Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lifestyle Challenge: Intensity

We're two weeks into our lifestyle challenge. If you're just hearing about it now and want to join, feel free to jump in -- it's never too late to start making little adjustments towards living a healthier lifestyle. You can read about the challenge details here.

For the first 2 weeks the focus has been to increase your water intake and decrease the intake of other beverages, particularly those with sugar (e.g. juices, sodas). Although we're starting a new focus, you should still continue to drink your minimum daily requirement of water.

The focus for the next 2 weeks will be on increasing the intensity of your activity. This doesn't have to be an aggressive increase - just a bit more to challenge yourself.

I've often found that my biggest accomplishments have been when I've made a 'mistake' -- I miscalculated the weight I put on the barbell and ended up lifting more than I thought I was; I got distracted while on the treadmill and ended up running for longer than I thought I could ... so many times it's our own belief that we may not be able to accomplish something that prevents us from trying.

If we don't try, we won't ever know how much we can do.

So, the challenge is to try and push yourself a bit more this week. Some suggestions of how to do this:

1) Add a few extra reps to your sets or even add an extra set to your workout routine
2) Add more resistance to your training -- increase the weight on your lifts, when stretching use a resistance band, hold that plank for a bit longer
3) Workout for longer -- if your step goal is 10,000/day, try to make it 10,500; if you go for a 30 minute walk, try to walk for 35 minutes
4) Speed it up -- if you walk, quicken your pace 30-second stretches; if you're doing walk/run intervals, try and increase your pace during your run

Since I don't think I'll have extra time this week, what I'll be focusing on is adding more resistance weight to my lifts and quickening my pace during both my walks and my jogs. I know that my plank pose holds suck, so I should probably work on increasing my hold time with those too.

Figure out what you can do to increase the intensity of your workouts (if you're not working out at all, use this challenge as a time to start, even if it's just 15 minutes a day). Make a plan and then starting from Monday put it in motion.

Here's a short article on 'The Afterburn Effect' -- describing how the body continues to burn calories following high intensity workouts.

Steps and Stops

I'm usually good at just getting on with things, but I find that I've spent most of this week 'talking to myself' and constantly having to stop, take a moment, evaluate (and reevaluate) my choices and almost scold myself into action. Okay, scold is a bit of a strong word. It's just that things this week just haven't fallen into place naturally like they usually do. It's strange.

I've spent the past 3 years getting into good habits, and for the most part they really are part of my lifestyle, but every once in a while I stumble. Perhaps it's about getting bored with my routine - eating and doing pretty much the same things day in and day out. Still, in the end I'm kinda just being a baby about it. The choice to do things differently and change things up is always in my hands. It basically boils down to two choices -- do something to change your routine or suck it up and just get on with it.

I've done a bit of both.

I've been doing a weekly step challenge through the FitBit app. I have to say it has really motivated me to get up and moving. I get my workouts in daily - whether it's at the gym or on the Jiu-Jitsu mats, but this step challenge has added a new dimension. The bit of friendly competition gets me to go out and take a walk when normally I would have just stuck to my basic workouts. It just goes to show, when you've got the right motivation, you will make time to keep moving! So I'm happy with my step count. I have a relatively low daily step goal (only 5,000 steps), but that's because Jiu-Jitsu doesn't involve any steps, but it sure is a workout! I'm happy that I've hit over 10,000 steps on all days this week except for 1 day. That's more than I've done in a while and I'm happy with that!

I've also been stepping away from the treadmill. The cold has kept me indoors. Yes, I know that compared to other places, it's not that cold in London, but for me it's cold. I chose not to confront the cold this time and just workout indoors. However, now that it's finally warming up (I would have never called single digit weather 'warming up'), I've been going for outdoor walks. The brisk air is refreshing, and the lovely natural scenery around me makes it much more enjoyable.

So my steps have been good this week. Despite craving sweets and bread - I don't normally crave bread so this is strange for me - I haven't given in, and I've been sticking to my veggies and proteins. Overall, the week has been going well -- now it's just about getting rid of that nagging voice in my head that keeps saying - Take a break, stay in bed. Be lazy and order in a pizza.

Will that voice ever disappear? I'm not sure -- in the meantime, I've got to keep my ultimate goals in mind and keep powering through.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Getting Ready for Another Week

The weekend definitely goes by way too quickly. After unwinding a bit and getting a chance to catch up with a friend from back home, I'm ready to tackle this upcoming week!

Now on to some grocery shopping and food prep.

This week's menu: 
Breakfasts: Açai, banana, and red grape smoothie
Lunches: Sautéed sweet potato and broccoli with spinach, avocado, and cucumber
Dinners: Monday & Tuesday - tuna loaf with salad, Wednesday - salmon with baked vegetables, Thursday - chicken and bell peppers, Friday - Stuffed baked sweet potato

This week's general plan:
Eating with a minimum of 4 1/2 hours in between meals.
No snacking.
Drinking 4 L of water/day.
Exercise: 2 strength training sessions, 3 cardio sessions, 3 Jiu-Jitsu sessions

The 'no snacking' will be my biggest challenge, but this is what I want to try to accomplish this week -- I won't know if I can do it unless I try!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Surviving the Weekend

Whenever I'm off a schedule, I find that it becomes harder to stick to my food routine. The pockets of empty time (in other words, the times when I'm procrastinating) leave open the chance to want to eat out of boredom.

The best habit I think I've cultivated is to not buy junk food at all. There are no snacks in the house - no biscuits, no crisps, no chocolates. Even if I really, really wanted to have something, there is nothing that I can easily reach for. Ironically, when I get intense cravings, I somehow still go to the cupboard and desperately look for some chocolate ... I know there's nothing there, but I still look.

My weekends used to be really unstructured, thus leaving open the temptation to just sit on the couch and watch TV ... which inevitably leads to wanting to munch on something.

The good thing is that my weekends have also become routine. For the most part that suits me fine. I know what I'm going to eat, when I'm going to eat, and what I'm going to do. That structure really helps me. It may seem boring to some, but the great things about setting a schedule for yourself is that you can change it up if you want to.

This all relates to points 2 and 3 in the Lifestyle challenge.
- Eat thoughtfully
- Choose your celebrations

Things come up. There are birthdays. There are parties. We have whims.

The thing that I want to work on most is to not let those instances throw me off track.

It all boils down to making decisions that I know will make me happy, both in the moment and in the future.

I went for a long period of time when I was saying 'no' to a lot of things. That actually suited me just fine. Even if others had a problem with it (and many, many people did), I put myself, my health, my happiness first.

I will still do that to this day, but now I'm a bit more relaxed. This doesn't mean I'll eat whatever I want without thinking about it. Instead, I make a thoughtful/conscious decision about my actions. Whatever I decide to do (workout, rest, eat, fast), it will be my choice, for my happiness - whether that means taking my own salad to a dinner party or sitting down and enjoying a piece of carrot cake with a cup of coffee. It's my choice.

Taking responsibility for this choice (and the consequences) is important. It's not about guilting yourself into feeling one way or another. It's about understanding that whatever we choose to do has a consequence.

Making these decisions requires practice and patience. It involves implementing some discipline into your decision making process. Maybe at this very moment, your desire to have a piece of chocolate cake is very strong ... but you've got to take a moment and ask yourself - do I really want it? Is eating this cake really going to make me happy? Does this action help me reach my overall goal? Will doing this action lead to regret in the future (whether it's 1 hour/1 week/1 month later)?

After answering those questions - you make a choice.

The ultimate goal is to work towards optimal health and overall happiness (at least those are my goals).  This doesn't stop just because the weekend is here.

As you gear up for the weekend, don't forget your overall goals. Find ways to create new routines and new habits that you enjoy and that also correspond to you achieving your goals.

When you start off, making such decisions takes time and requires quite a bit of thought and organization. However, if you stick with it, you'll see that it will soon become a habit, and making healthy choices will become second nature.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Five

This week has had its ups and downs. I've been doing well in terms of my food and exercise, but overall have just been feeling a bit down. I'm worried about my brother, and the distance from my family just feels terrible. At the same time, I'm trying not to let my emotions get the best of me. I feel like I spent most of this past week (actually the past 2 weeks) talking to myself - reminding myself that it's ok to feel down but that it doesn't have to control your whole day or lead to unhealthy habits. It's hard to keep having to go through that kind of self-talk. Part of me feels it's necessary because it's true. There's nothing I can do from here, so I might as well make the most of my day. Another part of me, however, just wants to wallow. The emotions are too strong. The helplessness is real. The frustration is undeniable.

That being said, keeping this week's meals simple and my routine consistent has helped me get through the week. I'm hoping that I'll be a bit more of engaged next week and everything I do won't feel like such a chore.

A few highlights from the week:

My breakfast for the week: A smoothie of açai, bananas, and red grapes -- delicious, but cold

My lunch for the week: sautéed butternut squash and broccoli, over raw spinach, with cucumber and avocado -- yummy and very filling! 

Instead of doing my cardio on a treadmill, I headed out to a park just behind my house and went for a lovely walk. Being outdoors was so refreshing. The sounds, sights, and smells were highly therapeutic! 

I had a couple of good weight training sessions this week. As much as I'd like to do more in the weight room, I think I've come up with a routine that I can stick to and maintain. It's better than nothing! 

The launch date for my Women's Self-Defense class has been set. I start on April 10th, and I'm so excited! I'm particularly looking forward to teaching the class with D. I hope that the class will make a difference to other women's lives as it did mine. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Break from the Kitchen

For the past 8 weeks, during the Whole Life Challenge, I spent an incredible amount of time in the kitchen. Although things fell into a bit of a routine and it was easy to prep for the week, there were some days when I just didn't feel like cooking. I wanted to take a break from the kitchen. It wasn't that I wanted to eat anything unhealthy, it's just that I did not want to cook. I wanted to eat without worrying whether or not the way the food was prepared and the ingredients in the meal were compliant with the challenge or not. More than that, I didn't want to worry about all the chopping, cooking, and cleaning that goes along with cooking!

As a result, I've decided to take a bit of a break from the kitchen this week. I have so many errands and tasks that I need to tackle this coming week that I think saving some cooking time will help me get some of that stuff done. That being said, I still went to do my weekly shop with my meal plan in hand, and I still spent my Sunday preparing my meals for the week. However, from today until the upcoming Sunday, I don't plan on doing any additional cooking ... but still eat healthily through the week.

While this doesn't mean I won't be spending any time in the kitchen, hopefully it will free up a few hours that I can use to be more productive elsewhere!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gear Up for the Week!

Ahh Sunday -- the last day of the weekend, the day before the busy week begins again ... so tempting to just stay curled up in bed and relax.

Ya right. That's not how Sunday works for me. As tempting as the above scenario sounds, my busy Sunday routine has actually become something I enjoy. It's mainly because I can actually get things prepared for the upcoming week in a relaxed manner. I know that once the week begins, things come up. I run out of time. I get thrown off track. I get flustered ... add to that being unprepared with my menu/meals for the weak and you'll soon find me dialing for a takeaway ... and if that happens on a Monday, it can definitely be hard to stop that trend for the rest of the week.

Instead, I've made Sunday my prep day. It definitely takes up time, and it is a lot of work, but once the week starts I'm always thankful that I took a few hours on Sunday to set myself up for a successful week ahead.

My Sundays are:
8:30 a.m. light breakfast + menu planning for the week
10:30 a.m. Jiu-Jitsu
1:30 p.m. grocery shopping for the week
2:00 p.m. lunch
3:30 p.m. food prep

I'm usually done with my food prep by 6:00 p.m., after which I can just relax and be happy that my meals for the upcoming work week are sorted.

Things I usually prepare on a Sunday - all the recipes below are gluten-free, sugar-free, preservative-free!

Banana muffins
Granola to have with organic Greek yogurt
Quinoa and chicken salad (recipe coming soon)
Lemon 'cake' (recipe coming soon)

Although I don't prepare my dinners for the week in advance, having my menu set before I head to the supermarket ensures I buy exactly what I need for my meals for the week. Nothing extra!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Goals

As I gear up for the end of the Whole Life Challenge and the beginning of the 100 Days to Summer Lifestyle Challenge, it's time for me to reassess my goals and set new ones.

My goal for the 8 week Whole Life Challenge was to focus more on lowering my body fat percentage vs. losing a certain number of kilos. I wanted to lose 4% of my body fat - I didn't hit that goal, but I'm happy to say that I lost 3.5% in addition to 4.5 kilos (10 lbs). You can read more about my reflections on the challenge here.

As we work up to the summer, my goal is to continue working on lowering my body fat percentage. Of course I still need to lose weight, but I what's more important to me is that I'm not back to my strength level as I was before. This past year and half has been tough on my strength training. Even now, I've been getting back into my routine gradually. I need to be more aggressive with my focus in the weight room.

The hardest thing for me has been about finding balance. Between either teaching or training Jiu-Jitsu every evening and doing all my other work/errands, it's been hard to squeeze in another hour or two at the gym on a regular basis, particularly without compromising my performance and affecting my energy levels.

Still, I know it's possible. I just have to keep focusing and working diligently -- and most importantly being more efficient with not just my workouts but my everyday tasks as well.

My overall goal is to lose weight and be healthier -- but for this challenge, my SMART goals are:


1) Drop 6% body fat
2) Complete the C25K program (providing my knee doesn't hurt; if my knee hurts, then I'll just work on basic HIIT training)

Daily basis

3) Drink 4L of water
4) Minimum of 5,000 steps a day
5) Daily stretching for at least 10 minutes

It's so tempting to add more to the list. After all, 100 days is a long time, but I have to remember to be realistic. If I can achieve these goals by the start of summer, I'll definitely be happy!

It's time to get to work! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why Water

The first main focus of the 100 Day Lifestyle challenge is to check our fluid intake. The overall goal of this challenge is to make small adjustments each day/week that will help us lead a healthier lifestyle. It's about finding out how many healthy habits you can incorporate without feeling like you've 'given up everything.'

For the first 10 days of the challenge, the idea is to focus on your fluid consumption. It comes in 2 parts:

1) Increase your water intake. Your goal is to work up to drinking your minimum requirement of water on a daily basis. (You can use this link to help you figure out how much water you should be drinking: If you can start drinking your minimum requirement from Day 1, that's great.

2) Decrease your intake of other liquids - particularly alcohol and soda, but also coffee, tea, and juice. This decrease can come gradually. For example, if you have 3 cups of coffee a day, try to make one of those 1/2 a cup of coffee. Instead of drinking 2 sodas, maybe just have 1. The choice is yours. It's important to remember that not all beverages are the same in terms of nutrient value and benefit/harm to the body. Drinking beverages such as tea and coffee aren't necessarily bad for you. However, once you start adding milk and sugar and other flavored shots to your beverage, the beverage decreases in nutrition value.

It's all about finding a balance. In the beginning, don't take the changes to such an extreme where you feel like you can't sustain them. This challenge is about finding a healthy balance that works for you - for your body type, for your health, for your lifestyle.

Although I mentioned that this is the focus for the first 10 days, the goal is to really keep up this lifestyle practice throughout the challenge (and your life) as much as possible. For right now though, let's just try to focus on staying on point through the first 10 days.

We've probably heard it all before - drink more water, water is good for you, water is important - but does everyone realize exactly why it's so important? Here are a few facts about why water is such an essential nutrient for our body:

-  More than 2/3 of a human's body weight is made up of water. This is why humans can survive for weeks without any food, but can barely survive past one week without any water.

-  Each day we lose 2-3 L of water through natural body processes such as urination, sweating, and breathing. Since our body relies on water to function properly (e.g. for proper digestion), it is important to stay hydrated in order to compensate for the loss.

- When we add exercise to the mix, we can lose an additional 1-2 L of water per hour of exercise. Therefore, it's especially important to stay hydrated. Plus, water delivers oxygen to the muscles and this helps the body perform more efficiently. A 5% reduction of water in the body decreases muscle strength and endurance.

- Mild dehydration is one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue.

- Water helps eliminate toxins from our bodies (through perspiration and urination and by aiding with bowel movements, which ensures that toxins are quickly and regularly removed from our body).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I don't know who originally came up with the concept of SMART goals, but it is definitely a great acronym and system for goal setting.

It's all well and good to have broad goals such as - I want to lose weight, I fit into X size of jeans, I want to be healthy. However, unless you break down those goals and come up with a realistic, achievable method of how to reach your target, the task will be really difficult.

So the big question is, what do you want to achieve by the beginning of summer?

1) Your goal in terms of this challenge can be anything. It can be to be at a certain weight, to fit into a specific clothing size, to do X number of push ups, to drop a certain percentage of fat -- whatever. It's your goal. You choose what's important to you. Whatever it is you choose - be specific.

2) Make sure your goal is measurable. Just saying you want to be healthy is not measurable enough. Think about what healthy means to you - does it mean drinking a certain amount of water, bringing your cholesterol down to a certain level? You need to be able to measure your achievement by the end of the challenge.

3) Be realistic with your goal. I may want to lose another 20 pounds, but I have to ask myself, can I really achieve that in 100 days in a way that is healthy and sustainable? When setting your goal, be realistic. Consider your circumstances before writing your goal down. Whatever you do, make sure your goal is achievable. Set yourself up for success!

4) Your goal(s) for this challenge should be relevant to what you are trying to achieve overall. Since this is a short challenge, what you set out to achieve should correspond to the overarching long-term goals you have for yourself. Knowing that you are doing something to help you accomplish what you've seen as your bigger picture will make it easier to stay focused and motivated.

5) I've already set the final criteria for this challenge which is to work within a specific time frame. When setting your goals think about all the components in relation to what you can achieve in the next 100 days. It's not a lot of time, yet it's also enough time to be able to accomplish something.

So, setting your SMART goal is your first challenge. When you've come up with your goal(s), write it down and keep it visible.

Start planning!

Monday, March 9, 2015

New Challenge - 100 Days Until Summer

For the past 7 weeks I've been doing the Whole Life Challenge. I've done the challenge a number of times and I've found that it really suits my lifestyle. The challenge runs 8 weeks at a time 2-3 times a year. The tricky part has always been trying to navigate those weeks/months in between the challenge. 

When you've got a structure in place and a set routine, things get a lot easier. Take away that structure, and things begin to kind of fall apart. One indulgence turns into two into three into an endless uncontrollable spiral. 

Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the bottom line is, without a plan, without a structure, and without a support system, it can be hard to stay on track. 

So, starting from Thursday, March 12th -- giving us 100 days until the 1st day of summer -- I'll be hosting a challenge. 

This challenge is based on the 50 Day lifestyle challenge that I did before. You can read the details in this post. 

The goal of this challenge -- to live a healthy lifestyle. It's not about restrictions. It's not about rigorous rules. It's about making thoughtful choices that lead to your overall wellbeing. 

The basic guidelines will be the same throughout the challenge: 
1) Drink water
2) Eat thoughtfully
3) Choose your celebrations
4) Move regularly
5) Track and reflect daily 

The ultimate goal is to be happy - happy with the choices you're making, happy with the direction you're heading, happy with the progress you're making, happy with the life you're living. 

In addition to the 5 basic guidelines, I'll be adding a weekly challenge - just one thing to focus on for 7-10 days. I think making a lot of changes at once can be overwhelming, but if we just focus on making one small change at a time, it can lead to positive results. 

The challenge is open to anyone. Please do join my Facebook page for the challenge called 'It's a Lifestyle'. I'll be posting links to articles, general information mosts, and hopefully things to motivate the group. If you have difficulty joining the group, please email me at and I'll add you via email. You can also follow my page: PlumPetals Fit for regular posts and details. 

Summer will be here before we know it - let's start working from now! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Living a Good Life

I've been distraught lately - I wish it was about something mundane or fixable, but it's a bit deeper than that. I've always been quite a sensitive person but more recently, with all the bad news around the world, my sensitivity has heightened and I've just felt quite overwhelmed by the state of our humanity - or lack of.

I know this sounds very existential and lofty, but it really has been having an impact on me -- I find it unfortunate that there are so many articles, blog posts, and videos urging people to be more accepting and kind to others. In 2015 do we really need to be told over and over again? How has our progress and advance in 'intelligence' and technology led is to a point where we are urging and pleading with people to be more understanding? It upsets me a great deal.

I started blogging as a way for me to track my progress with the hope that maybe it'll be interesting, informative, and even helpful to someone else along the way. It was with the hope of reaching other people and connecting with them - knowing that they are not alone in their struggles and worries - that I started sharing more personal details about myself and my struggles. It wasn't easy, but I felt it was important.

I feel like I have finally reached a point of balance in terms of my food and fitness. My eating and exercise are down to a routine. I know what works for me (my body, my metabolism, my lifestyle) and all I need is to be disciplined and focus so that I can continue to work towards reaching my ultimate goals. Since I have that part of my life sorted out, I think it's time to look at the bigger picture.

Teaching in general and now working with others to help improve their fitness and teaching the Bullyproof program to kids and Jiu-Jitsu, a form of self-defense, to adults, I have begun to see the bigger picture.

So much of what we teach the children is about confidence and standing up for themselves. More importantly, it's been about looking out for one another, being a good, kind person, and learning how to share and be accepting.

When I talk to kids about these concepts, they clearly know right from wrong. They lean towards kindness and acceptance, towards fun and laughter.

It makes me wonder - where along our journey towards adulthood do we forget these things?

I don't know what can be done on a large scale, but I truly believe that at the very least, we can do our own part to be good and spread goodness.

It is with all of this in mind that I am starting the next chapter in my story. Now that the healthy food and exercise habits are in place, I am focusing on improving my overall quality of life. This quality has nothing to do with materialistic things. Rather, it is about making the most of each day.

Much of this change already started for me when I moved to London. I knew that it would be a huge change for me - living a life so different from what I was used to. However, from the moment the move was decided, I also made a commitment to myself to be nothing but completely positive about the changes. While I won't deny that living in Kuwait was enjoyable, I can honestly say - I don't miss it. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to live in Kuwait … and now I'm thankful that I am living here.

Choosing to live in the now and be appreciative of all I have has kept my spirit light and happy. Instead of fretting about things I don't have anymore, I am thankful for all that I do have. Instead of living in the past, I am living in the moment. I still plan a bit for the future, but I have decided not to be anxious about it. I've tried the stressed/anxiety route. It didn't get me anywhere. The problems were still there.

Instead, I am focusing on living purely, enjoying every moment, and taking the time to live in the present. That doesn't mean I'm happy-go-lucky all the time. Trust me, I'm not. That's actually where the new challenge is going to be for me.

I don't want to let my emotions overwhelm me. Instead, I want to focus on more fundamental elements of living a good life - breathing deeply, watching my posture, smiling more, being more charitable, being kind, making decisions that I feel positive about, being brave, and so on. I feel like it's taken me a long time to come this this point in my life. I don't think I was ready for it before. I was too filled with anxiety and fear … but now I'm ready.

with hands up ready to tackle or embrace life - whatever the situation calls for

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I used to be one of those people who waited for the start of the week or my birthday or the start of a new month/year to start something new. It took me a while to realize if I wanted something, I had to start working towards it from that moment. If I knew my goal/desire/objective wasn't going to change, then why wait? What was I achieving by stalling? Even though I do believe that having a plan is essential to helping you achieve your goals, I came to realize (the hard way) that I was often using the planning stage as a way to procrastinate. I'd tell myself, first I've got to do X, then Y, then Z ... and then something else would come up and I'd get distracted and tell myself - ok, I'll restart on the 1st of the month. The cycle would continue.

Though I firmly believe in starting to work towards your goals immediately, I still find the start of a new month to be a time to reevaluate how the past month has gone. Reevaluation is important, because the last thing I want to do is waste time doing something that is not helping me reach my goals. Too often I have found myself sticking to my plan - a plan which looked good on paper, but was either difficult to implement or sustain or just wasn't helping me get the results I wanted. Taking a moment to take stock is important. Sometimes I find my plan is working just fine and I can continue on the track I've been on. Other times, revamping is necessary.

So today, on March 1st, I'm taking a bit of time to regroup and set new plans in motion. With all the travel and chaos of the 1st two months of year, I feel it's necessary. After returning from Bangladesh, I hit the ground running - and that was a great way to start. However, I felt like I lacked a bit of structure. It's time to get some structure back. There's a lot I want to achieve between now and July -- I have to make sure that I'm 100% on task (leaving room for some flexibility of course, as I wrote about yesterday).

In order to do this, however, I have to figure out exactly what I want.

Funnily enough, the basic components of living a healthy lifestyle are easy now. I mean, I've been trying to lose weight and get healthy for a few years now. I don't need a book to tell me what's healthy to eat and what's not. Same thing with exercise. I know I need to be efficient with my workouts and choose exercises that are effective (weight lifting + HIIT = magical combo for me).

That's the easy, basic stuff. Now I'm ready to start looking deeper. More on that tomorrow ...