Consistency and effort… as simple as that.

Yes.  Life is as simple as that.  So are relationships – platonic, romantic or otherwise.

 

When we are younger, a little bit of effort or even small gestures can keep us happy for a long time.  In fact, some of us end up with friends or lovers based on one or two strategically-placed gestures that subsequently taper off and amount to zero effort.  However, as we get older, it becomes apparent that effort has to be applied consistently: to one’s life, one’s friendships, one’s relationships, one’s business dealings, one’s education – to virtually anything worth attaining and keeping.  At the end of the day, the most important pieces of your life won’t be easy to get to and will be equally as difficult to keep – especially if you decide that the effort can dissipate once you’ve gotten it.

 

So yes. Keep being consistent.  Keep putting some effort.

Keep giving it what you got.  Every day.

Show your loved ones that you love and care for them.  Every day.

Be there for your friend in that time of need or in that time of celebration.  Every day.

Push towards your business dreams or scaling up that visionary project you have on that table.  Every day.

Keep striving towards that degree or diploma or certificate.  Every day.

 

Trust me – the rewards are worth it, and if you felt that it was worth attaining in the first place, keeping it is just as worthy of your time and energy.  Delayed, sustained gratification requires consistent effort – take it from the Book of Lessons Learned.

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Pressed for time? Top three (well, four) strategies to maximise short workouts.

What is the most common – and annoying, by the way – excuse for not working out or at least incorporating some activity into a routine? “I don’t have any time”.  We’ve all heard it at least once in our lives.  Sometimes from our own mouths – trust me, I’ve pissed myself off with that one.  But there are ways to get around to being physically fit when you have an hour or less to spare.  These are my favourite three strategies:

 

Grab your timer.  Or your timer app – whatever you’ve got, whatever works for you.  Interval training protocols are your best friend when your workout time is tight.  Whether you opt for reps for time, every minute on the minute, Tabata or metabolic conditioning (where your rest time intervals get shorter and shorter – insert short panting breaths here!), your body will thank you later for the shortest workouts you can eke out.

 

Be ready to move – a lot.  Compound movements are paramount for maximum effect when time management and workout efficacy are your priorities.  Whether you’re mixing body weight with free weights, plyometrics with weight machines, cardio machines with stability workouts, make sure your moves incorporate multiple muscle groups so that your short burn has a lingering effect long after you’re finished.
Now is the time to go all in – every single minute.  You have 30-45 minutes to work up a sweat – this is not the time to half-ass any of it!  Set your timer app to block interruptions from other apps, set your phone to “Emergency Calls Only”, do what you gotta do.  If you’re only at it for a tight time period, you have to use every single second meticulously.

 

There you have it!  When you have the right principles in mind for your workouts, time is no issue.  Speaking of principles, here’s a bonus tip that I’ve relied on throughout my adulthood:

 

Aim for 20 (minutes, that is).  When I first started training in the gym almost two decades ago, one of the trainers at the gym on my college campus told me that I should aim to keep my heart rate elevated for a minimum of 20 minutes in a session – several years and a number of careers later, I have worked with that as a principle when I hit the gym.  It’s true, my gadgets have gotten more fanciful since then, but I always carried that with me: any gym session must mean that for at least 20 minutes of a session, I cannot be able to respond to a question in more than 3-5 words (my measure of heart rate elevation when my heart rate monitor is either dead or missing in action).

 

 

What are your strategies for working out on a time crunch?  I can’t wait to find out what you do!

Boss Chic, Naturalista Style – Top reasons for being a leader in style.

It’s true.  A lot of startup company founders decide that the need to put a proper face (or at least a washed face!) forward is less than a priority when working towards realising the realities of a business, particularly with a constantly-evolving business model.  However, it is important for a business leader in any capacity and on any budget to always put his or her best face forward.  For us naturalistas, this is particularly imperative and here are the top three reasons why:

 

You should always be prepared for your window of opportunity.  Opportunity can strike at any time on any day.  You can look like a number of startup cofounders who choose to dress all the way down or you can at least look put-together, with your business cards organised in your handbag.

 

Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.  I know, I know, I know – people are quick to point out that a lot of the world’s ultra-wealthy business founders are the dress-down types but let me point out something that is practical albeit sexist: do you ever notice that the ultra-wealthy business founders that are female always look polished and well-dressed no matter what stage of their business?  It’s sad but true – the same rules for men in the business don’t exactly apply to us because of our triple threats: we’re female, we’re confident in our natural beauty and we’re ambitious.  So you’re striving to be a boss but not quite there yet – why are you dressed like you’re living in a refrigerator box?

 

Your company, your story, your brand = your style.  Whether it’s your personal blog or a startup aiming for corporation, as the founder and original leader of the company, you are the face of your brand.  Even in the early stages, no startup wants to be seen as sloppy and careless so there’s no need for your appearance to look that way either.  Remember, as the founder you are one of the first symbols of your company’s brand that your potential customers, prospective partners and even investors see.  A little effort does wonders for your first impression on them.

 

In a lot of ways, all three of these reasons relate to one another but each has a distinct feature that makes it relevant in its own right.  Just because the health and well-being of your business mean more to you than anything else in life at the moment doesn’t mean that your personal appearance (or hygiene!) should also be sacrificed along with everything else.

 

 

Can you think of other reasons why naturalista chic as a boss should be a priority?  Write your comments below – can’t wait to read them!

New Year, New Look – Same Candid, Same Cool…

Happy New Year, everyone!!!!
I know it’s been a long while since the last post but after a tough (and mentally blocked!) 2016, I decided to change the look of things around here on the blog but I’m still giving the same honesty, the same short but sweet informed content on life as a fit, busy, expat professional naturalista out there as a citizen of the world. You can find older posts through the menu at the top right corner and I’ll be adding new content throughout the year.

Cheers to a wonderful, informed life in 2017!!!!
All Love,
V & S Jade

Busy naturalista life – dressing up the TWA.

So I’ve gone, bitten the bullet and done the big chop.  Now what do I do?

Every Friday when picking out my outfit for weekend drinks.  Every Sunday choosing my office attire for the week.  Any super-short-coifed naturalista knows the struggle to define her style on an ongoing basis while maintaining the fine balance between being too over-the-top and being outright mistaken for a man.  Now don’t get me wrong – when I put a little effort into it, I clean up very well with my super-short fade.  However, I know more than a few times a week, I find myself in a style rut for any number of reasons but mostly because busyness drains my energy to out effort into my look.  Nonetheless, when I do put myself together, I usually follow these few tenets before I go out in style.

 

Splash on colour.  Hair, skin, nails – any splash of colour can – and will – do the trick.  This can include a hair colour or some highlights, but a bold hue in the eyeshadow or lipstick can not only complement a great outfit, it can actually make the outfit.  Personally, experimenting with colour on super-short hair can be a lot of fun, but keeping a few favourite tones in the makeup and nail polish drawers is imperative.

 

Add the accessories.   They can dress up or dress down the most basic ensemble, whether it’s a piece of jewellery, a handbag or a pair of shoes.  Usually one conversation-starting piece can be enough or a few coordinated pieces, like a jewellery set or handbag and shoes.  I’m a personal fan of oversized sunglasses for the most part, but at an indoors event, chunky jewellery is almost always good for making a statement.

 

Bring a bit of drama.  Yes, bring the drama – just make sure it’s only to your ensemble! Whether it’s showing off a little bit of curves, a sliver of skin or a drastic eyeliner, giving your outfit an edge is almost always mandatory.  Personally showing off a curve here or there is inherent in an outfit, but every so often there’s a time when a little more drama like stark eyeliner or showing off some skin (or even a bit of both!) is very very necessary.

 

Nurture the naturale.  This one is important and should never be forgotten – making sure that you look good underneath the outfit is paramount.  Keeping physically fit; drinking lots of water; getting in the right amount of nutrients; protecting one’s skin from the elements – these are all key elements to keeping you as (if not even more) beautiful without your outfit as you are in it.  Taking care of your body and treating your hair, skin and nails well from the inside out is the most important style secret for any naturalista, no matter how busy we get.

 

Colour, accessories and a little bit of drama.

Colour, accessories and a little bit of drama.

Top three things to check before planning a vacation.

The world is more connected than ever. But some still don't want to be connected.  We all have that choice.

 

I’ll be honest – I love a great getaway, whether it’s just a quick weekend escape or an extended stay to get a break from it all.  And as a person who has been travelling since childhood, I think it’s safe to say that I have a lot of relevant experience when it comes to travel safety.  While some travel-related tasks are things I perceive as common sense, there are a few key things that may not be second-nature to those who don’t travel very often but need to be considered before planning a trip.

 

Do I need a visa to go there?  Some of us have heard about the Passport Index but personally, knowing how powerful your passport is tends to be mainly for bragging rights.  While VisaHQ has some fairly up-to-date information on country-specific visa needs, You should always check with the embassy or consulate of your destination and with your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out about visa requirements.

 

Can I get a visa on arrival (VOA)?  Your most up-to-date information on this will always be with the embassy or consulate of your destination, but be sure to keep your home Ministry of Foreign Affairs on speed dial in case there’s no ready answer from them.

 

What do I need to get a visa for my trip?  If you do need a visa in advance, pick up a form from your destination’s local embassy and see what you need to apply for your visa.  If you are eligible for visa on arrival, make sure that you have checked with the embassay and that whatever you need for your VOA is packed in your carry-on or personal bag.

 

Let’s face facts: everyone could use a break from the usual scenery but making sure you can get to your desired destination is the first on the list of priorities.  Once you make sure you know what you need to actually get there, then you can enjoy your getaways with ease.  Happy Travels!

 

Rise of the HIITs… Top three favourite circuit styles.

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Some of us remember time-based circuit and interval training for years before the Crossfit or fitness blogging movement began, but the last decade has heralded the rise of the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) fitness regime.  Useful for everything from my jogging routes to my strength training regimes, it is well-loved among trainers and time-starved fitness lovers alike.  As a big fan of bodyweight exercise moves and the interval timer (and equivalent apps!), I incorporate HIIT into my fitness and physical activity routines at least 3 times a week.  While everyone who prescribes to it has their own personal ways to include it into their workouts, these are my top three types of HIIT training protocols.

 

As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible (AMRAP).  I am not particularly fluent in the language of Crossfit, but the AMRAP protocol is something I made an effort to understand.  It entails performing a set number of repetitions for several different exercise moves and performing as many cycles of the moves (with minimal rest between sets) for a fixed time period.  Personal spin I set my timer to 15 minutes, choose 2-3 strength training and/or plyometric moves (I guess paired moves for me would be my twist on the Crossfit superset), perform a set of number of repetitions of each moves in succession with maximum of 45 seconds rest in between sets then repeat another 15-minute session after a short break.  How it feels? About five minutes into the workout will feel like the rest is impossible, but the endorphin rush afterwards is unforgettable.  Maybe it’s a favourite because I keep chasing that rush.

 

Tabata.  Dubbed by many as “The 4-Minute Workout”, the basis of the Tabata protocol is a 4-minute cycle of interval training for 20 seconds at maximum intensity followed by a rest period for 10 seconds.  Can 4 minutes really cut it?  Personally, I am a proponent of elevating the heart rate to 80% of its maximum (the cardiovascular range) for at least 20 minutes per session for it to be effective, so I would not rely solely on a 4-minute workout to keep my body and heart in optimum condition.  Personal spin I perform about 5-8 cycles of the 4-minute workout on my own with about 2 minutes rest in between cycles.  My alternate routine entails setting my timer to 50 seconds of maximum-intensity work and 10 seconds of rest and using the protocol for a total of 20-30 minutes.  How it feels? Like almost every other type of interval training you can undertake, you will feel completely shattered afterwards but your body will definitely thank you.  Long after the workout, in fact.

 

Every minute on the minute.  So simple, the protocol is self-explanatory.  Okay, for neophytes, I’ll explain anyway: you turn on your timer and start a fixed number of repetitions of an exercise move at the start of a minute then start the next set of repetitions when the next minute starts, and then you get the drift from there.  Personal spin I take one or two exercise moves (my other take on the Crossfit superset) and perform my repetitions with special focus on perfecting my form at the start of each minute and I work out for 20-30 minutes with this protocol at a time – this works best within the minute if the number of repetitions is kept low (I usually keep my reps under about 10-12, especially if I’m pairing moves; otherwise, the minute will not be sufficient to finish one round.)  How it feels?  The first two minutes sail by and you feel great then by the start of minute five, you feel like you’ll want to die – you won’t but you may want to – but when you get to the end of the last minute, you feel amazing.

 

The circuit training protocol has been around for generations on end, and the rise of the HIIT is just living proof that circuit training is a mainstay in fitness and healthy living.  Like I said, everyone has their own personal preference, but these three styles are part of my personal key to staying fit and active.