Day 30: #100HappyDays
Fit and Fab Friendships

I really enjoy working out and sweating like a madman on my own. I like undulating my entire body to rhythm of my hula hoop while reflecting on my life, its nuances and the sheer amounts of fat I am burning while I am pummeling my waistline with a weighted hula ring. I like lying down on the floor and absorbing all the grub while I am soaking completely in post-workout sweat.

Exercise is known to release happy hormones called ENDORPHINS, and as such, it’s easy to smile so widely and genuinely after you have burned off all your fats or stretched a good deal of your limbs:
helen-mary-labao-endorphin

But my fitness tip for the series on bilbil busters for budget-conscious brides and beauties involves another external factor: spice up your fitness goals with an appropriate choice of fitness buddy/buddies.

For this session, I had to do my workout at another person’s home so I made some effort of dressing the part. On other days, I would be donning shirts with holes in them and matching worn-out stockings with my belly dancing hip skirt. For this, I wore a Sassa active wear dark blue sports spaghetti strap shirt with matching black shorts. 🙂 What I particularly like about this is the material; I can also use it for swimming activities because it’s made of the moisture-absorbent fabric.

I commuted all the way to QC with my cheap Php 200 Get Out and Get Active yoga mat. It’s not as thick as Leigh’s mat but it does its job well for my cardio and stretching work on most days. My friend Leigh’s mat is thicker and more comfortable and priced at Php 600 from a sports store.

fitness-mats

I have the internal motivation to workout on my own but when you find another fellow fitness enthusiast in the journey, it doubles the fun of getting in shape. Leigh is luckily just as into the fitness vibe as I was. We had different body types. She had this really nice hourglass figure and I had this apple type to deal with for all my life. But we had a common goal, and we made sure to exercise where our goals intersected. I saw a good form of plank and push-ups from her, something that I was personally struggling with. On my end, I was able to convince her to try belly dancing and hula hooping for fitness. It’s nice to workout with another person occasionally because you learn something new and you give back whatever little that you know to that person as well.

fitness-friendship-bilbil-buster

We had so much fun and we ended up working out for an hour or so. We did some DDP yoga videos and then a 30-minute belly dancing slimming down cardio activity from Youtube by Neena and Veena.  We also talked about fitness goals and how we can continue having fitness Fridays together in the future.

For post workout, we munched on ripe mangoes dipped in Japanese sesame seed dressing, Roman lettuce, Gatorade, Zero-fat strawberry yogurt, and plain old mineral water. Hydrating is important after our semi-intense cardio so we made sure to have the right food. Previously, I posted about chocolate milkshake being ideal for recovery, but nobody can really say no to something as awesome as ripe mangoes… Fruits can trump chocolate anytime. <3

Like what I have previously mentioned in other posts in the bilbil busters for budget-conscious brides and beauties series, I throw occasional “cheats” during weekends. As such, I threw in some “bad food” to the mix of healthy food we had feasted on. It was a tiny can of Piknik.

thumbs-up-cheat-day-fitness

We indulged a bit in there but not too much. It was just a tiny amount and I was faithfully adhering to my healthy diet options during the weekdays. It’s dangerous to deprive myself of things I genuinely like to eat. If I deprive myself completely, my tendency to lapse back into my old sickly and unhealthy lifestyle will increase. So I introduce a little of the treats I used to enjoy in huge volumes when I was not in this phase of healthy lifestyle and fitness.

 

Some people do not like working out with other people. It really depends on your fitness goals and your level of comfort. I was fairly comfortable with my friend here seeing me all worked up. It helped to have a companion because when I am not in the right form as the person has in the video we were imitating, she would call me out on it and I can correct my stance more easily. Without my friend, I would probably be craning my neck towards the mirror just to check if I am doing it right. If each of us would start experiencing pain, the other would call out and help reduce the risk of home-based workout injury.

Also, there’s something about playing with hula hoops and having a girl pal with you as you revisit your childhood form of play for an adult fitness goal.

fitness-friend-helen-leigh-mat-hula-hoop

(All Photo credits: Leigh Lunas)

Far be it from us to look like the pros in the exercise videos, but we had so much fun trying anyway. We didn’t mind looking like sweaty klutzes. Because that’s what friends are for. Hahahaha.

After workout, I spent the night at her place and we traded some files together. I am certain that this won’t be our last fitness Fridate. And if you are following my series on bilbil busters, I strongly recommend that you try this at home with a good friend. You not only burn your calories, but you also enjoy the company of a good friend as you do so.

 

 

The Fitness-Owning Advantage

To begin my series on Bilbil Busters for Budget-Conscious Brides and Beauties, I first talked about the freedom that a woman can experience with a fit lifestyle. This time, I will talk about another important foundation: owning the fitness goal for long-lasting change.

For almost two years since I gained weight, I kept saying that “I want to lose this tummy fat.” Somewhere between the Christmas parties and chocolate-laden Valentine season this year, I managed to find the sweet spot that allowed me to “OWN” my fitness regimen. And I realized that it provided me with the maximum advantage of staying consistent with my pursuits to have a healthier lifestyle this 2014.

It does not necessarily mean that I created my own routine from scratch. That would have been an amazing feat, but I am not that good yet. It’s really more of getting to know my body and what works for me. Some friends get a high out of mountain climbing, hiking, and other intense outdoor activities. It’s quite easy to lose calories from there and I greatly admire those who engage in these forms of leisure.

However, I needed to acknowledge that I might be more suited or inclined to lose weight in another way. The journey was not easy; I tried a lot of things and I ended up not following through on most of them because I got bored, it was too intense for me, or it just did not tickle my fancy as much.

It was like this for so many days until one day, I decided to just let go of my inhibitions and seek out of the box solutions to lose weight in a fun way. I became more open. By chance, I found this video about Marisa Tomei’s fitness scheme through hooping.

Inspired by her example, I began by going back to my childhood physical activities. And I found myself making use of the HULA HOOP again. When I was in third grade, I often played with the hula hoop and enjoyed it so much. I simply bought 2 types of hula hoops three weeks ago: a weighted ring from a sports store and a weightless one from a toy store in the mall. They were quite affordable compared to signing up for a really painful diet plan or exercise regimen.

I alternated my usage of these hoops and popped in with the latest Justin Timberlake music on my iPod. I found a comfortable spot where I can do it regularly. Another friend is good with jumping rope and has been losing weight with it. On my end, I take advantage of some hoop enthusiasts’ claims that 1 hour on the hula hoop is physically equivalent to 500 abdominal crunches. How’s that for fitness? 🙂

After I let myself be wooed into a fit lifestyle by the things I genuinely love, I started seeing results as a secondary goal. The primary goal was to incorporate fitness activities in my otherwise sedentary life and make it a fun experience. Once it became fun, I slowly introduced other less fun modes of working out. But I only did that once I was able to ingrain the daily habit of working out and sweating in a healthy way.

I was no longer restricted by what others prescribed as a fast, proper, or legitimate way to lose weight. I am fortunate enough to have a mini-gym in the area where I live. Some people benefit greatly from the programs that a basic gym membership provides. But  even without the gym, I still thrive in my fitness goals even in simple open spaces where I can shake my body to the rhythm of the undulating hoop on my neck, torso, and waist.

As soon as I was able to call the workout and stamp my personal preferences and personality in it, it became easier and easier to implement. It became as natural as breathing to me and part of my daily system like brushing teeth or getting 7 hours of sleep each night. 

Even when I am tired after a whole day’s work, I manage to have the willingness to continue or maintain my schedule of working out from 7pm to 8:30pm. And it does not seem like too much work because I was really doing things that relax me and things that I like. In times where I have to dine out with some people, I make sure that I have a latent form of exercise to compensate.

It’s also good to have a fitness buddy or someone to work out with. But what if the buddy is unavailable? Vacations, life circumstances, and other factors may hinder a regular schedule with another person. There will still be days where you really have to exercise alone. Being internally motivated with naturally pleasurable activities makes it easier to manage with or without a fitness buddy to spur you on. Also, there are certain target areas you want to focus on in your workout that may not be your fitness buddy’s target body regions. Monopolizing your workout modes is another chief advantage of being able to shed off the pounds regardless of who is with you on the workout area.

Owning the decision to be fit and personalizing it to fit you like a glove is really a big advantage in finding fitness solutions that will outlast fleeting fads in improving your figure.

 

Day 4: #100HappyDays
Playing with the Hula

Hula by Tony Fischer

Hula by Tony Fischer

When I am doing this, I can barely feel the workout. I think it works, though. They say that an hour in the hula hoop is equivalent to 500 crunches. It’s so much fun, so I don’t even count this as part of my workout but more of an in-between thing during sets. I used two hula hoops for my daily activities: the weighted hula ring, and the ordinary hula hoop that we buy in toy stores. My favorite spot is a terrace overlooking the urban skyline, except that it’s too windy on some days to do more circles on my waist. This is also how I discovered regularly incorporating fitness activities in the form of fun or play. Workout has just taken a new definition for me, at least. 🙂