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Charge It Up 7 Day Challenge with Fitness First; Bonds Active Outfit + Protein Balls Easy Recipe

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Bonds Yoga Outfit Active Range Stretch Now Eco Yoga Mat

My Super Charged 7 Day Challenge with Fitness First (sponsored by Fitness First), including new Yoga outfit, Yoga Mat and Protein Ball recipes

For the month of April, Fitness First generously donated $250 for me to super charge my health and fitness goals in celebration of Australian Fitness Week. So much excitement. I've always wanted to explore my options into clean eating and commit myself to a new fitness goal. 
But before I did all this, I decided to pursue a separate goal, that is- to participate in a triathlon. I was invited by Fitness First as a VIP guest to participate in their annual Corporate Triathlon as part of a relay team. I did the 3km run at the end of the race but my team mate did the 800m ocean swim before completing a 8km bike track. I achieved a time of 18mins for 3km which is something I am really proud of. I really slack off in the sport of running, I can't stand cardio and I can't stand being out of breath.... yet I pushed myself to do it. 
Now after the event (I really would not have believed it myself 6 months ago), I'm slowly developing an appreciation for running and squeezing it in into my daily routine. I find it really lets me clear my mind and I've learnt to control my breathing better. How things have changed!

Fitness First Corporate Triathlon 2014 2015
Fitness First Corporate Triathlon 2014 2015
Fitness First Corporate Triathlon 2014 2015

The Triathlon Finish Line! I found the support of my team and the company looking after me really made me so proud to cross that finish line. So many people were cheering for me. You can register your interest for next year's event here.

Bonds Yoga Outfit Active Range Stretch Now Eco Yoga Mat
Bonds Yoga Outfit Active Range Stretch Now Eco Yoga Mat
Bonds Yoga Outfit Active Range Stretch Now Eco Yoga Mat
Bonds Yoga Outfit Active Range Stretch Now Eco Yoga Mat
Bonds Yoga Outfit Active Range Stretch Now Eco Yoga Mat

Wearing: Bonds Active 3/4 Pants (Grey Marle); Bonds Overdyed Pullover (Grey Marle); Bonds Basic Tank (white) [all Bonds Items sponsored by Fitness First]; Vans Authentic; Agent 99 slouchy beanie

In addition to achieving my first triathlon, I decided to bring some more peace and relaxation into my life. I always loved Yoga but with my shift work I find it difficult waking up for classes. I decided to bring Yoga to my home. I found a beautiful eco friendly Earth Mat from Stretch Now with a matching bag for only $55.00. The material is soft yet sturdy and came in a beautiful lilac colour. I spread it out on my tile floors at home and as well as the park for Yoga and it gives great traction. 
I think I am clumsy and ungraceful when it comes to completing Yoga poses (like the Tree pose you're supposed to hold for 1 minute, or the Extended triangle which is actually harder than it looks), so my immediate thought was: Yeah I'll need some comfortable breathable clothes. Bonds clothing were the first to come to mind. I browsed their Active range for some slouchy 3/4 pants with a convenient back pocket for my iPod. I also included a Basic Tank and Slouchy Pullover for a relaxed look. In total my new Yoga outfit cost just under $100 from Bonds. It made a great investment into my well-being and peace of mind, forcing to take my fitness outdoors into the warm sunlight and fresh air which I rarely do (always indoors at the gym breathing in air conditioned recycled air).

Apricot Goji Berry Protein Bliss Health Recipe Food Blog
Apricot Goji Berry Protein Bliss Health Recipe Food Blog
Apricot Goji Berry Protein Bliss Health Recipe Food Blog
Apricot Goji Berry Protein Bliss Health Recipe Food Blog
Chocolate Date Protein Bliss Health Recipe Food Blog
Chocolate Date Protein Bliss Health Recipe Food Blog
Chocolate Date Protein Bliss Health Recipe Food BlogChocolate Date Protein Bliss Balls Apricot Goji Berry Recipe Food Blog

Recipes: Chocolate Date Protein Balls and Apricot Goji Berry Protein Balls (Protein Ball Ingredients all sponsored by Fitness First)

And last but not least, I used the remaining money to buy ingredients for home-made Protein Balls. I have been introduced to clean eating by my bestie Betty but I decided to take it more seriously this week. I even used some money to buy ingredients for Green Smoothies (recipe can be found here).
With the help of Betty, we managed to produce two types of delicious protein balls. Here are the recipes for each.

Apricot Goji Berry Protein Balls Recipe

50g rolled oats
100g dessicated coconut
100g cashews (or walnuts/almonds)
100g dried apricots
50g goji berries
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons raw coconut oil

Chocolate Date Protein Balls Recipe

100g dessicated coconut
100g chopped cashews (or almonds/walnuts)
2 tablespoons organic peanut butter (with cacao)
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
pinch of sea salt
100g pitted dates

For both recipes, you just blitz all the ingredient into a blender, food processor or thermo-mix (those machines are amazing!) until you get a nice consistency. The magic of these protein balls is that you can mix and match ingredients from whatever you have in the pantry. Make sure the batter is sticky enough to roll into a ball. If you find the batter not sticking together when formed into a ball, you can add more wet ingredients like coconut oil, more fruit or agave and blitz again.
Roll all batter into small balls with lightly wet hands, then coat in fine dessicated coconut. Alternative coatings include cacao powder, cacao nibs, crushed peanuts and chia seeds. It's also fine to have without coating. Then store in the fridge for an hour to firm up before serving. Can keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Perfect snack for on the run or to fuel up pre or post workout!

Tips: You can add a tablespoon of protein powder if you're in training mode. Freezing them makes them firmer and chewy.


So all in all, I think I really made use of the $250 to super charge my health and to achieve my Fitness goals. Making protein balls really opened up the potential of eating healthier snacks. I tend to opt for crackers or a muesli bars which I'm sure is quite processed. Protein balls only took about 15 minutes to make and I stored enough for a whole week. The reassurance I was eating something organic, clean and healthy was great too.
And then adding Yoga to my week bought calmness and peace. Something about stretching in the open air listening to the winds bristling the trees and birds chirping makes the small problems seem miles and miles away. The new Bonds outfit and Yoga Mat really motivated me too.
And of course, I am still proud of my triathlon achievement. It may have been minor compared to people who did the whole course on their own (these people are so motivating) but I found that it has opened up doors to the idea of adding running to my fitness regime. My motivation for cardio really has soared.
Thanks Fitness First for such an amazing and enlightening week!

Happy Easter with St Frock!

Sunday, April 20, 2014
St Frock Only You Maxi Dress Black Nine West Heels
St Frock Only You Maxi Dress Black
St Frock Only You Maxi Dress Black Back Bird Tattoo
St Frock Only You Maxi Dress Black

Wearing: St Frock 'Only You' Maxi dress thanks to St Frock; Nine West Austin Heels thanks to Nine West; Into Fashion Blazer; Upbeat Jewellery Star Cymbal Pendant Necklace thanks to Uncommon Goods

Happy Easter everyone!
This year I hope everyone gets many Easter eggs and a relaxing holiday. I've taken some time out to spend with the family and later on reward myself with a Lindt chocolate bunny (from gymming alot).
It's also Cambodian New Year and the celebrations goes on for about a week. And this year I actually took part in celebrations. I haven't been for years and every year I feel guilty because my mom puts in so much effort in making a table for offering and heads out to Temple. And I know she spends days planning it and I always make up some excuse like I have work or I've already made plans with friends. Guilty as charged.

Yet, earlier this year around about February, I had one of those life-changing moments that led me to find some emotional clarity and to change my priorities. Or, I guess, grow up.
I've always secretly wondered whether I've been really lazy and just prefer to be selfish all these years. But now my priorities have changed and I've started to take baby steps. Spend time with family, take care of my body, invest time in the good friendships and be honest and more brave when it comes to my relationships. These are some of things I've done that I'm proud of so far:

  • Wake up on time to pray at my mom's table of offering for Cambodian New Year
  • I prayed not for myself this year, instead I prayed that my mom and aunties to find peace at home and good health
  • Instead of staying at home and doing things for myself, I drove out to spend time with my visiting Uncle and family and squeeze work in between
  • Go to Temple to pray and pay my respects
  • Woke up at 4am to head out into the freezing cold to compete in my first Triathlon in a relay team
  • Found a new appreciation for Running
  • Take my new-found emotional clarity and trying to not let my past define who I want to be from now on. Communicate my honest opinions/feelings; take responsibility for my actions and, learning how to let go.
Hopefully, these are the first steps to a healthy new beginning. I feel better already - a clearer mind and a lighter heart.

And once again, Happy Easter. This time also marks a new hair style for myself, going shorter and lighter and I really love it. I'm wearing a beautiful 'Only You' dress from the fun, fresh and current St Frock store, complete with a halter neck, leg split and a perfect back design to show off my birds tattoos. It's been a while I've worn something so sexy and I guess if I feel good about myself on the inside I can feel good about myself on the outside too. Thanks St Frock! <3

Switch it Up Week with Fitness First: Green Smoothies

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Green Smoothie Drink Healthy Recipe Food Blog 21 shades of Green
Green Smoothie Drink Healthy Recipe Food Blog 21 shades of Green
Green Smoothie Drink Healthy Recipe Food Blog 21 shades of Green
Green Smoothie Drink Healthy Recipe Food Blog 21 shades of Green
Green Smoothie Drink Healthy Recipe Food Blog 21 shades of Green
Green Smoothie Drink Healthy Recipe Food Blog 21 shades of Green
Green Smoothie Drink Healthy Recipe Food Blog 21 shades of Green

Fitness First Switch it Up Week: A Green Smoothie from Clare's ( ebook 21 Shades of Green

Last month, Fitness First celebrated 'Switch it Up Week' where we were matched with other Fitness First bloggers to try out their own meal plan and/or workout. I was matched up with the beautiful Clare from Checks and Spots and she provided me with her ebook 21 Shades Of Greens, that details 21 delicious recipes and highlights the benefits of drinking green smoothies.

I've never actually made my own smoothie before as I tend to eat my vegetables in a salad or fruits on its own. I was pretty excited to use my blender as soon as I started reading this ebook. I started off with the 'New Kid on the Block' and the recipe includes:

1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
1 cup cos lettuce
1 lemon (peeled)
1 cup coconut water
1 cucumber - cut into chunks
1/2 cup fresh frozen mango

Simply then put the spinach leaves, cos lettuce, lemon, cucumber and coconut water in a blender and blitz until smooth; then add mango and blitz again.
Me and my bestie Betty tried it out and we were really impressed by the intensity of the green colour and taste.
Having it fresh was quite yum I didn't taste much bitterness because for some reason I believed baby spinach is bitter tasting (later realising that I was thinking of rocket), instead I tasted the sweetness of the mango and refreshing cucumber. And, this stuff is powerful. I immediately felt more awake and my spirits lifted. In the morning when I had more for breakfast, it gave me a burst of energy and I felt fresh and ready to start my day. Clare states that she often replaces one meal a day for a green smoothie and she has noticed positive changes in her well being, weight and skin. Great bonus!

I also swapped a workout with Clare for the week. Hers included:

  • 1 x 8 km run at a pace of 5-6 min per km
  • 1 x 1 hr group Cross Training session
  • 1 X 30 minute personal training session - resistance training. 
  • 1 x 30 minute personal training session - weight training.

For myself, I couldn't find a personal trainer in time, so I got some of my friends to give me personal training sessions in both resistance and weight training. In resistance training, I buddied up with a friend and used resistance bands to break up my routine.
That was fun because it was challenging to try and keep the bands at my feet instead of letting go and letting it snap it into my face. It really made me rely on my own body weight and balance to train as well.
For the run and cross trainer, well I am a terrible runner (and basically in any cardio besides Zumba) but I really wanted to challenge myself, so I broke up my run/cross trainer into 2 x 4km runs at the beginning and end of my workouts. I rarely mix my cardio with my weight training but I found it helped warm up my body efficiently and got the blood pumping, motivating me for weight training. The post-run felt really satisfying and a good way to end my workout.

This workout plan worked out well for me because although I'm not a stranger to weight and resistance training, adding more cardio was fun and it felt like my lung capacity grew bigger! Thank you Clare for a delicious green smoothie recipe and a challenging workout for the week. Check out Clare's blog Checks and Spots below, and check out her free ebook 21 shades of Green for more amazing recipes!

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