Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June: The Month I Didn't Run

After having more than a few good runs while in the US in April and May, I came up with a brand new running plan and then totally didn't follow it. I couldn't resist flat routes and beautiful Colorado, so I ran more than I said I would.

My knee wasn't happy about that.

For a couple of weeks while littleC was visiting, I gave my knee a break from running and focused on low impact workouts like swimming, easy hiking and walking.

My knee was super happy with that.

So, June became the month I didn't run. It's not the first time I stopped running, but it is the first time that I have admitted that I like it more that my knee is happy than that I went for a run ---> major change in mindset happening here.

Instead I continued to log time in the swimming pool ---> 2950 meters to date. Swimming is going to become my "new" running. It's not the same but swimming does not aggravate my knee and I get a great cardio workout. Bonus, it's perfect for this hot and humid climate I live in!

I found my motivation to get back in the gym after completing a video workout challenge. The goal is to keep strength training in my weekly routine again. My body definitely responds when I pick up the weights.

Lastly, I added more walking into my daily routine and logged 14.26 miles so far. I would like to get into the habit of walking every morning, but it takes awhile for this creature-of-habit girl to get a new habit going.

It kind of feels like my fitness has been a little all over the place. My motivation over the last couple of months has been up and down and up and down. I think it's because I was putting off the inevitable decision to stop running and take care of what is left of my knee. It's scary to give up something that you spent years doing and focusing on it so much that you actually started a blog about it. I mean, what would I do without it? It kind of feels like a fitness identity crisis, ha!

June might have been the month I didn't run, but it is also the month that I realized I'm still a fitness junkie and I'm going to keep running through life one fitness adventure at a time!

Today I'm doing the link-up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! 

How well do you follow your own fitness plans?
Are you a creature of habit or are you more impulsive?


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Weekly Wrap: Pulling Out the Carb Cycling Playbook

After doing the two week video workout challenge, I realized that I was still missing a couple of important parts: good nutrition and strength training.

So, I have pulled out my carb cycling playbook from FASTer Way to Fat Loss® and been matching my workouts to how I'm eating, tracking my macros and adding strength workouts. (you can see my daily carb cycling activities in my Instagram story if you're interested in what an average day looks like)

Here's a look at how my first week following the plan again went:

Monday - low carb day + speed bursts workout

I did some morning stretches to complete the two week workout plan. Later, mrC and I walked to the pool (just over .50 mile). I came up with my own swim sprint workout: 5 minutes WU, 25 meters freestyle sprint x 25 meters breaststroke recover x 10, 10 minute pool walking CD.

Tuesday - low carb day + speed bursts workout

For the first time in forever, I took my workout to the fitness center. I did sprints on the elliptical: 20:40 seconds work:rest x 20 plus 15 minute cool down. Then I cooled off in the pool.

Wednesday - regular calorie day + strength training

I was back in the fitness center for my strength training because I only have two choices of hand weights at home. Walking ten minutes to the fitness club was the warm-up. I did my favorite dirty dozen arm workout (and coached mrC through it -> he did great) two times and then I did a couple of sets of adductors and abductors. Wrapped things up with a good stretch session.

Thursday - regular calorie day + strength training

Another strength day at the fitness center. Used the 10 minute walk there as the warm-up again and then jumped right into the dirty dozen leg workout. Half way through I realized that the workout is probably better as an at-home workout, so I'll be switching things up next week. Threw in some plank work at the end and swam 250 meters as my cool down.

Friday - low calorie day + active rest day

Happy to say that I will be using these days for yoga along with other acceptable rest day activities (SUP, swimming, walking). I did two Yoga with Adriene videos ---> one for opening hips and heart and another detox flow.

Saturday - regular calorie day + strength training

I did not lose my motivation even though my workout buddy had a trip. I did Leg Day at the fitness center with a roundtrip 1.5 (ish) mile walk there and back. This workout had a perfect combo of weights, machines, and body weight moves. I also added core work at the end.

Sunday - low calorie day + active rest day

I found myself looking forward to starting my day with some yoga. I really enjoy the Yoga with Adriene videos and there are so many to chose from. I like that I can pick one that fits my mood or needs, but my favorite is flow.

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How To Do Summer in Hong Kong

Let's face it, summer is hot, humid and sticky and in Hong Kong it is worse than anywhere I've lived before. For someone who loves to be outside, it is hard to accept that you are always, and I mean always, going to be hot and sweaty (unless you never leave your apartment).

After three years of living in China, I think I have finally come up with a fool proof plan for surviving the summer heat. Today I'm sharing my plans for the summer as part of the Tuesday's on the Run topic link-up. Check it out:

Spend as many days as possible on junk boats (which just means hired boat). This popular activity is a great way to escape the city, cruise around the islands, enjoy good friends, good food and go for a dip in the refreshing China Sea. I went on a day junk a couple of weeks ago and I can't wait to do it again!

Go to the pool and swim, swim, swim. Since swimming has replaced my running, I want to swim as much as I used to run which was usually three days a week. With running, it took a lot of miles for me to feel comfortable and confident. The same is true for swimming. I've got a lot of laps to swim and learning to do.

Enjoy our iSUP. This is the time of year to get the boards out more. No worries about jelly fish and the water feels so nice (even if I like to stay on my board because I'm not a fan of deep water). I hope to be on the water for active recovery days and any other time that sounds good.

Travel ---> get out of the city. I'll go anywhere (hint, hint mrC), but the trip I am most looking forward to is our family vacation to the Cape at the end of August. Our goal every year is to get all three of the kids there with us at the same time. Crossing my fingers that this is one of those years.

What are your summer plans?

See what others are doing by checking out the link-up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Popsugar Fitness Two-Week Video Workout Challenge

After taking a brief hiatus from scheduled workouts and enjoying a bunch of family fun, I was ready to get back to regular workouts. I was in the mood for something different, so I challenged myself to follow the Popsugar Fitness 2-Week Video Workout Plan.

For 14 days, I did a variety of 30 minute workouts that mixed cardio, strength, Pilates and yoga. One day a week was dedicated to active rest with stretching and foam rolling.

Here's the plan and my thoughts on each workout:

Day 1: Cardio workout (burned 335 calories). This was a fun video with a blend of cardio and strength circuits to keep things interesting. Each circuit takes about 5 minutes to get through 4 moves and you do each circuit twice. A couple of minutes of stretching is included at the end.

Day 2: Cardio Pilates workout (burned 268 calories) Mix of cardio and Pilates with weights that really worked my abs. After a cardio warm-up, the exercise sequence targets legs, arms, and abs...spending about 20-30 seconds on each move.

Day 3: Power Yoga Flow (burned 154 calories) Perfectly timed full body yoga to stretch things out that were feeling very sore. A typical yoga flow, the workout stretches and tones at the same time.

Day 4: Active Rest with Foam Roller (burned 65 calories) Full disclosure, this was a pretty painful session, but another well timed activity. The must-do foam rolling moves provided probably made this the best foam rolling session I've ever done, especially because I actually timed myself.

Day 5: Tabata Workout (297 calories) I love this form of HIIT that alternates between 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest in four minute rounds. Just when you think you can't go any longer, you get a quick break. Another bonus to this workout was the instructor ---> great energy and super funny!

Day 6: Strong, Toned and Full-body workout (253 calories) Another circuit training session, but this time with weighted moves added in. I like the mix of exercises in circuit workouts.

Day 7: Active Rest with Stretching (95 calories) I did both the 10 minute video and the ultimate stretching guide (see it here) ---> 28 different stretches. My body was grateful for this head to toe love-fest.

Day 8: Cardio Boxing & Core (308 calories) This was my first try at cardio boxing and I didn't love it, but was pleasantly surprised to see the calories I burned. Obviously no experience necessary to get a good workout, even one that feels a little awkward.

Day 9: Pilates workout (196 calories) This should have been called Speed Pilates! The pace was hard to keep up with at times, so I focused on going at my own speed. Some of the moves were killer, but the instructor kept things fun and lively.

Day 10: Feel-Good, Feel-Strong Yoga (186 calories) easy to follow flow that hit all my favorite poses. I liked how the instructor grouped poses together and tossed in a couple challenges ---> like side plank with leg raise!

Day 11: Active Rest with Foam Roller (did not track) This was the same as the previous foam rolling day but it didn't hurt as bad. That's a clear reminder that the more you roll, the happier your muscles are.

Day 12: Cardio and Toning Boot Camp (283 calories) Simple 8 move circuit repeated 3 times. I liked the mix of cardio (jump squats, mountain climbers) and strength, but I loved the combination moves (squat shoulder press, bridge chest press) the best.

Day 13: Total Body Toning (262 calories) This workout had a fun mix of moves that focused on legs, cardio, arms, and abs. Each move was demonstrated in modified version first and then the advanced options were shown.

Day 14: Active Rest with 10 Minute Stretching (74 calories) Easy 10 minute stretching routine that hits all the important areas. It's a nice option to always doing the same stretches from memory and some of the stretching variations were new to me.

So, what did I think?

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen the answer ---> I LOVED following this two week workout plan. It was a great way to get away from repeating the same workouts day after day, which I am known to do. The mix of cardio, strength, yoga, Pilates, and rest days felt really good on my body too.

30 minute workouts really are manageable and effective. It was apparent right away that I was getting good workouts because I was sore! On the days that I missed my morning workout, knowing that it would be 30 minutes made it easier for me to get myself moving to do the workout in the afternoon or evening.

In addition to the 30 minute video workout, many of the days I also walked (usually 2 miles) or swam laps. I LOVED that I could do the video workouts at home, especially since we were having a lot of rainy days during the two weeks, but I also love to get outside.

I would definitely do it again.

PS: To make it easier, I created a playlist of the videos on YouTube here. There is also a direct link to the Popsugar Fitness plan there.

Have you ever followed a free online workout plan?
Do you like workout videos?

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Five: Kicking Off Summer

It turns out that living out of my suitcase for nearly a month took it's toll on me. As much as I wanted to jump right back into my normal routine of fitness and blogging when we got back to Hong Kong, my brain just wasn't ready.

Has it really been a month since my last blog post???

Today it finally felt like it was time to catch up and write a Friday Five post about what's been going on around here.

1. We were blessed with some incredibly nice weather when we got back from the states and I did some swimming and walking.

2. I researched a lot of different juices until I found a favorite ---> Happy Apple <3

3. mrC and I got dressed up and went to our first Chinese wedding celebration in Macau. If you think their celebrations are over-the-top, you are right! It was a lot of fun.

4. And then little C arrived for a kick off the summer two week visit ---> just as Hong Kong was having record-setting hot weather.

We went to Stanley Beach to show her one of Hong Kong's most popular sports and cheer on the AWA Dragon Boat team.

We got nice and sweaty hiking at Cape D'Aguilar and then cooled off with a swim at Shek O Beach.

She and I got to spend the day on a junk boat cruising around Hong Kong Island while her dad was working.

5. We played on our SUP boards.

A couple of weeks of living up to my 2018 goals, I felt refreshed and energized. In my next post, I will tell you about the two week fitness challenge I took.

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

Did your summer weather kick in early?
Tell me something you have been up to lately!