23 October 2011

Dove Summer Glow 10 Day Trial

It's the end of October and we slowly heading towards summer. I was hoping to be able to tan, but the weather hasn't been co-operating and exams are looming. Since I'll most probably be hibernating in the library for the next 3 weeks, I thought I'd try out a gradual tanner in the meantime and see how it fairs out. (The sun will definitely not interfere during this experiment *winks).

I bought the Dove Summer Glow Nourishing Lotion for fair to normal skin today for R24.95, which in my opinion is quite a reasonable price. I'm planning to try this out for a 10 day period and do a review after to share my experience. I'm really excited to see the results in 10 days time. I'm not expecting to look like I walked out of Jersey Shore in 10 days, as it only contains a bit of self-tanner, but I do expect to see a slight difference.  I will be taking a before and after picture to show you whether it has worked or not.

If you have used this product before and would like to share your experiences, please feel free to do so. I would love to hear what you have to say :)

The Dove Summer Glow 10 Day Trial now begins...

20 October 2011

Kettlebell Workouts

The first time I heard the word "kettlebells", I was like "Oh is that a new brand of chips that is being launched?".  Little did I know how far off the mark I was!  Kettlebells is actually a Russian fitness equipment and from the Women's Health article that I read, it is one of the most effective tools for toning up for a bomb body!

The reason why this equipment is so effective is that the weight is centred below the handle, so when you use it during exercises, nearly every muscle in your body has to work to counteract the momentum that is generated from the exercise movements.  This is much more effective in comparison to your conventional dumb bells where the weight is equally distributed. Another benefit of kettlebells is that since you are using more muscles during your exercises, you are burning more calories!  Researchers found that a 20 minutes kettlebell workout can torch almost 300 calories! WOAH!!!  How long do you have to jog on a treadmill to burn that much? For someone like me who is treadmill-stationary bike-step machine-averse, I'd opt to do kettlebells over cardio any day if it burns that much calories in 20 minutes!

I must say that kettlebells looks quited intimating when I first saw them at the gym. But after doing some research on kettlebells I was really amped to give it a try.  I found this lovely article written by Women's Health that gave a basic kettlebells workout that I would like to share with you. 

I printed the workouts out and took them with to gym. I then asked the very friendly and helpful gym assistants to show me the correct form you should have when doing these exercises.  I suggest you to ask someone to show you first before you give it a try because form is critical! It prevents you from injuring yourself and it also ensures that you are making the most out of your workouts! Always remember to keep your stomach tight, back straight and look forward towards a mirror to make sure you are doing it with the proper form.

Move 1:
This workout is super awesome for toning up the bum, thighs, tummy and shoulders. I did this with a 8kg kettlebell as the gym assistant recommended.  I found it quite challenging since I usually used 3kg dumb bells before, but I persevered with the 8kg dumb bell and did 10 reps before going to the next exercise.
Move 2:
This exercise is also super awesome for the butt, thighs and core. It may seem weird to be swinging the weight since trainers and instructors always tell you to not swing your dumb bells when you working out. This exercise is the exception. Swing upwards from the squat position until the kettlebell reaches shoulder height, then you allow the weight to swing down before thrusting your hips forward and swinging it upwards again. This exercise may make you feel a bit awkward, due to the awkward thrusting action you have to do at the gym, but forget about everyone else because this exercise will give you a tight, firm booty in no time! This exercise gives you a good cardio workout as well!
Move 3:
This exercise seems simple enough. Simple squat down, pick up the kettlebell and slowly put it down again. Make sure you back is straight, core is tight and you are looking forward.
Move 4:
Ok this last exercise is great for your obliques. I only used a 4kg kettlebell for this since the 8kg was too heavy to hold up with one arm! Keep your legs straight and lean towards the other foot. Just try to go as far as you can, do whatever is challenging enough for you.
I did these four exercises one after the other for 3 sets.  This may not look like it gets your heart racing, but believe me! I was sweating and my heart was racing in no time. After a while you can use heavier kettlebells or increase your reps, or even better, do the more advanced kettlebell workouts.

I really enjoy these workouts because they quite short. You can complete this in 20-30 minutes depending on whether you take breaks or not and you can definitely feel your muscles working.  I get bored of my exercise routines quite easily, so this was a really good change for me. I've never gone back to dumb bells after using kettlebells and I'm still loving it :)

Let me know what you think if you've tried it.

If you'd like to visit the link where I found this information, here it is:

Secrets that Motivate Me to Gym and Workout

Around a month ago I wrote a blog talking about how Jennifer Hudson’s incredible weight loss story inspired me to workout regularly during the winter months, not only for weight loss reasons but also for health.  Since then I have been gyming up to 3-4 times a week.  I have been doing strength training with dumb bells and the kinesis system as well as cardio exercises on alternative days.  I’ve also started doing that horrid step machine that I always dreaded, and I am able to complete 20 minutes on it and working out a hectic sweat!  But my aim is to gym around 5 times a week and through my own experience, I find that the hardest hurdle to exercising regularly, is actually just getting enough motivation to get out of the house and go for gym.

So here is a few personal secrets I would like to share with those who are also finding it hard to leave the house for a gym session in this cold, unpredictable weather.

1. Get up and go!

Sometimes the biggest hurdle for most people who haven’t gotten into the rhythm of working out regularly is simply having the will power to get in the car and go to gym (or gym at home).  I know because I use to be like that.  Right before I should be going for a workout, I would start doing a detailed analysis of why I should rather gym “later” (like the next day, or the day after that… or even the day after!).  Some of the excuses would go like this “oh i have so much work to do” or “i’m exhausted” or “oh what’s the point I had pizza already today!” or “oh its that time of the month”… you catch my drift…  There are a gazillion number of excuses I would conjure up to give myself a reason not to exercise.  So the only way around is to just get up and go! Don’t let yourself think of excuses to not go.  If that doesn’t work, try to gym with a friend who is dedicated to exercising.  That way you are less likely to not pitch because you wouldn’t want to let your friend down.  After exercising regularly for around 3 weeks, your body should get into a rhythm and getting motivated to exercise will become much easier.  I know because it has become much easier for me to exercise.  That little voice that use to come up with excuses is quite quiet now because she knows who’s boss around here ;)

2. Make your exercise session interesting
Doing the same thing can be really boring at times, and you don’t want to add another “my-exercise-session-is-boring” excuse to your already extensive “excuse list”.  If you hate running on the treadmill, don’t go make that your exercise session.  There are so many interesting and fun exercise routines you can do nowadays.  I know for myself I get bored really easily and doing new exercises gives me a challenge and motivates me to look forward to the next gym session.  Try something new.  I started Kettlebell exercises 3 weeks ago and I’m loving it!  It is a great workout that strengthens your body, your core and is also a good cardio workout!  From the articles I’ve read, one session of kettlebells (around 20 minutes) can burn up to 300 calories!  I’ll be posting a basic kettlebells workout that I use to do soon for those who are interested in trying it.

3. Engage your nose before your workouts
Ok this title may seems a bit misleading.  I don’t mean go sniff some yummy nachos before you gym.  That would just be torture.  What I mean is to use an up-lifting body spray before you workout.  I use Estee Lauder’s Body Power (i think this might be discontinued).  It is a uplifting body spray that has a citrusy fragrance that literally uplifts your energy levels and senses.  Whenever I smell this fragrance, it makes me feel all pump up and ready to take on the world.  It smells really good and it really works!  Whenever I spray this fragrance before gym, I feel like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider taking on her gym workouts!  I feel energised and uplifted.  I don’t know what’s in the body spray but it works!  If you can find a scent that makes you feel energised then use it before your workouts, you will definitely notice a difference in your energy levels.

4. Play some nice jams during your workout
A read an article some time ago about a survey they did on two groups of people, one group listened to fast-paced music during their workouts and the other group didn’t listen to any music.  The survey showed that the individuals listening to face-paced music managed to work out harder and performed better than the individuals who didn’t listen to any music.  I know for myself I workout much better when I’m listening to my favourite tunes.  Obviously this would be my favourite dancing tunes, not Jackson Johnson music even though I love his music.  His voice is too melodious to keep me pumped at gym ;)
Some of my current top  tunes to gym to at the moment are:
  • Snoop Dogg ft David Guetta – Sweat
  • Afrojack – Take over Control
  • Beyonce – Run the World
  • Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Stop The Party
  • Pitbull, Ne-yo – Give Me Everything
  • LMFAO – Partyrock
These are my four personal secrets that I use to keep me motivated to gym and workout.  I hope these were helpful and if you have any of your own secrets, please feel free to share them :)
I always try to remind myself that like muscles, your will power becomes stronger with use :)