Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

Spartan vs Ninja

with 2 comments

Now that things are starting to settle in a little, I’m starting to take care of less critical but rather important aspects of my life here. My computer is ordered and should arrive early March, and I’m starting to think about getting some furniture. I closed my old Citibank accounts (which were crap) and got one with TD Bank ( which is great so far). Then there’s the challenge of food, as alluded to in a previous post. In this regard I’m gradually getting over the ‘American Wonders of Grease and Sugar’-mania, and resuming a more balanced diet. Which isn’t to say that I won’t indulge in some,                                                                                                               or

every now and again, but I’m also seeking out my vegetables (surprising how quickly you start missing those), craving oatmeal, yoghurt and fish, checking nutritional contents, increasing fiber intake…

Closely related to this is exercise. I generally have to work out in some way to avoid feeling like crap in the long run, so having lost access to the workout room at the dorm, I need to find something else over here. Back home I used to run for cardio, and then resistance training for strength. The latter is easily possible here, either with some simple weights or in a gym; the former… not so much. I don’t even want to walk around Baltimore without direction, much less run where I’m not as aware of my sorroundings. As an alternative to running, I’ve decided to try out a jump rope. Got a cheap one at Walmart and had my first session today. Very hard to get a good rhythm; I could manage maybe 10-20 swings while running in place, or single swing jumps, but not quite double unders. Also very hard physically, much harder than running for the same amount of time. I wonder why I never tried this before, maybe just because it’s a less directly applicable skill than running.

Anyway, I can’t jump rope exclusively, so I need to supplement with something else. Here I have basically two options: I can start doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu again, which I left off due to time constraints when I was finishing up my master’s thesis.  I always like doing martial arts/self defense, and BJJ has been the most fun so far; There’s a club that isn’t too far away, and seems to be at a high level, but there are disadvantages as well, which I will get to. The other option is to do pure fitness training, where I can join the gym right at the NIA and/or do a variety of bodyweight exercises, for which I’ve found some awesome books by Ross Enamait. I’ll list the advantages for each option.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

  • Self-defense. Might save my ass at some point, and will make me feel better about that the rest of the time.
  • Social. Involves other people.
  • Pushed to progress. Sparring against real opponents under direction of a coach is more motivating.
  • Regular classes. Having set training times with people expecting me will help me stick to it.
  • Could go on the resume. Well, if I win any competitions. But pure fitness definitely won’t.

Pure fitness:

  • Cheaper. 500$ for 6 months of BJJ vs 120$ at the gym, or even less with bodyweight.
  • More convenient. The gym is AT work, where I spend most of the day. Body weight at home (and maybe work).
  • Freedom to schedule. While classes help you stick to it, independence is useful when doing experiments etc.
  • Greater improvements in strength and endurance. In all likelihood, due to greater focus.
  • Work out anywhere. With a good knowledge of bodyweight routines I’ll never be gymless.

So, what do people think about this? I could make a poll, but I’d really rather have meaningful comments than just a simple answer, so I won’t. Just for fun, here are a couple of links on the topic:

http://rosstraining.com/blog/

http://www.groundcontrolbaltimore.com/

http://www.spike.com/full-episode/spartan-vs-ninja/31578

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Written by Martin

2010/02/24 at 00:26

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Mmm, Krispy Kreme… Planning on getting some of those to celebrate end of exams on Monday 🙂

    Sarah

    2010/03/03 at 17:24

  2. […] is a land of great opportunities and great challenges, as I’ve talked about in a couple of earlier posts. Now that I’ve started doing intermittent fasting I’m having a problem that is in […]


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