The Introvert Expat SAHM Diaries

July 15: Mindful Monday

Hey guys! ❤ Happy Monday to y’all!

Listen, I know I had set myself the mini-assignment this week of making crochet earrings. I’m still interested in doing that however, today I woke up feeling I needed to rearrange the way I spend my days.

I spent my entire weekend reading up on vision improvement & it was plain to see (!) that, if I wanted my eyes to get stronger instead of weaker, I needed to lessen the time I spent on crochet and incorporate other activities into my days.

Two that are of particular importance to me right now is exercise (for the body) & exercises for my eyes. For the latter, I need to be outdoors to take time to look into the distance and notice movement & details.

So this is kind of where I’m at this morning 🙂 I just finished my beginner Pilates video for the day – the 3rd of a beginner series – and thinking about how to incorporate outdoors time on a daily basis.

The crochet might have to wait a while but I’m sure I’ll get back to it soon – you’ll be the first to know! 🙂

I’ll see you guys tomorrow.

 

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Fitness & Vanities

Exercising Differently As A Pathway to Happiness

 

plank-1327256_960_720We all know by now that exercising boosts the happy chemical endorphin. But because our brain quickly adapts to routine, doing the same thing over and over can lead to exercise boredom.

The solution is simple and fun: exercise differently for the next 45 days 😀

I am currently reading Habits of A Happy Brain by Dr. Loretta Graziano Breuning, and in it Dr. Breuning says that we can end up overdoing a happy habit to the point of unhappiness. Varying our exercise routine is a good way to trigger endorphin.

To quote the book: “It takes strain to trigger endorphin, and if you keep straining the same place, you risk injury.  If you work new places with new exercise, moderate exertion can stimulate endorphin.”

When I read this I immediately thought to replace my usual HIIT/strength combo exercises with early morning jogs followed by Pilates.  I exercise indoors so early morning jogs would take me out of the house and – is there really anything more uplifting than to be under a wide open sky at the start of one’s day? 💖 💖

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However, I will have to do this new exercise consistently for 45 days.  I can’t see myself jogging on a rainy day.  And since I can only jog in the mornings, this new exercise would prove quite tricky to navigate once my daughter goes back to school again and mornings become busy 😨 😥

As for Pilates, this was an easy choice since I’ve always enjoyed working on my flexibility and balance. In addition, who doesn’t want a tight core and butt? 💖 💖 XD

But going back to what Dr. Breuning further says on the topic: “Your body has three layers of muscles. When you vary your exercise, you give the neglected, constricted layers more attention.  Since they’re weak, they have to work harder, so you stimulate development where it’s needed instead of going overboard on the parts you overuse.  Chasing an endorphin high is not worth the risk of wearing out a part and needing a parts replacement. Variety is a great alternative.”

I didn’t need any more convincing after reading that! 😀 👏

So the next 6 weeks are going to be dedicated to Pilates and some type of cardio that’s different from what I normally do.  I’ll be putting my free weights on standby for now 😭 😭  😭 and hopefully my appetite won’t be as high as when I do HIITs to compensate for the decrease in intensity.

 

How about you? When was the last time you varied your exercise routine? Any fun cardio suggestions? 😀

Blogging, Fitness & Vanities

April’s Weekly Challenge Update + Challenge #2

Howdy my shiny, happy people! ❤ 🙂

Last week was the first week of April and I felt like shaking things up, so I gave myself the task of doing a weekly challenge for the whole month. Read about it here.

This post will be a progress update + the unveiling of the next challenge 🙂 Let’s get to it!

Challenge #1: improve my wheel pose

For the record, I can’t really do a wheel pose. I can do the second one in this picture and that’s about it. But for someone who’s only done basic YouTube yoga at home, I was pleasantly surprised when I first found out I could even lift myself off the mat like that 😀 I was quite impressed and quickly fell infatuated with the pose ❤ 😀

Fast forward to last week when I picked it as my first challenge – and this is how I’ve done thus far:

Monday and Tuesday

Okay so Monday and Tuesday I lost internet (and phone and cable TV) connection so it was like … “Helloooo Universe! I’ve just declared a challenge here!! Could you be more supportive?!!” XD XD

Wednesday

I was finally able to get to it with this video:

As usual, I was able to heave myself off the floor with relative ease and I tried to stay in the pose for as long as I could trying to correct my form as I made a mental review of how my body parts were positioned.

There was obviously a lot of room for improvement. One problem that immediately came up was that my wrists could only hold the pose for so long before becoming sore. I could try again for a second time, but a third? My wrists would be screaming bloody murder! o_O

Thursday

I was feeling really sore and stiff from my strength training on previous days and backbending was the furthest thing on my mind XD

Friday

I was feeling under the weather for some reason so I didn’t push it.

Saturday & Sunday

Rest days.

Conclusion

Because I don’t have much to show for it (insert cheeky grin here) I am continuing this challenge for a second week.

cropped-chiquita-dm2-minion-dave-bananas

But the show must go on and therefor I have taken on a second weekly challenge – as declared – which will be …. dan-dan-daaaaaaan! …

~ oOo ~

Challenge #2

Finish an online course about working from home 🙂

~ oOo ~

So that’s me for today and I do hope you check back next Monday for more details and updates on not one, but TWO weekly challenges! 😀 😀

Here’s to a strong, positive week, warriors ❤ ❤

——

Minions image found here.

Fitness & Vanities

Something New In My Exercise Department

 

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Hello everyone 🙂 Happy Lunar New Year!

For this Monday’s fitness post I’d like to share about something new I’ve taken on to shake up my home exercise routine.

As you probably know by now I’ve been doing mostly cardio from Zumba and Dance Fitness. Lately though I’ve been feeling the need to level up by way of taking on a structured strength training program.

A good structured training program ensures you’re doing the right amount of the right things in the right order and frequency. I like that it gives you focus, and the satisfaction of completing one is motivating.

And so last week I finally purchased and started one from my favorite online trainers Kelli and Daniel of Fitness Blender.

 

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As a home exerciser, Fitness Blender has been and still is my go-to for online workout videos that are effective without doubt. The videos are 100% free on YouTube and they even teach you how to create a program for yourself here and here.

However, if like me you want the pros to take care of that for you, then purchasing one of their structured workout programs is a great way to go. (And it’s not even expensive, by the way).

Although Fitness Blender programs are mostly drawn up for 5 days a week, I still wanted room to do my body rolls and twerks XD (We gotta keep it fun, right?!) Good thing they have the 8-Week Maintenance/Cross-Training program which only requires doing their workouts 3 days a week.

And so since last week I’ve been on the program and it’s been great. I have all bases covered as far as working out all muscle groups are concerned and I still have room for variety 🙂

How about you, what’s new in your exercise department?

Fitness & Vanities

Motivated To Move!

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An amazing Monday to you beautiful people! 😀

Mondays are my time to review goals that are usually fitness related, and this time around I’m happy to sum everything up with the words “motivated to move“.

The catalyst is undoubtedly the group fitness classes I’ve been attending since last week.  They are fun and energizing both physically and mentally 🙂 Being in the company of people has also somehow given me back my exercise mojo – which I had lost since my daughter started school back in July.

So why motivated to move?

  1. Group fitness classes. Initially I only intended to attend twice a week, but I have now increased that to thrice a week 🙂
  2. Strength training with my all time favorite, Fitness Blender.  I bought myself another Fitness Blender workout program to take care of the strength training part of my fitness routine.
  3. I’ve also joined this at home 14-day power yoga challenge to help me gain more flexibility for my in-studio yoga classes.
  4. On rest days, I am going to walk/jog at the oval, while listening to Indonesian language classes on my iPod.
  5. On some days, go swimming with my daughter.

The general plan is to do a combination of 2 exercises on most days to -hopefully- see results in the shortest amount of time.  I’ve learned that there’s no better way to motivate yourself than to see immediate results.  So I’m starting strong and deliberate with variety and fun in mind 😉

So that’s what’s up with me fitness wise for the month of September.  How about you?  How are you getting your fitness on? 🙂

Fitness & Vanities

Keeping Motivated to Exercise

cat workoutNaively I thought that willpower is all you need to be consistent with exercise.  Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! There are external things, superficial maybe but no less motivating, that can help us keep our eyes on the ball.  Lemme tell you a short story.

Not too long ago I hit an exercise wall and almost threw in the towel.  I remember thinking, “why bother, I’ll just diet”.  But of course that’s even sillier because I believe that weight loss is just a ‘side effect’ of exercise.  The real benefits are much more than that.  See this post for ideas.

So anyway, I was in a funk and I honestly thought that that was it.  But isn’t it funny where motivation can suddenly come from? In my case, it started with a closet purge that I wrote about here.  As I was being scrupulous about the whole process, I also did the same for my workout clothes. This left me with only a few items, but these few pieces fit me well and looked good mixed & matched together. I liked seeing myself in the mirror! This by itself gave me a kick in the right direction ⭐

But wait, fortunately, there’s more! Read on ~

⭐ Okay so #1 is, making sure to look good while at it. I’m no longer just throwing on what’s available.  Now, I also have to look as though I’m starring on some mass produced exercise video. I swear my color combos have never looked so perfect! 😉

#2 is creating my own weekly workout program.  I veered away from my purchased, structured program and took things into my own hands.  I follow a split routine with 2 HIIT sessions per week and I mix things up with other videos instead of just sticking to my usual Fitness Blender and Jillian Michaels.  Being the creator of my own weekly program has me invested on a whole new – and FUN – level.

#3 is pretending to be a workout coach/instructor.  Yep!  And I feel no shame whatsoever in admitting this.  Now that I look spankin’, I imagine myself leading a class!  It gives me more energy and makes me perform the moves better.  Whatever works, right? 🙂

#4 is not eating all those carbs.  This one for me is huge.  I used to be into brown rice, bulgur, steel cut oats, quinoa, whole grain breads – as long as it was healthy carbs, I was having it.  It took me a while to admit that the carbs, healthy though they were, were acting as appetite stimulants for me.  My body was toning up, no doubt about it, but I couldn’t see any cut or definition in the mirror.  This disappointed me and made working out feel like wasted time and effort.

I cut back on the carbs and immediately experienced some encouraging results.

Oh and, I also cut back on all that fruit.  Mind you, I was no more surprised than you to learn that there is such a thing as “over-fruiting” yourself, and at the rate I was going, I qualified!

~oOo~

And that’s basically it!  – dressing sassier, being the creator of my program, using my colorful imagination and modifying my intake.  In the larger scheme of exercise motivation, these might just be icing on the cake.  But it makes ALL the difference!