Fitness Check In #8: Why I Lift Weights

Hello everyone, this yoyo is back. I started this journey a year and a half ago, setting up little goals to achieve while attaining that big picture in the long run. I have to say there have been ups and downs, lots of hiccups. I was on board full swing for a while, and then fell off the bandwagon. I just got bored, and started trying other things like running and pop pilates but now I’m back lifting again.

However, I’m happy to report that I have some little wins along the way. I can now lift all my groceries and Ashton at the same time, while running to the car. I am much more flexible and can even do the splits. Still can’t do handstands though. I can do half a pull up – getting there, slowly. My lower body is definitely stronger than my upper. I lift much heavier than a year ago. I squat 62.5kg and deadlift 85kg, my recent personal best. And I hear many of you gasp.

 

 

My fitness journey chloeash

 

 

Some of you would say I’m strong. But let me tell you, people ask me why I lift so heavy. “Do you want to look like a man with muscles bulging here and there? Why do you take protein powder? Isn’t that for those who want to get bigger? Won’t lifting so much weight make you look manly?” All those misconceptions and uninformed, uneducated questions make me go bonkers. There is no short answer because it takes a lot of reading and understanding to really know about nutrition and how our body works.

Let me just tell you in short that us women in general don’t have the hormones to make us look like Hulk. While losing weight and watching my calorie intake, I will sacrifice some muscles. I need to minimize that by lifting heavy, shocking the body into thinking that I need to preserve all the muscles I can to do the crazy shit. So, optimally, the body will lose fat instead of muscles. That is really what all of us want. Lose fat, not just weight from water or muscles. That said, I’ll need the time to achieve what I want to achieve, and once they actually SEE the results, they MIGHT understand. And when I’m much closer to my goal, I’d probably have to add much more cardio to the routine.

Then again, I live in Asia, in a smaller town nonetheless. Women are supposed to look small and skinny with flawless porcelain skin. That’s the typical standard of beauty here. Many eat like birds. Some eat like a teacup chihuahua. I see it differently though. I want a body that not only looks but is fit and healthy, a body that is strong enough to protect myself and my little ones. A body with defined arms, perky butt and strong legs. While smaller than most men at the gym, I lift heavier than they do. I get looks that say “whoa!” and some “WTF” ones but I like that. I like feeling strong. It’s definitely one of my motivations 🙂 I strive for an athletic body, and I am working towards it. All I need is consistency, patience, persistence and faith in the program my husband designed for me.

** Bear in mind this is my personal thoughts on what I want for myself. I’m not saying that what you’re doing or not doing is wrong, and that my way is right. What I’m sharing is what I think works best for me. A personal journey of trial and error to a healthier body. There are too many sensitive people around who take things personally that I need to put up this disclaimer. **

 

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

 

Fitness Check In #7: It’s All About The Food

It’s been a year since I started this journey and you know what? I progressed and got stuck, then progressed again and now I’m half stuck. It’s like 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Is this only normal? Can’t we just march on without slumps? Guess I’m a weak human after all. I’ve been maintaining my strength, but my size has not really changed. For that, it’s really all about the food. I doesn’t matter if you did ab exclusive workouts every single day. Those Pins you see that say, do this if you want smaller abs, or do this if you want legs for days – they don’t work if you don’t clean up your food intake. If you want to look smaller, just eat less and eat the right food. And that’s why these fitness experts always tell you your nutrition is most important.

 

 

My fitness journey chloeash

 

 

So that brings me to… what if I really enjoy different sorts of foods? I want to enjoy all types of food and be happy. That’s my biggest weakness. Food. And it’s an every day battle for me. It’s like I talk to myself, I fight with myself, and most of the time Evil Foodie Lily wins! So then I’d feel bad later and go workout like crazy, just to burn off those junk that I ate instead of burning the excess fats already in my body. And that’s why, Lily did not progress the last 6 months. First 6 months, Lily did well. Lily had clear goals. Then Lily’s old bad habits started resurfacing and everything went swinging like a yoyo! Lily. Bad.

I think writing this down does help me put things in perspective. I need to set clear short term goals again. I need to find something that will kick my ass and make me WANT to do this all over again, to break that mental threshold, to push that psychological boundary. Maybe I’m now in my comfort zone. Comfort zones are dangerous!

What’s your daily food intake like? Are you those people I want to hate? You can eat whatever you want and not put on weight? Or are you like me, you put on weight easily? If you’re like me, then what do you do to control your weight and not go fuck it, I’m just going to eat this?

I need sound advice. HALP!

 

(btw, have you entered my giveaway? Ending soon!)

 

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

Fitness Check In #6

My first fitness post in 2016! I must say that it’s true. What is? The gym is so packed in the beginning of the year! November and December were so quiet, I could have the whole gym to myself. Now, I gotta wait to use the machine? Crazy. Let’s see how long this lasts. I’m giving it ’til March until their resolution wears off. Hahahaha! I talked about how I did more high intensity cardio in the last post, and even gave you some examples of my exercises <here>. Everything is well and good, until I decided to incorporate weight lifting again. I lost a lot of strength! I had to go back to pushing myself real hard to do heavy squats and deadlifts and it’s tough. I’m about a month into it now, and muscle memory is an amazing thing. I’m about 90% back to my previous strength. If you follow my Instagram, you’ll see a few videos of me in action.

 

 

My fitness journey chloeash

 

 

My workouts are really simple. They target bigger muscle groups to burn more fat and higher repetitions for a good cardio as well. Before I start, I’d warm up on the treadmill (jog) for about 5 minutes. After my workout, I’d do a proper stretch and warm down by walking. If I want to get more cardio in, I usually jog for another 15 minutes at the end of the workout. When it’s a rest day, I’ll do about 3 x 5-minute HIIT sessions. I’ve also been enjoying doing intervals on the treadmill. 30seconds at intensity 5, another 30 seconds at intensity 7 and another 30 seconds at intensity 10. Repeat 10 times. If you’re fit, you’ll want to up the sprint session to make it 30:30:45.

Let’s now talk nutrition.

I suck at it. I fell off the bandwagon for a few months. I crave bad foods just by the smell of it. And I did cave. I am in no position to be lax with myself, so if I didn’t give myself a clear plan of food intake, I’d probably either starve myself or just binge. Yup, I’m that bad. Some people say, eat moderately. You don’t have to count calories. Just eat more vegetables. Yeah, but what is moderate? You might over or under estimate if you didn’t know your portion size in the first place. So, I NEED to count my calories and macros (carbs, protein and fats) to know what I’m fueling my body with, according to my weight and activity level.

It’s getting boring, apologies for that.

So yeah, many people have fitness goals, but we’re all different. There is no one fixed way to get there and what works for me might not work for you. My end goal is to size drop and increase muscle mass, so proper macro intake with calorie deficit is the most important, followed by workouts that complement my goal. It’s a new way of life to a stronger body. Age is just a number and I don’t want to use it as an excuse.

Also, while that’s the end goal, the short term goals tend to divert my route a little. So it’s been up, down, left, right, sometimes a halt, but it’s been fun nonetheless and not boring at all 🙂 I still can’t do an unassisted pull up. It’s so bloody hard. But I can do different variations of push ups which I’m quite proud of.

I tried doing a headstand, but being upside down, having the blood rush to my head made me all woozy. I freaked out. I freak out easily. When I freak out, I yelp. Don’t be like me. Be calm 😉

I just typed all that in 10 minutes, so excuse the brain fart. I’m not going to proof read either because it’s past midnight and I want to head off to bed. I hope I didn’t bore you too much. I needed to write it down, rambly thoughts and all, so I can track my fickleness and see if I’m still heading in that general direction.

Cheerios for now!

 

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

 

Fitness Check In #5

It’s been more than 3 months since my last update. 3 months ago, I had trouble eating clean. Now, I still do (HAHA!), but with less struggle. If I can’t eat clean 90% of the time, then maybe I’ll just start with more than 50% of the time, then 75% of the time? Sometimes I’m really good but sometimes, I’m bad. Ah well, such is life. The past 3 weeks however, I got a little more motivated and I’m a little more consistent in eating less carbs (my WEAKNESS!). I guess my body is quite sensitive to carbs because when I eat less of it, I do notice less bloating in general. Darn it. Well, it’s a good thing now that I’m sure, but still, darn it. Erm, actually, I knew about this, but have been on denial, and now that I’ve accepted it, I’m all ARGH, fark!

 

 

My fitness journey chloeash

 

 

I’ve eased off heavy lifting, and have been doing more cardio. Running bores me to no end, and so I’ve opted for more challenging short intense workouts that kill me in less than half an hour. They’re High Intensity Interval Training, and it’s no joke when you really put in your maximum effort. If you can still talk and laugh after 5 minutes into the workout, you’re not putting enough effort. It should make huff and puff, and maybe get you cussing thinking why you started, and by the end, your body is just a pile of jelly. After a good minute or 2 rest however, you should feel awesome and refreshed, and beat at the same time. Still with me?

Melissa Bender has a large variety of HIIT workouts on her website / YouTube channel and they’re free for your reference. I like that she doesn’t get carried away motivating you by shouting louder and louder. She remains calm and collected, and her workouts are short and effective. I also like to come up with my own HIIT depending on how my body feels. Here are 2 examples of my HIIT workouts. No equipment needed, all you need is to download Gymboss app on your phone and it’s free. I actually have my own Gymboss (it’s an interval timer) but I also have the app ready just in case I misplaced the timer.

 

Beginners (30 seconds on – maximum effort, 10 seconds rest)

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Squats
  3. Butt kicks (running on the spot, kicking your own butt)
  4. Lunges (right leg only)
  5. Lunges (left leg only)
  6. Plank
  7. Jumping Jacks
  8. Push ups (full push ups or knee push ups, depending on your strength)
  9. Squats
  10. Plank

Rest for a minute or two then repeat

 

Intermediate / Advanced (45 seconds on – maximum effort, 15 seconds off)

  1. Burpess
  2. Star Jumps
  3. Mountain Climbers
  4. Plank
  5. Burpess
  6. Star Jumps
  7. Full push ups
  8. Front kicks
  9. Side plank (left)
  10. Side plank (right)

Rest for a minute or two then repeat

 

I always change up my HIIT so my body gets new challenges. Tough but satisfying. Have fun!

 

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

 

Fitness Check In #4

It’s been about 6 months since I started working out. I had my first baby in October 2007 and got back in shape pretty fast. It’s probably because it’s only my first pregnancy, and I was also much younger. Then, 2 years later, after the second pregnancy, it was tougher to get back in shape. I had 2 to take of, worked full time, and couldn’t find the extra time to work out. Those motivated hardcore exercise buffs will say that’s just an excuse, but really, if I had the time, I’d want to get some rest. I was beat! So I got comfortable. I got bigger. November 2014, I had my 3rd baby, and my goodness, I thought I looked like a hippo. For my 5 foot 3 frame, I was overweight. I took 2 months to recover, then started on yoga. After 3 months of giving birth to Ashton, I started lifting weights and doing high intensity cardio. 5 months after my pregnancy, I fit into my normal clothes and now, 9 months after, I can fit into clothes I couldn’t fit into for years. Am I happy? Yes. Is it enough? No.

 

My fitness journey chloeash

 

Aesthetically, I am nowhere near where I want to be. I need to lose another 2 dress sizes, at least. Performance wise, my stamina is just not there yet. On Saturday, I joined and completed the Viper Challenge. It was a 15-obstacle 10km course across the mountain. It was challenging, but do-able. It’s only 10km, while some courses run for 21km. I realized I was really afraid of heights, darn it. I wasn’t afraid of dirt and mud, but man… getting up high and swinging down was new and scary for me. So scary, I let go of my hand and fell into the muddy water. It also awakened the competitive spirit in me, because I WANT TO CONQUER IT. I need to train more, be more agile, and I also need to run more, even though I hate it. My shins hate it.

So now that I have something to work for, my goals changed for the clearer. Improve stamina, increase upper body strength, lower body weight and increase agility & flexibility. I am happy, though, that I scratched one item off my to do list. Viper Challenge done! There are other obstacle courses like this, and maybe I’ll do another one next year. 21km? Hahahaha! Not at the moment, thank you very much. But I will be training for it – for next year. Woots!

 

xoxo Lily

 

 

Fitness Check In #3

Know when to rest. Listen to your body. That’s what I’ve learned from the past couple of months. I’ve been training pretty hard for a while, 6 days a week, crazy intense cardio (HIIT and Tabata), crazy heavy lifting, and the improvement to my strength and stamina kept me going. I was hooked! Then, maybe it’s from the fatigue of lack of rest and sleep, I started feeling tired. I kept pushing myself for a few more weeks and then I injured myself. From the injury, I had to rest but I didn’t. I kept pushing and I got sick. So I only got in 2 to 3 sessions a week, and I wasn’t performing optimally. Shit hit the fan when something goes wrong nearly every week. So, I got a good lecturing from the hubs about not knowing my own body and I had to really rest for 7 whole days.

 

 

My fitness journey chloeash

 

 

Then I had to build everything all over again – not from scratch, but I lost some strength and stamina, that’s for sure. There are times to know when to take a break. Yes, I believe we need to push ourselves but when the body says no, we just have to listen. There was also a nagging thought in my head that I need to pick up yoga again. I stopped for a while because I didn’t have the time in the day to do it. But I listened to my body and started morning practice again. I don’t do it every morning, but I try to squeeze in at least 2 sessions a week, on top of my regular training at the gym. My body feels less tight, and it’s good to be able to connect to myself again. To be honest, it is very difficult to do these, stay motivated and be consistent, given there are 3 children I have to take care of. The 8-month-old needs a lot of attention, and it is tiring. But I try.

I’ve fallen off the bandwagon in eating right though. I’m trying to get back on track slowly and man, it’s tough. I’m an emotional eater. Hahaha! So basically, this entry is more about my struggles. There are always ups and downs, I know… but when I’m down, I just need to buck up and pick myself up right? If only there’s an on off button!

What do you do when there’s a setback in achieving your goals?

 

 

xoxo Lily