Category Archives: body

No time to get fit unless we make the time for it

Since becoming a mom, exercise for the sake of exercise has been relegated to the bottom of my sea of priorities. I had all sorts of ideas about how I would be staying fit while bonding with my little one:

Mom running with babe
Like this – But B always wanted OUT of the stroller when we went out!
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Or this – We tried this at home. Nice bonding, not much exercising though

After a lot of false starts, here’s how I finally got going:

FIND A MOTIVATION: I joined fellow Singapore Mom Bloggers (Angelia, Christy, Dee, Liz and Meiling) to sign up for the Great Eastern Women’s Run at year end. Running seemed to be the most accessible, effective and efficient form of cardio, indoors or outside, with limited to no equipment needed. The shortest race option of 5K seemed do-able as I’d covered this distance before … back then.  Lastly, November seemed far enough away to not panic. Yet.

SCHEDULE IT IN: “We won’t find time to get fit unless we make the time for it!” I realised I needed a set exercise routine as “something else” would always get in the way every time. So one Sunday night, I searched for “5K training plans for rusty out of shape beginners,” adapted them accordingly and came up with a simple, progressive plan which can hopefully be sustained beyond November.  This also helped me get right down to actually exercise rather than figure out “what” and “how” to do beforehand.

STAY REALISTIC AND CONSISTENT:  I’ve affectionately dubbed my weekly fitness efforts as the “Get in shape to survive a 5K race” plan.  It currently looks like this, with target frequency and duration:

1) Interval training (3x/week for 30 mins): Beginning with more jogging than running, evolving into more running than jogging, and eventually fartleks i.e. steady run, jog, then stride (short burst sprints) intervals. For starters, run at an easy pace for 1 min, jog to catch your breath for 4 mins, repeat until you hit your target distance or time.  The first time I tried this, I clocked in (cough) 2 km in 23 minutes at around 150-155 bpm. OK, I was distracted by the machine, fiddling with the cardio and interval options before deciding to just adjust the speed manually.  But obviously, it’s been a long time since I did much cardio, let alone “training” runs 🙂  As the weeks go by and intervals get more intensive, strength and endurance, speed and aerobic metabolism should improve. I hope!

Night at the gym
Nights at the gym – after I put the lil one to bed and before I continue any work at home

2) Strength training (2x/week for 45 mins):  Doing weight bearing activities and/or attending a weekly reformer pilates class enables me to balance cardio for aerobic health and metabolism with strength training for muscle building and bone density.

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It may look easy but ….
Finding Humor in Fitness Terms
… it BURNS baby!

3) Cross training (1x/week for 30-45 mins): I’ve read that if we’re training to run, we should include other cardio activities (like swimming, elliptical, bike, climbing) to break the monotony of running, exercise new muscles and prevent injury.  Since those beginners plans listed this as optional, this pretty much only happens when I accompany my kid while he’s swimming or take the stairs instead of the lift 🙂

Swimming together

EXERCISE SMART:  Some tips for novice runners:
1) EAT a meal or healthy snack with sufficient water 2 hours before.  Drink 100 Plus (or sports drink) one hour after to hydrate. Get enough calcium (800-1000 ML per day) with magnesium, vitamins D and K for absorption.  Avoid access salt, alcohol and tobacco.
2) SUN is good, but too much isn’t. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a visor or cap.  It’s ironic how many folks are vitamin D deficient despite living in sunny Singapore so run in the early morning or late evening to catch some healthy rays if you can.
3) REST after your hardest workouts to reduce risk of injury. Rest at least 1 day prior to the race.  Warm up and cool down by walking ~5 mins before and after each run.  Don’t do major stretches before running, do it after or on non-running days.

Done reading this post? Time to get up, get out, get movin’!

getting ahead

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook. Linking up to share our journey to be fitter and healthier moms:

Next up is Toddly Mummy, a born-again drama-mama and creative extraordinaire, at least in EV’s and AA’s opinions. She has learnt that motherhood makes one discover talents one never expects one to have, all for the singular purpose of keeping the kids happy. A full-time-working mum, she spends evenings home learning and reading with her kids. On her blog, Toddly Mummy shares her thoughts on parenting, fun moments of home learning sessions and outdoor adventures.

Fit and Fab - Winnie

Special Review and Offer: Pure Beginnings by Vines and Roots (15% off)

Hubby and I have fond memories of Africa. Beyond its immense beauty, nature, culture and history, it also has personal significance for us as we conceived naturally – after years of trying – upon returning from our South Africa roadtrip.  So it’s with much delight that I can share a little bit about Vines and Roots on this blog, with a special offer for our blog readers (details below).

Vines and Roots was founded by a mom who wanted to bring a touch of Africa to Singapore through organic body and skincare products. Made from natural ingredients with proven effectiveness, these products involve no animal testing, no preservatives, are biodegradable and sourced ethically to support fair trade in Africa. They recently launched a new line – Pure Beginnings – which is specially developed for little ones (safe from newborn on).

We had a chance to use and review five Pure Beginnings products:

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B lining up our Pure Beginnings samples

1. Insect Repellent:  Raining almost every day? Dengue fears again?  We’ve tried almost every (organic and normal) mozzie patch and spray. Sadly, most are rather ineffective for my bug magnet boy.  Worse, some of the cheaper brands smell terrible and leave a nasty, chemical or oily feel. Not this one! The Pure Beginnings repellent is 100% natural, DEET FREE, lightly scented with citronella, lemon eucalyptus, neem and lemon bush. It’s also thoughtfully designed as a roll-on tube so you don’t get your fingers dirty yet can still concentrate which area of skin to apply on for maximum effect.

2. Baby Berry Toothpaste: Featured in the Parents World 2014 Best Organic and Natural Products Awards, this Pure Beginnings toothpaste is excellent!  It’s fluoride-free with xylitol, safe to swallow and tastes great too – errm, yes I’ve tried it (I try anything that my son consumes, intentionally or accidentally).  B basically brushes his teeth 3x a day – when he wakes or after breakfast, before mid-day nap, and before bedtime.  He had no trouble switching from his regular off-the-counter toothpaste to this, and while he now knows how to gargle and spit, he’s also “tasted” Baby Berry and told me that he likes the raspberry flavour!

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3. Baby Bum Cream: I usually carry several creams in my bag for sensitive skin, occasional rashes, cuts and bites. With Pure Beginnings, I’ve found a multi-purpose cream that can treat diaper rash, insect bites and stings – saving money AND space! The Baby Bum Cream contains baobab, olive, lavender and tea tree oil, which give it natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The use of baobab is a nod to its unique African roots whose trees are associated with longevity, oil from its seeds used as moisturisers, and extract of the fruit delivers pre-biotics and antioxidants.

4. Baby Wash and Shampoo: Mild, rosemary and geranium scented, this all-in-one baby wash and shampoo also contains baobab extract, a common ingredient in the Pure Beginnings line. After using this for 2 weeks, we’ve yet to see any dry, rough patches on B’s skin – which he’d normally get with regular soap as he inherited my sensitive skin.

Ready?

5. Bamboo Baby Wipes: Most wipes are alcohol-based which dry or aggravate sensitive skin. In contrast, these Pure Beginnings wipes are quite gentle due to their organic aloe and baobab extract content. There’s also a slight soapy quality to it too – handy in a mess, especially with younger babies who still drool a fair bit, can’t reach or use regular sinks or aren’t potty trained yet.

Given my own history with ezcema, I was very keen to find affordable yet natural products for B in his early years.  I’ve scoured the net and malls comparing and testing most bath and body brands in Singapore. If you look beyond the marketing, many of them contain chemicals, synthetic fragrances, dairy, soy, nuts and gluten which may trigger allergies or aggravate rashes.  As such, I appreciate Vines & Roots efforts to be pure and transparent, with clear labels and active use of ingredients such as baobab extract,  lemon, citronella, lavender and tea tree. The Pure Beginnings line is a wonderful addition with its natural range of kid-friendly, effective and appealing products.

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Thumbs up to Pure Beginnings!

Just for our readers:  Vines & Roots is offering an exclusive 15% discount for all  purchases using our blog code “FINALLYMAMA”.  Keen to try but don’t know where to start?  Check out the various gift combinations available such as this sample travel set below.

A 100ml baby wash and shampoo, 100ml baby body lotion, a 50ml baby bum cream, and an embroidered cotton facecloth, lovingly selected in this lovely compact pack

For updates, reviews and more, like me at Finally Mama on Facebook.

Dem aching bones

A late recap post as September was a tiring month. Everyone in the household fell sick, helper was on home leave, hubby and grandparents were frequently away.  While regular laundry, home-cooked meals and toilet cleaning were somewhat neglected, holding down the fort (while sick too!) gave me a nice super-mom buzz and of course, a deeper appreciation for all dedicated caregivers and homeschooling moms out there…  Some days when a me-only holiday or even full time work seemed like a nice break (not in reality, I know), I turn to this article‘s quote: “The more time a mother can spend raising her kids, the better. The better for them, the better for their souls, the better for the community, the better for humanity. Period.”

That said, we still worked through a theme: OUR BODY, following B’s weekly Gymnademics home material as I had little time for much else. B even got “kicked up to the 2-3 years Fellows class a tad early (hope they don’t regret it!)

ABC:  We didn’t find a “wow” body book at the library as the many kids books were either too simple or too wordy.  So we revisited a few classic books and flash cards around the body, reinforced by simple craft on Saturdays with dad.


Our best activity:  Making our B-sized skeleton.  Mommy traced out B’s body on paper, drew and cut out the bones, while B painted it.  He loves greeting “skeleton” every morning and night, sticks food stickers in his mouth because it’s hungry.  All those bones must make him look quite thin!  Bonus: The skeleton makes a perfect profor Halloween 🙂


Music: Songs worked wonderfully in this theme!  Now that B actually sings (well, he strings all the words in a run-on-sentence), music really aids his recall and encourages him to move more parts of the body.  We’d been singing Head Shoulders Knees Toes for a while now, but he’s also responding more to the Chinese versions too (the ones in class have different, fun variations of 拍拍手).  This month, B picked up on a few more:

Outings:  It’s that time of year for birthday parties again!  Besides that, we tried to go outdoors as often as possible before the rainy season hits. We joined a few friends for a beach playdate, visited The Garden House (a new nature-themed preschool), went back to Gardens By The Bay for the Mid-Autumn Festival show, fed fish and picnic-ked out at Botanic Gardens, among others.

Personal
  • B truly started conversing in Chinese! 好棒 兴烨!
  • Started singing with words, not just sounds/tones (mainly in English): Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Row Row Row Your Boat, Hokey Pokey, Wheels On The Bus, Rain Rain Go Away, Happy Birthday, and snippets of everything else he hears around him. 
  • Tantrums remain infrequent and can be pre-empted as it’s usually related to (1) Too tired and don’t want to bathe before nap (2) Too hungry yet don’t want to give up his cars
  • Growing independence – he’s increasingly saying “Mama, B do” whether it’s drawing, stamping, reading, eating, choosing what to wear, etc.  Feels like my little boy wants to be a man too fast!  
  • Growth spurt!  One day he suddenly outgrew his 2 year sized shoes and pajamas. When we were at IKEA this week, we also discovered that he’s 90 cm – the “magic” height for entry into some playgrounds, and also, bus and MRT payments 😉  When did that happen?  He’d been seemingly stuck at 86 cm and just around 12 kg for the past few months