Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! Have a wonderful weekend and don't make yourselves too sick!


My spring sale is running until April 1st, so use the code BOUNCE15 for 15% off of all my handmade woodland jewellery until then!

Gold glitter marshmallows, Galaxy golden eggs and small 3 inch Easter cakes <3



Monday, 21 March 2016

Happy Spring!

   Happy spring everyone!
   I'm so very excited. I'm a winter girl really, it's much easier to get comfortable in the cold with blankets and jumpers, but in the summer...well, there's only so much you can take off. But the spring is my second favourite; I love the brighter and longer sunlight, it always fills me with such motivation to do anything and everything I have on task, and I especially love it pouring through the window while I'm writing because my concentration goes through the roof. It's not all gas when they say that natural light improves mood and working efficiency!


   And, speaking of writing, I started my new book last week! I had intended to write a post about it sooner, but...well, I was writing. Once I get started I tend to get shoulder-deep and it's quite difficult to tear myself away. It's amazing I found the time to write this post at all!
   The writing is going really well - it's the strongest start I've ever had to any story before, jumping right in without getting nitty-gritty detail. I'm also trying to refrain from thinking 'it's moving too fast' because no one likes a slow start, and if I start getting in my head about it progressing 'too fast', I'll start to add in pointless details or events to try to drag it out. In the end, it's better that it progresses too quickly because it's much easier to add things in than it is to take things out. I had that trouble with my last book, so I have greater hope for this one!
   And, speaking of my last book, I've heard back from 4 agents so far, all rejections - no surprises there, I'm submitting a highly specialised genre (fantasy, for those who are new here), and regardless of that point, most books get rejected. It has to be something truly special for an agent to pick you up, not to mention that your timing has to be right - they need to be willing to take on the work, and if their client list is full, well, that's just too bad. But I'm very proud to say that I'm not letting it get to me at all, I've been paid a direct compliment in one rejection letter, and I've got plans for if the rest respond similarly. So, needless to say, I'm pretty keen right now!

   I'm especially happy to welcome spring, because, while the shine of the new spring sun has coincided with the start of my new book, I also became quite ill last week and it wasn't until Friday that I started feeling better. It was just a bug, but it's the most ill I've been for years. It was not fun, partly because I was so sick I couldn't sleep despite being dead on my feet all day, but mostly because my head was on upside down. I've done some great writing since I started on the 12th, but on Wednesday there was simply no hope. My brain wouldn't start up - I even forgot how to make a cup of tea, and when you consider that I only drink green and don't take milk or sugar, it just shows how muddled I was. How can you get water + tea bag wrong?! I think I must have had to stop and think about it literally four or five times while making it. So I ended up spending most of Wednesday mouth breathing on the sofa - thank goodness for space week on Eden, at least I had something to watch (and I must confess that I watched part 2 of Last Steps: Apollo 17 on Eden, then turned to Eden +1 and watched it again). Having to take a day off of exercise was also annoying, but better that than pushing myself to a migraine by forcing it.
   I'm feeling much, much better now, aside from an irritating cough, but poor Seeg has picked it up. I can be quite...well, I suppose quite unsympathetic sometimes, so I'm glad I had the rotten germ first. Now I know what he's going through and can understand his misery.

   I'm super excited for Easter, too. I've been following my own advice to keep my waistline in check this Easter; I've been behaving myself when it comes to food, only eating what is good and keeping refined sugar down - I didn't eat any refined sugar on Saturday, I'm not sure how that happened - and, aside from the unscheduled rest day, I've been exercising really hard and really well. If I can keep it up this week then I can indulge in my Hotel Chocolat extra thick Easter egg on Sunday without guilt. I admit that I plan to eat at least half of it, which is terrible, but I've also recently realised that it's likely I'll feel sick long before I get there, and while I don't want to make myself sick, at least I know there is a limit!
   I've got one more week of Darebees workouts after Easter, and I'm going to push myself to the max on each of those, and after that I have something else planned, returning to one of my real fitness loves: kettlebells. But more on that at the end of the month!

   And, on a final note, I've been filling out my wardrobe. I bought skirts - three of them - two dresses and a pair of green trousers. What has gotten into me I have no idea. I don't wear skirts or dresses, it frightens me, I've been in jeans for years and years, but I've wanted to wear skirts every time summer rolls around and jeans are too thick, but I've never had the guts. Well, there's nothing wrong with my legs at all, and given that pencil skirts and the likes are in, I can make a safe transition without the fear of my skirt blowing up and showing my bum. These are the things I worry about.
   I admit I've been keen to try them, but it's still quite chilly, spring or not, so I decided I would wait until April. Of course, it's all well and good to put one on in the morning, but whether I have the guts to stay in it is another matter...

   Does anyone have any amazing plans for spring? I'll be glued to my laptop as always, working away on my book, but I absolutely adore it. I may well go for another horse riding lesson with my dear and lovely Lucy, but that's still to be arranged.



Monday, 14 March 2016

Have Your Egg And Eat It Too - Reducing Weight-Gain This Easter

   Food is wonderful - it's a big part of every culture and it's silly to try to deny yourself something nice once in a while. But 'once in a while' can mean different things to different people, and even if it's once a fortnight or even a month and you're a bit silly like me, it can still leave you feeling guilty afterwards. And with Easter almost upon us, I'm quite conscious of the fact that some of my hard work is going to be undone by a wonderful chocolate egg.
   There are things you can do to lessen the blow of Easter, all of which can be applied to other celebratory holidays and even spontaneous bingeing, and I'm going to talk about those today. So none of us have any excuse to feel guilty this Easter!


   Special occasions typically involve special food, and on Easter in particular that's chocolate. In such a situation you'd be a fool to deny yourself a little indulgence, especially when everyone else around you is participating - like I said before: food is a huge part of many cultures, so unless you have will power of steel (not even your favourite fitness idols do), it's best to accept right from the off that your eating isn't going to be as good as it could be on that particular date.
   Special occasions are likely to have been planned in advance, however - we know when our birthdays are and when Christmas is, for example - and that means that you can start reducing the impact of a wonderful big dinner, glasses of bubbly or indulgent Easter eggs before the day arrives.

   To lessen the impact of a planned indulgence, be sure to pencil in workouts around the date, both before and after. Choose high-impact body weight workouts, HIIT or kettlebell workouts on the run-up to the date, that way you can shift your body into fat-burning mode in advance so Easter eggs won't be sitting on your waistline for as long, and the energy within them put to quicker use. You can find loads of workouts like these on my fitness Pinterest board.
   By planning cardio workouts afterwards, especially the next two days after Easter, you can burn them off quicker, too, before they get a chance to make themselves at home. The act of planning in these workouts also make them easier to stick to, and planning the workouts themselves - either choosing a DVD in advance or working out/looking up a circuit - means you can begin with intention, know precisely what to do once you get started, and use greater focus and greater effort in the workouts themselves, ultimately making them more effective than clumsily moving without any kind of plan.
   You can further reduce the impact by eating clean on the run-up and as frequently as possible on the day itself, that way you won't be making the occasion unnecessarily decadent. Easter typically means chocolate and a big dinner, so the best thing to do is try to stick to your usual eating habits, but certainly tone down the carbs. Turn to steamed veggies for a snack - it might not sound exciting, but the Easter egg you're going to tuck into later, if you haven't already, certainly is, and it'll help you towards your 5 a day if you eat a selection of different veg.

   If you like to make a bigger deal of the date, or it's your birthday for example, it's always fun to make the day as special as possible, and that means a change from the norm. But that doesn't have to mean cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner, even if it sounds like the best idea ever. Plan out a special breakfast that is as healthy as it is new instead.
   For example, I usually have porridge for breakfast, so on my birthday I made pancakes instead, but rather than typical pancakes, they were made with 1 egg, the juice of half a lemon, half a cup of Greek yoghurt and a quarter cup of wholemeal flour. They were nutritious and a change from my routine, but they were also delicious and I recall them both clearly and fondly. I admit I put a few mini marshmallows on them and a touch of whipped cream, but it was my birthday and still a relatively healthy start that still put me in a dandy mood, and I made them again a few weeks later without the 'toppings' and it was still delicious.
   The same can be applied to lunch, choosing something different from the norm but healthy - I had a delicious salmon salad - and having clean snacks on hand like your favourite Nakd bar or fruit yoghurt can keep you on the straight and narrow without getting repetative. This way, when you tuck in to a birthday dinner at home or in a restaurant and then have the biggest slice of birthday cake on offer, you won't be adding on to an already bad day and making yourself feel guilty for overdoing it. You'll be glad of the earlier effort and not regret a thing. And if you do, well, you've been working out in anticipation of this and will be working out the next day, too. So where's the problem, really?

Rules To Live By - Immediately Lessen The Impact of Bad Eating Decisions
   We all have our bad days and our cut-ourself-some-slack days, it's ridiculous to think others don't, but whether we recognise that or not, we will often feel guilty for it. Bad eating decisions will get to all of us, especially if it's all laid out in front of us in a bakery, in a restaurant or someone's private dinner party. Or you've been given five Easter eggs. Temptation is, by nature, difficult to fight, and in these cases, giving in excessively will lead to justifiable guilt, followed by the feeling of hopelessness and that you've just reversed in five minutes what took a week or two to achieve.
   But don't give in to that hopelessness, and especially don't give up and make the situation worse with the mentality of 'the damage is already done', because there are a few things you can do to reduce the impact of binge eating.

1) Drink water. This should be done immediately - not as in drinking half a litre 3 minutes after the last bite, but making the effort to drink an extra 500ml to 750ml (about 2-3 glasses) of just water over the course of the next two hours. This helps your body to metabolise what you've just eaten as every chemical reaction in the body requires water, meaning it'll be broken down and put to use sooner. This is a great step as it's something you can do immediately rather than turning to the old 'I'll do better tomorrow' or simply giving up and continuing as you were, making a bad day worse, and because you can get started immediately, you can also immediately change your state of mind, preventing you from continuing as you were.

2) Skip carbs at breakfast the next day. Turning to protein instead - a couple of eggs, salmon and asparagus, as a hearty example - will give your body the chance to use up the extra carbs you ate the day before (it's almost guaranteed that it was carbs you over-consumed, like chocolate, cake, biscuits, or pasta, bread, rice, and so on) without adding any more onto it. You won't lack energy or focus so there's little to worry about, and as you have breakfast at the start of your day, you'll also be setting your mind onto a more positive road for the rest of the day. There's little need to skip carbs from lunch onwards, so you don't have to restrict yourself all day - restricting yourself so much can actually lead to you repeating the earlier mistake, and this time with no occasion to use as an excuse.

3) Do extra cardio the next day - add an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill, stick on a dance DVD after your usual workout, or, if you don't usually exercise, do so. This puts the energy from those carbs to use before they can get settled as your body doesn't immediately store it as fat, and if you do your workout an hour or two after breakfast, you can keep your mind and determination on that positive route and greatly reduce the chance of making bad decisions that day, too. It will also generally make you feel happier both for having spent your time well and burning off what you ate, and your endorphins going from simply getting your blood pumping and pushing yourself beyond your normal workout or daily routine.

   It's important to note that these three points can't reverse binge eating or bad decisions, but they're simple enough to do and they will undeniably lessen the impact. Acting upon it right away with water and attacking it with a workout the next day keeps you in full control and gives you far less reason to worry about it, and, similarly, by taking action so quickly you can also get rid of it with greater ease. If you leave it for a week your body may fight against you harder in order to keep it. After all, your brain is the reasoning centre, not your body, so your body assumes that there is a biological reason that you ate the way you did, and as you didn't use the energy the food provided, it figures it'll store it for a later date.
   But none of these points should be used as excuses to eat however you like, whenever you like. You simply cannot out-exercise a consistently bad diet, no matter what you do, and while a little indulgence here and there truly is harmless, and larger ones on days that only come around once a year, doing so on a frequent basis will not do your waistline, your chemistry or your mood any good at all, and all of that matters as much as the last.

   And, finally, remember: the more refined sugar (ie not fruit) you eat, the more you crave it. Giving in to the craving doesn't satiate it, it only feeds it. That's the difference between 'craving' and 'needing'. But it also doesn't take long for your body to obliterate that craving. It takes me, personally, three days of minimal chocolate and the fourth day of none to kick the habit, and come day 5 I don't think about it anymore.



Saturday, 12 March 2016

Darebee Visual Workouts - 2 Weeks Later

   I've been using Darebee's visual workouts for two weeks now, and I have to say that I love them. They're so tough, much tougher than I expected, but in fairness, as with any workout, it's the intensity you work at that really makes your results. I worked at level 2 and level 3 - 5 to 7 sets - with about 30 seconds rest between sets, for which I'm very proud, and I really, really felt it. Especially the next day. Following The Witcher and Super Saiyan in particular, everything from the ribs up ached, right the way around. It was awful, and awesome.
   It has been so refreshing having a new workout every day; I usually use DVDs which gives me one or two workouts to alternate between, and while that means I can get just comfortable enough with them to do them well before hitting a plateau, it can get a bit repetative, especially with hard workouts. The Witcher and Super Saiyan have turned out to be the hardest (these are the two I do 5 sets of, not 7), but I put my all into both because they're different enough from one another while both still being tough that I can, and because I know I don't have to do either of them again until the next week.


   My favourite has been Korra; it's tough and high cardio, and yet I can manage level 3 before dying. Mulan is quite good, too - straight forward but, with intensity and focus, makes for an amazing sweat.
   The past two weeks have been tough but great fun, at last, and I'm keen to keep going. I've also tried to change my outlook on my workouts in the hope of boosting my motivation and turning my mind away from the mirror. I used to exercise with the goal of burning fat, and it's led to me overworking and under-eating, which has resulted in some pretty bad moods. I read a long and revealing post on Blogilates a little while ago, and along with its main content making me think, so did what she said at the end about re-evaluating why we exercise. My passion for fitness was very unexpected, and while I really do want to burn fat and get my dream body, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy pushing myself and seeing my abilities increase. I'm not a cardio bunny, I absolutely adore resistance training, be it with weights, kettlebells or body weight because I find it more of a challenge, so instead of turning my mind towards distant results (because burning fat takes time, and that actually makes it a little easier to slack in workouts because what's an extra day?), I've been looking at improving my skill, and that happens with every single rep. It's much, much more immediate and not only does that focus my mind on what I'm doing, not allowing me to slack, it also forces me to meet my barriers and then exceed them. Rather than staying at the edge of my comfort zone, I'm leaving it.
   My mood has improved because of this, and I'm eating a little more and not shying away from carbs because, now, I'm eating to fuel the workouts rather than under-eating to lose weight. Yes, this might slow the process, but if I'm not looking so closely for the results, I'm hoping I'll actually notice them.

   I think the start of this month, with this new workout set-up, has been a really great time to put my new outlook into action. Rather than following DVDs - reps, sets, time and so on - I'm doing it on my own, and that gives me the option to bottle out at level 2, or push myself to level 3 as best I can, and believe me when I say I'm pushing myself. This has been an amazing 2 weeks, and I will quite happily keep using these workouts, give them what I would have spent on a high-end DVD, and I am very, very likely to come back and do it again with the other workouts I picked out but didn't make it into this month's 6.
   It's so much more fun with the visualisation, with appropriate soundtracks in the background, and that helps, too. Seeg says I'm a massive nerd, but we've been together for 6 years. He was already well-aware of this, and I daresay my readers are, too.

   I'll report back in 3 weeks as I decided before I started that I would grace this with five weeks instead of the usual four, and I'm really pleased about that decision. I'm nowhere near ready to stop.



Thursday, 10 March 2016

Wildlife Watch Magazine

   This is quite sweet. Last summer I participated as an official blogger for The Wildlife Trusts' #30DaysWild campaign just for a little fun and try to encourage myself to get outside more, and because I was hoping it might cheer me up. I wasn't feeling all too happy at that time - my mum's disability gets quite severe in the summer, and as I'm her carer for 45 hours a week, a lot of pressure falls on me to get her through it. Fortunately it worked. But not only that. I made an impression with my woodland jewellery that I made specially for a charity raffle to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and they wanted to include a 2 page article about my work in their child membership's magazine, Wildlife Watch. I love charities and trusts that do that kind of thing because it really does encourage kids to get involved in broader and less obvious passions, such as an interest in wildlife in this case, and that really does wonders for conservation and, to be honest, a child's desire to learn, and that can carry over into adulthood. It did for me. I live off of documentaries, alongside fantasy, oddly enough.


   Four issues are sent to subscribers every year, each released with the change in seasons, and I was included in this year's spring issue which went out very recently. It was such a cool little thing to do, because I used to get these kinds of magazines as a kid, so I remember how exciting it was to receive the magazines in the post at 10 years old - post for me! - and I would read it cover to cover a number of times, absorbing everything. But I also remember what kind of information I didn't get from them, and that competitions could be a little too simple (meaning lots of entries and no real chance of winning). So, I wrote the article that was asked of me, including what I felt were 4 valuable things for kids (and the easily-defeated) to keep in mind when crafting, and offered a few pieces up for a competition with the request of it being for more than just answering a question.
   So! I got a wonderful 2-page spread in a kid's wildlife magazine just like the ones I used to read as a youngster, as well as donating for a competition that really encouraged creativity, thought and study by asking kids to make a sculpture of an animal, be it from clay or Lego. I really hope it goes well! And to improve participants' chances I volunteered 3 necklaces, for 3 winners rather than 1, just to satisfy my inner child who never won anything.

   Like I said, this is a kid's magazine, and it's subscription only so it's not in any shops, so it's not a massive publication, but to be honest it still means a lot - that my work was interesting enough for people to think others - even kids - would be interested in hearing about me, and that it was included in a magazine that is guaranteed to actually be read by the recipient rather than glossed over.
   The magazine is sweet, and it's a wonderful opportunity and experience for me, personally. It's also the first time any of my jewellery has been featured in a magazine before - my baking and my fitness has been, but not to this degree, either.



Monday, 7 March 2016

BEEFit Review - Rest Out Like You Work Out

   BEEFit is a new little biltong company in the UK, aimed at delivering high-quality, organic protein snacks without the need for an abundance of extra ingredients, keeping it, above all else, clean and easy for your body to break down.

   Biltong is spiced, sliced and dried meat that originated in South Africa, and is very similar to jerky. The only real difference is that jerky is dried then sliced, while biltong (Dutch for 'rump strip') was sliced then dried. BEEFit in particular uses only the leanest cuts of meat, providing some of the highest protein while equally boasting some of the lowest sugar, salt and fat in any dried beef product, and is packed with loads of added benefits like iron, potassium and vitamin B12. There's no added sugar or nasties, just the most basic preservatives needed to produce dried meat, and it's also endorsed by a number of professional sportsmen and personal trainers, such as Chris Eubank JR, and simply loved by many others, so it's got some pretty good company.


   BEEFit is a great alternative to shakes; it delivers just over 20g of protein per 35g pouch, stands at a little over 100 kcals, and is wonderfully spiced. I love my chocolate mint shakes, but it's nice to have a savoury option in both taste, texture and, let's be honest, solidity. Plus, while whey protein is great, as it comes from milk, the highest quality of protein will always come from animal foods - meat and eggs; anything that (as grisly as this sounds) could have been alive. The second best source is animal products, like dairy, which is the same category as whey, and after that come plant-based options like soya.

   Most protein shakes are clean, but they can also be complicated. If you're looking to keep your food plain and simple then BEEFit is a great option. It's made from 100% grass-fed British beef and contains few ingredients beyond what is essential for the biltong's creation, such as salt, meaning your body can break it down more easily, and yes, taking in too much salt can be a problem, but your body does need it, a little moreso after a sweaty workout, and it isn't remotely a problem if you're not an autocondimentor and don't add salt to your food. Being solid, it also takes longer to digest than a liquid shake or smoothie which keeps you fuller longer, prevents needless snacking, and gives your body a steadier supply of protein. All of this makes it a great post-workout snack, but also a great little thing to keep in your bag on a day out. It truly hits the spot - it even got Seeg's approval, and my fella knows what he likes - and is much cleaner and healthier than a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar.
   And the packets might look insubstantial to a hungry eye, but trust me when I tell you that, even if you're hungry, you may well not be inclined to even finish the bag unless you're truly ravenous. They really are that filling. And it's true that they're tough - biltong and jerky generally are - but it's also a simple fact that eating more slowly keeps you from moving on to something else prematurely before your body gets the chance to realise it's satisfied.


   BEEFit is available directly from their website from £6 for 3 packets, and free UK shipping. The company is wonderful, really friendly and active socially, and I always think it's great when a company is so active on social media, letting the world and their customers know that they're there rather than a faceless robot company, one that will reply to questions and help with problems without incurring a 3-day wait time by email like less socially active companies do.

   I really do recommend BEEFit. I've tried biltong twice before, and a few jerkies, but BEEFit wins out from them all. You can stick to your shakes post-workout, but that's no reason to rule out anything else. Protein bars are great snacks, after all, but they're even more complicated than shakes and not to mention they aren't just protein. If you're looking to up your protein intake and reduce carbs, this is absolutely one of the best and cleanest ways of doing it. Plus it's the only time it's socially acceptable to eat just meat without anything else, like bread. Or a fork.


Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review by the brand itself. The quantity and precise products sent were their choice, not my own. All opinions and images are my own, and all appropriate research has been done by myself from a range of sources rather than relying entirely on the product's website, especially where health products are concerned. I do not accept a product to review if I do not believe it is safe or worth my own time, regardless of any kind of reimbursement. I trial the products for an appropriate amount of time before writing reviews to check for wear-and-tear on physical items and side effects from edible (be it supplements or food). If I have negative points to voice, I will voice them, and I never, ever accept product reviews or reimbursement on the promise of a positive review. My reviews are and will only ever be honest.



Saturday, 5 March 2016

Saturday: Mulan Workout

   The sixth, last and by no means least, the final workout in my selection from Darebee.com is Mulan, another combat-focused cardio workout that I'm quite excited by, and, as all the workouts that came before, this one will be used every Saturday for the next five weeks.

   Darebee's Mulan workout is based, of course, on the legendary Chinese story of Hua Mulan, a woman who takes her father's place to serve in defending her home from invaders during the Han Dynasty (historically). Though I admittedly know it mostly from Disney's adaptation, as most of us in the West do.
   This is a very combat-based workout with punches, chops and archers, and should, for the most part, be great cardio. I've got good experience with kickboxing so it's nice to see new moves like the archers that should help shake it up and prevent my mind from switching off. Done at a good pace, it should provide pretty good cardio, but moves like the deep cross chops will require more focus and control as I have a tendancy to mess up my side lunges more easily than other moves.
   This workout requires no kit, but I do have a CD of Chinese music, but I fear it's not truly suited. It will have to do for now, but hopefully I'll find something more suitable by next week.
   Let's get down to business...





Friday, 4 March 2016

Friday: Dragonborn Workout

   The penultimate workout from my Darebee.com picks is Dragonborn, and I'm quite excited about it! I'll be using it every Friday for the next 5 weeks.

   DareBee's Dragonborn workout is based on Bethesda's game, Skyrim. It's one of my favourites and I've easily put 300 hours into it, and it was the second workout I'd seen from this source on 9gag, and what drew me back in on Pinterest recently. The Dragonborn is as it sounds, an individual of legend born with the spirit of a dragon, and is the character you play in Skyrim, fulfilling one of many prophecies in the Elder Scrolls. Of course this character is made entirely by you, so it could be a skinny female dark elf like mine, or a hulking male nord. Or a khajit, apparently. But the land of Skyrim is harsh and it takes resilience to live there, and this workout, I feel, reflects that.
   Dragonborn is an almost entirely strength workout, very controlled and very strong. I'd imagine my heartrate would rise enough with this if I do it right, but given that the slower you do these kinds of things the more muscle fibres you activate, it may not be a bad idea to dial it back. Either way, you should never take a workout beyond a pace you can handle or you risk injury, and I do want to build my strength as well as lose weight, so, for this workout, I think I will focus on trying to do more sets than going like a bat out of hell and breaking form.
   Another bodyweight circuit, I need no kit for this but myself and a mat to make those leg raises a little more comfortable, but as for music, I have my Skyrim soundtrack. The trouble is that this is the longest soundtrack I have of any game, and as a result there's a lot of ambient tracks as well as notable ones, but if it's a controlled workout rather than one based on speed and power, it shouldn't be an issue.





Thursday, 3 March 2016

Thursday: Korra Workout

   The fourth workout in my selection from Darebee.com's visual workouts is Korra, a combat-based, largely cardio workout. I'll be trying it for the first time today, and have slotted it in as Thursday's workout for the next five weeks.

   DareBee's Korra workout is based on the second Avatar series. I didn't like it anywhere near as much as the Last Airbender, and that's not because it was the original but rather because I didn't like how bad an Avatar Korra was. But, having said that, I did like her more up-front combat style and her fiery heart, and I see that quite clearly in this workout and its kickboxing moves. I also love that the illustrator has given the demonstrating model Korra's hair.
   I see no way that this workout won't get my heartrate up. A number of the moves are also on Jillian Michaels' DVDs, but it is also the pace at which you move that creates half of the burn.
   I love the lunge push strikes and palm strikes in particular here because of the nature of bending (no pun intended) and air bending in particular, so these will be easy to visualise, and given that the idea behind these workouts is to visualise, I think they've done an excellent job. I get really into this kind of thing, I love to pretend - hell, I'm a writer, I love making things up - and I kind of developed a greater interest in Kung Fu because of the original Avatar series.
   This workout requires only body weight, but I've got the Legend of Korra soundtrack and, while many tracks probably won't be appropriate, once again it's the visualisation that the music will aid, whether it's Beifong's Sacrifice or On The Lam.





Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Wednesday: Come To The Dark Side Workout

   The third workout in my picks from Darebee.com is Come To The Dark Side, a bo staff workout that I'll be doing for the next five Wednesdays, beginning today.

   DareBee's Dark Side workout seems to me to be based on the Sith from Star Wars, albeit loosely given the change in grip on the staff, but I'm still keen to try it out. I've had a bo staff for some time so it's great to finally get the chance to use it, and I've always preferred the Sith over the Jedi. The moves are different to anything I've done before but I'm hoping it won't be as taxing as the other workouts I've selected, which is why I chose it at all. I usually take a break on Wednesdays, you see, so I thought a lower-key workout like this would be appropriate, and this one also seems to be more conditioning than strength or cardio, so I'm hoping it'll be appropriate. I'll find out in an hour, I suppose.
   I admit I'm a little concerned that I won't have enough room to do this adequately, which is also why I decided to use Dark Side in my rotation rather than Bender, despite the fact that I love Avatar a thousand times over Star Wars, but I've got the other anyway, just in case.
   I don't have a soundtrack for this, and I don't think the films will spur me on enough, so I've got Two Steps From Hell on hand for this one. So my kit for today:





Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Tuesday: Super Saiyan Workout

   The second workout of the week from my selection from Darebee.com is Super Saiyan, and I'll do this one every Tuesday for the next five weeks, starting today.

   DareBee's Super Saiyan workout is based on Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball Z, which is sort of the Japanese Super Man and is infinitely better, and was the second anime I ever watched (Pokemon came first) when I was about 11. I mentioned it to my friends recently and they told me I used to talk their ears off about Son Goku in school, and they never watched it but could still tell me more about the program than I could recall. I always wanted to be a Saiyan.
   It's a very strength-focused workout but has a couple of cardio moves half way through, which will make for a nice change, and while it does look painfully challenging - I don't like the look of the raised leg push-ups - the number of reps balance it out. But this is one of the definite benefits of this kind of workout: if I saw this in Women's Fitness magazine I'd probably turn the page and keep going with a little more urgency, but slap the silhouette of a powered up Saiyan and name it as such, and I'm sold. I also love the insanity that is level 4 - or 'super Saiyan' - that consists of 10 sets. I'm hoping I can reach Level 3 with this workout, but I also know that while the number of reps make it look easy, it probably won't be at all.
   No kit at all is needed for this, which is great, and while I have no specific soundtrack for this, I can either play Two Steps From Hell, or stick Dragon Ball Z on the TV and let Freeza spur me on.