Archive for Fitness

 

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Fitness Update: My Regular Workout Routine

14 June 2016

Nike Sneakers

Hey hey, how you all doing with your fitness activities?

I thought I’d share my regular workout routine, as a way of writing it down, so I can refer to it and track my progress. Because at the moment, it’s just a jumbled list in my head!

I’m not a professional trainer, I don’t have a certificate in fitness or nutrition. I have NO idea if I’m breaking any sacred fitness rules. But I have been to tonnes of different workout classes in my lifetime, watched enough workout videos, read up about routines… enough to know what I like, what I don’t like and what I’m comfortable with.

So this is just that – a routine that I like.

I don’t like workouts that are too jumpy and cardio-y. If I want a cardio and aerobic workout, I run or do sprints, because they are most efficient for me, time wise. Plus I love running.

With my workouts, I’m more focused on my muscles, toning and strength. I’m not trying to burn masses of energy or lose weight.

This routine is my “comfortable” limit. I don’t sweat too much. I don’t strain myself too much. This is just my personal maintenance.

(Which is why I started the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide a few weeks ago; I was keen to start a bit more of a structured routine to give me an extra push.)

My Regular Workout goes something like this:

2 minutes of yoga stretches – various yoga poses, bending over to touch my toes, lower back stretches, leg stretches.

20 jump squats, 20 push ups, 20 lunges, 20 tricep dips, 20 crunches, 20 weighted lunges (2 x 5kg dumbbells), 20 weighted squat with standing press (raise dumbbells vertically upwards), 20 bicep curls, 20 jack knives (2 x 3kgs), 20 bicycle crunches, then a series of butt exercises (fire hydrant!) and core exercises (planks, commando).

Then I’ll repeat… until I’m tired and can’t do anymore!

Do you have a regular workout? Stuff you make up yourself?


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Fitness: How I Keep Motivated and Active

23 May 2016

Running

This past week, my fitness mojo has been struggling. It’s a real, begrudging, constantly-hitting-snooze kind of struggle.

The weather is now cold, wet and rainy… and the LAST thing I want to do is take off my 3 layers of warm, snuggly clothing, put on my running shorts and go outside – oh god!

But it turned out that my various pseudo-motivation techniques won out and I did manage to get a few workouts done haha.

I’m not a fitness guru, or model, or celebrity, or anyone who has to work out and look good as part of their job.

I’m just a regular, suburban mother of 3 kids… I genuinely love the feeling I get when I exercise, I love when I feel fit and strong, I love being out and about, I love pushing myself, I love the dialogue in my head when I exercise, I love the post-exercise feeling and I love my body being the shape it is.

So here are some ways I keep myself motivated and active!

 

1) Have fitness buddies.

I don’t actually exercise with them! I just have a few fitness-keen friends, who I chat to over Whatsapp or Messenger… we shoot each other messages now and then, saying “Been to yoga recently?” or “Did you run on the weekend?” or “My bum hurts from my workout!!”

Fortunately for me, I have 2 very keen fitness crazy sons (aged 13 and 11) and they like to keep fit for their sports. So they are always nagging me to go for a run, do a round of workouts, do some weights. It’s awesome.

 

2) Mix it up.

Yes I get hell bored when I do the same thing over and over.

I always try to mix my fitness up: Yoga. Running. Sprinting. Boxing. Weights. Pilates. Workout routines. High intensity interval training workouts from Youtube.

 

3) Be flexible.

If I make too many goals or plans, I often break them and feel really annoyed at myself.

So I don’t have a structured routine. I tend to be very flexible with what I do each week.

 

4) Try something completely new.

I’m about to start Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, (not so much because I want rock hard abs like the girls on Instagram) I just want some new routines and a more structured workout.

Rock hard abs maaaaay be a nice side effect, but I doubt it, because I eat too much chocolate and instant noodles.

 

5) Try a drop in class 

To find new activities and to add a bit of fun and adventure in my life… I’ve been popping into places which offer a free trail.

I tried Hot Yoga class (38C) the other day aaaaand…. it’s not for me. I didn’t really like the sweating and the intense heat. I felt that I could get an equally effective workout doing a regular yoga class or a HIIT workout.

I’m keen to try a barre class, a proper boxing class and do a bit more rock climbing?

 

6) Buy in bulk.

Buy a pack of 10 class passes to save money.

I’m not a fan of gyms anymore, as they don’t suit my fitness interest, lifestyle and the fact that I get bored easily.

But I appreciate they suit of lot of other people. And I know that “Not Wasting Money” is a good motivator!

Hence if I buy a pack of 10 passes, you can be sure that I’ll be going to all 10 classes dammit.

 

7) Exercise at night

My kids go to bed around 8-8:30pm. My husband and I will usually head over to the lounge room to relax, chat about our day, turn on the TV or hop on our computers.

I will usually set up my yoga mat and start doing some gentle stretches (because it feels really good at the end of the day)… soon my body warms up and I’ll start to do harder stuff (like crunches), then I’ll get annoyed that I’m doing a workout in my jeans, so I’ll change into my fitness gear and start doing a full workout.

I usually do this every evening. And I feel absolutely fantastic after!

 

8) Get nice activewear.

Yep I’m pretty vain. I like the nice stuff. I like the quality. I looooove the feeling of amazing tights against my skin. No more Target or Kmart stuff for me.

I get the good stuff so I can make an excuse to wear them every day!

 

Yep, I think that’s about all the motivational stuff that actually keeps me going.

Hope you find it useful!

Have an amazing week!

xxx


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An After-Holiday Fitness Update

9 May 2016

15k Run
Hi everyone!

It was Mother’s Day yesterday… and my husband and kids asked me what I wanted as my Mother’s Day Treat.

I said, “I’d like 2 free hours so I can have a run!”

So after a morning of pancakes and presents, my wonderful husband took all three kids to the city for the day, just so I could have my run. Yay!

I ran around the Swan River, around the 3 Perth Bridges (The Narrows Bridge, the Causeway and the Graham Farmer Freeway).

I think I ran 12km (at a 6:30min/k pace) and walked 3kms, totalling a distance of 15km. I was pretty happy with that. I felt great after. A bit sore and tired though.

I haven’t had a big run in aaaages. The last time I ran 12kms was two months ago. Since then I’ve been doing short 2 – 6 km runs here and there. Then I picked up swimming. Then work got busy. Then I went on holiday.

I’ve slowly started to fill my week:
Sunday – Long Run
Monday – Rest, evening yoga at home
Tuesday – High intensity training workout
Wednesday – Yoga
Thursday – EMS session (I did a review here)
Friday – Yoga
Saturday – Light stretching in the evening

It’s been so nice to get back into the fitness groove again!


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My New Love: Yoga

2 April 2016

Yoga Love

Hi everyone! Hope you all had an amazing weekend :)

I want to share my new love… yoga.

Now I feel like I’m 10 years late in the game. But it’s better late than never!

I’ve been to lots of yoga classes over the years and I’ve never really loved it.

I went to classes at general fitness gyms, community centres, specialised yoga studios, a beachside yoga place, hipster/organic/uber cool studios.

They were nice. They were ok. The workout was meh. It was nothing great. I’d rather do a pilates class. Or a Body Pump class. Or hey, I’d rather just go for a run, because that’s much cheaper!

However I’ve recently joined a yoga class in Perth called Bodyscape Yoga and my mind was blown.

I tried out a few classes… and whenever I did a class, the next day I would wake up feeling freaking AMAZING.

Now, I don’t seem to wake up with an aching back, stiffness and soreness in my muscles and joints.

I seriously feel younger and more energetic. I bounce happily out of bed in the mornings!

It’s a crazy feeling and I love it!

It is definitely something I am adding to my overall fitness activities :)

xxx


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Fitness Update: Running Essentials

30 March 2016

Run

A few of my running essentials: Water, tunes, running watch and running fuel. I tend to drive to a nice running spot, so I can leave all my bits and pieces in my car. Adidas Originals Sneakers from here.

Monday: Nothing!

Tuesday: 6km run

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: Nothing!

Friday: Practice yoga at home

Saturday: 30 minute HIIT workout at home

Sunday: Practice yoga at home

 


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Fitness Update: With a bit of swimming

20 March 2016

Swimming

Here’s an update of my fitness activities from last week.

I haven’t been as active as usual, but hey, whatever.

Monday – Played a game of netball

Tuesday – Went Swimming!

For the first time in forever, I headed over to my local swimming pool to do some laps! I did 10 laps, which is 500m, but I struggled with the last 2 laps and had to stop midway to catch my breath. I was completely exhausted but I felt awesome :)

Wednesday – Yoga

Thursday – Ran 2km in the evening.

Friday – Camping with my family (Swimming, paddling, walking along the beach, sand boarding and climbing sand dunes)

Saturday – Camping

Sunday – Camping


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My No Fitness Update

6 March 2016

Chips

We had a kids party last weekend and I ate waaaay too much crappy, party food.

So I came down with a bit of food poisoning (actually it was just diarrhoea SORRY TOO MUCH INFO!!), I felt totally drained and tired all week and I did pretty much NOTHING exercisey.

Sunday: Prepping for a kids party all day. The running around after 10 kids! No actual exercising though.

Monday: Felt bad all day. I played a netball game in the evening. The other team had only 5 players against our 7, so we won 33 to 4 points. Terrible game. No one tried very hard. I hardly worked up a sweat. So after the game I went to a local sports field and tried to do a standard 5km run. I could only handle 2kms of slow, weak plodding because I felt so bad/drained. I felt angry, pissed off and SO frustrated with my body. I even had a bit of a cry because I felt so crappy!

Tuesday: Nothing

Wednesday: Nothing

Thursday: Nothing

Friday: Nothing

Saturday: Nothing

Sunday (today): Nothing!

On the up side, my weight went down haha! There’s nothing like a bit of gastro to flush out my system :P

Time to reset my eating then ease back into the fitness.


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Fitness Update For The Week

27 February 2016

Running Gear

I’ve been doing pretty well with my fitness activities this week!

Sunday: Ran 12km, 6:39 min/km

Monday: Netball Game and Body Weight Exercises

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: Bootcamp

Thursday: Ran 5km, 5:49min/km (ouch!)

Friday: Pilates

Saturday: Rest day!

(I do my bodyweight exercises, yoga and pilates at home… so apart from my bootcamp sessions and netball, all my exercises have been free!)

Pictured: Nike Free 5.0 Sneakers (on sale), Lululemon Sports Bra, Nike Running Shorts (or similar here)

 


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Increasing My Pace with 30 Second Sprint Training

17 February 2016

Perth River Run, 12km Clockwise

On the weekend, I ran 12km at my fastest pace yet — 6:12 minutes/km.

I’m a bit proud of myself!

I have been running at a pace of 6:30min/km for a really long time now.

Admittedly, it’s pretty slow. It’s OK. I don’t push myself too hard. I don’t want to hurt myself.

I know I can run a distance of 12km or longer at that pace… and I am still able to function perfectly well for the rest of the day – this is quite important to me. I don’t have time to take a nap in the middle of the day!

But I seemed to be stuck at that pace. Which annoyed me.

So I decided to try out some interval training, where you run for a bit and walk for a bit. Most people advised me to start slow and easy. 2 minute run, 1 minute walk. Or 5 minute run, 2 minute walk.

However, I decided to try 30 second sprint training instead.

(Because it seemed like more fun haha!)

It’s a bit intense. And they say that you should consult your doctor before you try.

I thought I’d be fine. I do lots of sprinting when I play indoor netball. And I run around until I can’t breathe and my face is red and pounding and I want to throw up. I’m used to doing a few sprints here and there.

So I did this sprint training a few times this week and it was sooooooo much fun!

I enjoyed it so much because it was such a thrill to move my whole body so quickly.

It was also humbling because I realised how quickly my legs just gave up.

I can sprint really fast ONCE, then my next sprint is slower, then each sprint after that is slower still, then I’m a quivering wreck because I’m so tired.

I can’t do it for very long. I can only do about 6 – 8 sprints.

But I think it’s really improved my running. And my netball too.

The flow on results have been really impressive for me.

Can’t wait to try more :)


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Do More Running

6 February 2016

Run: 1 Feb 2016Hi everyone!

Yep, one of my goals for the year was to: do more running.

I’m not trying to focus on any distances or speed; I just want to simply get back into it and try to find the love again.

So.

I did three runs this week, yay!

1) A short 2.5km run at my usual pace of 6:30 min/km.

2) An interval run – 30 second sprint and 30 second walk, for 10 minutes. I was absolutely shattered after that!

3) A long 12.5km run at my usual pace of 6:30 min/km. No stopping, except to drink some water!

The days have been really hot, so I have been waking up at 5:30 – 6am to go for a run, or waiting until 7pm when the heat has subsided. The fact that I can drag my ass out of bed in the morning, says a lot about how much I’m loving the feeling of being fit and strong again.

I’ve also been following yoga, pilates and workout videos at home, in the evenings, which has been – surprisingly – lots of fun.

I definitely have my fitness mojo back and I’m making the most of it!

Mango, Cucumber and Spinach Smoothie

This is my very horribly coloured, but delicious fruit smoothie with mango, pineapple, cucumber, mint and coconut water!

 


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Perth City Bridges Run: Thunderstorm

30 January 2016

Perth City Bridges Run Jan 2016

This weekend, I scheduled a run on a day the forecast was: 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms.

I guess I was hoping that the weathermen got it wrong!

I woke up bright and early at 5:30am, met up with my brother-in-law at 7am and we ran/walked a distance of 15km around the river, bridges and city.

I probably ran about 12km and walked 3km. My pace averaged around 6:30min/km.

I felt great after! I wasn’t drained or exhausted or suffering any pains.

I think I’ll work on some interval running to increase my speed and strength.

But overall I’m happy with doing regular 12km distances and I’ll stick with that for a bit. I might even be able to hit the 21km half marathon mark earlier than I thought!

Anyway, turns out that we started so early that we missed all the rain and thundery action. We didn’t get wet at all.

We even managed to squeeze in a coffee and chat later. Brilliant start to the weekend!

 


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My Running Watch: Garmin Forerunner 15

28 January 2016

Garmin Forerunner 15 Watch

I picked up a new toy for my run this weekend – a running watch!

It’s a Garmin Forerunner 15 (AUD$249) which I bought off eBay at an absolute BARGAIN price – hardly used and in perfect condition.

It’s a slightly older model and apparently a good entry level running watch. The top level Forerunner is something like AUD$699. Ouch! I bought the small sized watch and they only came in three “sporty” colour choices – bleh.

I resisted buying a running watch for years, because I didn’t want my runs to focus so much on gear and gadgets.

I had an overkill of gear and gadgets from my cycling days…. and what I love about running is the fact that I can do it while being so light and free.

Anyway, in the past, when I first started to run, I opted to just run with my smart phone to track my distance and speed.

However, I found that my sweat/body heat fogged up the camera lens and all my photos turned out weird. So I stopped using my phone and started using a Jawbone UP24, which was a gift. But that’s just a simple pedometer which tracks steps and sleep. The distance and times were not very accurate.

So! I’ve finally made the switch to a running watch to keep track of my times and distances.

It came with a heart rate tracker, which I’ve been told by my hardcore running friends, is very useful and steps up my running to a whole new level… but eeep, I don’t think I’ll go there yet!

I want to keep my runs sweet and simple!

Looking forward to another long run this weekend. Hope you all manage to get out and about too!

xxx


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Kickstarting My Fitness

20 January 2016

Road Running

Ha this photo made me crack up! I’m matchy matchy with the road! But I don’t know if it’s funny, lame… or possibly dangerous?

Whatever the case, I don’t actually run on the road, as I get super paranoid about being hit by a car.

A Fitness Update :

1) I’ve been running once a week, doing 3 – 4kms. Now I’ve increased it to twice a week, doing 5 – 6km distances.

I’m hoping to do longer distances (12 – 14kms) on the weekends.

2) I’ve also been going hard at my fitness workout program (just a series of exercises I made up for myself), twice a week.

3) Healthy eating has resumed. I’m slowly getting my portion sizes under control too.

4) I’ve started to do a bit more exercise with my boys too. They have expressed a desire to get fit before school starts, so I’m leading them through a few training exercises.

I really enjoy teasing them and the sarcastic banter between us, because at the moment I’m fitter than they are, and I have more stamina. But I’m sure they’ll overtake me really soon then I’ll be left far behind!

I’m feeling so much better these days.

All the endorphins, the dull ache of my muscles, the feeling of building strength in my body and the good sleep that comes after… all makes me feel very happy and satisfied. It’s so good for my mental state!


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5K Run with a $5 Coffee!

15 July 2015

5 Dollar Run

Haha! Look what I found while I was on my run!

Money! Of the paper variety!

Then on the way home, I took a detour and bought myself a takeaway coffee!

You can probably tell how EXCITED I am by the number of exclamation marks I’ve been using!!!!!

Best! Run! Ever!

Have a fab day everyone!!


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HBF Run for a Reason 2015

25 May 2015

So… I wasn’t really planning to do another running event this year!

I was just planning to work towards running longer distances and to increase my running stamina.

But the team at HBF asked me if I’d like to join in the fun at the HBF Run for a Reason and to do a bit of social media for them.

I accepted eagerly and committed myself to both the 12km distance and er… learning how to run and take photos at the same time??

Surely there’s an app for that.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

So this was me, the day before the event, picking up my participant running pack at the HBF Event Centre at the Perth Arena.

I asked a HBF Volunteer (a girl on her morning tea break) to take my photo… and I was trying to think of some clever way I could change the word REASON with my silhouette.

But all I could think of was TREASON and RANSOM… and decided they weren’t very appropriate haha. So I was just went with a kind of generic “Y”.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

On the morning of the run, I drove to my local train station and caught the train into the city. Participants were allowed free public transport all day. It was fast and easy.

There were thousands of other participants using public transport too, so the atmosphere of the city was buzzing with excitement.

The only downside of the early morning start was that it was so freaking cold!

I think it was 7-8C?? Thankfully the event had a special service where you can wear a jacket or jumper to the event, wear it for the 30-45 minutes while standing around soaking up the pre-event entertainment, and then leave it hanging on the railings at the start line, where it will be donated to charity!

For me, I clung onto every last bit of warmth from my jacket and waited till the *very last minute* to donate it.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

And we were off!

Unfortunately when I tried to run and take photos, they turned out terribly blurry.

So this is my “stand still and get into people’s way” photo.

 

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

One of the things I looked forward to during this event… was to run through the Northbridge Tunnel (1.6km).

I have never done it before and it was just one of my little running aspirations for my own city. Yay!

Again, I had to stop and take this photo, because I definitely couldn’t run backwards and take snaps.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

The whole event was dotted with photographers, TV cameras, cameras on cranes, camera drones… it was all quite exciting!

I spotted two of Perth’s coolest photographers (David Chong and David Broadway) camped by the side of the road. Ok yes, they were my mates, so I slowed down to take a photo of THEM at work.

In fact, I doubled back so I could do a silly slow-motion run for them to photograph.

I pretty much knew then, with all my stopping to take photos antics and uploading to socal media… that my running time for this event was going to be very average! Oh well!

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

The day cleared up and the sun came out.

It was such a beautiful day for a run next to the river!

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

I sprinted towards the finish line, but 10 metres before I crossed it… I stopped to take a photo haha!

Aaah in the end, it was so much fun. I really wasn’t concerned about my running time at all.

I was surrounded by so many people who laughed, cheered, skipped, sang. There were people in all shapes and sizes, young and old, all going different speeds, all getting out there, being active, raising money for a good cause – it was a really enjoyable day and a fantastic event to be a part of.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015
After the event, I was invited over to the corporate sponsor’s area for a VIP breakfast and massage.

That was veeeeery nice indeed! Thank you HBF!

For those interested in my running details…

I did a 12km running event in September last year (after I had a flu) and my running time was 1 hr 30 mins.

For this 12km run, including all my stops, my time was 1 hr 31 mins (which is a pace 7:35 min/km) – how funny!

Usually I run at a pace of 6:00 min/km, so it should have taken me 1 hr 12mins. So I have a small part of runner’s pride in me that is annoyed that these times are set in stone on the internet as my “official times” but as I said, I’m not too fussed about it.

In fact, I’m keen to do it again next year with my kids! And maybe we’ll dress up!

See you there next year :)

xxx


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Running in the cold

15 May 2015

Activewear
Hi everyone! How’d your week go?

I’ve been doing a bit of running in preparation for my 12km running event; fitting in a 5km here and a 10km there.

I’m a bit nervous about the event, even though I know I shouldn’t be. The competitive part in me thinks that I should SMASH all my previous running records, but the sensible part in me thinks I should just have fun, keep fit… and don’t hurt myself :)

Anyway, I want to talk about this jacket.

It’s a thick, fleecy jacket from Jeanswest’s activewear range. I’d say that it’s more of a coat, than a regular sports jacket (which is usually made from a thin and breathable fabric).

What makes this jacket different is that it has a really nice knit texture on the outside, so it looks stylish and versatile enough to wear over other casual wear outfits, like jeans and a t-shirt. It’s also warm, light and soft, so it feels lovely on the skin.

It’s soooo much nicer than the fleecy hiking jacket that I wear (from Mountain Design!), which is not particularly very insulating, nor is it very stylish haha!

Have a fab weekend!

xxx

Wearing:

Knit Fleece Jacket from Jeanswest
Sports Bra from Lululemon
7/8 Leggings from Lorna Jane
New Balance Sneakers from ASOS


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Run for a Reason!

6 May 2015

Run For A Reason 2015

If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@karenlycheng), you probably know that I’ve signed myself up for another running event, yay!

The HBF Run for a Reason is on the 28th May, offering 4km, 12km and 21.1km (half marathon) distances. They are raising funds for five charities, which is kind of cool – the Cancer Council WA, Diabetes WA, Heart Foundation WA, Lifeline WA and Telethon.

I was very tempted to sign up for the half marathon distance!

That would be an awesome challenge for me. I have no doubt that I could do it. I just need some training :)

But I knew my husband was going to be overseas and insanely-busy with his work during the first half of this year, and I wouldn’t be able to fit in all the training and juggle all my family/work/friend commitments.

So 12km it is!!

At the moment, my weekly fitness regime consists of a weekly 5-8km run, 1 netball game and 3 cross-training/weights/yoga/core workouts. I haven’t really pushed myself past a 12km running distance. But I have about 3 weeks to go, so I should be all good.

I’m looking forward to running through the Northbridge Tunnel, running along the river, enjoying the beautiful city, supporting some great causes and reveling in the atmosphere of the fantastic event!

 

 


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My Summer Workout!

15 January 2015

My Summer Fitness Workout 01

For my 25 Day Fitness Challenge in December, this was the workout routine that I frequently used.

I compiled the workout from several lists that were passed around instagram; it seemed that people were tweaking the list slightly (to suit themselves) and sharing it with others. So yep, I took the liberty to tweak it myself too, swapping some exercises with ones that I prefer to do.

This workout really gets my heart rate up!

My arms, legs, back and core feel amazing! My whole body feels tighter, stronger, and leaner for doing them.

At first I started off doing HALF the amounts.

But since I’ve been doing them for 3 weeks, I can I do them all, 3 times, no problem. I do them every day or every second day now.

My kids love to join in too – which is annoying because I have to wait for them to keep up, but it’s also kind of cool because I feel that I’m passing down some good habits for their future.

Feel free to save the image to your phone and refer to it any time you have a spare moment (which is how I first got started with it!).

You can follow me on instagram and grab the photo from there to – @karenlycheng

Enjoy!

xxx


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25 Day Fitness Challenge – Done and Dusted!

30 December 2014

Running and Pink Nails

(Me pausing mid run to notice that my nails match my shoes haha!)

This December, I gave myself a kind of challenge where I had to do some kind of exercise every day, for 25 days.

You can read what I got up to during my whole 25 Day Fitness Challenge.

Monday – Day 22
Netball game. We played against a newbie team and we lost by 2 points. We were all “off our game” and we made a lot of silly mistakes. Honestly, I think we were all in party mode and ready for Christmas! Oh well, the other team were a bunch of lovely girls, we were happy for them and it was a great workout for everyone!

The best thing about playing netball every Monday night is that it’s a fantastic way to start my week.

Tuesday – Day 23
My kids and I spent 4 hours at the beach, where I did some light swimming in the surf. Although I didn’t do anything extremely active all day, I was really tired and lethargic from sitting in the sun. I did a slow jog in the evening.

Wednesday – Day 24
I did my routine of strength and floor exercises in the morning. I can now do 20 push ups and 10 burpees! My arms are starting to look hot!

I spent the whole day on my feet, cooking and cleaning. We hosted Christmas Eve dinner at our house, for my family.

Thursday – Day 25
We went to my sister-in-law’s house for Christmas Lunch. I felt pretty crappy after all the over-eating, so I smashed out a 5km run in the evening and felt soooo good.

So that’s my 25 days done and dusted!

I’m so happy that I did it.

Most of it was relatively easy, because I had announced it to the internet haha! I felt accountable and that I needed to stick to my word! I had very few excuses after that, hence I just got on with it. That was really my whole plan – and it worked :)

I was aiming to do at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise each day – which to me, meant that my heart rate had to go up, I had to sweat, I had to push myself, and I had to feel my muscles burn. In my mind, the idea of “vigorous exercise” meant running, cycling, pump classes, weights sessions, strength exercises, netball, or swimming.

But realistically… some days were hard for me to fit in THAT kind of exercise. I was busy, I had a lot on, I was stressed. Exercise was the LAST thing I wanted to do at the end of the day.

So instead of vigorous exercise each day, sometimes I did a light yoga stretch session, or took a gentle walk in the park.

As long as I set aside some time each day to move and stretch, I felt that I stayed true to my challenge :)

For the new year, I am definitely going to continue with my challenge and keep myself active every day.

Wishing you all the best for your new year goals!


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25 Day Fitness Challenge – Day 15 to 21

22 December 2014

Workout Flatlay

This December, I gave myself a kind of challenge where I had to do some kind of exercise every day, for 25 days.

Check out all my past activity for my Fitness Challenge here.

This is what I’ve been up to this week:

Monday – Day 15
Tonight we played a late 8:55pm netball game and totally smashed it! We won (41 – 14) and while it was awesome to win, I got a bit lazy at the end and didn’t try as hard as I usually do. I finished the game feeling like I needed another 5km run.

Tuesday – Day 16
Ran 3.5km in the morning. Woke up a bit late and didn’t have enough time to finish a whole 5km.

Wednesday – Day 17
Strength and floor exercises in the evening. Lunges, squats, burpees, planks, mountain climbs – the lot!

Thursday – Day 18
A very quick 2.5km run in the morning. Slow walk in the evening.

Friday – Day 19
Strength and floor exercises in the evening.

Saturday – Day 20
Strength and floor exercises in the evening.

Sunday – Day 21
Strength and floor exercises in the evening. So boring right?

I’ve been pretty busy this week. It’s the start of the school holidays, Christmas is just around the corner, and I’ve struggled to wake up early for a proper run.

This past week, I’ve found myself at the end of the day… without having done any exercise at all. By the time 9pm comes around, I feel bad, lazy, irritated at myself and I *just* manage to find enough motivation to do my strength and floor exercises. It’s not very creative, but they work for me. They take about 30-50 minutes to do. Once I get going, I get really pumped and push myself until I’m hurting and sweating!


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25 Day Fitness Challenge – Day 8 to 14

15 December 2014

Workout!

As I’ve mentioned before, I have dedicated the month of December to getting fit again. For 25 days, I’m going to try to do some kind of vigorous exercise each day.

See all the past activity for my Fitness Challenge here.

This is what I’ve been up to this week:

Monday – Day 8
Netball game. Super high intensity workout!

Tuesday – Day 9
Went for a quick 3.5km run around the block.

Wednesday – Day 10
Strength and floor exercises. Lunges, squats, burpees, planks, mountain climbs – the lot!

Thursday – Day 11
Weights workout. Just used 3kg dumbbells and tried to target my upper body.

Friday – Day 12
We left for a camping trip, so I missed out doing exercise for today. But if you count frantically running around, trying to pack camping gear for 5 people for 3 days, then I was burning calories ALL FREAKING DAY!

Saturday – Day 13
Sand boarding, climbing up sand dunes, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding! We had the best time!

Sunday – Day 14
Played beach cricket and went for a jog on the beach (this was a killer!).

Writing it all down like this has been great for me! It’s nice to know that I’m pretty active each day, yay!


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25 Day Fitness Challenge – Day 1 to 7

8 December 2014

25 Day Fitness - Dec 2014

My daily fitness challenge started off with a bang!

If you missed my blog post here, I’ve dedicated the month of December to getting fit again.

For 25 days, I’m going to try to do some kind of vigorous exercise each day.

Monday – Day 1
Woke up at 5:30am and went for a 5km run. Netball game in the evening.

Tuesday – Day 2
6km run at 5:30am.

Wednesday – Day 3
18km bike ride.

Thursday – Day 4
Strength and floor exercises.

Friday – Day 5
3km run. Yoga in the evening.

Saturday – Day 6
Slow 5km bike ride (with my 5yo). Upper body workout.

Sunday – Day 7
2 hours of gardening. Mowing and raking the lawn gives a great ab work out!

Have a fantastic week everyone!

xxx


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25 Day Fitness Challenge – Day 1#

1 December 2014

Fitness Challenge
I try to avoid “fitness challenges”.

I’ve looked into some (and tried some) especially the silly ones like – “Get toned abs in 30 days”, “Guns and butt workout for July!”, “6 weeks to shape your booty”… but in the end, I get bored, disillusioned and it’s all a bit disappointing, and I feel lame and stupid that I even thought the results might be instant. Because I know they’re not. So I’ve never really admitted to anyone that I do fitness challenges of any kind!

But just yesterday I’ve been very inspired by the activity happening on Instgram. There’s a few ’24 or 25 day challenges’ happening around the place, where you work through the month of December, leading to Christmas Day.

It’s kind of like a fitness advent calendar.

I think, honestly, I just needed a little spark of inspiration to get me going. Instead of working on my arms, or core, or legs, or butt… I decided that I was just going to do my own thing, my own way. It was a nice idea. It seemed to work for me, and now I’m inspired, motivated and feeling a bit excited for this month.

It’s December 1st today. For 25 days, I’m going to try to do some kind of vigorous exercise each day.

I’m not really asking you to join me, in case it sounds lame.

But I’m going to share my fitness dairy anyway, hoping it sparks something in you!

(Feel free to follow my updates on Instagram! You can find me at @karenlycheng)

25 Day Fitness Challenge – Day 1#

Yesterday I set my alarm for 5:30am, with the intention to go for a run. This morning it went off, but I woke up and I felt soooooo bad. I was literally cursing the world, I needed more sleep, and felt like freaking sh*t. What a cheery way to greet the day huh?! I felt achy, I had stiff muscles, sore legs, my neck and shoulders were stiff. I switched my alarm off and went back to bed! Haha! Hello Fitness Challenge!

Ergh, but I felt so guilty. I KNEW that I’d feel like crap for the rest of the day, so I got up at 5:50am, got into my running gear, drank some water and just went out the door. I still felt stiff and sore AND I felt gross for not brushing my teeth. I was in such a foul mood.

But hey, I did it. I ran 5kms and yes, I felt awesome after that!

Tonight I have a netball game. 40 minutes of super fast-paced, action and running. At the end I’m always red-faced, drenched with sweat and feeling sooooo good that I could fly.

Maybe it’s the oxygen in my brain, the endorphins in my nerves, or just the knowledge that I have disciplined myself to do this?

Look out December, I’m going to blitz it!


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Starting to run again, again.

3 November 2014

Run 10km

I went for a spontaneous run the other morning. It was my first proper run in 8 weeks!!

I pushed myself to run a steady pace and went for 10.5kms – which I’m so happy about. I had no sore feet, knees or muscles – yay!

I ran the distance in 1 hour 5 minutes, but I had to slow down to walk a few times, and I had to stop for water. I ran at an average pace of 6:15/km (that was according to my sports tracker, but mathematically, I think my average should be 6:20?)

Anyway, I’m not too fussed about numbers. It’s a great comeback for me!

I’m aiming to be able to run 10kms without slowing down to walk.

And I’m aiming for an average pace of 6:00/km, which means I should run 10km in 1 hour. Baby steps!

Here’s to feeling like I’ve emerged from a slow rut and feeling fantastic about my health again!

Cheers everyone and have a great week :)


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We raised $5.2 million for cancer research!!

22 October 2014

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014 - Photo By Ze Photography
(Photo By Ze Photography)

It’s over for another year!

I volunteered for a 2 day cycling charity event, The Ride to Conquer Cancer.

I’ve participated in this event for the last two years and it involves over a 1000 people riding a distance of 200km over 2 days.

For each of the last two years, I have spent about 5 hours of sitting on my ass and pedaling each day! And as I slogged away, part of what kept me going were the cheer squads dotted along the route – volunteers dressed in cowboy gear, pink tutus and Elvis costumes… but the craziest and most entertaining bunch were the Onesie Warriors.

They wore one piece animal suits, sang and danced, cheered, rang bells, hooted and hollered, and got up to all kinds of crazy antics that made us riders laugh and smile when we needed it the most. They made such a big, happy difference to our journey, lifted our moods, and pumped SO much energy and fun into the event.

I remember (during a relentless uphill slog on the bike in the pouring rain) looking at the Onesie crew thinking… where do they get their energy from?? They have been dancing and jumping around for hours! They must be drunk! They must be completely sugared up! They must be pumped full of Red Bull! Were they all fit, young 18 year olds, who are just used to all this raving!?

Anyway, that was the team I joined on the weekend.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

There were 12 of us in the Onesie Warrior team, and we split into 3 groups of 4. We positioned our teams at different locations, where the route was most boring (20kms of flat farm land) or most difficult (long, slow, uphill climbs that go on forever) for the cyclists.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

Basically the whole Onesie Warrior experience was… a crazy, roadside, dance party, with insane amounts of bad karaoke, bad dancing, raving and jumping!

We had pop music blasting from our car. We were shouting, cheering, whooping, waving clappers, ringing cowbells, shaking tambourines, tooting horns, blowing whistles… for 10 hours!

Oh man, it was sooo much fun.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

I couldn’t even recognise myself. I was doing the most silliest, shameless and stupidest dance moves I’ve ever done in my whole life. And I did it on purpose! In front of people! To make them laugh! In broad daylight!

If you know me in real life, I’m usually very contained, calm, possibly soft spoken and maybe a bit shy. I am in no way a natural show pony. I don’t walk into a room and have a presence that commands people to take notice of me. In fact, I’m striving for a kind of quiet gracefulness.

But once I put on my giraffe onesie, I felt like I had permission to act like an exploding, hyperactive, crazy person!

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

With our encouragement, all 1311 riders made it safely to the night camp – the half way mark for the weekend.

They did SO WELL for their first day. They rode 105km. There was a very strong head wind blowing against the riders, and I could see them all pushing into it, grimacing in pain with every down stroke of the pedal. I knew their pain! They must’ve been exhausted!

There were a lot of cancer survivors who rode too. They rode with a yellow flag attached to their bikes to distinguish themselves. I thought of my husband, who has survived cancer twice and thought whether he would be able to ride this distance. His health is excellent, but fragile, and shouldn’t really be pushed to this level of exertion. Not to mention he was at home looking after the blessing of our three kids… while I was spending the weekend having this unusual, out of character experience.

I got a bit teary every time I saw a person with a yellow flag that reminded myself why I was here.

In fact, it only took a few minutes of chatting to a complete stranger to find out that every rider had a story or a connection to cancer, and that they were determined and inspired to do something about it. I was constantly teary and inspired!

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

As for me, I had woken up at 4am that day, started cheering at 7am, had only a few small breaks, and finished my shift at 5pm (to cheer the very last rider to arrive at camp).

So I went to bed at 7:30pm!

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

The next morning I woke at 4am again, and the weather looked REALLY BAD.

There was a 100% chance of rain, thunderstorms, hail and strong winds. Oh my god! I hoped the wind would be behind the riders and push them along.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

For the second day, I was a frog. It was an apt costume for the wet weather. And apt, because my voice was very croaky.

At 6am, I hopped over to the start line and I bumped into these two ladies – Brooke and Sam. Er, well I actually just randomly walked up to them, because hey I’m in a frog suit, and I asked to take a photo with them because their cycling jerseys matched my green costume!

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

Then our team quickly drove to our first designated spot for the day and waited for the riders to come through.

We waited and waited.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

In fact, we waited at the zebra crossing.

When the riders went by, we waved signs like “SAFARI SO GOOD!” and “KEEP THOSE CALVES MOOVING”! And other really bad animal puns.

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2014

We placed ourselves in silly positions to wave at the riders. Our chipmunk climbed a tree. Our cows climbed a hill. Our penguin sat on a branch.

I was a squashed frog on the path, but I only took this photo after the last rider rode past haha!

We made our way to several other positions along the route, and then back to the finish line to cheer the last rider through.

We danced and cheered for hours! We were projected up onto the big screen, we were photographed and we were on TV (did you see us?!). It was definitely one of the most crazy, fun and rewarding experience I’ve ever had. It certainly gave me an unusual perspective of the event.

In total, we raised $5.2 million that will go to the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (used to be WAIMR), with all the funds going directly into cancer research projects. I was choked up with pride and happiness!

A HUGE thanks to all the organisers, the crew, the riders, the sponsors and the supporters who donated!!

I’ll see you all next year!!


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Fitness Motivation 0.00000001

13 October 2014

Wow. So I totally FELL OFF THE EXERCISE TRAIN! I fell down and rolled in between the train tracks, I dug a hole, I made myself a nice home, I put my feet up, and I haven’t moved since!!

Here’s the round up of my last 4 weeks…

Running – Close to none. I think I ran a total of 3km in the whole 4 weeks.

Cycling – none.

Boxing, boot camp, pump classes – none.

Yoga, pilates – none.

Strength, weights, core workouts – pretty much none.

Motivation to start again – none.

There was a point in the last 4 weeks where I was really, really angry, stressed agitated and disgusted by my lack of motivation.

But I’m past that now. I’ve just accepted that I can’t fit everything in. I’m not Super Woman. I can’t do everything. I’m just going to be happy where I am for now. I’m just going to cruise through life and work on what’s more important right now. Why stress about it?

On the up side, I play netball once a week (which is like high intensity interval training yo!) and I go for evenings walks with my family, where I get to hold hands with my husband. That’s real nice.

I’ve found a happy slow place. This is just the current normal.

Later on there will be a new normal, and I’m sure before I know it, I’ll be back to running marathons!

 


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Please Don’t RICE MY OUCHIE

9 October 2014

Growing up, I’ve never been a rough kid.

I’ve never broken my arm or leg. I’ve never hurt my knee, or twisted my ankle. I’ve never had a cast or crutches. As a result, I’m very unfamiliar with injuries and what to do with them.

So when I get a minor injury now, I just ignore it… because it’ll just get better after a few days right?

Thumb Injury

Well, while I was playing netball one evening, I slammed my thumb into the ball at full speed and got this impressive bruise. Of course it wasn’t a bruise to start. It just felt like my thumb had SPLIT IN TWO, THAT’S ALL.

Being the well brought up lady that I am, I held back the “F” EXPLETIVES SCREAMING IN MY HEAD and just turned to my opponent and said, “Ouch, that hurt.”

I played the rest of the game like a one-handed elephant seal, slapping the ball without using my thumb.

I was a bit embarrassed about it after. Silly me. Got an ouchie. Hurt my thumb. I casually mentioned it to my netball team mates, who just said, “Just rice it babe.”

I thought to myself, “Why yes, I’m Chinese. I can subscribe to that kind of thinking. Rice is usually the answer to everything. But surely they don’t mean to eat rice or rub it with rice. So I’m sure it stands for something like “Rub It Carefully Everyday”??

(It means Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation for all you perfectly coordinated people who don’t fall over, like me.)

Anyway, I stumbled along with my sore thumb. I refused to whinge about my pain. I didn’t complain or make a big deal about it. I was secretly all high and almighty and proud of myself. “I DON’T DO INJURIES. Pfft I don’t need ice. Or rice.” I turned door knobs. Held sandwiches. Flipped pancakes. I did all the things that a being with opposing thumbs is destined to do.

But after 3 weeks of pain, I swallowed my pride and asked various people for advice about my injury.

I got no sympathy. Everyone seemed to tease me about how minor my injury was. They told me stories about the MUCH bigger knee, ankle, neck, arm and back traumas they had suffered over the years. And they told me that it was too late for self applied RICE. Apparently, I needed professional advice…

And the advice came in the form of a wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

You see, throughout my research… I heard that a girlfriends’ husband’s friend’s sister… swears that there is a hot-looking, young physiotherapist with “talented” hands, who specialises in netball injuries, who will assess everything from ankle injuries, to ahem, groin injuries… (and presumably thumb injuries?) and who gives excellent RICE. WINK WINK.

Hmph. Thanks A LOT guys.

I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m sure the pain will just go away after a few days right? It just needs more time to rest. And less netball.

But… is this rumour true? Is this mythical Physio actually real? Is he really talented? Is he really hot? Does he really see all the injured netball girls in town?

I guess I’ll never know the answers to these questions… because I’m *much* too proud to let some Physio-cassanova RICE my ouchie :P


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From City To Surf To Hamburger… Then Bed

12 September 2014

My friends and I participated in the recent Perth City to Surf!

This year the running event celebrated it’s 40th year, but for me, this year was my first time running in it… so I was pretty excited!

However, two weeks before the event, I was down with the flu, fever and dizziness, and it threw my running training out of whack (ie. I didn’t do a training run for 10 days). And it was only the day before the event, that I felt 90% back to normal and I decided I would still run – BUT I had to promise myself to take it easy.

Perth City2Surf 2014

This is my friend Pippa and I, about to run the 12km distance, while our other friends ran the Half Marathon (21kms).

We were pumped up at the start!

Perth City2Surf 2014

Off we set. I took this photo (while running!) as the runners left the starting line and made their way up the first hill. There were 45,000 participants this year!

Have you been in a running event before? I’ve run in a few events. It’s pretty spectacular. There is a very cool and energetic atmosphere in the air. But it is really, REALLY crowded.

I won’t lie. I didn’t like the crowd. As a running experience, I didn’t find it relaxing or therapeutic. It was highly distracting! I spent the whole time looking at everyone’s gear / clothes / shoes / hats / hair / body shape / elbows / calves / backs / bums! I couldn’t help it! It was everywhere I looked!

I was also overwhelmed with a sense of frantic urgency, a feeling that I HAD TO HURRY UP! It felt as if everyone was rushing towards the Christmas city shopping sales and I had to follow the crowd or I would miss out! Or get RUN OVER! DON’T THINK JUST KEEP MOVING!

There were a lot of hills and I quickly found myself a bit breathless and wheezy and unable to sustain a good running pace. I was a bit grumpy that my health wasn’t up to it. I lost Pippa at the 5km mark… and I ended up walking A LOT after that.

Perth City2Surf 2014

I finished the 12km with my slowest time ever!

I pretty much WALKED the distance more than I ran. I was quite embarrassed! Look at me. I don’t even look like I’ve been running. I didn’t even break a sweat. Some of my friends were running a half marathon and I looked like I went for a Sunday stroll haha!

My average pace was 7:30mins/km and my overall time was 1hour 30seconds – which is pretty slow for me. That pace is like a brisk kind of jog, not a run. Ooooh well. I guess I stuck to my promise of taking it easy.

I looked at my running app and it told me that I had burned 724 calories in the 90 mins. Which was cool and all but…

Grilld Burger and Chips

…we headed off to an inner city pub for drinks and lunch.

I was STARVING. I DEVOURED this lamb burger (611 calories) and chips (252 calories) in 5 minutes flat.

724 calories OUT, and 863 calories IN? Er. I definitely didn’t think that one through very well. Oh well! It was freaking delicious.

When I got home, I had to take a nap. My husband let me take a 2 hour nap, bless him! I was so tired and sore. And for the next few days, I think my health dropped back down to 80%.

Soooo… looking back, I probably should have just stayed in bed, so I could recover that extra 10% in the first place!

But at least I did it.

And there is always next year.

And another hamburger.


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Running With Friends

13 August 2014

Run 10k
I’ve joined a running group!

It’s not really a group group. It’s not formal. We’re just a bunch of friends (girls and guys) who are all running freaks! We all know each other through our children’s school and we all live and run in the same area, which makes our “group runs” infinitely easier to organise.

Thinking about it, I never thought I’d join a fitness group. Because, I usually like to exercise by myself. I like the peace and solitude. I like to meditate, arrange my thoughts and focus on the mesmerising beat of my feet hitting the pavement. It’s quite important for me to have that quiet space for myself.

Exercising in a large classes – in a room full of strangers – is also very solitary. Which I like. I feel no obligation to interact with anyone. And I just get lost in my own little bubble.

But what do you know, I discovered that exercising with friends is so much fun.

It adds so many new levels to my exercise routine – motivation, inspiration, sharing knowledge and a social aspect. I’m loving it!

Following people’s (ie. stranger’s) exercise updates and fitness inspiration on instagram and facebook does not compare.

Anyway, I tried out a new running route this weekend. The weather was just gorgeous. It was the first time I tackled so many hills.  I ran 10kms and felt amazing. I might try to work on my time/speed next time. I’m feeling inspired!


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Right, left, right, left… Do you love Body Combat too?

14 July 2014

I’ve been going to a few Body Combat classes lately.

It’s kind of fun. A bunch of ladies punching at the air, while a fitness instructor shouts at us over the roaring music. It feels a bit silly.

But after the class, my biceps, triceps and muscles on my shoulders and back GLOW with a pain that promises my arms to look like Michelle Bridges, so that makes it worth looking silly, right?

The last time I tried Body Combat was 10 years ago. I was horrifically unfit and halfway into the class, I wanted to curl over and puke. But this time I am much fitter, so I manage to keep up pretty well.

I go at it pretty hard. There’s no point in doing weak pathetic punches, so I try to give my punches some power.

My coordination is so bad though!

Geez I’m terrible at the steps, the fancy foot work and trying to remember the routines.

I managed to PUNCH MYSELF IN THE FACE during the class! Who does that?!

Right jab, left jab, right jab, left hook, right hook, left upper-cut, right upper-cut… TRICKY RIGHT?

I got my right upper-cut mixed up with a right hook, so I klonked myself in the cheek.

I stood there for a moment, imaging cartoon stars coming out of my left ear.

I’m sure the instructor saw me.

Then I spent the rest of the class trying not to laugh.. at MYSELF!

I guess I need to practice my WAX ON and WAX OFF technique :P