Fitness and an active lifestyle have always played a huge role in my life. I grew up playing all sorts of sports like basketball, tennis, lacrosse, golf, ice skating, rock climbing, and some more basketball. I’ve played so much basketball that I actually tore both of my ACLs and one meniscus on the court. After high school, when the sports and my metabolism slowed down, I made it a point to spend time at the gym. I even worked at the gym all four years at UC Davis in the Intramural Sports program.
In college, I mainly worked out with my male friends. I felt like I was working hard at the gym all the time, but I wasn’t getting any leaner or losing any weight. Instead, I was bulking up. Looking back, knowing what I know now about my body and what works for me, of course I bulked up. My body is the type that bulks and gains muscle mass easily. Leaning out was always a goal of mine. I mimicked the boys’ workouts by lifting heavy with low reps. Bad idea for me. I thought supplementing my workout by running at a medium speed for a while on the treadmill would do the trick to lean me out. Also bad idea.
Fast forward to law school. I was still at the gym, still playing basketball occasionally, and still not feeling as lean as I wanted. Then I tore my ACL. I was afraid how this would impact my fitness goals. As expected, after surgery, my right legs atrophied from lying in bed for weeks without putting any weight on it. After rehab and physical therapy, I decided that I was going to run for Miss Chinatown USA, my very first experience with pageant life (there will likely a future post on this). I started Bar Method to get back in shape (http://barmethod.com). For those who have not heard of it, at the time, I thought it was seriously the only thing that worked for me. It’s a one hour class that I like to call a mixture of pilates, yoga, and ballet. It works muscle against muscle to give you that “dancer’s body.” Along with doing Bar Method once a day and sometimes two, I dieted by eating clean. At the time, the clean eating was a huge help. I truly believed that dieting was 70% of the effort and the other 30% was exercise. Spoiler alert: I don’t believe that anymore. After winning the pageant, I felt pressure to stay that same weight and size. Bar Method and eating clean was a routine, but it never became a genuine lifestyle for me so it didn’t stick. I love to eat and salads with chicken and lemon juice all the time just wasn’t cutting it for me. Inevitably, I started to gain weight again. I was still going to the gym regularly, playing basketball, rock climbing, snowboarding, and back to my active lifestyle, but I couldn’t keep lean without disciplined dieting.
I tend to get hurt all the time and as a result, I ended up tearing my other ACL. I was devastated. Just when I was feeling comfortable again with my post-surgery knee, I was back to square one. It was the same cycle, I lost weight during my recovery due to inactivity and not eating much because of the pain killers. I gained back weight and eventually returned to the gym. I stuck with the elliptical and spin bike because I didn’t want to bulk and I was afraid my knee couldn’t handle running/I don’t like running. I constantly felt like I had extra fluff around my body that wouldn’t go away. I knew that there was muscle underneath the fluff, I just couldn’t get it to show itself willingly.
Now for the good part- I met my boyfriend, Dan. He happens to be a personal trainer. He knew about my surgeries and encouraged me to get on the treadmill to strengthen it. I resisted and told him that “running bulks up my legs…really.” He set me up with intervals on the treadmill just about a year ago and new weight training exercises. I haven’t looked back since. I swear by these intervals, they’re what has helped me lose the fat and boost my metabolism:
Set the treadmill to 3 incline
Run 2 minutes at 5 speed
Run 1 minute at 9 speed
Do 5 sets
Walk 5 minutes on 15 incline at 2 speed for cool down
YOU’RE DONE with cardio!
The best part about this is that you’re only running for a total of 15 minutes and then you can move on with your life. I’ll admit, I still dislike running. It gets easier, but I rarely look forward to it and don’t share in that runner’s high that people get. The only happiness I get from running is that I get it over with and of course, the results. I’ll discuss the weight training portion in my next post.
Thanks to the guidance from my very own personal trainer, I’m toning up, dropping weight, and gaining the lean muscle that I’ve always wanted. My favorite part is that I don’t feel deprived at all in my diet. Of course, it feels good to eat healthy, but if I want to indulge, I don’t have to hold myself back. As long as I keep up with my cardio at least 3-4 times a week and I work on gaining lean muscle, calories intake doesn’t haunt me like it used to. It’s been a long road figuring out what works for me and how my body reacts to different levels of activity, but I’m happy with my progress and finally have a workout routine that works for me.
I’ve been wanting to incorporate fitness into my blog, but didn’t know exactly how to fit it in. Thanks to Kyodan Clothing, I've been given the opportunity and inspiration to start including healthy fuel paired with fashionable fitness styles. I have been a long time fan of Kyodan. Their pieces are sold exclusively at TJ Maxx and Marshalls in the US and at Winners and Marshalls in Canada. They’re working on lauching their online store soon, but for now US residents can order online at www.tjmaxx.com.
I’m wearing a Kyodan long sleeve top with their gray Space Dye running leggings. I’ve always liked tops and jackets with thumb holes because it makes putting on outer layers easier and I somehow feel more secure with my thumbs safely inserted into their rightful place. The slight crew neck gives me more space to move without feeling stiff. I love the neon pink color of this top. It gives that pop of color that I’m always looking for in a workout outfit to keep me motivated. There’s something about bright colors that seem to make working out more enjoyable.
One reason why I’ve always like Kyodan is because of the way their pieces fit. The waistbands and seams never cut into you making you feel like a burrito ready to explode. The fabric conforms to your body providing a comfortable fit so you can move freely during your workout. The Space Dye leggings have a plus, they’re slimming! I noticed they’re a bit tighter around the thighs to hold you in extra snugly. Both pieces are part of their Seamless Collection, so they hug your body without uncomfortable pressure from seams or post-workout imprints (you all know you know what I’m talking about).
As the Stir to my first fitness Style, I’ve decided to feature a red dragon fruit. The dragon fruit is the fruit of certain cactus species. It is known for its vividly pink color and unique texture. There are three variations of the dragon fruit also known as Pitaya- 1) Pink outside and white inside (most common), 2) pink outside and pink inside (pictured here), and 3) yellow outside and white inside. No matter which variation you choose, all you need to do is rinse the outside, cut it in half, and scoop out the flesh (I used a makeshift melon baller with a measuring spoon). Dragon fruits are high in fiber, low calorie, rich in vitamins C, and full of antioxidants to help with detox. The inside texture reminds me of a mix between a kiwi, pear, and watermelon. The taste is slightly sweet and tart, but don’t expect too much flavor. I actually haven’t tried the yellow version yet, but I’ve found that the red flesh variation is a bit sweeter than the typical white dragon fruit.
I paired this red dragon fruit with this fitness Style because of the vibrant pink color contrasted with the dark seeds. It’s hard to believe that pink is not an artificial color. The neon glow of both the dragon fruit and the Kyodan top brightens my mood and refreshes my senses.
As always, please feel free to email me or contact me and share any workouts that work for you, your favorite pink foods, or any fitness questions you may have for me. Remember that your journey of learning about your body and what works for you is yours and yours alone. As long as you’re treating your body right and giving it what it needs then you’re on the right track. If anyone needs advice or wants to discuss their fitness goals, you know how to reach me. Thanks for reading and have a good workout today!