Thursday, August 31, 2006

Certification In The Game

Talked to Steve last night about the process of being certified as a coach. It's been on my mind to become licensed as one for some time. I could become a Level 3 coach, which means I could coach and be a corner person on the local, state and national levels. The price is $15.00 higher than the athletes's license. The certification process doesn't sound very hard. Steve told me he would let me know when the next certificate date comes up.

Junior said he would do the PAL (police) boxing tournament after going back and forth about. He had several worries about participating, one of which being, there may be stronger competition to go up again. I think he could do well in that tournament. It's a matter of him having focus and wanting the win more than his opponent.

I forgot that Neil stopped in for a visit last week. We joked that he hadn't gained or lost weight, but looked the same. Not sure if he's planning to come back into the gym anytime soon.

Did 35 crunches last night, and they felt easier to get through. It could be because I have started doing 30 crunches on the days when I'm not at the gym. Muhammad and I were talking about how hard it is to get rid of belly fat. I don't know why it is so stubborn to move. I dated a guy who went up and down in weight on ocassion. No matter what he lost elsewhere, that belly remained. He would laugh and say other martial artists (he was heavily into that) had the same problem.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Trying To Find Convenience

I told Steve that the new fall session of the boxing class begins two days before the Loyola Park boxing show. He sighed and said the new people will probably not get much of a class that day. New people always seem to show up around the boxing show and in the middle of the Golden Gloves tournament. He doesn't want to give the short shrift to the new people, but it's hard when he's has to prepare the guys who have matches lined up.

Hopefully, I can continue making time to go to JABB Gym on the weekends. I'm supposed to begin singing lessons with an opera singer next month. From prior conversations, she told me that Saturday would be a better day for her. However, that's the only time I can go to JABB, and I have to go early because they close early on Saturdays. Windy City Gym could have been another option, but it's a bit of a hassle traveling over the west side on public transportation. Once you get off the 'L' train, it's another several blocks before you get to the street where Windy City is located. I'm thinking I won't take singing lessons every Saturday, leaving a couple of weekends where I can work out. Glynn, the choir director's husband, told me yesterday that I looked like I had lost some weight. If I did, I have to attribute that to the extra workouts at JABB.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Routine

I've been thinking about changing up my workout a little. This is how it's currently set up:

1. jump rope for two to four rounds
2. stretch (someone told me it's better to do this when the muscles are warmed up)
3. step bench for two rounds (I'm the only one in the gym who uses the step)
4. speed bag for three rounds
5. shadow box for three or four rounds
6. uppercut bag for two rounds
7. 24 push ups (I do push ups on my knees instead of my toes)
8. 30 to 50 crunches
9. three sets of 12 squats while holding a medicine ball
10. two or three rounds on the peanut bag
11. three to five rounds on the heavy bag

Once in a while, I stretch a rope the length of the ring and practice bobbing and weaving. Otherwise, that is practiced while shadow boxing. Occassionally, I do sprints, but after two in a row, I'm winded. The guys--all younger than me--do five or six. I may complete part of a third sprint. Other exercises, such as interval training, other medicine ball exercises, etc., are done sometimes. I have started doing crunches daily in addition to the two nights I'm in the gym.

Summer is ending, unfortunately, so I have to start thinking of other exercises I can do indoors at home. Not that I was doing a lot outside, which I blame on my laziness, as well as being too busy with other things, like rehearsing for the cabaret show I did a couple of weeks ago. I had planned to skate a lot more often, but I only was on the quads a few time, and still haven't touched the in-lines yet. Didn't walk on the track at Loyola University at all this season. Never put my bike in to be fixed, and I can't justify paying $50 now to get it in gear to ride only for this month and September. I'm tired of some of the exercise DVDs I have, but don't have the funds to expand the library. I'm going to have be creative this time to step up the exercise plan.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Vacation Boxing

I spent part of last Thursday and Friday at JABB Gym, since Loyola Boxing gym was closed. Got some pointers on how to the hit the speed bag. According to the trainer who showed me, I have been hitting the bag wrong, using the sides of my fists, instead of punching it straight on. It does feel more effective, but I'll have to practice it some more.

JABB is nice, but as Steve said, it's a little too clean. Not dingy and lived in like Loyola or Windy City Gym. However, I have to give the owners credit. Seeing how some older gyms have went under, they started off catering to white collar boxers early on to keep their books in the black. However, all the times I've been there, I've yet to see a white collar boxer. Nothing but professional boxers. Maybe the white collar fighters show up in the evenings.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Little Bit Of Blood

Diego came to the gym this past Wednesday. When I approached the fieldhouse, he was outside with his parents. I had always suspected that his mom was very young. Steve told me she was in her late twenties. That means she gave birth to Diego when she was a teen; he's about nine years old.

Steve and Diego did what I thought would be light sparring in the ring. I happened to look around and saw Steve wiping blood that was running from the boy's nose. "Steve, did you hit this child?" I said with mock indigination. "Yeah, I did," Steve said, pinching Diego's nose to stop the spread of crimson. Steve stepped away to his desk for a second to do something, and I wiped the blood away that was on Diego's chin and throat. Some blood was under the strap on his headgear as well. I tried to catch it before some got on his white shirt, but unfortunately, a drop left a stain. His mother is going to have a fit when she comes to pick him up, I thought.

Mom was very cool about it, after both Diego and Steve explained what happened. She had a "these things happen" attitude about the situation. I told my boss, Les, what happened the following morning. At first, he thought I was talking about giving first aid to one of the kids that live at my job. When he found out it was a kid at gym, he asked, "How old is he?" Les shook his head. He walked back to his office saying, "I just don't get it." It's hard to explain the appeal of boxing to people, especially someone who doesn't like the sport, like Les, for example.

The gym is closed tonight and the following week. I haven't called Bill, the coach at Hamlin yet, to see if I can work out there for a couple of nights, but I will. I'll also stop in to JABB Gym at least once next week.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Good Reason

Steve's going out of town later this week, so the gym will not be open on Friday. I was thinking about not coming in to open the place next week because I'll also be on vacation, although not out of town. Mary decided that the gym should not be open at all while he's out. She said there are too many people coming in the gym for free. I agreed with her. The problem with people inviting others to come in and work out, is that some of the invitees keep showing up and never paying the fee. It's not an open gym, nor is it set up like some professional gyms where you can come in a pay for a day pass to work out.

However, I don't want to go a week without the workout because I know how lazy I can get. I also know it's hard to get back into a workout when you take time off from it. I think I'll call Bill, the coach over at Hamlin, and ask if I can come in there a few times next week. I can also go to JABB Gym during the day and pay a day fee, since I'll have time off.

Sadiq did not come in the gym last Friday, so I don't know how his situation is going since the theft. That still irritates me. He'll have to go around and get all of his IDs and keys replaced, and that is a major pain.

Jermaine had mentioned several times about going to recording sessions at a studio in Evanston. He revealed to me that he has been rapping, and is close to putting out a CD. I've known a few guys over the years that have aspired to be rappers, including one who used to work at my job. The entertainment field is not easy--I've always been on the fringes of it, acting and singing. A cousin of mine who's a professional singer was dropped from her record label, and she's trying to work her way back in the game. A ex-boyfriend of one of my nieces made a demo and was hanging out for a time with Guru, a rapper who was very popular in the late 1980s/early 1990's, but nothing came of it. Jermaine is a nice young man who believes in hard work. I hope he's successful.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Erin and I ran drills in the ring last night, but after the third round, I was finished. It rained last night, windows in the gym were open and both fans were on, but it was still hot. I liked the last drill I did, which involved Erin and I throwing a left, catching with the right, and then throwing a left hook and blocking that. When I recovered a few rounds later, I continued to practice that on one of the heavy bags.

Suddenly, I turned around and there seemed to be a lot of guys in the gym. There were a few that I had not seen before, and I figured they were friends of some of the regulars. For several minutes they stood in the middle of floor reciting rap lyrics. Don't ask me what song it was because I don't listen to rap as heavily as I did 15 years ago. Steve stopped in the middle of working the mitts with someone to ask them to tone it down because it was so loud.

Several guys did spar yesterday, including Sadiq. Unfortunately, at the end of the night, it was discovered that someone had walked off with Sadiq's bookbag. There's an old saying I used to hear while I was growing up, "That made me mad, and it wasn't even me." He had his keys, wallet, and other important items in there. We looked everywhere--I had seen the bag earlier and moved it so I could sit down on a chair, and then put it back--but it was nowhere in the gym. Sadiq said he wasn't going to be able to get into his apartment, which seemed odd, seeing how he just got married last week. I guess he and Lauren haven't moved in together yet. One of Sadiq's friends were there, and he told Steve that Sadiq could stay with him that night.

Just triflin', as people say in the 'hood. Damn shame you can't have your stuff in the gym and have to worry about someone walking with it. After I got home, I prayed that Sadiq would find his stuff. I also prayed that whoever took it would feel enough guilt not to do that again.

"I didn't like that there were so many people in the gym," Steve said later. That bothers me, too. Too many of the guys bring their friends in. Observing and asking questions is cool. I've brought my ex-roommate Anna in the gym, as well as my niece Jalissa. However, they stayed in one spot the whole time they were on the premises. They weren't messing around with the equipment, neither did I show them technique. When Maria, my friend who skates in the roller derby asked me to show her some boxing moves, I asked Steve in advance if she could come in for one night. When Laura, a Northwestern student, did a story about me and women's boxing for her journalism class, I also asked Steve if it was okay for her to come in. She wanted to ask him questions as well as talk to the other boxers. I think it is common courtesy; after all, there is a fee to workout on a regular basis. Plus, the gym is very small. Doesn't take too many people before it is crowded, and the less people in there just hanging out, the better.

Now I'm wondering who was foul enough and bold enough to walk off with Sadiq's stuff. It was hoped that maybe someone picked his bag up by accident, but I don't think that was the case. The problem with public buildings is that anyone can roll in and not be challenged as to what business they have there. The gym is tucked in the back of the building on the first floor. I can see how it would be easy for someone with bad intentions to come back there and stick everyone up; the front desk personnel probably wouldn't know what happened until it was over. Just outside of the gym is a back door that is only supposed to be used in cases of emergency. I've been guilty of letting people in through that door, as well as others. Some people regularly leave the building through that door, which is not supposed to happen, either. I guess we all will just have to heighten our observation skills after this incident.