Be Well

5 ways to kickstart your fitness routine & survive zombies

1. Maximise your time (HIIT it)

Not everyone can afford 2-hour gym workouts, which may not even be as effective! Aim instead of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that alternates between work and rest to jump start your metabolism. HIIT workouts are typically really short and I’ve never done one that exceeded 30 minutes. 30 minutes workout + 30 minutes shower (that’s a luxury!) = super efficient!

Bonus: HIIT workouts also have an afterburn effect, so you continue to burn fat the day after your workout.

2. Optimise your workout (Form and function)

A lot of people currently exercise to attain a certain aesthetic, and that’s cool. But what if you could attain an aesthetic and improve your daily movement? I like functional training for this reason. Use compound, natural, functional movement like squats and deadlifts and you’ll find that carrying everyday weight like groceries and suitcases becomes easier. (You’ll also be less likely to injure yourself moving that bedframe around if you’ve learned proper lifting form!) If you really don’t have time, skip the isolation exercises like bicep curls, and bust out some rows or push-ups instead.

Bonus: If you can do a pull-up or a muscle-up, you can probably scale that wall to escape the zombie horde. Conditioning your body to be an optimal functional machine means you’re more likely to survive!

3. Minimise the effort (pre-pack everything)

When I first started on my fitness journey (and sometimes even now), one of my favorite excuses for skipping a workout was because I didn’t pack my gym bag. If you’re like me, help yourself out by pre-packing everything instead of scrambling in the morning. I always carry a set of toiletries and sets of fresh underwear (hey, super important!) in small travel cases with hooks so I don’t have to think about it in the morning.

Bonus: This is also super helpful if you find yourself having to stay over somewhere at the last minute, or if you just want a mid-day shower somewhere. Or you can also stay fresh about a week into the zombie apocalypse… in case that matters to you.

4. Be part of a community

My best fitness experiences have come from the support of a larger community that bonds over the gruelling burpees that we had to bust out. It’s always fun to work out with friends, and the encouragement and friendly badgering to do one more push-up makes the process a little less painful.

Bonus: You automatically know a bunch of people who are also more likely to survive a zombie apocalypse and you can band together a la The Walking Dead.

5. Take a hike! (Ok, a walk.)

This is the ultimate no-frills baby-steps fitness-related change you can make. It doesn’t cost anything and may even save you money. There’s no need for special attire, except maybe leaving those stilettos at the desk or at home. Taking a walk also boosts creativity. My MA supervisor advised me to take walks when I was writing my thesis and shared how he used to take these long long walks when he was a graduate student. I didn’t take his advice back then. Now I wonder how much easier the thesis-writing process could have been if I had taken his advice!

You may be busy, but how about walking just a little bit more every day?

Bonus: Mark’s Daily Apple gives you 17 reasons to start walking more. 17?!

Image credits: Finding Balance by woodleywonderworks


Reading Pitstop: Words, oh, words

I recently received an email from Pocket (one of my all-time favourite apps) telling me that I’ve made it to the Top 5% of readers. Yes. I am now a verified bookworm-nerd. And I was quite pleased at the affirmation. Read till the end because I saved the best for last ♥

Instagram makes teens and celebrities angry by killing millions of spambots // Article, Social Media // I thought this was amusing because of the vitriol that’s spilling from those affected. The closing lines are also pretty funny.

What Happens to Our Brains When We Exercise and How it Makes Us Happier // Article, Fitness // I kid you not, this article literally got me out of bed one morning. Been trying to get back in my exercise groove and reading stuff like that is a small motivation.

How Exercise Changes Our DNA // Article, Fitness // I started exercising for health reasons, but the aesthetic ones can get in the way. Time and again, when I feel like cutting back because I’m happy with the way my body looks and feels, I come across a reminder like this that the goal is a long-term one. Look beyond the ‘now’.

The New Trophy Wife // Opinion, Relationships, Women // Love it or hate it, this writer speaks the truth about the evolution of the ideal wife. Some women hate this article because the term “trophy wife” suggests that a wife still only has instrumental value, others hate it because it sets the bar even higher than it previously was. I love it because while the bar may be set higher, becoming smarter than you currently are is, to me, more achievable than becoming more beautiful.

Vladimir Nabokov’s Passionate Love Letters to Vera and His Affectionate Bestiary of Nicknames for Her // Review, Letters, Literature, Love // I’m including this because underneath my practical, efficient, and utilitarian exterior is a great big softie — any non-corny, romantic sentiment will leave me much like a s’more. I’ll leave you with some lovely words:

“How can I explain to you, my happiness, my golden wonderful happiness, how much I am all yours — with all my memories, poems, outbursts, inner whirlwinds? Or explain that I cannot write a word without hearing how you will pronounce it — and can’t recall a single trifle I’ve lived through without regret — so sharp! — that we haven’t lived through it together — whether it’s the most, the most personal, intransmissible — or only some sunset or other at the bend of a road — you see what I mean, my happiness?


I swear — and the inkblot has nothing to do with it — I swear by all that’s dear to me, all I believe in — I swear that I have never loved before as I love you, — with such tenderness — to the point of tears — and with such a sense of radiance.”

“I simply want to tell you that somehow I can’t imagine life without you…

I love you, I want you, I need you unbearably… Your eyes — which shine so wonder-struck when, with your head thrown back, you tell something funny — your eyes, your voice, lips, your shoulders — so light, sunny…”

Oh, words.

Curated Learn

Pregnancy and Exercise: what to do

This is becoming something of a mini-series, but more information keeps finding its way to me! Girls Gone Strong is, in fact, doing a series on this and they’ve just uploaded an incredibly informative post on what kind of strength training workout a mother-to-be could do!

Some highlights from the post:

  • Jessie Mundell, the author, discusses warm-ups
  • There are links galore! (So there’s an entire database of relevant information.)
  • There is specific mention of particular exercises to prep for delivery. Yes, my favorite exercises are definitely mum-to-be-friendly: SQUATS! DEADLIFTS! GLUTE BRIDGES!
  • What not to do is mentioned
  • There is mention of how hard you should push. (Pun intended.)

Pregnancy and Exercise (part deux)

Last week I shared some links about pregnancy and exercise, and today I revisited Krista Scott-Dixon’s blog,, and was pleasantly surprised to see that she has a whole load of posts on this topic. Beyond that, she also has a post on post-partum training. Read The Mummy Returns: Working out after pushing out (a baby) at (That’s an awesome title, btw.)

I first knew about Krista Scott-Dixon because her book, Fuck Calories, is available in my gym. Yes. That’s the title. I should do a post on that soon. The content, not the title.

Anyway, if you’re interested in more of her posts on pregnancy and exercise, here’s the link to the TAG:

Because sharing is caring 🙂

Curated Learn See

Reading Pitstop

If I could describe my younger self in one word, it would be “bookworm”. I read a lot. From fiction (Enid Blyton, anyone?) to the encyclopedia (before the age of Wikipedia), I consumed a lot of information. (Retaining that information is a whole other story.)

These days, I still read a lot — in fact, I’d much rather read than do a lot of other things (clean the house, for example) — but my reading tastes are more varied. Besides the all-important fiction diet (I can consume a novel a day), I’m finding that I read a lot of fitness and nutrition related articles on the interweb too. Here are some that I loved recently:

  • CrossFit: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Not because I hate CrossFit (I really have no experience with it), but because this article has a great takeaway for anyone who engages in a fitness regime: that is, why are you doing what you’re doing? and is what you’re doing the best way to get there?

More to come!


Pregnancy and Exercise

Not that this is particularly relevant to me right now, but I know women who are curious about this question. And it’s a legitimate concern! Is it dangerous to work out while carrying mini me? Are there more suitable exercises for pregnant women? Is having a strong core worth anything to a pregnant woman? (One of my physical education teachers in school strongly believed that all women need to have a strong pelvic floor, a strong core, and hip flexibility because these make pregnancy and childbirth easier. Not that that was particularly relevant to 14 year old me, but I remember!)