Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day of Yoga and 4 Random Survival Tips

Today was International Day of Yoga! Did you practice like these ladies in Beijing?

I kept my yoga simple today, but first, my workout.

I started another round of carb cycling and intermittent fasting, so my workouts are part of a fitness and nutrition schedule. Today is low carb which meant we were sprinting! 5 minute WU, 10 minutes of 10:30 seconds sprint intervals, then 30 minutes CD.

I felt really good through the sprints and even went no hands on the elliptical (which is NOT easy for me). Afterwards, I did some leg strength: hamstring curls and yoga poses.

A little yoga stretch was perfect for post workout.

I was tagged to do the 22 day push-up challenge by my fabulous friend Nancy. I'm up to day 5 and thanks to a little form coaching by mrC, I've figured out that I can do full push-ups (well halfway). He is doing the challenge also.

Here are some random "survival" tips inspired by my random life:

1) two ways I beat the heat...ride my bike and drink lots of smoothies

2) to solve sweet tooth problems on low carb days

3) when I need a new perspective, climb a mountain

4) Not in the mood to cook? Crockpot chicken!

Are you afraid of heights? I'm usually ok, but a glass floor???

Random tip from your life lately?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The 'After' Blues, Dragon Boat Festival and a Workout!

I've been suffering from the post event blues. 

You know this feeling (maybe?). The day after...your big race, the wedding, big holiday...you get the idea. After six weeks of following the carb cycling and intermittent fasting program, I was so excited about the results. I rode that high for a couple of days and enjoyed the break. Between the program ending, the rain, and the humidity, I fell into a bit of a funk until this weekend.

Dragon Boat Festival came on Thursday. This Chinese holiday's origin (so I'm told) has something to do with villagers rowing their boats up and down a river and tossing zongzi into the river to prevent fish from eating the corpse of a very popular poet.

The resulting traditions celebrated these days include: watching dragon boat races and eating zongzi. Since we didn't know of any local races (only the preparations we saw at Discovery Bay), we enjoyed having our first taste of zongzi.

Zongzi is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings (ours were meat only) and wrapped in bamboo, reed, or other large flat leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. Besides being pretty, they were very tasty.

We also enjoyed a full plate sharing meal with friends. This is by far the best way to try new foods in a foreign country. No guilt if you don't like a dish, just move on to the next.

During our meal we were entertained by lots of good music. The band members were very interactive with the customers, even dancing with them at times, and with people who just came in to watch and listen.

After a very rainy weekend, I finally got out for Mountain Monday. It was crazy humid (85 degrees but felt like 106!), but the view and breeze at the top are worth it.

The crazy fierce summer hikers.

I've been enjoying a lot of popsicles and smoothies. 

Today I did a lower body Tabata workout from Fitness Bender. The Tabata workout: 3 minute cardio warmup followed by two 14 minute rounds of 20 on 10 off. Each exercise was repeated 4 times.

There were 7 exercises: pulse lunges on each side (I modify with the stability ball to make pulsing easier on my knee), plank tucks and extensions, side lunges and jumps, flutter kick pulse squats, bridge kicks, and jack squats.

This workout got me nice and sweaty. I'm hoping my legs aren't too sore the next couple of days!

Do you ever get the post (fill in the blank) blues?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

An Island, Some Good Finds, and a Bike Ride

Things that are making me happy.

Discovery Bay: We finally made it to this popular part of Lantau Island in Hong Kong and right away noticed how peaceful it is. There are no private cars here and only a limited number of golf carts. Public transport consists of handful of buses that loop through the villages (residence areas) and shopping areas.

D'Decks - two story shopping and restaurant area on the water.

DB Plaza - an open community area great for taking a break while shopping.

Tai Pak Beach - setting up for Dragon Boat Festival

DB North Piazza - another open community area on the north end of Discovery Bay with more shopping and restaurants.

DB Love Lock Promenade -  romantic place to walk or sit and hang a lock with your love.

Some great finds: 

A namesake road.

What I'm wearing: tank and shorts

A place to get acai bowls.

Flavored rice cakes. I've been searching for these for months!

Comfy sports bras. 

Fun foods lately:

After six weeks of no alcohol I had to have a daiquiri.

The best flourless cake.

Green smoothie healthy pop. (spinach, avocado, and banana)

A bike ride that beat the rain with my BFF on National Best Friends Day (or maybe a day late. I'm not sure).

What's making you happy right now?


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting Results

Have you read about/seen an ad for a diet or training program and thought it's too good to be true?

When I first saw personal trainer Amanda Tress posting about her Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting Program that's what I thought. I also thought she looked AMAZING and was curious about her plan and how I could get back to a healthy weight.

But I wasn't brave enough to take the plunge and "buy" her program. So I sat on the sidelines and scrolled enviously through my Instagram feed reading posts from people doing the program and loving the results. 

Then my friend Nancy, Living the Dream, shared her amazing results on her blog. That got me thinking. I know Nancy! If Nancy can do it, I can do it! And just like that, I signed up.

For the last six weeks I've been following a food cycling program and completing workouts that match the way I'm eating. I was freaked out at first because the program started when we were still in the US visiting, then we traveled back to China as well as to Bali. There was fasting!! Many of my go-to foods were not appropriate every day of the cycle, so I had A LOT of learning to do.

And I did. 

So how did I do?  

I lost 4 pounds and 13.5 inches overall!

-1.5 from my bust
-1 from my hips
-3.5 from my waist!!!
-3 from thighs
-3 from calves
-1.5 from arms

I'm so excited by my results that I have signed up to do round 2 starting in two weeks! mrC is pretty excited too (remember he followed this program with me) because he lost 9 pounds and 9.5 inches. His biceps got bigger though! 

To celebrate our accomplishments and enjoy the sun that mrC brought back to Shenzhen, we went to the pool.

For the next two weeks, I will be enjoying lower intensity workouts and a IIFYM kind of diet.

Today I did some morning yoga. It was all about getting twisty. 

My eats from the day. We fasted until lunchtime and then enjoyed some treats! It all fit my macros.

Would you rather lose weight or inches?
What reward do you give yourself for hard work?

Monday, June 6, 2016

I'm Over the Rainy Weather and Final Feast Day

The weather has been literally raining on my fun parade.

Instead of riding my bike in the rain to the fitness center, I did my final full body workout here in the apartment. It's nice that I can do it at home, but I'm starting to enjoy my gym time.

The full body workout had two circuits: arms and legs. I still have to modify both. I can't yet do 10 sets of 10 push-ups. I can do 5 and then I go to failure each time. I modify some of the leg exercises so I don't aggravate my knee. I also add a couple of my PT moves at the end. 

I even did my cool down inside (just like it said on the first picture). I just walked around the apartment for 10 minutes. I posted a video on snapchat (I'm on there now). You can find me @runningescapade

After my workouts, I spray my gear with an eco-friendly, gluten free sports spray. It freshens and deodorizes my gear, like my Saucony Jazz, so that they smell like jasmine instead of a gym. It's very nice.

What I ate on my final feast day

Breakfast: Big. Protein pancakes, one apple, and 2 eggs with half a slice of ham.

Snacks (no lunch): I was craving some Honey Nut Cheerios (yes I use a measuring cup for my serving) and I splurged on some cheese and crackers. I also had another apple.

Dinner: leftover bbq chicken, green beans, and some rice.

Macros: Even though it feels like I ate a ton today, I still had room for more calories to meet the feast day goal of 50% more and I was a little low on the net carb goal of 200g. 

I did not like ending with a feast day. Eating all that food when I didn't fast the day before is making me feel bloated.

Tomorrow I will take my measurements for the official end of carb cycling update. Up until today I've been feeling really good about my body, feeling leaner, and toned. Today is just an off day or nerves about the results.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Sprints and Low Carb Meals

Low carb day = sprints day.

Over the last six weeks I've kind of started to love these workouts. They're tough. They make me seriously sweat. My heart rate kicks up to the 160s. My legs feel like jello. 

What's not to love?

I rode my bike to the fitness center because I was hoping to finish my workout and get home before it rained again. 

Today's sprint workout was the toughest, but we've been building up to it, too. Mentally these might have been harder because it was the first time I did a sprint workout solo. mrC has joined me for all the others (he uses the bike). And like running, just knowing that I was going to go longer may have messed with my head before I even started, too. 

10 minute WU on elliptical 
15 minutes of 20:20 sprints (which is 23 sprints) on elliptical 
30 minute CD on treadmill 

It wasn't that bad. The last three, the extra three, were the hardest. I was so ready to be done when I got to the last three. One thing that makes it easier is using my Gymboss interval timer. Not having to watch the clock helps.

It poured the whole time I was working out which also helped a little by giving me something to focus on besides my legs. At the same time I kept thinking I was going to have to ride my bike home in it.

My planks today were a little random. I tried to remember some of the harder ones from my 31 day challenge, but between the tough sprints and having to plank in the main room because the yoga room was occupied (by a Chinese lady who seemed to just be roaming the center today), I couldn't think.

I stuck with basic forearm plank, plank with reach, and plank with side twist. I did all for 40 seconds each. 

It stopped raining by the time I headed home. An interesting thing happens after it rains here: snails. They are everywhere and they're HUGE. I almost ran over this guy.

This afternoon, I rode my bike to the other side of town to say farewell to a friend who is moving to Hong Kong. It's not far away at all, but she will not be a part of the regular activities anymore. One day that will be me.

What I ate on low carb day

Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs with ham, pb&j rice cakes, coffee

Lunch: salad, tuna fish, Coke Zero

Snack: pb&j rice cakes

Dinner: crockpot bbq chicken, green beans, Coke Zero 

Macros: hit my goal to be below 50g net carbs, but short on calories. I wasn't hungry though.

Did you workout today?
Any strange creatures come out to play when it rains in your neighborhood?