank. I need to buy a smaller size of pants, my core section is harder than ever and my arms are thinner but stronger. Not as spectacular as last time, but these are the kind of changes that make you smile alone and want to keep on improving.
I'm sure my cardiovascular resistance has improved, but as I mentioned before, I still have to get used to this Andean atmosphere to see how much I gained.

mhhh... I need to work on the posture!

On the flexibility level my results are moderate. I can stay the 30 long minutes on the wide angle and it's wider than weeks ago, but I still have a lot of work to do. The tips Patrick gave us were very helpful to make the stretching sessions a mindful moment and obtain results. I also learned that flexibility is what takes more time and effort to attain.

Meditation was an important component of the training. How simple it is to sit down and shut up for 5 minutes and at the same time how hard. This short daily practice has opened a new universe to me. I feel like I have only touched the shore of an immense ocean. Now I want to train my mind as hard as my body and get amazed. Any recommendations on how to get deeper on meditation?

Tomorrow: second part

August 8, 2010

New home and an extra challenge

Hi dear KFBers,

Sorry for being silent during so many days. I'm finally back home and more or less organized again. Ready to begin a new adventure in my life. But first I will have to take a break from moving objects for some days and find a quiet place to meditate for a longer time. I need to feel and decide what to do in the future.

You may not know this but Bogotá, my hometown, is high on the Andes, at 8660 feet over the sea level, which means there's not much oxygen to fill your lungs and the pressure is tough on your body. I knew it would be hard to train at this altitude so I began easy during this past week. On the second day, jumping for 5 minutes was all I could do. After some kicks came the dizziness. Meditation was tricky for all the new and potent sounds this city is able to produce.

I have been adapting to this new atmosphere during the week and last Friday those long jump sets were a success. What seems more difficult is to adapt quickly to a very different way of life, to go from the heat of German summer to the cloudy, rainy coldness of the Andes. I will have to work hard on becoming more flexible in that sense.

July 21, 2010

I made a pause

First of all, thank you dear KFBers for your encouragement. Your words made me smile and gave me energy.
Which brings me to how crucial it is to write and get feedback on our blogs. It would be very easy to just forget about getting into better shape without this space.

Now, I have to confess that I haven't been doing my workout for the past couple of days. My excuse would be that I am feeling very tired with all this packing and coordinating. 
I don't know, I just wake up feeling heavy, open my computer to see the day's exercises  and my body says: no thanks. Then, Pablo invites me for a long walk from our place to the woods and the little lake, where it is fresh and beautiful and where I finally wake up. I eat an apple and immediately feel even better. While I walk and talk to Pablo about the things that we will miss from Germany and the plans for the future, I do some stretches, some jumps, some balance tests. I end up sweating and feeling very good. Ready for a powerful breakfast.

That's why I have decided that tomorrow I will incorporate and adapt more KFB exercises into my morning walk. It will bring a change into the workout routine and my body won't protest!

I also need to stop sometime during the day for a meditation session to calm my mind and see if I feel less anxious.

July 14, 2010

I need more power!

Yesterday I woke up early to a fresh morning and trained really hard. After that I proceeded to several hours of cleaning, selecting, washing kitchen appliances, disposing of glass and paper and packing. All of that in a sunny summer day under 35 degrees of temperature. I had the fury and the power!

A strange way to spend a nice summer day, you might say, and it's true, but at last the moment has come for Pablo and me to go back home. By the end of this month I will be arriving in Bogotá with only two suitcases and great memories of these years in Germany. So I need to get rid of my possessions and clean up my apartment. 

Well, after that tough day of physical activity and emotional detachment I woke up this morning feeling less powerful. I couldn't do today's workout complete. I simply didn't have the energy. Only 2 sets of every exercise, no meditation because the church bells were too loud, and I was not very enthusiastic to continue the packing process. 
I have to confess that yesterday's intense labour kept my attention from having all the food I had to. On top of that the heat and the anxiety are making me loose the appetite.

More physical effort and less food is not a good combination, I know. So as an exercise on mindfulness I will take better care of my body through this demanding time. But if you have special recipes for en extra power kick, please, tell me.

I'm very excited about the variations we'll have in our KFB workouts!

July 9, 2010

Not very hungry

Dear KFBers, has your appetite diminished considerably with the heat? 
I feel like I only want to have very small portions, no bread, no cooking!

I need new recipes to prepare carbs that taste fresh and cold. Do you have a fresh way to eat carbs for breakfast?

About the wide angle stretch: The extreme heat may have helped me widen the angle but it also made the minutes last forever. I'm considering sitting on a folded blanket while doing this stretch to see if my back does't bent forward in a C.

I hope you enjoy the day and stay hydrated.

July 8, 2010

The trip to Holland was amazing. Rotterdam and Amsterdam are fantastic cities. The first with experimental architecture and wide open spaces and the second with old buildings and very crowded.

Rotterdam's Erasmus Bridge

I enjoyed a lot these days but staying true to KFB was very difficult. I didn't workout. Mostly because I felt I had no time with so much to see in the city. Then, there was no space in the places I was staying and going to a park with the intense heat was not an option. But mostly because I was very tired of walking all around the cities. By the end of the day my feet were hurting really bad.

The positive is that I felt the advantage of being fit. You can take a few days off if necessary and use the energy you have acquired, trust your body, feel alive.

Now, about the food.  This region of Europe has great cheese and bread and that's mostly what they eat. So we ate a lot of sandwiches and to my surprise aged, strong cheese isn't that appealing to me any more.
As a protein source I had a traditional raw marinated herring as often as I could. I would say you really have to like fish to find the Haring Matjes delicious. I did!

A haring matjes makes you feel strong!

I had some beers, had to try the dutch apple tart, which is truly delicious, and drank a lot of coffee.

In general I felt that my nutrition during the trip was poor. If you can't afford to go to a good restaurant it's hard to get your vegetables and lean protein. But in the middle of this carb loaded menus something magical happened: I bought cucumbers and peppers, ate them voraciously and a few minutes later I was feeling cool, light, energized. Like if a torrent of vitamins was reaching every cell of my body (and this is not a coffeeshop induced experience!).  My love for peppers grew stronger and wilder.

Now, some photos for my KFBers:

The old Delft canal in Rotterdam

Rotterdam has beautiful little harbors all around

and liquid houses

A quiet street in Amsterdam

Women in Amsterdam look very sexy because they drive this flower powered vehicles

Now I'm back, loving clean food and tough workouts. 

Note: Emily, the home made banana ice cream is fantastic!

June 29, 2010

Shadow Boxing

But I have to admit that I suck at shadow boxing. It must be like when someone wants to dance and discovers there's no rhythm in her hips and feet. Like watching everyone around you move easily and you think you got it and when you stand up and do it... you just suck!

How can I be light and fast and dangerous? 

Dear KFB friends, I will be traveling to the land of the tulips for a few days, on a tight budget, so wish me luck with fish sandwiches and choosing between protein and Rembrandt. I don't plan to take my jump rope with me because I will walk for long hours every day and there's something bothering my left heel so a jumping rest will be most welcome. Let's see how I manage to adapt the workouts to the hostels and parks.

See you soon!

June 28, 2010

Mindful Consumption

In the spirit of KFB I have been extra mindful not only on Friday but the days after. Here are some images of the magnitude of life around me!

Exploding blueberry. Magical fruit. Tastiest kind of blue and a great recipe.

A chinese friend taught me how to prepare this. Touch, smell, sight, taste, thirst.

For the first time I saw the flower of the leek. Deep inside all those layers was she hiding.

On a walk: jewelry for the Ruhr

I was about to clean the dust on my table...

Then came the night and my love took this photo. Can you see the red moon behind the glowing pine?

How much have I lost by being somewhere else?

June 22, 2010

What my body says

It's a big advantage if you know your body and listen to it. Yesterday I woke up feeling very cold and a little voice inside me said: "today it's not cool to exercise". Thinking it was just my lazy creature, I began to jump anyway until I understood that it really was my body who didn't want to make such an effort and instead was hoping to use that energy to fight an imminent cold.

So I stopped and spent a humid and cold Monday recovering my strength. 

Thanks to that break, today I woke up feeling better and the workout was fun. I had a lot of energy.
With the years I've began to understand what my body is going through. Doing yoga and working out refined that awareness very much. It wasn't until PCP that I learned to recognize hunger.
Do you talk to your body? Do you listen to it?

Today the training took me an hour and ten minutes. Horse stance was savage and shadow fighting... well, let's say I enjoyed fighting like an idiot, moving like a heavy sack of potatoes. 

June 16, 2010

Gordon is awsome

There are days that I prefer in terms of exercises than others. The sequence of day 33 is one of my favorites. That's because I get to fly like a crane and I feel the most kung fu like doing the double punches and blockings with bottles of water. Those exercises are though and playful. They make me imagine I'm the character of a movie.

Talking about movies I was seduced by Gordon Liu's photo from Patrick's mail about hip flexors so I had to watch The 36th Chamber of Shao Lin. What a cool movie! Makes you want to stand up and try some moves. And the colors, the characters, the beauty of the movements.

Today I felt better doing the targeted punches. It's a matter of rhythm. Targeted kicks need a lot of work.

June 15, 2010


Today I slowed down during the targeted punches and I had more success. If I wait a little between punches or kicks I get to touch the ball. That's good, but until I develop speed and coordination the workout could take half an hour more. 

This slow down also brakes the rhythm of the training. The impulse from the previous section is lost and my mind begins to worry about time and not being able to punch and kick with strength.

Like Heather said, I notice now that I like strength exercises a lot. My arm muscles are stronger but leaner.
Standing crane was my favorite moment of the morning. I'm beginning a nice relationship with planks.

Stretch was not so nice. I wanted to finish and for the last couple of days my meditation is not working.

June 14, 2010

Broken Nail and Impatience

Do you know how long does it take for a poppy flower to open up? Exactly the time between rope jumping and abs.

Well, I missed the target and my toe crashed against the door frame while doing the kicks. This targeted kicks are so tricky. The ball moves in every direction, in different rhythms and I couldn't hit it two times in a row. I felt how inflexible my hip still is, specially when I tried  the back kicks. 

Punches and hooks are also impossible to do in a sequence at this moment. Too much confusion, slow reflexes, bad posture. I felt like a drunken cat. I was angry by the end of the sets.

Patrick, great job on those videos. I could use one where you successfully punch the darn ping pong ball.

June 13, 2010

4 day long mindful consumption!

For the past four days an old friend of mine has been visiting. The challenge was to entertain a friend and still lead a KFB life. My big worry was the absence of salt in the food and the lack of wine and desserts. Specially because in her previous visit a year ago she declared Pablo and me the biggest food sybarites. I didn't want to disappoint her this time but I wasn't going back to all that exuberance.

Balance was the answer to this challenge. I followed the diet as much as possible and I also indulged a bit. For the most part I cooked simple recipes that bring out the natural salty flavor of ingredients and we also had special treats like a homemade pizza, wine and even some cake.
I had a great time. I didn't feel like falling off the wagon. Without knowing what Friday's KFB program would be, I felt like I was having an extended mindful consumption: having something special every day, in small amounts, on purpose.

This is what I thought:
I'm in the middle of KFB, I want continue with the KFB, my friend is coming to visit, this is a special occasion,  life is short. Therefore I'm going to do my stuff and enjoy at the same time. There will come the morning for exercising and having a powerful KFB breakfast and there will come the night to celebrate, remember and make a toast. So... relax. Anyway I've been such a good girl since January!

What happened is that once I gave myself that freedom, whenever there was a chance to eat something out of the diet, I could stop and consider if I really wanted that and if so, how much of it would be perfect. There was no overdose, no regrets; only a light headache.

I did felt shy as I was exercising in the mornings and her eyes were on my (perhaps) clumsy moves... Anyway, my friend was positively impressed with the changes in my body and my appetite and I feel that if I do my best regarding nutrition and training most of the time, a few days of moderate festivities are just fine.

June 6, 2010

Day 23. Already?

Time has passed very fast this week. With lots of work, emotional and biological turbulence I didn't get to write here. But I have been following my team's stories and paying attention to my body and mind. So here are some observations.

I'm sore everyday. I feel it as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. It's a general soreness of the muscles close to the bones and the ribs. It feels good.

Until now I have been able to workout early in the morning which has many advantages compared to exercising in the evening but I'm wondering if the tiredness I feel in the middle of every workout is because I haven't eaten anything yet or because KFB is much more challenging than PCP. Some days I seriously consider taking a nap after breakfast just like Heather did!

About the exercises: 
I notice how high I can swing my legs now. There's a moment when I feel the muscles warming up and stretching more and more.

The stances are getting interesting with muscles on fire as the duration of the stance increases and I enjoy very much doing the equilibrium exercises: flying crane, resting buddha. All my mind and my muscles and a kind of heat in my belly are devoted to getting to the full form and staying there.

The uppercuts are giving me a hard time. I feel clumsy, graceless and zero dangerous. I haven't found the rhythm, how to move my hips and loosen my shoulders. I'm getting better at the other punches, though. More speed and strength in them.

As my hips and legs get more flexible the kicks also improve. But to be honest by the 3rd set I'm very tired and have to stretch my hips between sets.

New exercises are welcome. They keep this adventure fun. 

I have noticed that the complete workout takes me longer everyday. Is it only me or is it because we have more sets with more repetitions?

I haven't lost weight until the moment but I know that all these exercises are doing their job because the area around my hips is leaner and so are my arms. 

KFB must be fun because I wake up and WANT to exercise. 

May 31, 2010

Sad and enraged

Today I woke up and didn't want to train. I was feeling angry and extremely sad. Fortunately I decided to start jumping which seemed to calm some of the furious energy inside me. Then I just kept on training. Punching like it was for real and kicking the hell out of this situation I can't change and which I will have to live with for four more years, along with millions of compatriots. 

To let the fury break free was kind of satisfying and it would have been even better if I had a punching bag.

Then came meditation time. No calm, no peace. But then I thought: this moment is training but it's also for real. This is a situation that affects me deeply. This is me suffering and trembling so this is a great opportunity to see what meditation can do.  Those 2 or 3 minutes of concentrating on breathing in and breathing out and bringing the mind back to silence every time it escaped, were refreshing, were like a pain killer. That silence break helped me see myself being there and accepting what it is or seems to be. 

Now that I know I'm here, all I have to do is go on.

A kiss to KFB!

May 27, 2010

Neuronal connections

After three months of PCP, completing abs exercises meant one thing: training is over.

In KFB, abs are in the middle of the work out. So after abs, already tired from leg swings and push-ups, I exhale and my body is ready to relax completely.
But no way! Ahead comes the most challenging part of the training for me: punches and kicks.

It takes an extra push to stand up and continue.

Does this happen to you too?

May 25, 2010


I'm feeling much better today. I started the workout earlier so the sun was kind to me.

I just wanted to say that my hips begin to feel the side kicks by the 3rd set. This kicks are a serious exercise.

Volcano stretch is so uncomfortable. I stretch in two directions: pushing my foot to the ground and pushing the upper body up and to the side. Then I begin to tremble with the exhalations. Is it the reason why this stretch is called the volcano?

May 24, 2010

Heavy Monday

First, let me welcome the KFB teams: Leopard, Tiger and Crane. I wish lots of fun to all of us. 

Team Crane: we will rock!!

Morning saviour

Now, I have a horrible hungover today. Last night I drank a couple of beers. I was having a good time, feeling so relaxed and nourished by the  liquid cereals that I forgot how strong German beer can be. Or maybe it is that, as we all know now, after PCP the body doesn't react so good to alcohol. 

So this morning the sun was already shinning strong when I began to jump, kick and punch and it was horrible. Poor balance, sad level of coordination, noisy mind. It sucked but I thanked my body for trying its best.

Even if I feel ill  today I have to say that I like the freedom of having just two rules of food for the KFB up till now: no processed food and no carbs for dinner. This means we will have to use our judgement and experience on many other issues to make the best out of the 90 days of training. Just like in normal life.

May 21, 2010

Wide angle stretch

Not a very wide angle today. It took 5 minutes for my left leg to relax and begin to stretch. I felt a constant tension all along the outer side of the leg and some pain in the inner part.

So much work to do here!

During meditation my mind was all around, in time and space. I stayed a long time trying to solve a design detail and deciding what to write here.
After 5 minutes my back began to curve and hurt a little.

Today is a week of KFB and I'm having fun. I'm eager to meet the other participants and curious about what's coming for us.

I think I will have some cake today!!!!!

Day 6

Wow! Today my legs were very tired by the time I was doing the last sets of straight kicks. My pants make a very nice whip sound when I do these kicks!

The stances.... they seem like little effort is needed but there's something deeper going on when you do them.

A moment to welcome back my friend the plank. I didn't expect to meet you again so soon... (I had forgotten you!)

During meditation I'm just enjoying to be there, trying to breath deeply and paying attention to my thoughts: lyrics from a song, a garden, a certain worry. What a difference from the first day when my mind was calmed.

I'm being very very hungry for breakfast.

May 18, 2010


Since I finished PCP I started working out in the mornings. Right after I wake up. I want this to become a habit for three reasons:

*As I need to wake up earlier  I get much more done throughout the day.
*I feel energized during the day after working out.
*The chances of missing a workout are fewer.

Until now it has been  relatively easy to wake up early and begin jumping. It's cool to change, to play little tricks to yourself to become what you want.

Today I felt a bit tired during the workout and not very focused. Maybe I'm not eating enough for dinner.

Good news: now I can do complete push-ups 4 sets 8 reps!

Already sore?

Yes.  I think it was the kicks. I also felt my muscles getting tired faster than yesterday during the kicks and punches.

The stretches really do me good. A mixture of pain and relief. I can't wait for the day when I can touch my knees with the forehead while bending.

When I opened my eyes after meditation a tiny spider was spinning her web from my arm to my chest. 

Today I needed 5 more minutes to finish the training. 

the first day

It was fun!!

A sunny morning is a good thing to begin this new training. 

The exercises were fun to do. Concentration is essential  not to loose balance and so the time flies. Before I could get tired it was time for stretching. I love the idea of counting breaths while stretching because the mind begins to chill out and the body gets ready for the most welcome 5 minutes of sitting meditation.

It took me 1 hour to do all the exercises including rope jump. I have been eating normal which means good healthy food PCP style.

May 14, 2010

new adventure

This is my new adventure. I will be getting lean, strong, flexible and agile, eating good food and challenging myself once again.

Let the Training begin!!!