The Phone Ring.

Today I’m taking a break from all the travel and want to share with you a funny story instead.  It happened to me this morning and thinking about it makes me laugh.  I do wonder though who is the culprit.  The active or the lazy me. You judge.

The story goes like this.  Tuesdays being my running day, I prepare my things the night before and make a mental note before going to bed that I “must” wake up in the wee hours of the morning to get myself to the gym, run, shower, and then off to the office on time. It’s a “must” because if I gave myself any excuse, I’ll find myself in the vicious cycle of wake up late, no running, and sleeping late…Recipe for weight gain.

So this morning as usual my iPhone alarm clock wakes me up with a lovely tune.  I reach out and turn off the sound. I get up, go to the bathroom and get dressed in my gym clothes.  Black running pants with an orange shirt today. That’s my outfit.  I grab my things and I’m off to go.

Then it happened.

My phone rings.  It’s Alex calling and there I am lying in bed reaching out to pick up the phone!!  Wait, wasn’t I just going out to door to run?  Was it all a dream?  A millisecond later I realize I had been dreaming.  I dreamt I was off to run! 

What a strange dream, part real, part imagination.   So which part of my dreamt this? Was it the active me out ready for a run even in her dreams? or was it the lazy me tricking real me into believing she was actually running?

Whichever part of me was responsible for inducing my dream, I give it my thumbs up.  This is a dream to laugh about.  To make me smile 🙂

I got up.  Dressed in my black and orange shirt and grabbed my things.  This time, though, there was no phone call.

I was awake (I pinched myself) and was ready to go. 🙂

Who do you think induced my dream?  The active or the lazy me?

Peaceful Running

This morning I went off to run before work as normal.  I push my lazy self off my comfy bed and whilst driving to the fitness, I wonder if there will ever come a day when the “lazy me” is gone and dead.  It’s been almost two years since I’ve started running and every morning it’s a battle to ward off the “lazy me.”  Some days, it’s quiet and weak and I can easily push it away, some days it has strength and wants to take over the “active me.”  Nevertheless, as long as I keep my head, the “active me” remains in top place.  This battle, however, stops the minute I am in the car and once I start running it is as if I am transported into a different dimension. Another world.

This morning’s world was one of peace and tranquility.  I ran without my headphones.

Usually I’d spend my runs catching up on the morning news, watching Haslinda Amin recap on Bloomberg or perhaps the BBC news, but today I wanted to try running without the headphones.  I wanted to see what it would be like without having to always worry about my arms swinging and pulling the headphones away from my ears as I run on the treadmill.

I loved the feeling.

I felt a certain “peace” to be running on the treadmill with nothing but my shoes (and my clothes).  No phones, no headphones, no TV.  All I had to keep me company were my neighbours and reflections in the mirror.  My mind was focused and a certain “clarity” prevailed.

I concentrated on my breathing (which I’ve been working on the past few runs) and it flowed more with each breath.  I am no longer heaving or puffing like the big bad wolf about to blow down the little pig’s house.  I breathe rhythmically.  It’s a wonderful feeling. I pray I can keep it up.

I start to look around and notice people around me, the reflected room in the mirror and the wavering trees outside the window.  The hot blazing sun and the sounds of feet thumping on the treadmill belt.  I listen to the sounds my own feet are making and feel my arms pushing back and forth.  It’s meditative and relaxing.

My brain seems to extend time.  One minute seems so much longer and in that one minute, I feel I can do so much.  I have time to look around, be with my thoughts and analyze my running.  All the stresses dissipate and my brain feels energized.

I find myself starting to have a certain fondness for running.  I start to enjoy its meditative nature and the sense of peace and tranquility that comes with it.  I am slowing getting addicted to how rested and happy I feel upon completing a run.  I know this feeling will come and go, and on some days I will probably be lazy, but every time after a run, I find myself at peace.

At peace with the world. 

All is calm, no anger, no madness, just pure contentment.  Perhaps we should all do a little more running.  Run for clarity, run for peace and run for tranquility.  Happy Running!

Playing the Mind

My breakfast discussion this morning concerned attitudes and how most things in life depends on how you view and see things.  Definitely true.  While bicycling later on this past afternoon at the gym I read an article on how exercise is about setting goals and believing you can do it. Also very true.  I’ve experienced it myself and I know losing weight for me required first and foremost a change in attitudes and the way I perceived things.  You may think that achieving is mainly about reaching the goal, but in reality, how you get to the goal is really a process that involves a lot of changes in attitudes and how you think.

As we all probably know,  if you want to accomplish something, you have to set a goal.  What is it you really want in the end?  What is the end result?  This is simple enough.  To achieve anything we need a good and clear goal that is, of course, measurable.  Take for example losing weight.  I wanted to lose weight.  At first I wanted to lose only 5 kgs, but once the momentum started, I thought why not more?  Plus, there was also Alex who kept moving the target for me little by little.  Thank you 🙂

What I hadn’t realize at the time but eventually discovered later on was that before I actually started doing the actual running, the exercises and waking myself up in the wee hours of the morning to run, I had been going through a process of mental change.  A change that is to be instrumental in my path to a healthier me.

Talking with a friend the other day, she reminded me of how during my chubby days I used to tell her, “I don’t care if I’m fat, I enjoy eating.  I like eating and it doesn’t cause anyone any harm.  People should see me for me.”    Another friend said she dared not tell me I was getting big, she just invited me to the gym instead.  Now it’s something we can all discuss about openly.  I’ve changed and attitudes have changed.

What I said back then was “chubby me” talking.  “Chubby me” had taken over and ruled my chubby body.  I exercised, but I ate more than I burned.  I was happy, I did whatever I wanted, I just had trouble finding clothes.  Minor detail.  People were too obsessive about weight and beauty I thought.  Superficial wasn’t for me.

I didn’t owe a weigh scale and so never realized the extent of my weight gain.  I was living in denial.  When people commented on my weight, I’d ignore it and smile, but deep inside I did feel it.  I felt every word. Why won’t people just stop bothering me about my size?  Some even offered me money if I lost weight.  I thought it an insult.  Money cannot buy me. I kept on eating.

In reality, I just didn’t know what to do about it and I didn’t think I could.  I was scared.  I was scared of what would happen if I lost the comfort of my chubby me.  Who would I be if not the chubby me I’ve always known?

The change started when one day I decided “no more.”  I don’t recall exactly the day but the trigger point was my birthday, hitting the thirties and realizing I wasn’t getting any younger. I didn’t have that much time left on earth.  Wrinkles were appearing and here I was still chubby.  It wasn’t cute anymore.

The first mental change occured with my deciding that it was something I really really wanted.  Not just a goal.  I had to really think hard about it.  I had to feel a passion for it.  I had to want it for myself, not for anyone else.  I had to not care about what others would think.

If you want it bad enough, you’d make it happen.  That’s exactly what “The Secret” is really all about.  Basically, if you are thinking about something all the time, your actions will be geared towards achieving that goal and you will see opportunities that previously you had ignored.

Another key point for me was buying a weigh scale.  I had to face up to the truth of my weight.  It’s not that easy.  I always blamed it on my broken machine that I never bothered to replace.  Buying a scale was a step closer to achieving the goal.  It set my mind towards losing weight.  The first time I stepped on it, I took a deep breath.

Finally to be successful, the secret is to really believe you can do it. Believe in yourself.  Believe that the goal is achievable and that you will reach it.  Envision yourself in that bikini or that sleeveless dress you always wanted.

Most will complain that it’s such a pain to lose weight.  They would ask me, “How can you go about being so strict on what you eat and not having unhealthy food?”   My answer is this:  I’d prefer to sacrifice six months of my life to not eating delicious fatty foods then spend the rest of my life forever “trying” to lose weight. 

I don’t know how many years of my life I’ve had losing weight as a resolution, but I know that for the second year of my life, I don’t have to worry about losing weight and can instead work on other resolutions.  To achieve something, it’s really just playing the mind. 

If it’s scared, if it doesn’t know what to do.  Tell it can, and you can.  Afterall, you’re the one in control 🙂

Running Tip: Breathe from da Belly

This morning I went running and still even though its been over a year since I started running, I still can’t quite get the breathing right. I take short breaths in and long breaths out. I gasp for air and my legs start to go all wobbly. All I can think is when do I next get to stop. Oxygen isn’t getting to me fast enough. I feel like I’m suffocating a little. I can feel my lungs heave against my chest. I reach the end of my minutes and I heave for air.

This is not how my breathing should be and it makes me tire more easily than I should. There has to be a better way to breathe. I can’t quite get over my neighbour who is running along as if he were out on the countryside smiling, looking left and right. His breathing is calm and relaxed. His running looks so easy. His feet are quiet. I take a peak at his speed and he’s running at 10.5 km/hour! Wow. That’s very fit..I’m doing 9km/hour and I’m huffing and puffing like I was a big bad wolf about to blow down houses. My face has turned all red and sweat trickles down my face.

This huffing and puffing has just got to stop. On runner’s world website today I found a great article on “Lung Power.” It mentions how good runners must also train their diaphragms which is a muscle that helps you breathe.

I discover that what I do wrong is breathe from the chest. We are supposed to breathe from the belly. A good way to test according to the article is to have one hand on your chest, and another on your belly. When you take in a deep breath from your belly your belly should expand like a balloon with your chest remaining still. I do the exact opposite when I run. When I inhale, my stomach goes in when its supposed to go out! No wonder…

The best way they say is to practice even when you aren’t running. Pilates is supposed to help. I suppose I’d better start going back to those Pilates lessons I’ve only managed to do a few times. They’re great, but incredibly tiring! I think Yoga should help too. That’s something I keep doing on and off also.

So next time you run, remember to take deep breaths with your belly! 🙂 Happy running!

P.S. The article has some great vdos on Pilates exercises you can do to help your breathing… 🙂

Vienna: Herren or Damen?

Here’s a light story to start off the week and welcome March!  February is just saying farewell after a mere 28 days.  Don’t you love it?  For those who look forward to getting their salary, this is a great month 🙂 It comes early 🙂  The story I want to tell today is a true story that you should all take note when you visit Vienna or any other German speaking country.  It’s about two very simple yet very important words:  Herren, Damen.

I remember this like it was yesterday.  I was sitting at Central cafe with a group of friends I had just taken for a walk around the Stephansdom and the Hofburg.  We were tired and what better place to rest than at Central cafe.  We ordered hot chocolate, coffee, and apple strudel. While waiting one of my friends had to go for natured called.  I waved her towards the bathroom and didn’t think much about it.  It was just behind the painting and easy to find.  The rest of us sat and talked with not a worry in the world.  We were on vacation and Vienna was a safe place to be.

Then suddenly our friend returns flushed in the face and sounds like she had just been on an adventure.  She tells us her story.  She walks towards the bathrooms and sees two words:  Herren, Damen.  One on each door.  Now if you’ve never been to a German speaking country and have no clue about their language, these two words can look like Greek or Chinese.  It makes no sense.   

The big question was, “Which one is the women’s bathroom, which one is the men’s?”  She had no clue and there was no one walking in and out.  No help.  So being the logical person she is she reasoned that since in English, “her” was used when referring to females, “Herren” which has a “her” must undoubtedly be the women’s bathroom.   That makes sense right?  English and German are both Germanic languages.

She walks in. 

Now what do you think happened?  Did she get the right door?

For those who answered “No”, kudos to you.   For those who answered “Yes” please remember this!  In German, “Herren” means “Men” and Damen means “Women”!!!  So if you’re a female, go into the room marked with Damen!   If this helps,  in old english women were sometimes referred to as “dames” though now it is considered slightly derogatory.

Old Vienna: The Ringstrasse

My virtual trip to Vienna is starting, and I have to admit that I too am excited about it.  It makes my heart beat faster and my face smile.  Like every trip, its the anticipation that gives us the most joy.  The first area one must visit while in Austria is definitely the old town.  Most of the action happens here and almost everything worth noting is around the this district number 1 (Vienna has 23 districts).  The old town is the centre of Vienna and everything else revolves around it.  I spent a good few months wandering around the area, taking buses, trams and doing a walking tour of the place.  Only by foot can you really learn about a city.  Learn its streets and see its culture. 

My recommendation for everyone’s first visit is to head towards the Ringstrasse before walking through the Old Town.  It gives you an idea and orients you about the city.  What is it?  The Ringstrasse is a circular boulevard that encircles old town Vienna.  This was where the fortress walls protecting Vienna had previously stood in ancient days.  It took Emperor Franz Josef’s vision to demolish the defences and convert it into a grand boulevard.  It’s a grand boulevard just as grand as the Champs Elyssee but what I love is that on this boulevard are all the main cultural and political institutions.

Now to walk the entire boulevard would be tiring. You would be encircling the entire old town and its not that small, so my tip is to hop on the tram.  There are two trams that go around the Ringstrasse.  Trams 1 and Trams 2.  One goes clockwise, the other anti-clockwise.  I can never remember which does which, but if you just hop on one, you’d see all the main sites. It’s worth it. Just don’t go on rushhour in summer. It can get packed and sweaty.

What is there to see?  Oh its full of architectural feasts for the eyes.  Emperor Franz Josef hired architects from all over Europe to beautify the boulevard and that they did.    The Neues Rathaus or New Town Hall is the seat of Vienna City and is interesting in a Neo-Gothic style built by Friedrich von Schmidt.  Since then, they had design competitions and he won.  It’s impressive and has a huge tower that brings your eyes up towards the sky.  I remember seeing it in winter when every year they’d put in place a large outdoor ice-skating rink just in front of the building decorated with Christmas trees and angels that lit up at night. This was where they had the Christmas market.  What a beautiful backdrop for ice-skating isn’t it?  I told you Vienna was romantic.

Just a hop away, you suddenly see another spectacular building built in a completely different architectural style. It’s the Parliament building in a Neo-classical style that reminds me of Athens and Rome.  Greek marble figures of Greek and Roman historians adorn the front. A fountain with the goddess of wisdom stands out front.

The next site is one that you could hop off and spend an entire day roaming around.  Its the Kunshistorisches Museum (Museum of Art) and the Natural History Museum.  There is so much there they can occupy a post of its own.  Perhaps on a rainy day or after you’ve walked around the Old Town Square, its a perfect place to see the collections of the Habsburg monarchs.  Now, with the building of these museums, the private treasures of the Habsburg were made available for all to see.  I saw treasures that were later stolen.  Invaluable treasures.

The arts arrive after all the politics and the treasures.  There’s the famous Opera House, the Burgtheatre, and the Stadtpark with the famous golden statue of Johann Strauss with his Violin.   You can see the list is long so I won’t delve into details.

Not only do you pass by impressive buildings, you also pass by hotels and cafes and a little bit of local life. On the northeastern side of the ring, you catch a glimpse of where the locals live and the Danube canal built to stop the city from flooding.  Urban planning in Vienna is exemplary.  Everything is planned and integrated.  What else can I say… Just going around the Ringstrasse can take your breath away.  Wait till you see the inner square of the Old Town and see the treasures that lie inside the Treasury.  Imperial Vienna was a rich city.

5K Cancer Care Charity Fun Run

If you are a member of my facebook page, you probably already saw some photos I’ve posted from this morning’s Cancer Care Charity Fun Run.  This is my second time running the 5K and the first time I did it alone without Alex motivating me on.  I have to say it wasn’t easy considering I was having stomach cramps, but then running is all a mind game.  Once you get in it, you just have to try and win over.

The mind game for me started the minute I woke up.  I wasn’t feeling very well and my lazy me kept telling me to just sleep in and forgo it.  So many reasons popped into my head in a matter of minutes.  Luckily, the past year and a half the lazy me’s voice has been growing quieter and quieter as it had been losing its battles to the active me.

“Active” me jumped into attack the “lazy” me and it told me to just get my lazy bum off my bed, get ready and get to the park.  It told me that when I was there, if I was still truly feeling ill, then I can just do a very slow jog or walk. (This was the active me’s way of getting me to the run, fully knowing that once I was there I would have to run.)  I had to go.  I could not just give in and let the “lazy” me win over after all this hard work.

And so I got myself into the car and got to the park.  As the “active” me had already known, seeing all the people, the bustle and hustle of the Cancer care charity run made me forget everything else and just want to join in the fun.

The run started, I was amidst the crowd and then the adrenaline sets in.   I see people running and I want to run.  There are hundreds of people. I’m number 130.  I start slowly, moving in and out of crowds, it feels like I’m playing a game.  There are people of all different ages and races.  There are families, there are children with their parents, there are brothers, sisters, there are couples, there are friends, there are colleagues and there are real active runners that just zoom past you like they had a turbo engine attached to them.

Lazy me comes back again like a broken record that keeps replaying certain parts.  Lazy me wants to walk and just enjoy the nice cool breeze and the green green trees that line one of the few parks in Bangkok.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been there. 

Active me pushes the thought aside and I remember Alex’s trick to keep me running. The trick is to keep looking around and enjoy the scenery.  I start noticing the water in the ponds, the old men that come out to sit and enjoy the park, the senior ladies who come out for a walk, the Chinese style pagoda and the children’s playground.  Its a beautiful park especially in the morning light.  I wonder why I don’t come here more often.

I then think of another’s colleague advice on putting her mind elsewhere.  Focus it on other parts of the body.  I move it from my head to my fingers, to my phone and then somehow it goes to my feet.  It starts getting fun to change my pace and then alternate the way my feet hits the ground.  For awhile, its fun and I feel I could go on for awhile.

I did, however, cave into lazy me and walk partly.  However, for fear of walking too long, I’d just give myself a few landmarks ahead and once I get to it, I tell myself I have to run.  Sometimes I use people as landmarks, sometimes its trees, or its some benches.  It works.  It stops me from taking too long a break.

My run takes a total of roughly 40 minutes and I can tell you nothing feels better than running through the finish line.  I did it.  I ran (with some walking) 5K.   Its still not my favorite activity in the world, but its getting easier. It certainly felt easier than my last 5K run in November.  And with time it should get easier and easier!  One day I’ll do the 10K. Yes, I will.

What happens to your mind when you run?  What tricks do you use to keep yourself running?  Please share any tips or advices.  Thank you!

10 Tips on How to Get that Diet Started!

Now the year has started and the holiday festivities are slowing losing momentum (at least until the Chinese New Year) let’s all start the year out being fit and healthy! A lot of people start the year with a resolution to lose some weight and be healthy. It often works for a couple months and then somehow the goal gets lost amidst all the work and whatever life brings us and we end the year having gained weight rather than having lost weight. That was me for probably more than a decade or so. No more. It still feels surreal having lost 15kg (32 lbs). This time last year, I was still working on my last few kgs. Wow.

This year, for the first time, my goal is to just maintain my weight and I tell you it feels WONDERFUL. It’s amazingly less stress and I don’t have to start the year with a guilty feeling knowing I didn’t make it happen last year and so I have to do it again this year. I can move on with my life and work on other goals.

Yes, it feels good. And I want everyone to feel good. So I urge anyone whose goal this year is to lose weight, to MAKE IT HAPPEN and have a NEW Life.

Here are some basic tips to get started:

1. Buy a weigh scale: Don’t be in denial about your weight. Weigh yourself everyday and face the facts. It also helps you understand how much eating, and exercise affects your weight.

2. Get a calendar and plan out your exercise routine: The most effective weightloss routine for me was running in intervals. Walk 5 min warm up, run 3 minutes fast, walk 3 minutes. Alternate like this 4 times. After a week or so, increase the speed and the number of minutes.

3. Keep a food diary. A lot of people tell me, “I don’t eat that much and I exercise three times a week, but how come I don’t lose weight?” When I start digging in and ask them about what foods they eat, a sudden realization comes.. They do eat a lot.

4. Drink lots of water: Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. Common belief is to have at least a liter a day. Before I was always dehydrated and my body went into “starvation mode.” It stored water for later use. When I started drinking, I started losing weight. It might involve many trips to the bathroom, but after awhile you will find yourself drinking more and visiting the loo less frequently.

5. Cut down on sugar: Sugar slows down your metabolism! Avoid it! If you must, have some carbs instead.

6. Take the stairs: If you need to contact someone a few floors up or down, take the stairs. It keeps you active and it helps preserve the world’s energy. It’s a win win situation! Every little calorie counts!

7. Make your goal PUBLIC! Once you start announcing the fact that you are dieting to everyone, you will feel pressured to make it succeed. It really works, trust me. It also lets friends understand you when you have to forgo that delicious but unhealthy lunch of burgers and fries.

8. Plan your meals: If you know you are having a big dinner party you can’t get out of tomorrow. Make sure you eat light the day before and get your exercise before the meal and make sure you exercise AFTER. This way you can be sure you don’t pack on the pounds after that party.

9. Portion control: Eat delicious food, but have small portions. If you are craving for some chocolate, have dark and don’t have an entire bar. If you crave some pasta, have some, but don’t over indulge. This made my diet sustainable. I could not completely forgo eating foods I love, but I would not let it stop me from reaching my goal either. Have milestones and reward yourself with little treats, but don’t have it all the time and every day.

10. Remember it’s only for a few months: Remind yourself that you only have to be strictly disciplined for a few months. It might sound awful having to restrict what you eat and exercise, but hey, after you reach your goal your life is SIGNIFICANTLY better. Maintaining your weight is much much easier!! I’d rather suffer for a few months than suffer the rest of my life with weight problems!

Also make sure that you lose weight healthily. That means roughly 2kgs (1lb) per month. It’s not much, but its better to go slowly but surely. Little by little, keep it sustainable and keep it going! This year is your year to be healthy and FIT! You are doing it for YOU, for YOURSELF and no one else. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself 🙂

I hope this helps and if any of you successfully lost weight, please share your tips and ideas on how you did it. I’m sure it will be of great help to those dieting.

(Check out my previous posts focusing on weightloss tips which can be found in March and April 2010)

Surviving Christmas Tip: Plan Your Meals

With all the festivites going on, Christmas and New Years is undoubtedly one of my favorite time of the year.  I get to meet friends, catch up over lovely meals accompanied by weather that is nice and cool in winter. It doesn’t snow in Thailand, but the temperature drops to the mid-twenties (celsius).  It’s lovely and cool.  Perfect.  And as one of my friends put on her facebook status it is the “perfect weather to get fat.”  I think this perfectly describes how we all feel.

A lot of activities during Christmas and New Years undeniably revolve around eating.  We meet, we eat.  We celebrate, we eat.  We travel, we eat. Then we sleep in between those “meets” and “eats.”  Oh how easy it is to pack on those pounds that won’t just go away.  Nevertheless, do not fear them…there is a way to overcome them and one tip is to Plan Your Meals.

I used to never plan my meals.  I’d just eat what I felt like eating each meal and if I had a big party coming up later that evening so what?  It was an added bonus.  It also added weight.  Now, I plan my meals.  It doesn’t mean that I have to bring my own food or count calories, I do it in such a way that I think is more sustainable in the long-term. 

The first step is to check your schedule and be aware of your dining engagements.  Most of the time, parties and get-to-gethers are scheduled beforehand so you know that on those occasions you will be eating.  You probably don’t want to go to party and not eat right? That would be no fun.  So go to those functions and eat.  Portion  control though, don’t overstuff yourself to the point of no return.  There will be other occasions to eat.

Once you know your schedule, plan out your meals.  For example, if I know I am going to have a buffet dinner tomorrow night where there are a zillion delicious foods awaiting me, I will start controlling my portions more closely the day before.  I’d have a light dinner (the night before), light breakfast and light lunch.  I’d cut down on the snacks and save my eating (and calories) for that buffet.

Third, work out.  Yes, if you know you are going to have a day or two of non-stop eating, work out.  Before a buffet, I’d go running the morning before the buffet and I’d make sure I go running again the day after the meal.  This way, I know I won’t pack on pounds.

If you say you have both lunch, afternoon tea and dinner engagements, then my answer to you is to go run in the morning.  Have half of what you would normally during lunch, tea and dinner.  Basically portion control.  You know you will have a full day of eating so don’t stuff yourself since the first meal.  Then just make sure you go run it off the next day and the day after if you can.

I have been doing this since I lost my 15 kgs a year ago and I have to say it works wonders.  My weight has not been a yo-yo and it has remained steady in a 1-2 kg range.  After my recent trip to Singapore where I spent a good time eating,  I feared the weigh scale. I didn’t have one at the hotel so I had no clue how much I weighed, so all I could do was plan my meals and do my runs.  It worked.  I was 0.5 kg heavier when I returned which is normal.  Weight cannot be that steady all the time.

So fear not the Christmas Weight Gain and Plan Your Meals! 🙂  Merry Christmas!

Fitness fashion: Did you know?

When you go to the gym or fitness to workout there is a certain sense of  fashion at each one.  In some places in Bangkok, the norm is just an old t-shirt with a pair of shorts, anything goes.  In other gyms (which may cater to the more young and ‘hip’ professionals) the norm might include form fitting tops and matching bottoms especially designed for sports.  Those were the main differences I had observed in Bangkok.  In Singapore though, there is a much more colourful sense of style in fitness clothes.

The mix of clients who come to the M-hotel in Singapore is diverse and multi-cultural.  Singapore is diverse and multi-cultural.  Everywhere I go I see a mix of expatriates from the western world, indians, chinese, and people from other countries.  However, I never expected that this cultural diversity would be apparent in the gym.

I never knew before how muslim females dressed when they went to the gym to exercise.  The thought just never crossed my mind.  I  knew that swimming required swimming suits that covered up the body, but I did not realize that the same would apply to those running on the treadmill.  For the first time, I saw how it was done.  A muslim lady worked out covered from head to toe. Her head was covered with a headscarf and she wore long sleeves and long pants. That was her gym outfit.

Then another thing I never thought about was Indians working out.  Now I’m not sure if perhaps the Indian lady I saw was on holiday and without gym clothes, but she dressed in a beautiful sari complete with a shawl while running on the treadmill. Of course she wore the pants version of the sari.  Forgive me, but I know not what they are called… It was beautiful and certainly added olour to the gym.  She had her shawl tied up beautifully while she ran..I am amazed.

Then there were the super-fit athletes.  I spotted a man in full running outfit getting ready to go out for a run. Around his waist he had one of those professional looking belts with small water bottles and a place for energy food.  I guess he must be a marathon runner… Then there was another lady who was so lean and in such beautiful form-fitting clothes you could tell she was fit.  I wonder when I can get that body, if ever.

What do you wear to work-out?  do you have any other interesting fitness outfits to share? 🙂