Fitness & Vanities

July 8: Stop/Start Something

Good morning awesome friends! ๐ŸŒž

It’s a brand new week and I’m excited to continue with my mini-assignments [of the ordinary kind]. I’ve been feeling more purposeful since I started this challenge and I love how blogging about it turns it into a lesson of sorts. The realย goalย here is to be blogging again, and this self-designed challenge is definitely helping me with that ๐Ÿ“Œ

Today’s assignment is to start & stop something. Ideally it should be something permanent, perhaps a habit change, if not at least something I can do for a certain period of time.

I have chosen to:

Stop drinking coffee โ˜•๏ธ

This is a huge one for me as my morning cuppa is so ingrained into what makes my mornings magical. I look forward to it, I love the warm sensation, and without it my mornings just aren’t the same ๐Ÿ’”ย (Because yes, I tried this challenge a few times in the past already).

The reason why I’m “picking on” this wonderful elixir (again) is twofold. One is that I suspect it upsets my stomach, and therefor could be undermining my weight management efforts. And two is because it really does tinker with my energy levels throughout the day & even into the night.

This week I will observe what the absence of coffee does and we’ll see what happens next. (I don’t want to promise anything because my love for it is overwhelmingย ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†).

Start weighing myself daily โฒ

Just something small that I can use as a reminder to focus on my weight management efforts.

โฒ โ˜•๏ธ โฒย โ˜•๏ธ

So! Although I already did these two for today, I realize that the best time to report on this assignment will be on Saturday yet. So I’ll see you guys then.

Tomorrow’s assignment is to (finally) finish my emerald green crochet crop top. I’ll have pictures for you so I’d love it if you checked back in ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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.ย  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.ย  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? ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ’–

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However, I will have to do this new exercise consistently for 45 days.ย  I can’t see myself jogging on a rainy day.ย  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 ๐Ÿ˜จ ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

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? ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ’– 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.ย  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.ย  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! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ‘

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.ย  I’ll be putting my free weights on standby for now ๐Ÿ˜ญ ๐Ÿ˜ญย  ๐Ÿ˜ญ 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? ๐Ÿ˜€

Fitness & Vanities

Am I Shooting Myself In The Foot?

cat workoutHello sexy people! Happy Monday ๐Ÿ™‚

Every Monday I talk about fitness matters here on OSB&V and today I’d like to confide something – I’ve been eating like a madwoman the whole of last week. Really!

The Bottomless Belly

It’s alarming because I can’t even feel myself get full anymore, something that I’ve been training myself to do when I started in November, back when I decided behavior modification was the way to go as far as weight loss/maintenance was concerned. What’s even crazier is that I need much more carbs than I used to, and like I haven’t eaten any in 2 days!

As I’ve told you 2 weeks ago I took on a Fitness Blender program which outlines 3 hard-hitting workouts per week. And because I โค Fitness Blender so much I also supplement on days off with more Fitness Blender vids.ย  (So no more dance fitness vids for me despite initial plans to the contrary).

Is HIIT To Blame?

Here comes last week and I find that my appetite is through the roof! Could it be the combination of HIIT and strength training?

I did some reading and found out that HIIT increases metabolism and could also increase appetite – which seems to be the case with me.

And let’s talk about strength training while we’re at this. I’ve also noticed that it renders me virtually useless the rest of the day. I am sluggish like a sloth, fuzzy-brained and craving sweets.

What a deadly combo ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Have you had a similar experience with your exercise routine?

Change of Plans

So back to the drawing board I go. As I’ve already decided that appetite control is at the bottom of my weight management pyramid, anything that disturbs that will be reviewed, including exercise.

The plan is to stillย  do FB videos (because I still think they are the best), but I’m going to lay off on the HIIT for now, especially when doing strength training. I’ll do low impact cardio toning exercises alternated with strength training and keep tabs on the overall duration of the exercise.ย  I do enjoy exercising very much, so my goal is to still challenge my body but keep my appetite on an even keel. I’ll see how this goes.

Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Fitness & Vanities

Something New In My Exercise Department

 

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Hello everyone ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Fitness & Vanities

September’s Fitness Goals Review

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My last fitness update talked about being motivated to move with a lot of exercise options being considered. It all felt like one huge flurry of activity last month. But by now the dust has settled and a rhythm is emerging.

Movement Goals:

1. Group fitness classes –

I’m really not a big believer in steady-state cardio, preferring short bouts of HIIT and strength training instead. However, exercising on your own is just no fun, I’ll admit to that ๐Ÿ™‚

My group fitness classes get me out of the house, remind me to take care of my appearance (yes, this tends to be neglected when you become sorta hermit-ish), and is a means to socialize. So for this alone, it’s still a go, 3 times a week.

2. Fitness Blender Program –

I noticed I was skipping those workouts that were nearly an hour or more long, so I’ve since switched to a program geared for busy people with workouts that stay within the 30~40 min range.

3. 14-day power yoga class –

Went down the drain. I couldn’t access the online classes – thankfully, they’re free – and the perfectionist me just felt it was no use pursuing another program mid-month o_O

4. Walking and swimming –

I wasn’t able to do as much because of this annoying and dangerous haze that’s already lasted for perhaps 3 weeks or so. I don’t know what’s being done about it but an otherwise sunny late afternoon can look like this:

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So I haven’t been enjoying my walks as frequently as I would’ve wanted to. I hope it clears up soon! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ
Diet Goals:

1. Plan for next day’s meals the day/night before.

I’m right on top of this especially where it matters most – on weekdays. I prep a lot of stuff the night before so I can just heat up a good meal after coming home from the gym. Whenever I have had a decent breakfast, my cravings throughout the day are almost completely arrested.

I think this one’s in the bag! ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Intermittent fasting. (6pm to 8am).

The 6pm cut-off is still a challenge.

Dinnertime is busy, as you can imagine, and it’s even more so if it’s also the ideal time to go for a walk o_O I’m still experimenting with earlier cooking times and mayhaps will have to move the cut-off to 6:30pm altogether. This is still a work in progress.

Breakfasts no earlier than 8am.

I’ve got this one. The only time I fail is when I forget! And this has happened only once in the past 2 weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

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So to wrap up, I’m still gonna focus on these same goals for October. My energy and appetite should even out as well and, here’s to coming out stronger and fitter on the other side ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fitness & Vanities

Monster Appetite and Lethargy: The Downsides of Exercising?

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Happy Monday peeps! I hope everyone’s off to a strong and positive start ๐Ÿ™‚

Now let’s see โ€ฆ where do I start giving updates on my ‘motivated to move’ initiative for September? It’s difficult to think when you’re feeling lethargic o_O

Quick Progress Report:

The combination of exercise type variety and group class obligation has served me well the past week. I’ve been able to stick to my goal of doing two exercise types on most days by being mindful of combining high impact with medium to low impact workouts.

Pitfalls:

1. Exercising in the mornings makes me feel lethargic throughout the rest of the day.I don’t know if my body will adjust in due time, but for now, I need my coffee and noontime siesta. Badly!
2. Meal schedule has been thrown out of whack. Because of my group fitness classes, I now eat brunch and then a heavy snack mid-afternoon. And if I’m not careful, a very late dinner too!
3. My appetite has definitely increased. I half-expected this to happen though, what with the sudden increase in activity o_O
4. I munch the whole time. I alternate between craving sweets to salty food. I think this has much to do with the lethargy I feel the rest of the day.
5. There’s much less time for crochet ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

So what’s the plan?

Moving for fitness is all well and good but if I am not mindful of what and how I eat, I am basically just shooting myself in the foot.

I am therefore going to focus on 2 things diet related this week:

โ— Prepare enough food the evenings prior so I can eat better (albeit warmed up food) the following day.

Leaving for the gym at 7:30 AM does not leave me enough time to prepare my own food. As well, I am usually too tired and hungry after a workout to even think of cooking. The result is that I reach for readily available junk food – refined carbs and heavily creamed/sugared coffee mostly – to fill my tank. This has to STOP! because it is only temporary relief from hunger and does not do me any favors, energy and weight -wise.

โ— 14 hours intermittent fasting.

This means no food after 6pm, and no food before 8am. This is just really disciplining myself to eat dinner earlier to facilitate better sleep, and so I can train my stomach to crave breakfast at around the same time each day.

 
And now comes the hard part – consistent application. Wish me luck you guys! ๐Ÿ™‚