Sweet Success! Finishing BBG 1.0!!

I clearly remember the day I started this blog 4 months ago, to serve as a motivator and a journal for my BBG journey. Never had I though then that I would make so many friends, both on IG and FB and also through this blog! You guys are amazing!

I have since shared some stuff on what I learnt while on this journey, and also made a #KaylasArmy workout log for FREE. It has helped me and also many other girls out there to keep track of their workouts and I cannot be happier.

So.. Yesterday was Week 12 Abs and I am officially a COMPLETER OF BBG 1.0!! I never thought I’d finish to be honest, because I stopped and started so many times from 2013 up till this year, but 2015 is the year I finally did it! How did I do it? Well, mostly because I had to kick my own arse, and had loads of ups and downs in between – but ultimately, these are some of the reasons why I think I made it so far this time:

  • I created a fitness IG. Separate from my friends & family, I have this secret @fitinmalaysia place in IG to post all my ugly ‘before’ shots and also various other fitness-related stuff in between. The amazing comments of support and seeing inspiring photos from the amazing girls I follow have given me that daily motivation.
  • I joined a BBG Facebook group. I am part of the KI BBG Girls group, where everyone has questions and answers and it is better than any forum out there! You learn loads and you get to contribute and sometimes debate on topics. It’s all good fun and everyone there understands what it’s like to be a BBG Girl.
  • I made this blog. The blog that I made a commitment to update at least once a week on my progress and any bits of stuff that I have learned. Do note that not everything I talk about applies to everyone (and I may be wrong too) but in a way, it has helped me learn more about myself and about fitness in general.
  • I am part of a BBG Whatsapp group chat. We found each other on the Facebook group, and with a quick exchange of numbers, we have all bonded and shared daily life woes with each other. They are my BBG Besties (only because they know more about me personally than other BBG Girls) and I am soooo thankful for them!

I’m not saying that you should do all of the above, but definitely a fitness IG and joining a support group (FB or Whatsapp)  is my top two recommendation. It helps keep you motivated and accountable.

WHAT ABOUT MY TRANSFORMATION?
Well, I definitely am not where I want to be yet (no abs showing yet), but it is okay because not everyone achieves abs or their dream body at week 12. I definitely am stronger and have lost some weight, but I am determined to do better in my second round. That’s right, I’m starting BBG 1.0 all over again and hopefully I do not have to modify as much this time. I also hope to do more than 2 rounds per circuit in 7 mins, if possible. At the end of next week, I will probably be able to tell you the difference between Week 1 Round 1 & Week 1 Round 2, so keep a look out for that post.

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Until then, thanks for all the support and yay – I am off to celebrate with a nice cheat meal (I think I really deserve this!)

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Crazy About Salads In A Jar!

I know I am very slow on the uptake, but OMG I never expected salads in a jar to be so easy & convenient! No wonder it’s such an in ‘thing’!

Over the weekend, I went out to IKEA to buy these flip-lid jars because mason jars here are really huge and expensive too. I love these flip jars because they feel secure and the lid is always there, no need to worry about misplacing them. They are a little more heavy than mason jars though, so be sure to handle them carefully.

So, salads in a jar! It’s so cool because one, it looks cool and two, it keeps your veggies fresh! Some other points that really drew me to these convenient lunch jars:

  • They have loads of room for customization when it comes to your salads. You can have any type of salad you want!
  • Portions are always on point. Be sure to pick a jar that suits your usual portions.
  • You can prep all your salads on Sunday, and they will be good until Thursday.
  • I love how you only need to give it a good shake and a delicious, filling and healthy meal is ready!

So for those who have yet to discover the joys of a salad in a jar, here are the rules that you need to be mindful of when making your salads. You can freestyle it later one, but be sure to know why most salads are arranged the way it is in these jars first.

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  • You always start with your dressing at the bottom. This is to avoid any of the softer veggies getting soft, and this helps you keep it fresh for much longer.
  • So what touches the dressing? Anything that’s more hardy – chicken breasts, beans, cucumber, carrots, beans, etc. These are items that will not soften, but rather absorb some of the dressing’s flavor and taste even better when you eat it.
  • Next up, you can pile on your meat, bacon bits, croutons (I use Wasa crispbread to make mine by processing them into bits), onions, tomatoes, corn, mushrooms etc. These drier items can be a nice buffer between the wetter bottom and the dry top.
  • Your topmost layer is usually your lettuce, arugula, spinach or other leafy greens. They are the ones most prone to wilting so keep them dry and fresh at the very top.

It’s so simple and it’s crazy customizable!! I want to share the recipes I made for my salads in a jar this week. Always have leafy greens, some protein (chicken or beans) and also anything dry & crunchy for a nice texture! I’m going to start with the bottom most ingredient, and work my way up.

CAESAR SALAD IN A JAR

  1. Caesar dressing (I used the Japanese brand Kewpie’s caesar dressing)
  2. Poached chicken breasts (recipe here)
  3. Bacon bits!
  4. Shredded turnip
  5. Processed Wasa crispbread crumbs
  6. Arugula
  7. Baby butterhead lettuce, chopped

ITALIAN HERB SALAD IN A JAR

  1. Italian dressing
  2. Cucumbers, cubed
  3. Tomatoes, cubed
  4. Bacon, chopped
  5. Grated parmesan cheese
  6. Arugula
  7. Baby butterhead lettuce, chopped

JAPANESE SALAD IN A JAR

  1. Japanese sesame dressing (I used Kewpie’s too!)
  2. Zucchini, chopped
  3. Quinoa mixed with bacon bits
  4. Boiled scallops, chopped
  5. Edamame beans
  6. Grated daikon (Japanese radish)
  7. Arugula

I know there’s bacon in everything, but only because I had loads to finish up. I don’t use too much, just a little for saltiness & flavour. Be sure to try these out when you have the time. I’ve seen some amazing recipes that also include fruits and I might attempt making those next week. Let me know how your salad-making goes and drop me a link to your creations, would love to see!!

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Why HIIT & LISS Must Work Hand-In-Hand

For those of you who have been doing BBG for quite some time and seen results, you probably already know what I mean. This post is for the rest of you, who like ME, had been ignoring HIIT and LISS at times in the BBG program. I’ve only recently realised the importance of doing these two alongside the resistance workouts. I’m going to try to make it as simple as possible for everyone to understand (especially newbies), so bear with me.

WHAT IS HIIT?
High intensity interval training – is probably one of the best ways to burn calories quickly. It works by intervals, for example 30 seconds of sprinting hard and 3 minutes of moderate walking to slow the heart down, and repeat. This is a great starting point for those who have orthopaedic issues, but always work your way up to shorter rest times. (*Edit: A reader also pointed out that Kayla highlights a “30sec work,30 sec rest” format for HIIT which is also great and I follow this format too, no rights or wrongs here, it all depends on what you’re most comfortable with). HIIT workouts typically last 15-20 minutes average, but not over 30 minutes. This method of training gives your metabolism a 24-hour boost that keeps calories burning even if you’re not doing anything.

WHAT IS LISS?
Low intensity steady state – means walking at a moderate pace and keeping your heart BPM at a low and steady state. It’s easy, but it eats up a lot of time. A good example would be a 45 minute fast-paced walk or hike (but nothing too fast/challenging) in the park or forest reserve, or treadmill. LISS should average at about 45 minutes a session. Because your body gets enough oxygen during this steady pace (unlike in HIIT when you are huffing and puffing during those intervals), it is essentially good for fat burning. BUT.. calorie burn only occurs during these 45 minute sessions, you won’t get a 24-hour boost like in HIIT. And no, running is not considered LISS.

SO WHICH IS BETTER?
I would say HIIT is better for fat loss overall, BUT LISS also plays an important role in your overall health & fitness. Like Kayla says in her BBG e-book, you need BOTH. Why? This is why:

  • Doing HIIT 5 or more times a week can cause negative impacts on your body because it stresses the body, which could affect your weight and resistance training. In the long run, you might find that you have knee, ankle or even joint problems from too much intensity.
  • HIIT is a great workout that encourages fast movements, but for those who do not practice proper posture for some of the moves, can possibly inflict injuries onto themselves (eg. bad posture for squats can hurt your knees/lower back in the long run).
  • Doing LISS 5 times or more a week will cause your body to adjust and plateau, and you will end up needing more and more LISS time to burn calories. Like a drug, you go from starting at 45 minutes to burn 200 calories, for example, to needing more and more time to burn the same 200 calories in future – because your metabolism had adjusted naturally.
  • Doing anything over 2 hours (of LISS or any workout) will cause stress levels (a hormone called cortisol) in the body to rise, which is definitely not good for weight loss. Extended sessions of LISS can also lead to muscle loss.

Therefore, you cannot have too much of either, but rather a nice combo of EACH. Got me?

HOW DO I MAKE THEM WORK TOGETHER?
If you are on the BBG program, you already know that there are 3 days of resistance workouts, and the other days you fill with either HIIT/LISS. This is an example schedule I have followed most of the time (some weeks I adjust a little due to work/family commitments):

  • Monday: Resistance (legs day)
  • Tuesday: HIIT (15 mins)
  • Wednesday: Resistance (arms day) + LISS (in the morning)
  • Thursday: HIIT (15 mins)
  • Friday: Resistance (abs day)
  • Saturday: LISS day
  • Sunday: Yoga/rehabilitation/stretch OR just rest

Basically, the key here is that I always spread out my HIIT and LISS days so that they don’t happen consecutively (and that way it keeps your body guessing) which will help avoid over-stressing or plateauing the system. You can also choose to do both HIIT and resistance on the same day (although Kayla advises otherwise – but it all really depends on your fitness level & lifestyle. I’d like you guys to know that you have a choice here). This method could help you lose weight more efficiently and consistently, like it did for me.

Also, remember to NEVER do any of the workouts one after another. Some people use LISS as a “warm-up” before resistance training and that is a BIG NO-NO – you have to see LISS as a workout and not a warm-up. I suggest doing one workout in the morning and another in the evening, which comes first doesn’t matter, as long as they are not done together. This is to avoid your cortisol levels from rising, and when it does, all your hard work goes down the drain because stress prevents weight loss, it is a natural body reaction.

Of course, a lot of what I’m telling you here can go very deep into biology and scientific reasons, but this is as simple as I can make it, and if you follow the general rule of thumb, I don’t see how you can go wrong. Also, keep in mind that other factors do come into play in your fitness goals, such as mental health, motivation and diet. You cannot have that dream body if you are not willing to learn, do not commit, and always eat whatever you want all the time.

If you need motivation or help with anything, look for me on Instagram (link below) and I will try my best to motivate you to be the best that you can be – while doing BBG of course (isn’t that the whole point of why we are here in the first place?)

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My Teatox Journey With Skinny Mint

Hey girls! I know many of you have varied opinions about teatoxes and I am not going to debate on whether it is good or bad because there are many brands of teatoxes out there, and each has different ingredients so results, pros and cons all differ. I am here today however, to talk about my teatox journey with Skinny Mint, the one prominent brand of teatox that is available in Asia (out of the many), and delivers worldwide too.

Teatox (definition): A new term used to describe a “detox tea” system to help individuals lose weight. Most teatox systems come with both a morning tea which increases energy levels and metabolism, and an evening tea which is a colon cleanse.

If you follow me on Instagram, I believe you would have seen that I recently purchased the Besties Value Teatox for myself and my boyfriend who is also jumping onto the teatoxing bandwagon. This isn’t my first time going on a Skinny Mint teatox, I took my first one in June and had a break after that (due to vacation) so I would like to talk about my experience during those 28 days. Obviously it’s been good, otherwise I wouldn’t have purchased it again.

I ALSO want to debunk some negative statements some people have been making about teatoxes, without even trying it out themselves, basing their opinion solely on what they think of the ingredients and what other people are saying.

The Skinny Mint team has been going all out! My new orders have all come with a booklet on tips for eating healthy and working out during the program, and also a mini calendar to track your teatox journey. Very cute! Okay, on to the review.

FIRST OF ALL, HOW DOES IT WORK?
The teatox comes in a Morning Boost & Night Cleanse – two different teas for two different purposes. Just take one sachet of Morning Boost every morning with your breakfast, and the Night Cleanse to be taken on every alternate night.

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TELL ME MORE ABOUT MORNING BOOST
I love love love the Morning Boost tea. It gives me really good energy as it does contain a mild dose of caffeine (great for non-coffee drinkers like me, and also for those who want to stop drinking so much coffee – no need to go cold turkey) and I find that the energy lasts me well throughout the day up till my 7pm workout session. Of course, this would vary sometimes, depending on your lifestyle. For me, it’s great for work! Keeps me up on my toes and I feel less blah on Mondays.

The taste is good, like a decent fruit tea since it does contain strawberry and pineapple. It’s even better when you add in a wedge of lemon for an extra kick. Lemon is very cleansing after all. As for side effects, I have none. The caffeine is very mild, so for those who are extra sensitive/not used to it you might want to just brew the teabag for a minute or two and take it out instead of leaving it in too long in the beginning.

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IMPORTANT TIP! One thing I’d like to add is that with any sort of teatox (and even normal tea), it can be quite dehydrating so if you want to go on this teatox journey, PLEASE drink loads of water. I do at least 3 litres of water daily, and I suggest you do the same. One time I was so busy I forgot about my water intake and I had a very wicked headache all afternoon which carried on till the evening – and it impacted my workout because I just couldn’t do it. So water is very important!!

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TELL ME MORE ABOUT NIGHT CLEANSE
The Night Cleanse, I have a love-hate relationship with. I know the recommended dosage is every alternate night (meaning once every 2 nights), but I only take it once or twice a week. The ingredients contain ginger root, and I HATE ginger. I know it’s good for health and all, but I despise the taste of it. So I kind of dread drinking the Night Cleanse sometimes, but I do like that ‘warm’ feeling the ginger gives once it’s inside the tummy. It preps you very well for a good sleep. The taste isn’t all that bad actually, as it also contains lemongrass, and I love lemongrass tea. I’m just very fussy when anything gingery comes into the picture.

The Night Cleanse also contains senna leaves. These are what they call “nature’s laxatives”, which is responsible for the flushing out of all the bad stuff. Some critics have been saying that senna is dangerous and that it could mess up your body’s system. Personally, I have completed the teatox journey with NO issues with my system. On days that I do not take this cleanse, nothing happens that feels out of the blue. I even take it during my time-of-the-month and everything was fine. Of course, experience varies from one to another so if you are worried, do consult your physician first.

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I usually take my Night Cleanse after 10pm, twice a week (never two nights in a row). I believe my body takes about 12 hours to process the tea, so that time to flush usually occurs about 10am. It happens quite naturally, no severe tummy aches, just that urge to go. It usually takes me about 3 morning trips to the loo to clear my system. Then everything resumes to normal by noon. So a word of advice, if you are going to be on the road or really busy at work, don’t take the Night Cleanse. Save it for weekends or non-peak days where you can relax and not worry about messy business. I wouldn’t worry too much about following the schedule for this tea, just take it based on your lifestyle and schedule. But the Morning Boost for me, is a MUST every day.

ANY CHANGE IN DIET NEEDED? WORKOUT PLAN?
I actually started this teatox when I started my BBG Journey in June 2015, so I was working out consistently 6 days a week, and eating clean. Skinny Mint recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise daily and eating clean as well while on this teatox journey so I was already following that because of BBG. However, if you want to maintain your current diet/workout, I guess you can just make small changes like maybe eating at least 1 or 2 healthy meals a day, and go for 30 minute walks 3-4 times a week.

Do not have unrealistic expectations if you want to try Skinny Mint. With any teatox/diet, no one loses any weight by eating junk and sitting on the couch all day long. It’s not a miracle tea that will make you ‘skinny’ immediately. You have to make the effort to change the things you eat (less fried food, fast food, junk, etc) and do at least some form of workout. The teatox is supposed to cleanse all the bad stuff out so that your body can absorb the good stuff that you should be eating on this cleanse, and also help speed up your metabolism and make your workouts more effective. It’s supposed to aid your weight loss journey, not miraculously shrinking your size to a zero without lifting a finger. That sort of expectation will only set you up for failure.

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THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: DID YOU LOSE ANY WEIGHT??
Of course I did. I didn’t get miraculously skinny, but I did lose some inches. However, I must point out that with a clean diet and consistent workout regime, ANYONE can lose weight. What Skinny Mint did for me was give me energy to do my workouts, helped me cleanse out the bad indulgences and overall, makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my body.

It also helped me stay on track with this new lifestyle. People always say that it takes 3 weeks for you to really allow a new habit/lifestyle to sink in, and I believe that Skinny Mint teatox has helped me through that period in 28 days. The healthy habits have stuck, but of course, it will take a much longer time to unstick those unhealthy ones which I am still struggling with once in a while. We are all human after all and we can’t be perfect, but we can strive to be better.

VERDICT?
I’m sticking to the Skinny Mint teatox because it works with me and my BBG regime, and it benefits me in my lifestyle. If you are still deciding whether to teatox or not, I’d say give it a try. If you don’t like it, then consider it money spent invested into your fitness (after all, we do that with various foods and supplements, so this is no different). At least TRY before you give your opinion, otherwise if you base your opinion on others, it isn’t valid and it will only mislead others.

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High Intensity Interval Training For BBG Girls

Hello girls! I’m in Week 11 now, and I have to shamefully say that I have not been doing my HIIT workouts properly. Like most, I assumed that HIIT workouts involved running/cycling/sprints. However, that is not the case (YAY!)

For people like me who workout at home, we do not have access to gym equipments such as treadmills or stationary bikes (unless you are one such lucky person to have those at home!) and I tried doing HIIT sprints on the road once in my housing area.. it did not turn out well.

Thus I decided to create my own HIIT workouts using all the moves that Kayla has included in the BBG program. I feel like the workouts when done in this order really torches a lot of calories and it is literally #DEATHBYKAYLA, no joke. I have since saw a few people reposting the workouts that I had shared on Tumblr months ago, with a few modifications. I decided to now create a proper graphic for the workout that you can readily print (it is high res) and paste onto your wall OR save into your phone, for use on HIIT days! It only takes 15 minutes so really, no excuse not to work hard! It may be the longest 15 minutes of your life.. but it will be SO WORTH IT!!

Please enjoy and work hard!! 😉 Oh and if you have not gotten the #KAYLASARMY printable workout calendar, you can get it for free here.

HIIT-fitinmalaysia

The Leftover Salad

So I totally made this recipe up!

But basically, it is a recipe that we can all make up when we have no idea what to eat. I created the Leftover Salad when I had too much leftovers from the week’s meals which CANNOT hold till next week (as seen on Instagram). So I need to desperately clear out the fridge and all the random tupperwares of leftover stuff that just can’t go with anything else.

WHY THIS IS AWESOME?

  • It is convenient
  • It is fast to prep
  • It avoids wastage!

Score! So much win for this salad! However, I added in some extra stuff (the boiled scallops) so that it isn’t just purely leftovers, because that would be really sad. You need to add in some fresh ingredients and mix it with leftovers before you can create magic. Here’s what’s in mine.

INGREDIENTS
Leftover bacon, chopped into small bits
Leftover poached chicken, 7 strips, chopped into small bits
Leftover zucchini, sliced
Leftover lettuce, sliced into strips
2 Minced garlic
1 Minced shallot
8 boiled scallops (sliced)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt for taste
Dried chilli flakes, optional

METHOD
1. Chop and prep all the ingredients above.
2. Mix minced garlic and minced shallots with the lemon juice in a bowl. Stir in the chilli flakes for spice.
3. Let it sit for about 10 minutes for flavours to mix.
4. Place sliced scallops into the bowl mix it until all the scallops are covered in the mixture.
5. Place the rest of the ingredients into your bowl.
6. Pour the scallops & sauce mix all over it to let juices coat everything.
7. Serve and ready to eat!

The beauty of this Leftover Salad is that you can get a different version every week! I usually wait for end of the week before making this so that I have some interesting stuff to add in. I know it can sound a bit gross adding everything in together. so just make sure you have a balance – I have salty bacon here, and sour lemon juice to even out the saltiness. The scallops lend a nice fishy taste to the bland poached chicken, and the veggies add a nice crunch and texture to the salad.

Let me know if you have tried making this, and what the star of your leftover salad is. For me, I have to say the scallops win this round, they are too delicious!