Friday, June 27, 2014

Fitness Friday: Leg Day

I do a lot of upper body work-outs, because of pole. So it's really important for me to include a specified routine in my workout regime that targets my legs.
I normally warm up with a brisk 15 minute walk on the treadmill. I hate running on the treadmill, it just feels really unnatural for me (I'm sure I'll get there one day), so for now I walk at 6.5-7km/h on a really high incline (usually starting at 2% incline, moving up to 10% by the end).
I'll then gently stretch it out a little, and then carry on with the below:

For the first set of 10 reps of each exercise I will 'warm up' through the range of motion, by starting at a lower weight. 
If you're  not sure what weight you should be starting out on, the basic rule is that you should be able to do 8-10 reps. The 10th rep should be really difficult. If you can do more than 10 reps, the weight is too light for you. If you can't get to 8, then the weight's too heavy. Of course, at all times, you need to be aware of your form. So if you can get to 10 reps, but your form is failing, then the weight is also too heavy, so dial it down a little. 

I personally currently lift: 1 set of 10 reps 20kg squats; then 2 sets of 10 reps at 25kg squats. 
1 set of 10 reps 15 kg deadlifts; then 2 sets of 10 reps 20 kg deadlifts.
For weighted lunges, I use 7 kg dumbbells.
For both the hamstring curl and leg extensions, I do 39kg. 

Rest for a minute in between each set. 

For detailed information on how to perform each exercise, check out these instructional videos:
(I'm not affiliated with this guy at all, but these videos are what I used to learn to do these exercises. Sharing is caring. It's a good idea to have someone check your form, and have a spotter if you're new to these. A personal trainer is awesome. Otherwise, start with light weights (5kg for eg) and film yourself, so you can double check your form.) 

I use the machine for hamstring curls / leg extensions, so if you're not sure how to do them, most machines have little diagram pictures, otherwise ask someone at the gym! 

And that's my whole leg routine! Let me know if you have any questions or if I missed anything out, or let me know what you'd like to see next! 

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Natural World Moroccan Argan Oil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner

It's not really a suprise to anyone that as a result of years of bleach, my hair is not in the greatest condition. So, it's really important that I use products full of moisturising goodness to put nourishment back into my dry locks. I've learnt over the years that oils are especially good for my hair (and skin, but that's another story), so when I saw this shampoo and conditioner on sale at Catch of the Day, I was intrigued. I was already buying some stuff, so to make the shipping cost 'worth it', I added these to my cart. (That's totally how online shopping works, right?)

I haven't heard of this brand before, and I didn't even research this product before pressing 'add to cart' (Hey, I live life on the edge!) but it turns out that impulse buy was a really good decision! 

Firstly, the packaging...I really like that the shampoo and conditioner are different colours, it makes it a lot easier to just grab the correct product at first reach. It's pretty easy to control how much product comes out the top, which is always nice.

As the name suggests, both the shampoo and conditioner are infused with Moroccan Argan oil, which is fantastic at making your hair silky and smooth. The shampoo has a really creamy lather, (FYI, it does contain sulfates, but neither the shampoo or the conditioner contains parabens) and my hair doesn't feel stripped after rinsing it out. The conditioner makes my hair feel so silky under the water....and then that feeling doesn't go away when I've rinsed it out and stepped out of the shower. It continues making my hair feel silky smooth! The conditioner doesn't have silicones, so I feel like it actually moisturises, rather than just leaving my hair feeling moisturised. I also love that I only need a small amount to get results. 
I normally use a hair oil after blow-drying my hair, but I've actually found myself doing that less since using this S&C. 

Overall, I actually don't have anything bad to say about this. My hair feels clean after I use it, and I love the way it makes my hair feel and look. What more could you ask for in a shampoo and conditioner, really?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Organisation Tips: Scarves

I've tried SO MANY different ways of organising my scarves... boxes, drawers, tied to a railing, hanging off the back of my door. None of them have stacked up. When looking to organise my scarves, I wanted something that would allow me to see what I have, and easily access it. I also wanted something that made it really easy to put them away when I'm done with them.

Enter this pants hanger I picked up from k-mart! This has five metal rungs, which means it has plenty of storage for my scarves, and it allows me to see them all at one glance. 

Because it lies pretty much flat, it also takes up virtually no space in my wardrobe either, which is a bonus! 

The metal rungs also unhook and swing out, making it super, duper easier to just slip the scarf off the rung if I don't want to untie it. How genius is that!!

How do you store your scarves and winter accessories?

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Fitness Friday: Why You Should Reconsider Participating in a 30 Day Squat Challenge

We've all seen the '30 Day Squat Challenge' floating around on Pinterest and Instagram.
The premise is you work up from 50 squats at the beginning of the month, to 250 squats at the end, and you get an awesome butt for all your hard work.

The issue I have with this challenge, is not with squats. Squats are one of my favourite exercises - they are amazing for your lower body, you can do them anywhere, and almost anyone can do them!
You see a lot of people saying that they're going to start the challenge, and for the first few days, they're keen as beans. But then they miss a day, and then that becomes two days, until they don't know how to get back into it, lose all motivation and never complete the challenge. This is mostly because the challenge is really unrealistic, really inefficient and not that great at actually doing what it promises to do.

But, squats can be really hard. If you've never done any squats before, you may struggle with getting your form correct. (Click here for details). So how can a complete newbie be expected to do 50 squats in one day, when they are quite likely going to be doing them incorrect?

The challenge gives no information as to how to carry out the exercise either, which can not only be confusing for people new to fitness, but can lead to injury. For instance, on day 1, are you doing 5 sets of 10 reps with rest periods in between? Or are you literally pumping out 50 squats in a row? To me, the challenge looks like it's the latter. Without leaving time for rest in between reps, you fatigue quicker which means you're a lot more likely to continue in bad form. That's a great way to injure yourself.

The squat challenge doesn't increase the load as you continue. This means as you continue to add reps the exercise just keeps getting easier because there's no added resistance. So, the more you continue with the exercise, the more inefficient the 'program' gets. To really shape that butt, you need to add weight. You're much better off 8-10 doing squats with a kettlebell, or some dumbbells, or a barbell on your shoulders, than doing 250 body-weight squats in one day.

To build muscle, you need to put that muscle under stress / pressure, and then give it time to recover. This challenge doesn't allow that, as you're squatting high reps three days in a row, and then taking a break. Notice that most people who lift weights only have one 'leg day' a week? That's because you need to give your muscles adequate time off.

Another issue I have with this challenge, is that it implies this is the only exercise program a person will be doing for those 30 days. So what about all your other muscles? Squats mainly train your quads (the front of your thighs) and your butt, but don't really train your hamstrings (the back of your thighs) or your hip flexors. There's no other information in this challenge to work out any other muscles, which means most people won't even consider it, let alone seek out alternative exercises. Not training the inverse muscle means you're setting yourself up for a muscle imbalance, and again, this can lead to injury.

So, what happens after day 30? Do you continue to add reps? Or do you forever continue on just doing 250 squats a day (which is stupid)? Do you pick up a new 30 day challenge? Does this mean you're now neglecting your new butt? These are questions that should have answers!!

30 day challenges like the squat challenge do not work, and have massive potential to lead to injury. You should incorporate a range of different exercises into your routine, rather than sticking with one exercise for a long period of time. Next week I'll be posting my legs routine, so you can see what I do to shape my legs and butt.

Have you done a 30 day challenge like this one before? How did you go?

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Midi Ring Love

I am obsessed with midi rings lately. I think they look so cute, and there's so many different designs out there. The obsession started with the infinity ring above, which I got in my Her Fashion Box when I first signed up. I then picked up a couple more on sale at Lovisa. 

On my nails in these photos are the Revlon Parfumerie nail polish in Bordeaux (the red) and Spun Sugar (silver). I picked these two colours up in a two pack at Target on sale for $10. Considering they retail for $15 each, that was a bargain too good to pass up!

I just want to go out and get more!

What are your thoughts on midi rings? Do you wear them?

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Recent Life in Pictures #53

...It didn't feel appropriate to title this "my week in pictures", like I usually do since this stretches over more than the past week.

Just when we thought Winter wouldn't show her face, the rain comes bucketing down and the chill sets in. I'm writing this snuggled up really close to the convection heater we bought from Woolies...silly me didn't read the box properly. I was really disappointed to learn that it wasn't actually a fan heater.

Before the cold set in, I detoured from physio past the beach and had a little yoga session on the sand. I was photobombed by this little dog hahaha. 

On the weekend I headed to Thai with my bestie, Meg. The satay chicken and massaman curry were just what I needed to warm me up. We then headed to the cinema and saw The Fault in Our Stars. 

J and I had to make Rommy a new batch of cat food over the weekend. He had stealthily positioned himself underneath me the whole time I was bagging the mixture. 

My good friend Lav had a housewarming last weekend, so I went along with Rai. We of course spent most of the night cuddling up to this cute bunny rabbit. I've also been hanging out with 'Friends' as a study break. Every couple of hours of continuous study wins me two-three episodes. 

And in athletic adventures...practicing the hollowback at the gym. I'm getting more and more comfortable in this position, and can see slight improvements in my shoulder flexibility every time I do it. 
I also spent a bit of time in pole balancing on top of one of my pole-mates! I love this fun acro's so much fun whether you're on top balancing, or you're on the bottom as the base. Lots of giggling as we try to balance. 

My exams officially start this week, so I'm gearing up my notes and tabbing my textbooks. I have lots of exciting posts coming up on the blog, but I may be a bit quiet over the next two weeks, so apologies in advance. 

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

May Her Fashion Box

I've kind of given up on the HFB boxes getting back on track. But, *spoiler alert* I am so happy with this box. It really seems like the HFB team have been listening to the feedback they've been getting, and the quality of products in this box is markedly better than what was in the last few boxes. 

This month saw HFB teaming up with designer Nicola Finetti. As a result of that collab, we got this really cute dandelion print pouch. (RRP $39.99) The zip is really sturdy, and the inside is made of a plastic-y type material, meaning it will be easy to clean. I also really like it has a little divider in the middle. I'm thinking I'll use this as a make-up travel bag. 

I also got a gold cuff - I really, really like this, it's definitely something I would normally wear so I can't wait to style it. I feel it has the potential to be dressed up or down, which is nice considering how 'simple' the design of it is. (RRP $19.99)

As a 'thank you' for filling out the survey on last month's box, I got this distressed leather belt. Pretty happy with this, as it is an actual bonus product, rather than just product left over from previous boxes. 

The last 'fashion' item was this really cute ear cuff - I really like this, and it's definitely something I'll wear so I'm happy to receive this. (RRP $12.99) Also - I'm really happy that they've brought back the little pouches. Again, it seems like the HFB team are really listening to the feedback they've been getting which is awesome.

I was pretty stoked to receive two samples of Biodema's Micellar water. I love this product, and I'm travelling at the end of the month, so I love having mini sizes to take with me. (Received 2 x 20mL samples. RRP $29.95 for 250mL)

I also received a 50g sample of the Clova Body Scrub and Bath Sprinkle. I haven't heard of this brand before, so I'm really looking forward to trying it. (RRP $14.50 for 200g). I also really appreciate the packaging on this sample; I love that it's resealable!

I received the 'Dotty' style of the House of Holland fake nails. (RRP $15.99). It's always fun to have these laying around for special occasions and I really like this design, so will definitely use it.

I also received a full-sized Label.M Dry Shampoo (RRP $34.95). I haven't tried this brand before, but have heard lots of good stuff about it. Also, dry can anyone complain about receiving that?

Overall: YAY! I am thrilled to bits. There is not one product in the box that I don't like, which is a huge difference from the past few boxes. I can absolutely see the value in this box and am pleased to say I will remain subscribed, for now!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Face of the Night: Drama Eyes

I went out the other week to see some pole dancing with one of my good friends from uni. I was excited to leave the house, and took it as an excuse to have some fun with make-up. Ever since getting the Lorac Pro palette, I've really wanted to try out some of the darker shades it has to offer. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. 

On my eyes I used the colours (in order from L-R) Deep Purple and Slate as the main eye colours, and blended them out with Espresso and Black

Slate didn't turn out as silver on my eyes as I wanted, so I patted some of this gorgeous colour across the top. This is Bloom's Pure Mineral eye shadow in Moonstone. I love this colour, it's so dramatic and really pigmented. 

I finished up with some Maybelline Eye Studio gel eyeliner, and these gorgeous false lashes by Blync (now Model Rock Lashes)

For my face I used Revlon's Colourstay foundation, but in a lighter shade to what I normally wear. I wanted to make my face as pale as possible to really contrast with my dark eye make-up. A little bit of NYX blush in Mocha to bring a bit of colour to my face, stopping me from looking dead. I've also really been loving Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind concealer under my eyes. A lack of sleep has made those dark circles darker than normal, but this product brightens the whole area up nicely! 

And that's it! I love how this whole look turned out.
Do you wear dramatic make-up when you go out, or do you tend to keep it more natural? 

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fitness Friday: Quick At Home Circuit Workout

Okay so technically it's Sunday. So this post is only a few days late.
In all honesty, it was ready to go on Friday, I went to upload the photos and found they had become corrupt, so had to take them all again yesterday. So I could have uploaded this post yesterday. Except that I had to smash out as much as I could of this research essay I'm working on so I could go to a friend's housewarming. Priorities, yo.

A little while ago, I shared with you my at-home exercise essentials. Today I'm going to share with you how you can put some of that together and create your own at-home circuit workout!

The idea of a circuit workout is that after completing 10 reps of each exercise, you move on to the next one. You can do this because each sequential exercise uses different muscles. For instance, resistance band squats are a leg exercise, dumbbell press is an arm exercise - while you're doing the arms exercise you're 'resting' the legs. So, to complete this workout, run through 10 reps of each exercise, and then run through the whole 4 exercises three times. So at the end you would have completed 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise. Easy!

Pull up on a resistance band as you lower in your squat to make the humble squat a little more challenging. If you don't have a resistance band feel free to just do a normal squat! 

Holding some dumbbells (or milk cartons, or bricks or whatever else you've got laying around the house), lift the weight to just outside your shoulders, palms inwards and elbows tucked in. Brace those core muscles, look straight ahead and lift the weights in an arc so they meet at the top, almost touching each other. You need to gradually turn your palms as you arc to the top, so that at the highest point, your palms are facing the front. Pause, then lower to starting position. That's 1 rep. 

Add some weights to really challenge your leg muscles in this move. Check out this post here for tips on form. 

No equipment needed for this one, which helps activate the muscles in your butt and your abs. 
Lay on your back, with palms facing down, bend your knees so they're just past 90 degrees, with your feet flat on the floor. Raise one foot of the ground, and hold the leg in the air. Push with the foot still on the ground, raise your hips and push them as high as you can. Clench your butt as you raise. Pause for a second, then slowly lower. That's 1 rep on 1 side. So this one is 5 reps on each side (10 in total) before you can move on! It's up to you whether you alternate legs or do all reps on one side. 

What are your favourite at-home workout activities?

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