#IAmUrbanBrave

It was two years ago when I was actively into fitness. I was a lot leaner then. But then I had to stop, I had a small health scare which prevented me from doing exercises. With my health challenges already under control and managed, I should be back to doing some exercises.

With summer slowing making its presence felt, so does regrets; regrets that the past months could have been spent on getting back in shape. The round-is-a-shape reasoning no longer held its water when I struggled carrying my weight around while traveling to Bataan last month . Climbing stairs, jumping to the sea and other activities made me realize I was not as agile as before. With another summer getaway planned for next month, I feel that I need to be more active. I know can still push to shed a few pounds before hitting the islands and soaking up the summer sunshine.

To enhance that fitness regimen and unleash that urban brave attitude, I am trying to push myself to start working out again. Fitness essentials from Urbanize can surely make the fitness journey a little better. Here are five must-have for the gym warrior I am working to turn myself into:

1. Popband

Hair ties with a pop of color put me in a good mood. I will need that before every workout. Plus, no more stray hairs! These bands are designed to be gentle to the hair. So no stress to the tresses! With every muscle contracted and stretched, beads of sweat may roll but my hair will stay in place and away from my face so I can focus on what is essential: powering up!

2. Hydrapak

I need to be hydrated before workout, while working out and after working out. I need this handy Hydrapak that is easily collapsible when I already consumed all the water I needed. This very light device can be easily packed for urban fitness on-the-go.

3. The Camo Seamless Tote by Focused Space


Gym bags should not be boring. This tote is the perfect go-to bag to pack my gym clothes and other essentials. It is non-descript so this can be used as a gym bag and transition to a regular tote bag. I can easily carry this from gym to lunch with friends and still look as urban brave as I can be- as if I did not struggle through crunches and lunges!

4. Lewis N Clark Packing Cube


I want to keep my things inside my gym bag as neat as possible so I can easily find what I need. This comes in different sizes to accommodate the different items I need as an urban brave individual. I see myself packing my cables and electronic devices to prevent them in a tangled mess.

5. The Qliplet by Lulabop


I do not need to call McGyver should I need help in carrying stuff around. I plan to start jogging (okay, walking) around the block aside from working out in the gym and at home. I need some nifty device I can hang in my belt to carry the Hydrapak, for example. This Qliplet is the perfect device for simplifying my planned active and urban brave life.

Let us hope I sustain this fitness lifestyle. Summer, here I come! How about you? What are you fitness essentials? Check out the Urbanize Facebook page and website. You may find what you need for your urban brave lifestyle.

*** This is a contest entry for Nuffnang Philippines.

5 Celebrity Diets: It’s Safe for You to Try

From time to time, everyone thinks they should go on a diet. There’s a pressure to look like the celebrities we see glammed up on the red carpet, who always seem to be testing out the latest diet.

But before you dismiss them all as fads, we’ve picked out five celebrity diets worth trying. We’re not promising you’ll end up looking like Beyoncé or George Clooney, but you could feel a lot better about yourself. Check them out:

1. Juicing

Okay, so we all know that vegetables and fruit are good for us. But why? They’re a brilliant way of adding essential vitamins and minerals into our diet, but trying to fit the recommended five-a-day into your diet can be difficult. Especially when it was recently revealed we should be eating more like 10 portions of fruit and veg a day.

With juicing, it’s easier to stock up on more. But the benefits don’t stop there. As the vegetables and fruit used in juicing are raw, you’re probably getting more essential vitamins. Try it out for yourself with Gwenyth Paltrow’s Green Juice recipe, brought to you by Vouchercloud. They say it has got plenty of calcium and antioxidants from the leafy green super veg that is kale, with added lemony twang.

2. Vegan

Going vegan isn’t necessarily a diet – it’s more of a lifestyle choice. But the benefits of cutting out meat, dairy and eggs from your food intake are plenty. If you plan a vegan diet well, it’s rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals.

The Vegan Society add that the plant-based sources of these nutrients tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants, helping mitigate some of the modern world’s biggest health issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Vegan diets are popular with celebrities such as Ellen Page, Alicia Silverstone, Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres and Liam Hemsworth.

3. 5-Factor diet

Just looking to shed a few pounds? The 5-factor diet could offer you a quick, safe fix that actually works. As the name suggests, it’s all about the number five. You eat five meals a day full of five elements that take no longer than five minutes to make. Along with this diet, you’re supposed to do five days of exercise per week. You’re allowed a cheat day too. IB Times say stars like Megan Fox and Lady Gaga regular use the 5-factor diet.

4. Atkins

If you’ve ever wanted to look like Kim Kardashian, you should try the Atkins diet – which she credited for helping her lose almost 70 pounds after the birth of her second child. On this diet, you’re supposed to limit the carbohydrates and sugars. The idea is your body will burn fat, but you’ll still feel energised so you won’t get the same cravings you can experience on other diets.

5. Dukan

The Dukan diet works in four phases:

  1. The attack phase – high protein foods to kick-start dieting
  2. The cruise phase – adding vegetables
  3. The consolidation phase – gradually reintroducing forbidden foods carefully so you don’t regain weight
  4. The stabilisation phase – turning the diet into a lifestyle

Source: Dukan Diet

If you continue with the Dukan diet, you’ll have to follow three key rules: one day of natural proteins every week, 20 minutes of walking every day (never using lifts or escalators), and 3 tablespoons of oat bran every day. It’s supposed to change your eating habits for good, rather than being used for a short-term fix. Considering its popular with Kate Middleton, it must be worth a try.

What diets have you tried? Share your experiences with us.

Exercising and Calf Pain: What Can Be Done to Prevent Pain and Injury

Calf pain, which may be accompanied by soreness or muscle tightness, is a common complaint among athletes and trainers. While most calf pains are caused by strained calf muscles, it is still important to seek immediate medical attention especially if the pain is caused by an underlying medical condition or if the pain and inflammation are still present after more than a week. There are actually several ways in which a calf strain may be sustained. It may be caused by muscle exhaustion from an intense activity, extreme weather conditions, or by the hyperextension of the tendons connecting the calf muscles to the bones.

Athletes who do a lot of running and jumping in their respective sports are at higher risks of sustaining a calf injury. Trainers who perform lower body exercises are also prone to getting a strained calf muscle. It is more common to occur in people in their middle twenties and up but men are more likely to sustain leg strains than women.

Calf strains are inevitable. As a matter of fact, you can sustain a calf injury even while walking. There are however several ways in which you can reduce the risks of having calf pain and injury in the future. Through a combination of calf exercises, precautionary measures, and specialized gears, you can play your favorite sports and maximize your training time. Check out some tips and reminders below on how to prevent a calf injury in the future.

1. Before heading into a game or doing a workout routine, always perform warm-up exercises to condition your legs for intense training. Jogging around for 3 to 5 minutes or completing four sets of lunges with 8 repetitions for each set, are some of the simple warm-up exercises you can start with. As much as possible, do not increase the number of repetitions, intensity, and duration of your training by more than 10 percent each week. This allows your leg muscles to recover and adapt more efficiently to increased training.

2. As important as warming up before training is stretching and cooling down afterward. One simple way to stretch is to sit down on the floor with your legs extending straight in front of you. Slowly lean forward and reach your toes with your hands. Hold the position for 8 counts before going back to an upright sitting position. Repeat four times.

3. Another important element in preventing leg injuries is the use of the proper training shoes. Make sure that they fit comfortably well. Wear the advised footwear for a specific activity. Shoes with cushioned insoles are better in reducing the impact of body weight on your legs and feet. Also, replace worn out shoes that may cause injuries not only to your leg muscles but also to your ankles.

4. Wear compression sleeves for your calves and shins. They do not only prevent cramps by stimulating blood circulation, but they also help in the quick recovery of leg muscles from strenuous workouts. Discover the best compression sleeves for calf and shin and learn how different materials and special features prevent leg muscle strain.

5. Do not force yourself to perform activities which you are not conditioned for. Always be extra careful in doing advanced routines or when training on rugged, unstable or inclined surfaces.

What Are Tumor Markers?

Researchers and scientists are in a constant battle to identify, predict, and respond to potential cases of cancer. Preventing and defeating cancer is a multi-billion-dollar industry. While there is no cure for cancer, scientists have made great strides in identifying cancer in patients early. This has made treating cancer and removing cancerous areas from the body a lot easier and more effective.

One tool that the medical community has been using is a tumor marker test. These tests are designed to identify tumor markers in the body with the hopes of determining whether or not a patient is battling with cancer. Tumor markers are substances that cancer cells as well as other cells in the body make when there is cancer or some other noncancerous condition. Even though tumor markers can be made by normal cells and cancer cells, they appear in a drastically higher level when cancer is present.

Tumor markers can be found in a person’s blood, stool, and in tumor tissue. Tumor markers are primarily proteins. Yet, recent advances in technology have allowed the medical community to identify certain patterns of gene expressions and alterations in the DNA that can be used as markers.

There have been multiple tumor markers that have been categorized by the medical community. Some tumor markers indicate that a person has a particular type of cancer. Others are only present when a person has two or more types of cancer. Researchers have not found a universal tumor marker that appears when any type of cancer is in a person’s body.

While they are a very effective way to diagnose cancer, tumor markers are not perfect. This is because in addition to cancerous conditions, some noncancerous conditions can cause the levels of some tumor markers to increase. Just because a person has cancer does not mean that the tumor marker that has been associated with their type of cancer will increase in their body. Also, there are many types of cancer for which a tumor marker has yet to be identified.

Many individuals have received an early diagnosis of cancer as a result of doctors detecting an increased level of tumor markers in their body. Tumor markers help doctors create an appropriate therapy for some cancers and have given doctors a good idea to the stage of cancer a patient has. Undoubtedly, when the medical community does find a cure for cancer, tumor markers and the tests associated with identifying them will have played an important role.

The Road to Fitness

Since the start of 2014, I have been regularly exercising. I exercised twice to thrice a week. It was a simple 17-minute Zumba routine for flat abs.  I also did standing abs workout by Fitness Blender as an alternative. I guess by now you know where my problem area is. I can see some cuts on my abs trying to form a six-pack. Or so I thought. The tummy area was still prominent. The fitness regimen was in preparation for a climb. My friends and I were supposed to climb Mt. Kinabalu last June. Then, May came where fiestas and homecoming abound. I did not exercise for a month and I ate to my heart’s delight.

September came and I turned another year older and I felt I need a fresh start with fitness.  I exercised regularly and I stopped drinking coke.  I followed three exercise videos for  some time.

In case you want to try them, these are the youtube videos I follow:

I lost 5 pounds off my weight and 2 inches of my waistline. The holiday season came and for two weeks, I allowed myself to drink coke and enjoy some good food. I did not gain a lot so I am off to a good start in 2015

I never felt alone in my fitness journey. I am inspired by my friends, Grace, Shirly, May and Roselle, who are very determined to be fit and healthy. For the exercise routine, I tried other variations to keep it interesting. I tried Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred but I did not last long. I do not like workouts that involve me lying on the floor. Hopefully, that will change in time. I also tried Shaun T’s FOCUS T25 Base Kit – DVD Workout. I was out of breath and my legs hurt after. I was not willing to do the routine again.

My friend, Grace, posted a video of herself in her workout routine. It looked like something I can do. It was Les Mills Combat DVD Workout. I tried it and I love it. The routine is not that physically demanding but I sweat profusely after the workout. The workout is good for 60 days with 5 different routines.  The routines are combinations of boxing, taekwondo and karate.  There are also burpees, pushups (which I cannot do) and other exercise routine that I do not like.  I still try them or replace them with jogging in place. I listen to my body. I try not to push too hard that would result to injury.

This is the schedule I am following.

Les Mills Combat_02 60 Day Supreme Warrior Calendar

I thank my friend, Grace, for introducing me to this workout. I am currently on my 6th day.  So far, I am feeling good about this workout. Wish me luck!

How about you?  Do you follow a fitness regimen?

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