Saturday, June 30, 2012


This is a subject of considerable interest here of course, whether raised in the context of an individual, a project, or (among the more radical) the whole endeavor...

However, it is most fondly known on FOB Shangri-la as the stress-releiving workout routine - a.k.a. the beachbody aerobics workout. Of course, there are some twists, which make it a bit different from the daily trip to the gym.

Firstly, everybody but me is Korean, which you would think would give me a leg up, since the video is in english.  Not so much, since our very enthusiastic team leader gives instructions in Korean, and expects us all to be in synch. Consequently, I have disciplined myself to ignore the instructions I am hearing on the video, and listen to what the instructor says. Actually, I don't listen to the instructor because, well, what's the point, I understand maybe a dozen words of the language and ten of those are the numbers one to 10. So I watch and follow.

This works out fine most of the time, plus our team leader seems to enjoy the opportunity to shout at me (in a good-natured way) or come over and correct my form.  This usually happens when we are doing our extra stretching, which we do LOTs of. Indeed, the "Insanity" workout really ends up as an aerobic break between two yoga classes - since we do 20-30 minutes each of "warm up" and "cool down" before and after the video, which itself contains the (apparently very deficient) American dosage of warm up and cooldown (5 minutes).

As a result, while I can't copy the effortless split of our instructor I have become quite a bit more flexible than the average American, and gained an appreciation of just how much sweat can be generated by a good stretching routine.

Less satisfying is an increased appreciation of how much such stretching and bending can aid digestion.  When I'm on the rice and seafood diet on base my stomach keeps quiet, but after I return from a trip to the land of cheeseburgers, egg mcmuffin sandwiches and tacos, it gurgles like a percolating coffee pot and I make a point of finding a spot at the back of the room to avoid an international incident.

The class finishes with the instructor taking attendance (not sure what kind of credit people get for attending...) and giving a speech that is not usually translated for me, although it occasionally includes my last name and some nods or laughs. Nonetheless, it's a highlight of the day, since around here a little insanity goes a long way.

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