Sunday, January 29, 2017

Last Week's Workouts - On a High Note

What can I say about last week? It was a blend of fitness and social activities. This is my favorite way to live. In moderation. Enjoying life but also keeping healthy. My workouts were relaxing and intense, but surprisingly I didn't hike at all! The week ended on a really high note though.

Monday - I finally got my yoga mat back out after more than a week of slacking on my challenge. It was a powerful workout but the reclined cow pose gave me an awesome stretch in my glutes at the end. I might like it better than pigeon pose.

Tuesday - I headed to Central for a Feng Shui workshop (which was super interesting!) and then ran some errands. I was fasting, so I let my walking around be my fitness for the day.

Wednesday - Got in a good strength session at Bodypump. I'm slowly increasing my weights and learning it's a fine line sometimes between too heavy or too light.

Thursday - Started the day with a chill and thoughtful yoga session and then explored the popular Chinese New Year Flower Market at Victoria Park.

Friday - My favorite workout of the week was Step class because ---> look at those calories burned! This class is an updated version of the step aerobics I did back in the 90s at the YMCA. We still do those basic step moves, but there's also a round of circuit training. I'm so happy that my knee does ok during this workout because it feels so good to work that hard.

Saturday - 1000 reps (yes, 1000!!) at Bodypump. Got that bit of information at the start of class.

Sunday - For months I've been enviously watching runners in my neighborhood and wishing I could join them like I used to. Today I took my interval run to the streets and LOVED feeling like I'm back in the game. I ran for 22 minutes - 30 seconds running and 20 seconds walking. The last half mile or so was a good uphill climb too. Total = 1.70 miles. 

How did your week start and end?
What was your high note?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hiking: Wilson Trail Stages 1 and 2

My SWIC hiking friends from Shenzhen have created a group of Hard Core Hikers to hike longer and more challenging trails, especially the ones in Hong Kong. We have already hiked all 50km of the Hong Kong Trail, so it is time to start on the Wilson Trail.

Here are a few reasons we can call this a hard core hike: (warning: LOTS of pics in this post!!)

1. We hiked 11.4km (basically across Hong Kong island south to north). Up and down. On concrete steps and rocky trails. 

2.  It was a rainy, windy, and cold. There were detours on the trail. 

3. We checked out everything along the way. Stretching post. Bouldering. Wartime stoves.

4. We climbed 4 peaks, all more than 350 meters.

We started stage 1 in Stanley having taken bus 6A from Exchange Square in Central. The trail head is clearly marked. It's important to pay attention to the marker for the trail you are hiking since often trails overlap. Wilson Trail ---> follow the single red hiker guy.

The ascent is straight up the first of The Twins to 386 meters. There were so many steps that I didn't stop for a long time because I knew I needed to keep my legs moving. When I did stop and look around, this is what I saw.

What goes up must go down, but not before having a little snack. It is a good idea to bring plenty of water and some provisions on any hike. And it's nice to have enough to share.

The trail was a little difficult at times, but there was also an awesome tree line that protected us from the occasional wind and rain.

From the top of the second of The Twins we could see the trail veining across the ridge, Southside in the distance, and the Tai Tam Reservoir ahead.

Then it was down and back up to Violet Hill where we had a nice long break at 433 meters.

After winding down around the hillside, we made our way toward the Parkview Buildings and the end of stage 1.

At the start of Stage 2 there is an awesome BBQ rest area which was a perfect place for the group to lunch before heading out to tackle the final climb of the day.

From Jardine's Lookout we had great views of the Central and Kowloon skylines.

The views of Kowloon were even better during the descent into Quarry Bay ---> check out the old Kai Tak airport jutting out into Victoria Harbour.

The final section of stage 2 took us through Quarry Bay Tree Park.

Other Hong Kong long trail hikes:

Intersted in long distance trails in the USA? Check out this article.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hiking: A Day on Lamma Island

Lamma Island is a great place to escape the concrete jungle of Hong Kong and it is only a short ferry ride away. There are great trails to explore and most are family friendly. It felt good to get away with the AWA hiking group and unwind, exhale, and relax for a few hours.

We met up in Central and took the #70 bus to Aberdeen where we caught the Lamma Island ferry at Aberdeen Pontoon.

From Aberdeen we arrived in the small village of Mo Tat Wan and were greeted by a couple of friendly dogs and this lovely little beach.

We followed the scenic coast path around the first big hill, Ling Kok Shan, passing through a couple villages on our way to Sok Kwu Wan.

Sok Kwu Wan is a farm fishing village that also has very nice restaurants and the Tin Hau Temple. You can also catch the ferry back to Central from here.

Near the Sok Kwu Wan Bay beach are the Kamikaze Caves which were supposedly built during WWII by the Japanese to house speed boats that could be used on suicide missions. The war ended before the caves were finished, so they were never actually used.

Along the path to Yung Shue Wan, we passed Lookout Pavilion which overlooks the closed quarry.

Our hiking day need in the village of Yung Shue Wan, the main populated living area on Lamma Island and where we had plenty of options for lunch on the waterfront before catching the ferry back to Central.

I first did the Lamma Island hike with the SWIC hiking group on Thanksgiving Day in 2015. We did the hike in reverse and it was just as good.

Other Hong Kong hiking posts I've written:

Workout Recap - Going Hard-Core

Going hard core sounds dramatic. It might imply extremism or craziness. It actually describes anyone who is dedicated, committed, active. Someone like me and you. This week I was all hard core in hiking, fitness, and experiencing Hong Kong.

Here's a closer look:

Monday - My SWIC hiking friends have created a Hard Core Hikers group and decided to work on hiking all 78km of the Wilson Trail here in Hong Kong. We hiked the first two stages (recap coming eventually) ---> about 11.4km and the equivalent of climbing 284 flights. My legs were SORE!

Tuesday - I like to keep busy on my fast day, so mrC and I went on a quick trip to Central and did a bit of walking around. Then I decided to do some online window shopping because I'm not loving my hiking shoes after all and I need a new pair of good walking around shoes. I really like these Adidas trail shoes (below), but I also like these, these, and these (more for running/workouts though). I also like slip-ons like thesethese, these, and these. I also have my eye on this North Face backpack for women and this cute everyday bag from Sherpani. My wishlist is pretty long, right?

Wednesday - I started the day with some Bodypump. It wasn't my best day (my legs were still sore from my big hike), but I pushed through.

Thursday - I met up with my Foon Ying group in Central where we learned some great tips about shops/restaurants and how to get around on the elevated walkways ---> they're like a maze but can keep you out of the street traffic.

Friday - I did a bit of walking on a historical tour of Kowloon City with AWA and saw remnants of an old walled city. It's amazing to see old and new like that.

Saturday - An early session of Bodypump got my day started. It was a better workout and I got some great form tips from the instructor during and after class. I'm super excited to be keeping up with my twice a week goal.

Sunday - This week I increased my intervals to 25 seconds run: 20 seconds walk. I'm feeling good but still planning to make my progression a slow one. It might only be a mile, but it's my pain-free mile!

In what areas do you consider yourself hard-core?
What's on your shopping wishlist?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Weekly Workout Recap - Moderation

Last week I made a valiant effort to not revert to my old bad fitness habit of overdoing it and pushing my body too hard. What I really mean is that I did not keep up with my daily yoga challenge, haha! For some reason after Monday, I just went into yoga resist mode, which is really odd since I was enjoying it so much the week before.

It happens. My body was obviously telling me something and I listened. Everything in moderation, I say.

Here's a closer look at my week:

Monday - I enjoyed a slow paced yoga session, literally. It was all about relaxing. Then I went to Bodypump. These workouts are so polar opposite of each other. Yoga is all calm, serene and quiet. Bodypump is fierce, fast, and loud. I love having both in my fitness lineup.

Tuesday - On Tuesdays I FAST. I thought it was a good idea to skip yoga in the morning, so I wouldn't get hungry. Instead I walked to the salon to get my nails done and then made protein bars and broke my fast. I never did do my yoga like I thought I would.

Wednesday - I met up with the AWA hiking group for a day on Lamma Island. I had an early start and once again planned to do some yoga in the evening, but I have a terrible time working out at night anymore.

Thursday - I spent the morning at Foon Ying, an AWA event series designed to introduce new members and help us adjust to living in Hong Kong through group activities around the city. Foon Ying means welcome in Caontonese. Since it was a low calorie day, my workout was just the easy walking I did around Central.

Friday - I went to my first Step class at the HIT Room. TBT to step aerobics at the YMCA with a modern twist = serious calorie burn. It was fast, it was hard, and I loved it. Can't wait to do it again!

Saturday - mrC and I went to the Bodypump 100 launch. Every three months a new workout is released to keep the class fresh and challenging. This was the 100th release. That's pretty cool.

Sunday - It was chilly and even drizzling a little, but I was looking forward to another interval run. I did the same 20 intervals as last week and my knee felt ok again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that painfree running stays in my future.

My daily yoga emails are weighing down my inbox. I know it shouldn't bother me but it does. I'm hoping to catch up on my yoga sessions this week. It will feel good mentally and physically to find my way back to the mat.

What have you put off that you hope to get back to?
Do you take step classes?