Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Life is too SHORT!

Lately, I've been hit by a splash of wanderlust. I find myself more eager to explore places that I've known or wondered about and long to grace the shores of the unfamiliar and distant. Even in Penang, I'm exploring parts of the island that I've heard of but never bothered to venture to. I'm also planning to travel to more places within and outside of Malaysia. I never got a chance to travel overseas before. I haven't even been on a plane before! Let's say, I never got the chance due to my family's financial struggles in the past. But now that I'm working and earning well, I really hope to broaden my horizons and see the world. And I should definitely do it when I'm still young!

Aside from exploring new places, I find that the foodie in me has awakened as well. I find myself more passionate about exploring and tasting good food, which I really believe, is one of the GREATEST pleasures of life. Yes...aside from fitness, food is another passion of mine. Living in Penang, the food haven of Malaysia, good food is DEFINITELY abundant. Heck, I've even been looking up food blogs specifically for Penang to know all the great and exciting places to eat (you can find some goods ones in my blog list, I assure you). There's SO many I tell you, ranging from hawker food to restaurants, covering various cuisines. Therefore, I plan to sample a new place each week. I definitely think that great food helps to bond friends and family together, so I'll be asking friends to go with me! I've already assembled a 'crew' to go on food tasting expeditions! So, my friends from elsewhere, consider yourself lucky when you come to Penang, coz I will know more good places to take you for good food. Be prepared to gain a few pounds XD

Why do I suddenly feel the need to travel and explore new things? I'm beginning to realize more and more, that life to far too short to be wound around the familiar and mundane routines of daily life. Life is too short to be doing the SAME things over and over again. Life is too short to be stuck in one place my entire life. Life is too short, yet there is SO much to see, learn and experience. Generally, life is just TOO SHORT!

So I should take charge NOW! I should venture out and explore! I should feast my senses with new experiences! And so should you =)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Teambuilding Aug 08 @ Genting Highlands!

My company organized a team building trip to Genting Highlands in the beginning of this month! Just though I'd share a few pics =)

Leng zhais from the team:

Leng luis from the team:

The whole team!

The rest of the photos are in my Facebook.

Do you Facebook? Add me lah! XD

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's All About The Calories!

What is a calorie?
A calorie is the amount of energy (or heat) required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram (or 1 liter) of water by 1 degree Centigrade. A calorie is simply a measure of heat energy. When food is burned, it releases a certain amount of heat (energy), depending on the type of food. The more calories that are in a food, the more energy will be released when it is burned. The word “calorie” is used interchangeably to describe the amount of energy in food and the amount of energy stored in the body as adipose tissue (body fat) and glycogen (stored carbohydrate). For example, a glazed doughnut contains about 210 calories and a 25-minute jog on the treadmill burns off about 210 calories.

Does calories matter?
Yes, ABSOLUTELY! Nothing can refute the law of energy balance:

To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume each day.
To gain weight, you must consume more calories than you burn each day.

This means that to lose weight (or fat), you must burn more calories that you eat each day, regardless whether that caloric deficit comes from diet or exercise. However, the BEST result should come from a combination of a good diet and lots of exercise. That is UNDENIABLY the MOST EFFECTIVE and EFFICIENT METHOD to ensure that you lose that fat and have lean muscle to show-off underneath!

To gain weight (if you intend to bulk up), your caloric surplus can come only from your diet. However, if your an average person trying to gain mass, make sure your excess calories come from healthy, wholesome and nutritious foods. Gorging yourself with anything that you can get your hands on will only ensure you gain an equal amount of fat with muscle. Always aim to gain as much lean mass with MINIMAL fat gain. Muscle doesn't look good under all that fat, dude!

Do I need to count calories?
Well, this depends...

If you're a professional fitness model, bodybuilder or fitness competitor, then counting calories would be crucial to take out any guess work and ensure that you reach your goals for the show or competition.

If you're an average Joe just like me, it is probably not necessary and suitable to maintain throughout your life, UNLESS you're an absolute beginner and have NO idea what good nutrition is all about. Whatever it is, I would STILL recommend that at some point in your life, you SHOULD learn to count the calories in the foods that you eat and even track your caloric intake for about a week to a month. I've done it before, and so should you. This would really OPEN YOUR EYES to how much food you're eating on a daily basis. In fact, you'd be SHOCKED at how many calories some of your favorite foods can contain! You can start out by using FREE online tools such as Calorie Counter Database or NutritionData.

Calorie Counting VS Caloric Awareness!
Counting calories your entire life is not necessary. If you think that it suits you, then do it. If not, I'd still recommend that you try it at least ONCE! Why? Because when you learn to count calories, you also learn CALORIC AWARENESS! From developing caloric awareness, basically:

1. You will instinctively know what type of foods have higher and lower calories, and what foods to consume to reach your goals.
2. You will learn what foods to eat and still maintain your caloric deficit or surplus.
3. You will learn how to eat and still maintain your daily caloric intake.

If you're not going to counting calories most of the time, then caloric awareness is an pertinent skill to know what foods to eat and avoid, depending on your goals. It is quite difficult to gain fat when eating natural, wholesome and nutritious foods, as it is naturally lower in calories than all the processed or manufactured foods. Don't believe me? GO COUNT THE CALORIES!

If you're overweight and have some fat to lose, I find that just by cleaning up your diet and adding exercise in the form of weight-training and cardio, you can automatically create a caloric deficit from clean foods and calorie burn from the extra activity. If you're stalling in your progress, just change up your training routine or adjust your caloric intake. GOOD LUCK! =)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Entrees by Nigella Lawson!

What I've posted earlier were just desserts, here are some entrees.

Flash Fried Steak with White Bean Mash:

Mustard Pork Chops:

Pollo alla Cacciatora:

Rapid Ragu:

Linguine with Mushrooms, Garlic and Thyme:

Maple Chicken 'N' Ribs:

Gosh, I love this woman when she cooks! Her passion and love for cooking and food just shines through. Hearing her describe about cooking and food is enough to make me hungry!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Feeling Lonely...

I've been single for 1 and a half years. Ever since my first and last relationship, I've never been able to find someone who shared a mutual liking with me. I guess it's just my luck. I've never been able to emulate my friends, who could find a boyfriend so fast. Unlike them, I practically have no love life.

Perhaps it's my lack of confidence sometimes, that spills forth from my inner self, making it outwardly obvious and unappealing.

Perhaps it's the perception of people who don't know me personally and think that I might be someone cold and not responsive, when they see my face.

Perhaps, sometimes I project a false sense of disinterest that steers people away, but in actual fact, I'm drawn into myself because of a sense of inferiority, which may give the false notion that I'm not willing to open up myself to others.

Perhaps it's my face that turns most people off. I'm trying to do something about it though.

Perhaps...I'm just not good enough for anyone to have.

Whatever it is, I'm just feeling really lonely right now. It's the kind of loneliness that lingers, even when you're surrounded by friends. It's a loneliness that hungers not for companionship, but yearns for soulful intimacy with another. It's a feeling that is so human, which compels us to drive ourselves into the arms of another, just for the simple but powerful reason of wanting to love and be loved in return.

Why can't I have that? Why won't he appear? Would he come by if I stopped looking? Am I simply just looking too hard? I'm just so tired. I'm so exhausted. I don't know what to do. I don't know where to look. I want to stop caring and say that I don't need anyone, but then one of these moments pop up and bash me in the head with the harsh hammer of reality. A reality that exists however hard I try to deny it or pretend that it's not there. I DO need someone. I DO want to love and I DO want to be loved. But how can I find it?

I envy those who've found their first love, as I never found it and perhaps...never will in this lifetime. Everything just seems so distant and vague, like a thick, cold mist blanketing the horizon. I've never even celebrated a Valentine's day with someone. That's why I've always hated Valentine's day. It always reminded me of my non-existent love life.

I'm so lonely right now.....feels like my heart is being weighed down by a tonne of bricks.

PS: Sorry if this sounds like a depressing post of me being too hard on myself, but I'm just expressing myself. Better than keeping it bottled up right?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fallen off the wagon? GET BACK ON IT!

I've been feeling more tired and worn out since last week, although I did manage to finish the work and chores I needed to do over the weekend. Not sure if it's caused by my training, rather erratic sleeping hours, excessive worrying over certain things or just lack of rest. Damn, it could all of the above! I need to pace myself more this week, and allow myself more rest . Lately, I've noticed some difficulty on falling asleep as well. Over-training could be a factor.

I've also fallen off the wagon in my diet several times since last week, partaking in too much junk food and sweet stuff. I know, I know...I should practice what I preach but I just wanna point out that sometimes this happens. In anyone's fitness journey or lifestyle, you are bound to fall off the wagon. The MOST important thing would be to get up and climb back onto the wagon and keep going. There's no use feeling depressed over it. Get back up and get going again! Don't have an all-or-nothing mentality. Life isn't perfect and so is the path to fitness.

If you've eaten things that you shouldn't have eaten, don't let your guilt drag you down, or keep you from going forward. Forget about it and go back to eating clean the next meal or the next day!

If you've missed a workout, then get back on it the next day with renewed vigor!

If you think you need more rest, then listen to your body and let your mind and body repair itself!

Alright...I'm off to bed now, gnite!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Useful Tips to Help Fat Loss!

In the battle of the bulge, I believe that every little bit of help counts. If you've been eating clean and working out religiously all this while, then these tips are for you. If you still have no idea on what to do, go read here, here, here and here first please.

So let's get down to business, what CAN you do to help you lose fat faster?

1. BURN more calories! Do that extra rep or run that extra mile. You can add an extra set or increase your weights. You can enhance your cardio routine by doing fasted cardio, adding more frequency, increasing intensity at each session or increasing your duration. This is to prevent adaptation by the body to the level of exercise that you're doing now. Always strive to challenge and improve yourself!

2. Eat more vegetables! This makes absolute sense, doesn't it? Vegetables are extremely low in calories, very high in fiber which increases satiety and kills hunger, increases your metabolism as it has a high thermic effect and is very nutrient dense. Basically, eating more vegetables can help you eat less.

3. Increase protein consumption! Again, this makes sense too, right? Protein has the HIGHEST thermic effect of all foods and is the most versatile macro nutrient, which can simultaneously help you lose fat and build muscle. You can incorporate more protein in your diet by adding it to every meal. If you are working out hard or are an athlete, then you need more protein to recover, grow and get good results!

4. Drink green tea.

5. Eat grapefruit, and choose the red kind. While it is low in calories and loaded with fiber and antioxidants, the citrus flavonoid called naringin in grapefruit also helps to increase metabolism and aid fat loss. Naringin is actually responsible for the grapefruit's distinctive bitter taste. If you can't stand the tartness of grapefruit (I eat it just like that, love it!), then you can dice it up and add some sweetener to counter the tartness.

6. Drink coffee, but minus the sugar and cream. The caffeine in coffee helps to raise metabolism and aid fat loss. Plus, coffee is loaded with antioxidants and provides fiber as well. Sometimes, I just drink it plain black or add sweetener. I don't use cream, but prefer to add low-fat milk instead.

7. Drink coffee before you workout, be it cardio or weights. The additional caffeine boost provides extra energy for you to workout harder. Plus, the caffeine in coffee also helps the body to metabolize fat when you're working out. That's why I love my coffee jolt right before cardio or weights! (I drink pure black coffee before fasted cardio usually).

8. Add fish oil to your diet. It has been shown to increase metabolism and help fight fat! I take 4-6 grams a day.

9. Lower your carbs. Well, I'm not advocating that you jump on any extreme low carb diet, but just simply swapping some carbs with more protein, especially in the evening. You'd be surprised how something as simple as this can bring results faster.

So, I hope you paid attention...and didn't stare at the hot guy the entire time!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

KFC Breakfast Meals

KFC have been trying to compete with McDonald's by introducing a breakfast menu and having their outlets open for 24 hours. In addition, fast food outlets have been trying to customize their menus to cater for locals in different countries, and Malaysia is no exception. However, some of the things that they do is just downright absurd and...WEIRD! I saw this from a KFC flyer received in my mail a couple of days ago that introduced their latest 'customized' meal:

Honestly, when I saw their Nasi Lemak Wrap, I just burst out laughing. OH MY GOD! This just looks ridiculous and downright expensive. Basically, it's just normal nasi lemak with all the basic ingredients (coconut rice, anchovies, sambal, cucumber and chicken) wrapped in a tortilla, and they are charging a whopping RM 5.40 for the ala carte. You have to dig out an extra RM 1.50 if you add coffee/tea/orange juice, which looks really small in the picture too. Nutritionally, it would just be another calorie bomb (Well, everything is already a calorie bomb in KFC anyways, except their garden salad!). They've taken something already high in fat and starch, and wrapped in more starch! If I were to have nasi lemak, I'd rather search from local food outlets, which serve them fresh and won't rape your wallet.

The wrap is just 1 of 2 new items on their breakfast menu. They now have, just plain NASI LEMAK! And without any chicken too! Why would anyone go to KFC for breakfast, which specializes in fried chicken, to eat plain nasi lemak WITHOUT chicken for a higher price, is beyond me. You actually need to pay MORE to add chicken, which would just further stretch your wallet.

You can check out the rest of their breakfast menu here. Personally, I wouldn't bother stepping into any fast food outlet for breakfast, unless I have no other choice other than to starve.