Getting Started with Resistance Training using LILA EXOGEN

Keen to improve the way you move? Whether it’s for competitive sports or regular fitness activities, resistance training has valuable benefits.
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Maintaining a healthy weight, having firmer body, and being more energetic are my personal goals when it comes to health and fitness. I’m sure I’m not alone with these goals. After all, who doesn’t want a happier life with healthy body and mind? But I do accept that this is easier said than done.

One of the activities I do towards having healthy weight is to have regular exercises. I’m a working mom, and like many other busy mums, whether working or not, it can be challenging to allot time and energy every day to exercise. On weekdays, what I’ve been doing over the years is to perform 10-20 minute shots of exercises for specific areas of the body. On weekends, I run / walk for an hour. These have been great routines for me for the past, hmmm, 4 to 5 years.
However, I’ve been starting to feel that I want to improve what I do. Ageing doesn’t make my metabolism better (aaaarrrrrhhh!). And I noticed that I’m starting to gain weight again instead of losing or maintaining my target, at least. Signs that I need to “up” my level, yes?
I know that I need to improve how I do my exercises. I need to improve the way I move. I cannot stretch the time I spend on workout too much as there are many things in life that I need to balance, just like a lot of you. I need to be more efficient with how I work out, either through increasing the intensity or…resistance training.

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My regular workouts include Tabata body, 7-minute leg workout, abs workout, and 10-minute HIIT. Plank, jumping jacks, leg lifts, v-sits, lunges, squat jumps, high knee running in place…these are some of the steps that I regularly do. I’ll share more about this wonderful app that I follow to do these at home. I’m no expert and definitely a newbie on the subject of resistance training so I’ve done some research to understand more.

One of the interesting articles I’ve read from TIME said:
“If you just do cardio, you’re sabotaging yourself,” says Jacob Wilson, Ph.D., certified strength and conditioning specialist and associate editor of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. “Your metabolism will actually go down, making weight loss more difficult. Resistance training, however, builds muscle to increase your metabolic rate.” That explains why, in one Harvard School of Public Health study of 10,500 adults, those who spent 20 minutes a day weight training gained less abdominal fat over the course of 12 years (compared to those who spent the same amount of time performing cardio).
No wonder it was getting harder to maintain my target weight…
So what then is resistance training? There are so many definitions you can find online but one of the simplest one I found says that resistance training, also called strength training or weight training, is a form of exercise that improves muscular strength and endurance. It increases muscle strength by making your muscles work against a weight or force.
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There are many ways that you can do resistance training. Some of them include sand bags, resistance bands, suspension equipment, free weights like dumbbells and I’ve seen ankle weights and wrist weights as well. I tried using some dumbbells but I somehow didn’t enjoy it. I like to move and sweat all over after some short but intense (at least intense for me) workouts, without the need to hold weights in my hands. I did check ankle weights and wrist weights, too, but I wasn’t sure if I’ll be comfortable strapping those heavy loads while I jump or run. It didn’t look and sound right. I was worried about injuries specially on my knees. The ones I saw were quite heavy, ranging from 1kg to even 6kg.

I’ve also read that ankle weights can be good complement for exercises like leg lifts, squats, planks with leg lifts, bicycle kicks, mountain climbers and other similar exercises. But I was looking for something more multi-functional and something that can move with me, whether it’s for HIIT, running and, potentially, muay thai. There should be a solution out there for people like me who switch between different types of workouts, right?
I encountered Light Variable Resistance Training or LILA calls it LVRT. Wait, what?  
Light Variable Resistance Training is a way of training with significantly less load than traditional resistance training. It’s a signature training system developed by LILA and it emphasises 100% user-defined resistance training. In other words, we control it and we define how we move with it.

lila-exogen-for-strength-resistance-training

LILA (pronounced lee-lah) has developed EXOGEN EXOSKELETONS. Sounds fancy, huh? It deserves to sound fancy. It is, after all, the world’s 1st generation of multi-function, high-performance exoskeletons that accelerate the future of user-defined movement training.

What is an exoskeleton? An exoskeleton basically is an external skeleton that supports and protects the body. Think of it like the Iron Man suits. It turns Tony Stark into a superhero that can lift extremely heavy loads, fly, scan surroundings with superhuman speed and accuracy, shoot and more. In the US, exoskeletons are already being used to rehabilitate injuries and provide superhuman strength. 
LILA’s EXOGEN EXOSKELETONS are created and developed by sports scientists to improve the way you move. It combines the art of movement with science and technology to enhance your performance, provide protection and support, improve sensory feedback and deliver thermo-regulation.
What does it do? What are the benefits of using LILA EXOGEN?
LILA has research-based benefits that span across various areas, from improving calorie burn up to increasing leg power and jump. For more scientific details about EXOGEN performance benefits, you can check it out here https://movementrevolution.com/exogen/exogen-performance-benefits/
I’m most interested in its benefits for cardio and burning calories. If it can help increase my metabolic output or burn by 8 – 15% then I can increase my calorie burn every time I do my regular workouts and run. Let’s do some math:
Regular 10-minute HIIT
Without LILA = 84 calories x 5 days in a week = 420 calories / week x 4 = 1,680 / month
With LILA EXOGEN at 15% increase = 96.6 calories x 5 days in a week = 483 calories / week x 4 = 1,932 / month
That’s an increase of 252 calories in just 1 month with just my 10-minute workout.
Imagine doing that for 12 months. That’s an increase of 3,024 calories burned!
My weekend run
Without LILA = around 410 calories / week x 4 = 1,640 / month
With LILA at 15% increase = 471.5 calories / week x 4 = 1,886 / month
That’s an increase of 246 in 1 month with just my 1-hour run every weekend. If I do this for 12 months, that’s an increase of 2,952 calories burned.
Add my 10-minute HIIT and weekend runs, I can potentially increase my calorie burn by 5,976 in a year!
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What makes this really amazing is that it is wearable. Unlike old school or traditional resistance training equipment that are confined to the walls or floors of a gym, the LILA EXOGEN is worn on the body and moves with the body. The loads and sleeves are travel-friendly too. 

LILA EXOGEN High Performance Exoskeletons come in several forms targeted at specific areas of the body. The EXOGEN range includes Forearm Compression Sleeves, Upper Arm Compression Sleeves, Full ArmCompression Sleeves, Compression Calf Sleeves, Compression Shorts and CompressionSleeveless Top. I’m focused at the moment on improving my leg movements and workouts so I decided to purchase the Compression Calf Sleeves.
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The Compression Calf Sleeves come in a black carry box, containing a pair of compression calf sleeves, a mesh bag, an 8-piece set of loads in a travel-friendly roll pouch and the user guide.

Price: USD139 / RM588

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I’ve started using the calf sleeves on my daily short workouts and I felt an incredible difference. Starting with light load of 100g per leg, I can feel that I’m working harder yet it just feels natural with my movement.
I also use it for my weekend run. On my first run test, I was too ambitious, I loaded 300g on each leg. But this is too early for me to do, I felt that I need to make the load lighter after a few hundred meters. So I reduced the loads to 100g per leg, it felt right and I continued my run / walk for another hour. I love that I can control the amount of loads and play with the direction of the loads, too! That’s what I call true user freedom! And on my 2nd test run with LILA, I increased it to 200g per leg, 100g in front and 100g at the back.

 

 

 

There are various methods for arranging the loads or Fusiform on the sleeves. For my running and short workouts, I’m currently placing the loads downwards and with the belly (fatter side) on top.
I’m keen on progressing continuously with resistance training. According to Better Health Australia, doing resistance training / strength training / weight training has many health benefits, both for physical and mental health, such as:
  1. improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury
  2. weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest
  3. greater stamina – as you grow stronger, you won’t get tired as easily
  4. improved mobility and balance
  5. improved posture
  6. increased bone density and strength
  7. improved sense of wellbeing – resistance training may boost your self-confidence, improve your body image and your mood
  8. enhanced performance of everyday tasks
For full article about resistance training health benefits, visit https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits


I had the honour of meeting the LILA EXOGEN team and got hooked by their concept and mission to improve the way we move. At the time of publishing this article, I’m already a happy member and delighted customer of the LILA EXOGEN team, moving forward to improve the way I move!

Stay tuned for updates on my LILa journey…progress on my workouts and Muay Thai training!
Born to move. Live to move.

 

Great Online Shops for Christmas Gifts, Birthdays and more

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Time for joy, time for cheer, time for gifting! 

With just around 2 weeks before Christmas, shopping rush is on. And if you are juggling work, home, travel and many other responsibilities, it might not be easy to get gift shopping done on time. Don’t forget, there’s still Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day celebrations to plan for. 

But don’t let time stop you from getting things done. There are a lot of online shopping sites out there. While I was “window shopping”, or should I say “screen shopping”, I came across some great gifts from different sites. So many choices, so little time! The magic of online shopping is that you can explore many options in less time and you can get the gifts delivered to your house, office or maybe even directly to your loved ones. That’s efficiency and convenience. 

For those who’d love skincare, scents, hair care and body care gifts:

Althea (tried and tested)
Althea is an online shopping site for Korean beauty products, skincare, body care, cosmetics, hair care and makeup. Find brands like Innisfree, The Face Shop, Laneige, Nature Republic, Sulwhasoo and more. 

You can find gift ideas from as low as RM13  



I ordered a few items for myself (yah, I deserve a Christmas box, too) several weeks back and it came with this pretty Holiday box!





I picked this cleanser purely because of the “killer” name!





The Body Shop
The Body Shop is a retail and online shop for skincare, beauty products, makeup, body care and more. If you don’t have time to buy from its shops, you can easily order online and get them delivered to you. 
You can find gift ideas from as low as RM35
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Sephora
From as low as RM44



For those who’d like something a bit more personalised:

Giftr
Giftr is an online shopping site specializing on gifts such as flowers, bouquets, chocolates, cakes and personalized gifts. 
You can find great gifts from as low as RM49.90, including personalised monogram cushion



Printcious
Printcious is an online shop that specializes on personalized gift items such as mugs, shirts, mouse pads, keychains, luggage tags and even ceramic tile!
You can find gift ideas from as low as RM20.30



BloomThis
BloomThis is great for those who love to send or receive flowers. They can do same day delivery, just order before 1pm between Monday to Friday and before 12pm for Saturday deliveries. 
Find gifts from as low as RM99



For those who like shiny, sparkling things

Swarovski via Zalora (tried and tested)
I’m a Swarovski fan and a Zalora fan, too. It’s great to shop online for Swarovski accessories via Zalora and enjoy fast delivery. If you’re looking for sparkling, shiny gifts, check out the Swarovski flagship store at Zalora for earrings, necklaces, rings and more. 
From as low as RM149


Look at this pretty key pendant necklace…



Jeoel
If you like the idea of collecting charms or beads, check out Jeoel and its collections of accessories with various themes such as animals, fairy tales, love, music, numbers and more including diamond-ornamented accessories. 
You can find great sparkling gifts from as low as RM84

There’s currently a promo for Buy 2 for 50% off


If you or your loved one love unicorns, you might like this one…


For those who love activities and experiences

Klook
Klook is your online destination if you’re looking for experiences such as tours, shows, performances, galleries and theme parks like 3D Art Museum, aquarium and more.
Find activities from as low as RM7





For those who love delicious cake, delivered right at your doorstep:

Cake Together
What’s not to like and be happy about this Christmas if you receive a beautifully crafted cake? Cakes can get ready in as fast as 4 hours within KL and PJ, and selections are available for Penang, too.
From as low as RM95 per cake


There seems to be lotsa love for unicorns and mermaids…take a look at this beautiful mermaid cake!


Oh my goodness, look at this mouth-watering Nutella Cake…




Eat Cake Today
More and more cakes! I’d definitely be delighted to receive any of these beautiful cakes, cookies, macaroons or cupcakes. Look, they even have gingerbread cookies!

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From as low as RM60




Happy shopping and I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season! 

11 Reasons Why I Love Spotify

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If you’re not using Spotify yet and wondering why so many people are using it, here are some of the reasons why I love Spotify (and could be why you might want to start using it, too). 

#1 
I can find every song I want, from new songs up to the songs I listen to when I was, hmmm…8 years old? 
I’m a 1980 baby (yes, I admit, I’m old) and I grew up with my father’s music like The Beatles, Kenny Rogers, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Paul and Mary, The Carpenters and Cat Stevens. My strongest music preference is within the 90’s, when alternative rock and more rock genres have evolved up to gothic rock. Generation of today may not be inclined to listen to bands like Disturbed, Garbage, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation and System of a Down. I don’t listen to the radio and I definitely need my own mix of songs while driving or running. 


And that’s the greatest thing I experienced when I first used Spotify. I can create my personal mix and I can literally find every song I wanted. 

#2 
I can download songs or podcasts and listen to it offline. 
This makes the experience hassle-free. I don’t need to be dependent on data to start listening. I can create my mix or follow playlists that I like and download them into my iPhone, iPad or MacBook. 
You can’t play your music on more than 1 device at the same time but I have no issue with this. 


#3
I learn interesting stuff from podcasts and more. 
It’s not just all songs and playlists. Spotify has multiple categories including audiobooks, comedy and podcasts. My favourite podcast is Something You Should Know by Mike Carruthers. Oh and there are new ones including Chill Digital Marketing! I should start listening to that… 



#4
I discover songs that I probably wouldn’t know about. 
Since I don’t like listening to radio, I’m unaware of new songs that I might potentially like based on my music preference. Spotify has weekly updates under “Made for You” tab where you see playlists and songs that you might like. 



#5
I feel like Spotify understands my mood. 
There is a certain time of the day or day of the week when I need music to focus. Spotify has playlist for it. There are times when you need some energy boost. There are times when you need to de-stress or need good music while reading a book for that perfect chill-and-relax time. There’s this season of the year when you need Christmas songs, yes? Spotify’s playlists for genres and moods are just amazing.


It’s also great how Spotify has a localised approach. Since I’m based in Malaysia, my Spotify “Browse” section features Malay Pop playlist. I don’t really listen to it but it’s great that Spotify has this. 


#6
I fall asleep with Spotify Sleep playlists on.
I used to have a hard time falling asleep. At home, in local hotels, in overseas hotels, it’s just difficult for me to stop thinking, chill and fall asleep. And during one of the nights I was having trouble sleeping and I was tinkering with my Spotify playlists, guess what, Spotify showed “Can’t sleep?” And it displayed several playlists for sleep! Since then, I’ve been playing Sleep playlists every night, wherever I am, and it really helped me relax and doze off faster. 



#7
I run longer and better with my Spotify playlist on.
I started running every weekend around 2 years back and it can honestly be very boring. I find it more challenging to defeat boredom than enduring the exercise itself. Then I tried running with music on and it was a game changer! I can now last more than an hour with music on when I used to get so bored within my first 20 minutes. 



#8
I can survive hours of flights with Spotify. 
I’m not a fan of traveling, unlike most of young people out there who love to travel. I don’t like sitting for hours in a plane (or any form of transport). I try working on my laptop in flight but this gives me headache. Nowadays I have my Spotify music on. Whether I’m listening to songs or podcasts, I am now better at traveling for a few hours. 

#9
I can easily access what I recently listened to. And play it again and again when I feel like it. 
The Spotify app or software easily allows you to go through playlists, follow them and the playlists you recently played go inside the tab “Recently Played”. Then you can keep playing the same playlist and knock yourself out with the same songs again and again. Ahhhh, the joy of satisfying your song cravings. 



#10
The user interface is just awesome. 
This is just way easy to use, easy to find songs, easy to personalize and easy for discovery. 

#11
It’s affordable. 
It does have 30-day trial and even the premium subscription is only at RM14.90 per month. I use Spotify everyday and I find that it’s really worth it. I hope Spotify maintains its reasonable price while it keeps adding more cool things over time. 

 Music for everyone

Keep it up, Spotify! Rock my world. 

*Just in case you are wondering…the contents of this article are from my personal opinion and experience. This is not a paid post. 

Upgrade your old phone to an OPPO F9 with the OPPO and TecProtec Trade-in Program

Want to upgrade your phone to the new OPPO F9 without breaking the bank?

how-to-upgrade-or-trade-in-to-oppo-f9

Manila, Philippines
AmTrust Mobile Solutions and OPPO is elevating consumer purchasing power with its new TecProtec Trade-in program partnership. With peace of mind and fast processing for trade-in, customers may now have their current smartphones assessed and evaluated for a new OPPO smartphone directly at select OPPO concept stores.

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TecProtec, a program by AmTrust Mobile Solutions, in exclusive partnership with top international smartphone brand OPPO, aimed to offer more options to consumers in purchasing smartphones. Starting September 28, 2018, customers may now inquire to trade-in their current smartphone and get evaluated in its value in just 5 minutes. Qualified smartphones will then be eligible for its trade-in value to purchase a new OPPO smartphone such as the recently launched F9 with VOOC Flash Charging technology.

“The goal of this program is to provide an easy way for smartphone owners to upgrade to their choice of new phone,” said Jaime Jose M. Javier, Jr., AmTrust Mobile Solutions Philippines CEO. “With the Trade-in to the New OPPO F9 Program, we are happy to provide a great solution to more smartphone owners to upgrade and get their dream phone,” Javier added.

“It’s a simple and easy solution to trade-in and upgrade. With any old device, a customer can walk-in to our selected outlets and get the trade-in completed within minutes” announced Garrick Hung, OPPO Philippines Vice President. “This eliminates the time-consuming journey of having your phone sold first and even avoiding the risk of low ballers. In just a few steps, anyone can walk out with the new OPPO F9 in their hands and just in one store.” Hung added.

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AmTrust Mobile Solutions / TecProtec team at OPPO + TecProtec Trade-in Launch
(left to right) Mikko Bacani, Aldrin Ocampo, Clark Afortunado, Ronelyn Ordonez, Jimmy Javier, Menan Tagle

Part of the goal was to develop a creative and engaging concept that showcases TecProtec’s Trade-In Program positioning and unique mobile trade-in capabilities. TecProtec’s approach to mobile is anchored by their belief that mobile is more than just a transaction platform; it can strengthen the relationship of brands with consumers.
Starting September 29, 2018, Saturday customers may now visit the following OPPO concept stores to inquire about availing current smartphone to the TecProtec trade-in program.

List of OPPO Concept Stores
·       SM Megamall
·       SM Mall of Asia
·       Tutuban Mall
·       SM Sangandaan
·       Starmall Alabang
·       SM Southmall
·       SM BF Paranaque
·       SM Novaliches
·       SM Fairview
·       Robinsons Nova
·       Fairview Terraces
·       Sta. Lucia Mini Concept
·       SM Marikina
·       SM East Ortigas
·       Robinsons Galleria Ortigas
·       Robinsons Metro East
·       Market Market Taguig
·       Alimall Cubao



(from left) Edward Lacap, Regional BuyBack Manager for AmTrust Mobile Solutions, together with Jemma Dela Cruz, General Manager for AmTrust Mobile Solutions, explain details of the OPPO program on stage

Visit a participating OPPO Concept Store today and get yourself a new OPPO F9!


About TecProtec
TecProtec, a brand of AmTrust Mobile Solutions, is a device protection program that gives you peace of mind. As smartphones become an integrated part of our lifestyle, it is important to ensure our devices are protected and TecProtec ensures that you’re always connected.

About AmTrust Mobile Solutions
AmTrust Mobile Solutions by AmTrust International is a leading hub for mobile phone and gadget protections in the market, with business segments: device protection, repairs, trade-ins, and tech support for convenient and seamless solutions. Its value-added solutions support businesses and customers for an uninterrupted digital life. For more information, visit our website: https://www.tecprotec.co/and https://amtrustmobilesolutions.asia/

About OPPO
For the last 10 years, OPPO has been focusing on manufacturing camera phones, while innovating mobile photography technology breakthroughs. OPPO started the era of selfie beautification and was the first brand to launch smartphones with 5MP and 16MP front cameras.  OPPO was also the first brand to introduce the motorized rotating camera, the Ultra HD feature and the 5x Dual Camera Zoom technology. OPPO’s Selfie Expert F series launched in 2016 drove a selfie trend in the smartphone industry.
In 2016, OPPO was ranked as the number 4 smartphone brand globally, according to IDC. And today, OPPO provides excellent smartphone photography experience to over 100 million young people around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.oppo.com/ph/index.html

Good oral health for good life and good food!

We love good food and we love delicious drinks. But do we practice good oral hygiene?

how-to-take-care-of-your-teeth

When I first came to Malaysia, I was amazed at how people would go out of their way, travel the distance and even wait on long queues just to eat. I can’t imagine myself waiting for 30 minutes or more just to sit down and have a bite. Well, that was 8 years ago. I’ve now been accustomed to how much Malaysians love food. And I’ve grown to love different types of food, cuisine and other pleasurable delights in this country. 

My son is growing up fast and he’s learning to enjoy new dishes, drinks and desserts. He’s also enjoying a little bit of spice in his food now (ah, Malaysians and your undying love for spicy food). It’s nice to see him appreciate and ask for Japanese food, Filipino food, Chinese food, Western and, of course, cakes and ice cream!

But no matter how much we love food, it’s very important to practise healthy eating habits. I know, I know, not easy. It’s important to try to have a balanced diet. We can’t have a diet that’s all-carbs or all-protein or no veggie. Kids generally love fried, oily food, chips and junk (I do, too!) and we have to be strict, set an example and make healthy eating a habit for them.  

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He loves mac and cheese (yummy kid’s meal at Chili’s).

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He loves fried chicken and rice meal, which comes with side dish vegetables (from Pancake House).


Another important habit to develop among our families is practising good oral hygiene. Again, I admit this is not easy to do. Some kids find brushing an unusual or weird thing to do and some of them might not even like the taste of any toothpaste. While my son was growing up, it did take a while for him to get used to brushing. But it’s necessary to start them young. As soon as he had his first two teeth, I already started brushing. Now, at seven years old, he has fully developed a habit to brush in the morning after breakfast, after lunch and right before going to bed. 

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Here’s the naughty boy about to brush his teeth. 

My son likes Jordan brushes mainly because of the fun design he sees on it. He’s comfortable holding it and brushing with it. I personally like it, too, because this type comes with a cap that is very useful when travelling. 

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toothbrush-with-travel-friendly-cap


If you’re having trouble getting your kids to brush teeth, check out some tips from this mom!

As for myself, I brush teeth every after meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although some might say that 2x a day is enough, I just cannot stand the feel of my teeth and tongue after a meal without brushing. 

how-to-take-care-of-your-teeth
No matter how busy we are during the day, it’s important to spend a few minutes to take care of our teeth and freshen our breath as well. 

How to brush teeth properly:
  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, spending an equal amount of time (30 seconds) in each area of your mouth.
  • Hold your brush at a 45 degree angle pointed towards the gums.
  • Brush your tongue to help freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
  • Brush all the surfaces of your teeth including the sides and the chewing surface above your tongue.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day: at least once during the day and once before going to bed.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or as soon as you see that the bristles are out of shape or discoloured. 


Aside from food, Malaysians also love various drinks. Teh tarik, teh o ais, teh o ais limau, Milo ais, kopi tarik…wow, there are so many choices for drinks here. I enjoy fruit shakes, occasional coffee from Starbucks and milo ais kosong. 

delicious-banana-milkshake
Rich banana milkshake (from The Narra Filipino restaurant)

If you love to drink coffee, tea or fruit juices, you might want to try using whitening dental floss. A whitening dental floss like this one can effectively lift off plaque and surface stains between teeth and around the gum-line. Stains are caused by daily consumption of different foods and beverages. This Jordan floss is available in 25m and coated with mint flavour, fluoride, xylitol and ingredients proven effective against discolouration and tartar.  

how to floss teeth properly

how to floss your teeth properly


How to floss your teeth properly:
  • Floss your teeth once a day.
  • Make sure to floss the teeth at the back of your mouth.
  • Use 45 cm of floss—wrap each end around your fingers and gently lower it in between your teeth.
  • Follow the curve of your teeth to avoid damaging your gums.
  • Repeat this for every tooth, as you move to the next tooth take the dirty floss with one finger and unwind the clean floss from the other finger.


Not convinced to floss or to start to? Flossing does about 40% of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. Plaque generates acid, which can cause cavities, irritate the gums, and lead to gum disease. 

How do you know if you have good oral health?
  • It’s best to visit your dentist regularly for a checkup. But here are some basic factors that help you identify good oral health:
  • Your gums are pink.
  • Your gums do not get sore or bleed when you brush or floss your teeth.
  • Your teeth feel clean and not “fuzzy”.
  • You don’t constantly have bad breath.
  • You don’t have toothache.


Why should you bother to have good oral health?
  • First of all, you must understand the importance of healthy teeth. Good teeth means you can eat well and continue to enjoy what you like to eat.
  • To prevent tooth decay, tooth aches and gum disease. Bacteria buildup can severely damage your teeth and gums.
  • To avoid bad breath because…well, who likes to be close to anyone with bad breath? It’s not good for your personal relationships, whether family, friends or colleagues. And if you’re going for an interview, bad breath is a definite turn off. Consider it as part of your personal presentation. 
  • To maintain a complete set of teeth and be confident to flash that beautiful smile, haha! 


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So, everyone, let’s all please practice good dental hygiene and habits. Use good quality toothbrush and floss for healthy gums and teeth. 

flossing and brushing teeth

jordan toothbrush for adults and kids

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate and Fitness Tracker Review

What’s your daily exercise companion?  

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness tracker box

With fitness and health becoming a priority now in our lives, it’s not surprising that more people are jumping into the “wearables” segment to monitor health data, including me. I’ve been thinking about it since last year; it took me a while to finally make a decision in buying a fitness tracker/watch. (But why?) Because it meant I will make my other watches useless. Not that I have too many, not that they’re expensive. But do you know the feeling of having a few little things that you like or love and find it hard to let them go…
Back of Fitbit Charge 2 box

However, I knew that I need to be more aware and conscious about my mobility, how much I move everyday and reduce my “stagnant” hours or minutes. This is not just about losing weight but about being fit and avoiding bodily pains, which could be signs of aging as well (aaaaarrrrrr!). My job involves long hours sitting on a chair in front of computers. I could be stuck on that chair for 4-6 hours in a day without getting up unless I need to go to the restroom or get some water to drink. Yes, I know I know, it’s terrible. 

The bad thing with our time of advanced technology where we rarely need to walk or move to talk to someone is that it’s bad for health. We’ve all been pampered by chat apps, emails and phones so much that some people may find it a “burden” to need to walk. During my days at my first job, employees have to walk a lot and even travel to get an approval, get a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from a boss, take photo of a set-up or check competitor prices. But now, everything can be done via chat apps. In a few seconds or minutes, you can get an answer for important matters. While this is great for a lot of things, it diminishes our urge to move. 

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness tracker

But the awesome thing in this decade is that we now have wearable technology and apps to help us get moving and hopefully healthier and more fit! I did some research on different fitness trackers and decided to get the Fitbit Charge 2. 

Why I chose Fitbit Charge 2 (Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband)
1. Appearance – I was looking for a clean, sleek look, not too masculine like Garmin Fenix, and must look pretty enough to wear to work everyday. The appearance of Fitbit Charge 2 is great for me and it comes in purple band too.
2. Size – I wanted a fitness tracker that will not be bulky on my wrist specially when running. I don’t like the feel of normal watch on my wrist while sweating so my fitness tracker has to be slim enough to wear.  
3. Weight – I’m not sure if professional runners like heavy trackers but I, a beginner/amateur, definitely prefer a light one while running and sweating. This Fitbit is light at only 1.23 oz or 35 grams. 
4. Data display – I want a tracker that serves as a normal watch, too. This is why I didn’t go for the Fitbit Flex even if it was slimmer and sexier. Fitbit Charge 2 also displays multiple data in various screens. You can choose to display time, date, number of steps taken and heart rate in first screen; this is great for me. By tapping the screen, you can switch into different data displays like distance walked/ran, stairs climbed, active minutes and more. 
5. Auto-detection of running – This is my core exercise during the weekends and it’s great that Fitbit Charge 2 can auto-detect this activity. 
6. Sleep tracking and other exciting metrics – I’m not a big fan of sleeping (yes, I’m weird) but I know I have to sleep better and longer. I’m used to sleeping late and getting up early to send my son to school then go to work. Fitbit Charge 2 shows sleep data and can help me aim for better habits.  
7. Battery life – Product info online says it can last up to 5 days. But in actual use, my Fitbit lasts for 7 days, I only charge once a week and it even has around 15-20% battery life left when I do. 
8. Price – At RM730 and with all the features packed in, I think it’s reasonably-priced. If you’re seriously looking for a device to help you get more fit, save up for this one instead of replacing a phone that still works fine. Of course, if you’re a serious runner or if you do multiple activities that need more detailed tracking, you might want to consider other Fitbit models or even Garmin. 

After 1 month of use, I realise that Fitbit Charge 2 may not be perfect but I love this device. It serves everything I need, my purpose for buying a fitness tracker. I’ve been moving a lot more than I did before. Fitbit Charge 2 has notifications that remind me to walk based on the goals I set. 

Fitbit app for fitness and health tracking
(left to right) Fitbit app dashboard, Hourly activity summary, Sleep Data

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness data
(left to right) Heart Rate view showing Cardio Fitness, Summary of Heart rate zones, Heart rate zones based on my running exercise

I can’t say enough about how much I love the Fitbit app dashboard. It’s got everything I need to get moving and get closer to my goals. This dashboard can be on your mobile phone, tablet and notebook at the same time, giving you access to your Fitbit account everywhere. After all, what’s the point of tracking a lot of information if you can’t see them, make use of them and crush them? From what I’ve learned, the app is just as important as the fitness tracker itself. 

track fitness and health data on fitbit app
View of Fitbit dashboard on desktop 
It marks milestones with confetti on the dashboard, which I find really cool. It helps me to see accomplishments and track progress better. Small, progressive developments help me to continue pushing myself harder. I believe that a key to achieving fitness goals is consistency in whatever small steps I do while setting the bar a bit higher each time, even if it’s just an additional 0.5km or additional 2 flights of stairs. 

Fitbit also automatically sends emails for milestones achieved and when the battery is around 25% or less. 

Key fitness details are accessible on the Fitbit device such as the number of steps taken, heartbeat, distance, number of flights climbed – all these can be set using the mobile device to which you pair it. 

I have very bad sleeping habits. I’m someone who doesn’t like to sleep. I do it because I have to, not because I want to. Fitbit Charge 2 automatically tracks the time/number of hours I sleep and even how many minutes I was awake or restless in between! It’s a bit creepy but I find it accurate and it helps me be more aware. I now make a conscious effort to (try to) sleep earlier and longer. I previously sleep maybe 4-5 hours and now I’m between 5-6. It’s still not good enough but it’s a progress.


best fitness tracker to wear


how to charge a fitbit charge 2

box Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness wristband

SUMMARY
Pros – things I adore in Fitbit charge 2
  • Long-lasting battery life – lasts 5-7 days without charging (this varies on personal use but with me, it lasts up to 7 days)
  • Fast charging – plugged to a MacBook, it can easily charge from 25% to 100% in an hour
  • Replaceable/changeable straps in various options of colours available
  • Lightweight, does not bother me while running and sweating
  • Detailed and customisable dashboard
  • Useful notifications – SMS and calls are notified on the wristband
  • Reminders to move (oh, man, I’m actually this “lazy”?)
  • Multiple clock face options – you can choose between analog and digital styles, and the level of info you want to be quickly accessible on the tracker/wristband
  • Calorie counter is comprehensive with measurement, amount of calories, when taken


Cons
  • Over-counts while driving, ironing or mopping the floor (yes, I do mopping!)
  • Occasionally under-counts stairs climbed
  • Tracker face sometimes does not auto-display based on motion: when wrist is lifted towards the face/body, it should automatically turn on display
  • Plugging the charger takes a bit more effort than it should
  • Calorie database only allows 1 country; you cannot pick 2-3 database and Malaysia is not listed (yet) – I don’t count my calories religiously but if you do, you can choose to key-in calories manually for nasi lemak, roti canai, chutney and other yummy Malaysian dishes
  • Not waterproof so this model is not ideal for swimmers. I take it off before bathing, which is not so bad since I don’t need to track walking or running in the bathroom anyway.


how to charge fitbit charge 2
The charger takes a bit more effort than necessary to place on the right spot, lucky I only need to do this once a week.

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate and fitness tracker box
The Fitbit box comes with safety instructions booklet

purple fitbit charge 2
Protective seal for screen and heart rate sensor at the back



Getting started with the Fitbit Charge 2:
  • You need to sync your fitness tracker to your preferred device at first use. Fitbit works with Android, Apple and Microsoft devices. 
  • More likely, the fitness tracker needs to be charged. Check the battery percentage left by pressing the button several times.

Tips on charging your Fitbit:
1. Plug the charging cable into a USB port.
2. Clip the other end into the port on the back of the Fitbit Charge 2.
3. The pins on the charging cable must be lined up with the charging port on your tracker and securely locked into place.
4. When your tracker is correctly plugged into the charging cable, the battery icon appears.
5. While charging, the battery icon appears to be less than full.
6. When fully charged, the battery icon is full and solid.


There’s so much more to know and discover about Fitbit Charge 2, functions that I haven’t tried checking, such as Challenges, Adventures, Guided Breathing or adding more friends. Another great thing with Fitbit app is it’s helpful for people like me who exercise alone. I don’t join marathons or group activities but the Fitbit app has various actions to motivate individuals in its own way. It marks achievements and even sends emails about milestones and badges. It helps me recognize my accomplishments, even if they’re small and helps to keep me going. I also receive weekly progress via email, which is really helpful in continuing with my health and fitness goals. 

fitbit_weekly_statistics_and_badges



If you want to find out more about different brands of wearables, below are great articles I’ve read. It helped me decide on which one is suitable for me. If you are interested with Fitbit Charge 2, you can also check out Garmin Vivo Smart HR.  


I wish you a great journey to a fit and healthier you!

Fitbit charge 2 heart rate tracker and swarovski bracelet
My Fitbit Charge 2 is wearable with a fashion bracelet too!


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Mickey and the Roadster Racers Carnival in Mid Valley

School holidays are here! Do you and/or your kids love Mickey?

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers

After more than 80 years since he was first introduced on screen, Mickey Mouse is still well-loved by children and grown-ups around the world. Even my young son grew up watching Disney shows, loved Mickey Mouse clubhouse and his friends. I find it amazing that Mickey Mouse continues to reach different generations and to teach kids good values. 
And Mickey Mouse has a new upcoming TV series: Mickey and the Roadster Racers. Disney Junior’s animated “Mickey and the Roadster Racers” is a madcap racing series that showcases Mickey and his pals – Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto – and their unique transforming vehicles as they take on humorous high-spirited races and worldwide capers. The stories are designed to impart social and emotional lessons about friendship, teamwork, optimism and good sportsmanship. 

This school holiday (if you’re around KL and not out-of-town) from 15th to 26th March 2017, have fun with the kids and visit Mickey and the Roadster Racers Carnival at Mid Valley Mega Mall, Centre Court, between 10am to 7pm

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers carnival activities
Different activities are lined up for the kids (and, okay, okay, don’t panic, for grown-ups, too). Kids can gear up to ride and race their own Roadsters through the Hot Dog Hills race course, receive their personalized Roadster’s Racers license, make their own Roadster helmets and take part in Mickey themed arts and crafts activities. 

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers

When is the TV series “Mickey and the Roadster Racers” coming out? 
Premiere – Friday, March 24, 2017 (2:30 p.m) Disney Junior (Astro Ch 613) and Disney Channel (Astro Ch 637)
How often? Every day at 2:30 p.m on Disney Junior and every day at 8:00 a.m on Disney Channel

Geared toward kids 2-7, each episode features two 11-minute stories as Mickey and his friends gear up for racing and other exciting adventures in the mini-metropolis of Hot Dog Hills and around the world. At the push of a button, the gang’s daily cars transform into personalized roadster racers: Mickey’s Hot Doggin’ Hot Rod, Donald’s Cabin Cruiser, Goofy’s Turbo Tubster, Daisy’s Snapdragon and Minnie’s Pink Lightning, which also converts into the Happy Helpers Van.

chipmunks and mickey mouse

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers daisy and minnie

Who are the characters in the TV series “Mickey and the Roadster Racers”? 

MICKEY – He’s roadster-ready to go! 
Hot rod diggity dog! Mickey is everybody’s best friend. He’s super-friendly, optimistic, helpful, curious, adventurous, and loyal to the core. Of course, his state-of-the-art service station is just like him – it’s AWESOME! And so are his wheels! 
Mickey’s classic Toon Car is his sporty daily driver. But when it’s time for a race, the push of a button transforms his ride into… the fast-movin’ Hot Doggin’ Hot Rod! 
No matter what kind of sticky road bumps he finds along the way – during a race or around the garage – Mickey always manages to pull out of every problem. Even on the track, roadster-racing Mickey is cool and easy-going – but he’s no pushover. When the goin’ gets tough, our hero gets tougher and more determined. 
But for Mickey, the race isn’t always about the win – it’s about having fun, it’s about accomplishing something important and reaching a personal goal, and it’s about the thrill of having an adventure with the ones you care most about – your pals! 

DONALD – First in everything… that’s ME! 
Look out for the Duck! When it comes to, well, everything, Donald is determined to do the best he can do – despite all the things that get in his way…like Goofy or Pete or any of the million things that can go wrong in a single day in or out of the Garage! 
On the track, Donald’s daily ride transforms into the smooth-sailin’, wave-makin’ Cabin Cruiser. When Donald’s on the move, you’d better move it, too. Here comes the Duck! Sometimes it seems like the world is against Donald – and Donald reacts just like you expect him to – he explodes! His temper tantrums are legendary – but the Duck can’t help it. It’s the way he’s wired. And speaking of wired… 

GOOFY – Just call him “Greasy Wheels” Goof! 
He might be a goof and some road hogs might think he’s a “tool”, but Goofy loves toolin’ around in his sporty daily driver. Never too far from a wrench or tire jack, Goofy is eager to jump in and help anybody who needs his help – whether they want it or not. 
When it’s time to roadster-roll, Goofy’s ride transforms into the Turbo-
Tubster! Putt-puttin’ with the best of ‘em, the Tubster is a mean machine, and it’s clean, too, thanks to the handy shower attached on the back! Whenever the Goof works up a sweat on the track, one quick pull on the chain and it’s a goofy bath- time on the go! H’yuck! 

MINNIE – Always in first place with whatever she does! 
Warm, loving, kind to all, super-helpful, enthusiastic, extremely creative…Minnie has it all! At Mickey’s Service Station, she and Daisy run the Motor Makeover Salon, designing, painting and pin-striping everyone’s ride. 
Of course, pink is her favorite color, Minnie’s classic Bow-Car transforms into a sweet ride called Pink Lightning. On the track, it’s a blur of pink when the race is on! But don’t let the color fool you – Minnie handles her racin’ roadster like a pro, zigzagging around the competition and outdistancing everyone whenever she sees an opening. 
When Minnie’s not roadster racing, she runs a side business – Happy Helpers. If anyone from Hot Dog Hills to around the world needs help with a problem, Minnie and her partner Daisy zoooooom off to make things right again! The gals might be pet sitters one day, pet catchers the next day, or international spies, tough-talkin’ detectives, even astronauts. There’s no job too big for happy helpin’ Minnie! 

DAISY – She puts the power in Flower Power! 
Minnie’s best gal-pal is as energetic and as enthusiastic as ever! Always on the go- go-go, Daisy loves to help out her friends, on and off the track. She’s fearless and impulsive. Sometimes her enthusiasm and her desire to please goes overboard, getting her and others in trouble. Luckily, she always manages to get back on her feet. 
She also has a soft spot for flowers – and her distinctive Flower Car transforms into Snapdragon, a rip-roarin’, piston-poppin’, thunderin’ dragster! She truly puts the “petal” to the metal! When Daisy’s on the move, flowers and feathers fly! 

disney junior mickey mouse and the roadster racers


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