By now all of you would know that I do yoga and I also work out regularly. I don’t do one over the other and I find that they work well together.
But, we know there are countless people who think doing one over the other is a better option and would tell you that just doing what they do is enough.
I don’t doubt that their routine works for them, but doing just one is not enough for me. And instead of just listening to me, them or anyone else, every one of you should try out different things to figure out what works best for your body.
I’m currently on week 8 of Fresh Body Fit Find by Amazing Bisk, I do 20-60 minutes of HIIT workouts or kickboxing on Saturday and I do at least 15 minutes of yoga every single day. This is my usual active schedule unless I go to a yoga class – then it’s 90 to 120 minutes of practice and no other exercise that day.
I enjoy my routine because yoga and exercising compliment each other. I’m making progress in all the aspects I want to and I’m not having setbacks except where it involves my diet – unfortunately some things are beyond my control when it comes to eating! (Anyone else here with a granny who cooks some not so healthy food?)
My usualy routine during the week looks like this:
15 -30 minutes of strength based yoga
20 minute workout
15-30 minutes of flexibility based yoga
15 minutes of yoga
20-40 minute workout
5 minutes of yoga
Of course, there is flexibility with the amount of time i spend on each portion depending on the time I have to actually workout.
I know it can seem time consuming - everyone wants the maximum amount of results from the minimum amount of work done. I did too, but now that I know this works for me, I love doing it.
Whenever I say this, I get asked how i feel like i'm benefitting from doing both.
All my flexibility, a lot of my core strength and balancing progress has definitely been thanks to yoga. I find that the usual post-workout stretching is no where near what I need so having at least 15 minutes a day keeps me progressing at a safe pace. It's also a lot more "fun" to do a proper yoga flow than just stretching after a workout is finished.
And as much as I love ab workouts, there’s nothing really like learning core strength through yoga, it’s less movement and more balance, and strength. Sometimes it's not about how many reps you can do or how much you can lift but instead how good your navasana hold is.
With working out, I’m such a huge fan of using weights that I add it to any workout that I can. I was just like anyone else who though using any weight would make you “big” but let’s throw that silly idea out the window right now.
I’m a fan of HIIT, strength training and the occasional run. As great as yoga is, I need this to give me the real strength and progress and the physical changes that I’m looking for. I love yoga, but the strength i learn from yoga is completely different from the strength I learn from working out. And the satisfaction I get from yoga is different from the same satisfaction I get from increasing my weights or building some muscle.
It's all a happy fitness high, but it's a different kind of high, and I love both feelings. Either way I'm proving, growing, getting stronger. So I think doing yoga and working out is the perfect mix for me.
Even though this is my ideal, it doesn’t matter if someone else prefers 100% yoga or running or pure gym workouts. As always, for anything that involves your health and fitness, I say figure out what works for you.
I have't blogged about food specifically since August last year, but I've been getting so many messages about food and what's "acceptable". I don't actually enjoy telling people what or how to eat because everyone is different and we all have different needs. But I'm more than happy to share my experiences and what works for me.
The most common question I get is about cheat days. When should you have cheat days, what should you eat on cheat days, is it normal to have a chat day, do I have cheat days etc.
I personally don't like the idea of having cheat meals of cheat days. It makes certain foods seem special, off limits or bad on a regular basis and that's not something I'm for at all. No foods are special or deserve a day off for when you're "allowed to eat it". If you want cheesecake, just have it. If you want ice cream, just have it. If you want a burger and chips, JUST HAVE IT.
I know this isn't always healthy. It doesn't mean that if you always feel like having ice cream, you should have it. It means not restricting yourself when you don't want to. It means understanding the difference between food you want and food you need. And it means finding healthier options for foods that you wanna have more often.
I know this isn't easy and not everyone works this way. I'm not telling you to do what I do. You need to do you. Find out what works with you and what makes you feel best then make a decision.
There was a short period of time where I did restrict myself from "bad" foods like oil, fried foods, dessert, fast food etc and I had it every once in a while but no where near as much as I did before. I wouldn't have anything while everyone had a Magnum Ice cream after dinner and I didn't actually miss it or crave it as much as I thought I would but it did suck sometimes to say no to so much stuff.
Frankly, the results form almost always saying no to these foods were amazing, I got lean and I felt amazing, but I didn't like the idea that i was saying no when I wanted to say yes. So I changed it.
Restriction isn't something I like at all. You shouldn't have foods because you know it's not what your body needs AND more importantly, you don't want it.
Now I eat what I want, and it's mostly healthy but I don't stress over when I have to eat out and there are no real "healthy" options. There are foods I definitely will never eat/drink like soda, gummy candy, alcohol, cordials etc.
And everything else, I'd experiment with. I know there would be foods I didn't enjoy like red meat, foods I did enjoy but made my body bloat or feel bad like dairy, and everything else would either be foods I knew I liked and made me feel good or food that I thought I enjoyed and would just had to try it again.
When I know I don't really enjoy it or it doesn't make me feel good, it's no longer restricting myself because I truly don't want it. Things that i thought I enjoyed but now fall into this category include cheese, ice cream, dairy, fried food, fast food etc.
So I don't do cheat meals or cheat days. I just eat what I have and what I know I like unless I really don't have an option.
You don't have to do what I do. Even though I realised ice cream isn't as good as I thought it was, doesn't mean you'll agree. And even though I avoid alcohol, gummy bear and most milk chocolates, doesn't mean you have to.
Just figure out what diet works for your whole life. Not just a a month, a few years, till you lose some body fat or whatever, figure out what works for your life and will keep you happy.
So should you have cheat meals? That's 100% up to you!
I know some of you guys think that I, along with heaps of other people, spend a lot to get the clothes, the workouts and the life that I have - or more accurately, the portion of my life that you get to see. But honestly, I'm making the best out of my dollar and since this is one of the top questions I get, I'm happy to help out and share what I've learned to do.
You don't need to be rich or to be willing to spend a lot if you want you want to live healthier and get fitter.
Work Out At Home
When I started working out and learning yoga, I did it all at home. It's free (unless you're buying apps or programmes to follow), there is no travel time and you can feel completely comfortable.
Go for a run, do a HIIT workout or bodyweight exercises, use youtube for help, all this requires $0 out of your pocket and you can still get fit. Of course there are downsides to this, but when you're on a budget this really is the best option!
There are countless fitness programme e-books (these cost some money) , fitness apps (these tend to cost less than e-book or are free!) and youtube videos (which are always free!) which will work for home use and I definitely suggest using one of these at least to help you workout from home.
My Current Favourites:
E-book: Amanda Bisk's "Fresh Body Fit Mind" - 12 week training programme
App: "Train with Tanya" - individual HIIT workouts + training programme available
Youtube Channels: BeFit- individual workouts
If You Want Classes/A Gym, Do Your Research!
Even though I have a budget, I go for yoga classes on the weekends. Why? Because having help is ALWAYS better than doing this on your own.
Deciding on this was one of those "pick your battles" kind of moments. It's not free, but in the long run, as long as you can afford to go for classes or sign up for a gym, do it. Just make sure you get your money's worth.
This is why you need to do your research. Every gym and every class offers something different. From teaching methods to actual teachers/trainers, equipment and facilities, distance, price, packages etc you need to look at all of it before making a commitment.
Don't just sign up for a class because it's popular or a gym because it's near your home. Know what you want, find a few different places and compare what they can offer you. No use paying for a gym membership if all you want to do is run on a treadmill. Similarly, don't sign up for a 30 class package at a busy studio without testing out at least a couple of classes and making sure this is what you really want to spend your money on.
Something Worth Trying:
There are heaps of apps that offer classes or gym access at a discounted rate if you have a membership and there are even places that let you try it for free.
My current favourite is KFit (It works in Asia and Australia). You get one free class a month, then you can choose to sign up for a monthly membership (rates depend on your country) and get unlimited access to any amount of classes/gyms.
This is great if you want to try heaps of different fitness activities and go to gym without spending tons of money!
Shop Cheap or Second Hand !
I'll admit buying a new pair of tights or a crop when they first get released can be tempting, but if you can't afford to spend like $80-$120 on one piece, the answer is simple - DON'T BUY IT.
Whether you get it today or months from now when it's on sale, it wouldn't make a difference. You can work out without that new (expensive) activewear. Buying sale or secondhand items just means you get some amazing activewear and you save some money!
Even if you can't afford the sale prices of some big name brands, that's okay! Shopping with cheaper brands is not a bad thing and it will help especially when you might be in desperate need to replace your worn out items. $20 sports crops look much better for your wallet than a $50 one does.
What I prefer to do instead of buying a whole bunch of cheaper activewear is to put money away and shop during end of season or year end sales. Having 3-4 high quality and supportive sports crop is a better use of your money than having 10 cheaper, less supportive ones. (Victoria's Secrets Crops can go for as low as US$19.99 during their year end sales!)
If you are interested in second hand activewear, you can shop mine at @AlyR.Fit_Shop on Instagram.
Consider Buying Equipment
This doesn't mean buying an entire gym but if you can afford to, it would be worth it to invest in a pair of dumbbells, some ankle weight, some resistance bands etc. They last forever and you'll be able to add to your home workout especially when you can't go to the gym or are looking for something new to try.
It can seem like they're expensive but you can get a light set of dumbbells, ankle weights or resistance bands for less than $50 each. And like I mentioned earlier, shop cheap, second hand, or buy them during sales!
For those of you in Singapore: I buy my equipment from Lazada when they have sales or Carosell (app) to get them secondhand.
You DO NOT Need "Fit Foods"
Everyone loves showing off their acai bowls, chia seed puddings, superfood blends and whatever else comes up as being the next big crave in fitness food. Eating these foods are enjoyable, but they come at a price.
The truth is, despite what some people say, you DO NOT need to eat chia seeds or acai bowls, you will not suffer if you don't buy superfood blends or swap your rice to quinoa. These are all yummy and definitely nutritious but if you cannot afford to buy it, don't.
What you really need is to make sure you are eating healthy food. There is no need to get fancy with every meal and the basics that we actually do need are not that expensive at all.
(And there are many yummy healthy dessert you can make with simple, affordable ingredients too!)
One Thing You Should Start Doing
Put away $1 for every workout you do (or what works for your budget) and on 1st January, take all that money and buy yourself a treat for all the hard work you did!
I learned this from @FitWithGeorgie at that start of this year and I fell in love with the idea. It works so well especially when you are someone who responds better to getting rewarded.
Take it out at the end of the month to pay for part of your gym membership or just wait till 1st January and get yourself a bigger treat!
Just remember that being fit isn't about how fancy your activewear is or what new kind of superfood you can try. Just workout, eat well, wear what you have and focus more on your health instead of what you look like to other people.
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