— thebarebeauty

The-Liebster-Award

I’m elated to be nominated for the Liebster Award! (though I have no idea what this award does at the moment.) Guess with every blogger, we wish our blog will get noticed and our posts to reach out to as much traffic as possible. I am glad Annikabear of Bears and Diamonds decided to pass on such an honor to me! Do check out her blog ladies! The Liebster Award is a great way of linking up your blog to others. You not only get to share new blogs with your readers, you are also helping other new bloggers to promote their site.

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exercising in makeupLook, we know every woman like to look and most importantly, feel pretty. But, we too, know that wearing makeup while exercising just isn’t quite recommended. The chances of bumping into someone we know at the gym, and not wanting them to see a sweaty and unglamorous-looking face, is the risk most women would not want to take.

For me, I look (feel) ugly every time I hit the gym. And because I exercise vigorously and hard, I perspire tons! (I know some girls who don’t want to even get to that awful smelly state in the gym.)  I will only have sunscreen on, filled brows (because they are only half the size of a full brow!), and a tint of blush to make me not look too pale and faint.

We know exercising with a full faced makeup isn’t good for you. But, we may not have time to wash our face in between work and gym, and we think just once in a while is quite forgivable.

Yet, I was wrong.

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Any runners out there coping with painful bunions? What do you do to make sure they don’t get any worse than what it is now?

Love Betsy

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It’s been a crazy month with many events happening in the family as well as a trip away to Taiwan. However, the highlight of October definitely has to be completing the first EVER running event of my life! I was extremely excited though I wouldn’t say I have performed my best, but for anyone who is just starting out like me, will probably appreciate the effort I put in to train up for this event.

In my prior posts, I have mentioned how I was away from fitness for a good 10 or more years. Running was never my thing, and I could not even run for  a minute without panting, almost like gasping for air after. Besides my extremely poor stamina, I have this foot condition (bunions) for more than 10 years, and that kept me off dancing and running because any flexion on my toe joint will cause pain and discomfort.

In April this year, I signed up for the Shape Run organized by Shape magazine Singapore, under the encouragement of my partner. I didn’t even think that advert would have caught my attention, but I was glad I had decided to go for it.

Shape Singapore is a fitness magazine for women, and the Shape Run is an annual event held for women only. Many said the magic in a run like that is to be able to participate with all other female runners, be they fit and athletic, or just ladies making that extra effort to try to get back into a fitter health state. The pressure seems to be lesser, as I would imagine myself running alongside men who jog like my sprinting speed!

So here are the Shape Run photos taken on the 27th Oct. I spurred my elder sister to come join me in the run. Both of us are relatively unfit before, but I am sure it will all change from now  for both of us. (Note : She did not practice before the race day! Very proud of her!)

Even though it’s just a 5km run that isn’t anything to brag about, I am still very proud and hyped post the run. I started slow as I was trying to pace myself, but got to a point I realized I was going way too slow…..I picked up some good speed throughout to the end, and was quite delighted at the fact that I didn’t stop once during the race, and in fact, I was on a gradual constant increase in my speed. I am so happy I didn’t slack!

Rank results came out today and I’m exhilarated that I actually came in not as far back as I thought I was. HEHE! Not a good record time though, I had better timing on my practice runs, but the time per km definitely was much better as I was dashing after catching sight of the Finish barricade.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 9.20.17 PM

* I started after the flag off time as I was desperately trying to queue for the washroom before. So please note NETT TIME only. (hee*)

I must compliment Shape Magazine SG for putting together the yearly run so orderly and well organized. Although its my first time on an event like this, I must say I was crazily impressed by the number of portable toilets on site. I easily count 50? If I had known I would not be queueing at the nearby train station and to miss the pre-run warm up session and flag off time! Despite the unexpected haze in July that caused the deferment, it was great that everything went on smooth and well yesterday! Good job Shape! You have got me hooked on not just your magazines but also your runs!

All in all, I am pleased I have taken my first step to try to run again. It is not a dying wish of mine, and it had never occurred to me that I would ever sign up for something which clearly didn’t seem like my forte. Being the slowest in most school races throughout my younger days, panting and puffing every few strides just made me really embarrassed. I guess the key is, everyone has to start somewhere, it’s just a matter of how much we want it and be willing to work for it. If i can start from a mere 100m to a 5km non-stopping run distance, I am sure you too will be able to do it.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”

Here’s to my next run event, and I will be working up to my next goal of 10km. And because I hate my bunions and knee pain, all the more…….Be sure to see me there, one day!

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Protein-foodsAs fitness enthusiasts, we all know the importance of protein in our diet to aid lean muscle building and repairing of damaged tissues and cells. Instead of piling on lots of meat and beans on your meal plate, the popularity of soluble powdered protein has increased over the recent years. Because of the convenience it brings for its users, having a protein powder that dissolves in water and mixes with almost anything is just so easy and appealing to us.

Weight Loss Shake - Protein Powder

I do take my protein shake together with a nutritional mix on a daily basis. I will share this on a subsequent article later on. Writing this article is to address the concern of the possibility of having too much of protein. In fact, we all know that too much of any one thing, is not necessarily good for our health.

Many athletes believe that consuming large amounts of protein will help to improve their performance. Engaging in strength and endurance training day in and out does require a fair amount of protein. This theory is true to a certain extent; but to consume too much will possibly result in a decrease in performance as well because other nutrients are then sacrificed.

The Science behind Proteins

Proteins are large molecules consisting of one or more chains of amino acids. There are some 21 different types of amino acids that combine to make protein. These amino acids when absorbed, help to make up blood plasma, tissues, and muscles. They also activate the vitamins we ingest. Proteins also help to speed up body chemical reactions and regulate the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats used for giving energy.

As with any nutrient in our body, there is only so much our body can use at one time, and the extra gets stored as carbohydrates or fats! (OOPS!*) The recommended daily intake for protein is : 0.8g per kg of body weight. If you are physically active everyday, you may have a higher protein requirement as compared to one who isn’t. 1.2g per kg of body weight is a good gauge for those who wishes to monitor their intake. Till date no research has shown that taking more protein than the recommended can actually prove to be more beneficial. Calories are also essential to ‘fuel’ up your body to utilize the protein.

Harmful effects of excess amounts of protein

  • Dehydration – Excess amount of protein requires extra water to break down, which could lead to dehydration. (Read below)
  • Calcium Loss – Depending on the type of protein you take, a high protein intake generates large amount of acids, which will lead to urinary calcium loss, resulting in negative calcium balance.
  • Stress – Extra protein intake can actually add additional stress to your bodily system.

Too much protein cause a buildup of toxic ketones. Ketones can ‘overwork’ your kidneys  as they try to flush out these ketones from our body. The process in itself can cause a loss of water, which could put you at risk of dehydration, especially so if you exercise heavily. The water loss from your body often gets misread as weight loss, but this water loss is actually losing muscle mass and bone calcium.

Therefore, think again before cutting down on your carbohydrates and substituting with proteins. Drastically reducing your carbohydrates intake may prompt your body to fight back harder. It does not mean I am opposing protein shakes, but I could not stress more on the importance of using it CORRECTLY, and EFFECTIVELY. Diet can be a tricky topic but with proper knowledge, you will soon find a balance that is optimal for your ideal health and energy level. Protein is afterall essential to our body’s normal functions and a key building block for muscles, bones and cartilage.

Start counting your protein intake today. If you are eating more than what you need, decrease the amount because you do not want to live with a misconception that could ruin your health in the long run.

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Do you workout with a mirror? How often do you check your form when exercising? Are you one who is aware of your bodily moves  all the time? Or just one who needs to be constantly reminded to sit tall and relax your shoulders?

I had a chat with my Pilates instructor the other day, and we got onto the subject of body awareness. Both of us agree, that many people who workout, and workout hard, may not have good body awareness. Some of us work by figures (counting the number of reps each time to make sure we improve), or some of us by weight (pounding on extra weight each session to dictate an improvement).

What is Body Awareness?

Full body awareness simply means paying attention to your body, its every movement, every feeling and every process. To work it in simpler terms, channel your focus and attention and feel onto every inch of your body, especially on the benefiting muscles while doing certain exercises. A runner will feel his core engaged, shoulders straight and ‘relaxed’, glutes and calves working with each step of the run. A trainer will feel his glutes ‘harden’ and tighten, core muscles clenched when doing a hip raise. (picture below)

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It’s simple, but requires much training to develop full awareness for your body. For those who work out really hard but lack full body awareness, you are missing out on the benefits of just simply paying attention to your body.

Imagine doing a certain move while working out, and to do it completely wrong. Probably working the wrong muscle groups, or worse inducing an injury.

Benefits of Full Body Awareness

If you are one of those truly motivated to keep fit, having body awareness will make you feel really good about yourself while you exercise. Feeling your muscles as they engage with your movements bring about a full mind and body partnership. When you are aware of your moves, the great precision performed with each action allows you to use your muscles more efficiently, and thus resulting in an overall improved performance. What we do not wish to have is to do multiple reps of each move, and to only reap the benefits of a few which are performed correctly.

Naturally having Body Awareness?

I believe body awareness has to be taught. It can be developed through practice. Some activities that help to cultivate this awareness include yoga, pilates, dancing, and any other sport that requires some sort of a ‘natural grace’.

Because of our high-stress jobs, emotional stress, fast paced living, environmental factors, or anything that gives our body discomfort make us lose the awareness to slow down, pay attention and rest our body. Women will tend to focus more on our appearance than how we actually feel. We want ‘visual results’, like forcing our bodies to lift heavier and heavier weights each time, pushing ourselves to achieve a highly difficult move, but in turn, we lost the awareness in the process.

How to develop Full Body Awareness?

I developed a strong sense of body awareness after practising Pilates. I have been at it for more than a year now. Before, I would always slouch on the couch, or in front of my laptop. I used to stand with my weight resting on one leg, sitting with my abdomen tucked in, shoulders collapsing to the front. Because I have reversed most of my bad postural habits, I am telling you now that it is possible to start somewhere to make the change.

pilates

Exercises like yoga, tai chi and pilates are excellent for helping develop body awareness, which in turn improves your balance and coordination. When we are at our neutral symmetrical balanced stance, the muscles on both sides of our body are working concurrently. A practice to include body awareness exercises into your training program will help you not just to achieve great results in your workouts, but also increases the quality of your daily life.

Body awareness takes time and practice to achieve. You should not be expecting to see results in a few lessons. Sign up for some classes, be patient and give yourself at least 10 lessons to learn how to awaken your senses to create such awareness. Speak to practicers of yoga or pilates, they will be able to provide good and positive advice and guidance that will help you in lessons. Learn, and you will find your way to a happier, more complete and more functional you.

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Are you in a customer service job? Or doing sales? Or having to meet and engage with people all the time? Here’s another benefit of your job that you may not already have known!

smiling cabin crew

I was in the customer service line years before. I could possibly attribute that to my younger age then, however, I feel I looked better and my facial muscles appeared toner as compared to now, where I just face my laptop and type all day long. Probably it is time to return to the customer service line to save my sagging face!

This seem like a pretty daring assumption for me to comment that being in the customer service frontline keeps you looking young, but if you look at the science and factual counts behind it, I guess it makes a valid standpoint. Imagine an office girl’s job : One who works behind the desk the whole time, and within cubicles given to each employee for privacy, the human to human interaction is highly minimal. One will at most be smiling not more than 30 times a day? If that is already an optimistic figure. Comparing to that of people holding customer service jobs, they probably clock up to 100, 200 smiles a day. (okay, that is provided you smile when fronting customers)

So what happens when you smile?

Out of the 53 muscles of facial expressions, smiling works 12 muscles on your face. They are, for interest sake, Zygomaticus major and minor (4), Orbicularis oculi (2), Levator labii superioris (2), Levator anguli oris (2) and Risorius (2). These smile muscles are the muscles around the mouth and cheeks that cause the lower portion of the face to turn upwards to form a ‘U’ profile when smiling. The same muscles work to draw into a tight lipped expression as well. These help to build up your cheek muscles for smiling and chewing. Tone the muscles on your cheeks and you will have an overall firmer and more toned looking face.

Supplementary exercises to do behind closed doors

Besides smiling as often and as wide (be genuine too!) as you can, here are some other exercises you can do to supplement regular smiling. Work those adjacent muscles to the key ones and keep it a habit to spend some time doing it as and when you can remember. Immediate results may not be prominent, but its the knowing you are doing something to retard the facial aging process that is worth the effort.

  • Alternate Cheek Puff – Inhale a big breath and blow out, holding breath in your mouth like a blown-up puffer fish. Push the breath to the left, then to the right, and back to the left again. Repeat this move until you run out of breath. Slowly blow out through your lips.

facial exercise 1

  • Laugh Line Eraser – Smile as wide without showing your teeth. Press your middle fingers on your laugh lines, using the length of your finger to cover the entire fold, keeping the smile. Gently raise fingers upwards, keeping the smile. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times. Now, repeat the same movement, except this time smiling to show your teeth.

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  • Face Lifter – Put both hands on the sides of the face. Hold it slightly upwards. Be careful not to tug too hard on your face. Smile wide with your lips pursed, and release. Repeat the same for 10 times. Feel the tightening of your cheeks when you smile.

facial exercise 3

  • The Kisser – Smile widely showing your teeth, and immediately go into pointy (fish) lips like that of a kissing action. Stretch your lips as far forward as you can as you do this. Alternately every 1 second. Do 10 times.

facial exercise 4

Here is a link to a video by HowdiniGuru that shows you more Facial Yoga exercises you might find useful. I try to do them as and when I am aware of it.

Extra Tips :

Use lotion or a moisturizer before and after the exercise to re-moisturize the area. Our faces tend to be drier than we think they are most of the time. As some of the repetitive exercises might give rise to folds, replenishing its moisture will quieter the effects. I personally recommend a facial mask sheet and give it an gentle massage all over.

We may not know how effective such exercises are, for we all age differently from one another. A realistic goal could just be to achieve somewhat not looking like our age. Keep it simple, and keep looking beautiful!

photo 2 Thanks for reading.

With Love.

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Want good skin? Well, my secret is to constantly ‘nourish’ it. I like to ‘feed’ my skin just like how I give food to myself. I believe HAPPY skin means GOOD skin.

Honey

What are some of the benefits of using Honey on our skin?

  • Antibacterial – Honey has antibacterial properties and helps to fight pimples and mild acne, especially that caused by hormonal changes. It also reduces infection and inflammation.
  • Antiseptic – When honey is diluted with water, it produces hydrogen peroxide. This is an antimicrobial agent (fights against microbes, a micro-organism), helps to relieve abrasion and over-exfoliated skin.
  • Good cleanser – Honey is able to soak up the impurities from within your pores and give your skin a good and nice clean feel.
  • Effective Moisturizer – Honey forms a barrier on the skin to help retain skin’s natural moisture and keeping it radiant, supple and moist, preventing drying.
  • Protect Against Harmful Sun Rays – Honey’s natural antioxidant properties help protect the skin from the damage of sun’s rays, supports the skin’s ability to rejuvenate and refresh depleted skin.
  • Prevents wrinkles – Honey is considered a natural ‘preservative’ and it is said to prevent wrinkles, and slows down the aging process.

Natural Honey Green Tea Facial Mask

Here, I used Green Tea powder mixed with honey to achieve a simple yet effective facial mask. Add half a teaspoon of green tea powder into one full teaspoon of honey.

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green tea honey mask

The green tea powder granules act as a peeling scrub for the face. Apply and leave on for 20 mins on clean face, and gently scrub in circular motions.

thebarebeauty green tea honey maskWash off with lukewarm water after. Make sure you give your face a clean wash to avoid finding ants being attracted to your face.

Green Tea Benefits 

  • Contains antioxidants which are effective against free radicals. Free radicals are formed when skin is exposed to harmful sun rays, that leads to premature aging.
  • Helps safeguard skin against sun damage.
  • Aids in cell renewal process of our skin. Aged cells are energized by the polyphenol compounds in green tea, synthesizes the DNA and prevents premature aging.
  • Soothes irritated and inflamed skin.
  • Helps in acne and pimply skin, as green tea has antibacterial content.

DIY masks are inexpensive yet effective. Though it has not been proven scientifically that applying food topically on your face does anything for your skin, the results I get makes me believe that they do indeed work. I DIY my facial masks once every 2 days, and my skin is kept looking fresh and energized. On days when I religiously do it everyday, I see even better results. Give it a try, but if you have sensitive skin or wants to be sure if your skin reacts adversely to any ingredient, please always start with a patch test on the chin area a day before. This will ensure you do not get any undesired reactions from your DIY facials.

Give it a try today! And let me know your results!

 

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Aus13

 

August training has been awesome! Took a total of 9 days off workouts, but on other days I am sweating like insane! I may not be training hard to lose weight (because I am all skinny bones) but I definitely want to build some killer muscles.

This is undoubtedly the best thing I can do for myself right now. It keeps me focused, gives me more push, makes me feel better in the day and improves my sleep at night. I now feel great in my daily activites, and feel awesome working out! If I had been evading exercise for the last 16 years of my life and I am reversing it now, I am sure you can do it!

fitness quote

 

Quote credits to Spark-Fitness. 

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This may sound contradicting to my life’s mantra to always live ‘less is more’. However, to the many of you out there who had spotted a Roshe Run in a Nike store but have yet to try it on, PLEASE DO GIVE IT A GO!

Roshe-Women-black sail

I bought my first pair of Roshe Run in Black/Sail a month ago, and I am excited to share with all my readers as to why I labelled them my fabulous everyday kicks! By the way, these shoes are for walking, though they feel so comfortable to even run in them!

  • Lightweight – They feel so light, almost weighing nothing!
  • Good Arch Support – I have a collapsed arch and bunion on my left foot, but wearing the Roshe Run comfortably support my arch and relieves the pain from my bunion which is usually always hurting!
  • Breathable Upper – The material used for the upper of the shoe is soft, comfy and breathable. My feet doesn’t smell after walking in them an entire day! Toes don’t have the feel of being cramped up unlike other sneakers.
  • Sole Cushioning and Good Impact Absorption – The sneaker has the Nike Lunarlon midsole for lightweight cushioning, as well as an EVA foam outsole that helps to absorb impact.
  • Removable Midsole – The Lunarlon midsole is removable and you can wash them easily to rid dirt and fabric fibers.
  • Understated Simplicity – Design is as simple as it gets. No accents, no patches, no weird breathe-holes. Just a basic simple shoe, simple tie-laces, and a simple sole.
  • Heel – I absolutely love the fact that it has a slight heel (3 cm) to it, unlike barefoot trainers / shoes. Who doesn’t love the elevated height?
  • Good Grip – The soles are in the what they called waffle-pattern for traction. It’s been tested on wet floors after rain and its not slippy.

If you are into customizing your own sneaks, Nike online store offers Nike Roshe Run iD – where you can design your own shoe from scratch. With up to 14 colors to choose from, from the outsole down to the heel loop, you can have your very own version of Roshes.

http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/product/roshe-run-id-shoe/

If you are into flamboyant and eye-catching prints, look out for Nike to release new designs of the shoe. The range is beyond your imagination, from wild tiger camo prints to multi-colored rainbow weave shoe upper, you will definitely find a pair that exhibits your personality.

These are some of the pairs I’m eyeing intensely! If Nike Singapore is looking for a Roshe Run Ambassador, I promise I will wear them everyday and everywhere! Make me one? 😉

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Roshe Run Metric Black 

Roshe Run Red Camo Tiger

Roshe Run Red “Tiger Camo”

nike-roshe-run-woven-

Roshe Run Woven in Black

nike_roshe_run_print_armory_slate

Roshe Run Army Slate Camo

Verdict : The Roshe Run gave me a feeling of walking in heaven! I love them so much I am wearing them with everything! Easy to match, comfortable for walking, great sneaks! If you are looking for a pair of sneakers to take you everywhere, give it a try. I am completely sold! Are you?

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