The biggest ‘fitness lie’ I told myself was “I am going to do that really high intensity session after work”.
When work is over and you get back home or wherever you are supposed to be, the last thing you want to think is HIIT. It happens sometimes though, mostly on my days off when I am rested and fresh. However, considering I end up working on my projects 7 days a week sometimes, it is a wrong assumption I would go exercise in the evening.
This is where the power of habits comes in place.
“Win the morning, Win the day” – something that can describe my morning habit. An energising morning session is something that gives me that fuel and productivity to perform well for the rest of the day.
I have to admit I was not always a morning person. It was a big big effort to get me out of bed. It sounds like a miracle for me now. It doesn’t matter if I had a big day/night before, my body clock and earned habit of ‘getting up for energy’ gets me out to start my day early.
Although, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and staying hydrated. Experts suggest adults get between seven and nine hours of solid sleep in order for our brains to function at their full capacity. And no, that’s not lay in bed for two hours scrolling on Instagram before having a few hours of interrupted sleep. You can still go out for a party or events (due to a nature of my lifestyle, I do attend a lot of events) and still perform well next day but you need to balance it well. For example, I would not go for a really hard/high intensity session after long day followed by long night out, however, something like 6 kms outdoor jogging is something that helps my body to get back on track and detox itself.
The other part of my morning habit is consuming at least 500ml of water during or after a morning training session as long as it is before breakfast and coffee.
From now on I can act like a proper tourist as all the destinations moving forward are new to me. This does include Hiroshima.
Hiroshima is a different city compared to the previous ones due to its sad historical past and unique island Majiyama. We have divided the trip into to parts to take most out of our stay in Hiroshima.
In general, Hiroshima attracts many tourists from all over the world. We stayed in APA Hotel and every time I walked to an elevator, I could meet some foreigners. We started our trip by trying Okonomiyaki – traditional Hiroshima grilled pancake. It does contain a lot of various ingredients such as egg, seaweed, bacon, wheat noodles, cabbage, bean sprouts. You can choose some add-ons with fish and meats – this dish keeps you full for the rest of the day. When you are in Hiroshima, you MUST try this dish.
Highlight of DAY 1 – Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki used to be considered a special desert served at Buddhist ceremonies. Interesting to say but the dish was invented in beloved Osaka, however, was well adopted by Hiroshima after A-Atomic tragedy.I personally find Hiroshima style is a snacky way of making the dish – you grill all the ingredients and then lay one on another. Osaka’s way is to actually blend the ingredients and grill together – Okonomiyaki History .
The story behind Hiroshima’s “lazy” way of making Okonomiyaki can be the fact that after the Atomic bomb tragedy, survived people were starving and tried to filled themselves with whatever they could find around. People used the few ingredients they had—vegetables like cabbage and onions mixed with flour that came from the U.S. post-war rations—and whatever extra ingredients they could get their hands on to fill up their stomachs.
Okonomiyaki is best described by its translation. It literally means “whatever you want”(okonomi), “grilled (yaki). – お好み焼き .
Highlight of DAY 2 – Majiyama Island
We got up early morning to catch one of the earliest ferries to the Island and catch nice morning sunlight. Unfortunately, traditional Itsukushima Shrine gates were closed for renovation (upcoming Olympics Games 2020), however, we managed to get inside the Shrine that isn considered to be UNESCO World Heritage.
We started our Majiyama journey and got attacked by deer straight away. Deer are everywhere on the island – they are just a part of the nature there. They are wild but managed to merge well into human society. They do love stealing your food…or anything looking like food. You can pet them but be mindful that some of them can be aggressive (wild animals..).
Back to the Shrine – It was originally built 1423 years ago in 593CE by Saeki no Kuramoto. The place is unique for one more reason – the Itsukushima Shrine was built specifically at a location where the tides rise and fall. Back that time, the whole island wasn considered to be a god. it is said a location where the tides rise and fall was chosen specifically so the god or kami would not be damaged when they constructed the shrine. Take your time to explore the Shrine:
Start with at the Marodo Shrine – It has been designated as a national treasure;
Then The Main Shrine dedicated to the the three female deities have long been dutifully worshipped as they are the gods of the sea, transport, fortune, and the arts;
The O-Torii gate is best seen from inside the Shrine but was closed this time 😦 – you can also reach the gate on your feet.
We managed to watch the traditional Japanese wedding at the East corridor of Marono Shrine.
In Russia we say when you see a happy wedding, make a wish. I made a wish looking at that beautiful procession. There was something special and magical looking at that thousand years ceremonial tradition.
And to wishes, there was also a wish/lucky box that we all gave a try. There was no translation though so my task for the next few days to find a decent Japanese/English translator to find out my prophesy.
Then we went on a ropeway. After some elaboration the decision was made to take one-way ticket and explore the inner island beauty, nature and temples on out feet. Never regretted about this decision. Hence, supporting my FITNESS.
I will never stop saying to go out and explore the area on your two feet. We have discovered little temples and unique natural places that you will never see sitting in a ropeway or train. We have reached the tope of the Misen Point and walked all way down to the incredible Daisho-in Temple. The temple is not as popular as the Shrine, however, you shall walk pass countless statues on the left side of the temple garden – they are meant to give you some blessings and luck for future.
The Majiyama Island reminded me of Bruna Island in Tasmania. They both have mountains that gives you 360 view of the area and it was breathtaking. We had to walk all way up and then down the mountain but it definitely worth it. I have to admit that my calfs and legs were extremely sore next couple of days – warm spa, roller and morning jogging helped me to relief the soreness.
The first part of the trip was very traditional, spiritual and exploratory. We can back to grab a bowl of ramen each and head to the hotel super tired.
Highlight of DAY 3 – Atomic Bomb Dome and Hiroshima Peace Memorial
The second part of our trip was more thoughtful – that made you think of one human disaster happened last century.
I have met a fair few Japanese kids happily jumping to me asking a few English phrases and given little origami cranes in dedication to peace in the Hiroshima park. Then I have seen same kids in tears walking out of that museum. Some of them had hysteria from what they had seen inside. That place contained historical facts that couldn’t leave your eyes dry..
Hiroshima is the first city in the world that has been attacked by atomic bomb. This happened on 6th August 1945. The decision was made by the US to drop one atomic bomb in Hiroshima followed by another one in three days in Nagasaki. In the US army’s opinion, that was the best solution to stop the war in the Asia Pacific region and stop deaths..oh well, great decision to kill 140,000 innocent people in one go and destroy lives of next generations for many years ahead living in miserable conditions, developing leukaemia and cancer from radiation, suiciding themselves..
I couldn’t take photos inside the museum – there is no photo can describe what was seen inside. I took one and I deleted it right away – you cannot capture this. You need to see it with your own eyes, feel it and empathise. The place keeps stories of killed souls still screaming and begging stop the war around the world. You can feel moaning of those souls walking across the museum park begging to stop the pain. Believe me or not but the pictures of the past are duplicated in your mind when you walk pass the Atomic bomb Dome- you can see those burnt bodies, horrified faces of schoolboys and girls (the bomb was dropped 350 metres from a public school), and ruins of the beautiful city.
There are only two emotions you can see walking out of the museum – people are being quiet or crying.
Things like that make you clearly understand why one of the Global Goals of the United Nations is to make the world atomic bomb and weapons free.
If you are running low in time, forget about anything – The Dome is that one place you are in Hiroshima for.
Overall, if you have decent 2-3 days in the area, see the list of things worth to visit:
Atomic Bomb Dome
The Peace Memorial Museum
Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the atomic bomb victims
Children’s Peace Monument (dedicated in memory of Sadako Sasaki)
Hiroshima Castle and park nearby (I did exploring while running in the morning – nice, quiet and lack of tourist time of the day – 6:30am)
Okonomiyaki Food Court (Hiroshima Station area) – If you have time (I didn’t), visit the Wood Egg Okonomiyaki Museum
Time to get out of big cities and experience old fashioned Japanese culture merged into unique nature of the continent.
Kyoto is only 15 minutes away from Osaka (via Shinkansen) that makes easy to commute a day trip to the destination. Interesting fact that Kyoto used to be the capital of Japanese island Honsu. Therefore, it contains so many historical places, imperial palaces, temples. Due to invasion of Buddhist clergy into the Imperial government trying to influence on decisions of the Palace, the decision was made to move the capital to Edo in 19th century.
Edo was later called 東京, meaning “Eastern Capital” which pronounces Tokyo. We all know Tokyo.
Kyoto tried to be re-named as 西京, meaning “Western Capital”, however, came back to Kyoto giving the city that legacy of thousand-year capital (千年の都).
If you love hiking and exploring thousand year history, you should definitely go to Kyoto. There is one great FITNESS solution here that I have done in the past. As a part of that international crew that I joined fair few years ago, we went on a bike ride from Osaka to Kyoto. The distance between these two are 55,6km which makes your legs burned at the end of the day (this distance doesn’t include another 20-25 kms cruising around the city).
Kyoto is fairly big city but mostly famous for its cultural events and nature. Heading there on a bike, you will get obsessed with its nature in its fullest. Moreover, it will make your trip more accessible to reach different temples where you can sometimes enjoy kabuki theatre or some dancing festivals.
One of the most famous festivals in Kyoto in October is Jidai Matsur (“Festival of Ages”). Day when Japanese citizens come out of their houses and dress up as people of the past to acknowledge oldest people of the land and “touch” the thousand year old history of the area.
Jidai Matsuri is held every October 22nd (*Will be held on October 26th in 2019), as it was on this day in 794 AD that Emperor Kanmu made Kyoto Japan’s imperial capital, a status that would last for over 1,000 years, right through to 1869 when the capital was then moved to Tokyo. ＊Note: The 2019 procession is exceptionally scheduled on October 26 as October 22 falls on the day of the Enthronement Ceremony of the Emperor in Tokyo. If you know a lovely Japanese person, do not hesitate to say some nice words on the day to them in regards to their celebration. They will appreciate the fact that you know and respect their culture and heritage.
The Forest is located just 15-minute from the central station of Kyoto. You will meet a lot of locals there – this is their place to go hiking, enjoy and appreciate the nature around them. Do not forget to pack some bento boxes to share picnic with your friends.
Appreciation of beauty is another thing that I would like to highlight in this article. I have already mentioned it in my previous blog posts dedicated to Japan – great lesson to learn from Japanese:
They do see the beauty around them, in other people, in items around them. They are very united with the universe if it makes sense. How many times we walk pass a beautiful park and do not even stop next to a bunch of beautiful flowers or natural arrangements around? We are always in a rush – the modern life demands us to be like that and it is understandable.
Check out my previous post about mindfulness through appreciation of things around here .
This is why I love to visit Japan and “slow down” here. This is where you can re-unite with yourself, disappear in that Bamboo Forest to stay with your thoughts, discover new pathways and just let many things go that stuck in your soul like stones dragging you down. This is what Kyoto is about.
Forget about FASHION here – this place is not about parade show. It is the place to discover yourself and be as you are without all these current trends, instagram stories and showcasing fancy lifestyle – leave it all for the next destinations…
It was a bit of a risk to combine two different industries and expect a good result.
Fashion – the word associated with runways, glamour, style trends.
Fitness – Health, gym, marathons.
They are different so how can I really pitch them to be together? I can explain:
Coming back to my previous topic about motivation – who are you training for? For yourself? To impress someone else? If you set up the right and healthy attitude, you train to look good for yourself. You want to look healthy, fit, skinnier or toned – all depends on your personal goals. Now, let’s take Fashion. If you are interested in Fashion, you probably have or aim to have a good sense of style and after important Fashion trends. You pay an extra attention to what you wear when you come out. You are getting ready before an important business meeting. What do you need Fashion for? Same thing again – for yourself? Impress someone at one event? Wear someone glamourous for horse races at Randwick?
You start with the right attitude. You understand that things you build in life starts from you. If you have ever had an experience to move to another continent when you are a teenager that doesn’t know what she wants, you might come to realisation that you have to build self base before you can build something else in life. I cannot build my life looking at someone’s one – I need to look at what I do. I cannot get impressed by someone’s achievements only – I need to set up something for myself each month to feel I am moving.
When you go to the gym, you may notice more and more people are “dressing up” to the gym. Not literally. But trying to wear right sports gear, good active lifestyle brands, etc. Many fitness blogs suggest to wear “cool” gym wear to boost motivation to exercise more. I can definitely see the link between those two. You start with the attitude. You want to see yourself successful, fit, healthy and stylish. It is not a secret that you might be toned and skinny and look quite sexy but if you wear a dress that look like a bag for potatoes on you, your toned body disappears. And, of course, you can buy the most expensive suit from the best Italian designer – it probably looked so gorgeous on the runway – but it looks ugly on you because your body is poisoned with junk food, lack of movement and first signs of ageing. I like to see and promote more on my page fashion in fitness.
It is not only wear something trendy at the gym but wear Fashion and Fitness within you..
I got to the stage to share one of those iconic diets that has blown up minds of my friends and family.
It doesn’t sound like it is legit but trust me – whatever I place in this blog, I have personally tested before sharing.
Red, red wine…
It can be white too as long as it is a dry wine.
All depends on your preferences but, yes, it is the wine diet!
I got the raw idea of this diet when I had explored it. I would also like to share some other tricks that I missed out when I firstly found this diet.
Identified benefits and results
First of all, a quick cheat sheet about DRY wine:
It has low to zero carbs according to laboratory research in Washington (sounds good, hey!)
It has zero fat BUT it still contains enough calories to be able to put on weight
It drops your blood sugar level
Your body uses different technique to digest wine
Red wine has resveratrol, a plant polyphenol chemical that turn body white fat (“bad/obese fat”) into brown fat that is a healthier option of body’s immune and protective system and easier to be burned
Wine has fewer calories than beer or heavy spirits
One bottle of dry wine can contain 570-750 calories – depending on the alcohol percentage
Red wine has more vitamins and minerals than white wine.
Red wine in moderation is good for your heart as it increases HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) and decreases LDL (“bad one”)
The Wine diet can be considered as a separate dieting stream or be trailed as a part of the Mediterranean diet. As you might know the Mediterranean diet is based on the idea of consuming a lot of plant-based food together with some amount of dry wine.
I have seen positive results of the wine diet for around 3 weeks allowing me to loose 1.5 kg in the first week, 1.1 kg in the second week and 1 kg in my third week. So, the verdict – the diet is working!!!
Duration of the diet: MUST NOT exceed 3 weeks
Results: 3.6 kg down
Feeling: no craving, starving feeling (if you follow the instructions below)
However, before explaining the algorithm of the diet, I would like to continue with some downsides of the diet. I am not a nutritionist or a school teacher so I am not going to tell simple things about alcohol effect on your body. Any side effects described below are purely related to the wine diet.
Side Effect to consider
The progression has stopped after 3 weeks due to some side effects of the diet that were not revealed before.
Any dry wine significantly drops your blood sugar level – therefore, you might end up at the kebab or pizza shop after a good night out drinking wine. You feel much hungrier when there is a presence of alcohol in your blood. Your craving is increased to maximum – if you are a person with low self-control, this diet is not the right for you.
Moreover, as said above, your body uses different technique to digest wine. This is where many people who has described this diet before put the full stop. What does this technique include? How to make this technique work for you, not against you?
Our body functioning is a very smart system. When it is attacked, it will use all its effort to fight with an “enemy”. Alcohol toxin is an enemy for any body. Therefore, your body will stop ANY digesting activity and stops what it has just been doing to prioritise “work on alcohol toxins”. Which means when you have eaten simple carbohydrates or saturated fats before wine, it will turn them into your white body fat, no matter if you haven’t eaten much before and your body needs that “energy”. When you have eaten similar crap after wine consumption because your food craving was high, it will also turn into same fat storage. This is how you can gain weight from the wine diet.
HOWEVER, if you eat enough “absorbing” and lean food, it will assist your body to work on toxins and leave the positive results from wine consumption.
In addition to it, I love my strength trainings that are aimed to reduce my body fat and gain some muscle weight instead. Same procedure here – your muscles stop developing when you have alcohol toxin in your blood as your body needs some time to fight with the new “enemy”.
Avoid rewarding yourself with a glass of wine after a good strength or HIIT training. Try to pick your High intensity trainings when you are not planning to go out for a fair few hours after that (your body recovers muscles differently depending on a number of factors i.e. age, gender, metabolic rate, etc.)
We got to this stage – Wine Diet 1:1
If you are still reading this and believe it can work for you, here below what I did to have positive results of my wine diet. Please note that the results will gradually decreased and bring your more negative effects than positive so I would not recommend to keep the diet longer than 3 weeks.
You MUST include a lot of green leafy food and good fats in every day of your diet! Some partition of protein should be included in any main meal of the day.
PART I – Morning
As I am a morning person, I would typically end of at the gym or run in the morning. Hence, I would it breakfast rich in good carbs, vitamins and minerals. My typical breakfast would be Cocao Oat Bowl that I have described before here
The breakfast meal would include some fruits and fresh fat free yogurt. In that case, my morning tea would include 10-20 gram of peanut butter to fulfil some good fats in my body (Cocoa Oat Bowl is originally almost fat free). If I am after more “proteiny” breakfast option, I would go for egg whites omelette with a plenty of spinach or rocket. My morning tea would include a piece of fruit.
PART II – Afternoon
Feel it up with protein – a good piece of grilled chicken, salmon or a sirloin beef steak. I am always a bit flexible with lunch option as long as it has a plenty (up to 30 gram or more) of protein and green leaves – Italian 4 leaves mix is perfect for it. Include some vitamin enriched vegetables such as pumpkin, tomatoes, sweet potato, etc. I love to include 20-30 grams of cheese or 50 grams of avocado to fulfil good fat.
Afternoon tea – something simple, raw, non-carbohydrate food. It can be a piece of cheese or a protein bar. The most important here is to keep it one-stream i.e. good fat or protein, no carbs. It MUST be more filling than morning tea snack.
PART III – Dinner time
Here we go! Time to crack a bottle of nice Pinot Noir (or different dry wine depending on your personal preference). Instructions:
Have a one-stream food with it so the alcohol toxin doesn’t hit you and your health. Options:
Cheese – blue vein, mild cheeses, just as it is, no crackers or carb food
Low fat ricotta or cottage cheese with celery and carrot sticks
A piece of chicken, ideally, no more than ¼ chicken
And now you can enjoy your 2-2.5 glasses of wine. After one glass you may notice that your appetite has decreased, however, it is still important to consume some one-stream food (as above) to avoid bad influence of alcohol on your body and future craving feeling.
Happy Dieting 🙂
***As said, this is the guideline for a healthy option of the wine diet only, no alcohol promotion and irresponsible drinking can be associated with the article.
Breakfast is the most important meal for me. I created this breakfast for myself back that long time ago when I chose healthy lifestyle. When you go to a nice cafe or restaurant, you can find a section “chef’s selection” or “everyone’s favourite” – this breakfast is my “Angelina’s favourite”.
Interesting to mention that you can play around with some of the ingredients but they all must fall in a healthy category of ingredients that can increase metabolism, provide additional antioxidants or filled with vitamins.
The meal is approximately 350 calories and better be eating after good cardio training for a number of reasons:
It fills up your energy level that you have just spent by amount of good carbohydrates in it
It contains protein to restore your muscles
It is delicious and chocolatyyyyy – exactly what you need to avoid huge sugar craving 3-4 hours after HIIT training
One more benefit before I start – it takes 15 minutes to make this one!
40 gram quick oats
2 kiwi fruits
80 gram fresh or frozen berries
160 gram fat free yogurt (depending on preferences, you can choose full fat one)
15 gram cocao powder OR 10 gram crashed 90% dark chocolate
Method (easy AF!)
Boil water for 2-3 minutes, add some berries there (I like to add frozen berries as it is easier to store them).
Peel 2 x kiwi fruits from the skin (personal preference – if you like them with skin, it is up to you) – add to the bowl. Kiwi is a great source of Vitamin C; depending what you like, you can have apples or bananas instead.
Add 40g of quick outs to the boiled water with berries. Wait another 2-3 minutes until ready and berries gave up some flavour to oats (Yum!). Berries are natural antioxidant, oats are great to speed up you metabolism rate.
Add berry oats to the bowl.
Get your favourite yogurt. My personal preference is 160g yogurt pots from Chobani or Danon. They are fat free (I know that it might be not great for someone but I prefer to get good fat from other products throughout the day such as peanut butter). Moreover, these two brands offer yummy flavours and they are natural without adding any sugar. All natural greek style yogurts contain probiotics and filled with at least 15 gram of protein per portion.
Add yogurt to the bowl. Top up with the Cocao powder. Cocao – fantastic for detox and famous for its antioxidant effect. It may also assist with reducing sugar craving in the morning.
And now just mix it. It helps to cool the oats down as well.
Enjoy! If you are drinking coffee in the mornings, almond milk coffee works perfect with it.
Eventually, you will come to the point where you need to make a choice: work towards being skinny or work on your fitness and lean muscle. Either can be good depending on what you want to achieve. My choice is to be and look healthy and fit..especially when I wear swimwear
Also, do not be afraid to TREAT YOUR BODY! I came across so many people who have enormous feeling of being guilty for eating a piece of chocolate or having few sneaky chips while watching a movie.
There is a constant circle that you have to break: eventually you will experience craving (even if you are eating super clean), you will satisfy your craving and the sense of guilty pleasure will pressure you. The pressure will develop extra cortisol in your body. Cortisol is the stress hormone that doesn’t bring any good to you: tiredness, weight gain, infections, anxiety, etc. Moreover, you can get stress eating and consumer even triple times more than you have just eaten. I have gone through a lot of stress overeating situations and it takes time to break this..
Just relax and let your self to let it go sometimes!
Eat well and clean including lean meats, healthy fats and complex carbs and your body will thank you. You will feel better; your metabolism will go up; your skin will clear up and glow
Have a cheat day when you can have a sneaky drink 🍸 and a piece of chocolate 🍫, and your body will be challenged. When it’s challenged, you will get boosted metabolism, serotonin level will go up and you will get a better resistance from sugar craving for the whole week ahead.