Monday, May 13, 2013
About two years ago, I wrote a review on using Lipo-6 by Nutrex to help me kickstart my weight loss & fitness journey. In 5 months, I lost about 8kg of weight from working out 5 times a week and eating well.
I have been maintaining the current yo-yo weight of 45-47kg for some time now, and I'm looking to add-on lean muscle and shed more blubber. I want ab definition. I have also stopped taking in any pre-workout formulas, which make me really full & bloated from all that liquid intake - but you can still read my reviews and experience with those. Hence why I will now be taking on a newer version of Lipo-6, which is the Lipo-6x.
This practically works the same way as its predecessor, but with a new capsule technology for duration. And today being my first day, I have to say I got the jitters after taking my first pill. Good jitters with a lot of sweating from the heat. Don't worry, this usually wears off. However seeing as this is a more advanced formula, I'll need a few more days into it before I can give my verdict.
THE GOAL HERE
This time round, it's not to lose weight. In fact, I think I'll be putting on more weight this time - not fat, but muscle weight. Many people say that products don't work for them (in terms of weight) because they forget that muscle is heavier and more dense than fats - especially those who add weights into their workout. You would only see a decrease of weight if you do solely cardio - but you will not look toned or fit. So the REAL goal here? Lose all that extra flab and gain some muscle - look good and listen to the mirror despite what the weighing scale tells me.
Watch this space for updates.
DAY 1 & 2
I had two capsules per day, one in the morning about 10am and another in the evening at 5pm, before my usual 6.30pm workout. I haven't had the chance to hit the gym yet, but I can say it gives me a good flow of energy. I get a little hot and hyper in the morning but by noon, it would have worn off. I got a bout of jitters too, but that only lasted for less than an hour. I was able to sleep quite well the night before, so there isn't much side effects. Most importantly, I find that it helps to constantly drink water. At least 4 times an hour.
On day two I went to the gym, had an hour Pump class and an hour Combat class. Weights and cardio ain't easy without my usual pre-workout (Animo Energy by Optimum Nutrition) and I was extremely tired within the first 30 minutes of each class. I made it though and I was sweating buckets by the end of each. Do I feel sexier after? Sure do. ;)
Monday, April 29, 2013
I've been having really vivid dreams lately.
And yes, as the title suggests, they are related to zombies.
Sure it sounds like a ball of fun, like a movie, killing and crushing zombie skulls all night long in my dreams. I love zombie games like Left4Dead and Resident Evil. You get to run around and collect guns and blow zombie's heads off. It's fun. I love watching The Walking Dead and how new survival skills come into play to survive the zombie apocalypse.
However, it's one thing to be enjoying all that gore and fun in a game or show, because you know zombies are not real. But in my dreams, they're very real indeed. When you dream about the whole zombie situation, you are not aware that you're in a dream. And living in a zombie infested world? It becomes all too real, it's a matter of life and death. You feel scared, you feel insecure and you feel helpless. Not your imagination, but for real.
Last night I had one of those dreams.
I was barricaded in my own home, with my parents and some other people that I don't recognize but are nice and seem to be helping us out. It was a man and his wife, with two sons and a daughter I think. Everything in my home looked like how it originally is, except that I have a swimming pool in my living room. It was a huge pool with blue tiles taking up the space in front of the TV. We had no couches, just a pool with built-in steps leading downwards that we can sit on while in the water. The pool seemed to go downwards real deep, but I don't think I'd like to find out as the blue tiles start to turn darker the deeper it goes.
All I remembered was I was swimming around the pool with my siblings and some of the stranger's kids. Suddenly, the youngest boy in his family started thrashing about in the water. Just before we could get to him, his body stilled, indicating that he had drowned. He was near the deep end of the pool, right in front of the TV. My brother, Brandon wanted to swim towards him and drag him out, but somehow I had an instinct about something being not right and pulled Brandon back. The kid's body floated to the surface of the pool and was still. His father, seeing that none of us were willing to swim out to his son, decided to wade out and get him, even though he can't swim. (I don't know how deep the pool is but it seemed to be really deep)
Me and my siblings dashed out of the pool to get dried and someone decided to pull the plug to drain out all the water. As the man reached his son's still body, the water levels began to decrease. As it decreased, he panicked, threw his son's body over his shoulder and frantically tried to swim back to us. That's when I saw his son's head lifting, and moved itself against his father's neck. His father screamed, stopped swimming and started thrashing around in the water as the pool started to turn red.
At that point, the rest of us on land started screaming. His wife and two kids wanted to dash in to help, but my mom ushered them to head to one of the rooms upstairs. I wanted to go with them because I started freaking out when I saw all that blood and the gurgling sounds coming from both the boy and the man, but my dad made me stay; he thrusted a sharp-ended metal stick into my hands.
At this point, as the pool water recedes, I realized that it's not exactly a pool, but sort of an underground subway entry. As the bleeding man and his son reached the bottom of the stairs, the water started draining rapidly and then there was no more water to be seen. Just the man and his son at the bottom of the stairs, sitting right in front of a metal gate - the collapsible kind that can be pushed open to the sides. But right now, it stood shut and to my relief, locked together by a massive deadbolt. Nothing but blackness behind it.
Knowing what must be done, my dad, gun in one hand and crowbar in the other lead the way down the steps. Brandon followed suit, two crowbars in hand. My sister, Tricia nudged me and headed down after them, gripping the same sharp-ended metal stick I had also been given. I counted the steps. It was at least 40 steps before we stopped, just a few steps away from the body of the man, and his son who's still eating away at his flesh. It was disgusting and despite this being a dream, I smelled the disgusting stench of blood.
Just like in the movies, the boy lifted up his zombie face at us and started to make a gurgling-hiss sort of noise, with read stuff pouring out of his mouth, while still chewing on a mouthful of meat. It was so gross and the smell of blood was so real, I gagged. Maybe it was the sound of my gagging (or maybe he was offended by it, or perhaps because this is my dream and I am the star of it) the little zombie boy decided to stand up and run towards me, even though I'm standing much further back.
You would think that you'd enjoy this moment and whack the living shit out of this little zombie boy, and I had imagined doing all that, especially in those zombie games. I always imagine beating a zombie with a stick or shooting them in the head. I was so ready to just whack a zombie. But in my dreams, I freaked out and I really felt scared for my life but I couldn't move. I was helpless. I think my dad expected me to be the tough one and take a whack at the zombie, so he didn't bother to move when the zombie was running towards me. But now that he saw how scared I was and how close the zombie was to me (like inches away!) he lifted his gun and shot that boy clean in the head. The sound was so loud, I covered my ears and ran to the top of the staircase to where my mom was waiting.
I sat there, at the top of the stairs and just kept my ears shut as my mom patted me on the back and I watch my siblings help my dad take care of the man's body, in case he wakes up as a zombie too. I looked out of the window and saw that some of the zombies that were wandering outside our gate had stopped moving around, and were focusing their attention towards my house; towards where the gunshot sound came from. A minute passed but it felt like an hour as I stared at the zombies staring at my house. I was so scared I couldn't even tell anyone what I've noticed.
Then, one of the zombies decided to take a step closer to my gate, probably to investigate even though my gate's secured by a deadbolt and chains. Then another decided to follow. And another.
And another. Not all of them though, just the ones who are near enough. The ones who were further away continued walking aimlessly in another direction. But there were easily 20 zombies who were now outside my house, drawing in attention from other passer-by zombies.
My mother must have noticed this because she then decided to get up and discreetly draw all the curtains shut, slowly. Then, from 40 steps below, my sister screamed.
I ran to get the lights (but the dimmer lights) and saw that the blackness behind the metal gate is now full of zombies, pushing their decaying hands through the gate's slots. My sister was trying to kick off a hand that was grabbing onto her ankles, probably why she screamed. I saw my dad chop the zombie arm away from my sister, and led her and Brandon up the stairs to meet us.
Peeking from behind the curtains, my mom reported that Tricia's scream had given our position away, and that the zombies outside our house had heard it and were trying to get in. We can't leave the house and with a gate & basement full of zombies, we can't exactly make an escape.
So we decided to overturn a table and lean it against the iron-gate at the bottom of the stairs. If the zombies do break free, at least the sound of the table falling onto the ground would give us a warning. We also barricaded the entire opening of the pool with a fishing net. It wouldn't do much except to hold off the zombies for a few extra minutes, seconds maybe.
Then we heard our front gate collapse. A whole throng of zombies rushed in and started pounding on our door and windows. Lucky for us, back when my grandfather built this house, he decided to install some square-cut metal bars on every door and window. To protect the house form robbers, mainly. I don't think he knew about the existence of zombies then. My dad got us all to pick up our weapons, open the doors and windows, and start stabbing these zombies in the head with our sticks (no guns). It was a disgusting bloodbath. I gagged, but I did what I had to do. And I didn't enjoy it.
I was scared, shaking and drenched in blood. It wasn't even hot blood because these zombies were decaying for days and months by then. It was cold, smelly and sticky blood. We stabbed and we stabbed each and every zombie that walked into our front gate. Until there was none left. None in the neighborhood within our sights, that is. My dad said we then have a very short period of time to start moving all the zombie bodies out onto the road, to keep the stink away from our home.
That is probably even scarier than killing those zombies - because we are leaving our home open and unlocked as we roll all the bodies out and further away from our home, having a higher risk of a mob of zombies invading. Or worse, watching either my dad or Brandon get bitten and eaten.
We gathered all the zombie bodies in front of our home. My mom, armed with a gun kept watch with me and Tricia while my dad and Brandon carried about 6-7 bodies at a time on a small wheelbarrow, and dump the bodies about a kilometer away, behind an old building.
Things were going okay, no zombies in sight. My dad and Brandon managed to wheel about 4 rounds of corpses. At the fifth round, we heard a very inhuman screeching sound. It came from behind the building they were at. I was so scared, I nearly ran back into the house. But I forced myself to stay there. I need to know that both of them are okay. Again we heard the screeching sound. My mom handed me the gun and told me to stand guard while she checked it out. I protested but she made me take the gun and stay guard with Tricia.
I watched her run and disappear behind that damned building. I was getting very restless and antsy. I don't like being so exposed. I want them to get back soon. I looked at Tricia and she looked at me. Our faces say it all, we're not gonna last any longer. Then, we heard a scream. My mom. I just lost it and ran towards the building.
And then I woke up. Yeah, I know. What a sucky way to end the dream.
It was so scary and it felt so real though. I woke up feeling scared and sweating. I checked under the bed just in case. I recovered after about 10 minutes from the moment I woke up.
Zombies are some scary bullshit. I can't wait for The Walking Dead season 4.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Getting the right pre-workout is very essential, I realized. Because most of these products are made to be for men, with very strong concentrations. I thought I could go right along with the boys and take the same supplements, the strong ones. Boy, was I so very wrong.
Choosing the right supplement is crucial, but that's after a lot of trial and error. I've tried two of the best pre-workout supplements in the market, and here's my verdict.
AMINO ENERGY by Optimum Nutrition V.S. ASSAULT by Muscle Pharm
AMINO ENERGY TASTE: 8/10
I bought the Orange Cooler flavor, and it tastes great! It can be a little sweet, but just add more water and you're good to go. It doesn't taste like artificial orange, which is a good plus.
ASSAULT TASTE: 5/10
I bought the Blue Arctic Raspberry and it tasted really gross. Like medicine. I decided to give it another try and bought the Orange Mango flavor, which isn't as bad, but still pretty bad. Both of them tasted like medicine to me. My theory is that these were made to suit Westerners, as they have a different palate than us Asians. I just can't get around the flavor and how much it tastes like medicine. Too strong and sweet.
AMINO ENERGY EFFECTIVENESS: 7/10
You feel an immediate buzz after drinking, but it doesn't last longer than 20 minutes. I take 4 scoops for my two-hour sessions (Body Combat & Body Pump) and it helps to the end of the workout, but it basically just helps slightly with my endurance during class.
ASSAULT EFFECTIVENESS: 8/10
You feel an immediate buzz right after drinking it, and I also get a tingly feeling in my hands (which is normal). The energy I get is pretty amazing and this is just from half a scoop. In the first hour mostly. The buzz is constant and doesn't die down until you're done and have stopped moving so much.
AMINO ENERGY MIXABILITY: 9/10
The powder is very fine, so it mixes really well with cold water, which makes it a treat to drink. Mixes completely after about 10 seconds of shaking. Due to this fact however, you need to be sure to take extra care when transferring the powder into your bottle. They float easily and turns orange and sticky when it touches a wet surface. Extra care needed to avoid getting any moisture into the tub.
ASSAULT MIXABILITY: 4/10
Doesn't mix well at all. Even after 30 seconds up to a minute of shaking, the annoying white powder particles are still very visibly unmixed. I already dislike the taste, and to swallow powder particles, that's just downright nasty.
AMINO ENERGY SIDE EFFECTS: 8/10
It can leave me a little dehydrated and drained, but nothing too major. It contains caffeine derived from green tea extract, so the effect wears off after my workout and I am able to sleep well, despite taking this in the late evening and working out till night.
ASSAULT SIDE EFFECTS: 3/10
Right after your workout, you crash real bad. It's like taking a lot of sugar for energy, and then you just crash. Because I work out in the late evening, I usually finish my workouts by 9pm, and having to drive home while feeling this drained is really dangerous. But by the time I get into bed, I'm so tired but my brain and muscles are still very buzzed. Which will only allow me to fall asleep by 3am. I'm guessing this is the effects of the caffeine used in the formula, which is purely coffee-caffeine.
AMINO ENERGY VALUE: 6/10
The tub of 30 servings cost me RM90, which is approx RM3 per serving. I use about 4 scoops per workout day, that's already RM12 per day. So realistically, this meager tub could only last me for less than a month. Seeing that the formula is quite 'tame' with not much added benefits (other than BCAAs and amino acids), I think the value for money isn't that great.
ASSAULT VALUE: 8/10
The tub of 40 servings cost me RM115, which is approx RM2.90 per serving. Only needing 1 serving (half a scoop) per workout, it will cost me only RM2.90 per workout day. This could easily last me over a month.
Amino Energy: 38/50
Despite Amino Energy costing me more money, but for the overall pros, I would choose to use this brand. The horrid taste, energy level crash and the inability to fall asleep at night from Assault just does not cut it out for me. I rather pay more for a supplement that isn't too harsh on my body. That would be my recommendation for girls, as men might be able to accommodate the intense amount of caffeine more easily.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I'm sure every one of you has heard of The Secret. But not many believe in it, thus, very few have been touched by its magic. The Secret talks about something called the Law of Attraction. It's about using your mind to think about what you want, and to draw your wants towards you with your emotions. Strong and constant emotions of love brings things you want, faster to you. Strong feelings of hate also brings things that you don't want to you. So the point is, to utilize the Law of Attraction purposefully towards your goals, always have strong positive feelings.
I have experienced quite a few encounters with the Law of Attraction (LA) and I have to say, it's pretty amazing what a small thought and a dash of faith could do for your life to change. Sometimes, you just don't even realize it. But when you do, you say thanks and be grateful. That's how the LA works.
Out of the many encounters I've had with the LA, this was one that had gone unnoticed, until recently. It was like an epiphany when I realized just how blessed I am to receive the one thing I've wanted, but never really gave much thought about.
As a teenager, I grew up watching 13 Going on 30 (2004), I believe most of you still remember that Jennifer Garner movie, as one of the best chick flicks she's been in. For those of you who don't know (or avoided watching chick flicks), she stars as a girl named Jenna, a 13-year old who wants to be in with the popular girls in school. She had an embarrassing experience during her 13th birthday party at home, and wished that she was 30. She woke up later on as 30-year old Jenna, but with her 13-year old memories and none of the memories from the skipped years. She found out that she's an editor for a female magazine that she loves, she has a lot of money and pretty clothes, and that she was a mean bitch that no one really likes. You'll have to watch the movie to find out how it all ends.
The part I loved most in this movie was watching the first glimpse of working inside of a magazine publication. The fun events and the photoshoots and idea-presentations were my favorite scenes. Who can forget that Thriller dance she did? And that really fun looking outdoor shoot with all those people in the park. It was at that very moment, a 16-year old me fell in love with the publishing industry. I wanted to be an editor for a magazine, just like her! It all seemed so exciting. I kept gushing about how "That is one freaking awesome job!" every time someone talks to me about that movie.
However, I ended up choosing a creative design course instead of creative writing or editorial courses. I have always been more artistically inclined and so I chose to major in advertising, because at that moment I thought that was what I would thrive in best. I did pretty well throughout my years in college. I was going to work for an advertising firm.
Or so I thought.
In between those years in college, The Devil Wears Prada (2006) film came out, and I was wistfully reminded of the life in a publishing industry. Though I never intended to work as a personal assistant like Andrea, I loved the glitz and glam and decision-making job scope of Miranda Priestly. However, I am reminded that I'm not exactly qualified for an editor's position. And I solely believed that only editors conduct all the photoshoots. I decided that movies are movies, and that I am destined to make my career path with all those big shot advertising agencies.
Graduation came and went, and I started to apply for jobs in the midst of my internship. None of the big advertising agencies replied. The smaller ones did, but they were either offering too little or their offices were just too small for me to see myself expanding my horizons there. Then, just for the fun of it, my mom told me to apply to some publishing companies and a few design firms. And so I did. Most of them were not the 'big, stable and fun-filled' companies I had hoped for.
I was on the verge of giving up, when I received yet another phone call for an interview with a publishing company. They publish a lot of leading female magazines here in Malaysia, but I was assigned an interview for a corporate lifestyle magazine instead. It didn't exactly thrill me, but I was on a job-hunting mission, so I decided to go for it.
When I arrived at the office, I was pretty excited. Somehow, this was the only place that sort of met up with my expectations. This isn't New York after all, but still, I had a certain amount of expectation. Something inside me screamed, this is it! So I went through the interview, got accepted and started my journey into the world of publishing. Granted, there was a lot to learn for someone who had initially intended to go into advertising. I had to reset my advertising creative mindset and tune into other forms of skills like typography, layout placement and learn about the output (DTP) process. It was all very new and exciting.
Three years later, I still come in through the same doors and to my desk (which had been moved around 3 times) with a promotion to boot. Sure, there were a lot of hiccups along the way, but it's all the hardships I've survived that makes the difference. I am especially proud of my art directing portfolio, of all the opportunities to art direct photoshoots that involve high end fashion brands, expensive timepieces and sometimes, high profile personalities in my country. Not many people my age could boast of such a diverse and large collection of works under their belts. What's even more exciting is that I have an editor who literally tells me to plan my own theme and just be creative with all my photoshoots.
For all of that, I am extremely grateful. Looking back at those two moments I felt, watching two different movies, I believed that was the sign I was looking for to step into the right career path. Perhaps it was that deep down longing to be in the magazine line that had subconsciously led me to attract this job towards my direction.
So, I didn't end up being an editor. But I got the best suited job - because all I ever wanted was to put my hand into the creative-photoshoot pie, to just be a part of it. Instead, I got the entire pie to myself. :) For that, I am truly grateful to all the people who were part of putting me in this position. Thank you.
This goes to show that the LA works in its own mysterious ways, if you have the patience to wait for it and a whole heart of faith for it. :)
Friday, April 5, 2013
Teppanyaki, I've never met a soul who doesn't love it.
It's one of the most versatile dishes you can make, and pretty easy too (minus the theatricals). You don't need those fancy flat iron girdles they use in Japanese restaurants, just use your handy ol' skillet. I'll be teaching you how to make my favorite beef teppanyaki - just the beef. The vegetables you can cook separately by stir-frying them.
250 grams beef tenderloin, cut
2 shallots, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlics, minced
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
Salt & black pepper, to taste
Start by prepping the ingredients. Make sure you have all your main ingredients, sliced, chopped and minced accordingly. For the beef, prep them by rubbing them with salt. Not too much, just a bit for each piece as the Kikkoman soy sauce will add in more saltiness to the dish. Prepping beef this way will allow it to have a nicer, slight crust on the outside.
IMPORTANT: Your beef needs to be left to thaw at room temperature before you can start cooking it. Same goes for your butter. This is to ensure you have your beef cooked to perfection, moist & juicy.
Warm some cooking oil on the skillet. Throw in your garlic and shallots, stir-fry them until they start to turn brown and smell fragrant.
Then toss in your beef cuts. Stir them around to ensure all sides are cooked evenly for each piece.
After about a minute of stirring, move the meat to one side of the skillet, and add the butter & soy sauce at the empty space. Let the butter melt. As it melts, mix it with the soy sauce. Once that's done, bring the meat over to mix with the mixture. (no photo for this because you need to do this quick, otherwise you'll risk burning the butter)
At this point, you can choose to cook for another 2 minutes for a well done beef. Otherwise, if you prefer medium rare meat like I do, sear the meat for another minute or so (all the sides should look brown but not well-done dark brown), add in another dash of black pepper, and you're done.
This here is a medium rare serving. Please cook for another 1.5-2 minutes if you prefer your meat well done.
Remove from pan, serve hot, and enjoy.
You can make some stir-fry cabbage or bean sprouts and serve this with some garlic fried rice. YUMS!
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I know it's been a while since I've posted anything about DIY. So, since I'm getting onto the bandwagon of being eco-friendly, here's something you can do: repurpose your old dinosaur toys. (or any other sort of animal toys)
WHAT YOU'D NEED
Rubber dinosaur toys
Some small cactus or succulent plants
Small digging tools
Metal/plastic tongs (only if you're using spiky cactuses)
Have your dinosaurs and plants ready. Measure the diameter around the plant, and decide which plant you want in which dino. Use a sharpie to draw a rough shape on the dino, which you will need to cut.
With your blade, carefully cut around the line you drew, and while this toy may be hard rubber, you will find that once you make an initial cut, the process will be much easier. However, be careful and take extra caution when cutting around the thicker areas.
Once you're done cutting both your dinos, lay down some newspaper outside. I started by first spraying both my dinos white.
The trick here is to use quick-drying spray paint. Spray one thin coat and let it dry for 5 minutes. The continue with another coat. Coat the dinos until none of the existing color can be seen. This will be easier if you decide to use other colors, but I find that coating them with white first will allow the desired color to turn out more accurately.
Once the white paint has dried, it's time to add on a second color (of your choice). For mine, I'll be covering the dinos in gold, in a gradient. Therefore, I will be covering some parts with news paper, and spray the exposed areas gold.
Leave this to dry overnight.
The next day, you can start preparing to repot your plant into the dinos. Please make some drainage holes at the bottom for excess water to come through.
You start by pouring some soil into the dino, filling it up to the tail and any other empty crevices. Then, with a tong, gently use it to place your cactus into the opening. Use a small tool to shovel more soil around the cactus to ensure that it holds and supports the plant.
If in any case, if you make a mistake of cutting the opening too big like I did, use some pebbles to support the plant and hold it up. Brush off the excess dirt and voila! You have your dino-plant!
Place them in your home, place them in your garden, or even on your office desk. :)
I have both of mine sitting comfortable on my office desk at the moment. They're perfect because they don't need watering every day. :D
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
The one exercise that I could never get bored of, and would always recommend to everyone who loves a good cardio kick.
There's just too much that's good about it:
- You burn 700 calories (at least) in every one-hour session
- You learn basic moves to kick ass
- The violence only happens in your mind, you do not touch anyone physically
- You strengthen upper body & lower body muscles
- You improve on your body coordination
- You work your muscles like a bitch
- You feel super sexy & sweaty by the end of it
If you don't know where to start, going to the gym that has a LesMils programme would be the best step. You need to work this out in a class, it's all very fun especially with very motivating (and good looking) instructors taking the lead.
Try it, you'll love it as much as I do! There's nothing sexier than a girl who can throw a few good punches, hooks and kicks. ;)