Hot Sos: Solenn Heussaff’s New Fitness Book

While I am interested in fitness, I rarely pick up fitness books unless they’re written by someone I believe has the cachet to speak about getting in shape and getting healthy. So when I saw that Solenn Heussaff had written a fitness book (and it was edited by one of my Endure teammates hehe), I was interested in what she could offer in this space.Β It turns out, quite a lot.

Hot Sos book launch
Hot Sos
Continue reading “Hot Sos: Solenn Heussaff’s New Fitness Book”

Kikay Runner’s Fitness Tips, Part 2 of 2

This is part 2 of the fitness tips video series I did with Xpert.PH last year.

Xpert.PH Fitness Questions Answered

This video is more about general health and fitness, so even if you don’t run, you can apply these fitness tips to any exercise, sport, or other physical activity you choose to help you get healthy and fit!

  • How do I know if I’m healthy?
  • 5 quick tips to stay fit and healthy: treat exercise like an important appointment, fuel properly, sleep, find a fitness buddy, focus on feeling good vs. looking good
  • What age should I start going to the gym?
  • I have a hectic schedule. What can I do with a few spare minutes each day?

Watch here:

Let me know if you have any other health and fitness questions (write a comment below). I’ll answer them in my next podcast!

Kikay Runner’s Fitness Tips, Part 1 of 2

Last year I worked with a start-up company called Xpert.PH and produced a few videos designed to answer questions from people who want to get into fitness. Even though I only worked with them for a short time, our videos are on Youtube and I know viewers can still benefit from what we came up with!

Xpert.PH Fitness Questions Answered

In this Part 1 of our two-part fitness tips series, I answer the following questions:

  • What’s a quick way to lose the holiday weight?
  • I want to run a marathon. How do I get started?
  • How do I stay fit without going to the gym?
  • Where can I buy good gym clothes here in the Philippines?
  • Can you lose weight without exercise, and just diet?
  • What should I eat before I workout?

Got any more fitness questions? Ask them in the comments section below! :)

Slimming Down for Summer

There used to be a time I went on a diet every March so that by April and May, the prime beach season here in the Philippines, I would have a bikini body to flaunt. That diet usually involved a strict regimen of boiled chicken breast, sweet potato, hard boiled egg, and coffee. It was definitely restrictive and not sustainable (it’s the “fashion week” crash diet my runway model friends used). By the time I was done with my beach trips, I was also done dieting and I would come down hard on all the food I’d felt deprived of. Bottom line, that summer body never stuck around too long.

my latest swimsuit pic after teaching a kid’s swimming class ;)

I actually haven’t had a real beach vacation in the last two years; most of my trips to sand and surf lately are due to triathlons! But because I’m training for endurance events, restricting food intake is out of the question.

I love food and eat most things (unless I’m allergic to them). My rule of thumb is moderation and only eat as much as I need to fuel my body. What I focus on now is the quality of the food I put into my body — what nutrients are in it, what are its health benefits, etc.

For example, right now I’ve just finished teaching an intense dance cardio class. I had some lunch, but still feel hungry. So I’ve made myself a snack of two slices of bread, lightly toasted, with kaya (coconut) jam and butter.

Great weather to have my snack outside!

This quiets my growling stomach and will keep me sated until dinner. I realize the jam and butter aren’t the best spreads, but they taste pretty good on the Gardenia Slim n Fit Wheaten bread I put them on. What’s nice about Gardenia Slim n Fit Wheaten bread is that it contains fiber that helps sweep away bad cholesterol in the body and keeps certain, ahem, functions, regular. It also contains L-carnitine, an amino acid that helps your body burn stored fat as energy. Goodbye, love handles! :D

These days I’m slimmer, and I’ve got triathlon and the right nutrition to thank for that. Now I’ve just got to plan that summer beach trip to show off my healthy, forever beach-ready figure!

Beach ready bod
Beach-ready. Now all I need is the beach!

To learn more about Gardenia Slim n Fit, log onto their website, like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Gardenia also has a promo running on Facebook this month of May. “Be Fit N Fly with Gardenia Health Breads and Tigerair”: they’re giving away bread packages, and the grand prize is free airfare for 2 to any domestic destination c/o Tigerair! Check it out. :)

This is a sponsored post for Gardenia Slim n Fit Wheaten Bread. View my disclosure policy.

Fit, Strong, and Fast

With Hunger Games: Catching Fire coming soon to theaters, lead actress Jennifer Lawrence is in the limelight. I love her personality and I think she’s a great role model to the millions of adolescent girls who will be watching the movie. Why? She said of her training for the film, “I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner’… I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong — not thin and underfed.” (Watch the Good Morning America story.)

I’ve struggled with my weight since my teen years, and I’ve tried all sorts of fad diets and exercise gadgets. One wrong piece of food in my mouth, or missing an exercise session, and I felt like I’d fallen off the wagon! (Those were miserable years, in retrospect.) But even at my thinnest, I was never the stick figure I saw glamorized in fashion editorials. It bothered the teenage me to the point I even considered anorexia — but then, the food at my house was too good and I enjoyed the pleasures of eating too much to want to stop. And I hated throwing up so I never even considered bulimia.

As I matured, I realized everyone’s built differently and the main goal was to be healthy and fit, not skinny. And as I got more involved in sport, I understood that how one’s body looks is secondary to how one’s body performs.

What makes you unstoppable? #kikayrunner

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To be honest, I was skinnier in early 2009 before I started running, but that was because I was meticulously counting carbs. But could I have run a marathon then? Could I have done a triathlon then? The difference between appearance and performance can be illustrated by the difference between bodybuilders and Olympic weightlifters. A bodybuilder sculpts the visible muscles with his training, then diets and dehydrates himself so that these muscles can be seen more clearly beneath his skin as he poses. An Olympic weightlifter strengthens his muscles with his training, then attempts to lift as heavy a weight as he can during competition. The bodybuilder may be more ripped, but the weightlifter is actually stronger regardless of how pudgy he looks.

As my training load has increased, I’ve shed pounds and never felt better. But too much weight loss can be bad for performance, too. I got to my thinnest this year right before Century Tuna 5150 — I was at 115 pounds, which is normal weight for my height and build. But I knew that going into Ironman 70.3 I’d need to carry just a bit more weight; otherwise I would feel powerless and hollow. I gained three pounds just by gently increasing the amount of (healthy) food I ate, and felt great on race day. I talked with Coach Ani de Leon-Brown (one of the fittest Filipina athletes I know), and she agreed that there was a certain weight range at which she could perform her best especially for endurance events.

These days the only reason I stress about weight gain is because I know I’ll have to lug all that extra junk in my trunk up a hill on a bike or all the way through a run, and I know how much that will hurt my times. What’s important to me is being fit, strong, and fast, and that’s changed my entire relationship with weight, food, and exercise. If I trained and ate right, my body weight would stabilize to where it would be healthy for me at that point, and I would be well-trained and well-nourished enough to have the best performance possible. It’s all about finding balance.

Focus. #kikayrunner

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Ask Kikay Runner: How Can a Student Get Fit?

This is a section on my blog where I answer questions people ask me. If you have any questions for future Ask Kikay Runner entries,Β email me or join Xpert.PH to get access to more expert advice!

Jenah Ong writes:

Hi, Kikay Runner! :) :)

I am only a 19-year-old college student but I am already trying to live a healthy life as early as now. As what they say, everything you do now will affect you in the future so why load yourself with junk
and sleep on the couch all day right? I want to do good, to feel good about my body. However, I am encountering some problems.

I don’t have weight problems. I am not a lazy gal to do workouts because in fact, I LOVE MOVING. But my main problem is, RESOURCES. How can I workout when I lack resources?

Read more of Jenah’s question, and my answer, after the jump. Continue reading “Ask Kikay Runner: How Can a Student Get Fit?”

Eight Great Post-Race Stretches

Congratulations on running the race of your life last weekend! I’m pretty sure you pushed really hard (but just within your limits) and it feels really good.

You know what else would feel good? How about a nice stretch after the race? Most runners do the pre-race rituals quite faithfully: nutrition, hydration, a proper warm-up. Yet we don’t take the same care after the race. Instead we immediately fall in line for our loot bags and skip the opportunity to cool down properly.

After a workout, your heart rate is still elevated and there’s more blood circulating in your arms and legs. A cool down with some stretches allows your heart rate to slow down gradually and gets your blood circulating freely through your body again. Stretches also help release tension from your muscles.

Try these eight stretches out the next time you finish a race. Consider it a celebration of all the hard work you’ve done.

(Hold each stretch for 20 seconds, or longer if it feels good.)

Continue reading “Eight Great Post-Race Stretches”