12 do-anywhere moves to tone up all over

 

Disclaimer: The information below is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional help. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or making any other changes in your lifestyle, always consult with your physician and/or a certified coach.

toning-01

Most of us are now spending more hours than ever during the day driving in a car and/or sitting on a chair (I’m guilty too). In case you’re not informed, it’s a silent killer. Putting sad salads and gym memberships aside, you can get fit and take charge of your health by making one simple change: Give yourself half-hour or hourly breaks from your desk to go do these simple exercise moves.

For me, I’m a big believer of the growth mindset. By the same token, if you train your mind to treat physical activity as a stress release (rather than a source of stress), you’ll do yourself a huge favor by moving more throughout the day and stressing less by the end of the day. By now you probably know how easily stressed out I am already. A toned physique is just the bonus.

These are just some of my favorite just-do-it, no-equipment moves that keeps me on my toes and lifts my mood up, along with expert video demonstrations on how to do each of them properly:

 
 

1. Squat jumps


 

2. Jumping jacks


 

3. Crossover jumping jacks


 

4. Lunge jumps/Split hops


 

5. Burpees


 

6. Pushups


 

7. Bridges


 

8. Mountain climbers


 

9. Butt kicks


 

10. Reverse lunges + knee drives


 

11. Kneeling rear leg raises


 

12. Plank


 
 
 

Which exercise(s) are you going to try today?

 
 

P.S. Remember to keep breathing all day. Whether you’re in the blissful state of nirvana or merely surviving in one of those hectic days at work, remember that your breath is just about the only thing you do have control over.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

Follow on Bloglovin

 
 

On the run: 3 simply powerful mantras to keep you going


 

Not everybody loves the dreadmills. They’re boring (no winds, no sun), they’re uninspiring, and they make you feel like you’re never going to get anywhere. All you’re really do is running in place.

large-2

But don’t get me wrong. Despite the tough relationship I’ve had with the ‘mill, we’ve been going strong together for some time now. What I learned is that if you’re smart about it, you’ll get a workout just as effective as you do outdoors (all depends on your goals). No matter how much I despise it, it’s been about 6 years that I’ve trained consistently on a treadmill, and I still come back to it whenever I need to run my heart out.

Things changed ever since I relocated to Jakarta – I’ve significantly reduced my outdoor routine. Here I’d have to drive to my route just to run, which is just ridiculous, whereas in Frisco I would just get out of the house and run. I didn’t have to think about my phone, my wallet, my car keys and whatnot. There aren’t many green locations around where I live in the Big Durian, at least those that have a more private setting, and it sucks because I know I could last longer on my feet when I’m running close to nature (True story: One time, I broke my PR 10-miler in the rain at the Presidio without rest. And yes, I was that frustrated at that time of my life, and the drizzle just felt super invigorating for my soul).

So what did I do? I developed a system that allows me to draw energy from inward. What do I mean by that? Well, perhaps you’ll get the picture if I say what I’m about to say now applies to everything from running to real life: At some point, external reality will run out of resources to extract for you keep going. So when those inopportune circumstances do happen, it doesn’t mean that the universe is trying keep you from moving forward. You simply can’t move to the next level if you conclude those circumstances as an excuse for you to get lazy and stay put. When you really think about it, they happen because you need to push harder and become stronger, and by stronger, I don’t necessarily mean breaking another PR, finishing a race 30 seconds faster, and/or building a higher mileage in the next 3 weeks.

A huge part of nurturing that internal locus of control, at least, in running and lasting through the treadmill blahs, is positive self-talk. I know this sounds a bit woo-woo, but deep down I believe you and me and the rest of the world already know that logic and reasoning cannot explain how everything works.

The words I choose as my personal mantras may not be the kind sunshine and rainbows you get in self-help books, but they work for me to keep my spirits up till the end of the line for 2 infallible reasons: 1) Each mantra explicitly contains 2 syllables to form a steady 2-stride beat that matches my cadence, and 2) They all help me forget about the self-conscious ‘hows’ and ‘how-tos’ of it all and remind me of why I run in the first place as well as why I must keep running. I can’t promise a faster finish, but I can promise that you won’t stop at that moment when you feel like quitting the most. So go ahead, try chanting these mantras in your heart when the going gets tough:

 

Be soft.

large-1

I have to admit, I stole these words from Kurt Vonnegut. But it’s only recently that I discovered his message makes perfect sense as you run. For instance, normally I’d be pushing myself to injury with self-punishing words bouncing off my head. But wait till you try to instill a much kinder mentality in yourself, such as Vonnegut’s, and you’d be surprised by how easy the miles ahead can get. As I lighten up the weight of my shoulders, I could almost feel every fiber in me dissolving into the fluidity of the run. It’s what running’s supposed to feel like: You’re gentle with yourself and with the world around you. You turn into the organic force of nature that you are, and nothing else feels more at home than that moment you become one with the universe – it’s smooth, it’s intimate, and it’s liberating.

 

Let go.

tumblr_n060o2vqSZ1top10oo1_500

Sometimes when I’m running, instead of thinking less about the problems I’m having with my life, I’m thinking more into it. I start to see all the little things that I’ve done, the causes I’ve made, and everything else that’s wrong with me that’s led to those problems. So instead of coming out of the run feeling better, I feel even worse. Holding a grudge is a big burden on your otherwise healthy mentality, even if it’s a grudge you hold about yourself. So just let it go, because you’re not perfect and no human on earth will ever be.

 

(I can’t). God can.1 

tumblr_my7mc4aWVQ1s4vlcyo1_500

Runners often use the ‘I can’ mantra to get pass their mid-race slog. But for some reason, it’s never worked for me. It may be because I’m too scared to take a chance to be slightly more confident than usual, for fear that if I fail to achieve the particular higher target, I’ll lose trust in myself significantly during the next mile. So here I am to admit: There are a lot of things I cannot do. There are many more things I cannot understand. However, I’m a believer of the God that sacrificed His only son’s life, just for someone as un-able as me. I wish I can do so many things to show passing observers and dedicated readers alike that inexhaustible grace – a great many ambitious things. But the fact that I can’t do it all a time doesn’t stop me from believing and surrendering myself to the Greater Good in the long run.

 

Run by my side;
Live in my heartbeat;
Give strength to my steps.
As the cold surrounds me,
As the wind pushes me,
I know you surround me.
As the sun warms me,
As the rain cleanses me,
I know you are touching me,
Challenging me,
Loving me.

And so I give you this run.
Thank you for matching my stride.

Amen.

[Beyond Blessed: Runner's Prayer]

 
 

As you can see, there’s a lot of work going on in the mind. Most would think long-distancers are physical extremists, when clearly, it’s 90% mental work. Given the right fuel and some restful sleep45 minutes on a treadmill would feel like a breeze, and with these mantras taken to heart, you’ll certainly be on your way to reaching your running goals during the next race.

Which one of these mantras are you looking to try? Let me know how it works out for you.

 

P.S. Learn why mantras are so effective from The Power of a Running Mantra by Doug Hay. It’s 100% FREE.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

Follow on Bloglovin

 
 

via JUST DO IT ✓ and Pine on Tumblr / living2day and fitnessmotivation on weheartit

 

Footnote(s):
  1.  For this mantra, you can change it to ‘love can’, because they practically mean the same thing. []

Build your base: Nice, long, steady treadmill workout with fast finish

 

Disclaimer: The information below is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional help. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or making any other changes in your lifestyle, always consult with your physician and/or a certified coach.

 

HIIT is all the craze these days. The ACSM1 was right: You see Paleo devotees running around, sporting their sturdy physiques from all that sweat sesh from CrossFit and P90X.

pretty-girl-running-on-treadmill-at-gym-300x297

Truth is, HIIT is nothing new. Experts have been advocating these time-saving workouts that anyone can squeeze in daily in their busy schedules.

While I have nothing against them (I do love a good quick-and-intense burn on most days), I still believe in building a solid foundation of long slow distance before getting myself to that fitness level.

As time goes by, I personally think it’s more important to minimize the chances of getting yourself injured than to get fitter and stronger. I may very well be a timid tortoise, but naturally, the hare that runs around with tremendous energy all day gets higher chances of losing balance, falling down, and breaking a leg.

Trust me, I’ve been there. Instead of reaping HIIT’s benefits, doing it more actually prevents me from building my pace in the long run (poor posture, blisters and bruises, IT band syndrome, anyone?). Matthew Basso, president of Iron Lotus Personal Training, breaks HIIT all down according to your personal goals: If you want to lose weight, build muscles, and gain strength, doing HIIT 1-4 a week is great. If you want to build endurance, it probably won’t help much.

So what exactly is HIIT?

Wikipedia defines high-intensity interval training as “an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.”

As much as I love intense exercises, I have a long-term soft spot for long slow distance. I think best during and after logging those miles; something about being still and breathing deep provides the clarity I need with all the stormy waters in my head2.

In that sense, these days I’m treating HIIT as a supplement to my miles instead of doing full-circuits of it (although I still do them whenever I feel sluggish), because squat jumps and burpees do get your heart rate up pretty quickly, which comes in handy when your mind tells you to quit the last mile toward the finishing line.

With that in mind, I want to share the standard long and steady workout (with a final sprint!) I do whenever I’m hopping on the treadmill:

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 4.06.48 PM

I included hill repeats because they build up your endurance over time. Plus, running on incline is easier on the joints (even though you’ll end up huffing and puffing more). Please feel free to adjust speeds according to your running level.


 

It’s more about conserving energy and holding yourself back in the first 30 minutes of getting your heart rate up, saving it all for the end, whereas HIIT is about spending it all right now.

I know the steady state can be boring for many, and not everyone has the luxury to spend as much time if their fitness goals are purely aesthetic. But for me, just the motivation you get to beat your last PR is enough to keep me moving on the ‘mill. Plus, it’s more of a mental work than you think.

Nonetheless, I guarantee you’ll come out stronger – in fitness and in life – by the end of this workout. I recommend bringing some good music to get you longer in the zone.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

Follow on Bloglovin

 
 

via Angry Trainer Fitness

 

Footnote(s):
  1. American College of Sports and Medicine []
  2. Hence the blog is called Stillwater, right? []

Get in, get out: My go-to 25-minute elliptical workout

 

Disclaimer: The information below is for educational/entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional help. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or making any other changes in your lifestyle, always consult with your physician and/or a certified coach.

 

Confession1: I’m a cardio queen. After years of experimenting, I found no other form of cardiovascular exercise I enjoy more than running.2

5be6fbf6f32db9ae_elliptical_lady.preview

But several months ago, I was hit by a really bad IT band syndrome on my left leg. Even walking became difficult. The pain creeped up really slowly during the weeks before, and I just thought it’s one of those sores that’ll go away as long as I keep moving those muscles. But the pain only got worse.

It forced me to stop playing during one of my weekly tennis rallies – I couldn’t run after the balls as fast as I could, much less control my shots as accurately as I’ve done before. And then there’s the crazy painful sports massage. The following weeks after left me completely restrained from hitting the treadmill whenever I’m at the gym. Either I skip cardio entirely or choose to work with some other cardio equipment until I fully recover.

This leads me to reunite with my longtime pal, the elliptical trainer, and it’s something I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with.

It doesn’t help that out of the four basic components of physical fitness, i.e. speed, strength, flexibility, and stamina, I value stamina the most. Too often, the longer I stay during an elliptical workout, the more I find myself ended up compromising myself and go easy.

It just doesn’t take as much mental effort to last through an elliptical workout as on the treadmill, and there’s always the voices in my head that will come while the clock is ticking (“I’ve got resistance to keep up with the intensity”, “I can lay low for a bit with my balance”, “No need to go long when I’m already this fast”).

It’s very different from running, at least for me, where your balance, posture, and movements are entirely arbitrary.

But here’s the good news: This machine is much easier on your joints, as you’re not stressing them a lot like when you’re pounding the pavements. When used correctly, the elliptical shouldn’t cause knee pain. As it turns out, those precise reasons I don’t find the it as challenging have become the reasons that allowed me the time to heal while still keeping myself active. So I figured it can also benefit anyone who’s recovering from a running injury, but still wants a gripping workout to keep those cardiac muscles strong.

That said, I want to share this particular workout today. It’s the minimum standard whenever I’m running short on time:

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 2.00.24 PM

Depending on your current fitness level, the goal of the resistance is to maximize your use of perceived exertion. Also note that there isn’t any particular speed requirement: As long as your heart stays within the 150-200bpm range, you know you’re getting an effective aerobic workout.3


 

So the next time you rationalize yourself out of cardio with the after-burn effect, or simply decide to forgo the gym, think about this: The time you need for this workout is equals to the time you use watching a sitcom episode (or about seven cat videos on YouTube). Choose one that your future self will thank you for.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 
 

via Healthy Relationship

 

Footnote(s):
  1. and this may not come as a surprise []
  2. Although swimming comes to a close. []
  3. Speaking of which, please check your target heart rates here, as reported by the American Heart Association. []

Fitness Journal: Long note, short run

1.25 mi run in 14:12 min (pace: 11’20″ / mi)

Music: International Departures with Myon & Shane 54 Episode 135


8 sets of 20-rep squats
 throughout the day, alternating between normal squats and sumo squats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just in case you have no idea how to perform a sumo squat, take a look at this video. I have been one of those who perform workouts without proper form, and you don’t want that, trust me. Don’t focus on whether you’re going to make it through all the sets; focus on your form and take it slow… you’ll be fine.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXJrBgI2RxA]
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shqsb5Ke7gI]

***

Notes:

Okay, okay, I lied. To you and to myself. I know I said I don’t want to know how far and how fast I go, but I did use a Nike+ monitor in my left shoe. I don’t want to know but I wanna know, get it? I don’t.

As long as during the run, I was enjoying the moment, not stressed out looking back and forth at my iPod nano.

First run at the Embarcadero again. Brings back lots of memories… private memories, just my body moving with trance music when it’s still dawn.

When I was at the Pier this morning, I almost don’t believe why I stopped running completely. The atmosphere is so calming – it’s not very sunny, a bit windy and very chilly, there’s not many tourists in the morning (less crowded) and all you see are fellow joggers/runners running past me. I am happy to exchange smiles with some who are quite panting but still managed to give a genuine smile and keep their heads up. I smile back in return, not knowing who these strangers are, except that they’re the ones who give a s**t to wake up every morning and take time to reflect upon their lives, running away from the hustle and bustle, put the messy pieces together with each stride, and come back to reality in a much relaxed state.

I was one of those fast runners who don’t give a s**t about even looking at other fellow runners’ faces, other than getting to my destination as fast as I can. That’s bad, really bad. Look what happened! (1. disappearance of menstrual cycle; 2. depression; 3. never-ending diets that load me weight I’ve lost; 4. impatience; short-circuit; 5. extra-low self-esteem). Let’s skip the crap and fast-forward: I’m a traditionalist and a big believer of long, slow, steady progress now. God tests your faith.

I learned the hard way that security, taking good care of things before they become a problem, is better than solving problems in the first place. Which comes back to the main motivation of running: If you focus on maintaining your health above everything else, which is an intrinsic motivation, you’ll take care of yourself better and increase that feeling of self-worth.

I have not reach the runner’s high yet (it’s a short run, plus I’m not fit enough at my current state), but I have no doubts that I can reach that point again some time in the not-so-distant future.

Anyway, I’ve learned some things that doesn’t work for me over the years I run, and today I don’t follow these lessons. I don’t feel qualified giving advice for anybody. These are just things I want to keep in mind, so that I won’t hurt myself in the future, especially now that I’ve got someone who loves and cares for me very much. So these are my personal reminders:

1.Don’t wear baggy clothing. You’ll have a hard time trying not to be sloppy. Keep it light and keep it tight. Your clothes must fit your frame.


2. Respect the distance – no matter how short or long it is. 
Like I said, I used to be the one who don’t bother. It’s just a very difficult attitude in running, and in life, when you hold up too much pride in yourself, and that you self-sabotage yourself to work up to your ideals and don’t admit where you are right now. I obviously can’t run a full 60-minute workout at my current fitness level. I’m not the person living in the body I used to be. I can be in that body again, which can be mine for as long as I want but it can only be lived in the right attitude, a great respect for your body and every body else. Okay, I’m just going to quote Amby Burfoot here from his book, The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life:

You can’t go far in running without respect. First, you have to respect the distance. which is often said about marathons but applies equally to all distance running. If you don’t understand the many ways running can challenge your body and mind, it can overwhelm you.
Second, there’s the mutual respect all runners feel for each other. It doesn’t matter what your 10k time is or how fast I’ve run the marathon. The experience is what matters, and the experience is basically the same for all of us. An exercise physiologist can essentially “prove” that a 4-hour marathoner “works harder” than a 2-hour marathoner, even though it seems ludicrous to say this about the slower runner. But when different runners begin talking about a marathon, or any other running, they realize they’ve been through essentially the same thing. A true runner understands this.

3. Keep your head up.
 Stand tall. Look ahead. BE CONFIDENT, simple and sweet as that. Why do I want to go for a run this morning at that long stretch of piers I once used to know so well? I don’t know, and I don’t know if I’m going to make it long enough, considering my fitness level today compared to before. It’s because now I bother. I now care. I now have someone that I care. I care about myself in return. If somebody asks me why do I run? I’ll answer:

BECAUSE I CAN.

Quoting Christian Grey there. And just to add to the note… My boyfriend read to me a line that resonates a lot of truth to him (and to me) too while we’re on the phone:

Anastasia, I’m delighted that you’ve met my parents. Why are you so filled with self-doubt? It never ceases to amaze me. You’re such a strong, self-contained young woman, but you have such negative thoughts about yourself. If I hadn’t wanted you to meet them, you wouldn’t be here. Is that how you were feeling the whole time you were there? (Fifty Shades of Grey)


Urgh.
I don’t know. I just assume all women have a lower confidence level than men in general. But now I think it’s just me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muchaluva,
Stace

5 Must-do moves

BLOG

November 2011

 

There are just some days when you have no time to hit the gym. That doesn’t mean you won’t have the opportunity to sweat, even if it’s just a little. In fact, short, high-impact workouts are proven more effective for boosting your metabolism than long, low-impact ones.

I found that doing circuits of these moves, which works your essential muscle groups, energizes me from head to toe.

Pushup

Picture from Wikipedia

 

Do an 8 to 12-rep pushup, then build up to 4 reps total. That’s enough to wake your arms, abs, butt and thighs up.

Crunch

Work your core for 20 reps. Do around 4 to 6 reps, and you’ll feel the burn.

 

Plank

A plank is essentially a static pushup, focusing on strengthening your core. Hold your abs still for 1 minute. If you’re can’t hold that long, 30 seconds is good to go. Do this 3 times a day for great blood circulation.

 

Lunges

Do 15 reps, then 4 sets until you feel the burn in the inner thighs.

 

Squats

Same as your lunges. Squeeze as low as possible until you feel the burn in your butt. Personally, though, I need to do 20 reps and 8 sets to feel the burn, because my schoolwork requires me to sit around way too much.

*Burpee (or squat thrusts)

If you still feel like panting some more (loving that endorphins, doncha?) a burpee is a great workout to get your heart pumping at its best. Here is a great video by diet.com to illustrate how to do burpees properly:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIQx1FiQt50]

Feelin’ better now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muchaluva,
Stace