The idea of being healthy and fit wasn’t something I always entertained. The closest I got to a healthier lifestyle was attending yoga classes religiously around four to five years ago. I had a lot of excuses for stopping though: My schedule didn’t allow it, my friends stopped going, it was too expensive, the studio moved, and there was nothing else nearby.
Finding other fitness activities to do since then has been a chore, mostly for the same excuses listed above. While everyone agrees running is one of the easiest and cheapest exercises you can do just about anywhere, it’s simply not something I enjoyed doing. The turning point for me eight months ago was seeing and feeling physical manifestations of being unfit.
Confession #1: My motivation is not abs, but my weaknesses
My recent attempt at a healthier lifestyle was not due to any desire to look good in a swimsuit, although getting there wouldn’t hurt because I admittedly cringe at old clips of me with a more prominent double chin.
There is no better motivation for me to exercise than my self-defined weaknesses. Whether that’s not being able to load your own carry-on into the overhead bin, running out of breath during an easy hike, getting too tired and sore from walking and carrying a tripod at a tour or the show floor, not being able to focus at the tasks at hand, and not being able to sleep and wake up at normal hours.
Confession #2: I enjoy working out with weights and machines
Through the last few months of experimenting with different exercises, I found that strength training is most enjoyable and important to me, especially in addressing my weaknesses.
My only problem is I’m unable to do most of my routine when traveling, which I do often, unless my hotel has its own gym. For those instances, I resort to exercises that don’t require weights or machines, like tricep dips, planking, and crunches.
Confession #3: I hate running as much as I hate counting calories
There’s no getting around it: I will most likely be one of the first casualties of the zombie apocalypse. I would rather skip my exercise for the day if running outdoors was my only option.
But I started running anyway — indoors that is — on a treadmill in high-intensity intervals. Telling myself to run for 10 to 20 minutes instead of covering two miles is much easier to commit to, what with the limited time I have in a day. There’s no better feeling than doing something out of my comfort zone and knowing I can survive a quick run tells me I can survive anything, eventually.
Confession #4: I don’t really believe in smartwatches, at least not yet
A shiny new thing on your wrist is like a new gym membership; it motivates you at the start, and gives you fake willpower to overcome laziness, mostly because you want to get the most out of the investment you just made. Sometimes you’d even throw in new shoes, a new sports bra, or a fresh pair of cute leggings, just so you’d feel good while working out.
Even for everyday use, I find myself turning off notifications and not using any other function my smartphone can also do on any wearable I get my hands on. I’ve avoided smartwatches ever since the first smartwatch I tried using because of how they look, bad battery life, and not-so-useful functions.
Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to monitoring your health, smartwatches and fitness trackers can be helpful and have improved a lot over the years. But knowing how many calories I’ve burned or steps I’ve taken on a certain day doesn’t mean anything if I didn’t change my habits for the long term. A new piece of tech or clothing can only do so much to motivate me.
Confession #5: I have a fast resting heart rate and that’s not good
From the overwhelming amount of data a smartwatch gives me, I realized that what matters the most is my heart rate. One’s resting heart rate says a lot about one’s overall well-being, and my average resting heart rate says a lot about the current state of my fitness. I live a very sedentary lifestyle — I sit all day, go in front of my computer, Uber to and from work. I rarely get to walk a lot.
For what it’s worth, using a fitness wearable like the Garmin Forerunner 35 to track how much my heart beats in real time has helped. Seeing how unfit I really am with one press of a button, through a number that isn’t my calorie count and seeing that number lower little by little, motivates me to reach new goals.
It’s only been four months since I started consistently adding 10-minute running intervals before any of my workout routines and I already feel better. I climbed the easternmost part of the Great Wall of China two months ago and I didn’t get as easily tired compared to when I went up the Geumnyeonsan Mountain in Busan, South Korea back in October.
Aside from surviving easy hikes and having stronger arms that can carry a bag full of camera gear overhead, one of my fitness goals now is to have a more normal heart rate — that whenever I press that button on any smartwatch, it should say anything between 60 to 80 instead of 100 and above. Even if I don’t enjoy it as much, I’ve learned that running is still one of the best ways for me to get there. Slowly building up my running time, running at a faster pace, and maybe eventually running outdoors will help me achieve a healthier heart.
In the last few months, it’s been reinforced to me that being fit isn’t so much about how you look — having a thigh gap or toned abs doesn’t necessarily equate to good health. A healthy heart, after all, is a happy one. Everything else (abs included) will eventually follow.
How to wear nude: The perfect summer to fall transition
Look chic this transitional season with a color you most probably have in your closet
The combination of cool breeze and sunny skies can only mean one thing: summer isn’t completely over but autumn is almost here. Dressing during this transitional season can be tricky — sweaters and boots can still be too warm during the day, yet the wind can easily blow your favorite summer dress up.
And then there’s color. Summer whites and bright colors have to slowly start taking a back seat to give way to fall’s earthy tones. My go-to during this summer-to-fall transition is a closet staple all of us should already own: nude. All 50 shades of it. Here are some styling tricks you can take note of before heading out this month of September:
Layer with linens
There are very few things more comfortable than linen during the summer. On days when temperatures fluctuate more than usual, wearing layers with a linen piece can be your go-to. Combine it with something warmer like a cotton sweater. You can also throw a blazer on top if the weather permits.
Slip into a slip dress
Who says you need to give your slip dresses a break this season? You can keep wearing those silk pieces as you transition into fall with a warm turtle neck sweater underneath or over it to turn it into a skirt.
Keep calm and carry the mini bag
Mini bags may be the it accessory this summer, but it doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year to keep using them. Neutrals like nude will work with your outfit when styled appropriately for the season, even when the item is no longer trendy.
Power dress with an extra long coat
Sweating underneath a powerful outfit is neither attractive nor commanding. Power dressing when it’s hot and humid out is not easy, especially when getting to work involves a lot of walking or subway rides. During this summer-to-fall transition, you can bring that light-colored coat from spring and wear it over your work outfit when needed. Plus points if your smartphone (or its case) doesn’t ruin the look, but actually matches with it.
There are many other ways to survive the summer-to-fall transition as stylishly as possible, but there’s nothing like sticking to pieces you most probably already have in your wardrobe — and styling them for the season — instead of buying more pieces that you won’t be able to wear until next year. There is, for sure, something nude in your closet that’s begging to be worn. It’s a staple that works with almost anything, may it be summer or fall.
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Huawei Freebuds 3: AirPods with noise cancellation
Huawei has never been shy about putting their products up against Apple’s. And the Huawei Freebuds 3 is no exception. It’s essentially the AirPods, but better.
The Huawei Freebuds 3 clearly has its crosshairs on the AirPods. One look and you know that’s what Huawei was going for.
It’s not the earbuds that some people find intrusive. These fit nicely in your ear without feeling invasive.
The other thing that sets it apart is adaptive noise cancellation. Thanks to the Kirin A1 chip, the Freebuds 3 is supposedly capable of 15-decibel ambient noise reduction. That’s remarkable for its size and easily blows the AirPods out of the water. It even has what it calls the bone sensor. The tech claims it can better pick up your voice through bone vibrations so that your voice comes across clear during a call.
Controls are also built into the the earbuds. Double tap the right to play or switch music. Do the same on the left to turn on/off ANC function. And much like other wireless earbuds of note, playback pauses when taken off, and resumes once put back in.
These earbuds promises up to 4 hours of playback time and up to 20 hours with the charging case. Speaking of charging, you can juice it up via USB-C and the case also supports wireless charging. Pricing has yet to be announced but the device will go on sale later in 2019.
Oh and, it also comes in black.
TCL unveils premium-looking entertainment solutions
Beautiful headphones and a soundbar!
TCL just launched a set of entertainment solutions at IFA 2019. The brand unveiled a premium soundbar, along with new, wireless headphones.
Odd-looking yet beautiful soundbar
TCL put the spotlight on their Ray Danz soundbar. Featuring a front-firing and sideways-firing speaker drivers, the soundbar bend the sound in a particular angle to create a natural and wider resonance, and a crystal clear dialogue.
Thanks to Dolby Atmos, it creates a 360-degree surround sound without the need for extra upward-firing drivers. If you want a ground-shaking bass, connect the subwoofer to the soundbar wirelessly for an immersive experience.
New, vibrant headphones
Growing the brand’s headphone lineup, TCL introduces the SOCL500TWS. Available in four unique colorways — Blue Ocean, Sunset Violet, Sunrise Orange, and Phantom Black — this wireless headphone lets you enjoy music in style. It reproduces powerful audio, thanks to its 5.8mm speaker drivers. Moreover, TCL changes its wireless headphones’ design to fit ears naturally and perfectly.
Furthermore, the headphone can handle up to six hours of continuous playback. If you’re concerned with the charging case, TCL believes it carries enough power that lasts for at least 19 hours. In addition, it has a clever antenna design that lets you stay connected on your Bluetooth, even in crowded areas. Finally, the SOCL500TWS is splash-proof and IPX4 rated, so you can enjoy the headphones under light showers.
For sporty people, TCL offers the ACTV500TWS to complement your active lifestyle. It features a textured surface, providing extra grip. Designed for sports use, it comes in an IPX7 rating for water and sweat resistance. Same as the SOCL500TWS, the headphone can handle continuous playback for at least six hours, and can extend up to 33 hours, thanks to its charging case. The case itself supports wireless charging, too, and can be attached anywhere with its metal karabiner. It’s available in two color options: Copper Dust and Copper Ash.
Rise of noise-canceling headphones
Another headphone in TCL’s lineup is MTRO200NC, a noise-canceling headphone that packs with powerful bass. It features a set of 32mm speaker drivers, delivering accurate mids and crystal clear highs.
Design-wise, it has soft, breathable ear cushions to provide comfort when listening for a long time. But what you’ll love about this headphone is convenience. It has a flat-folding design, excellent battery life up to 20 hours, and fast-charging support.
Top-of-the-line headphones under the ELIT line joined TCL’s new lineup, too. Introducing ELIT200NC and ELIT400NC, both headphones feature active noise-canceling technology, exceptional audio, upscale design and build, as well as comfort, portability, long battery life, and fast charging.
For active, energetic individuals, the ELIT200NC is the perfect fit, featuring a flexible neckband design and stunning, lifelike sound. Casual users may enjoy the over-the-ear ELIT400NC headphones built with a lightweight, foldable frame.
Pricing and Availability
The Ray Danz soundbar will cost 399 EUR (US$ 440), while the SOCL500TWS and ACTV500TWS will cost 80 EUR (US$ 88) and 100 EUR (US$ 110) respectively. For the noise-canceling headphones, the MTRO200NC is priced at 70 EUR (US$ 77), and the ELIT200NC costs 80 EUR (US$ 88), while the ELIT400NC is a bit more expensive, starting at 130 EUR (US$ 143). TCL’s entertainment solutions will be first available in Europe starting Q4 2019.
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