Road Trip

Life is like a road trip – always look ahead, but don’t forget to check the rear-view mirror once in a while.

It’s about the journey. Don’t forget to enjoy life at every opportunity you get.

Life will through obstacles at you but you’ve got to push through!

Yes, sometimes you need to take a break.

But don’t forget to get back up and smash it!

And have fun with your friends!


Why I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions

NYE Post

Happy New Year!

It’s day 2 of 2016 and you have probably already made some resolutions for the rest of the year.

But will you stick to them? And are resolutions really useful?

Personally, I don’t believe NY resolutions really work – they’re more like a tradition which people follow blindly and forget about the minute they return to their daily routine.

However, setting yourself certain  goals and objectives is definitely a must if you want to achieve something, not only this year but in life.

So here’s a better way of doing this: create a 10-year vision. Yes, 10 years is a long time, but as we all know time flies so we need to get crackin’.

A year ago I attended a vision-setting workshop (you can do it online here) by Lululemon Athletica where we learned how setting visions and goals can help you create and seize possibilities.

Possibilities Quote

Here are a few tips to help get you started on your 10-year vision:

  • Write down what you want to achieve on a personal, professional and health level. Then write down what you do NOT want. Don’t feel bad about not reaching all of your goals, just write everything down. Check out Susanne Conrad’s goals here as an example of what the end result of this exercise will look like.
  • When writing those goals don’t be afraid to be audacious – it’s OK to fail 50% of the time (as long as you learn from your mistakes!).
  • Once you are clear on what you do and do not want in your life, start with a 10-year plan. Jot down in a couple of bullet points what you would like to have achieved in 10 years in your career, health and personal life. Here’s a template to guide you:
Lululemon Vision & Goals Worksheet
You can download this template from the Lululemon site here
  • Then, based on these goals, write down what you need to achieve in 5 years’ time and then in 1 year’s time. Breaking your bigger goals into smaller once will help you stay on track.
  • Now for the tough part – writing your vision. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Write your vision as a story – see it, feel it, hear it, smell it. Don’t hold back. Be true to yourself. Be specific.

Writing your vision may take a bit of time – don’t worry. Just close your eyes and imagine where would you be 10 years from now?  Here’s a video from Susanne Conrad, Director of Possibility & renowned leadership and communication advisor:

Good luck!



Life Outside The Gym

Last week I wrote about why I decided to do a fitness competition and challenge myself to take my health & fitness to the next level.

After reading that post you may be wondering whether all I do is count macros and workout on top of having a full time job.

Well I still do have a life (yes, really!) and do get to have fun… as long as I have prioritised and managed my time efficiently.

That new Star Wars movie got me like: “BB-8 I’ll save you!”

For example, I have 1 rest day mid-week which means that the evening before I can go to bed a bit later than usual. Typically that evening I would go out with friends for a movie or a good dose of laughter.

And then of course there are the weekends. Normally I split my weekends in two – rest & recreation. On the first day of the weekend I always try to do something fun and different. From karaoke to trekking – there’s always something to spice things up, especially if you have the right company.

See to truly enjoy the weekend it is important to be open minded and spontaneous. Example: yesterday was Christmas. My original plan didn’t go to plan (pun intended) but luckily a good friend of mine was invited to Christmas dinner party where I got to meet loads of interesting people and a snowman 😀

And on the second & last day of our (extremely short) weekend I try to get a bit of rest and get ready for the week ahead. Sometimes this would involve an early morning yoga class, followed by a bit of grocery shopping and other household tasks and ending with some quality time in bed or on the sofa with books & TV series 😀

See? There’s so much you can fit in 48 hours!



A day in the life of…

Many people ask me why I decided to do this fitness competition. They wonder why I put myself through strict food intake and training schedule. Why do I sacrifice certain things

You see, to me it is not a sacrifice or a struggle. Is it hard at times? Yes, of course. But I see this as a personal challenge. I decided to challenge myself to be healthier, fitter and more confident (especially on stage). I challenged myself to get to know my body better and learn to appreciate it. And what is life without a bit of a challenge?

I do believe that in life we should always challenge ourselves to do better, learn new things and improve ourselves. Whether those challenges are ones which life throws at us (yes everyone has a struggle of some sorts) or whether they are ones we have consciously decided to set for ourselves, challenges are necessary for us to change and grow.

After the why’s come the how’s. How do I do what I do? How do I train? How do I prep my food? How do I keep going? Well let me take you through a typical training day.

My alarm goes off at 5.15am and I spend a few minutes wondering why am I doing this
 Kidding! Although there are times when I do struggle to get out of bed so early I always remind myself of my goals and what I want to achieve. I have my first meal (out of 7) of the day and spend about 30 – 40 minutes stretching and practicing my stage routine. I then prepare my post-workout supplements and protein shake and get ready to hit the gym.

At 7am I meet my coach Adrianna and we start off our weight training session of the day. We are usually done by around 8am and after a short stretch, I get ready for work and take my post-workout shake.

I’m usually in the office by 9am and tend to stay there until
 well until the work gets done or I get too tired – whichever comes first. Typically I would leave my desk between 7pm and 8pm, however there are days when I stay until 9.30pm. I have about 5 meals during my time in the office – a combination of protein and vegetables (with only the first meal having carbs).

Once I get home, I would prepare for the next day. Luckily I am currently using a meal prep company and rarely have to cook, however prior to this I would typically cook large batches on the weekend and freeze my meals (the only fresh meal back then was my evening tuna salad).

When all is set I have my last meal of the day in front of the telly or in bed with a book. I take my bedtime supplements and get ready for bed. I try to be in bed by 10pm, although if I have stayed late in the office I may not go to sleep until as late as 11.30pm.

So there you are – a typical day in my life. Not as hard as people would think, but not as exciting J I do however do spend some time on Tuesday nights with friends as my rest day is Wednesday and of course I make sure my weekends are packed with entertainment.

Do I have any regrets? No. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Do I miss anything? Well it’s all down to getting in to a routine
 but I do miss freshly baked bread with butter (yup, on my list for next cheat meal!).

Can anyone do this? Of course! All you need is to find a motivating factor – something strong enough to pull you through the ups and downs of life (because there are always some obstacles on the way!) as you attempt to challenge yourself to be healthier and fitter.


A good way to finding a strong driving force is asking yourself everyday if you can go to bed knowing that you have done your best. This is a trick shared by crossfit athlete Camille Le Blanc who I had the please of meeting last month here in Dubai. So tonight, when you go to bed ask youreslf – are you proud of your daily achievements?

Yours truly,



The Subtle Signs of Life

So it has been more than a week since I last wrote a blog post. The reason for this MIA is the usual excuse – life got in the way. Needless to say the last couple of weeks have been very stressful and busy.

But then I realised I was sweating the small stuff and missing on some important ‘signs’ (if you believe in this kind of stuff) around me.

I have been trying to change my mindset for a while now. Trying not to worry so much. To be more spontaneous and accepting of fate. However such things are easier said than done.

I always try to start the day positive, yet at the first challenge or misfortune my mind slips into negativity – anger and frustration morph into desperation and misery.


However the past week has been different. I think I may have truly began to change my mindset. Of course this process started a while back – there was no ‘game-changing’ day. Now I am finally seeing the culmination of those small actions, signs and chance discoveries.

So I noticed that over the past few days a lot of things have been screaming at me. Those ‘things’ or signs came into 2 forms: people and perceptions.

Interesting people = interesting conversations

Everybody wants to talk but few are willing to listen.

Sometimes we forget to truly pay attention to other people’s stories and often times we forget to even ask about their story and current life situation. Science has proven than talking about ourselves has a similar effect to drugs – it makes us feel good. But in our endeavour to get that dopamine hit we can easily miss out on the important life lessons others can share with us.

This week I have been blessed (either that or my ears have developed a new level of hearing abilities 🙂 ) with a few enlightening conversations that really hit home one message – everybody is fighting their own battle; just as there are people better off than you so there are people in much worse situations.

Yes, we all know there are people worse off than us, but how many of us actually think about that before we erupt in anger or fall in despair over non-life threatening situations? *Note to self: don’t sweat the small stuff, nobody died right?

Yet lessons can be learned not just from those worse off than us – a lot of people nowadays have inspiring stories of success or unexpected achievements. A girl coming back from the dead, an Irishman fluent in Russian, a boy who’s working two jobs to achieve his dream despite supporting a family, including a member who was in a hospital ICU.

We can find inspiration from many around us only if we bothered to ask and truly listened to their stories. Everyone is looking to grow and discover themselves and we can all share our experience and knowledge.

Everything happens for a reason and everything has a solution.

Just as I was starting to question (and get frustrated about) the direction in which my life was heading, a random check on social media alerted me to some interesting opportunities. After further research I was surprised to discover that two of my acquaintances were already involved in those. *Repeat: everything happens for a reason.


Read the signs

So sometimes we just need to open our eyes (and ears!) and be more aware of the things happening around us. We need to be more perceptive and inquisitive. For example, in the past days I saw a few near-misses on the roads (a common thing in Dubai). But seeing it happen so close to me really made me think. Especially after hearing the screams of a man on the side of the street who had been hit by a car moments before I drove by. *Note to self: Life is precious.

This was followed by a couple of friends sharing personal stories of very serious health problems – and I was worried about my stomach bloating! By being aware of these different realities we can adjust our mindset and be grateful for what we have. The way we perceive things can have a huge impact on our actions (and reactions).

Our thoughts can also subconsciously attract events and signs related to those thoughts. No, I’m not going to talk about The Secret and how your thoughts and the universe are intimately connected (thank you Oprah for enlightening us 🙂 ).

I did, however, encounter a few interesting coincidences. I’m currently reading a book on Australia and by default my mind tends to gravitate towards that part of the world. So when I was doing some fitness competition research I was surprised to find that some of the best in the industry here hailed from Australia (people and products).

Also a couple of conversations ended up with interesting information about Oz land (and I wasn’t the one initiating or sharing the facts!). Very interesting indeed.

So my point is – be more mindful about the things and people that surround you and also of your own thoughts and reactions. You would be surprised what you can discover!


Life Matters: Why I Always Prep for the Week Ahead

Hello weekend!

Time to catch up on sleep and relax right? But oh there is so much to do! See friends & movies (or both if you like to multitask!), do the house chores, get involved in your favourite hobby and get ready for the week ahead.

Wait, by the time you get to the end of the list is there really any time left to ‘get ready for the week ahead’? And what exactly does this involve?


For some it may be just making a to-do list for the week, for others it may be a much more complex operation. Unfortunately, I fall in the latter category.

For me getting ready for the week ahead means planning all of my meals and my outfits (for work and for the gym) . Sounds simple enough but it can take a good part of the day and leave me drained and unwilling to venture much further than the sofa (after doing all the cleaning and laundry of course).

A lot of people wonder why I do what I do and how I do it. Let me answer those questions for you.

1.Why I spend a good part of every weekend preparing for the week ahead

I work out 5 days a week. I also work, in an office, 5 days a week (ha, no surprise there!). And I am the type of person who needs a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night, plus having sleeping problems does not help.

This means I have to be very organised and make sure that my time during the work week is optimised and used efficiently. Having everything ready on the weekend, means I only need to pull out whatever I need for the next day the evening before. I.e. it saves time and energy. And nothing beats coming home tired after a long day and knowing that you can just relax and have a nice dinner without having to do countless little chores.


But most importantly it helps me to stay consistent on my journey to achieve my goals. Having already decided on my meal plan for the week helps me avoid temptation or simply falling off track because I was too hungry and had nothing to eat. I know what I have put on my plate and I know it is good for me. I also don’t have to faff around thinking what to eat or what to wear – I can just get on with important business. No more wasting time on minor life decisions.

Think of Steve Jobs. Ever wondered why he always wore the same black turtleneck sweater? It was because it saved him time. You see, he didn’t have to think every morning what to wear. He had more important decisions to make. It allowed him to concentrate on the big picture. And he’s not alone – Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein and many other successful people often have a signature ‘uniform’ which helps them pare down decisions.

Now imagine how many times a day we have to make decisions about what we eat? Let’s say the average is 3 to 6 times a day. Add to that all the other minor decisions of the day – what to wear, whether to take the lift or the stairs, when to eat, etc. Now that is a lot of time to spent on thinking about minor details and it can lead to ‘decision fatigue’ – making poor decisions.

2. How I get ready to face the coming week

Screenshot_2014-11-10-08-12-03All you need is a strong will and a bit of discipline. Yes, preparing all those things in advance can take up to half a day, but you (and your mind) are free of petty decisions and tasks for the rest of the week.

Typically, on working days I’m up by 6.30am and leave the house by 7.30am. I don’t return home until around 7.30pm and as I usually struggle to fall asleep I always aim to be in bed by 9.30 – 10pm.

This leaves me with barely a couple of hours before bedtime, and I wouldn’t want to use this precious little time for cooking, making sandwiches or ironing clothes. Oh, no. That time is sacred.

So instead, on one weekend day I plan my meals and make a grocery list, do the shopping and cooking, iron the clothes and put everything in order. That way all I have to do during the week is make a quick salad in the evening and wash my food containers, but no more. The rest of the time is spent unwinding from the day’s stress.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day, but how we choose to spend them is what makes the difference. Nobody said it’s easy, but if you have a dream and a goal you have to find ways to work towards it. Like they say – there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.



Motivation Tuesday: Abs Are Made in The Kitchen


So you have heard the famous saying that abs are made in the kitchen. And that is true – 70 to 80% of your health and fitness goals is achieved through nutrition, leaving a measely 20-30% for fitness. Yet one cannot work without the other. You can lose weight through dieting but you can’t change or tone  your body shape without exercise and vice versa.

Spending 1-2 hours working out in the gym is  easy. What we do (and especially eat!) during the remaining 22 hours is the hard part.

And that is why I mostly post about food and nutrition rather than fitness and exercise. But I do have to get those 20 -30% in, so here’s a quick and simple workout from one of my Pinterest boards: Find more like this at #bodybuilding #fitness #bodybuilder

Keep up the good work!


New: Motivation Tuesdays

Six months ago I decided to learn how to do a handstand. When I shared this goal I was asked why and wasn’t I too old for that? Well better late then never! I still have a way to go before I can do these off the wall, but I am making good progress. Yes you can teach an old dog new tricks. Don’t let others tell you that you can’t achieve your goals – if you want it, you can do it!

Motivational quote