I'd been wanting to do this for a while now, and finally got around to it only after a heavy workout which DESTROYED my legs. I tried applying heat and then icing the sore muscles but even after the 2nd day, I could barely straighten my legs. I guess I didn't stretch my hamstrings enough, and I was definitely feeling the after-burn from the calves raises. Here's the leg workout routine that killed me...
Quads Hamstrings & Calves
The Lavacare Physiotherm pack is filled with special lava sand which has the ability to store heat or cold for long periods of time. The pack gives off deep, dry radiant heat that may reach deep tissues areas thus helping in alleviating pain, relaxing muscles, cramps and may help improving circulation. It's a bit heavy but feels nice and comforting when you put it over those sore muscles (or tummy for period cramps). Charlie bought it online from Firebox.com a couple of years ago, it's not listed on the site anymore but you could probably buy it from Amazon.com
The ice/hot bag is another useful thing to have. I bought it at the pharmacy for about $12. Fill the bag with warm water or use it as an ice bag. It's light-weight, which makes it handy to take while traveling.
Another quick way to muscle recovery caused by DOMS (delayed onset muscle cramps) is to take an Epsom salt bath.
Darren, a friend of mine, who has taken interest in MMA as a hobby, told me about the benefits of Epsom salt baths a few month ago. He said it really helps with muscle recovery, and besides being really relaxing, it has a ton of other benefits for your body.
Benefits of an Epsom salt bath
- Magnesium (found in Epsom salt) helps draw inflammation out of the muscles
- Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.
- Helps muscles and nerves function properly
- Combat muscle fatigue
- Relieve pain and muscle cramps
- Improved concentration and sleep
- Increased energy, elimination of toxins and reduction of inflammation
- Magnesium and serotonin deficiencies have been found to exacerbate PMS symptoms
- Starting Epsom salt baths as early as two weeks before your period will lead to less pain and significantly fewer negative mood changes frequently associated with menses
*Note: Consult with your medical provider before using Epsom salts if you are pregnant or have any medical condition.
How to make an Epsom salt bath
Making an Epsom salt bath is simple:
First things first; 1) break out your favorite rubber ducky. 2) Set a relaxing, spa mood with some scented candles.
3) Fill bathtub with hot or warm water. 4) Add between two and four cups of Epsom salt to the water.
5) Mix the water with your hands and allow the Epsom salt to dissolve.
6) Add five to ten drops of your favorite essential oil just before you step in the tub to maximize stress reduction.
My favorites are either lavender, rose or chamomile essential oils.
8) Shower immediately after the bath to rinse the Epsom salts from your skin, which can dry your skin.
(Caution: Epsom salt, due to its high magnesium content, is a laxative. Avoid ingestion!)
9) Dry off with a towel and keep your skin hydrated with your favorite body moisturizer.
10) Water aids in muscle recovery so make sure you drink enough water throughout the day!
Awesome abs is something you need to continuously work on - in the gym; with weights and cardio, and in the kitchen; with clean eating and avoiding any processed foods.
I want abs like Erin Stern!
Time to hit the weights and treadmill!
Leg extensions 1 x 20, 3 x 10
Leg press 3 x 10
Dumbbell squats 3 x 10
Front squats 3 x 12
Alternating crunches 3 x to failure
Flat bench lying leg raise 3 x to failure
Exercise ball crunch 3 x to failure
Bent-knee hip raise 3 x to failure
Hanging leg raises 3 x to failure
15 mins treadmill (speed 7.0 - 9.0)
I crossed out the bent-knee hip raise because I did 1 set and struggled to pull through so I jumped to the next workout instead. It's OK to be flexible with your routine and make necessary adjustments. Listen to your body!
Bent-over row 3 x 12
Dumbbell reverse fly 3 x 12
Lat pulldowns 3 x 12 + Reverse grip lat pull downs 3 x 13 (superset)
T-bar row 3 x 12
Weighted back extensions 3 x 12
Seated close row 3 x 10
Preacher curl 3 x 12
Standing hammer curls 3 x 12
Standing straight barbell curls 3 x 12
Dumbbell shoulder press 3 x 15
Alternate deltoid raise 3 x 15
Upright barbell row 3 x 15
Side lateral raise 3 x 15
Front cable raise 3 x 15
Cable rear delt fly 3 x 15
Arm circles 1 x failure
Seated calf raises 1 x 25
Standing dumbbell calf raise (1 leg) 1 x 25
Things to keep in mind when doing deadlifts:
• Don’t arch your back (or roll it in the other direction). Keep your abs tight the ENTIRE TIME, and keep your back straight.
• Keep the bar as close to you as possible – almost roll it up your shins until you get to your knees, and then almost roll it up your thighs until you’re upright.
• As you bring it past your knees, don’t think about pulling up with your back, thrust in with your hips (um, that’s what she said? COME ON)
• Keep your head up and chest out as you lift - this will help you keep your back aligned properly.
• As you bring the weight up, you want your legs to straighten out simultaneously as your hips come in completely - form a straight line at the same time with your hips, knees and feet.
- Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink from it often. Water should always be your drink of choice. To kick things up every once in a while, try adding lemon, lime, cucumber, or a few berries to liven up the flavor without adding significant calories.
- Look at exercise as a pleasure and a privilege, not a burden or chore. Think positively about the changes regular exercise will produce. Rather than obsessing about your next meal, get excited about your next workout!
- If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food. Eat well-balanced meals. Check out recipes online and be inspired.
- Limit caffeine. Drink green tea instead. Avoid exposure to even secondhand smoke.
- Focus on short-term fitness goals with an emphasis on completing daily exercise. Make it part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower.
- Keep a daily log of what you’re actually eating. Note it down in a little food journal or your phone.
- Enjoy an occasional (once a week) “unhealthy” treat, but never an unhealthy week or unhealthy vacation. Fitness doesn't take a break.
- Enjoy contributing to the health of others by having a partner or friends to exercise with, as well as recruiting others who want to feel better and have more energy.
- Avoid monotony by taking up new forms of exercising, or using things that keep you motivated and inspired, like new shoes or great music.
- Subscribe to fitness magazines to keep focused on health as an overall way of life. My favorite are Muscle & Fitness Hers and Oxygen.
- Invest in the right tools — your favorite brand of workout wear, good shoes, a portable MP3 player or iPod®, fitness equipment (yoga mat/kettlebell/skip rope) or fitness DVDs and books.
- Make it your goal to do some form of exercise 5 or 6 days a week. If some days you can exercise once in the morning (for cardio) and once in the evening (for weights), even better!
- Don’t compare your body to others’. Instead, work to be your personal best.
- If your diet is unbalanced, take daily vitamin and mineral supplements for total health.
- Work to take your exercise to new levels of intensity. Add reps or weights. Push to the maximum each time. Leave the gym feeling like death but damn good about your workout.
- Create an exercise schedule the day before instead of leaving it to chance or waiting to “find” the time. If you can't afford a personal trainer yet, get your fitness plan first. You can always ask for help on-the-go from fitness instructors at the gym.
- Move beyond the boundaries of weight loss and into total fitness. Measure success by the way your clothes fit, not some number on a scale.
- Stick with eating plans you can maintain indefinitely. Remember that no matter how hard you’re working out, if you’re consuming too many calories, you’ll never see the muscles that lie beneath layers of fatty tissue. Until you get nutrition in line, you're never gonna see results.
- Get adequate amounts of sleep, at least between 6-8 hours. People who exercise regularly fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
- Limit alcohol intake to special occasions.
Had the chance to shoot with David Yeow last week while he visited his hometown in Seremban. We've known each other since 2009 and I've always enjoyed working with him. He's an excellent photographer and gives great direction. He's moving from Melbourne to Singapore next month which means we'll have plenty more opportunities to shoot more photos like this
hat tip: (adidas and Stella McCartney for the outfit and YesStyle.com for the shoes)
I hope everyone's had a great start to the new year. 2013. Wow. We made it. This blog has been running for 5 years now and I'm proud to say that a lot has been accomplished both personally and career-wise. I'm grateful to have such a great support team - you, Charles, my family, friends, people I work with, and all those who follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Your Likes, Comments, Retweets and letters continuously encourage me to pursue my goals and stay committed.
What you talk about, you bring about; and for me, it's health and fitness. I started my blog because I wanted to share my fitness journey - the struggles, the slip-ups and the rewards. Being healthy and staying fit is a choice I've made because it makes me feel empowered and strong. That's the kind of positive energy I'd like for myself to wake up with everyday and humbly influence on others.
Whatever your goals were in 2012, I hope you've achieved it and have set bigger ones this year.
Discipline comes hand in hand with willpower and determination. It's important re-evaluate your goals every so often to make sure you're still challenging yourself and taking note of any improvement or deficiency in your performance. There is no room for complacency in terms of goal setting - when you achieve one, it's time to make another if you hadn't already. However, nothing great is achieved without enthusiasm! Sometimes you gotta cut lose and, not put too much pressure on yourself so that you'll enjoy it. It's just as important to set small, achievable goals especially during the beginning of your fitness journey, as it is to set big ambitious long term goals.
Have a healthy and happy 2013.
With Love, Fay
A look back at 2012...