Making Progress

05 Nov shonakamori No Comments »

It’s been a pretty productive week in the gym.  Most of my attention has been placed on putting my routines together as we’re planning to compete early next year in February.  The meet is an important one as it’s a re-ranking meet for the US Senior National Team.

This training period can be challenging but fun and interesting all at the same time.  The most challenging part is getting strong enough to get through the entire set (i.e. building endurance).  Putting together routines can be difficult especially in this new open-ended code since we’re trying to pack 10 of our most difficult skills in each routine.  Strength comes from numbers though, so the daily grind should get me stronger and to that next level.  Doing high reps is also helpful because throught it all, it allows you to learn the rhythm of the routine.  For each routine, there are sections where you should breathe and catch your breath.  However, when you’re first starting to put together a new routine, these parts are difficult to figure out.  Instead, most gymnasts stay tense the entire time, which leads to fatigue.  It’s a slow process but seeing the daily progress is definitely fun!

Outside of the gym, I had the opportunity to attend the victory ceremony for the newly-elected governor of California, Jerry Brown.  It was my first time to attend such an event so it was a fun experience.  Check out the pictures below!

Fox Theater in Oakland: Venue for Jerry Brown's Victory Celebration

Sign at the theater

Blurry picture of Jerry Brown after his speech

Some Things to Celebrate About

01 Nov shonakamori 2 Comments »

Wow, what an exciting time for the people in the Bay Area.  The Giants just won game 5 to clinch the World Series title!  I bet the city is going nuts right about now with all the celebration.  Wish I could be there but unfortunately I have morning training tomorrow so I’m staying in.  I’ve gotta keep my eyes on the prize so I can create something to celebrate within my own athletic realm.  I’ m totally chillin out and sipping coke out of my Tim Lincecum cup though!

Sippin' coke out of my Lincecum Cup!

Another exciting thing about today was that it was my coach’s birthday!  He insisted that he turned 25, which would make him the same age as me.  Huge lie!  His age remains a mystery, however, he does look that young.  Lucky for him, he has good genes!  Anyway, happy birthday Jinjing!  Thanks for all that you do both in and out of the gym!

Happy Birthday Jinjing!

Sickness Go Away!

28 Oct shonakamori No Comments »

It’s been a rather rough few days for me as I caught a cold over the weekend.  It must be that time of the year because pretty much everyone around me is getting sick as well. I guess we can thank the sudden drop in weather.  After all, it still felt like the middle of summer only a couple of weeks ago.

One of the bad habits I have is I just can’t sit still even when I’m sick. I get too antsy about working out.  But as we all know, not resting when you need it most can backfire and set you back even more.  Thankfully I’m feeling a lot better after spending the last couple of days hibernating and recouping so I should be ready to get back in the gym again.

This is perfect timing as I’m pumped and motivated to workout after watching the world championships last week.  Watching my friends compete and do well added to the fuel and revamped my desire to get back on the world stage again.  Gotta remind myself to take it one step at a time though.  Like I just said, rushing can backfire.

Speaking of exciting things, I’ve also been glued to the TV watching the Giants play in the world series.  Being a Bay Area kid, I’ve always been a Giants fan so the last couple of weeks have been really exciting.  While it’s not gymnastics, seeing any athlete/team compete at the highest stage is awesome.  Hope the Giants take it all the way! :)

A Little R&R

17 Oct shonakamori No Comments »

After several weeks of up and down weather, I think fall has finally arrived in California.  I’m a pretty big fan of fall weather when it comes to training because it doesn’t wear me out as quickly when it’s cooler in the gym.  Then again, there’s also a downside.  When it’s cooler, I can definitely feel it in the joints and it definitely takes a while for me to warm-up.

Anyway, the last several weeks of training have been tough.  My coach and I have revamped my conditioning workout to increase strength but luckily he dropped the intensity the last half of the week gave me the chance to recover.  Judging from how my body felt, I think I really needed it.  I even went to go get a massage to get some kinks out.  The person I generally go see is an old Chinese man in San Francisco that works out of his garage.  He’s a rather small guy but his massages are intense.  It’s definitely not one of those easy-going, soft-tissue massages.  I’ll admit they’re rather painful but I can definitely feel a huge difference afterwards.  In this day in age with this sport, half the battle is keeping your body healthy enough to compete.

Now that I’ve had this opportunity to rest and recover, it’s time to hit the gym hard again.  Just gotta make sure I don’t catch a cold because it seems like that’s been going around!

The Grind

08 Oct shonakamori No Comments »

I’ve been a pretty boring person lately.  My days have been fairly mundane and not much stands out outside from my normal training and my part-time jobs.  However, they say that the daily grind is what gets you to the next step.  Having a consistent schedule has allowed me to make a ton of progress both in and out of the gym. A lot of this has to do with having the time to simply train and not worry about having to prepare for a competition.  I’m definitely using this time wisely in order to get stronger, but also backing off when necessary to avoid injuries (gotta remember my body is getting older!).

On an unrelated note, the gym community is still dealing with the shock of losing UC Berkeley’s gymnastics programs (both women and men).  Stickitmedia writes a great article about this situation.  I don’t know if there’s much that can be done now that the decision has been made but it looks like the five teams that were eliminated from Cal athletics is holding a rally tomorrow (Oct 9th) at 9:30 am at UC Berkeley’s baseball field.  They’re hoping that with enough support, they can overturn this decision.  I’m not sure if I can make it myself but for anyone that is in the area, I urge you to go and be a part of the rally.

Here’s an article with some information about the rally tomorrow.  Good luck to the Bears tomorrow!

Sad Day for the Bears…

29 Sep shonakamori 2 Comments »

I’m sure most everybody heard about this already but in case you haven’t, in devastating news, the chancellor at UC Berekely decided to drop 5 athletics programs.  All of them will be done at the end of this school year.  Included was men’s gymnastics…

Honestly, it never mattered that I went to the “rival” school.  Having grown up in Berkeley, I always felt a close connection to the Cal team and the gymnasts there.  Some of my best memories competing at the collegiate level (aside from the ones with my own teammates) involved the friendly rivalry we had with Cal; the occasional smack-talking, shooting the breeze, and hanging out and catching up after our meet ended.  Not to mention, we always felt that we were especially close and knew we had each other’s backs when we went to bigger meets, such as conference and national championships.  It’s really sad to know that there will be one less program in the NCAA at the end of this coming season.  Worse yet, it’s even more sad to know that men’s gymnastics is getting cut from the best public school in the US, which means that the younger gymnasts will no longer have the opportunity to do gymnastics and be a student at one of the top schools in the entire country.

It’s a really sad time for everybody in the gym community.

Definitely wishing them the best of luck in their final season.

Bring us to the White House!

27 Sep shonakamori No Comments »

Workouts have been going well over the last several weeks.  I’ve been focusing a lot of my attention on acquiring new skills and upgrading my routines.  This is the perfect time to do so since I still have several months until I have to compete again.  At the same time, this is also a good time to ramp up the conditioning level since, which is exactly what I’m going to be focusing on this week.  With how long routines have gotten under the “open-ended code,” you can never be too strong these days!

Out of the gym was highlighted by a Bar Mitzvah of a boy (I guess not a boy anymore!) that I’ve been tutoring for a while in Japanese.  The weekend was perfect weather for a party and we all had a great time!

On a rather unrelated note, my teammates and I started a petition to bring our team and the rest of the NCAA Championship winning team from 2009 to the White House.  It’s been a tradition for the President to meet teams who won NCAA Championships at the White House – President Bush met with championship teams during his tenure.  However, in 2009, President Obama met with only a handful of teams but left out the majority of the other teams.  We thought that this tradition ended but realized it wasn’t so.  In September 2010, President Obama met with NCAA Championship teams. Naturally we were all bummed when we heard this.  That said, we’re trying to some support in bringing the teams back for a chance to be a part of this tradition.  If you all can sign this petition that will be great.  It will only take a couple of seconds: NCAA Petition.

Thanks in advance!


20 Sep shonakamori No Comments »

Had a pretty eventful weekend as Saturday was the annual National Gymnastics Day.  Made a couple of appreances at local gyms and had a great time interacting with some of the kids and their parents.  Nothing too fancy, but at one of the event, I did a short demo on the rings.  Don’t think I’ve ever done rings outside of an indoor gym, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything!

Demo on rings

For the rest of the weekend, I went home and just relaxed to unwind.  Now that I’m recharged I’m looking forward to getting a ton of work done both in and outside of the gym!  Let’s git ‘er done!

Getting Older!

16 Sep shonakamori 2 Comments »

I had a pretty busy but fun-filled week last week.  Aside from my usual training and work outside of the gym, I celebrated my 25th birthday.  I kept it fairly low key but had a very nice day full of surprises. I definitely wanted to take this opportunity to say a quick thanks to all the people who wished me happy birthday!

As  I get older, I like to reassess where I’m at physically, especially in this demanding sport called gymnastics.  They say age is just a number, but is it true?  I definitely feel young in my mind, but I’m not sure if I can trick my body (physical) into thinking the same.  As I get older, I’m realizing more and more that I don’t recover as quickly as I used to when I was a teen.

What this also means is that I’m taking less turns in training.  However, I’ve come to realize that this is not a bad thing at all. Because of the limited turns, I’ve learned to make sure that every single turn on the equipment is meaningful and that I’m making a deliberate effort to make a change.  When I was younger, it didn’t matter how many turns I took.  My body would rebound instantly.  I could make gradual changes and it didn’t matter, as long as I was moving in the right direction.  This definitely isn’t the case anymore….

If I did the same thing, my body’ll disintegrate for sure.  But at the same time, I do believe that taking a ton of turns when I you’re young can be beneficial.  A ton of the skills I trained when I was younger are ingrained in me and I can rely on muscle memory to get me through them.
Different age = different training style, I suppose.

Speaking of age, school is starting back up again.  Not that this has much to do with me as I’ve already graduated but I’m seeing new students and their parents roll onto campus.  I remember my first day of college…green and inexperienced but the great thing for me was having grown up in the Stanford gym.  Although academics and school life was tough to get used to, I found comfort in the gym as I trained there my entire life.  Anyway, I’m hoping to find some time in my schedule to be a volunteer assistant coach again this season.  Good luck to all the new students coming in!

Kevin Visits!

08 Sep shonakamori No Comments »

Workouts these past couple of days have been fun because I had a visitor come in and train with me.  That visitor was Kevin Tan, a good friend of mine, and also a medalist from the 2008 Olympics.

Kevin and I have not only represented the US as members of the national team, but we go way back as we both grew up in the Bay Area.  That said, we have a pretty strong connection, and I consider him to be like my big brother.

Through our training sessions we were able to share our thoughts and techniques on certain skills, which is always fun and helpful.  Although he left to go back to the east coast, I know he’ll be working hard.  Knowing this is a good thing because it’ll be a reminder for me to work harder so that I can push myself to the next level.  Can’t wait to see him and the rest of the guys in competition-mode in the near future!

Kevin, Jinjing (my coach), and me at the gym