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!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Walking HIIT Workout and Random Hong Kong Things

My Monday started seriously early ---> 2:30 am wake up when mrC hit something (the bed, the wall?) in his sleep. Once I was awake, I couldn't go back to sleep.

At 5:30 I decided to go for a walk. I got the bright idea to make it into a HIIT workout since we had a busy day lined up. So I walked and every few minutes stopped to plank, push-up or burpee until I finished the PPB challenge days I missed. I was a sweaty mess by the time I got home.

2.3 miles
2.5 minute plank
60 push-ups ---> did 10 at a time
60 burpees ---> did 20 at a time
3 minute forearm plank ---> one minute, then 4 @ 30 seconds

The reward for jet lag induced early mornings is watching the sky light up. I still do really love where we live here in Hong Kong.

A couple hours later I broke my fast ---> scrambled eggs, chicken apple sausage and rice cakes. It feels good to be home and have my favorites all on one plate.

After waiting for a handyman hired by our landlady to fix our toilet, we went to Central to run a bunch of errands. It's almost a mandatory activity after being away for so long.

Our first stop was to the new Shake Shack that opened on the mall rooftop garden. We were in the mood for simple good food and so were A LOT of other people. We joined the ordering line that was almost out the door. While we were eating, the line was out the door and a roped off queue was being used!

Even though it was a little warm, we chose to sit outside and enjoy the view of the harbour. Luckily there was a nice breeze and some shade from the potted trees. It was a beautiful day in Hong Kong.

With full bellies we were off to the shoe repair shop, the seamstress, to pick up mrC's newly modified headphones and back to the shoe repair shop to pick up his shoes.

Then we headed to one of my favorite places, Be-Juiced. I'm trying to find a favorite go-to flavor to supplement my low veggie intake. Since we were there, we ordered acai bowls because they are perfect on warm days! Mine is topped with apple granola, peanut butter, and goji berries.

By the time we returned to our apartment, my let lag was catching up with me again. For dinner I drank the Veggie Bomb (good for anti-inflammatory, cellular repair, eye health and replenishing collagen) and had some watermelon. The juice wasn't bad, but I don't know if it will be the one.

You know who else is talking food today? Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run linkup! They're talking about their favorite meal the night before a race. When I was running more, my favorite pre-race food was anything Italian ---> pasta, pizza, CALZONES. I was a believer of the carb loading philosophy.

Do you catch-up or skip ahead when you get behind in a challenge?
Do you like dining outside?
What is your favorite meal the night before a race?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Colorado was Awesome | Weekly Wrap

Our extra long spring trip to the US came to an end and we returned to Hong Kong over the weekend. We spent our last few days in the US enjoying time with middleC and watching him graduate from University of Colorado Boulder. We squeezed in workouts, explored new hiking trails and soaked up as much Boulder springtime as we could. Colorado was awesome to us and it's always hard to say good-bye, even after living out of my suitcase for nearly a month.

I fell off the PPB challenge wagon as of Thursday. Between graduation activities, travel and jet lag, I have not been able to keep up. I have a plan to catch up and I will let you know what happens here.

After only a few hours of sleep on Saturday night, the most adventurous thing I did all Sunday was walk to the grocery. It felt good to be out, even though the heat and humidity arrived in Hong Kong while we were gone.

Weekly Wrap (with links ICYMI):

Monday - Elliptical sprints and a big hike on Boulder's beloved mountain

Tuesday - Run sprints and hike

Wednesday - Easy morning hike

Thursday - middleC graduation day at CU

Friday - travel --->  leave Denver 8:30am

Saturday - arrive in Honk Kong 11pm

Sunday - jet lag induced rest day ;)

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day!

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