Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter Fitness Challenges

Overcome the winter blues with these great ideas.

Working out in the winter can be hard. Finding the right challenge can help you find your motivation.

Full disclosure, living in Hong Kong means that I don't have to worry about snow storms or below freezing temperatures. I also won't be burning calories anytime soon doing cool things like having a snowball fight, cross country skiing or just shoveling the driveway. But I do have to deal with seasonal issues like shorter days, gray skies and colder temperatures.  All things that can zap my motivation.

There are many ways to stay motivated in the winter and keep moving.

Here are five of my favorite fitness challenges to help when I'm struggling with motivation.

1. Winter Warrior Challenge

The goal is simple: run as many miles as you can during a set amount of time. Many of the online challenges start in December or the first of the year, but you can still do a winter warrior challenge on your own or with friends. Check your local running store. Many have on-going challenges that work on a points system for showing up. You can even win prizes.

2. FAB ABS February Challenge

FAB AB February is one of my all-time favorite monthly challenges. A 30-day challenge is perfect for people who have trouble getting started and staying committed. It also helps that you can literally cross the days off the calendar. Just about anything can be turned into a 30-day challenge (or even 21 days if your prefer). At the end of the month, you can start a brand-new challenge that focuses on something else.

3. Yoga with Adriene

Yoga with Adrine is perfect for people who want to work out at home - whether it's because you don't want to pay the high price of a yoga studio or your just prefer the privacy of your own home. With a large selection of videos and 30-day collections, Yoga with Adriene lets you stay out of the cold and in your comfy clothes.

4. Instagram Challenges

Need visual motivation? Participating in an Instagram challenge lets you easily be motivated by others doing the same challenge - just search the # (hashtag). Saucony has one going right now. These challenges can pop up at any time, so be sure to check out what hashtags your sweaty friends are using.

5. Sweat A Day Challenge

A perfect all around full body fitness challenge that will push your limits DAILY is the SWEATADAY challenge with Shauna Harrison. This Instagram challenge began in 2013 and continues to go strong because it is that good.

I hope these challenges inspire you to keep moving (not only in the winter, but all year long) the way they inspire me. If they do, help your friends and share this post ;)

What challenges are you doing (or have done) that you want to share?

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

TOL - One Random Hong Kong Day

I thought it would be fun to document a random day in my life with my random thoughts for Thinking Out Loud. This is what my Wednesday looked like.

I really wish I could sleep in later than 6am. Maybe my body is just super thirsty because I always guzzle at least one bottle of water before I have my morning coffee.

The air quality in Hong Kong can be really bad sometimes. I'm glad that I can run on the treadmill at the fitness center to avoid the pollution.

After lunch I went to the plaza to buy a couple of dresses from a lady selling them through a local wardrobe swap group (one fit, one did not). I also found a fun Hong Kong memory card game at the stationary store to send to my BFF's little girl.

I spent the rest of my day in Central for an appointment and an AWA activity. Sometimes when I'm there it feels like I'm standing in the middle of chaos. It's crazy but I kind of love it.

Picture taken by mrC on previous trip to Central

Bunco Happy Hour is sooo fun! I have only played twice, but I absolutely LOVE it. Last night I tied for most wins, but then lost in the roll-off.

The ferry is one of my favorite times to listen to podcasts. I'm currently listening to Accused about a newspaper's investigation into a 40-year-old unsolved murder. If you listened to and liked Serial, you'll like this one.

Do you have a treadmill backup plan too?
Do you play Bunco?
What podcast are you listening to?

Today I'm Thinking Out Loud with Running with Spoons - join the link up 
or head over for some great reading.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

TOTR: My 2018 Fitness Predictions

I kind of already wrote a post about my goals for 2018 and about how they are non-specific because that's kind of where I'm at right now. If I had a more reliable knee, I would happily make all kinds of plans. But after thinking about this week's Tuesdays on the Run topic, I realize that I can be hopeful and make some predictions for myself without getting super crazy specific like I used to.

Here's what I came up with:

1) Run more ---> miles/races/places: This is my most hopeful prediction. By lumping them all together, I’m acknowledging that I don’t know how many running days I actually have left, but I’m being hopeful. 2017 was definitely my comeback year for running. I hope to run at least one more mile overall so that I can say it was a better year. If I can run in one more race and one more new place, that would be icing on the cake.

2) Mix it up every week: I’d love more than anything to have perfect weeks all the time or predict that I will run/hike/SUP once a week. The truth is, besides a knee that gets cranky every once in awhile, life also gets in the way. Some weeks are busier than others, sometimes I get a Keratin treatment. As long as I can do a variety of things, I think my mind and body will be happy.

3) Get a sports massage every 3 months: I used to do this consistently in the US when I was running all the time. I need to bring this back and make it a priority again. I'm pretty sure this will help me achieve my goals and it will just feel darn good too!

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

What predictions are you making for yourself in 2018?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weekly Wrap - This Is What You Came For

It was really kind of the perfect week. I made it to two strength training classes, ran, hiked, and did some yoga. On Friday when I was able to book a Bodystep class (after more than a month of conflicts), it was my 5th workout of the week and my body was starting to feel it.

It was a tough class. My muscles were already sore from Bodypump. Our instructor challenged us with a couple of tough one minute circuits and I really had to dig deep. During one move (bench jump squat with a snatch) she came over to me and said, “I think you need this” and handed me a medicine ball. I did not want that medicine ball. At all. I was dying. I wanted the circuit to be over.

During the quick break, I realized that my instructor did me a favor. She pushed me when she knew that I could handle it. I survived the circuit and even did it a second time with a different mind set. Yes, it was hard. Harder even than the first time. But pushing myself, not quitting, that’s what I came for.

This is what you came for is my mantra for 2018. It will help me stay focused on my goal to keep moving. Whenever it feels like I‘m thinking about giving up or looking for an excuse to stop/skip a workout, I will repeat my mantra.

Here's how my week shaped up:

Monday - Rainy day spent in Central - lunch and Escape Room fun

Tuesday - Bodypump

Wednesday - 5K run and hike

Thursday - Bodypump

Friday - Bodystep

Saturday - Took littleC to the airport then yoga - I had planned on run #2, but my legs were tired. With a very bad knee, I can’t afford to take chances.

Sunday - Rest day: with a big chunk spent sitting in a salon chair enduring my routine Keratin treatment (only worth it because it makes my life easier for the next three months!)

And just like that another week of 2018 is over and done. Not only that, it was time to put littleC on a plane back to the US. She was happy to spend her final week with us moving at a slower pace, which I appreciated because it gave me (and her) plenty of time for workouts.

Do you have a mantra or word for 2018?

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

Friday, January 12, 2018

Hong Kong Stay Warm Running Tips

After running my way through more than one winter in New Hampshire, I considered myself a Winter Warrior. It took some practice though. I had to learn how to embrace the frigid temps, wicked winds and foot after foot of snow. There were actually piles of snow everywhere on my last run before we moved to China. Eventually I could layer up with all my favorite gear (like Polartec tights - affiliate) and run in the middle of a snow storm if I wanted to.

My idea of cold has changed a lot in the last 2 1/2 years. Cold for me now is anything under 60F degrees, ha! At it's coldest, the temperatures in Hong Kong can dip between 30F and 40F but they don't stay there very long. No matter what your cold feels like, I think it's important to think about how to stay warm.

Here's how I keep warm on cold weather runs in Hong Kong ---> remember it's all relative:

1. Long sleeve tee or capris - when the temperature drops, the first thing I change is my running outfit. My first go-to change is to try a long sleeve tee with shorts because once I get used to running in shorts I don't want to give them up. If it's too cold for the shorts, I'll dig out my running capris.

2. A hat - I usually hate wearing hats, but they really do work for keeping warm. Since I don't have to worry about my ears freezing, I can usually throw on any old ball cap to do the trick.

3. Heavy duty layers - on the rare really cold day (like my recent feels like 47F 5K), I pull out the winter training gear and layer up. This year I have a new favorite warm top (affiliate) from Athleta. I actually have a ton of gear in storage in Massachusetts, but I didn't think I would need any of it here.

4. Arm warmers/compression socks - sometimes it's only feeling chilly at the beginning of the workout and that's when arm warmers come in handy because you can roll them down once you warm up. Compression socks are great for those in-between shorts and capris temps (or for those of us hanging onto our shorts a little longer). I actually don't remember to wear either of these often enough.

5. The treadmill - when all else fails and I reach my cold weather tolerance limit, there is always the trusty treadmill at the fitness center. I'm pretty sure that only a cold wintery rainy day will force me to run indoors while I'm living here.

How do you stay warm on cold weather runs/days where you live?

I'm linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0 and Nicole for Fit & Fashionable Friday