Monday, December 5, 2016

Hiking: 3 Best Parts of the MacLehose Trail Section 2

The SWIC hiking group from Shenzhen came over to Hong Kong to hike so I made plans to meet up with them. It was going to be an early start for me, so the night before I laid out everything including my hiking outfit. #flathiker

OOTD: shoessports bratankshortslong sleeve topwaterbottlesunglasses,
(After checking and rechecking the weather, I switched to capris)

Since I live in Discovery Bay, I had to take the ferry to Central and hop on the metro there to meet the group at the University station on the East Rail Line. Having given myself plenty of time to get lost (and then not getting lost), I was more than early. I had plenty of time to use the toilets and buy myself some breakfast ---> a fancy version of a pop tart. I felt like I was 12 years old eating this thing, but it was good!

When the SWIC group arrived we jumped into taxis and headed to where we would jump onto section 2 of the trail. This part started with some rolling climbs, but we were distracted by the amazing views off to the right.

Instead of trying to explain the route of the hike and what we saw along the way, I thought I would just share my three favorite parts. This means that all that I am really leaving out are the long walks up and down in between. (Full disclosure, some of the ups were really UP!)

Three best parts to hiking Section 2 of the MacLehose Trail:

#1 The Beaches - It was picture perfect: blue skies, white sand, gentle melodic waves. When we arrived at the first beach it was as if we were all being pulled by a magnet out onto the sand. It didn't take long for us to start taking group selfies.

Sai Wan Beach

Ham Tin Wan Beach

#2 The Waterfall at Sai Kung Rock Pools - besides being just stunning (the water was really that blue), it was an adventure to get to them. About six of us braved the more challenging climb to really get up close. If it had been warmer, I bet I would have pictures of SWIC hikers swimming and jumping off the rocks.

#3 Lunch - ok, this is not about the food. Well, not really. I loved that we had to cross this seriously shanty bridge to get inland. It was as unsteady as it looks in the photos. On the other side were two snack shack type restaurants and public toilets. For those of us who did not pack a lunch, this place had sandwiches, rice, noodles, beverages, and ice cream ---> all the important stuff.

After lunch we hiked our way back inland to catch a bus and a taxi back to the metro station.

Although my watch died on the hike, here's what I know:

distance: 13.5km
time: 5 hours
Step total: 24,847!!

Other hiking posts I've written:

Exploring Chiwan, Shenzhen
Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park
Dragon's Back and Big Wave Bay

Shenzhen Botanical Gardens
Kuta, Bali: Mt. Batur Sunrise Trek
Hiking: Tai O to Tung Chung
Hiking Discovery Bay: Lookout Point Loop

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bodypump, Active Recovery, and Planking

On Tuesday I joined some of my new friends and went to my first Les Mills Bodypump class at The HIT Room. Bodypump is an interval barbell workout and it is definitely high intensity! I think Wesley (the instructor) said we did 800+ reps of squats, lunges, rows, and lifts. CrA-ZY!

After class I was given a try-to-forget-we-tortured-you welcome gift which I thought was a nice touch.

From class I stopped into IMI, Integrated Medicine Institute, to see an Osteopath. Osteopathy can "correct a wide variety of muscular and skeletal complaints and offer excellent nerve-balancing support" and I am hoping it can cure my heel stinger. My first visit was pretty standard with lots of questions and a thorough body assessment followed by my first treatment. Diagnosis: a pinched nerve. The nerve could be pinched in my ankle, behind my knee, under my gluteus or in my sciatica. My first treatment was a combination of adjustments, stretching, and trigger point release. 

After yesterday's strength session, my osteopath treatment plus a big hike I have coming up tomorrow, I decided to take it easy today with some active recovery. It was a perfect day for LISS, so I laced up my walking shoes and set out to explore the marina side of DB. Some residents live on the boats (the big ones).

It was a beautiful walk and fun to see a different view from the island. 3.5 miles later I was at the beach enjoying a little break and soaking up the beautiful day.

My favorite Athleta pants

When I got back to the apartment, I did my plank workout. I am still loving the intervals app that I found. 1) It is so easy to personalize my workouts and 2) I can use my phone or my watch to start a workout.

It was good to get my legs moving on the walk, but I started feeling some DOMS sneaking up on me from Bodypump. My stretch session was a little bit relief and a little bit painful. (side note - my goal is to get my bum down on the floor)

Just for fun I thought I'd share my new blogging spot ---> the view, the natural light, a smoothie, Netflix...I don't know how I'm able to finish this post! 

Have you tried Les Mills classes? 
Ever been to an Osteopath?
If you blog, what does your work space look like?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mountain Monday Rewards

I didn't have anything fitness on my calendar today (which goes against my whole motivation plan), but I knew I wanted to do my planks on the window bed after I hung out there with a cup of coffee. Nothing like a fun location with an awesome view to keep you motivated.

Some of my favorite Athleta pieces are on sale 20% off today!

While watching the news and contemplating my fitness options, I saw some messages being exchanged on WeChat between members of my "old" hiking group (full disclosure: I'm still working on establishing a new one) and I realized it was Mountain Monday. Knowing that they were going to be climbing Nanshan made me want to climb to Lookout Point here in DB. So just like that, I headed out for a hike.

On the way up I passed a lady resting (it's a steep climb). Shortly after I took the picture below, she joined me at the top and we chatted. She just moved to Hong Kong and also American. We exchanged information and made plans to meet up for a hike in the future. My reward for hiking was gaining a new friend.

When I got home it seemed like a perfect time for a smoothie. I'm excited that I found my favorite protein powder in the stores here, but I wish I could get it at Amazon prices! I love the taste of my smoothies with the added vanilla flavor.

My front shin muscles were still sore from my extra long hike on Friday, so I went to the spa to get a pedicure and a thirty minute foot massage.

Since going gluten free I haven't really missed bread or pasta too much, but I have missed croutons on my salad. I remember finding some in the US, but it's not as exciting as snagging these babies here. They make me want to have salad for lunch every day!

The AWA Discovery Bay Neighborhood Group hosted a cocktail event at a little bar called Hemingway's at the D'Deck.  It was the type of event where you write your name on a sticker, slap it on your chest and then tell your story multiple times.

It was awesome! I met some really funny and interesting women from Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong...I can't wait until the next event. It's hard for my introverted self to go to these events, so I love when I find the reward was worth it.

How have you been rewarded for your choices lately?
Introvert or extrovert?
Last time you wore a name tag?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Struggle Is Real: 5 Ways to Overcome Low Motivation

I have goals for myself. Lots of them.





Simple Hydration bottle on sale here!

My goals might sound familiar to you. And, maybe you struggle to stay motivated too. It's not easy to do everything we want and deal with every day life at the same time. Sometimes I'm too busy. Other times I'm tired. Many times I'm just lazy. The struggle is real.

Here are five things I do to stay on track:

Join challenges - I LOVE challenges! I'm far better at completing my planks or doing yoga if I sign up for a challenge, especially one that is on social media. When I see other people posting about the challenge, it motivates me not to skip the day. I'm never too tired or busy to scroll my Instagram ;)

Plan ahead - food prep saves me from making bad food choices especially when I'm too tired to cook. If I have healthy snack choices at my finger tips, I'm less likely to grab a bag a chips and devour them. Smart Popcorn is my biggest weakness!

Schedule workouts - I literally write it on the calendar. If I plan my workouts like an appointment, chances are greater that I will follow through. I used to schedule running meet ups, now I plan out hikes, SurfSet, sprints.

Do it first - As soon as I wake up, I put on my workout clothes and then I workout before I do anything else. Sometimes my workout is in the living room and sometimes I'm waiting for the gym to open. I'm just more likely to do my workout in the morning.

Reward myself! - Yes! Bribery still works at 45, haha. Seriously though, having something to look forward to helps sometimes. I keep a WISHLIST board on Pinterest so that I can pick something out if I reach my goal.

Today's Workout:

Once again I headed out to the fitness center as soon as it was open and I did another sprint workout on the elliptical.

Sprints - 15x, 20 seconds work, 20 seconds recover ---> ready to bump up my sets to 20!
Planks - 2x, 30 seconds each forearm, right and left sides
Bridges - 30 second hold, 20 single leg lifts x2, 30 second hold

Weekend mornings at the fitness center are peaceful. There are only a couple other people there compared to weekday mornings when almost every machine is taken.

On my way to the fitness center, I made a drop in the letter box. I love mailing Christmas cards. Here in Discovery Bay it is so much easier to send and get mail (hint, hint!!). I don't usually get them out this early, but they have a long way to go to the USA!

Sidenote - another thing I struggle with living here is getting my groceries home (when mrC is working). There's no loading up the car and pulling into the garage anymore. There is a delivery service, like in China, but I haven't set it up yet. So, that means carrying the bag(s). Today I found myself doing some elevator yoga to balance the weight of the bag.

What keeps you motivated?
When do you mail your cards?
Do you use a grocery delivery service?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Our Hong Kong Apartment + A Workout

I'm getting used to living in Hong Kong day by day.

We are settling into our nice, little Seaview apartment and the cleaning, decorating, endless grasping to get things just right is winding down, finally. I'm pretty sure that I spent the first two weeks walking around with my hands full of things that needed a home and mumbling, this place is so small! 

The apartment was originally unfurnished (more common in HK than Shenzhen), but the owner agreed to furnish it for us. Little by little we have blended our few belongings with her choices and then picked out other items to complement and help us get organized.

The main living space is my favorite because it's filled with all my favorite comfort colors (love my blue pillows). It may be small, but the amazing view of Discovery Bay makes it feel much bigger.

It's been challenging at times to figure out how to make small spaces work for us, but it makes me happy to see that we can. I just have to teach mrC to watch where he walks so he doesn't break any toes! This is by far my favorite duvet cover.

We have an awesome window BED in the second bedroom which saves the floor space to be used as the office. It'll be fun when our first guest arrives and sees the sleeping arrangement with a view from the 20th floor.

The kitchen is actually pretty spacious. We even have a dishwasher! There's tons of storage, just not a lot of counter space. It's been interesting when mrC and I try cooking together.

It's still a work in progress, but I'm happy with how it looks.

Today's workout:

I think I was the third person to arrive at the fitness center after it opened this morning. I went early because it looked like it was going to be a rainy day and I wanted to walk there and back without getting rained on. Success!

Sprints: 15 sets, 20 seconds work, 20 seconds recover
Planks: 2 sets, 30 seconds each forearm and both sides.
Bridges: 2 sets singles leg lifts both sides

Three things that made this workout better:

1) This interval app. I love the versatility that it offers. I created an interval program for my sprints and another for my plank workout. All I have to do is push start and then the app talks me through the workout.

2) These wireless earbuds. They are so easy to link to my phone and then I can hear my music and the interval app commands to work or rest and I'm not bothering anyone else in the gym.

3) This view. Seriously, that is the view from the elliptical when I look to the right (the new ellipticals have a TV attached). I'll show you the view to the left another day ;)

Have you ever rented a furnished apartment/house?
Would you sleep on a window bed?
What's your workout today?