Showing posts with label ultimateplankchallenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ultimateplankchallenge. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Time I Forgot to Workout and It Was Ok!

Have you ever had one of those days where you have everything planned out perfectly so that you can get everything done and do what you want, but then it doesn't play out that way?

That was me today.

I started with some easy plank flow stretching for the next to last day of the plank challenge. I had time to do my full body workout but decided to do it before dinner (aka my biggest meal on feast days). 

I had an early meet up with the girls to head over to Hong Kong and spend the day at Golden Beach.

After a day in the sun, we stopped at Tuen Mun Town Center to do some quick and dirty (cheap) shopping for some of our favorite things before crossing the border back into China. 

The bus ride across the border, immigration, and two more buses all combined took about an hour to get back to the apartment where mrC had a delicious dinner and flowers (awe!) waiting for me in all my sweaty stickiness. 

It wasn't until after we ate, cleaned up and I was working on this post that I realized I completely forgot to do my feast day full body workout! Big whoops!!

I am so programmed to do my workouts in the morning, that even when I don't do them, my brain thinks I must have because I always do. Honestly, I was ok with it. I didn't jump up and rush to change into workout clothes and get it done. It's one day. I walked A LOT today. I carried over-weight grocery bags across the border of Hong Kong and China. In the 90 degree 94% humidity. It's ok.

Moving on, here's what I ate today


Lunch: packed a bunch of stuff for the beach, but only ate the pb&j rice cake sandwich. 

Dinner: TWO servings of gluten free spaghetti

Dessert: flourless cake (one of my favorite things to get in Hong Kong)

Macros: not enough calories overall, but a good job hitting goals.

What would you have done? Workout or pass?
Do you like the beach?

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?

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 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?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Much To Do Monday and Regular Calorie Eats


In my old life, aka when I was teaching, Mondays were not my favorite day of the week. I (mostly) loved my job, but I hated to see my weekend come to an end. Here in Shenzhen, I LOVE Mondays because it's when I meet up with the hiking group to climb Nanshan. 

This week my Monday was busier than normal. Here's what my schedule looked like today.

7:00 planking on the balcony. 
I love when the weather is cool and comfy so I can step outside and do this.

8:30-10:00 hike (see above)

10:15-11:30 pool time
My favorite way to cool off after hiking the mountain. Often I'm the only one there.

1:00-3:00 Essential Oils Happy in Your Skin Workshop
I'm new to the whole essential oils world. Today I learned how to make dry shampoo, facial wipes, and a facial scrub. The main ingredient we used was tea tree (melaleuca) which is commonly used for acne, cuts, infections, sunburn and a whole lot of other things. It was interesting and fun. 

Speaking of essential update: After slacking a bit, I've been doing my peppermint oil and icing routine on my achiles and it does feel better.

4:00-5:00 full body workout
Afternoon workouts always feel harder and today was no exception. 

7:00-7:30 after dinner walk with mrC

What I ate: Regular Calorie Day

Breakfast: scrambled eggs and pb&j apple rice cakes

Lunch: leftover quinoa pizza bake, grapes, celery and humus 

Post workout snack: Acai Mulberry Coconut Santo Pop
I found this grassroots company on Instagram. The owner makes these using local in season fruits and a tiny bit of cane sugar. And she delivers! Look her up on WeChat (santopop) if you're in Shekou. 

Dinner: salmon patty and green beans

Macros: as I mentioned yesterday, today was a new day. A better day. My carbs were kind of low, but my calories were nearly perfect.

What's your favorite day of the week?
Do you use essential oils?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sweaty Saturday Workout and New Feast Day Treats

The gym is a good place to be on a rainy day. I started my workout by catching up on my #ultimateplankchallenge. The full plank heel lifts are tough.

My main workout can be broken into three parts: arms with body weight only, arms with weights, and legs with cardio.

The first part, arms with body weight only, is actually the hardest for me. There are three exercises to do 10 sets of 10: push-ups, forearm plank push-ups, and tricep dips. I've been doing these one at a time to completion, but today I did a circuit hoping it would make it go faster and be easier. Nope. Still hard.

What I ate on Feast day

Breakfast: fruit, French toast, and hash browns 
As a treat, we decided to have the breakfast buffet at the Hilton after our workout. With our membership, we get a 10% discount and well, I was too tired to think about cooking when we got back to the apartment.

Snack: GF "cheetos"
A new gluten free snack created by Luke, who has Celiac's disease, that I found in Hong Kong yesterday. 

Lunch: smoothie bowl and turkey slices
This will always be a treat!

Snack: crackers and cheese
More treats from my Hong Kong shopping spree. Mary's Gone Crackers are gluten free (so happy to have found them) and the port wine cheese is a favorite from time spent with my grandparents. 

Dinner: quinoa pizza bake and green beans
Sadly that was the last of my favorite pasta sauce brough here from Cincinnati.

Dessert: strawberries 

Macros: today was a good day. A couple hundred calories short, but I did very well on my carbs. 

This carb cycling plan encourages participants to do a gluten free and dairy free diet for six weeks. I admit that I think I'm seeing positive effects from staying away from dairy, but I'm weak. I love my cheese! 

Do you prefer circuits or completing each exercise one at a time?
What is your food weakness?