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Actively Happy

by EJ

Last year March I was weighing 76kgs and today, one year later, I weigh 54kgs. People have been asking me how I did it and so I thought I’d explain:

Typically, I start my day with a coffee or green tea. Brunch is either scrambled eggs on toast, hummus on toast, a cheese and tomato roll or a veggie sushi platter. After Gym, I have a banana and a shake. I use the USN range of supplements and love the protein options. For dinner, I have hummus on ryvita coupled with veggies or one of the options that I didn’t have for brunch. For desert I have yoghurt and fruit. I sometimes have junk especially around my period time. Most food I buy is healthy and I keep my diet simple.

I have my last meal quite late at 9pm or 10pm and I don’t do an early breakfast. My first meal of the day is at 11am or 12pm and sometimes even later. That could be seen as a fast although it’s not that much longer between meals than that of a usual dinner and breakfast i.e. 6pm or 7pm to 6am or 7am, which equates to 12 hours. My gap between dinner and brunch is 13-14 hours. It is only 1-2 hours longer but makes a huge difference. It doesn’t really matter what you eat in specifics as long as it has nutritional content. As for the food scale - 80/20 or at least 70/30 healthy vs junk. What matters most is that you burn more than what you consume - that is the formula i.e. a caloric deficit. If you are eating more than what you are exercising off then you gain or if you are eating just enough and not really putting in physical effort into consistent training then you are maintaining. That’s why lots of people stay in the same weight bracket for most of their lives without attaining a well-toned and lean physique.

As for training, it goes like this:

I train 5 times a week out of the 7 days. Usually Monday to Friday but if I miss a day or two in the week, I catch up on weekends.

Monday, Wednesday & Friday I train my upper-body. I always start every session with cardio to warmup, comprising of:

20 min brisk walk on an incline on the treadmill

2000 meters rowing

=40 mins cardio

I then workout on all the upper-body machines. I do 3 sets of 10 reps at a heavy weight and increase it as I get stronger. I also do free-weight exercises like deadlifts for example. I spend about 45 mins on the floor. Afterward, I attend a 15 min abs class and to end my session I do a yoga flow to stretch.

Time-wise, it equates to the following:

Cardio 40 mins

Weights & machines 45 mins

Abs 15 - 20 mins

Yoga 15 - 30 mins

I train upper-body for 2 hours with no breaks at least 3 times a week. On a Friday, I swim after I’ve done all of the above. I do about 10 laps of freestyle, breathstroke & backstroke and on a timer. After all sessions I always shower and sauna. I sauna for at least 15mins. This also makes you sweat and release toxins and on a Friday I steam after I swim.

On a Tuesday and Thursday I train my lower-body. My typical session looks like this:

20 mins brisk walk on incline on treadmill

20 mins fast cycle on an intensity of 1-10 twice over

5 mins on an intensity of 5-10 on the stepper

That’s my cardio warmup and it takes 45mins. I then do all the leg machines on a heavy weight and increase it as I get stronger. I do 3 sets of 10 reps and I spend about 30-40 mins on the floor. I attend an abs class afterward, followed by a brief yoga flow to stretch. Again, this is about a 2 hour work out. To end, I shower and sauna.

Your body also needs time to recover and that’s why I alternate i.e. one day upper-body then the next day lower body. In doing so, my upper body is recovering while I train my lowerbody and visa versa. I rest for 2 days out of the 7 days a week. This is a routine I’ve had for a long time as I find that it works well for me. Consistency is key.

I’ve lost 22kgs at a consistent 2kgs a month. When you loose, you want a gradual loss to keep it off. When you loose drastically in a short period of time especially with weird weight loss aids - you pick it up again later down the line.

I’ve always been active and lean at a weight of around 50kgs. I only picked up fat and loss muscle mass when I had broken my foot whilst training for a dance production on theatre, when my brother had passed away and when I had a soccer injury and had busted my ankle as a result - which is the weight that I’ve just lost now.

I have been super active since I was a kid. I was a gymnast, softball player and a contemporary, street and Latin dancer. I realize now that because of this, I have to maintain an active lifestyle indefinitely or my body shape will change. Luckily, I love keeping fit.

Lastly, there are hormonal and emotional imbalances that contribute to fluctuations in weight. When my brother had passed away, I was depressed and I picked up 20kgs as a result although I did not change my lifestyle or dietary choices. Sometimes it’s not only about what you eat, but also about how you are feeling. That is also something important to take into account and on occasion more pertinent than anything else.

Exercise consistently, eat well and be happy!

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