Tag Archives: people

Out of the Box

Gianluca Candiotti shares with us some of the physical benefits of boxing!

  1.    How did you become interested in physical contact sports? What made you dare to try boxing?

My interest was born out of simple curiosity. I always found some of these sports interesting, and I admired the expertise shown by different athletes in these disciplines.

Now, many things influenced me in finally deciding to learn and practice Box. The main reason being that I have always tried to lead a healthy lifestyle, without necessarily taking it too extreme. I really like to play sports and take care of my diet. I’ve played tennis since many years ago. However, I wanted to complement it with another sport to help me gain a little more muscle mass and endurance. I thought about enrolling in a gym again, but in my experience, it becomes quite monotonous and boring, and I did not know if it was something that would motivate me.

Luckily, a couple of friends were in a similar situation. We evaluated our options and decided to enroll together in an academy where you can practice boxing, Muay Thai, MMA, among other sports. So far, I’ve only dedicated myself to boxing.

  1.    Boxers are often considered macho and aggressive. Could you explain your point of view on these statements?

I believe that this falls on the character and profile of each person, but this sport would never seek to train anyone in that way. All the people I have met are quite kind and respectful. Moreover, many of them try to be very careful when they have to perform exercises in pairs and have not yet established trust in the other person. Luckily, most times I can train with my friends and we can hit each other with a little more freedom. In the end, if you make a direct hit, you know it’s part of the training. None of us would ever take it personally.

  1.    How do you prepare yourself physically for training?

I do not have a strict routine, to tell the truth. At least I do not feel that way.

I go to train 3 times a week, and I always go at 7:00 in the morning. I think it’s a very good way to start the day before going to work. Training relaxes you and gives you enough energy (which is important) to be able to concentrate programming.

Regarding the preparation itself, I think that the most important thing is to be in good condition, eating properly, and sleeping the necessary hours. I do not think I follow these rules accurately, but I try.

Another thing that I consider very important is not to smoke. Tobacco limits your lung capacity, alters your heart rate (among other things), and all this ends up negatively affecting your resistance and the rhythm you should be able to maintain while training.

  1.    Do you have any kind of special diet?

Not for now, although I have considered it. When I was younger, I was much more rigorous with what I ate, but lately I haven’t had much time to cook, and eating in a balanced way on the street is very complicated. Anyway, some time ago I learned some important things about nutrition, so I usually try not to get too far away from what I know I should be eating.

In general, I would say that the most important things are: to drink plenty of water throughout the day and not to consume a lot of carbohydrates – and when you do, take into account their quality (sweet potatoes are best) – and eat many times throughout the day, but in small quantities (ideally every 3 hours or so). But I think the most important thing in maintaining a good diet, or any diet for that matter, is to never take it too seriously. If you never give yourself a taste or a little indulgence, eventually you will get bored or it will be too difficult for you to keep up with. I think the best thing is to be disciplined with what you eat, but also know that nothing will happen to you if one day you go for an ice cream or you eat some pizza.

  1.    What sports-related goals do you have in the short- and long-term?

I think that when I started boxing, I saw it simply as a fun way to exercise. However, soon after I realized how demanding it is – physically and mentally – and all the technique involved. In the beginning maybe, you think that you only use your arms and that hitting isn’t so complicated. But the work of legs, the way you should use the body to give power to the blows, how you should move, how you should stand, anticipate, react… putting all of that together is extremely difficult and requires practice.

I found it very frustrating at first not being able to do some of the simplest exercises the way I should. But in the end, it all takes time and effort.

I think all these things have motivated me to want to take it more seriously and get better. I do not think I will want to participate in any circuit, but I would like to feel that I am good at this sport and that I could teach the basics to someone else.

I like to have boxing as a complement to tennis. I think that they share a set of interesting features that allow me to use qualities from one in the other. For example, the way you use your body and legs to give more power to the blow with your right arm in boxing is very similar in both sports. Also, boxing will help me to have better resistance because the energy is explosive, but at the same time you have to know how to manage your energy very well because everything happens over many rounds. This is something that I can also take advantage of when playing tennis. In general, I like to see things in this way. It will help me stay motivated as I plan to continue playing both sports for a long time.

 

INTO THE WILD

Manuel Varela has worked as a Java Developer at Santex for almost a year now. He is passionate about hiking and discovering new places.

Varela

  • When did your passion for trekking start?

I think I was 15 years old. I lived all my childhood in Rio de los Sauces (a village in the Valle de Calamuchita – Córdoba) and for a few years my dad was a wildlife ranger in the region. He protected the trout from the area against poachers. I used to go with him sometimes and take long walks along the shores of rivers. That woke in me something I had never felt before, “the pleasure of enjoying nature in its pure state”.

My first outing was at 18 with two friends. We went to the “Hidden Village” at the base of Cerro Aspero.

It’s part of a mining complex that began its operations in the late 19th century and was abandoned in the mid-twentieth century, leaving most of the facilities and machinery intact and even some of the tunnels open.

I highly recommend for people to go. It’s hard to get to by car, but you can leave the car a few miles before and just walk 🙂

  • What was the most challenging adventure you undertook?

The most challenging trip I took was a couple of years ago in Patagonia, Argentina. I went with 3 friends to tour the early stages of the “Andean footprint“,  a path linking the different lakes of various national parks in Patagonia, near the town of San Martin de los Andes in Neuquén.

The trip lasted a week, crossing the trails within the Lanin National Park. Everyday we were moving places, walking between 10 and 15 km per day carrying all our luggage on our backs. Our backpacks weighed about 20kg each, considering that we had a tent, sleeping bags, food, water and clothing among other things needed to survive that week.

The adventure was unforgettable! The landscapes were incredible. During the trip, we went through different sights like the base of the Lanin volcano (whose peak is covered with snow all year), vast forests of native trees (such as Araucaria), rivers and lakes with absolutely crystal clear waters, rivers petrified by volcanic lava and we even walked for several miles in of volcanic ash, which made walking challenging.

  • What would you recommend to someone who wants to start trekking?

You don’t need to be an expert or be physically fit or have the latest tech equipment for trekking. You just need have desire to have a good time outdoors walking around and be very curious to discover new places.

I would recommend you start walking through parks and green areas around your city with a backpack, water, and some healthy snacks (like fruit, for example).

If that you like it, you can contact one of the groups that organizes hikes on the weekends. Here in Cordoba, for example, I know of at least 10 groups that organize trekking trips around the area to spend the day and with a low level of difficulty so that everyone can do it.

As for equipment, it is important to invest in good shoes, and secondly a good backpack that fits your body.

1655437_10152207827729730_401083761_o
Manuel and his friends camping at the base of Lanin, at the Huechulafquen lake.
  • Where would you like to go next?

In the near future I plan to go with a friend to Quebrada del Condorito National Park for 2 weeks.

In the long term, I would like to continue with the stages of the “Huella Andina”. I want to continue with the trails southbound of San Martin de los Andes to reach the Nahuel Huapi National Park until I can complete it someday (there are 24 stages).

TIPS

  • Trekking is a very relaxing activity. It takes you out of the noise and fast pace of the city to meet in a quiet place with pure, fresh air. It clears your head of your problems.

  • A great book to read as inspiration is “Into the Wild”. It tells the story of a young American who was fed up with society and materialism decided to donate all his money and start traveling through the U.S. living in an abandoned bus.

LET’S ENTER FANTASY WORLD

LORENZO SAUCHELLI – PHP and Front-End Developer at Santex

lorenzo-B&N.j_v2

  • Is Lucero del Alba your first novel? Have you written anything else?

Well, it’s my first novel in quite a while, and it’s also the first one I intend to actually publish once it’s done.

When I was younger I used to spend most of my day writing (either in Spanish or English, whatever fit my mood at the moment). I wrote and completed one fantasy novel, started others that I never finished, in addition to several short stories.

I have to admit that I have recently re-read a few of my older stories and figuratively puked. My writing back then wasn’t all that good. It wasn’t bad. But I certainly thought I was better than I actually was. I hope I have grown since then and that my current stuff is actually good and not just ‘good’ in my opinion.

  • What is the novel about?

Lucero del Alba is a fantasy story about two girls who, when their parents send them to camp for the duration of their summer break, get lost in another world. One of these girls finds a strange-looking morningstar – basically a warhammer with spikes. Soon they realize the world they’re stuck in is not exactly Lord of the Rings, but a kind of prison-world for all the supernatural monsters that roamed through the ages. One of these monsters is responsible for bringing them there and intends to use them so they can break out of this supernatural prison.

  • How long have you been writing it?

I started it four years ago, plotted it, wrote some scenes, created characters and the rules of the world. However, I didn’t touch it for all of many years until recently, when I dusted off my rusty writing skills and notes and decided to go ahead and write the whole thing.

  • What inspired you to write it?

Dreams, movies, cartoons, books. Everything inspires me. I don’t think there was any one particular thing that inspired me and made me say, “Yes, that’s going to be my book!”

For instance, the concept of a girl lost in a strange fantasy world perhaps came from “Labyrinth”, which was a favorite of mine as a kid. The concept of the snarky girl protagonist came from Daria. The rest… it just gets foggy in my mind. A lot of it is inspired by stuff I wrote when I was younger: there’s this creature that’s a hulking monstrosity and it has cobras coming off its back, and it has a mask that covers its face completely. It’s my rendition of a gorgon. I wrote about this monster when I was 15, and I decided to recycle the idea into this novel, because I like how it looks in my mind’s eye.

For a while, before I finally decided to write it as a novel, I wanted to make this story into a videogame, “Battle Wizard Morningstar”. A lot of the ideas I have written in the current iteration of the novel come from this ‘gaming’ phase. I had some character models and everything set up, but discovered that the time needed to make a game is completely different from the time needed to write a novel. You can write a novel if you dedicate some fifteen minutes a day to it, but you need several hours every single day if you want to make a game.

When I finally decided that I was not making a game, but a novel instead, I started writing in English, with the working title of “Morningstar”. I thought that it would have a better chance of finding readers if it was written in English. However soon I scratched that idea and translated everything back to Spanish, and consequently it became “Lucero del Alba” again.

I will probably write it in English sooner or later, but for now I’m focusing on finishing it in Spanish.

  • Who are your favorite authors?

There are way too many to make a list. But the ones I like to read and re-read quite often are probably Borges, Tolkien, Hemingway, Doyle, Christie, and a few others.

Currently I’m a fan of Max Landis, a writer who has an amazing ability to pitch incredible stories in the blink of an eye. He’s also behind two of my favorite short movies of all time: “The Death and Return of Superman” and “Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling”. He also wrote “Chronicle”, a fantastic story about kids who gain telekinetic powers.

  • What’s your dream as a writer?

To publish my book and have people I know read it and tell me what they think. Does it suck? Is it good? Did you like that thing that happened in the sixth chapter? I want to have this conversation with people in real life.

After that? I will hopefully start another novel right after the first one is complete.

You can read some of Lorenzo’s work here