Want Quick Happy tips? Head over to Marc and Angels Hack

Practical Tips for Productive Living - Wonderful Quick and effective reading articles around the wellbeing, happiness and positiveness in bullet points numbers. I personally use it for easy reference

Want quick inspiration? Inspiration Peak is the place to go!

Check out and subscribe to Inspiration Peak in my Fav Websites for everyday quotes. Works a charm every single day. You're more than welcome to suggest a quote too!

Mind, Body, Green - Ultimate Wellness articles

I love their articles for it is written by various authors coming from wellbeing, yoga, holistic nutrition background that brings you closer to nature and serenity...

Lifehacker - Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done

Slightly drawn towards IT tips but they do also have tips about anything and everything you need under the sun, including tips for baking and cleaning! Check them out

Sunday, August 30, 2015

5 Nutrition Myths People Still Believe

Ho ho ho...just be careful =). In short, the more 'process' the food is the more we are taking in foreign stuff into our body. So no harm taking full cream milk or butter, so long as it is in moderation of course. I love my full cream~~

Courtesy from ACE

We’ve all heard them, read them and often even made them a part of our diets. Nutrition myths may grow out of small and isolated pieces of research, personal success stories gone viral, or even outdated scientific findings and beliefs. Whatever their source, dietitians and health experts agree that it’s time to ditch these five nutrition myths that many of your clients still believe.

1. Gluten-Free Diets Are a Must for Health and Weight Loss

While gluten is a popular ingredient to avoid, there is still much confusion about it. This protein found in wheat, rye and barley (and the crossbred hybrids of these grains) is also a common addition to many kinds of foods to help them maintain their shape.
If you or your clients are part of the approximately 1 percent of the population believed to suffer from celiac disease than this is no myth. In fact, those suffering from this severe immune-system response to gluten should avoid it entirely to prevent digestive symptoms such as pain and diarrhea as well as permanent intestinal damage and malnutrition.
With that said, the belief that adopting a gluten-free diet can help improve health and boost weight loss is a myth and may even do more harm than good:
  • Gluten is commonly found in whole grains. When these sources are removed from the diet to avoid gluten, so are many nutritional benefits including a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Studies show that whole-grain foods, as part of a well-rounded and healthy diet, may help lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.
  • While it has become a popular diet choice for weight loss (recent reports state that the gluten-free market in the United States has topped $4.2 billion), there is simply no evidence to support a gluten-free diet for weight loss. “Most experts recommend it only for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance,” says David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.

2. Dairy is the Only Dietary Source for Calcium

  • We’ve all been told to drink milk for strong bones. While it’s true that milk, cheese and other dairy products are rich in bone-building calcium, they are far from being the only sources of this essential mineral, making this a nutrition myth to leave behind.
    The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily dietary allowance of 1,000 milligrams of calcium for adults between the ages of 19 and 50, and 1,200 milligrams for women over 50. The best way to meet these recommendations is with a variety of calcium-rich foods including:
    • Leafy greens such as kale and spinach
    • Broccoli
    • Sardines
    • Soybeans and tempeh
    • Low-fat dairy such as milk and yogurt
    • Foods that are calcium-fortified
    Including several sources of calcium in your daily meal plan, avoiding excess alcohol and smoking, performing weight-bearing exercises and maintaining a healthy weight can all help support bone growth and prevent bone loss and osteoporosis.

3. Fats Are Bad for You

Dietary fat has gotten a bad rap in recent decades, but the right fats are essential to a healthy diet and can even help support weight-loss efforts, which make this a nutrition myth to ditch.
Health experts recommend including adequate “good fats” (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) such as canola oil, olive oil, fatty fish and soybean oil in any healthy meal plan, while also limiting “bad fats” (trans and saturated) such as margarine, commercially baked goods, meats and full-fat dairy. A little goes a long way with this high-calorie nutrient, but the benefits speak for themselves. Adequate fat intake in a healthy diet is associated with:

  • Vitamin absorption: The proper absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K depends on adequate dietary fat.
  • Appetite control: The most effective strategy for managing appetite is to incorporate moderate amounts of fat into balanced meals and snacks as part of a sensible eating plan.
  • Healthy mood: The brain relies on fats to produce feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Low levels of fats and feel-good chemicals can result in depressed moods, fogginess and the inability to concentrate.

4. Skipping Meals is Good for Weight Loss

It may seem like a good idea, but this long-standing nutrition myth can often undermine client progress. Skipping meals can lead to increased hunger and calorie intake later in the day. In addition, a study published in the journal Metabolism in 2007 found that otherwise healthy people who skipped meals throughout the day were at risk for dangerous metabolic changes because they ultimately consumed greater amounts of food at mealtimes. These metabolic changes—including elevated fasting glucose and delayed insulin response—could not only be factors for weight gain, but a dangerous precursor to diabetes.
The most important factor with regards to healthy nutrition is balance—of both different types of nutrients and calories consumed throughout the day. The regular nutrition offered by a balanced eating plan provides essential fuel throughout the day and minimizes the risk of overeating due to excessive hunger.

5. Whole Eggs Are a Bad Choice

Previously ruled a food to limit or avoid due to high amounts of cholesterol, whole eggs are back in good graces thanks to recent research focusing on the lack of current science-based evidence that dietary cholesterol is linked directly with blood cholesterol, heart disease and hypertension. In fact, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines will reflect the advisory panel’s recommendation to lift restrictions on cholesterol because it is “not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”
While the classic egg white is a good option for protein, many of the egg’s nutrients are found in the yolk:

  • Besides having a relatively good amount of protein, the yolk also contains heart-healthy unsaturated fat, including omega-3s.
  • Egg yolks contain essential nutrients such as riboflavin, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, choline and selenium.
Nutrition myths come and go and it’s time for these ones to disappear forever. Help clients reach their fitness and nutrition goals with an expert meal plan designed with solid nutrition, not myths, in mind.


Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Institute of Medicine, 2010
Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. USDA, 2015
Carlson, O. et al. (2007). Impact of reduced meal frequency without caloric restriction on glucose regulation in healthy, normal weight middle-aged men and women. Metabolism, 56, 12, 1729–1734.
What is Gluten? Celiac Disease Foundation



Coping With Instructor Burnout

Dedicated to all the Group Exercise Instructors out there. Know when to STOP, rest, then Play again :)

by Cathie Ericsonon Mar 17, 2015

Participants aren’t the only ones who need to take a break from time to time.

The new year likely brought with it a crush of new class participants. But then along came spring, and the inevitable happened: As the snow melted, so did resolutions; visits became less frequent as members began suffering from a classic case of burnout. In fact, many fitness professionals also experience burnout.

What can you do to stay inspired?

The Case for Burnout
According to Clint Fuqua, a Dallas-based fitness professional, group fitness instructors burn out for essentially the same reasons that clients do: too much, too fast. During the first 3 months of the year, fitness professionals scramble to keep up with all the new members and clients. That rush of business can make it hard to find time to take a break and recover—and that’s what eventually leads to burnout. However, most instructors want to save face. “Clients come to expect the same level of energy from their instructors every day,” observes Fuqua. “If that’s not met, then those clients will start to lose energy and motivation, and they’ll look for a new source.” 

Symptoms of instructor burnout can range from a feeling of boredom, to irritation at participants who aren’t making progress, to that general sense that you’re just going through the motions.

And, interestingly, the causes and symptoms of your burnout mirror those of your participants’ weariness. That’s why, with a few tweaks, much of the advice you give your attendees is pertinent for you as well. Read on for ways you can take the classic advice you give to others and make it work for you.

Take a Break
Yes, your participants take a break from time to time. And so should you! “The first thing I recommend when you think you’re approaching burnout is to take a week off to refresh and get motivated,” counsels Reggie Chambers of Reggie Chambers Fitness, New York City. Perhaps the spring lull is an appropriate time to relax and regroup. Use the slow season to come up with new ideas to keep yourself and your participants on track.

Of course, the break doesn’t have to last a whole week—that would be a luxury in many fitness facilities. Instead, you could designate a day each week to recuperate; this can work wonders on a long-term basis. Remember to accommodate your daily activity. And make sure your schedule allows for intermittent breaks during the day, says Fuqua, and have something to look forward to that will help you unwind at night. 

Mix It Up
Many instructors walk a fine line between instructing and working out. While your main job is to lead the class in a routine, sometimes you end up demonstrating more than usual—and, if you teach more than one class a day, that can add up. Take a look at your teaching schedule; make sure you’re balancing your classes with your own workout time. These days, it’s easier than ever to diversify and teach several class styles, such as strength, dance, yoga and indoor cycling. 

“If instructors teach several classes a week, it takes a special talent to [avoid burnout],” observes Ellen Chevalier, who has been working with clients for 30 years in Worcester, Massachusetts. She recommends cross-training and mixing up class formats—for example, incorporating Tabatas, an AMRAP formula (“as many reps as possible”) or other elements of surprise. The variety is good for the body and the mind, and both class members and instructors benefit. “You can even just vary the music and choreography so every class is different,” she suggests. “Take classes from other instructors, or check out websites that give good ideas for playlists, new movements and formats.” She also advocates getting specialty certifications to help you refresh and stay marketable.

“I make sure that my own workout is different all the time,” Chevalier adds. “You wouldn’t allow your clients to stick with a boring treadmill regime and 8-pound biceps curls forever. You have to mix up your own routine before complacency sets in. There’s always room to improve on something. It’s important to constantly set new goals, whether it’s doing a certain number of push-ups or increasing weight load.”

Be Patient!
Sometimes instructors feel burned out because they don’t see their clients progressing, or because attendance drops off. While it’s fun and rewarding to see members lose weight and get motivated to make lifestyle changes, remember that this is about them, not you. It can be easy to get caught up in thinking that you haven’t had the influence you wanted. But you can’t make someone do something. As Chevalier remarks, “No matter how good your class is, you can’t make people come; it’s up to the individual.” 

Remember that everyone reacts differently. If clients are not progressing or expressing enthusiasm, you may feel you’re not getting through to them. But you don’t know what they’re thinking. Chevalier advises you to stay positive and assume that participants were able to take away something useful from each class, even if you can’t tell. “They didn’t get out of shape overnight, and they won’t get back in shape overnight either.”

Maintain Other Healthy Habits
Eating a healthy diet and exercising most days of the week are good habits, but so is taking time to recover. Stagger your early and late days so you have time off for rest and relaxation. And don’t forget to manage your own diet. You may feel smug about the attendee who consistently downs an energy drink and inhales a candy bar right before class, but what about that daily mocha you treat yourself to after you teach? 

“Be relentless about your own nutrition,” says Kusha Karvandi, CEO and founder of Exerscribe in San Diego. “Avoid artificial stimulants like energy drinks and preworkout powders, and put your principles into action. Be the [fitness professional] you claim to be, not the [person]who hits the drive-through at Jack in the Box after work. That incongruity not only makes you look bad, but also it’s bad for your body on those long work days.”

Reconnect With Inspiration
You know how the flight attendant tells you to put on your own mask before helping others? Self-care is crucial to career success. In addition to considering all the strategies listed above, it may be helpful to reconnect with the reasons why you began teaching to begin with. If you’re like many fitness professionals, you love helping people and you really want to Inspire the World to Fitness®. When you’re burned out, it’s easy to lose sight of this. Perhaps all you’re thinking about is the extra time it takes you to prepare a playlist or how someone always finds something to complain about. However, have you noticed the new people in the corner who are scared and come to class only because they connect with your teaching style? Maybe you could approach them after class, give them some positive reinforcement and let them know you notice their efforts.

Chevalier advises instructors to remember why they are in the business. “My clients are carving out an hour of their day, so I am motivated to make sure they’re satisfied,” she says. “They are looking for the best, so I go in knowing that I can give that to them.” 

The bottom line: You can’t keep your clients fired up if you are burned out. Walk your talk by taking the same classic advice you dole out. This could be the secret to your own continued motivation. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

10 Moves Every Man Should Do

To the men out there, bench press isn't everything. Try these, especially the last item

Courtesy from ACE PRoSource

A few weeks ago I saw one of the most entertaining scenes ever in my 20-plus years of belonging to and working in health clubs. It was early on a Saturday morning and I was doing a TRX workout. There was a group of about four or five guys in the free-weights area having a bench-press contest. Guys challenging each other to see who can lift the most is nothing new, but what made this group stand out was the fact that they looked to be in their late 50s or early 60s. The most entertaining part is that these guys were talking serious smack—if it wasn't for the gray hair and bifocals they could've been mistaken for a group of high school football players.

I've been thinking about that scene and wondering how often it is played out in gyms and health clubs around the country. In my experience, most guys learn to lift while playing sports in high school or college and one of the most popular exercises is the bench press. Now, I have to admit that I used to live and die by how much I could bench (365 lbs. was my max) but I am now in a 12-step recovery program for bench press and it has been almost seven years since my last barbell bench press.
Not really. And not to make light of addiction issues, but it seems as if many men who work out make the bench press a focal point of their exercise program because it is what they learned during their athletic careers. If benching a certain amount of weight can help you earn more playing time on your high school team, then by all means, focus on the bench press. But for guys who are juggling a career, family and social obligations, time can be extremely valuable. And while the bench press might be a popular exercise it only engages a few muscles and has very little practical use in day-to-day life.

Furthermore, an exercise program that is too chest dominant can create a muscle imbalance that could be responsible for a rotator cuff injury that limits the function of the shoulder. The distal attachment of the pectoralis major creates internal rotation of the humerus (upper arm bone), while the proximal attachment along the clavicle can pull the scapula into protraction. When both occur simultaneously it can create an impingement of the supraspinatus muscle of the rotator cuff responsible for stabilizing the shoulder. In addition, bringing a load directly down on the chest while the scapulae are being held in place by a bench puts a tremendous amount of force on the anterior capsule of the shoulder. Sitting at a computer for hours a day without the best posture can already place your shoulder and chest muscles in a shortened, weakened position that greatly enhances the risk of injury. The chances are that if you work out regularly, you may know someone who has injured his shoulder while benching—now you know why.

Except for competitive powerlifters, the amount of weight a man can bench press is irrelevant to improving his quality of life as he ages. If you only have a limited amount of time, the best way to get results is to make exercise as efficient and effective as possible, using movements that involve a number of muscles simultaneously. The body burns 5 calories to consume 1 liter of oxygen; therefore, the more muscles used during a workout, the more oxygen used and the more calories are expended. The following exercises can help increase lean muscle mass, improve definition and burn calories, and should be a part of every guy's exercise program.

Squat or Deadlift


The only difference between these two exercises is where the resistance is placed: on the body for a squat or picking a weight off the floor for a deadlift. Either way, squatting with resistance involves a lot of muscle mass, which means burning more calories during the exercise. In addition, when performed to fatigue, squats or deadlifts can induce a significant testosterone response, and what guy couldn't use a little more T in his day? An additional benefit of squatting or deadlifting is that each exercise requires you to maintain a strong, stable spine using abdominal bracing to strengthen the core muscles that help with the appearance of a flat stomach. It's important to squat with good form so before you step under a bar or pull from the floor, strength coach Dan John recommends practicing the movement with a goblet squat. A goblet squat involves holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of the chest during the exercise and can be a safe, effective way to load the hips while learning proper form and technique.

Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

Romanian Deadlift

The RDL involves hip flexion and extension while holding a resistance in front of the body. Proper form means the knees are slightly flexed while the spine remains long and straight throughout the range of motion. The movement should be from the hips, not the lumbar spine, and when done properly can strengthen the glutes, hamstring and adductor muscles responsible for extending the hip. Like the squat or deadlift, the RDL uses the stabilizing muscles of the core, which means you'll be working on a flat stomach while developing noticeable, well-defined glutes.

Chin-ups or Pull-ups


Whether in the gym or outside in a park almost nothing feels more primal than grabbing on to a pull-up bar and knocking out a few reps. The primary difference between a chin-up and a pull-up is hand position; the hands are palms-up during a chip-up and palms down during a pull-up. A palms-up position uses more of the biceps and places less strain on the elbow; it also puts the shoulder in an externally rotated position, which counteracts the effects of being at a computer all day. Either way, chin-ups or pull-ups with your own bodyweight (even if modified) are a great way to strengthen the upper back and give you an overall more muscular appearance.

Bent-over Barbell Rows

Bent-over Barbell Rows

In his research on the spine, Canadian professor Stuart McGill, Ph.D., noted that in addition to strengthening the muscles of the upper back, the barbell bent-over row develops important core strength to enhance spinal stability. The bent-over row can improve strength and definition of the back, while also strengthening the deep core muscles that can help give the appearance of a flatter stomach.

Standing Military Press With Dumbbells

Standing Military Press

The shoulders sit on top of the spine, which sits on top of the hips. While seated shoulder presses are effective for developing shoulder strength they do not engage the hip and core muscles (and remember using more muscles = burning more calories). Standing shoulder presses require a solid, stable platform using the hips and deep stabilizers of the spine, making this exercise effective at developing core strength while improving the size and definition of the shoulder muscles.


Good old-fashioned push-ups can be the most effective way to strengthen your chest and require no equipment. While your body is lying on a bench during a chest press, push-ups require the hip and core muscles to create the stability for the shoulders and arms to move through a complete range of motion, making it another exercise that does multiple things at once. While you can lift more weight lying on a bench or sitting in a machine, neither will use the muscles that help flatten your abs like the push-up does. The good news is that when performed to fatigue, push-ups can initiate a hormonal response that leads to muscle growth, meaning that you don't need to risk injury with a ton of weight to increase mass and definition.

Medicine Ball Low-to-high PNF Lifting Pattern

Medicine Ball PNF

A PNF pattern means a diagonal movement through multiple planes of motion. A low-to-high medicine ball PNF lifting pattern teaches you how to integrate leg, hip, trunk and arm strength into one system capable of generating a lot of force (strength). If you have relatives who live on a farm you know how strong a person can get from manual labor like swinging an ax or using a shovel, both of which require diagonal movement patterns for success. A major benefit of this exercise is that the external oblique is the largest core muscle and a PNF lifting pattern uses it much more effectively than simply lying on your back and rolling to one side.

Side Planks

Side plank

A number of the exercises on this list use the deep core stabilizers as an integral part of the movement, so it is not necessary to do a standard plank. Side planks, however, provide many of the same benefits as a traditional plank but balancing on one arm requires more strength from the shoulder. In addition, the side plank engages both the internal and external obliques, which, when strengthened together, can create a stronger mid-section.

Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ) Drills

Ladder drill

Let's face it, jogging is not that exciting unless you live near a beach with a running path or an outdoor trail with a killer view. Running in a straight line at a steady pace uses only a few of the many leg muscles. On the other hand, doing multidirectional drills for agility, acceleration and reactivity uses all of the lower-body muscles, leaving you with legs like a soccer, lacrosse or rugby player (ask your significant other how they'd like that). SAQ drills improve muscle elasticity, coordination and dynamic balance, and learning different running patterns or reacting to an opponent's movements helps develop new brain neurons. Finally, what would you rather talk about at the next barbecue? "Yeah, I ran three miles in a straight line (yawn)." Or "I was doing the same SAQ drills as Marshawn Lynch." Your choice.


While lifting weights is AWESOME, you can't forget to add flexibility and mobility training and yoga provides both. The first yoga class I ever took was one of the most humbling experiences of my fitness career, BUT I love the challenge of moving the body in different directions, which helps improve overall flexibility and coordination. Yoga can help reduce both physical stress from exercise and mental stress from work and life demands.
There you have it, 10 exercises that every man should be doing. It doesn't matter whether your fitness goals are to increase lean muscle, improve definition or simply lose a few of the extra pounds you've picked up over the years, these exercises will help you reach them

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wednesday Hump

No post today as we are better off with something cute instead~

Take it easy, the hump isn't as long nor high as we think :) . This is what I feel like today (zombie mode).

If all else fails, try standing on the hands...

*GeniaL aka Happy Handstand*

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What You Need to Know About Coconut Water

Several years ago we were jogging along New York City’s West Side Highway alongside the Hudson River. Within blocks of each other, ambassadors from two different brands of coconut water were handing out sample beverages to bikers and runners, touting its superior hydrating ability. It was one of the first times we had heard of (and tried!) coconut water, and in the ensuing years sales have exploded. In fact, according to the Beverage Industry, coconut water sales continue to rise in 2015. If you’re wondering if you should join the coconut water believers, here are some facts to consider.

What exactly is coconut water?
Coconut water is the mildly sweet and nutty-flavored clear liquid found in the center of young, green coconuts. It contains approximately 40 calories per cup, less than half the calories found in the same amount of unsweetened fruit juices. It’s also low in fat, cholesterol-free and high in potassium. In fact, some of the companies that sell coconut water tout that an 8-ounce serving contains more potassium than a banana.
Dishes like Thai green coconut curry with chicken, coconut soup, coconut pudding and coconut sticky rice are actually made with coconut milk, which is both high in fat and calories and looks more like cow’s milk. You also don’t want to confuse coconut water with coconut cream, which is used in cocktails like piña coladas, or with coconut oil, which comes from the meat of the coconut.

What are the claims?
Marketers call coconut water “Mother Nature’s sports drink” and promise that it can help you stay hydrated and fight a hangover. Proponents also claim that because coconut water is high in potassium, which is believed to regulate blood pressure and is important for heart health, it can help prevent strokes and heart attacks. Others say coconut water has anti-aging properties and can help fight cancer and kidney stones, as well.

Does coconut water prevent strokes and heart attacks and live up to the other claims?
While potassium is important for heart health, coconut water isn’t magical—potassium is in many foods, including bananas, potatoes, beans, lentils, spinach and yogurt. And simply drinking coconut water on its own won’t magically prevent a stroke. Many of these other benefits are little more than unproven claims.

Does coconut water live up to the claim that it is “Mother Nature’s sports drink”?
Unlike most conventional sports drinks, unsweetened coconut water is a more natural way to replenish electrolytes because it is free of the sugar, artificial sweeteners and dyes. It's also high in potassium and magnesium, which are two nutrients the body needs for overall health and good performance.
However, sports drinks are only necessary when exercising intensely for longer than an hour—water is sufficient for shorter workouts. If you have a hard time drinking water when trying to hydrate, coconut water may be a good way to help you to drink more fluid (if you enjoy the taste, that is). Just keep in mind that it does contain calories. And because many people exercise to help control or lose weight, drinking back the calories they burn off isn’t ideal.
When you exercise intensely for longer than an hour, a sports drink helps provide the body with both sodium (the main electrolyte lost through sweat) and carbohydrates (which help refuel the body's energy stores). Compared to sports drinks, coconut water has fewer of these key nutrients. If you’re a fan of coconut water and exercise intensely for about an hour, you can benefit from the electrolytes, but you won’t be relying on it for carbs and sodium—and the calories won’t get as high as they could with other beverages.

How does coconut water compare to sports drinks, juice and soda in terms of sugar content?
An 8-ounce carton of unsweetened coconut water has about 40 calories and 9 grams of sugar, while 8 ounces of Gatorade contains approximately 50 calories and 14 grams of sugar. If you’re lowering your sugar intake, coconut water could be a good option if you don’t mix it with juice.
As a sports drink replacement (potassium and sodium):
Potassium: If you eat a nutrient-rich diet, it’s fairly easy to get enough potassium from the food you eat—plus, you’ll also get important vitamins, minerals and fiber along with the food. Potassium is found in unprocessed meats, milk, and fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, fruit from vines and citrus fruits. While it seems like it would be easy to consume plenty of potassium, many Americans don’t get enough, so coconut water can boost intake a bit.
Sodium: Most people don’t work out long or hard enough to need an electrolyte replacement drink. If you’re not working out intensely for 60 to 90 minutes or more, you simply don’t need one. Water will keep you hydrated without any extra calories. If you are working out exceptionally long and hard, the mineral that you need the most of is actually sodium, and coconut water is fairly low in sodium.

The bottom line…
The main benefits of coconut water are that it’s a natural fluid and an excellent source of potassium (430 milligrams per 8-ounce serving), and many of us don't take in anywhere close to the recommended daily amount of 4700 milligrams. And, if you have a tough time consuming enough fluids because you don’t like the flavor of water, coconut water can help you to stay hydrated.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

3 Exercises to Do Instead of Burpees

Bored / cringing about Burpees? Try these alternatives.

I like the second part...just coz it really works straight into the core and we do it for Les Mills GRIT.

Thanks ACE

You can’t escape burpees these days. It’s become the go-to move for high-intensity exercise because it uses a lot of muscle and moves your body mass up and down. This is also why burpees are an exercise that many people love to hate.
For some people, rapidly shifting the head up and down creates dizziness. For others, the high-impact nature of the movement proves too difficult and form quickly falls apart, particularly when fatigue sets in.

Burpees are definitely challenging, requiring the exerciser to employ full-body stability, mobility in many joints and above-average coordination, while also being able to perform both a solid plank and a decent squat. It can also be monotonous to keep doing the same movement over and over again.
In this spirit, here are a few full-body moves that provide some of the same benefits as burpees, while providing some novelty.

Wide-to-narrow Touch Squat

Start with feet close together and squat by moving hips back and down. Touch either the ground or the outside of your lower leg. As you quickly rise from the squat, slide your feet out wide and squat again, this time touching either the ground or the inside of your lower leg. Keep alternating as you complete the exercise. If you touch your leg, try to touch the same spot each time to verify full range of motion throughout the set. The emphasis here is not on jumping, but rather on a quick slide of the feet out and in. Landing and dropping into the next squat makes this exercise low-impact, while poor technique would make it a high-impact exercise.

Crawl Arounds

From a high plank position, walk your feet in and to the side so that both feet finish to the left of your hands. Return to the starting position, and repeat the walk in so that your feet finish to the right of your hands. Emphasize small, quick steps to maximize the challenge of this movement.

Monkey Turns

Hinge forward at the hips and place your hands on the ground perpendicular to your feet and out in front of you. Support your weight on your hands as you lift your feet and pivot your body around your hands to land facing the opposite direction (or close to it). Unlike burpees, which usually feature a hard, violent landing, this exercise requires a controlled approach to landing softly. Focus on enhancing body awareness and movement quality on the landings.

Try these burpee swaps and see if they deliver similar benefits with a shot of interest in your full-body exercises and give you a break from burpees.

Click here to watch a video demonstrating all three exercises.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Get Kids To Listen Without Yelling

Another one of those pondering when I stare blankly into space whilst standing in the crowded MRT waiting for my stop to arrive.

Yes, I think alot of questions and I believe these are the common questions that will arise as parents. Dedicated to ALL the parents of course.

Lovely article from Positive Parenting Connection. Worth saving the website for reads too! Check out the links below for more references / read.

Many parents I work with confess to yelling at their kids upwards of ten times a day. Parents say they do this most of all because they want their children to listen but they get zero cooperation. When promises, pleading and threats no longer work, yelling can feel like the only option. Especially if time is short, behaviors are out of bounds, and big power struggles break out yelling becomes the go to way to get kids to start listening.


The problem is that yelling at kids really doesn’t help them focus on what you want them to do. Katie Hurley, parenting educator explains why this backfires:
A natural defense mechanism for children is to “tune out” yelling. Its a highly charged input. Children might yell back or they might even laugh in response, but they aren’t internalizing the message. Frequent yelling can trigger symptoms of anxiety in children and can lead to a negative cycle of communication that is difficult to break.
Here are some pro-active strategies to try if you want to reduce yelling and encourage your kids to listen and cooperate:

Set limits early on

Sometimes we dread the potential tears, conflict or protest that may come with setting a limit. so we avoid setting the limit in the first place. The problem? This practice of avoidance until the last minute leads to frustration and resentment on our part. Then we yell and our child startles, cries or disconnects.
Setting a limit sooner means the problem is eliminated well before it grows and triggers yelling.

Keep your Limits AND remember to validate feelings

Setting limits sometimes means children feel upset. Keeping limits however helps children learn to trust our guidance. While we cannot own or change our children’s feelings, we can strive to accept them, empathize and lead confidently.
It’s very helpful to validate feelings and then trust that your child will be able to feel her feelings and move on. Here is a conversation I had with my four year old recently:
me: “Can you please set the place mats on the table?”
four year old (with creative excuses): “Oh..but my legs hurt! And I’m playing with my playmobil!”
me (showing interest): “Oh no, your legs hurt? What’s going on with them?”
four year old (being honest!): “Ugh, I just don’t feel like table setting mama. it’s so boring!”
me (validating): “uhm.uhm..you don’t feel like it. It is boring. I understand. And it’s dinner time. So what’s your plan to get your job done?”
four year old: “I don’t wannnna. I don’t mama.”
me: “it’s a boring job. you don’t want to do it. Could you make it a fun job?”
four year old (understanding my request wasn’t changing): “Can my playmobil princess do it? You, know, with my help?”
me: “yes!”
See more about setting limits and supporting frustrations.

Adjust expectations

Young children touch everything, preschoolers ask WHY around 300 times a day, school aged children often have no interest in doing homework when WE think it’s the time to do it. When expectations are in line with our children’s abilities (in that moment!) the better they can follow through with our requests and yelling is no longer necessary.

Ask questions that invite cooperation

Questions can motivate kids to take ownership over their own tasks. In my new book 12 Alternatives to Time out, I share how this question ” What do you still need to do before ________?” is one of my very favorites to motivate children. This kind of question works because it invites cooperation while still allowing children to feel capable and competent.

In practice this means that “WHY HAVEN”T YOU BRUSHED YOUR HAIR YET AND WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES, OMG WHY ARE YOU NOT MOVING YOUR FEET…. LET’S GO!!!!!” simply becomes “What do you have left to do before leaving the house?”

Parenting educator and psychotherapist Andrea Nair says this works because “Yelling grows children’s defenses while clever language grows their cooperation.”
-Yelling grows children's defenses while

Connect before making a request

Children are much more likely to follow through with a request when it is done face to face, even better at or below their eye level. This is a very safe and connected way to make a request. What’s more, when you speak kindly you are modeling a wonderful way for your child to interact with classmates, siblings, teachers and friends. Being up close also naturally means you will lower your voice which is really important.

Andy Smithson, of TRU parenting explains that volume makes a big difference. “The louder we are, the less they hear… We logically think a louder voice penetrates ears and increases hearing. The problem is that when we raise our voices, our kids’ freak out switch gets flipped and automatically puts them on the defense.”

Motivating children to participate in chores, get their homework done, play nicely with a sibling, can all feel like a never ending task. Children are growing and learning so they need positive guidance daily. While it may initially seem like more effort, being kind with your requests is less stressful in the long run and it also encourages more cooperation.

Are there any times of day or certain requests that you feel trigger yelling the most?

Peace & Be Well,


Recommended Resources
Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool
Twelve Alternatives to Time Out: Connected Discipline Tools for Raising Cooperative Children
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
COMPASS: Positive Discipline E-Zine for Families (Free resource)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

7 Benefits of Walking (Image)

Woohoo! Let's walk. I like the part where we are stuck with a problem. Just walk. Or frustrated with something.

Just. Walk :)

Thanks ACE!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

4 Moves to Help You Master the Push-Up

Nope, the elbows do not be in-line with the shoulder to form a 'T'. That's a formula for disaster in the shoulders....

Courtesy from ACE Pro source

The push-up has long been an exercise that many use to measure their fitness. Even the U.S. military uses this move as a part of the PT testing service members engage in during training. So why is this move so essential and how can you improve it?
The push-up, like other pushing movements, is part of five functional movement patterns that the ACE Integrated Training Model includes as a way to improve overall health and fitness. Other essential movement patterns include the bend and lift, single-leg movements, pull and rotation. When you are able to effectively move something away from your body with the strength of your arms, you are better able to perform other activities of daily living such as closing a door, putting groceries away, doing yard work, and playing with your children or grandchildren.
The major muscles involved in most pushing movements include the pectorals major and minor, anterior deltoids and triceps muscles. There are several other synergistic muscles (helpers) that are also a part of improving your ability to function efficiently on a daily basis. These include the medial deltoids, latissimus dorsi, and serratus anterior and rectus abdominis/obliques. When all these muscle function well together, you are better able to perform your regular, daily activities.

Keys to Good Form

When performing a proper push-up, it is important to “pack the shoulders” by setting the shoulder blades (scapula) in the correct and most powerful position. This ensures that the right muscles are doing the work. Before beginning a push-up, maintain straight arms and pull the shoulder blades down the back and together (as if putting the scapula in your back pocket while pinching them together). Maintain this position of the shoulder blades as you complete your push-up.
As with many body-weight exercises, mastering the push-up takes time, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Here are a few moves to help improve the traditional push-up. Perform each of these four exercises as a part of your strength-training routine. To improve overall strength, perform two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, using a weight that only allows you to complete your goal repetitions and sets safely.

Assisted Push-up

Loop one end of a super band around the top of a pull-up bar. Loop the other end around your trunk, just below your chest. Lean forward with a straight body and allow your body weight to take you toward the ground. When your hands meet the ground, push up quickly while maintaining a rigid body from head to feet. To increase or decrease the difficulty of this move, use a different band, or move your feet closer or farther away from the anchor point.

Pushing quickly off the ground helps develop power while moving the body through a full range of motion in the push-up position.

Off-set Single-arm Chest Press

Lie on a bench and walk the hips off the side so your body is at a 45-degree angle and only one shoulder and your head is resting on the bench. Grasp the bench with the hand on the bench over your head. With your free hand, reach down for a dumbbell that you’ve placed next to the bench. Raise your hips up to a table-top position and press the dumbbell over your chest with the arm extended. Maintain this hip and trunk position as you lower the dumbbell to chest level with the elbow bent to the side of the body.

Many people have imbalances that may need to be addressed to help improve overall strength. This move improves upper-body strength as well as trunk stability, one side at a time.

Plank Reaches

Assume a plank position with hands under the shoulders and feet set wide to maintain trunk position. Reach one hand out straight in front of the body, and then switch hands slowly while maintaining a rigid body from head to feet. You can increase the intensity of this move by holding light dumb bells and reaching the arm forward while holding the additional weight.

By improving full-body stability with this move, the trunk and shoulders are better prepared to take on the movement pattern of the push-up.

Swimmer Pulls

With a cable machine and rope attachment, position the anchor point at belly-button height. Step back while holding the rope ends and hinge at the hips. Begin with the arms extended. Pull the hands apart, bringing the rope toward the body under the chest. When your elbows can’t bend any further, extend the rope handles toward the hips, pressing the hands backward.

This move improves strength in the back muscles and triceps, which is essential for improving stability and performance in the push-up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why Mind Control is Self-Control

I like this article, it applies not only in the fitness regime side of things but in fact how we actually rely in life. Worth a read :)

Thanks ACE

Why Mind Control is Self-Control Why Mind Control is Self-Control  | Jonathan Ross | Expert Articles | 7/17/2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Energizing Breakfast Ideas

Plus healthy to avoid those cravings!


While breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day, a recent study reported that 50 percent of women don’t eat breakfast when they’re busy. If this sounds familiar, be aware that skipping breakfast sets you up for intense cravings later in the day. Eating a meal within an hour of waking provides fuel for both your body and brain, jump-starts your metabolism and can help reduce cravings later in the day. More importantly, a high-protein breakfast stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, which will calm those food cravings.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that your whole breakfast should be protein. We’re not talking about a meal comprised of eggs, bacon and sausage. A well-balanced breakfast should consist of four things: protein, fruit or vegetables, a high-fiber grain or starchy vegetable, and healthy fats. The carbohydrates from the fruits, vegetables and grains provide the glucose that your body and brain need for energy. Adding protein, fat and fiber to the mix helps slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream, giving you longer-lasting energy and making you feel fuller for longer.

Fortunately, eating a nutritious and delicious breakfast doesn’t mean you have to slave away at the stove or spend hours getting it ready. A well-stocked fridge, freezer and pantry will help streamline meal prep. If you’re short on time in the morning, we recommend preparing your breakfast the night before so all you have to do in the morning is grab and go.

Here are some of our favorite energizing breakfast ideas:
  • Prepare an omelet with two eggs and two egg whites, spinach, mushrooms and onions, and serve it with sweet potato hash and a bowl of berries.

  • Yogurt parfait: Combine plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon and pure maple syrup and layer it into a glass with fresh berries or peaches, chopped walnuts and pecans, and a spoonful of chia seeds.

  • Rockin’ Green Smoothie: Blend almond milk with a frozen banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, one-half of an avocado, a big handful of baby spinach and a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

  • Nutty and fruity overnight oats: Soak old-fashioned oats in a mixture of milk, Greek yogurt, cinnamon and vanilla extract overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, add fresh fruit (whatever is in season), chia and hemp seeds, and slivered almonds.

  • Breakfast burrito: Scramble two eggs and cook two turkey or chicken breakfast sausage links. Combine these with a little shredded cheese, a scoop of fresh salsa, and a spoonful of guacamole or a few slices of avocado and place into a sprouted grain or brown rice tortilla and wrap up like a burrito. Hot sauce is optional.

  • Tofu scramble: Mash half a block of organic firm tofu and sauté with onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms. At the end, fold in a scoop of cooked quinoa and top with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

  • High-protein pancakes: Combine almond flour with an egg, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and a ¼-teaspoon baking powder. Whisk well and cook in a pan with virgin coconut oil. Add in fresh, sliced fruit while the pancake is cooking.

  • Very Berry Smoothie: Combine tart cherry juice (anti-inflammatory, great for after a workout), mixed frozen berries, chia seeds, a drop of almond extract and a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

  • Grain-free granola: Combine one-quarter cup each of slivered almonds, chopped pecans and chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, ½-tablespoon of ground flax seeds, ¼-teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil, and 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Mix well and place on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes. Let cool and mix into Greek yogurt or in a bowl with milk and fruit.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Why Am I Always Hungry After a Workout?

why why why?

Let the Professionals explain ;)

“I'm so hungry, I could eat a _____(fill in the blank)!”

Does this sound like you after a tough workout? How about the rest of the day? Do you find yourself hungry all day long? If you can't seem to satisfy the hunger that follows exercise, you're not alone.
You’re supposed to be hungry after you work out. Exercise burns calories, uses up your glycogen and stimulates your appetite.

It also dehydrates you and if you don't drink enough water before, during and after your workout, you're going to feel hungry. Also, improper pre-workout fueling can lead to increased hunger later in the day. Exercising in a fasted state will only make you feel hungrier. In some cases, appetite may be suppressed during or immediately after exercise. But hunger hormones may increase later in the day, making you want to eat. A lot. Satiety hormones can also decrease, making it harder to feel full and satisfied, especially for women.

According to weight-loss experts, exercise works great for weight maintenance, but not weight loss. It's also important for decreasing belly fat, reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and increasing your level of happiness.

Giving up exercise is not an option—it's part of a healthy lifestyle. Understanding that exercise will increase your appetite and arming yourself with steps to keep it in check is part of the plan for success.

Why are you hungry?
  • Exercise increases appetite
  • Depleted glycogen stores
  • Dehydration
  • Inadequate pre-workout fuel


In the sports nutrition world, meal timing is key to performance and recovery. Because you use up most or all of your glycogen stores while you work out (depending on the type of activity, intensity and duration), you need to replenish them so you can have enough energy to work out tomorrow. It's ideal to eat your first post-workout meal within 30 to 60 minutes of finishing your workout. For some people, this will require some planning. If you exercise first thing in the morning, you'll need to have breakfast food available wherever your morning may take you. If you work out at lunchtime or in the late afternoon, make sure to time it so you can have your lunch or dinner meal as your post-workout fueling. For those who work out in the morning or mid-day, a second post-workout meal approximately two hours later will be necessary. Eating the majority of your calories earlier in the day will help control hunger and cravings later in the day. In America, we typically eat a small breakfast and a very large dinner. Reversing that so you have a large breakfast, a medium-sized lunch and a small dinner is more logical in terms of the calories your body needs and when it needs them.


What you eat is just as important as when you eat. You need carbs and protein in your recovery meal. The ratio of carbs to protein depends on the type of workouts you do. An endurance or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session uses up more glycogen, so you need a greater ratio of carbs to protein and should aim for a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. You want a blend of fast-acting carbs (fruit) and slower-acting carbs (high-fiber whole grains), which will be stored as glycogen. Adding protein to the carbs has been shown to increase the glycogen resynthesis process. For a weight-training workout, which causes microtears in the muscles, a meal that has a carb-to-protein ratio of 2:1 or 1:1 will help with refueling the muscles and repairing the damaged tissues.


If you feel hungry, you might actually be thirsty. Most people don't drink enough water before, during and after exercise. The brain confuses a lack of fluid with not enough food, signaling hunger pains. If you just ate a meal an hour ago and are already feeling hungry, try drinking 12 ounces of water and waiting 15 minutes; then reassess your hunger level. A great plan for staying properly hydrated includes drinking 8 to 12 ounces of water when you wake up, 8 ounces before each meal, 12 to 16 ounces an hour before you exercise, and 24 ounces after you exercise. By the end of the day, you should have consumed between two and three liters of water. Other factors to consider that drive up your fluid needs include heat, humidity, illness and pregnancy. Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration status—if you wait until you are thirsty to drink then you are most likely already 1 to 2 percent dehydrated, which is significant. Instead, look to the color of your urine to assess your level of hydration. If it is clear to light yellow, then you're hydrated. If it's anything darker than the color of lemonade, be sure to start drinking more water.


Whether or not you eat before your workout can impact your hunger later in the day. For morning exercisers, make sure to eat something before your workout. If you have less than 30 minutes between the time you wake up and hit the gym, a banana with a little peanut butter is a good choice. If you have at least an hour before your workout, a bowl of oatmeal with some fruit and nuts, or some eggs and fruit will give you the fuel you need to power through a tough session. Exercising in a fasted state will lead to early fatigue and poor stamina and increased hunger post-workout.


Most of us have very busy lives and tend to eat quickly while doing something else. Ah yes, the art of multitasking. However, when you eat mindfully—slowly and undistracted by the TV, emails, internet or cell phone—and focus attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, you will derive more satisfaction from your meals and feel less hungry throughout the day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

53 mommy milestones for your first year with a new baby

Lol can't believe it's so spot on!

Welcome to motherhood! The next 12 months will be full of a lot of new things: the first bath, the first smile, the first word, the first foods. But while your baby is going through these milestones, don't be surprised when you go through some of your own. You've done your research about where your baby should be in terms of development, but what about your mommy milestones? Here's just some of the things you can expect now that you're no longer expecting.
Birth - Your heart expands to fit more love than you thought it could.
1 week - You learn to survive on two hours of sleep a night.
2 weeks - Your first bowel movement that doesn't make you want to cry.
3 weeks – First baby blowout. Poop on your hands, poop on your clothes, poop everywhere.
4 weeks - First outing with the baby. One hour of prep, 10 minutes away from the house.
5 weeks - First time leaving Dad home alone with the baby.
6 weeks - Doctor gives the OK for sex. Not that you have the energy for it.
7 weeks - You accidently hurt your baby for the first time while clipping her fingernails.
8 weeks – Napping has become more important than a shower.
9 weeks - First night out. You'll spend the whole time wondering if the baby's OK and the whole dinner talking about him.
10 weeks - First postpartum workout. Your body will never be the same.
11 weeks - First time breastfeeding in public.
12 weeks - Going back to work. Bust out the breast pump and cry when you leave the baby with the sitter.
13 weeks - First time you make an emergency call to the doctor with a sick baby.
14 weeks - Your first mommy-style haircut.
15 weeks - You can identify your child's cry, even in a crowd of other crying children.
16 weeks - You've mastered the art of breastfeeding while doing something else.
17 weeks - You're so tired that you put the diaper on backward.
18 weeks - You no longer think anything's wrong with smelling another person's butt.
19 weeks - Whenever you stand up, you rock back and forth, whether you're holding the baby or not.
20 weeks - You get more than four hours of sleep for the first time in months! Happy dance.
21 weeks - The first day you are still wearing the same shirt you put on this morning because it didn't get spit up on it.
22 weeks - You have mastered the art of taking a baby's temperature and using the snot sucking bulb.
23 weeks - Your first experience with leaky breasts in the middle of a work meeting.
24 weeks - Your first taste of baby food. It's disgusting.
25 weeks - You discover what it's like to have food spit in your face. Repeatedly.
26 weeks - You now know the words to more children's songs than songs on the radio.
27 weeks - The first time someone walks in on you pumping at work, and it doesn't even phase you.
28 weeks - First time being bitten by a teething monster.
29 weeks - Your first time tasting another person's vomit.
30 weeks – First time getting out the door with the baby in under 30 minutes.
31 weeks - The first time you go into a department or grocery store and don't buy something for the baby.
32 weeks - You learn how to do everything while holding a baby.
33 weeks - You can now pick someone else's booger without it bothering you.
34 weeks - Your boobs now officially belong to someone else, even if you're not breastfeeding.
35 weeks - The first time you fish a foreign object out of a baby's mouth.
36 weeks – Baby is mobile. You now spend half your time looking for things that aren't where you put them.
37 weeks - Your first time with pee, poop, and vomit on you on the same day.
38 weeks - Your child will cause you serious pain for the first time when he head butts you.
39 weeks - The first time your clothes are totally soaked after a bath.
40 weeks - First time someone has the gumption to ask you when you're going to have the next one.
41 weeks - You find out that your heart can stop beating and not kill you when you watch your little one fall off something.
42 weeks - Your first time taking your child on a trip. Yes, you will forget something.
43 weeks - Your first time folding and putting away laundry that you just folded and put away.
44 weeks - You find yourself jamming out to "The Wheels on the Bus" while driving to work without the baby.
45 weeks - Your learn you can't turn your back on your crawling, climbing baby. Even for a minute.
46 weeks - You find yourself building block towers, even when the baby is napping.
47 weeks - Your first spontaneous hug or kiss from your baby.
48 weeks – Around the time your child says her first word, you will lose the ability to talk in complete sentences.
49 weeks - Your first time planning a birthday party for your own child.
50 weeks - You survive your first public tantrum (the baby's, not yours!)
51 weeks - You have become an expert at googling everything that has to do with raising a child.

52 weeks - You realize you actually made it through a whole year and survived.
All of these things will probably happen to you along with many, many more new experiences. It all comes with the territory of being a new mom. And remember, just like babies, all mommies develop on their own timelines so don't worry if things don't happen when or how you're expecting.
Mindy is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism and editing. She traded in a full-time career in the publishing industry to stay home and chase around a cute little monster.