Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – IELTS – Improving Fluency & Coherence

Welcome back, my students of the world! It’s time to go over two criteria that the examiner will assess you on in terms of speaking: Coherence & Fluency.

The notes that I recently showed you in the last live coaching will help you organize your ideas in a logical way.

One way to link your ideas is by using words and phrases like after, that, because of this, but, also, etc. We can also connect ideas using pronouns.

Tactic: It is important to use a variety of language.  Don’t REPEAT! I can’t stress this enough.

  • Think about the topic
  • Organize your ideas (improve your coherence).
  • Keep going during your talk (improve your fluency).

Task 2

Describe a person who has been an important influence in your life.

You should say…..

  • who this person is and how long you have known him or her for
  • why you chose this person
  • how this person has influenced your life

and explain how you feel about him or her.

Typical Notes

Who and how long? Les Brown/70 years old/speaker and transformational coach/lives in America/never met him.

Why I chose him: inspired me to get out of my rut in Thailand, made goals, learned about personal development, transformed my life completely.

How he has influenced my life taught me how to keep going/ stop becoming a victim/ don’t give up/ passion in what I do.

My feelings grateful/admiration/proud

Some things to think about. 

When you make notes, how do you write them? List? Scattered? Mindmap? Do you write single words? Long phrases? Whole sentences?

Idea connecting phrases

  • I’ve decided to talk about….
  • I’ve known him/her…
  • I chose him/her because/……
  • I think she/he has influenced my life by…..
  • When I think of him/her, I feel…….

Podcast

IELTS Live Coaching PDF – Episode 003

YouTube – Coming Soon

Pre-Workout: Amino Energy Review

You guys don’t know, but two days ago had to be the most terrifying moment of my life.  After sucking down two cups of coffee (1pm and 4pm), I decided to “test” out my new pre-workout, Amino Energy, at 6pm.

Yeah.  Bonehead move.  There was no effects at the moment, but I while I was walking to my bus stop after work, I got super lightheaded.  Why? Maybe too much of a surplus in caffeine.

I tried sleeping around 9:30, and everytime I closed my eyes and went into a stage of sleep before I actually fell asleep, everything felt like it was moving and I would get a jolt of warm energy from my elbows to my hands.  This ensued to 11pm, 1am, 3am….I had enough.  I was down near on a 24-hour stint and I headed to the clinic to get some medication to fall asleep.  Disclaimer: do this only during worse case scenarios…never on a regular basis because these drugs are terrible and they can affect your kidney.

I went to sleep around 4:30 am, woke up once to call in sick, and slept again until 11:30 am.  I felt so groggy and completely fatigue, but it was because of the excess caffeine.

Judgement Day

So, I was scared when I woke up.  I looked at my pre-workout and it looked at me.  I said, “should I, “and ‘it’ said, “should.”  I took only a half-a-scoop and off I went to the gym.  Now, there were no tingling effects or anything, but what I felt was an extreme amount of focus.  In this class had 4 other women and a guy.  The women I like to call “fair-weather” because some days they say good morning, other days they completely ignore you.  Didn’t matter, but it was motivation on top of the focus.

When the workout started, I was zoned it COMPLETELY.  This reminded me of the day I took Jack 3D back in 2012 and my energy was bouncing off the walls.  I didn’t give up once.  I kept it rolling for a full hour, which is unheard of.  Even during breaks, I kneeled and remained focus….normally I would chat it up or try throwing some conversation gambits out there for bait (lol).

Now, is this as good as Stimul, my absolute favorite pre-workout? Well, Stimul never gave me insomnia.  All will tell later on tonight if I can sleep or not.

Nonetheless, the ingredients, reviews and everything I saw online made me purchase this two days ago, and it surely didn’t disappoint.

  • Strength – Check
  • Quality – Check
  • Consistency – Check

 

Spartan Beast Malaysia = Cancelled; Now What? Spartan Beast Australia!

I went from booking a ticket, thinking that my Spartan Beast in Malaysia was on a Saturday, to cancelling a plane ticket and realizing that plane tickets on other days were at extortionate prices.  YIKES!

What a disaster.  What seemed like a sure Spartan Beast and trifecta claiming weekend turned into a nightmare whereas I almost lost out on $167 dollars.

So, Arsenio….your health goals of 2018 have suffered a minor hiccup.  What are you going to do now?

Well, there were three options.  First, I’m grateful I don’t have to fly back to Malaysia at this point because I’m so sick of the garbage airlines (Malindo Air & Air Asia) that are ALWAYS late.  I’m sick of almost getting in mid-air collisions (on Malindo) and Air Asia) and terrible service — along with cardboard box seats.

So, got it.  “It’s a low-budget airline.”  Well, no more!

I’d much rather take some time off from these low-budget airlines than deal with lunacy of them always being late.

Well, I’m first very grateful for having experiences both airlines, but it’s time to spend a tad more and fly reputable airlines from a better airline that’s connected to the rail link, which is connected to the city.

Anywho, let’s focus on the matter…my Spartan Beast has been stopped, momentarily, and now it’s either the Beast in Thailand, Australia, or Malaysia (lol) in December (in the Malaysian/Singaporean border town of Johor Bahru). What will I choose?

 

One Day Away – Spartan Race

Cardio, strength, core training, leg training….all of these things were done in bulk and now it’s time to put it to the test.

How do I feel going into the Spartan Super in Chon Buri, Thailand? I wouldn’t say nervous, but not really sure what to expect.  Have I trained like crazy since my Spartan Spartan Sprint in KL? Nope.  Honestly, I have done maybe two hard training sessions since mid-April.  Either I’ve grossly underestimated this race and I’m in for a grueling 13km, or I took a chance and knew what I was going to be up against.

Spartans in Thailand are far different from Malaysia.  In Malaysia, if you’re going to do a Sprint, you need to train for a Super.  If you’re going to do a Super, you need to train for a Beast.  That’s how difficult it is because the organizers set up the race on hills, rivers, gorges and so many other things.  It’s ridiculously tough.  So between now and July 28th, I will SURELY sign up with a gym and hit it hard.

Tomorrow is going to be not a test of will, but a test with the people I’m running with.  I will warn them in advance that if in the event one person begins to walk, I told them that I would meet them at the finish line.  I did not pay 66$ to walk.  I can walk at home for free.

2) It’s 13km, but I have my energy gels and everything ready to go (oh, and just by writing this blog, I just reminded myself that I need to buy some armguards for the race. YES!).

3) Now that I think of it, I think I’m seriously underestimating this race and could be in huge trouble.

Podcast

My Spartan Bag: Energy Gels

Now that the Spartan Race is over, I want to evaluate and see just how great these Energy Gels are.  In 2015, I didn’t have any protein bars on me or energy gels.  On that specific race in Melbourne, Australia, I almost gave up.  Was it because I lacked energy? Or lacked Will-Power in general? It could’ve been both.  However, I continued doing races without these bad boys for a couple of more years until the the Spartan Super in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

In that race I had 2 energy gels.  For the majority of that race, I was running.  I continued running for the longest of times, even after the 10km mark.  By the time the end of the race came, I felt pretty damn good!

Fast-forwarding to present day, I took yet another energy gel and felt absolutely amazing after the race.  So, I decided to make a video on this and show you guys an easy and affordable way to sustain your energy and give you a boost during your competitions.

Spartan Race: Seminyih, Malaysia…ACHIEVED! But……

WHAT. A. RACE.

Where should I begin? Let’s me take you from the beginning so I can provide some flow.

I arrived maybe around 9:15 to the station KTM – Kajang station.  This was nearest to the super rural area the where the race was being held.  From there, Ubers was stacked all around me.  I pressed it and got an immediate message – my uber was right across the street.  HOW CONVENIENT! He was a funny guy, asking me why I don’t have a girlfriend in Thailand.

Told him the truth. You guys know that story. LOL

There was a logjam about 2km outside the race area, so I had him pull over and I walked it from there.  Enthusiasts, not as many as I thought there would be, were making their way to registration.  Loads of tents and little shops were stacked within the area, giving my hope that this venue would be 1000 times better than the last at Putrajaya Heights last July.  It exceeded my expectations — and THEN SOME.  The registration line was about 10 minutes compared to 1.5 hours last time.  Bag drop was convenient with a bunch of smiley faces and women asking me how the race was (of course after) and there was a lot of area and merchandise around.

I was probably the 3rd wave of the Open.  There were a ton of people behind me, all whom were enthusiastic.  Some were first timers and others were returning.  You had people from Brunei, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and other places all around.  When the race started, it was all running, mostly uphill (as Malaysia mostly does) and then were the rocks.  That’s right.  The first obstacle, aside from the walls and things we had to jump through, under, and over, was the nastiest of them all.  This is where the fun began because the comedians started coming out in force.  Being on an obstacle course enables you to speak freely amongst your fellow samaritans who are going through the same pain.

At this time, this is when I knew I had gotten much strong since last September.  Carrying the bucket of rocks up the hill didn’t present me with a problem.  In fact, I was zooming past everyone else who seemed gassed and out of breath — 2km in?! I was screaming motivational things while hearing the echo of “aroo” deep in the forests and even nearby.  Directly following that was the rope climb.  I finally climbed up that bad boy; however, I freaked out when I was coming down and I zoomed down the rope, gripping it with my fingers and feeling fire tear apart my thumb on my left hand and my ring finger on my right, leaving a blister on one hand and two layers of skin on the rope from…..me.  This was beyond painful for about 1km.  After that, the river, which was SUEPR FUN.  There were women saying, “I HAVE A PLAN TO CATCH!”  People were laughing and just having fun at that point.  Being in a shaded, sketchy, peculiar area between two sides of a mountain, trekking through currents puts the “omg” into what Spartan should be about.

From there on out, there weren’t any noticeable or stand-outish things that came about — just more laughs and weird obstacles.  I am now 3/3 in the javelin toss, hitting my target and cheering for myself.  There were some GORGEOUS women nearby saying, “goodjob!” Another one, who must’ve been from Eastern Europe and on the same team of the 10 that were standing around, asked me “tips?”  I didn’t know what she was saying, but when I realized it, I was flabbergasted and helped two of the ladies — unsuccessfully.  This definitely had to be the funnest Spartan or any race in general.  It tips the Tough Mudder in Melbourne, Australia 3 years ago and tops the Tough Mudder in Mesa, Arizona from last year.

Towards the end, there was a Malaysian guy who was running by himself…pushing himself.  I decided to run beside him; and both him and I met up with an Indian guy.  The three of us started running alongside some other foreigners and funny Ukrainians before getting to a difficult part of the course — the end!  This mashed a bunch of obstacles together: backstroking 75 meters, another river with a current, monkey bell swings, and a few others.  When I finished, I saw a gorgeous shirt and medal waiting for me.  That was definitely a 10km beast of a race.  That wasn’t 7km….and they had Super/Beast obstacles within it, too.  The Spartan Sprint last year in Chon Buri, Thailand was a cake walk compared to this.

So, showers, chats with so many people, figuring out my next step with the trifecta and everything in ensued.  Now came the most difficult challenge of my life.

Because this race was tucked away in a jungle plantation, I wasn’t too nervous about finding a taxi until after a race.  There were taxis, also known as extortionists (and way worse than Thai taxis), sitting outside the grounds.  However, they were all taken because they had customers inside.  I never thought about that because I knew taxis were a ripoff.  I saw one taxi driver, and later saw him at my hotel.  That story will follow.

No Ubers, no grabs, no nothing! I was left walking….about 5km, hoping either someone would help take me to a town or a taxi would come.  I would’ve paid anything at any given time to get the hell out of there.  Some people pulled over, but not for me.  Next thing I know I see a car, coming towards me, flash its lights and I said, “OMG! SAVED!”  My man Anson, who is down below in the photo, probably saved me from dying.  That’s no exaggeration, either.

image1

All in all, he sent me all the way to an LRT line.  After 15 minutes, this particular line wrapped around KL and I saw Berjaya Times Square, just across the street from where my hotel was.  Instead of continuing on, I got off, talked to the guy, and I was able to exit the station and walk to my hotel.

Oh, and guess who was there? That f***er that denied me a ride to begin with.  Get this.  From the KTM Kajang to the race grounds was about 23 ringits, which equates to about 7 USD.  Kinda expensive in Thailand.  However, this guy told me someone AT MY HOTEL went to the race, too! The bad part? The taxi charged him 400 ringits there and back, equivalent to more than 100$ USD!  Could you believe that?! That’s why I NEVER TAKE TAXIS in KL and haven’t in almost five years.  They’re cheats beyond belief.

I needed to tell all of you that in case you travel here.

And with that beings said, a couple more blogs are coming up about my time and future races, so stay tuned and a podcast is here for your appetite!