I thought I would be getting back on track as I got back from Morocco. With a restful weekend last week I was ready to tighten things up and crush the program. Then Monday my jet lag finally hit me and I was waking up at 2am in the morning, when my son started to cough like an old man in the next room. The next morning he started vomiting. We realized later he is having a stomach flu. Couldn’t go to school for the whole week, and it’s a week of coughing symphony in the middle of the night and toilet flushing during the day.
Husband was supposed to go on business trip on Wednesday, and ended up hurling in the toilet as well, and have to cancel his trip. Stressed, jet lag, or to admit I am finally not immune, started sneezing, sore throat and tummy ache.
Son didn’t go to school for the whole week. Husband is basically binge watching American politics in bed for the last few days. I, however, have been still going to work. I even did all the ski shopping, including carrying 4 giant uniqlo bags with thermal underwear and jackets squeezing with a gazillion people on the train on a Friday. And guess what? The only person who is cheery and healthy in the household, is my 6 year old daughter, who is having her early birthday party this Sunday, and has been calling me every 30 minutes about her cake, party bag, and her presents...
I have NOT missed a day of workout, but I have no time or energy to prep my food properly, so my diet has been going between not eating, eating “sick people food” i.e. carbs pasta, rice and congee or stress eating crap food.
I am telling myself to “hang in there’... let everyone recover... before we head off to Niseko next Thursday, and everything will be fine.
Hang in there Cora-aaaa!!!!!
Sculpt Round 2 - 40 days of legs GRADUATION POST
There was a lot of legs for the last 40 days.
To begin with, I already have a stronger lower body than my upper body. That has always been the case. And since I tore my ACL two years ago I am even more “legs heavy”. After all the lower body is the foundation of the body and it supports the whole frame (unless I can stand on my hands which I can’t! ) But damn it was A LOT. Jumprope, yoga, and barre. My legs have not rested for 40 days. I have definitely bulked up on the legs.
Now the butt. With the generous diet I am finally getting some meat on the rear end. However I am also seeing an expanding waistline. Flat washboard abs are gone, and there are even some handles hanging on the sides.
To be fair, I have been pretty crappy on the diet this time around. My body is adjusting to meat. I am beating my sugar cravings. And I have been stressed. All those add up means unhealthy weight gain.
Not too happy with my results this time. I think this is my 5th program of the year. It does make it harder to maintain a perfect diet. And this time around I think my mind is distracted by other stuff and cannot be fully committed.
On the good side, I am really liking the barre exercises, as a second timer on Sculpt i like it even more this time around than the last time , and am definitely getting better at it.
I am just starting to feel those butt and inner thigh smaller muscles, and I intend to continue with some barre exercises on my own. They are the perfect “travelling exercises” too and I can do them even without a gym and comfortably in a hotel room.
You gotta love the internet. It’s scarily smart it seems to “know” that I am working on my booty and all of a sudden I got many ad feeds popping up about the glutes. There are so many silly gadgets out there including butt vibrator (yes) and a weird stool that looks obscenely wrong. Although the look tempting I decided to buy a couple of more “old fashion” resistance bands (the Kenzai Way!) to enhance my booty journey.
I chose a dancer pose to end my Sculpt journey to show my “inner ballerina” side of me. And I always think this pose looks like a big wine glass 🍷! (Cheers we made it!)
Congrats to everyone in the program! Thanks to Ward and all the team mates for all the support along the way.
It’s almost year end. And I am excited abiut some of the new programs launching in 2019. I am already planning my next year’s training, probably kicking off with another 90 days program in the beginning of the year.
But meanwhile, last program to finish off the year - Skiboot.
Starts tomorrow. No break. And guess what? More legs!
Yesterday I got a warning of “no post for 7 days”, and I know I can’t avoid putting up my post anymore. I am still around, but every time I tried to blog I just don’t know what to say and at the end just close my blog window.
After my last post I have been having some contemplation. I am getting quite frustrated on what to eat and what not to eat these days. It seems eating real foods and regular exercises are not enough anymore.
I cook most of my meals. And if I am eating out I still choose healthy options. I excercise everyday. And yes I look pretty fit but I still seem to have health issues. For years I try to find the right diet for myself, and I and still looking for answers.
I actually enjoyed being vegan. It’s really the right diet for yoga. But my blood tests says otherwise, and people start to think I am anorexic. And at the end of the day I do not want a diet that I have to supplement with a lot of pills. Reintroducing meat make me healthier, and my test results are looking better, but I have to face the fact that I am bulking everywhere. Expanding waistline, even bigger calves, and it’s getting harder to pretzel myself in yoga.
I am still chasing my KB1 glory, when I cooked 90 days of whole foods. No sugar, no oil, and able to eat ALL the foods - including gluten and dairy, and guess what? ZERO supplements. ZERO.
What did I do in the last few years to make myself gluten and night shades intolerant, I have no idea. I just want to get on a diet that I can stick to, so those sugar cravings and binging incidents can go away.
“The best diet is the one you can stick to”.
And I am still on my journey to find mine.
To end this blog, I thought it would be interesting to share two photos.
The left side is Chisel on Vegan, taken 2 months ago.
The right side is Scuplt as an Omnivore, taken yesterday.
Two weeks “rest” post Chisel and I am jumping on Sculpt! I actually think these two programs work well together. First trim it down fat, then bulk up muscles!! I was running quite lean in Chisel and after that I had two weeks of yoga intensives which just finished on Saturday so Sculpt just come in at the perfect time!
The booty is one area that I really have difficulty to bulk up. While other parts of my body are getting more definition through rounds and rounds of training that booty just doesn’t seem to lift or grow. This will be my second round of Sculpt I am planning to spice it up with EXTRA WEIGHTS.
Another area is those inner thighs. While I work a lot on legs those inner thighs are still kinda wobbly. I am having high hopes on this program to refine the lines to the last bit.
It has been a good year of training but now I have to “hone in” on the diet. I am still missing my KB1 glory.
Let’s firm butt and eat clean!
On Day 10 lesson we talked about sleep.
Since I became a mom I forgot what a good sleep feels like. Seven extended years of breastfeeding with a year of pregnancy in between does it. I have never been able to sleep through the night and even as the kids grew up I would still wake up in the middle of the night and sometimes took a while to get back to sleep. I also wake up extremely early, but thank god I also sleep early, managing 7 hours of sleep which is really what I need. I do want to “break the habit” of the mid night wake though.
2 months of holidays I have done a few things trying to improve my sleep quality.
1. All my mobile devices are set to low light after 7pm, but I would avoid them but only use it as the alarm.
2. I took bath with magnesium flakes and Epsom salt an hour before bed. Sometimes I feel like I need to “use less water” in that case I will do a foot soak.
3. I diffuse essential oils before bed.
4. I stop watching random “stuff” on the internet and completely off social media by 8pm. For my kids screens are off after 7pm. Instead I listen to books on Audibles and Podcasts and only on weekends I may watch a movie with the kids.
5. I also learn to nap on this holidays, something I could never do. I also learn to close my eyes and just have a rest from time to time. Not sleeping, but just training yourself to be able to shut yourself off. And if you do yoga, remember to relax fully in Savasana.
I won’t say the sleep gave me abs but of course that’s due to my diet. But I did build up some good muscles. I was comparing my photos before and after my holidays even though I put on some weight my skin looks better and have a better glow.
Now with everything back to normal life, I hope I can maintain these good sleeping habits.
Sleep is part of the training. Indeed.
P.S. Taken at Napa Valley with a happy glow from sleep and wine. Haha.
I was just laying out my diet fortification in the last post. While I successfully nailed Saturday by keeping myself busy Sunday was a fail. I blamed the crappy weather in Hong Kong so I ended up stuck at home. I was bummed out and bored and started pacing back and forth the kitchen. Then I told myself I could have my “last cheat”. Damn. Weak.
Moving on. No more excuse now the diet is up. Had a good workout (even with an upset tummy) plus yoga practice in the morning. The day went well and I was in a good mood and was on my way home planning to cook a nice healthy dinner for the family when I received a call and knew my son fell at the swimming pool and broke his tooth. Ended up a trip to the dentist, an anxious mopey kid, a stressed mom and almost no dinner. Luckily I had all my food prep in the fridge to prevent myself from opening that pack of chips.
My diet tends to fail when I am stressed. I need to be super careful this week on the diet. I need to stay calm and chilled to help my son through recovery too.
Signing off now. Tomorrow will be a better day.
On Day 4 we repeat the same cycle as Day 1. I aimed to get through them quicker. Since this is my second Chisel program I have learnt a few tips.
1. Lay out all the equipments. Rope, push up bars, mats, wall, timers and water bottle all set so I can go through the cycle quick.
2. Read the cycle first and try to remember the sequence so I don’t have to keep going back and check after every exercise (it helps to be a yoga teacher to memorise sequences). If you get a new exercise read the details first (as these are movements exercises sometimes the pictures do not explain fully).
3. On my second cycle I added weights to some of the exercises I feel I can turn up a notch. However I only use light weights as the goal is still to get through the exercises quickly.
4. If the exercise is impossible to do after a couple tries modify the workouts as needed. I would modify some of the exercise to meet my needs so I can still get through the cycles without too much stopping. For example: for Hang Time, I modified with doing tuck jumps to the wall.
Added 20 min cardio, 8 min abs and 1:30 min plank as usual. Teaching four classes back to back so yoga practice today. Boo.
It’s nice to get back to the routines. Waking up early, workout out, teaching yoga, eating “normal” (what I was eating in US was not normal 🤢, and sleeping at normal hours again, Routines keep me from chaos. I feel more grounded and settled. It also means I am making smarter choices when it comes to food.
I was feeling sheepish when I went to my handstand practice today as I didn’t practiced for the whole summer. But my coach said I didn’t lose anything (although I didn’t improve either haha). That brings to answers to our intro questions.
1. What's the toughest physical challenge you've ever faced?
Handstands, handstands. Handstands. It has been years I still can’t do it right. I can do so many other things this is one I just don’t get and continue to struggle everyday and not making much progress. Maybe one day I will have to accept my handstands is like Math, something I am just suck at.
2. What aspect of your personality makes the world a better place?
My husband says I have “no filters.” It means I just say whatever I think in my brain. I don’t hide, I don’t fake. What you see is what you get. Not necessarily the best thing all the time but I am honest, genuine and absolutely no bullshit.
Chisel is kinda like that too. Short and snappy. Cut the crap. No soft TLC. Yes it’s going to be hard. Just deal.
Whoo-pesh! (sound of whip) 😂
I was a day late catching up with Day 1 lesson then I read “No carbs after sunset”. Oops. I had a slice of bread at dinner on Monday. Lesson learned. Read your daily lessons.
Also thrilled to see a big group “chiselling” 🔨 together and the blog space is absolutely buzzing 🐝 In the past two months I have taken a sabbatical from social media and blogs and trying to have a digital detox. But I am ready to come back and “be social” again. My goal is to read all the posts in the program and try to comment as much as I can, and I am planning to blog daily during this program.
Today is my first day back at work. Feels really weird after two months but I am happy to get back to normal routines again. Also back to my first yoga class and I was very sheepish to see my teacher with my heavy body and lack of practice. It was hard to begin with but half an hour later I can feel my old self coming back.
Today’s workout is 20 minutes jump rope, chisel, 8 min abs, 1:30 min plank plus 2.5 hours yoga. No carbs at night.
Sharing my no carb meal Spagetti Puttanesca only swapped with Zoodles. Nothing feels better than a big plate of veggie goodness!
It’s good to be back.
My first part of summer holidays in Vancouver, Canada was awesome. Although I had some indulgences, at least I was able to keep myself in good shape with good workouts and cooking healthy foods. It all went downhill when our family continued the second half of holidays in the US.
First I lost my kitchen. We were staying in hotels and I could not cook anymore. It meant eating out every meals and in US that is really damaging even we were staying in the more health conscious part of the country in San Francisco.
When Thor lost his hammer he lost all his power. As I landed myself in the US I felt like I was in an “alien planet” surrounded by food that I normally would not touch or eat. At first I resisted, then my will power started to weaken. Big sized meals everywhere. Big feasts with friends and family. And then there was a weekend at Napa. And then the rest was just daily meals with the kids which involved mostly bagels, pizzas, pastas, burgers and ice cream (apparently they had no interest in vegan buddha bowls....) I gave in bit by bit every day and and by the end of the trip I was comfortably devouring those lox bagels (plus finishing my kid’s leftovers) and massive ice cream without a blink or guilt. Wine? Yes. Bring it on!
Just got back to Hong Kong feeling heavy and lethargic. I am back to reality and now have to face my own sin of gluttony. Give me the hammer. It’s time to bring the will power back and chisel those fat off.
Day 1 started with 20 minute skip rope, Chisel, 8 min ab and plank challenge at 4am in the morning with jet lag in Hong Kong heat.
It’s gonna be rough.
In Chinese, there is an old belief, “When one eats a part of an animal, then it will be good for the corresponding organ of one’s body.” For excample, making bone broth to get calcium and collagen for the ligaments and bones. While bone broth is such a “big hit” these days we Chinese have been making bone broth for thousands of years.
Then it went further to recommend you to eat foods that “shape” like the part of the body. This becomes more interesting. None of these have scientific proof but it’s quite fun to read about it.
1. The “meat” of a walnut shapes like human brain so the Chinese believes eating walnut nourishes our brains. In face walnuts are rich in AHA and DHA which is good for brain function!
2. Carrots are good for eyes. Chinese thinks the shape of a carrot resembles the shape of eyes (long narrow Chinese eyes???) so they are good for our eyes. Turns out carrots have beta-carotene and vitamin C which are good for eyes!
3. Celery for the bones. Celery stems shape like our limbs. Celery are rich in Vitamin K which helps the absorption of calcium!
4. Cashews for the kidney. Cashew are known to remove water retention and inflammation, which is the function of our kidney!
5. Tomatoes for the heart. Tomatoes are red and shape like a heart. It is rich in HDL which is good for our cardiovascular health.
6. Ginger shapes like the stomach, and as we all know, ginger helps to soothe indigestion!
7. Avocado for the uterus. Avocado shapes like a womb with a big seed that resembles the baby. Avocado contains folic acid which is essential to mom and baby!
Interesting? Well, this is really the other way or saying “You are what you eat”.
Speaking of that... since KB3 finished, I have been going on full on indulgences for my last bit of holidays in San Francisco and Sonoma. Bagels every morning (I love love love good bagels!) buffets at my husband’s campus, and of course beautiful Californian wines.
You are what you eat. And I have been eating bagels and drinking wine.
I know why bagel has a hole in the middle, as when you eat a lot of them your abs will be gone.
I know why wine glass has a round bottom, as that’s what happens to you when you drink a lot of them.
Feeling rather guilty and am starting to look into next program now, but meanwhile, let me enjoy the last bit of my summer holidays!
KB3 - On Graduation GRADUATION POST
I mentioned before on Day 90 of Kenzai Body 3 I would be heading down to San Francisco to see my husband, who is taking a six weeks Executive Program at Stanford. This is the reason why the family has been in Vancouver this summer, because Daddy is going back to school.
A few months before my husband turned 50 I asked him what he wanted for his 50th birthday. He said, “I wanted to go back to school.” He has been working since early twenties in the finance industry, which is a very tiring and stressful job. He is now running his own business, making it even more so. His job every day is all about negotiations, and as we get older we have less and less social life when we hang out with our friends. I was very supportive of him to do this program, and of course very proud that he got accepted. For six weeks he is staying at the campus. His day starts at 7 and finishes at 6pm. He is wearing his backpack and he is biking around campus.
I saw him this weekend and he looked so refreshed and happy. He told me this is one of the best things he has done in his life (the other one is marrying me haha!)
As I “graduate” from KB3, even it’s it just a 90 day program, we should be proud of ourselves. From making the decision to take up the challenge in Day 1, and for 90 days following a strict diet, working out hard, and hitting on our blogs. We might not be perfect, but the fact that “we did it” it’s all it matters.
Back to my reflections for the last 90 days.
Workouts - I have been hitting the workouts hard and I had to say I am not slacking in anyway with the exercise. I love the workouts, challenging enough but not unachievable. In the final weeks I was able to put on a bit more muscle tone.
Diet - Diet is another story. I wished I could do better. I have been following a vegan diet for the last 90 days and it has its challanges. Too much carbs, not enough protein, and my body could not take too much soy and legumes. And I have skipped all the protein powder grams (oops) as I don’t have a blender when I travel and honestly I am always reluctant to take protein powder as it is completely opposite of our Kenzai belief in eating real food. Within the 90 days I have been playing around with different kinds of foods and grams and I think it distracts me from rigidly following the diet. Taking last month of Kenzai on holidays didn’t help either, ending up with too many meals out and lost control of portions and seasonings.
Knowledge - This is probably the biggest gain I have earned from this program. Our bodies are complicated, and there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to exercise and diet. Cardio, Weights or HIIT? High/Low carb, High/Low fat, Paleo, Vegan, many meals vs. fasting ; what food to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. All these comes down to our continuous experimentations and keep learning and figure out what works for our own body. While I have not figured out the magic formula for myself yet, for those who said vegans can’t build muscles, I can prove them wrong. It’s harder, but you can.
In two weeks my husband will be “graduating” from his program and the family will be flying down to celebrate his graduation. I was thinking about the meaning of graduation.
“Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.” —Arie Pencovici
In that sense, even I somehow do not feel I earned my “graduation” badge (ok, maybe I didn’t earn a gold medal, I might deserve a bronze...) this time around, I am still grateful of the last 90 days. There are good programs, bad programs and mediocre programs. What matters is the process. The efforts, the struggles, the wins, the slips. Every bit of it. And more important is from the experience and the knowledge we gained, we are able to take that wisdom with us and continue to make small difference every day moving forward.
Thank you Ward and Jenny, for being truly amazing as usual. And everyone in the program, for keeping active on the blogs and keeping the group tight. It’s is definitely the most hardcore group I have trained with.
KB1, 2, 3.. or whatever number that is. Chisel, Reach, Kettlebell, whatever the program is, I think at this point we are a Kenzai warrior for life. From the strong foundations we have built on through Kenzai, may we continue to grow and prosper, and continue to challenge ourselves to reach higher and go further. Finishing off with a tree pose.
“Accept your currently position rooted to the Earth, yet remain open to the possibilities beyond you.”
I look forward to see you all Kenzai warriors around in the space.
So on Day 90 I had a flight to fly out to San Francisco at 8am to meet with my husband who I have not seen for over 3 weeks, the longest time we have been apart for 15 years. So I went to bed at 9am the night before, setup alarm at 4am, and hit the last workout early in the morning before I took off.
I can’t think about a better way to finish KB3. I am currently enjoying a three day long weekend with with hubby with no exercise and full indulgence (oops!), starting off at the Saturday Ferry Market indulging street food and peaches and nectarines, and a celebratory dinner at a restaurant with old colonial settings. The rest of the weekend is a lot of walking around, some shopping and more food before I send him back to school on Monday. Perfect for that 3 day compulsory off period before I get my “Life” a.k.a. K-life back.
I will be flying back tonight to Vancouver tonight and will write a proper graduation post then.
Congratulations to all by the way!
P.S. My view from the hotel over Golden Gate Bridge and a Selfie with makeup and finally not in workout clothes at dinner with my hubby.
Final week question asked for a skill I dream to master. For me it would be speed reading (same as Michael). Well, I have two speed readers at home - my husband and my 9 year old son. My husband wakes up every morning and would finish reading 6-7 new sources before he gets to work. He can finish a book in an hour or two. He told me he reads by “snapshoting” in paragraphs instead of word by word or line by line. We haven’t properly test our 9 year old yet but he seemed to have inherited Dad’s reading skills and can also read really fast. He definitely read much more proficiently and faster than me (he finished Harry Potter at 6 years old).
But the boys. Because of their reading capability, they have a wide scope of knowledge and are Mr. Know-It-All (s).. Any topic that they are interested in they can just look up and absorb all the information and they learn things quickly.
Besides speed read, my son’s new obsession is Rubik’s Cube. You can scramble the cube for him and he will solve it under 30 seconds. He tried to explain to me how it works but I will never understand.
This is a YouTube video that he made.
I always feel stupid in front of my two boys. Maybe that’s why I am so into yoga and fitness, as both of them can barely touch their toes. Namaste.
This morning when I opened the Workout Dashboard I saw the final week workouts have appeared. I can’t believe we only have one week left I can really see the finishing line now.
Workouts have been great. There is nothing better than Kenzai on holidays when I can take the workout outside first thing in the morning. The sun comes out before 5am with fresh and crisp air (compare to humid Hong Kong). And I don’t have to rush through my workouts. I alsolike the structure of the current workouts when we just focus on one body part plus abs every day. It allows me to focus on one part of the body and work it to max without having to worry about recovery the next day. All these factors are helping me with building up the muscles in the past few weeks.
Diet is going great as I am having lots of grams at this point. And being in Vancouver there is no shortage of fresh produce, fruits and vegetables and I am happily plowing through all the seasonal cherries and berries at snack times. Did I also mention this is a vegan heaven? And the only bulk size item I got from Costco was salad greens! 🥗 My activity every Sunday is to go to the Farmers market and pick up fruits and vegetables for the week.
On Day 90 I will finish my last workout and fly down to San Francisco and meet up with my husband for the weekend. He has already made reservation at a “swanky” supper club for celebration. What a great way to celebrate Day 90!
One more week gang. Let’s kill it.