Fitness Aids

As much as I love eating and exploring new restaurants, the whole ritual of being a foodie (at least personally) entails a certain amount of obligation (or guilt tripping) to be more fit and to seek a healthier lifestyle. So here are some resources that I find useful in my day-to-day life.

Morning Routine – The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning in to drink a glass of water. The water wakes up not only your mind, but also your digestive system! Then I take a minute to take some deep breaths, then I  move on to quicker breaths (about three inhale-exhale sequences per second). All of this breathing is done through the nose! If it’s your first time trying this, put a finger between your lips so that you can feel the breath coming our from your nose + detect any sneaky breaths from your mouth.

Yin Yang Water – basically cold water poured over  a half cup of boiling water. Sounds simple, but this magical water helps you boost your digestive health and appropriately distributes heat throughout your body. This means that your tummy is always kept nice and warm – and that’s an optimal environment for breaking down the fat in your intestines. Enough theories…this really helps me relax when my digestive system is upset in any way. Read about instructions and applications in my post “Rejuvenate with Yin Yang Water!“.

Blogilates – Pop Pilates instructor Cassey Ho adds a fun twist to exercises that range from 5-minute workout videos to a 1,000 squat challenges! My friends and I often use her videos for our workouts. I remember feeling so accomplished after finishing the complete May Workout Calendar after my senior year of high school. Her videos also include cooking/clean eating tips which I find really interesting to watch. Her blog blogilates.com also has a lot of beneficial resources on its own.

Make walking your best friend – the one thing I realized from my college experience in NYC so far is that there is a reason New Yorkers tend to be skinny. Yup. They walk everywhere. You’d think that ‘working out’ only means going to the gym and sweating like a pig, but walking  helps me feel much lighter, and walking the right way can actually help tone your muscles and correct your posture as well.  I use the pedometer feature on my Galaxy Note 3 called ‘Walking Mate’ to measure how much I walk each day. My daily goal is 10,000 steps;  tracking my steps keeps me motivated to stay active. Skip that one subway/bus station and try walking.

The Great Calorie Count. I recommend using a calorie calculator to calculate your daily caloric needs, because after all, taking in just the right amount of calories – not too high nor too low – is the way to go for your body to be happy. However, sometimes I wish I had a little hand-held calorie indicator to tell me the calorie count for each dish I was eating (but then I might not have tried some of the best food I’ve encountered in my life)! For those of you like me who love inhaling ridiculously good food yet feel somewhat curious about their meal’s calorie count, here are some calorie counters:

Calorie Count

MyFitnessPal

CalorieKing

(But I always try to keep in mind that quality > calorie. The same amount of calories can come from a bowl of salad, or it can come from half of bag of potato chips. I tend to ignore this when I’m eating out, but I shouldn’t!)

Set up a healthy kitchen for yourself – often times, just by shopping for healthy grocery items (for assistance take a look at this BuzzFeed article), you can change your diet to a much healthier one. It makes sense because without the junk ingredients, you can’t make the dang junk food! When I’m outside eating and having incredible foodventures, I’m aware that I won’t always know where the food comes from, with what quality ingredients they are made, or how they are kept. So when I’m at home, I try to stock up on healthy grocery items to make sure that I don’t even have a slight chance of creating an Epic Meal Time – type of scene in my kitchen.

YOGA – I’ve just started taking yoga classes at a nearby yoga studio. Trust me, I’m nowhere near those yogis that can Instagram pictures of themselves doing yoga poses in a perfectly zen manner (I wish I could), but I do find that my body has found its balance and has become firmer and a bit stronger, especially my arms. My upper arm strength just died by the time I was in my teens; I could not. do. push ups. period. But now I can somewhat look legitimate when holding some of the yoga poses, and I think improving like this, even just little by little, really boosts your self-esteem and just makes you feel so good about yourself, both physically and mentally.  I would drag you to my yoga classes if I could, but since I can’t, here’s a list of yoga poses that you can try at home (you’ll probably be better than me). Don’t forget to keep breathing!

Stay in Style. Make dressing up part of your daily routine. Stay motivated by treating yourself to some gorgeous outfits instead of sliding into an old t-shirt and sweatpants that help you hide your beautiful figure. I’m not saying that squeezing into the tightest clothes possible is the best way to stay fit. The key is to find some outfits that emphasize your strong points, while arranging some outfits that are, you know, a bit challenging unless you stay in control and don’t pig out. And hey, who doesn’t love shopping? I would love to revamp my wardrobe right about now.

Well, that’s it for now. Keep an eye out for future updates on the fitness aids page!

Love, Mary 🙂

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