Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Speed Burst Days

Low carb day in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® means speed bursts and speed bursts are my favorite workout right now. Probably because I'm a cardio girl. I tend to gravitate more toward the workouts that are sweaty and get the heart rate going.

Week 5 Low Carb Day 1 - the workout

Speed Burst - I chose to take a Bodystep class again because I can get high intensity, intervals, and all the leg exercises like squats, lunges, step ups, and all kinds of jumps. Since there are typically 12 tracks in a class, the warm-up and cool-down are included. This class kicked my butt. Literally. I could feel myself struggling through some of the peak tracks, but later in the day I completely fell off the struggle bus and landed in bed. I think I was just dehydrated, but I felt like garbage.

Low Carb Day 1 - the meals

broke fast around noon - 3 scrambled eggs with ham, 2 PB&J rice cakes

lunch - leftover Italian chicken breast and greens beans

dinner - leftover Italian chicken breast and greens beans

snacks - handful of peanuts and half a protein bar

Low carb day 2 - the workout

Warm up - I walked about 10 minutes to the beach

Speed Burst - I chose sprint intervals for a private little Track Party-like workout. The workout was sprint at 100% effort for 20 seconds (about 100 meters) and recover for 40 (I walk around for this) seconds. Repeat 18 times. I was worried that it was going to rain, but it only sprinkled a little in the beginning. I can tell that my endurance has improved from the first set of sprints, because I didn't start to feel the leg wobble until the last 4 or 5 sprints.

AB circuit - I totally meant to do this when I got back to the apartment, but I completely forgot until now as I write this post. I was supposed to do: russian twists, bicycles, crunches and leg lifts. To my credit, I did most of these or similar in Bodystep. So I can say that I did them early, haha!

LISS - Walked home up the hill ---> kept my heart rate in the fat burning zone.

Low carb day 2 - the meals

broke fast at 11:00 - 3 scrambled eggs with ham, 2 PB&J rice cakes

lunch - wasn't hungry today and I had a little getting ready for vacation fun at the nail salon 👇🏻

PS - wearing my Oofos to the salon = happy legs

dinner - leftover Italian chicken breast, green beans and salad

snack - mini chocolate bar, celery and hummus

Have you ever experienced post-workout dehydration symptoms?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Carb Cycling Week 4: Feeling Strong and Sports Bra Squad

This round of FASTer Way to Fat Loss® seems to be flying by. This past week was about strength. It was about more than physical strength. It was about finding out that I'm stronger than I think.

Here's a quick look at the week 4 workouts:

Monday - Burned some serious calories at Bodystep for my speed burst workout

Tuesday - Sprinting on the treadmill and an ab circuit

Wednesday - Full body strength training with supersets

Thursday - 24-hour fast ---> longest fast so far!

Friday - More strength training supersets and ab circuit

Saturday - Training Day Calories - Leg Day - the workout

Warm up - Since I had to run for 10 minutes, I joined the National Sports Bra Squad Day fun. This was a day for all women to ditch their tops and go for a run. I don't usually run in my sports bra (although I did pick this one because I thought it would look good solo), it just feels taboo, but I'm glad that I did it (even if it was only for 10 minutes). I only saw a few people who were out walking and even though it didn't seem like they paid any attention to me, I felt powerful when I was finished. My goal is to do it again and again, until it doesn't feel taboo anymore.

Strength training - It was leg day. I'm trying hard to build up muscles and get rid of flab, so I'm cautiously adding weight to my exercises. My knee doesn't make this part easy. The challenge is trying to make sure my good leg is not picking up slack from my bad leg. I add in a few single leg reps when I can, but I've read conflicting opinions on doing that. The finishers are tough and squeeze the last bit of energy out of me: curtsey lunges, side lunges, jump squats, and jump lunges ---> I do a modified version of jump lunges.

Cool down - Even though jumping on a bus sounded good, I walked (about 15 minutes) back to the apartment.

Sunday - Low Calorie Day - active recovery - the workout

I joined my local ladies SUP group out on the water for about 45 minutes. It was windy and the water was rough, so it was harder (and scarier) than I like. I could feel my core and leg muscles tightening up because I was paddling like mad to get back to shore and trying to stay balanced. I'm so happy that I didn't fall in. There were jellies out there again.

This week was about feeling strong. I feel strong when I increase my weights during strength training. I feel strong when I can finish my sprints without wobbly legs. I feel strong when I can fast for 22 hours. I feel strong when I can ditch my shirt and join the #SportsBraSquad.

Instead of listing all my meals, I'm just sharing my favorite foods from the weekend:

Protein smoothie

Sweet potato tots

What makes you feel strong?
Favorite eats from your weekend?

If you're thinking about joining FASTer Way to Fat Loss®, use my link to join and start carb cycling with me!

Linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Five Friday Favorites

The countdown to our annual family vacation in the USA is picking up speed! The good news is that we are less than one week from our departure. The bad news is that getting things organized is distracting me a little from blogging.

To make up for a couple missed FWTFL posts, I'm breaking it down into Friday Favorites:

1) Running - I'm loving the fact that I can now add running as an official option for my strength training warm up. It's a short little run, but I can do it without intervals. I've seriously come to appreciate all the small running moments because last year I thought my running days were o-ver. So, these little runs are super exciting for me right now!

2) Supersets - Strength training days are all about these lately and I love it (I talked about them in this post). My workout feels like it takes half the time, but my muscles feel like I was working out for hours! I'm also loving that the weight I'm using on the leg extension machine is not bothering my knee. Crossing my fingers that my quad muscle is getting stronger in that leg to help my knee even more.

3) 24-Hour Fast - The goal of a one day fast is to make it at least 18 hours, but 24 hours if you can. I started my fast at 6PM on Tuesday, after I enjoyed my last meal of the day, and made it to 22 hours. I broke my fast a little after 4PM on Thursday with a snack while I was making my favorite buffalo chicken quinoa dinner. This was my longest and best fasting day so far. If you haven't tried intermittent fasting, here is a great video from Yuri Elkaim, the author of The All-Day Fat Burning Diet:

And if you've been wanting to sign up for the FASTer Way To Fat Loss program, use my link to join and start carb cycling with me! 

4) National Smoothie Day - I did not have a smoothie on Wednesday (June 21) because I was out of spinach and Greek yogurt. I did make an acai bowl today for a belated National Smoothie Day celebration. I happened to find acai super green pre-made packs at our local Just Green shop, so I whipped up a bowl for me and a bowl for mrC. Today's toppings were granola, almond butter and goji berries. I'm still working out how to get the consistency just right, but this was my best one so far.

5) MY new dress - As in designed by me! I took a dress design that I like to a tailor in Shenzhen to have a new dress made. I picked out the fabric and told her what I liked. She did all the work and I'm thrilled with the final result. This dress is all about comfort, which is 100% me.

Other OOTD details sunglasses (here), shoes (here) and purse (here)

What are you loving this week?

I'm linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0!

And also with Nicole for the Fit & Fashionable Friday link-up

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Treadmill Tuesday - Sprint Workout

Running sprints on the treadmill is not my first choice, but sometimes ya gotta do, what ya gotta do. So I laced up my Wave Sky and headed to the fitness center determined not to let the continued rainy weather stop my planned workout.

Week 4 low carb day 2 - the FWTFL workout 

Warm up - It was raining and we wanted to get to the fitness center before the morning rush, so we took the bus. Instead, I walked on the treadmill for 5 minutes.

Speed bursts - Today I chose to do the interval sprints even though I was going to have to do them on the treadmill (my fear of slipping and hurting my knee still keeps me from running outside in the rain). The workout was 20 seconds run, 40 seconds recover. Repeat 16 times. 

This was my first attempt at sprints on the treadmill since my partial meniscectomy, so I had to play around with the speed a little. I knew my recovery could be around 8km/hr because that is my current easy run speed and I was hoping to run instead of walk through the recovery. I bumped my speed up to 10 - 10.3 range on the sprints and it felt good. I might have been able to go faster, but I like to test how my knee will respond to new things slowly. I completed all 16 sprints this way and am thrilled that my knee handled the treadmill sprints. 

The treadmill has the option to create your own interval workout, but the minimum time is 1 minute. I thought it was going to be hard to manually change the speed, but since I use my interval app I get a 5 second voice countdown alert and that made it much easier. **People have asked which app I use. It's this one on iTunes. I'm happy to share because it took me awhile to find one that was easy to set up and let me run without looking at a timer. I use bluetooth to connect to my Jabra wireless earbuds (which are $30 off on Amazon), but the app also connects to my Apple Watch which alerts me by vibrating**

Ab circuit - A round of ab bicycles, crunches and leg lifts with some planking tossed in at the end.

Cool down - It wasn't raining, so we were able to enjoy the walk back to the apartment.

mrC has been doing the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® Men's Program. Our workouts are not the same, but similar enough that we can go to the fitness center together. It definitely makes carb cycling easier to have him doing it with me and I love that he has gender specific workouts. During past rounds of carb cycling, he just modified the workouts with more weight. He had major success results, but I think this time it will be even better.

Low carb day 2 - the meals

Broke fast at 11:30 - 3 scrambled eggs with ham and one PB&J rice cake

Lunch - 3 turkey roll ups, green beans and some peanuts

Dinner - leftover cheesy chicken and veggie rice

Snack - protein bar

 Do you run sprints on the treadmill?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Burning Calories and Rice-ing Veggies

We're still having ugly rainy weather and one thing currently able to distract me from it is my workouts. One of my favorite fitness classes is back on the schedule and it was a perfect fit for low carb day again.

Week 4 Low carb day - the workout

When I read today's FWTFL workout, I knew that Bodystep would be a great fit again. Today's FWTFL workout called for speed bursts (choose one: 4 cone drill (sprints and shuffles, running stadium steps, or intervals) followed by a HIIT leg circuit (squats, lunges, step ups, scissor jumps).

We did all that and more (abs at the end) in Bodystep today.

If you've never taken a Bodystep class (you totally should, asap), I found the graphic below that breaks it down. The entire class is a HIIT workout and it's 100% addictive.

After class, a local spa had set up a space in the adjoining workout room and was giving free mini massages. It was worth stopping by for a quickie because they also handed out 50% off cards. I can't wait to book an appointment!

Low carb day - the meals

Broke fast about 12:30 - 3 scrambled eggs with ham, 3 sausage links, a dab of maple syrup, one PB&J rice cake ---> that was a lot of food!

Lunch - NA

Snack - popcorn

Dinner - Cheesy chicken and veggie rice

This was a brand new recipe for us that I found on Skinnytaste.com. I love how you can search for recipes based on ingredients, course, season, special diet. This was listed under low carb and it looked so good that I just had to try it.

I don't have access to pre-made "riced" veggies, so I had to look up how to do it. Turns out that it's pretty easy. I bought fresh broccoli and cauliflower and chopped it all into smaller pieces. I used my blender and some water to turn the veggies into rice. I did it like it's shown in this video (I have a Philips blender ((similar to this one on Amazon)) and the 6-8 pulses method worked fine).

After straining the veggies and patting them dry with a paper towel, they look like this. Doesn't this look like a plate of rice?

It's been a while since I shared my macros here. I'm still tracking them on MFP and posting to my FWTFL group. Some days are better than others, but I always hit my low carb day goal of 50 net grams or less.

What's your workout plan for today?
Have you ever made your own veggie rice?

(If you are interested in joining the FASTer Way To Fat Loss program with me, learn more about the program here.)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wrapping Up FWTFL Week 3 (with Weekend Workouts)

We've literally been living under our umbrellas for the past few days, but I haven't let that stop my motivation. I did change things up a little bit, but it's my workout and I have to make it work for me.

Lorna Jane tank (similar here)

Here's a look at my workouts this week:

Monday - Took my sprints and HIIT workout outside for my last sunny day workout.

Tuesday - Active rest day

Wednesday - Learned about strength training with Supersets

Thursday - Another training day at the gym. I think I'm becoming a gym rat.

Friday - My Bodystep instructor returned from Oz, so I took my speed burst workout to The Hit Room.

Saturday - Regular Calorie Day - Leg Day - the workout 

I started the day with a trip to the beach for a pre-arranged meet up of the Discovery Bay Ladies SUP group. Four of us braved the rain to participate in an upcoming local magazine article.

I usually SUP in my bathing suit, but the rainy weather had me in a normal Chi tank and Costa shorts. One of the ladies wears full coverage rash guard, wetsuit like gear so she won't get stung by jellies if she falls in the water.

Warm up - I was over the rain, so I looked up the at-home workout for the day. My warm-up consisted of me digging out the free weights, getting out my yoga mat, and that's it.

Strength training - It was leg day: squats, deadlifts, lunges, step-ups, calf raises. 4 sets of 12-15 reps. Plus FINISHERS - curtsey lunges, side lunge with squat, jump squats, jump lunges. 40 reps. Repeat ---> I did not repeat. This was one of those calls I have to make to keep my knee happy.

It sucks that I have to limit my workouts on one of the larger muscle groups, but I do. The old me would push through and finish the workout exactly as it's written. I would pressure myself to not quit because a leg workout burns a lot more fat calories than an arm workout. But then I would be out of commission for a couple of days with knee pain. I've learned to modify my workouts so that they work for me and be ok with that.

Sunday - low calorie day - active recovery - the workout

Warm up - For once it wasn't raining so we were able to walk to the fitness center. mrC had a strength training day and I tagged along.

Slow paced run - I chose to do the interval progression run today. It looks like this: 1 minute walk, 1 minute run, 2 minute walk, 2 minute run, 3 minute walk, 3 minute run, 4 minute walk, 4 minute run, 5 minute walk, 5 minute run. At the end, I was almost to a 5K, so I repeated the 5 minute run. 

I admit that the longer walk breaks were HARD! I've gotten used to my one minute recovery intervals, but I stayed focused on the goal of low intensity and keeping my heart rate in the fat burning zone. PS - I'm falling more in love with my Mizunos every time I run in them. Have you read my review?

Bonus - I tossed in a couple sets on the adductor machine because my inner thighs are nice and flabby. I'm hoping the use of the machine will supplement the leg day exercises.

Cool down - I did some stretching on the stretch machine. If you've never used the stretch machine at the gym, I highly recommend it. It looks like this one on Amazon. I don't have a lot of experience, but it made getting a really good stretch of my hamstrings, glutes, and quads so easy. I did not use heavy weight during my leg workout yesterday, but I was feeling the results of the high repetitions.

Regular calorie day - the meals

Broke fast at about 11 - 2 scrambled eggs with ham, gluten free pancakes, red grapes, and orange juice

Lunch - 3 turkey roll ups and microwave popcorn

Dinner - Buffalo chicken quinoa and green beans

Snack - mini YPP

Low calorie day - the meals

Broke fast at 11 - 2.5 scrambled eggs with ham, one PB&J rice cake and red grapes

Lunch - leftover buffalo chicken quinoa and green beans

Dinner - leftover buffalo chicken quinoa ---> it's THAT good! (recipe here)

How was your week?

Linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

Friday, June 16, 2017

You Can Do Speed Bursts at Bodystep

Today I made up the low carb day I missed on Tuesday. I've said this before, but I really love how easy it is to make carb cycling work for you. If you need to, you can switch up days because of work, appointments, parties, or whatever. It's no problem.

(If you are interested in joining the FASTer Way To Fat Loss program, here's a link to join and start carb cycling with me! Click here).

Week 3 Low Carb Day - the workout

The FWTFL workout for the day was a choice of Speed bursts followed by an ab circuit. My favorite Bodystep instructor is back from Australia after an extended (almost 2 months) leave, so I had to go back to class.

There are 12 workout tracks in a typical class which means there is a lot, I mean a lot, going on. The whole class is high intensity intervals: cardio followed by strength and ends with a powerful core workout. Here are some of the things I remember doing today, but not necessarily in the right order (after the warm up).

Warm up - step moves mostly on the floor
Warm up part 2 - step moves on the step
Cardio peak - basic stepping with glute leg lifts, burpees, lunges, knee repeaters
Mixed strength - lunges, squats, glute leg lifts with weight plate
Speed track - skaters, speed step, plyo jumps and burpees ---> I thought I would be sick!
Another Cardio peak - I honestly can't remember what we did ;)
Core - oblique focus: side crunch with weight, bent leg side drops, and plank twist with weight

After a couple of weeks of missing cardio classes and a couple of months since my last time at Bodystep, this was a tough class. Good, but tough. It felt awesome to see how many calories I torched.

mrC did his low carb day workout outside at the fitness center and then met me in the North Plaza after my class. We probably could have walked home, but the sky looked too unpredictable. We took the bus instead.

OOTD: tank, capris (similar), shoes, bag

Low carb day - the meals

Broke fast at 12:00 - 2.5 scrambled eggs with ham, 3 sausage links, one PB&J rice cake

Lunch - 4 turkey rollups, peanuts and a chocolate protein shake ---> last one, ran out of this protein that I can get on Amazon.

Dinner - leftover chicken and green beans

Has your workout ever caused you to throw up?
I need to buy protein. What's your favorite brand for chocolate shakes?

Today I'm linking up with Nicole for the Fit & Fashionable Friday link-up

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Am I Becoming a Gym Rat?

Most of the gyms I've been to present the same scene: the men are mostly lifting weights and the women are mostly doing cardio. There are exceptions, and I have seen an increase in women strength training, but this is typically what I see.

Am I right?

The term gym rat often has a negative connotation. The term conjures up images of big bulky men flexing in front of mirrors and grunting. There are a lot of variations to the definition, but they all basically say that a gym rat is someone who spends an unusual amount of time at the gym and obsesses about gym workouts.

But, couldn't being a gym rat also be a good thing?

Picture this: a gym rat is someone who goes to the gym often enough to know how to use all the machines and equipment correctly. Someone who has a workout plan and gets it done efficiently. Someone who views strength training just as, or more important than cardio. Someone who visits the gym, but doesn't live there.

Why should women want to become strength training gym rats?

1. Burn more calories. Women who lift heavy weight burn more calories during and after the workout. Each pound of muscle burns up to 50 more calories per hour than a pound of fat (this shouldn't surprise anyone!)

2. You'll torch body fat. Losing body fat means you will look more defined and toned. Torching body fat means losing belly fat too.

3. You'll get stronger. Lifting heavy makes muscles stronger ---> not bulky unless you are taking steroids and eating a TON. Building strength then prevents injuries. It's a win-win situation.

Carb cycling is turning me into a gym rat and I'm loving it.

Week 3 Regular Cardio Day 2 - the workout 

Warm up - It was raining again, so we took the bus to the fitness center. I do not want to get my Mizunos soaking wet. I did a repeat of yesterday's warm-up on the treadmill: 5 minutes walking and 10 minutes easy running.

Strength training - Supersets (again) plus an ab circuit to finish. I did a little research about how much weight to use for Supersets. The weight goal: choose a weight that is sustainable for the whole set. You want to be able to finish all the reps, but just barely. It was all arms today (my weak area), so I tried to push myself with the weight. The last exercise was push-ups and I could barely get through 5. My arms were toast.

Cool down - Just like yesterday, the rain had stopped so we were able to walk back to the apartment.

Regular Calorie Day - the meals

Broke fast at 11:00 - 3 scrambled eggs with ham, two PB&J rice cakes and watermelon. I was starving today.

Lunch - Leftover bbq meatballs and watermelon

Dinner - Italian chicken, green beans, and sweet potato tots ---> we love these things!

Macros: I still have trouble getting in enough carbs, but my protein almost always exceeds my daily goal. Following the IIFYM tempts me to want to eat the same foods over and over (have you seen my breakfasts?) so that I can hit my goals.

What do you typically see at your gym?
Are you a gym rat?

Are you interested in joining the FASTer Way To Fat Loss program? Use my affiliate link to join and start carb cycling with me! Click here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rest Day Fun and Strength Training with Supersets

I'm playing a little catch up on my carb cycling posts, so today you get a double. Our almost-typhoon Merbok passed by Hong Kong on Monday night and has left behind the most deplorable rainy weather. One rest day and one strength training day complete regardless.

Week 3 Low Calorie - Rest Day 
(I love that I can switch my days when necessary on this program)

My rest day was LHR (laser hair removal) instigated (no sweating for 24-36 hours) which coincides perfectly with needing to run some errands. Rain or shine, out we go. Thank goodness for rain boots and rain slickers. We went from LHR, to lunch, to the GAP, to two groceries and back. All in the (sometimes pouring) rain.

In case you are wondering what the inside of a LHR treatment room looks like, I took a pic yesterday. It's looks scarier than it is and everyone is so friendly and nice.

Week 3 Low Calorie - the meals

We happened to see a sign for Ruby Tuesday's on our way to my appointment and decided that was a great place to break fast and they opened at 11:30. Perfect timing. We don't eat out that much, but I love a salad bar.

I made several trips and also had some Cod on the side.

Dinner - BBQ meatballs and green beans

Snack - popcorn and watermelon

Regular Calorie Day - the workout

Warm up - our normal walk to the fitness center was interrupted by, you guessed it, rain. We took the bus instead and grabbed a treadmill for the warm-up. After walking for 5 minutes, I decided to run. I ran for 10 minutes without intervals and my knee was OK! Interested in my shoes ---> check out my review here.

Strength Training - Supersets. Four Supersets. Arms, legs, legs, arms.

Cool down - 10 minutes walking on the treadmill while mrC finished his workout and then we walked home because it wasn't raining.

So what is a Superset? If you are like me (not a gym rat), then you might not know the term. Directly from my workout: "A superset is performed when two exercises are performed in a row without stopping." The exercises can be opposing muscles or the same muscle groups. Even though there are two sets it is considered one set. A Superset. The purpose of the Superset is to improve performance, build muscle, and burn more fat in less time. 

Regular Calorie Day - the meals

broke fast at about 11:15 - 2.5 scrambled eggs with ham and two PB&J rice cakes and watermelon 

Lunch - 4 turkey roll ups and red grapes

Dinner - leftover chilaquiles and corn

Snacks - two mini peppermint patties

Here's what I do for fun, wearing a new linen tee that I picked up at GAP yesterday. I don't think it looks so see-through in real life. 

Do you like salad bars?
What do you think about Supersets?

I'm linking up with AnnmarieNicole and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!!

Breaking in New Running Shoes - Mizuno Wave Sky

This post is sponsored by Mizuno Running and FitFluential. All reviews and opinions are my own.

I love running. I also love new running shoes. By new, I mean really new. New to the world kind of new. Today I'm excited to share my thoughts on the brand new (launched in May) Wave Sky from Mizuno.

The Wave Sky is a shoe built for neutral runners but with the most cushion for max comfort. A first glance might make you think this shoe is heavy, but it weighs in at only 9.3 ounces. That's not bad. In fact, that weight falls right in the middle of the Mizuno neutral family.

The Wave Sky is kind of like a crossover shoe. It's neutral but offers a substantial amount of midsole cushion like a stability shoe without feeling heavy and stiff. It's built to give runners a bit of a lively rebound. It's like you are getting the best of both worlds.

I've had a chance to break in my Wave Sky on easy runs, sprints and the treadmill. Let me just say that my feet and legs are happy with these shoes. I've been running in support shoes recently because of my knee, but these feel just as stable. They are so plush and so light and just feel really good. My feet are average width and there is plenty of room including the toe box.

I have to confess that when I receive a new pair of Mizunos, I fully intend to love them. Some I've loved more than others. I think the Wave Sky and I are going to be spending a lot of time together this summer.

Tweet: Want the best of both worlds? Try #running in the #WaveSky. @mizunorunning #ad #fitfluential https://ctt.ec/3e9W0+ from @runningescapade

Do you ever find yourself caught between two running shoe worlds?
What do you look for in a new running shoe?

Today I’m linking up with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner and representing runners!