Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Back to Strength Training

It's time to do some heavy lifting.

Did you know that strength training does more for you than make you strong? It increases your metabolism, helps your body burn calories more effectively and improves bone strength.

Despite struggling out of bed with DOMS from my first two days on the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program (see posts here and here), I was pretty excited to get to work building muscles.

Regular Calorie Day 3 - the workout

Warm up - we walked to the fitness center

Weights - I'm pretty sure mrC and I learned how to use every single leg machine today. Considering my legs are feeling sore from Monday's HIIT workout, I managed better than I thought I would. My favorite machines were the adductor and abductor ---> 1) I need to seriously tone up the inside of my thighs and 2) ooh, the stretch. The rest of the workout focused on chest and shoulders using dumbbells. Some of these exercises bothered my shoulder, but I did ok. It felt good to hit the weights again.

Cool down - we walked back to the apartment

Regular Calorie Day 3 - the meals

Broke fast about 12:30 - This was later than our planned time to break fast at 11, but after our workout we headed into Central to run some errands. One stop was to our favorite juicery. Acai bowl topped with peanut butter, apple granola, and kiwi ---> perfect on a warm day!

Snack - three crab cakes from the CitySuper takeaway counter on the ferry back to Discovery Bay

Lunch - two turkey and swiss rollups, red grapes, celery and hummus

Dinner - Quinoa penne pasta with pasta sauce and green beans

Snack - I thought I would have something for dessert, but I couldn't think of anything that is a good carb and low in fat and a little sweet. Not asking for much, am I?

The goal today was to follow the IIFYM: 50% carbs, 30% fats, 20% protein. It was difficult to keep my fats down (over by 5g), but I think I did ok overall.

Do you strength train at home or the gym?
What's your favorite exercise or machine?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

7 Up 7 Down Sprints plus Top 3 Reasons to Use Burst Training

When I woke up this morning, I immediately had two thoughts: I'm hungry and I'm sore! These are two messages I don't mind getting from my body. Feeling hungry tells me that my metabolism is working and being sore tells me that I had a good workout (like yesterday).

One of the key parts of the FASTer Way To Fat Loss®️ program is matching workouts to the daily eating plan. Low carb days mean burst training aka HIIT (high intensity interval training) or Tabata followed by LISS (low intensity sustained state) cardio. Burst training causes the body to move fat to be used as energy. LISS cardio prevents the fat from returning to where it came from.

Low Carb Day 2 - the workout

Warm Up - 10+ minutes walking to our workout location.

Speed Bursts - we did 7 Up 7 Down sprints ---> this is a basic pyramid workout of burst training. Using a pre-set distance (like a basketball court) sprint that length 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, taking rest breaks between the bursts. Then work back down.

We found a straightaway on the promenade that doesn't have a lot of pedestrian traffic in the morning and eyeballed a good distance (see orange life ring in photo) for our sprints. This was a quick and dirty workout. It only lasted about 15 minutes, but it was tough. Tough, but good. I love the feeling that comes after finishing a challenging workout.

Top 3 Reasons to Try Burst Training:

1) You don't need any equipment! It can seriously be done anywhere

2) Since you are working at 90-100% effort, the workouts are short

3) Burst training depletes your glycogen which forces your body to burn fat for energy

LISS - 30 minutes of low intensity cardio. We walked back to the apartment. It wasn't quite 30 minutes (we had a hockey game to watch), but we made sure to stay in the fat burning zone.

Low Carb Day 2 - the meals

Broke my fast at 11AM - 3 scrambled eggs and two sausage patties ---> this was not too much food today. Yesterday I thought it was too much, but today I was hungry and I was thinking about the calories that I didn't eat yesterday.

Snack - Chocolate protein shake (best prices on Designer Whey protein on Amazon) and handful of peanuts. Added 1 tbsp almond butter to my shake recipe and it was so good.

Lunch - 4 turkey breast rollups and pb&j rice cake

Snack - nothing ---> I need to find a sweet low carb treat that I can eat as dessert after dinner since I'm not feeling hungry at this time of day.

Dinner - bbq chicken breast and steamed broccoli

I'm excited that I had another solid low carb day and improved my calorie intake (354 remaining).

Do you use burst training?
What are your favorite sweet snacks?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Speed, HIIT, LISS and Swim

I signed up for another carb cycling intermittent fasting program and we started today.

I say "we" because mrC is doing it too. This time he is in the men's group. Previously he followed along with what I was doing and eating. We were thrilled with the results the first time we did the program a little over a year ago and we're hoping for a repeat performance.

Some rules for the program: do the daily workouts, track your macros using My Fitness Pal and post in the Facebook group, try to be gluten free and dairy free, and have a positive attitude.

Low Carb Day 1 - the workout

Warm Up - We walked about 15 minutes from our apartment to the fitness center.

Speed Bursts - We choose the 4 Cone Drill. Since we don't have cones, we found a space outside the fitness center and made an imaginary square. Sprint, shuffle, backpedal, shuffle. Repeat for 10 minutes.

Circuits: HIIT and ABS - We did these in the fitness center. We made modifications because honestly, these workouts are tough! We could only do 20 out of 40 in and out back kicks and we only did the HIIT circuit 2 times instead of three. The fitness center does not have an ab machine, so we had to modify the ab machine set to crunches. And I could only do sets of 5, not 10, on the leg lifts.

Cool Down - (low intensity cardio) walked 15 minutes back to the apartment up the big hill.

Low Carb Day 1 - the meals

The goal on low carb days is to keep our carbs below 50 net grams but consume your normal daily calories. Net grams means carbs minus fiber.  

Broke fast at 11:00 - 3 scrambled eggs and two sausage patties. This was too much food for me.

Snack - lid full of peanuts (about 30) and chocolate protein shake made with almond milk.

Lunch - 4 turkey rollups ---> should have had more to eat here

Snack - nothing ---> should have had another protein shake

Dinner - bbq chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Delicious! 

Overall, I nailed the low carb goal, but left about 500 calories on the table. 

One thing I like about this program is the flexibility. Each day there is a workout to match what day of the carb cycle you are in. You can choose the workouts that fit your lifestyle: beginner, gym, at home. The program also implements an 8 hour eating window, but you can choose your window. Most people go 12-8, but mrC and I are doing 11-7.

Today I also had a bonus little workout - swam 6 laps. It was such a pretty day that I went to the pool while mrC went to the airport. He met me there later.

At the end of the day, it's good to feel sore, right?
How do you feel about carb cycling/intermittent fasting?


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Weekly Recap: A Taper Kind of Week

Last week feels like it was a taper type of week. I was gearing up for another carb cycling program, so it felt like I had a little bit of go ahead and eat it now and enjoy it now mentality going on.

The week wasn't a complete wash or anything. I got to work out a lot with mrC, but I felt a bit lazier than usual.

Monday - Back for another 60 minutes of Body Attack Aerobics and killed some major calories.

Tuesday - Just a little foam rolling today.

Wednesday - Took my run indoors after a serious rainstorm.

Thursday - Basically a rest day before heading off to my first Bunco Happy Hour.

Friday - We spent the day in Shenzhen visiting friends and enjoying cheap massages.

Saturday - Great early morning run and some relaxing pool time.

Sunday - Another day at the pool after watching some Dragon Boat races. This time I did some laps.  I did 5 laps in about 10 minutes. I find it hard to pace myself in the pool.

Can you taper when you're not training for anything?

Linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Workouts are Better Together and Life Lately

One thing I love about my relationship with mrC is his willingness to workout with me. I tease him about being a crabby runner and make fun of his squat form, but I'm completely thrilled when he wants to join me.

Today we laced up our Mizunos (I wear Wave Horizon) for our version of a long run. We eased out the door just before 8:30 which is normally scary late around here. Scary late meaning that it would already be uncomfortably warm and humid. Instead we found 75 degrees and lower humidity.

I love when the weekend weather cooperates for run day. When we first headed out it was cloudy, but about half way through our 4.5 miles, the sun peeked out. Normally this would make us start melting, but the weather was so nice today, it didn't bother us at all. We even had our best hill runs!

After our run, we packed up our pool bag and hung out at Club Sienna until lunch time. For a beautiful Saturday, it wasn't crowded at all while we were there. We had views of Central (and part of our running path), watched SUPers and Dragon Boaters in the water, and kept cool in the pool.

It felt good to sit back and relax after a couple of busy days.

On Thursday, I headed into Central for Bunco Happy Hour hosted by the American Women's Association. I had never played before, but it was super easy and I earned the Bunco crown three times! I also won a prize for having the most Baby Buncos. Someone told me my ladybug tee brought me good luck! I don't know, but I had a ton of fun!

On Friday, mrC and I took the ferry to Shenzhen for the day. We said farewell to some friends who are leaving China and returning to the states. We walked around our old neighborhood, Shekou, to see what has changed. Since an hour long massage is only about $25USD, we took advantage before meeting some friends for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Tomorrow is Dragon Boat Race day at Tai Park Beach here in Discovery Bay, kicking off Dragon Boat Festival which is Tuesday. We're planning to see the action up close for the first time, so check back to see how it went.

Do you run/workout with you spouse/significant other?
Have you played Bunco?
How often would you get a massage if it was only $25?


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wacky Weather and A Wonky Knee Didn't Stop Workout Wednesday

Sometimes you just have to wait out the weather.

Today was one of those days. Black rainstorm warning, thunderstorm warning, flood warning, landslide warning...too many warnings. I think I'll stay inside!!

When the warnings were finally lifted and the rain died down, I turned my morning workout into an afternoon workout. This is actually a big deal for me because I'm usually only motivated to workout in the morning. Since it was still raining and I don't take any chances when in comes to my knee (the sidewalks can be slippery), I went to the fitness center.

Shop my look here 

I have to show off my city slicker rain jacket just a little. It's lightweight, it's long and it folds up into its own pocket making it so easy to throw into my bag or tote if I don't need it. I also love the big front pockets.

For today's treadmill interval run, I tried a new app called Running For Weight Loss. The workout: 5 minute walking WU, 3:2 run/walk x2, 3:3 r/w x2, 2:3 r/w, 2:2 r/w, 5 CD.

Some things I liked about this app and workout: 1) the intervals times were a mix instead of the same from start to finish 2) audio instructions and optional music available 3) included a warm up and cool down. What I didn't like: 1) it only records distance/pace via GPS on outdoor runs and it didn't let me edit the workout to add the details myself 2) upgrade ads pop up all the time when you're in the app. 3) not app related, but I had to manually change the speed of the treadmill

It was a good workout, but it felt a little easy. I don't know if that was because my last run outside was a big time struggle or if I played it safe after my fitness class on Monday.

Let me go back to Monday. I attended Body Attack Aerobics again. It was an awesome workout again. I burned a ton of calories AGAIN. The only problem is that after class my knee felt a little off. Something happened when I was doing knee pushups during a strength track. Like my kneecap got wonky or something. Side-note: if I could do more full pushups, I probably wouldn't have this problem!

The good news is that after my run today and a little extra TLC in the form of stretching (like my favorites) and massage, I think my wonky knee is back to normal. Phew!

Do you like rainstorms?
Can you workout anytime or are you a workout in the morning only type person?

Today I’m linking up with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner and I'm linking up with AnnmarieNicole and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Ding Ding, It's Party Tram Time in Hong Kong

Walk along DesVoeux Road in Hong Kong anytime during the day and you will see the famous double decker trams that have been running along the northern coastline for more than 100 years. More than just a means of transportation, these trams are a tourist attraction because they make exploring Central from the west side to the east side so easy.

The iconic open air double-deck Party Tram is a hot venue for enjoying a night on the town with some friends. That is exactly what mrC and I did with a group from the American Women's Association on Saturday night.

We arrived in Central a little early, so we joined the masses hanging out on the waterfront and enjoyed a pre-party cocktail from our own BYOB supply. The Party Tram provides a cooler, but charter guests must bring everything else: ice, cups, beverages, snacks, napkins, music.

We took a taxi to the Whitty Street Tram Depot to meet the group or so we thought. Our driver dropped us at Whitty Street (which is where we actually asked him to), but we had to walk a couple blocks to the actual depot, ironically not on Whitty Street (tip ---> use this address Shek Tong Tsui on Connaught Road West). 

Crisis averted, we piled onto the tram, went right to the top for the best seats and were on our way. The tram rolled leisurely down the tracks giving us a 360 degree view of Hong Kong's nightlife.  

Our two hour hire route included passing through the sentimental Western District, the modern business area, busy shopping hubs and looping around Happy Valley Race Course. We were even given a ten minute restroom stop!

It was a perfectly wonderful evening. From the enjoyable conversation and drinks with friends to the people on the streets waving to us, it was an experience we will not soon forget.

Check out more things to do in and around Hong Kong:

Biking Tai Wai to Tai Mei Tuk
Hiking Cheung Chau
Tin Hau Festival Po Toi Island
Macau: A Leisurely Sightseeing Hike

Weekly Workout Recap

Is it a bad week if nothing super exciting happened? That's how I feel about last week's workouts. I think I'm beginning to miss the days of training for something. I'm starting another carb cycling program soon, so maybe that will give me the focus that I'm lacking right now.

Here's a look at the randomness of last week:

Monday - No workout because I went to my first laser hair removal treatment which means no sweating for 48 hours. It was my first treatment and WOW! It does hurt, but in a different way. My friends told me it would feel like getting snapped by a rubber band ---> one that never stops. Fortunately the session went quickly and the doctor was very nice.

Tuesday - No sweating today so I did an at home nice and easy yoga with Adriene video. Perfect workout for my post laser treatment and it felt good too.

These are still my favorite yoga pants...SO SOFT!

Wednesday - Let the sweating begin...awesome run and then SUP afterwards.

Thursday - I had a meeting to officially become co-coordinator for the American Women's Club's Hong Kong Hosts program. I'm excited to volunteer my time and support our troops.

Friday - I was scheduled to take a new class at The HIT Room called LBT Circuit, but I didn't go because I was feeling nauseous (I think it might have been gluten related). I ended up taking a pretty big nap, so my body must have needed the rest.

Saturday - I was feeling better so I did my longer run for the week. It was a hard one, my energy tank was empty and left me on the struggle bus for most of the run. I pushed as hard as I could and finished with 4.55 miles including the two big hills in our neighborhood. Even hard runs make me smile.

Love how easy it is to wear my Wearsafe!

Sunday - We were out late on the Party Tram (I'm going to post about this later today), so it was nice to enjoy a lazy day with mrC.

PS - Use code RUNNINGESCAPADES to get 15% off annual subscription to your own Wearsafe.

Linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

Have you ever done laser hair removal?
What is your favorite non-sweaty workout?


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Run and SUP for a Full Body Workout

Some days I want to run and some days I want to SUP. Instead of choosing, today I followed up my run with a paddling session and got the best of both worlds!

mrC was home, so I took him on my 5K run route. I set my interval timer to 2:1, but modified as we ran like my last couple of runs. We also modified the route a little by cutting through the park and then taking the ramps (for handicapped and strollers) up to the big hill in the final mile.

In the end, we took about five recovery breaks including two on the ramp/hill section at the end, one restroom stop (paused my watch for this one) and one longer recovery at the beginning because the road slopes down pretty significantly and I'm still avoiding running downhill for the most part.

Although the finish time wasn't my fastest lately, I did spend more chunks of time running and that is the most important thing for me right now.

After watching some hockey and having breakfast, we headed to the beach with our paddles. SUP works a lot of muscles at one time: back, shoulders, arms, abs. We paddled for about an hour, going out and back twice. Using Mapmyrun, I estimate that we paddled a little over a mile.

The combined cardio and strength workouts really wore me out ---> which means it was a really good day.

I love getting mail and today my BAMRbands order arrived. I love that they can be shipped to me in Hong Kong. I can't wait until my next workout when I can sport one of these.

To cool down after the beach, I made us berry delicious smoothies. This is seriously the best way to lower my body temperature and the added protein (Bob's Red Mill is my favorite) makes it a good recovery beverage too.

Do you ever double up different types of workouts?
Do you add protein to your smoothies?

I'm linking up with Annmarie, Nicole and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!!


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wrapping up the Week with a Mother's Day 5K and Does this Happen to You?

It took me two tries to get my run started, but I did it.

Attempt #1 - My morning motivation has been zapped a little knowing how humid it is. Once I did make it out the door and down 20 floors, it was sprinkling. I run with my phone, so I had to head back up to grab something to carry it in.

Attempt #2 - Armed with my Flipbelt, I headed out with my goal set to run a 5K.

Today's run wasn't easy. As I started I told myself to slow down so I wouldn't fizzle like I did on my last run. It felt like I did but my split, 9:56, shows that in fact I was speedy again. My splits also show that I continued to slow down over the last two miles (10:11 and 11:33).

I played around with my intervals again. I kept the timer set at 2:1 minutes. I ran mostly all the flats and ups, and walked the downs. I kept this up until the last mile when I started following the timer more especially up the big hill ---> it's a 121ft gain over a little more than half a mile. I ran that slower than my average 11:14.

My overall pace was faster by 2 seconds and one of my best in more than a year. This taking things slowly and running intervals is really working. I'm looking forward to running with the girls at the Cape in July.

The humidity made me dig deep today. You know your body is warm when it feels like your face is on fire. After my post-run stretching, I took a cold shower and then made a smoothie. Best post-run treat: cold protein.

Does this happen to you?

Humidity makes me sweat. Big time. All that sweat runs down my body and soaks my shorts. I hate the feeling of wet shorts and worrying that I look like I peed my pants. (like in the top pic. Ugh!) I'm pretty sure it's just something I have to live with, but I wish I could find a solution.

Here's a look at the rest of my week: Linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

Monday - Body Attack Aerobics and some pool time

Tuesday - Chiropractor for lots of myfascial manipulation and microcurrent stimulation on my shoulder ---> finally starting to feel better.

WednesdayMorning run and an evening at the horse races

Thursday - Beach day with friends

Friday - Hiking in Macau

Saturday - rest

Oh, and I'm considering this my Mother's Day 5K medal ;) Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, step moms, God moms, mrMoms, fur baby moms!

If you run with your phone, how do you carry it?
What's your favorite way to cool down after a hot/humid run?
Any suggestions on how to stop the sweaty-pants?


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Macau: A Leisurely Sightseeing Hike

Believe it or not, there's more to Macau than casinos and shopping.

Best known as the Las Vegas of China because of the giant casinos lining the Cotai Strip, Macau is home to a number of hiking and nature trails. On Friday mrC and a few of our Discovery Bay hiking friends joined the Hong Kong Hikers group for a leisurely sightseeing hike in the southern part of Macau, Coloane.

We met the group at the Macau Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong and then took the 70 minute Cotai Ferry to Taipa. After passing through immigration (Macau is an autonomous part of China), we grabbed taxis to take us to our starting point.

Macau Giant Panda Park - A perfect starting point because we were able to view the pandas, use the restrooms, and then hit the trail from inside the park. Plus the place was practically empty. Entrance was free, but we did pay MOP 10 (or $1.25USD) to enter the panda viewing pavilions.

Coloane Hiking Trail - Just south of the Cotai strip of flashy casinos, this 8km trail circles the hills of Coloane at an average elevation of 100m and is where we spent most of our hike. It is one of a network of trails that overlap making it easy to side step to popular attractions which is what we did. There were several observation points for taking a rest and taking in the views.

Reservoir Fitness Trail - We connected with this trail in order to loop the reservoir. Along the trail we passed several exercise stations before reaching a fun suspension bridge that took us across the reservoir. At the reservoir there were facilities for paddle boats and canoes that looked like a refreshing way to cool off.

Climb the pole, ring the bell ---> he did it!

Love my Oiselle shorts for hiking. Just awesome!

A-Ma Statue and Cultural Village - the most challenging climb of the hike led us to the cultural complex. First we saw the 19 meter statue carved in white marble of the Chinese goddess of seafarers and fisherman (aka Tin Hau - read about the festival I went to here). A little further on we reached the village where we were able to explore the courtyard and temple.

Hac Sa Beach - lunch at Fernandos - the chosen spot to end our hike because of the access to locally favored restaurants. Hac Sa Beach, named because the sand here turns black during the winter months and Hac Sa is Cantonese for black sand. We had an authentic Portuguese lunch at the famously recommended Fernando's (Anthony Bourdain says to eat here) and it was really good. I love eating family style and sharing dishes with a large group. Here's what we ordered: Fernando's style clams,  oven roasted suckling pig, charcoal-grilled codfish, Macau fried rice, charcoal grilled chicken, and boiled green veggies

With the temperatures and humidity climbing, this was a perfect hiking adventure.

Other hiking posts of interest:
Lamma Island

Where have you been and explored a "hidden" side?