Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Diet I Don't Recommend and Today's Workout

I mentioned in my last carb cycling and intermittent fasting program update that I wasn't feeling that great. Those tummy troubles kept me up most of that night and in bed for the next two days! Not much eating and no working out took place.

Low Calorie Day - So I spent my low calorie rest day REALLY resting. I couldn't even attempt to make the cauliflower pizza crust recipe like I was hoping. It was extra time for my muscles to recover from Saturday's at home workout though. That's one thing I love about mixing up workouts, you can literally feel the difference.

Regular Calorie Day - mrC was home and went to the pharmacy to get me some Imodium because I think I was never going to leave the apartment again without it. Between the medicine and literally sleeping the day away, I finally started feeling human again.

After a stomach issue, a BRAT (banana, rice, apple sauce, toast) diet is recommended. I went with pb&j sandwiches. Half at a time because the first time I thought I felt better and ate, it didn't turn out so well.

This morning I woke up feeling like the stomach storm had finally passed, so we headed to the fitness center for our low carb day workout: 20 sprints. I was shocked that I was able to get through them. I guess those sandwiches pack some power. I guzzled that bottle of water and more during my cool down walk on the treadmill and still felt a little dehydrated, but other than that I was feeling ok.

I used up most of my energy on the sprints, but still managed to do some of the plank challenges that I'd missed while under the weather. Each one got progressively harder, and I did fewer. 

Since the blue skies of Shekou were calling, we hung out at the pool for a bit. I'm pretty sure I needed that cold water.

Eats for low carb day:

Brunch: 3 tacos for Taco Tuesday (plus some chips and salsa)! 

Dinner: Chicken breast and some veggies. 


Screenshot didn't make the blog post, but I met the low carb goal of less than 50 net grams of carbs.

What's the worst diet you ever tried?
What do you like to eat when you're sick?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

At Home Workouts, A Dream Fitness Class and Saturday Meals

The fitness center gets crowded on the weekends, so I stay home (when I can) and use videos for my workout. I got started with my plank challenge. Today's plank pose was the hardest so far. I could hold it for about 5-6 seconds before losing good form. So I did more sets.

Then I picked two workout videos from my favorites list to do back to back. Both are full body workouts that get my heart pumping, but work different parts of the body.

First I did this one from Fitness Blender. It's a HIIT cardio workout that really works the legs. I followed up with a Pop Sugar video that worked the arms and core more. Together I got an awesome 40-ish minute full body workout with cardio.

At the end I added some lower body exercises from this article that are good for people with bad knees (me!). I did the lateral band walk and some hamstring curls using my stability ball. 

While we're talking workouts, I would love to try this one. I love SurfSet and SUP yoga, and this one looks like a serious cross between the two.

It was regular calorie day, so here's what I enjoyed:

Breakfast: protein pancakes

Lunch: smoothie bowl, pb&j rice cakes, turkey slices

Snack: Fuji apple --> I love these things. 

Dinner: bowl of quinoa - I was going to add tuna, but we didn't have any. I was too lazy to go out in the rain to get a can, even though it would have only taken 5+ minutes.

Macros: not too bad but short on calories
I did not feel well pretty much all day. Tummy troubles. They would come and go, usually after I ate. I felt this way a little bit after the last fast day too, so I'm not sure what's up. 

Your hardest plank pose?
Do you like water(ish) fitness classes?
Favorite way to eat quinoa?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Favorites, Fast Day Workout and Eats

Let's start off with some Friday Favorites.

1) Spending time with this group of ladies exploring places in Shenzhen.

2) Chocolate protein powder so I can finally make some shakes.

3) NSVs (non-scale victories) from the carb cycling and intermittent fasting program --> fitting into pants that were too tight 5 weeks ago, seeing cheekbones again, feeling amazing! 

4) I tried this conditioner when I was at my sister-in-laws last month and I love how soft and smooth it makes my hair feel.

5) Santo Pops. Discovered these via Instagram (it is a good thing to scroll through pictures!). I can see a lot of these in my freezer during the tropical summer here in China. (made in Shekou)

6) Summer clothes: this lightweight tee, possibly the most comfortable pair of sandals ever, these shorts, and every thing linen like this tank and this dress.

7) Sprints on the elliptical. They're hard, but they are effective. My body is responding to the challenge.

8) My balcony is turning out to be a great place to relax and enjoy meals with mrC.

9) Fitness clothes --> these racer backs, I'm all about this bra, and I'm really glad I picked up this pair of shoes to use for my indoor workouts, and this pair of yoga shorts.

10 This clutch. I just ordered one each for the girls and myself. We'll have all of our beach essentials ready to go when we get to the Cape this summer. 

Today I started my fast day with a brief plank workout. 3 sets of 10 forearm planks with rock forward and backward.

Then I met up with the hiking group to explore two parks near Xili Lake - Shenzhen Soil and Conservation Park and Lychee World. We walked about 7 miles along the walking paths surrounding the lake and through the lychee orchards. The lychees are a little late because of the cold winter we had in Shenzhen. 

Breaking fast: protein shake and pb&j rice cakes

I got hungry around 4PM, far better than some of my other fasting days.

What's on your favorites list?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Feast Day: New Ab Exercise and Eating All the Fruit!

Today I rode my bike to the fitness center prepared to do the killer full body feast day workout. It was shorter than the previous feast days, but it still challenged me. Today I was able to do ALL of the push-ups. Upper body strength is my weak area.

Day 25 of the plank challenge and I'm getting better at challenging myself. Really focusing on keeping my body still makes the planks harder and I'm feeling the work. Which is the point right? 

Ab vacuum exercises. I first heard of this when I attended the Shenzhen Health and Wellness Fair 
last year and took part in a Body Flex session. The instructor mentioned this type of breathing being good for weightloss and I thought she was crazy. Now I'm thinking, why not? It's only 1 minute of my day.

Why are these abdominal vacuum exercises so hard for me tonight?!?! Maybe it's because I'm 2200 calories and a gallon of water deep for the day? Or maybe I just need to do them more often!! 😩 What are vacuum exercises? When done properly they can help SCULPT and SHRINK the size of your waistline in just weeks. How? By engaging some of the most neglected muscles in the body: the transversus abdominus and the lumbar motifidus. These are the muscles BENEATH the rectus abdominus and the obliques (the muscles we tend to work!), and I will venture to say they are THE most important group of ab muscles to work! The how-to is actually simple and can be done nearly anywhere. Simply inhale deeply, and exhale COMPLETELY. When all air is deflated from your lungs, draw your belly in as far as possible. Try thinking about pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Then HOLD. I will vacuum in front of the mirror with @realchrispowell, in the car while stuck in traffic, in bed at night, standing at the counter paying bills...you name it, I've vacuumed doing it. Try 3 sets of 20 seconds to start with, and build up to set of 40 and even 60 seconds. Your waistline will thank you!! #MyKindOfVacuuming #CouplesThatVacuumTogether #AbdominalMuscles #Abs #swolemates
A photo posted by Heidi Powell (@realheidipowell) on

What I ate: it was all about the fruit today!

We totally took advantage of the buffet at the Hilton again. No cooking, no clean up, the view, the fruit.

I love loading up on carbs with sweet potato chips!

Left overs and more fruit. 

Went out with friends to a new place in Sea World, Baia Burger. It was so good and I love sweet potato fries.

Chocolate almond protein shake. Recipe --> 1 scoop chocolate protein, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 cup almond milk, and ice. Oh, wow. This hit the spot.

Macros: I splurged a little today on gluten and dairy. It is a lifestyle choice for me, so when a GF/DF option is not available I'm not always going to pass on the food. I did a pretty good job consuming the carbs, but feel short of the goal mark by about 40g along with fewer calories than I'd like for feast day.  

Ever tried abdominal vacuum exercise?
Favorite fruits?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Workout Wednesday: Mixing Things Up & Low Carb Day

It is good to mix things up every once in awhile.

It gives you a new perspective 
Prevents boredom
Keeps you on your toes

These were all of things I was trying to convince myself as we headed to the fitness center for low carb day #2 workout: sprints again...but in a different form from yesterday. Coach wanted us to mix it up. Why? It's good to change up your fitness routine for several reasons:

1) to continue to challenge your body
2) improve strength and conditioning
3) to keep exercises effective

Since I always do my sprints on the elliptical and I'm not running, that left me with the bike. Then I had to decide which bike: recumbent or upright? I chose the upright because it imitates an outdoor bike and I thought would provide a harder workout.

I definitely got a good cardio workout doing 20 sets of 20:20 sprints, but my legs did not "feel the burn" the same way they do on the elliptical. It was my first time, so I probably need to play around with the incline choices more (I ended up on level 8) and figure out the whole standing up thing.

Side note: after doing some reading for this blog post, it seems as if both types of bikes can produce a good caloric burn (although some argue that you work harder on the upright so you burn more calories than the same workout on the recumbent), but the recumbent provides more protection for the lower back during the workout. Both bikes require quads, hamstrings, and glutes to do the work.

I posted a video to my Instagram, but here are some of the faces I make when doing bike sprints. Pretty funny!

After a 30 minute cool down walk on the treadmill, it was plank time. For my plank challenge I really tried to keep my body stationary while doing the full plank with arm reach. It's a lot harder than when you let yourself rock back and forth.

Since we were already there, we hit the pool again for a little post workout chill time.

We thought we'd mix things up at dinner a little too and ate out on our balcony. It was still near 90 degrees, but in the shade and with the breeze, it was very nice.

What I ate on low card day (repeat)

Brunch: scrambled eggs with ham, pb&j rice cakes and gf sausage patty 

Snack: celery and humus 

Dinner: crockpot chicken, greens beans, salad

I still crave something cold after dinner on low carb days (usually I would have fruit or yogurt), so I've been using pb&j rice cakes as a substitute. It's not the same. At all.

Macros: another good low carb day, but I'm ready to eat all the fruit!

How do you mix things up lately?
Which bike do you prefer?
What is your favorite dessert?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Perfect Match: Sprints and Low Carbs

Somethings just go together perfectly. Monica and Chandler, cheese and crackers, manis and pedis, me and mrC (😍), sprints and low carbs.

All the years I was running, I never really embraced speed work. Oh, occasionally I would join running friends for Track Party Tuesday, but not often enough to have any impact on my running or my body. Now that I am learning a new fitness lifestyle, I am becoming a believer is sprint workouts on low carb days.

Pairing sprints with low carb days sets the body up to tap into the fat storage for energy. Sprinting depletes glycogen stores quickly. By eating a diet low in carbs the rest of day, the body must find energy somewhere else. Fat.

Based on how my clothes are fitting right now, it works.

Todays sprint workout was KILLER: 20 seconds on, 20 seconds recover, 20 TIMES! I bring my Gymboss to my sprints so I can close my eyes until I hear the magic BEEP.

I never ran a 5K faster than 26+ minutes, but sprints on the elliptical make me feel seriously speedy! This includes the 5 minute warm-up too.

Everyday planking and now mrC wants in on the fun. I did my daily challenge (did you see it on Instagram?) and then 3 sets of 20 second holds in basic forearm plank for him.

It was supposed to be a rainy afternoon, so we spent some time pool side before heading home for brunch. 

What I ate on low carb day

Brunch: 3 scrambled eggs with ham, pb&j rice cake, and one sausage patty.

Snacks: celery and hummus, a little popcorn

Dinner: baked flounder (seasoned with coconut oil, garlic, paprika, and cajun seasoning), green beans and salad

Macros: Under 50 net carbs for the day, so my body should have been tapping into the fat stores (preferably right around my hips). 

What do you like to pair together?