19 May 2009

a lesson in hydration

Last Monday, May 11, my trainer Ryan had something in store for me. We boxed for an hour straight and he didn't allow me to have water in between. But he wanted me to take a conservative amount of water before the 1-hour session to prep me.

No water within that 1-hour period. No water during breaks. Actually, what breaks?

He only spent like a total of 60 seconds stretching my arms and then back to the never-ending series of 3-minute rounds. No punching bags or speed ball. Just one straight hour of punching his mitts as he screamed out all the combos he wanted me to execute. It was crazy. His rationale was that I could learn to endure better by not depending so much on the water during breaks. Yeah, I did endure, but I had cracked lips, a dry throat and a wild look on my face by the time the one hour was up.

Before that Monday's session, my wound was still raw and very, very sore, so to protect it, Ryan had to put a Band-Aid, layers of plaster tape, a foam-like knuckle padding, tightly bandaged hand wraps and finally the gloves. I was beaming seconds before we started boxing, because I figured the wound would be safe from extra harm. Right?


Because he made me box for an hour, all that continuous punching battered my knuckles again, and I could sense that the wound was opening up once more. And I knew there would be blood. Argh. The pain, coupled with the fact that I was so damned thirsty, made me glare at him as I punched endlessly. And all that my highly sympathetic trainer could do was grin in amusement and shout, for everyone in the gym to hear, "A, so galit ka? Kung galit ka, lakasan mo yung suntok mo!"

And I complied, because I was angry. I also felt like a sissy; my eyes were getting teary-eyed because of the knuckle pain and because it was so unfair that I didn't get to have any water, while the other trainers made their girl trainees drink every now and then. Threw some really angry left hooks at Ryan. Man, when you're sweaty, thirsty and dealing with a constantly smarting knuckle wound on your straight right punching hand, and you know that there are people in the gym watching you and Ryan train, you can't NOT be angry for being forced into the spotlight.

I knew I ended up doing okay anyway, and Ryan still insisted afterwards that I punch unusually hard for a girl my size (I didn't know if that was a compliment on my punching or a sexist remark on my built), but I couldn't help feeling disgruntled that he ordered me not to have water during breaks. Jeez, even Manny Pacquiao gets to have water in between rounds.

This Monday's session (May 18), I came prepared. Made sure I drank a lot of water before getting to the gym, and then I drank a bit more as Ryan was putting hand wraps on me. I had this defiant look on my face as I sipped water from my jug, and Ryan laughed and said I could drink all the water I wanted and he wasn't going to stop me. But he said I was to box for a little over an hour and then do 250 ab crunches.

I was so delighted, like I had been given a reprieve. So we started to box. Learned some new combos, and kept on boxing as the minutes ticked away. Ryan's eyes were red (because he had been punched in the face this morning during a sparring session in preparation for his May 30 competition), and he looked tired but serious, so I wanted to do well. Although my body felt slightly sluggish due to all that water, I was punching okay. The wound wasn't bothering me that much anymore.

Suddenly, Cris from the reception area had the bright idea of playing "Careless Whisper" on the gym's sound system, and right on cue, Ryan drops his mitts on the wooden floor, whips off his shirt, and starts his gigolo dance--all in one fluid movement. Right in front of me. (He's done this before, actually, the whole topless, gigolo "Careless Whisper" act, while I do my crunches, and it's not exactly the kind of thing that keeps me concentrated on my ab work because I, and the entire gym, are just laughing our heads off.) So anyway, there I was, inches from his gyrating body, trying not to die from too much laughter, as the others cheer and laugh at Ryan's antics as well. Obviously, he loves being in the spotlight. And this "Careless Whisper" performance of his is getting so popular, I'm afraid someone will video it and put in on YouTube someday.

When we got back into the boxing routine (with "Careless Whisper" still blaring from the speakers AND on repeat mode, would you believe), Ryan let me have frequent water breaks, and I drank greedily. But then, after some time, I could really feel that my stomach was getting heavy from the drinking, and I felt like I overhydrated this time. Ryan could sense it, because I was breathing heavily and although my punches were okay strong, I wasn't as quick and as driven. I. FELT. HEAAAVY.

He looked at me knowingly and sadistically, and I groaned in realization that he was giving me a lesson. On water, for cryin' out loud. I should never drink too much during breaks. No wonder he was against the idea of letting me have those frequent water breaks.

So how come the other girls training in the gym get to drink all the water they want, I asked.

He shrugged and simply said I had very good endurance. Hence, I should be learning to use it to my advantage. Besides, he added, he had higher expectations of me. So no water for me while boxing. Or at least, not that much.

I felt so mollified by his explanation that I went for my 250 ab crunches without complaining.


  1. hindi ka kaya type ng trainor mo? hahaha! :) i hate/love that coaching technique of getting you so angry you can't do anything but follow. :)

  2. Hahaha! Actually, I tease him a lot about me seeming to be a favorite target of his. He's so boring and expressionless when he's training the other clients but when it's my turn, he's either making fun of me or torturing me. Wahaha. Parang favorite na hindi.

    At least maganda yung rapport namin. So even if I'm angry at him, I'm still afraid and respectful enough to follow his orders. =P But you know, I'm also scared of ending up injured, so I'm glad he told me this Monday to take a break muna from boxing.

  3. ay injury... the thought that holds us back. but yes, be careful. mas kakainis yung having to stop for a long time.

    i'm sure you're your trainor's favorite because you take training seriously. :)

  4. Waaah! I'm always his torture target. Maybe it's because I look so unassuming and victim-ish? =P

    My hands are now getting their well-deserved rest. =)