Blogging, Expat, West Cork

Ireland vs Denmark IV

It’s VS time again!!
-Warning sarcasm and a rough tone might read at first, hopefully the love and humor will shine through with the after thought.

Weather! A condition that’s been on my mind lately (after 2 weeks of non-stop rain!!)

Before I moved from Copenhagen, I thought Denmark had the worst weather ever! After living in Ireland for more than a year, I can truthfully state I was wrong!! Nothing beats the irish weather in terms of bad, worse and worst. The sky over West Cork some days lie above us as a big, fat, grey blanket. And I mean it’s all grey!! Not a ray of sunshine or a glimpse of blue sky. It’s not even ‘cute, bubbly white ala cotton balls skies, it’s grey ‘after the nuclear-polution-post-apocalypse-sky’. After a few days with this, it’s easy to understand the level of drinking here. If you’re not depressed by economy, you get let down by the weather.

And to help the feeling of bad – the houses here seems really bad when it comes to insulation. For some reason – unknown to me – the irish, who have lived in these sh***y conditions for centuries, have not taken upon themselves to learn how to build insulation into their houses. Example: The house I live in takes a couple of hours to heat up, but only one hour to return to it’s frostbox-like state.

No real winner: Both countries are shit when it comes to the weather. However Denmark getting +1 for having nice, warm, insulated houses in the winter, and the Irish getting a +1 for handling their lousy weather with dignity. I’m not sure, I could have handled growing up here.

irish weather

Public Transport: Now this one is tricky.
Time table service: In Copenhagen where I lived, busses ran on time, every day – all day (and in all sorts of weather). If late, it wouldn’t be more than a minute or two.  And the popular routes would be running every 5-8 minute in rush hours.

In Cork, Ireland where I live now, busses seems to run, whenever they feel like it. Several times a month I’d be waiting for a bus that never shows, and by frequency of busses here, we’re talking at least 20 minutes more waiting in the freaking cold (see above). Then of course there is the bus to my new work, which only make a stop on my road 5 times a day. Rest of the times, it just passes by!! (Yes it’s true!!)

Price: Public transport prices are insane in Copenhagen. I think I paid around 26dkr for a ticket (almost 4 euro). On the other hand, you can use the same ticket for 1hour within the same city zone. In Ireland tickets are 1.80euro (12dkr), but if you’re changing busses, you need to buy a new.

Face to face service: In general – Irish bus drivers are more easy going. Probably because they have nicer passengers as well. Here it’s costume to say ‘Thank you’ to the driver when you leave the bus (at the front door, cause there’s no backdoor). In Copenhagen I’ve heard of bus drivers who got spat upon when asking for ticket money.

Winner: Despite nicer drivers, I do prefer busses/ trains which runs on time and more often than 5 times during a day!! Ireland, you should take note of Denmark’s way with public transport!

 

Blueberries muffins: Hands down, beside Starbucks – Dunnes make the best tasting blueberries muffins. Denmark could definitely need a Dunnes stores! (but this will be for next VS blog).

 

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muay thai, Sport, Teaching, training

Laying the foundation for happines

These days, I’ve yet again ‘broke the rules of conformity’ and decided to try it out on my own. First time I did this, was when I quit my very well paid PR job in Copenhagen, to pursue a career as freelance journalist and photographer. (Still working with this: I just turned in a short article on Tivoli, Copenhagen to The Irish Time).
This time around in Ireland – I didn’t quit (was asked to not come back, because of my ethics as a fitness professional), but I once again jumped out and trying to create something on my own  – this time for and with others.

The FighterGirls Club is my new baby. It’s all the best from my years with Martial Arts: Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing and Taekwondo. It’s all about having a great time – celebrating life. Getting stronger, fitter, better and faster – and getting the girls in my classes to do more, than they thought they could.

Today is one of those days, where it just felt ‘Right’. Like things are starting to come together. The girls (of all ages and sizes) who came in tonight (and day in CIT) just did amazing – and had fun at the same time. The glow on someone’s face who just had a brilliant time is worth gold. Eyes shinning, mouth a big smile, red cheeks and hair wet with sweat.
This is how I love seeing ‘my girls’ – and it makes all the extra trouble of starting ‘my own thing’ worth it.

I’ve come across several sites and stories lately, about how we are afraid to ‘be who we are’. How many people live like zombies to support themselves and their families. It reminds me how I could easily have stayed in my well paid job in Copenhagen and been unhappy, or told the bosses in Womens Fitness what they wanted to hear, instead of my genuine opinion. These realizations made me feel really blessed, that I can do what I love – even I’m living on a stone, and don’t have money for shoes or hairdresser.

Maybe this is my path – sharing what makes me happy (be it muay thai, stories, photos, research). Maybe I’m laying foundation to happiness. I think I’m on some path anyway.. we’ll see in the future, if this is mine!

After my first muay thai fight (with Liam in my corner) – a very happy moment

 

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Sport, Teaching, training

Fitness ethics – Take responsibility for your health

Coming to Ireland from Denmark has opended my eyes to the matter of professional ethics in the fitness industry and that have made me thinking about my own ethics as a fitness professional.

I’ve just started up ‘The FighterGirls Club‘ here in Cork, and it’s been really important to me, to be honest about my ‘product’ and the results the girls can get. I don’t want to join the endless list of salesmen in disguise of fitness professionals, who promises quick, pain free, effortless (weight loss) results.

So it’s basically my site is saying: I can help you lose weight – shape up – get fit and toned. Even get you in the ring: But there is no easy short cuts! It’s hard work, but if you’re willing to put in the effort – I be right there beside you.

It pains me to know that a lot of the women, I’ve trained at my old job (in Womens Fitness Plus, Cork), is now being lured into buying expensive supplements, they don’t need – and from the look of Facebook pages it’s not the only gym, who sells ‘magic pills’ and promises of gold.

I understand the need to make money. Heck, I want to make money too! and I understand how tempting it is, if a sales representative from a supplement company tells you ‘If you up the sale by 30%, you can make even more money on selling the stuff‘. But I think Greed is a bad excuse to prey on womens problems with their bodies – the constant weight loss battle most women faces in points of their lives. It’s tasteless and bad form in my opinion.

I’ve joined the fitness world, because I love fitness! I love training, I love fighting (even I’ve been a nervous wreck) – and I love all the people who trained me through my career. All the effort, the knowledge they put into our time together – and that’s why I love teaching – I love giving back. Getting people to feel the benefits of being physical active, share the happiness endorphins bring and the satisfaction when you can slip into your pants, without sucking it in.
Making money from it, is a benefit – and of course a necessary one in our society – but I’m in it for LOVE!

To my sad realization, there is a few people in the industry, who doesn’t have a clue about training, fitness, diets or supplements, who will say anything to make an extra euro. I pity them, and I feel sad for their members/ clients.

But since greed is probably not gonna run out of style anytime soon, you can’t rely on the Fitness industry to follow any ethics for its field. Therefor the best weapon you can get is KNOWLEDGE.
Before you take your purse up to pay 70euro for a bucket of protein powder or what ever – go home, google the product, read up on it (not on the manufacturers site, but independent testers like me with the CLA test) and make your own decision.

For example: Most people eat enough protein through their daily meals (if they lift heavy weights, they’ll benefit from extra ) – but for most a handful of nuts, beef jerky or a slice of chicken would suffice.

So please use your sense and don’t trust gym owners or trainers blindly. It’s not like we’re doctors and bound by a professional ethic to always look out for your best. Unfortunately time here in Ireland have taught me, some only look out to fill their wallet.

Now in the end of my ethic blog: Don’t use this as an excuse to stay home! Most gyms and trainers are just like me: In it for the love and they strive to give the best teaching and up to date knowledge. So go to your gym, train, enjoy yourself and become stronger and fitter than the day before.

Take responsibility for your own health!

Training update:
Thursday: 3x classes (Did two full as the classes was small and uneven numbered). Pretty wrecked today
Friday: Recovery run edited: 30 min on tracks, including x 5 pull ups

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Photography, travelling, Wordpress weekly photo challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

Photo from the Long house, Borneo, Malaysia. Once upon a time home of the headhunters

This weeks Photo Challenge is about ‘Foreign’. Now, I could step outside and take a pic of myself surrounded by 20 Irish people – and I would look foreign. I also admittedly feel foreign from time to time as my Denmark vs Ireland blogs are telling, but mostly I know how to conduct myself here.

The picture I chose for this challenge, is not about, I didn’t know how to conduct myself. I seem to remember a green light for GO, money as trade currency, smile and say thank you – like the rest of the world. However – the photo is from Borneo, Malaysia. It’s from the inside of a very old (preserved) authentic long house, that once was home to a tribe of head hunters.

It was my first time visiting ‘the old world’, in that part of our world, so it was a big deal for me – and I did feel foreign in every sense of the word. Geographic (I was far away from home), housing (my place in Cph had nice lacquered wooden floors, the floors was made of bamboo), cultural (they lived in a small village in the jungle – I lived in the capital of Denmark) – and the list could go on. However I also remember the things we shared: The man I bought a bottle of home-made whisky (or whatever it was) from, to give to my father on return, smiled and said it was a great gift for father. So even feeling – and being foreign, there is always the little things, that make us connect.
I visited on a brief press tour, while I was working as a freelance travel journalist for Ekstra Bladet Ferie  – the story about my travel companions is another adventure in itself.

Another photo from my Malaysia trip

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Blogging, Expat

Ireland vs Denmark III

More ‘them vs us’ fun – or maybe rather ‘being Danish abroad’.

Let’s start of with more traffic!

1.Bikes! Biking in Cork equals the death-defying spirits of the first New York bike messengers: Cars have no clue how to act around bikes – or pedestrians/ runners for that matter. In Copenhagen – mind you Cork is equivalent to Århus – second biggest city in Denmark – cars actually have last priority when it comes to traffic. First pedestrians – then bikes – then cars. Here it’s drive or die – I think, I’ve mentioned this before

There you have it!

 

2. Running – another one of my Irish traffic complaint moments! There doesn’t seem to be any running culture here. If anything people seem annoyed when I come running towards them. And mind you – it’s not like I’m taking up the side walk, I was actually raised to be considerate to others. Most people seem to get broader on the side walk  so I have to sidestep out on the road. I seem to remember Copenhagen as being pretty runner friendly.

3. Irish service is magnificent! Coming from Copenhagen, where the Netto worker would grunt at you (unpleasantly) if you asked about – yeah, anything at all, even on your best polite behavior – people in the shops here are overly friendly and helpful!
In my local Netto in Rantzausgade, the shop manager was the worst of them all. You’d be almost afraid to shop there, when he was in. Grumpy can’t describe him.
Here you met with a smile and a ‘How are you, thank you and please’. That’s really something!

A typical Irish chip – covered in curry and mushy peas. I bet there’s not one crispy chip left in there.

4. Chips! What with this notion of putting everything possible on the chips? They get soaky (not sure if this is a word, but you prob. get my drift)! Last time at Jackie Lennox (best chipper in town), I accidentally said, I wanted peas with my fish & chips = they poured a cup of mashed peas on top of my chips!!! I had to ask for another. I like my chips crispy.

5. Steaks! Irish steaks are fab! Filet steaks in particular. And they’re actually affordable. I thought Denmark was agricultural – but meat prices in Ireland makes one think, Denmark is aligned with Norway, when it comes to steaks.

This kind of view – definitely Irish!

 

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Sport, training

Ode to Katie Taylor

 

Sitting in Debarras for the third time, just to watch Katie Taylor’s beautiful ballet in the ring. Apart from being one of the most complete female amateur boxers, Taylor is probably also Ireland’s surest bet of a gold medal at this Olympic.

Having ties to (now) three countries, I’m pretty blessed with plenty of opportunity to cherish, celebrate and brag about ‘my countries’ gold meldals: South Korea is currently in fourth place overall, and little Denmark has two golds so far! But, I can easily say, that Katie Taylors gold will warm my heart more than either Danish or Korean.

Queen of boxing – not just postergirl for Irish boxing, but for fightergirls all over the world!

First of because it’s a huge step for female fighters (of all disciplines) to have female boxing represented at the Olympics, and I’m sure her style, her performance and no least her confidence as a fighter will rub of on all female fighters out there. She’s definitely showing the world, that female fighters can and will compete as stylistic and fiercely as men.
Secondly I am currently living in Ireland, so it makes sense to being swept away with the nations love for Taylor – thirdly but no least: Asians have always been good at the whole Olympic medal thing – as with anything else – and Denmarks golds in 2 man rowing and indoor cycling: It’s good!! – Ofcourse it is, but come on! Boxing (fighting) is something completely different! And you can’t compare a medal won in the ring, to any other. Training is hard no matter for what sport, granted. But competing in a sport where loosing equals getting your as* kicked, is a different matter, getting beat in a boat or on a football field. (I guess I am a little biased here, I admit!)

 

My training week:
Monday: 7K
Tueday: Kettlebells and Core
Wednesday: Thaibox
Thursday: Watching Taylor and going for a run

A small selection of my drills for your inspiration and curiosity:
Amazon Get Ups (AGU)
Windmills
Squat to Oh Press
One legged BoR
Russians
Push Ups to Sideplank
Pull Ups
Thaibox (Knees of sets of 100)
Reach Ups
Supermans
Chinnies
½TGU (Double hand)
Burpees to press up

 

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Blogging, Sport, training

What you can do in a week

It’s our last full day in Austria. Tomorrow it’s on the plane, destination Ireland (and possible bad weather). I used to love travelling and flying. I guess it was back when I would only go to New York or Asia. Now I really loathe it – the ques, the hassle with passport, emigration, seating in the plane, stewardesses always nagging about ipods and magazines.
But same time – I love seeing new places and experiencing a breath of different air.

This week in Austria have provided a little of each:
1 Mountain climbed (Plenge: 2400m)
3x 10K mountain run (Topped my run today with 100 push ups/ 200 sit ups)
1 trip to Venice
1 swim in glacier flood
2 horseflie bites
and the eternal walks… ♥

Hoping to squeeze in a last run tomorrow morning before it’s goodbye Europe mainland, hello island life.

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