Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

The weather was absolutely gorgeous in Shenzhen all weekend. These are the days you wait for all winter and after a week of rain, they were so needed.

We enjoyed a morning walk on Saturday. We sat and warmed ourselves in the sun for awhile. I can understand why cats seek the sunshine for a little nap.

We hiked Nanshan Mountain on Sunday. It was a busy place, but we were there early enough to beat most of the crowd.

On Sunday evening, we went for a sunset walk and enjoyed some people watching. The skyline has changed a lot since we arrived almost a year ago and more new buildings are still hiding behind the old ones.

30 Day Pilates Body
Day 25: guest (inner thighs)
Loved this workout!! The crossing of my legs really made me feel my inner thighs working. 

Day 26: pick a favorite 
I picked day 25 to repeat. Why not use a good thing when you have it at your fingertips? My inner thighs need the work. 

21-Day Arm Sculpting 
Day 17: 15 reps!!
Had to channel my TI Fitness peeps to get through this one.

Day 18: rest

Day 5: standingL
These are tough. Balance, flexibility, and strength all in one.

Day 6: revolved half moon.
Seriously tough. I tried to make it fun by doing it on the side of the mountain. I entertained the little Chinese ladies doing their tai chi. 

We had dinner out on Saturday and picked up some Easter flowers on the way home. 

I hope all of your baskets are filled with happiness and peace today and always!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lian Hua Park and Random Fitness

I got my morning started with a cup of coffee and some yoga flow.

day 4: low lunge
I love this pose. It makes my body feel so good, even though it challenges my tight shoulders.

The weather was cooperating, so I met up with the some of the hiking group for a walk in the park. Shenzhen has a lot of great parks spread across the city. This was my first time to Lian Hua Park in Futian. 

Highlights: a gorgeous lake, the peach orchard (although we missed the blooms), a classic Chinese gate, and the Huang tomb of a Song Dynasty descendant.

We walked about 5 miles and that makes this girl hungry. Especially when I didn't eat a proper breakfast. Thankfully, I was smart enough to grab a Vega Sport bar on my way out the door.

Speaking of smart decisions, these Athleta Classic Metro pants were a great purchase. They are super comfy and so versatile. I can wear them for yoga (see above), hiking, lounging, and even dress them up.

After having some left-over quinoa for lunch and relaxing for a bit, I did my daily pilates workout.

30 Day Pilates Body
day 24: booty
Truth: I hate this exercise. It is so hard to bridge up/down on one leg. However, I know that my legs and booty are getting some major work, so I do it. Ugh!

mrC made it back in time for Good Friday dinner and took me to the Australian restaurant for some shrimp. 

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

My Birthday Boy and Favorite Protein Sources

Happy 13th birthday to my retired running buddy (I guess we are both retired now). In a perfect world this guy would be living with us in China, but we know he is being spoiled by our family in Massachusetts. 

Today I warmed up with flow again, but I had coffee first. I like how this challenge adds a new pose to the flow sequence each day.

day 3 - triangle
My muscles were feeling stiff this morning, maybe from staying up later than usual last night but waking up at my normal time.

After flow, I went right into my strength. I had two arm workouts today.

21-day Arm Sculpting
day 15 - 14 reps again
I'm in the home stretch and hoping to finish strong. The reps are getting harder to do after about 12. 

30 Day Pilates Body
day 23 - arms
After using 4 pound weights, you'd think weightless moves would be easy, but not so much. Death by repetition! 

I'm always looking for new ideas to stay motivated and focused on my fitness goals, so I signed up for a free webinar being presented by Robin from The Balanced Life. I'll be sharing the tips I plan to use, but you should check it out yourself.

It was raining when I went to yoga, but thankfully today's class is in the studio right across the street from our apartment. I still need to get a comfy pair of rain boots. It's on my US shopping list.

Mindfulness Yoga
The class was held in a smaller room today, but the light and the view (see the kitty in the window?) were so nice. The session focused on simple poses that build strength but don't require a lot of movement and more stretching which felt really good for me today.

I don't always eat enough protein, especially when mrC is on a trip (like the one he's been on all week), so I try to find easy ways to add it to my daily diet. Today I made a quick smoothie for lunch and some quinoa and tuna for dinner.

Berry Protein Smoothie Recipe:

1/2 c. frozen raspberries
1/2 c. frozen blue berries
1/4 c. almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder 
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 c. spinach
1/4 c. greek yogurt

Cheesy Quinoa and Tuna

Cook 1 cup quinoa, then add
2 tbsp. greek yogurt
2 cans tuna 
1/4-1/2 c. parmesan cheese

Do you have a running/workout buddy?
Ever taken a webinar?
What's your favorite source of protein?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Not so Flow and Flexibility Achievements

Sometime last night as I lay on the couch Netflixing and scrolling my Instagram feed, I saw the daily post go up for the #RunnersLoveYogaFlow challenge. Since my day was essentially over, I saved it to do first thing this morning. And that's what I did.

Day 2- reverse warrior
Three thoughts: I love that I know what this pose is without having to Google it. I can move through the flow sequence to get to it (yay). I really need to work on my leg position when I'm doing do this I think I just need to slow down.

Not wanting to waste a nice set of warmed up muscles, I went right on with my morning workout pre-coffee. NBD.

30 Day Pilates Body
Day 22 - legs
Most of the leg exercises in today's video were a repeat of my Pilates class yesterday. I almost couldn't do them today! Like the kneeling side kick. I could feel this one working my abs and back too, as I tried to keep my core stable. Hard work here!!

I had just enough time for a cup of coffee and some TV before yoga class. So much sadness in the news again. I used to run to sort through my emotions, but now I find that the challenge of yoga helps.

I made it to yoga without getting rained on. We are on a Yellow Alert through tomorrow which means a lot of rain in a short period.

Flow 70 with Lee
Lee turned out to be a man and my first male yoga instructor. Lee was good, but Flow was really more like Hatha. We practiced a lot of poses, some with variations, but we didn't really move from one pose to the next. I still liked the session though. Oh, and I really nailed, I mean NAILED, crow pose today.

After class, I made a smoothie for breakfast/lunch. 

The new "new" washing machine was delivered. The owner, Paulie, came along to oversee things. About an hour later the installer came to hook it up and again the owner was here to see it was done properly. 

Service in China is much quicker than the US. The Bosch repairman came the same day that we called in and two days later we have a new machine installed.

A month ago I vowed to improve my forward fold. Armed with great advice from my yoga pal Danielle, regular yoga classes on my schedule, and yoga challenges, I'm getting there! So today, I love my muscles for being flexible!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pilates Tuesday: Abs and Arms

The doors to the office make a beautiful backdrop for my fitness photos and it's fun to squeeze in a workout in there. There's more room lengthwise, but I take my yoga videos to the main living area.

30 Day Pilates Body
Day 21 - abs
No sit-ups or crunches. Plank variations, down dog abs and tabletop V-ups! 

21-Day Arm Sculpting
Day 13 - 14 reps x3!!
Kickbacks are getting harder. Full disclosure: my weights are 2kg or 4.4lbs. It doesn't take heavy weights to get the muscles burning.

I enjoyed a light breakfast on the balcony. We have a much broader view of the water and today I watched the harbor fill up with fishing boats. That usually only happens when there is bad weather coming, but I haven't heard about anything other than a lot of rain this week.

Tuesday is Pilates at Vitality day.
I look forward to this class because it kicks my butt every time. The focus seemed to be on the glutes/hips today, which I need. Ooh, the burn!

After class, I stopped by the salon to get my nails done. They were busy, so I walked home for some lunch and then went back after the bottled water was delivered. I went for a Spring color.

Are you seeing signs of Spring yet?

Monday, March 21, 2016

How I spent my rainy day in China

I was woken up this morning by a thunderstorm. Our new apartment is on the 11th floor and that feels a whole lot closer to lightning than I like.

I retreated to my new workout space for a little while.

30 Day Pilates Body
Day 20 - stretch and relax
This was the perfect way to start the day.

After a cup of coffee it was still raining, so I looked up a yoga video to replace my Monday hike up the mountain. No way I was going to do that. One thing I learned quickly about living in Shenzhen is that when it rains everything becomes slippery. It helps to clean the bottom of your shoes regularly, but you still have to be careful. 

Tone Yoga from Yoga with Adriene
I like the way Adriene guides you into a pose and then explains how your muscles should be engaging. Like in triangle pose, today I realized that my core should be doing more work than I realized.

Right after yoga, I watched the Xavier basketball tournament game on Slingbox. Sadly, they lost in the final 2 seconds. 

Still rainy outside and lacking no desire to go out in it, I signed into Booya Fitness in search of a video workout to burn some restless energy. It's so easy to find the perfect workout since there are so many videos to choose from. Use my link to join free for 30-days and see what I mean.

Flex Barre Total Body Express
I liked this one. It was a total body workout, but my legs felt it the most. 

The description for this workout listed calorie burn between 250-300. I had some internet streaming issues, but I wasn't even close. My resting heart rate is around 55, so I did get a good cardio session. 

Today was also the start of a new yoga Instagram challenge with the added bonus of prizes from Lucy Activewear and RunersLoveYoga. 

Day 1 - warrior 1
One of the hard parts of yoga for me (besides my tight muscles) is hip alignment. For example, when I'm doing a pose, I feel like I'm positioned correctly. Then I see a picture.

The rain came off and on all afternoon along with the Bosch repairman. On his second visit he told (my rental agent on the phone because he only spoke Chinese) me that the washing machine that the owner just purchased needs to be replaced. Ugh.

And that's my rainy day in China.

Hope you had better weather where you are! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Fitness Interrupted, But We Were Moving!

I actually started this post a few days ago, but

When I left off, I had just completed:

30 Day Pilates Body challenge 
Day 16: arms
Reformer on the mat. Wow, this move is tough.

21-Day Arm Sculpting challenge
Day 9: I'm now up to 12 reps.  

Mindfulness Yoga class. 
Same reformer on the mat arm moves as day 16. Love when that happens. And I'm loving this class. It's always small which means lots of personal instruction and adjustments. It's one of the reasons I'm doing better at yoga.

All that was from Thursday. So much has changed since then.

The warm air has started moving into southern China making everything sweat! Literally. The walls and floors in the building common areas look like they've just been mopped. Thank goodness we have a dehumidify option on our AC unit and we keep our doors/windows closed.

There are more flowers blooming again. Love, love the colors.

And, we have a new address! On a whim, we decided to look at apartments in the hopes we would find something a little bigger and in our price range. We scored!

After a couple of days packing, meeting with new owner, old owner, moving, and being without Internet, I finally got back to my regular fitness workouts today.

I resumed the 21-day arm sculpting challenge (day 10 rest and today day 11). No catching up on this one since it follows a planned progression with built in rest days. 
Bent over reverse fly is frustratingly tough with my tight shoulders.

Then I got caught up on the 30 Day Pilates Body challenge (days 17-19). Since each day focuses on a different muscle group it was easy to do all of the videos in one day. So today I did a booty workout, a reformer on the mat workout, and repeated my fave from the week (legs). 

Oh, and I'm super excited about my new workout space. 

There was even a casual morning walk taking place today. I love seeing what the people are doing: fishing, running, walking, dancing, tai chi, dog walking. 

Unpacked, stocked up and cooking. First meal made in the new place. 

Hope you enjoyed your weekend!!