Saturday, March 8, 2014

Israeli Post #1: Grocery Store Anxiety and High Tech Tortur---Treadmills

Dammit, another month went by with only one post. I'm so sorry, dear readers, I am epically failing the blog while I'm away.

Let's catch up:

I've been in Israel for a few days more than a month. And it's been..... interesting.... I think most people thought, when I explained that I was moving to Tel Aviv for several months, that I'd be off site-seeing, visiting museums, touring historical sites, and laying out on the beach. Unfortunately, I am not a tourist, but a working visitor, in this country, so I needed to be a functioning person able to communicate with the public, contribute to client projects and conversations, and get myself from point A to point B.

It's definitely been an adventure, with both overwhelming and fantastic moments. I wanted to share a few food/fitness related highlights:

Kitchen Accommodations in the Israel Apartment

If you're a regular reader of CCAIRC (God, I really do need a new name), you have realized that I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen. I had really planned to cook most of my food during my time in Israel, as I always had.... that is, until I walked in on a COCKROACH in my apartment's kitchen on my first night.

To put it lightly, I LOATHE cockroaches. I have been very very fortunate to only have one past encounter with one (and honestly, my FANTASTIC college roommate, Becca, took care of it before I woke up). Now, like any rational person, I started avoiding my kitchen completely... as in, the menu was..
  • Yogurt for breakfast (because I could grab it and run before the bugs came to eat me)
  • PB sandwiches for lunch/dinner(I kept the PB in the fridge so the cockroaches wouldn't touch it)
  • Fruit (which again, was kept safely in the fridge)
Don't worry, I've since reclaimed my kitchen, and cooked some great meals.

Grocery Shopping Anxiety

I mentioned before that I don't know Hebrew. That is, I can recognize letters, and (with vowels and certain punctuation marks) can sound out words. However, I do not understand what I am reading. This has made reading food labels and their corresponding directions, quite difficult. So for the first 10 days, I'd go into a grocery store... browse... realize I had no idea what I was doing... and walk out with 3 produce items. It will forever be a mortifying moment. I've since gotten better. I am able to identify cottage cheese, deli turkey, veggie frozen shnitzel, and have even found a pasta sauce that I prefer.

Fit & Slim, The Gym of Nightmares

At the urging of my roommates, I have committed to a two month subscription to the gym, "Fit&Slim". Normally, I wouldn't go for this, but I have a bit more disposable income during this temporary transfer, so why not, right? 

Fit&Slim has only two kinds of machines in it. The first is this "aquabike", which resembles a spin bike, except you use this one with your body almost completely submerged in a giant pool of water -- for added resistance (of course).

The second machine resembles more of a torture device. Fit&Slim calls it the "Silhouette+", but the machine is known around cyberland as the "Vacufit." At its more basic form, the Vacufit is a type of treadmill. Except, to use this treadmill, you first have to put on this "skirt" made out of what I can only assume is a heavy-duty wet suit material. Then, the "door" to the treadmill opens, because, oh by the way, the thing has walls and is enclosed from chest level down. FINALLY, a Fit&Slim employee takes the edge of this wet-suit skirt and stretches it around the opening to the treadmill compartment -- sealing you in.

So at this point, you're on a treadmill, strapped into an airtight compartment. And then the Vacufit takes you through a 30-minute program of varying speeds an elevations. Normal, right? NO! Because, with the Vacufit, the machine is also vacuuming the AIR out of the compartment to change the pressure and resistance as you're going through the program. Not that difficult at 3.0 mph, but good LORD, when the program hits 6.0 mph -- a speed many people run at, and you're FORCED to walk...... it's flipping insane.

I'm told the vacuum actually makes your blood vessels expand, so that the Vacufit reduces cellulite. I really don't buy that at all. I am, however, viewing this as a change in my workout routine, and absolutely the oddest thing I've ever done at a gym. I'll let you know my results!

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