Sticking to It!

There are those who are naturally fit, and fitness comes as second nature to them. I’ve never been one of those, so after a long hiatus of inconsistent training and workouts due to the holidays, it’s very hard to gain back rhythm.

But I have to make another promise to myself this time again to never give up. I’d want to remind myself that it isn’t about how many times I fail to reach a final goal, but it’s how many times I get up and keep going. Perhaps it isn’t just about a final goal, but rather that it’s an ongoing lifestyle that I will be sticking to.

Just what’s in my head this weekend. Enjoy yours, my friends. 😉

Weighing in Daily

I’ve decided I should stop weighing myself daily. I’m sure it’ll help with my focus as I will be able to concentrate on the schedule and training more than being occupied with beating myself up about my weight progress. Anyway, I’m sure the weight loss will be a side effect of the workouts… 😉

Circuit Training

As fitness was always my primary goal, I couldn’t help to sometimes look at the potential weight loss from my exercises.  And after much reading and researching, the clear winner for a fast track fitness programme are good sets of circuit training – the idea is to constantly keep the different muscle in your body activated and the elevated heart-rate results in a good cardio workout.

Although I still need to keep up with my cycling and running programmes to ensure that my muscles for those are kept in good condition, I will see results faster if I keep a frequent schedule of circuit training.

One thing great about circuits is that, you get to mix it up to keep your workouts interesting.  Right now, I’m still quite new at it but I’m going to have to keep a couple of circuit sets in my pocket first to kick off the whole routine.

Here’s a set which I have started out with thanks to Jordan Yeoh’s circuit training video tutorial. (Jordan’s a fitness traiinng and a body-building Guru whom I’ve been following on his blog and FB Page) It certainly helps to get the best ideas from successful fitness experts.

FAT BURNING CIRCUIT

  1. Squat x 20reps
  2. Push Ups x 20reps
  3. Scissor Leg Raise x 20reps
  4. Jumping Jack x 20reps
  5. Jumping Lunges x 20reps
  6. Side to Side Push Ups x 20reps
  7. Cross Crunch x 20reps
  8. Burpees x 10reps
  9. High Knees Ups x 20reps

(Repeat 4 rounds)

I’ll just be happy to finish 3 complete circuits! …well, for now.. 😉

Getting Back to Routines After the Holidays

I seem to always dread breaking routines. Of course I love the holidays and vacations round about the end of the year as well as coming into the new year, followed by Chinese New Year, but I fear the repercussions of breaking habits and routines.

Some people just have it down pat, about how they would work around this.  But when you are like me, a “converted” fitness beginner, you find the challenge in not reverting to old habits of binging and laziness. So hence, my fears would not be unfounded.

But nearing the 15th day of the new Chinese Lunar New Year, the celebrations are just dying down and the clear horizon of fitness and exercise routines can be seen clearer.  I’m starting this next round of carefully planned programme and routines from now.  This includes physical, motivational, dietary as well as supplementation.

The fact that friends and family was asking about how I still had my physical built since I worked out so much, was a good and a bad thing. It didn’t help in cheering me over the holidays but it certainly did gave me the motivation to do it again and this time getting there.

So, I’m starting the conversion with this blog. To be posting more updates on my fitness and activity progress.  This is what I should have done since the beginning, but for this moment, I need all the help I can get, and i guess regular postings will be a good reminder for me to keep it up.

Our Trip to Tokyo, Japan

It was a trip which we had been looking forward to for quite a while. Time is definately a commodity. When you have to find the right time to fit in with everyone’s schedule, ie, kids holidays as well as work projects. Anyway, we manage to find the time this year in November to make this big trip of ours. We had initially planned to head-off south to warmer climates (Australia was the first thought) but then the temptation to head off to a place that we know we won’t be visiting more than once or twice (if ever) was great. Tokyo had always been one of those cities where I would not have put at the top of the list of places I would visit not because I didn’t want to but the circumstances of cost as language difficulties limited my desire to put it there. 😉

So, there we have it, soon enough, we found ourselves at the airport on the 18th of Nov 2012… It was a Sunday afternoon, which meant I got enough sleep the night before. Our “entourage” consists of 3 adults, Winnie, her dad and myself as well as 3 rambunctious kids, my son, daughter and our niece, followed by bundles of luggages… mine was the lightest, I’d proudly say. lol. 😉

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Strangely at that point the daunting task ahead when we reached Tokyo about all the things I feared hadn’t really kicked in. I’m the sort of person who would feel excited about a 6 hours journey on a plane, excited to think about what I would do. Magazine, iPad, movies, or note-taking… in my mind, these were plenty fun to start with.

So skipping ahead pass my boring in-flight programming, the flight itself was uneventful. Seeing as we left Kuala Lumpur at 5:00pm and the flight took 6 hours and 45mins, we reached Tokyo’s Haneda airport around about midnight by the time we checked ourselves out of customs and immigration. And that’s the start of Day 1

DAY 1

Okay, the first barrier was about to hit home… Language. I had my handy smartphone downloaded with the latest “Learn Japanese” language ready. I’d have to really give it to this application. I was so glad I saved it on my phone as I depended on it countless of times to make myself understood. Although a Japanese toddler could make more sense than me waving arms around and making funny noises, I still did what I needed to be understood.. lol!

We had a special chauffeured driven limousine service send us to our hostel. The limo was a grand MPV that fitted all of us and our suitcase. The weather hit us on the way out from the airport. The cold we felt, similar to opening up the fridge and letting the air blow on your face, yup we had that in Tokyo on the first evening. 10 degrees Celsius perhaps.

A fairly short ride later, we reached the Sakura Hostel, in Asakusa which was to be our home for the next one week! Quaint nice and friendly staff, Winnie was impressed with their level of service and attentiveness. Run by a group of young staff, the place itself was very “homely”, having all the shared ammenities that you needed, like a kitchen, laundry room, a small library area, a TV, music and lounge area as well as plently of tables and chairs for us to write, read or eat on.

Our suite room wasn’t very big, but big enough to house 3 fairly large beds and bunked tops. I knew my niece and daughter would be occupying the top bunks right from the start, so that was that. I’d have to say again that I was glad that everything was kept so clean and proper. Our baths were located outside of our rooms at the end of the corridors, a concept that maximises the use of space in Japan.

So, we settled down and tried to make ourselves confortable in this “foreign” room. Once beddings were done and the kids settled, I headed out to see the surrounding area of our hotel. It was about 1am at this time.

The place reminded me of a big city like Shanghai. Perhaps more due to the fact that it was autumn and the last few times I travelled to Shanghai, I was in similar season. The cold night air, the insulated bricked buildings, cold metal fixtures and paved sidewalks. Though most were the same, one stark difference was how clean the streets of Tokyo seemed to be. This was Asakusa, a suburb not in the main city confines but nevertheless, clean despite having small units of living quarters in addition to the premium apartments dotted along the streets.

DAY 2 – Asakusa District

The next day started bright and early. The kids were up and chirpy. It was going to be a day to discover the area which we were staying in. Asakusa is really a tourist haven, with the grand Sensoji temple in the heart of it all. P1070917

This was the place we stayed in – Sakura Hostel (totally recommended!)

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First experience with Tokyo!

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Winnie enjoyed her fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red bean paste

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Got to see how the made rice cakes!! And by hand, the traditional way

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At Sensoji Temple

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The famous Asahi building with what I call the “shaving foam” 😛

DAY 3 – Tokyo Disneyland

This was to be our second trip to a Disneyland. The first was a fun trip we made to Hong Kong Disneyland, Winnie, Celeste and myself. Celeste was just 1 plus at the time. Now with the kids older, we were gonna have our hands full bringing them to see all the sights and enjoying the fun rides.

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Disneyland is as we remembered from Hong Kong. Beautiful colourful and always filled with music. Lol… cartoon land is always like that isn’t it?!

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Cayden’s still trying to comprehend where he is! 😛

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DAY 4 – Ueno District

We made plans to go to Ueno district as a recommended tour by my Tokyo tour application. I expected it to be a contrast from our trip the day before. A calm walk through the park, a visit to the famous Ueno Zoo, the kids’ first visit to the grandest museum in Tokyo, and finally Ueno’s night market walkabout.

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The park was nice with the autumn leaves and the nice cooling weather!

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Our first time seeing Polar Bears!!! 😀

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Look at how happy the kids were! 😉

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Museum time… it was an eye opening experience for all of us to see the thousand of centuries old exhibits, an experience which we would not have been able to see elsewhere.

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DAY 5 – Shibuya and Harajuku District

I knew I was going to get a treat when we get to Shibuya station, being as it has one of the most famous traffic crossing and all. From busy streets of Shibuya and all the people in black, greys and dull neutral colours, we made our way, a short and cooling walk to Harajuku. Yup, the famous place for the Harajuku fashion street and eccentric colours and designs. But we made a stop by Meiji Jingu, a famous shrine dedicated to Emperor and Empress Meiji.

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Meiji Jingu was really beautiful, calm pristine and just felt a world away. 🙂

The walk along the streets of Omotesando was truly a unique shopping experience. The hightlights of it was really the backstreets of Omotesando where we got to see luxurious city homes as well as the odd shops reflecting an urban style which we have not really experienced before!

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Omotesando Hills

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This is Hachiko, the famous dog in Shibuya, the story of which was made into a famous show starring Richard Gere

Day 6 – Shinjuku and Lake Kawaguchi

The day that we were supposed to make our way to Shinjuku and catch an express bus to Lake Kawaguchi to view Mount Fuji started out wet! By the time we started out, the rain had slowed to a drizzle but it was cold. The kids had their rain coats and daddy, mommy and grandpa braved the wetness to get ourselves to busy Shinjuku by train.

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Once there, we got across to the bus station to get bus tickets to Lake Kawaguchi. Fortunately not too difficult to get myself understood with little English… 😉 But, the highlight of this was how we manage to bump into a bunch of my running friends on the same bus!!! 😀

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Look it’s Mohan and Gang!!! On the way to Lake Kawaguchi for the Fujisan Run! 😉

The ride to Lake Kawaguchi was very enjoyable as we got a nice view of the countryside through our bus ride via the hills. I had a kick imagining how it was like living in the different seasons in the area.

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As we got closer to Fujisan (as they like to call it there), the trees were closer to shades of autumn, hues of yellow, orange and red. The Lake Kawaguchi bus station was a quaint little station in the middle of a tourist town, not as desolated as I had initially imagined. We walked from the bus station to the lakeside and got a treat with the beautiful sight of the lake. By the time we reached the lake, I was curious as to the direction of Mount Fuji, it was all cloudy! My fear was that we may have made our way there without seeing the grand old Mount Fuji because it’s covered by clouds.

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But then, we found a cable car ride nearby and we decided to go up! The kids were getting a treat with the ride up the side of the hill up to the viewing point of Mount Fuji.

Once we were at the top, we had a fantastic vantage point of Mount Fuji. Cloudy, but we got to see the snow and the foothills along with the surrounding areas. It was indeed a grand experience, something I’d remember for a long time!

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Day 7 – Tsukiji and Ginza District

What would a trip to Japan be without seeing where the world’s capital of fresh fish and seafood come from.  a trip to Tsukiji market next to Ginza was the next destination.  Although we were not as crazy as some people who wakes up at 3am to make it to the market by 5am to watch the famous fish auction, we had enjoyed a peaceful walk through the fresh market and at the same time being able to still catch some late action at the marketplace.

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A short walk away from the marketplace is Ginza.  Perhaps one of the most famous fashion and shopping hub in the world, located in the heart of Tokyo!  I was looking forward to seeing the grand designs of brand shop in this area.

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Day 8 – Imperial Palace and East Gardens

On the final day in Tokyo, we had a full day to enjoy as our flight was almost at midnight.  So, we did a short relaxing trip to see the Imperial Palace East Gardens, a more relaxing experience as our last impression of Tokyo.

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TO SUM IT UP…

Gosh, that was a long blog post, wasn’t it?  My longest I guess… there’s at least 2000words in this post, guess I should have broken it up into several smaller posts, but I know with my laziness, it might just end up being half done.  So, well, although we there was so much more things to say about our experience in Tokyo, what you see above here summed up our entire experience and I’d say the experience is one where we would never forget.

As I said at the start of this post, Tokyo was an unlikely destination for our family vacation but having made the decision to do it anyway, we have been able to see such a WONDERFUL, AMAZING and totally EYE-OPENING experience.  I’ll be having more appreciation towards all things Japanese, the sushi I enjoy, the Japanese car I use, the Japanese friends I meet and all things “kawaii”!!! 😀

Long Distance Cycling

It has been a while since I cycled long distance, so I felt great when I had the opportunity to do so last Friday, a Hari Raya Haji holiday.

Myself and fellow rider Francis decided to make a long ride to Kuala Selangor. Another good friend Cynthia tagged along as well. Cynthia is one hardcore sportswoman, doing multiple marathons, ultra marathons and cycling was about to become one of her conquest too!  So, we had her for this ‘training’ ride.

On the day itself, we were joined by 3 other Team IR (Independent Racers) members who tagged along for part of the route.

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I was gonna enjoy myself on this ride cause I knew I felt good the weekend before riding 90++ km with a bunch of seasoned cyclists. 

 

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Latar Highway

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Pit stop at Petronas

The initial plan had been to ride all the way to Kuala Selangor but the day got hot real fast so we decided to make a fast pace to Ijok and then ride back via the Latar Highway and then through Guthrie before making our way back to Taman Tun where we started.2012-10-26 09.53.34

On the beautiful Latar Highway

I felt energised throughout the ride as I had come prepared this time around… yup, I downed 2x 2nd surge energy gels and the 100mg caffeine in each of those was a real booster!  It was noon by the time we got back and we manage to hit 110km distance. I was happy about that as the last time I rode that distance was a few months back at Ipoh Century Ride. 

I rode again on Sun and had a 5km run event on Saturday and details of these are for my next blog entries.

HAPPY RIDING!!!Open-mouthed smile

Progress of my new fitness efforts

Hmm… it took me a while to think about how to write this title…. and it still sounds cliched!  Gosh…

  • Weight Loss Progress
  • Excitement @ My New Fitness Efforts
  • 1kg a week weight loss progress!
  • Latest update on my fitness progress!

Yup, cliched forever! lol…

Anyway, this’ll be a short report about how I am doing since I started this round of new efforts from 1st Oct : The Line… Crossed!

I started this whole thing with the goal of hitting a 1kg weight loss per week.  (FYI, in between more comprehensive health check-ups and fitness tests, I’m using my weight as a gauge of how I am progressing)

And guess what?!

I’ve been hitting my targets so far!!! HAPPINESS! What a motivation.

When I started this on 1 Oct.. I was at an embarrassing 110kg. Yes, I was back to that much… not as bad as my worst but bad enough to scare me into doing something. 

As of today, 24th Oct, I’m at 107kg! Almost a 1kg weight loss per week!!!

I’ve been doing a lot of activities and for the most part of it, I’ve been watching my food intake very closely thanks to an application called My Fitness Pal on my smartphone.  Diligently inputting your daily consumption and exercise meant that I was always reminding myself about keeping to my goals.

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This is what I have on my mirror which reminds me daily to keep to my goals.  I’m targeting to maintain this progress until mid February for this round where I would be targetting to achieve a total of 20kg weight loss.  well, I gotta keep myself motivated and keep the activities coming!  If you read this, do drop me a message once in a while to remind me to keep at it. Winking smile

Sunday Wheels is Back!

Wow… this whole comeback thing is great.  A couple weeks ago, I did say I was gonna bring back a lot of my old routines (including blogging, thanks to the reminders of some very persuasive friends and their wonderfully knowing cynical smiles…)

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Well, anyway I ended up psyching myself up for a ride on Sunday!  It helped a bit that I was back on this exercise and diet routine that I started since the beginning of the month.

I was actually suppose to ride on Saturday with Team IR on a newbie ride, but unfortunately, woke up late.  (I know ‘no excuses’, but give me a bit of time while I strengthen my ‘will-power’!)… lol.  Nevertheless, the Sunday ride was on! 

I got out of bed promptly got my bike into the car and met up with Francis in Taman Tun… we started our ride at 6:15am… and made our way to the Curve where we were suppose to rendezvous with a few more friends… but lo and behold, I was surprised when it was actually the special appearance by team captain, Ewan… oops… I haven’t been riding for a while so I expected a good talking-to.  lol… But, there was none of that and it was actually just like old times. 

and I felt good!  great even!  We rode via Sg Buloh up to the Guthrie Highway and took a ride on the motorcycle lane (a famous starting route for weekend riders).  We knew other riders would be around, ie. BJCC as well as the PCC group along this route and 3 of us proceeded to ride to the Ijok exit and there we grouped up with several other riders.

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It was wonderful to meet familiar faces… perhaps the surprise was more on their end as they saw a person who has been missing for quite a while now. Midpoint through the ride, I felt really good.. all the fears about not being able to keep up was unfounded. 

We rode up to the petronas station of Ijok where about 20 over cyclist was gathered as well.  A brief 20 mins stop at the station allowed us to catch up and me to rekindle with old friends about what I how I was doing.

But you’d be surprised at how that small moment just gave me enough spark to light me up inside, getting my motivation back.  A lot of encouraging words was exchanged between fellow cyclists and even just for the fact that they still remembered me and asked about my activities, gave me some really serious motivation.

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The ride back to where we started was filled with lots of happy thoughts and excitement that I was coming back to something i really loved.  And at the end of the ride as I was packing my bike up, thoughts of many more exciting and fun rides to come, filled my head and I was already planning for future longer rides!  Won’t be missing a weekend if I can help it.

Sunday’s ride : Taman Tun – Ijok – Taman Tun
Distance : 92.5km