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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fitness Diary :: Tia Toomey & Rob Forte, CrossFit Games Athletes in Singapore!

CrossFit Games fever is slowly building up among the CrossFit community as the annual international competition is set to start later this month!!

For those new to CrossFit, the Open is the first stage of the CrossFit Games season and the largest community event of the year. Anyone aged 14 or older can compete in the Open and all you have to do is to sign up either online and log in your score each week.

For 5 weeks, workouts are released every Thursday at 5pm {Pacific Time}, and athletes have four days to complete the workout for the week and submit their score. You can do the workout as many time as you want {although they will definitely be pretty tiring and most people I know just do it once or twice...} and scores are due before 5pm {Pacific Time} the following Monday.

At the end of the Open, the fittest of each region will move on to the Regionals, and from there the top athletes from each regional event will move on to the Games.

Last year when I was more active in CrossFit and getting stronger during my PT training, I was pretty excited to join the CrossFit Games this year... however life threw a curve-ball and I had my back injury in September. I thought I'd still be able to recover well enough to participate in the Games this year but my recovery has been slow as it's hampered by my previous back problems.

I was really disappointed that I couldn't join the Games this year {Superman was very clear on that!}... especially when my CrossFit friends and the boy were busy registering and talking about it. Le sigh. I actually haven't been doing CrossFit for the past 3 months ever since the Halloween WOD to rest my back as most of the WODs would be too intense but hopefully I can be back at it in March.

But even though I can't take part in the Games, I definitely will be at my box to cheer everyone!! This year, the boy will be taking part in his first Games too!!! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

Last month Tia Toomey, 2nd Fittest Woman on Earth {i.e. 1st runner-up in CrossFit Games 2016} and Rob Forte, CrossFit Games athlete, were in Singapore to launch their sponsor's, Reebok, latest training shoe, the Reebok CrossFit Nano 7.

They also conducted a mass CrossFit session at Marina Barrage, and visited 3 local CrossFit boxes to conduct a WOD session with its members. Lucky for us, our box, CrossFit Mobilus, was chosen to host Tia and Rob, and even luckier still, the boy was one of the 18 participants taking part in their WOD class!

Not sure how the other boxes chose the WOD class's participants but in our box, interested members had to register with the staff and lucky ones were randomly picked via a ballot. I heard about 40 members submitted their names so the boy was really blessed to be chosen! (*^▽^*)

I went down to support the boy and my friends during the WOD and it was really an eye-opener watching these top CrossFit athletes perform some of the exercise movements and techniques...

... and I guess, very motivating for those that are taking part in the Games this year too!

The boy also got a little one-on-one coaching from Tia during the WOD for his cleans and thrusters (ノ*゜▽゜*) I think because he already did a strenuous workout that morning before this session, he was kinda tired and not on top of his game that day so it was really nice seeing Tia take the time to encourage him to push forward.

Took this with the boy just after he completed his WOD... Tia and Rob stayed on in Mobilus to do their own workout. It looks so challenging!

One for the memories! Thanks for coming to visit us!! Hope one day we will be able to see them compete live at the CrossFit Games, along with the other top athletes like Rich Froning, Khan Porter, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Josh Bridges etc.

Good luck to everyone taking part in CrossFit Games 2017!! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

More on CrossFit:


Thursday, February 9, 2017

What's An Appropriate Slumber Party Age for Kids?

This morning during our car-ride to school, Lil Pumpkin asked, "Mummy, can I go to Nat's slumber party?".

I was kind of taken aback as Lil Pumpkin is just 7 years old... do kids this young have slumber parties with friends already??? I mean, Lil Pumpkin has stayed overnight at her grandma's and aunt's homes, and even had an overnight graduation camp for K2 before, but at a friend's home... already??

Instinctively, I replied, "No." and Lil Pumpkin's bright and expectant face immediately frowned. "But everybody is going...." she tried to reason.

Oh dear... #FOMO {fear of missing out} is starting for her already.

To give some context, Nat's is her classmate since P1. Although Lil Pumpkin has been her friend for the past 2 years & been to her birthday party and all, we barely know her parents or family situation. I'm not implying that her friend's home is dangerous, but leaving Lil Pumpkin alone at a drop-off birthday party is one thing, and sending her off for the night to stay-over alone at someone's house is another.

Growing up, I attended a few sleepovers myself and enjoyed myself tremendously. There's nothing like playing games, watching movies, eating junk food and talking with your good friends deep into the night... then waking up to do it all over again in the morning. So. Much. Fun.

But I think I was as teen when my mum first let me attend my first slumber party though.

As much as I would love a child-free night of peace {& extra room on our bed!!} and a chance for Lil Pumpkin to enhance her social skills / independence, I feel she is still too young for slumber parties with her friends and explained as such to her.

As a 7 year old, I think we've instilled in her some pretty solid values and she's able to tell right from wrong most of the time for simple matters. However, there are obviously grey areas and complicated matters where she will not be able to make the correct decision for herself. Also, as paranoid as it may sound, we do not know her friend's family well and what if there's an older sibling or adult in the family or even neighbour that wants to "try something funny"? Even if not, maybe the group of young friends themselves want to play pranks and do something dangerous while the parents aren't looking, and will Lil Pumpkin be able to stand up for herself in that situation and dare to say "no" to her friends?

I don't want to put her in such a dilemma or risky situation at such a tend age and as much as I know how much she wants to have fun and spend more time with her friends, I'm afraid I have to be the strict parent and say no to her.

I did reassure her though that when she was more mature / older and if it was to a family that we were on closer terms & more comfortable with, she would most likely be able to attend a slumber party on her own. But until then, I reckon play dates and day parties are good enough opportunities for her to socialise with her young friends outside of school. 

I'm glad that although Lil Pumpkin was sad about not being able to go, she listened, agreed with what I was saying and didn't think I was a "bad mummy".

Sigh... I tend to feel like one though whenever I have to say "no" to her as I wonder if I am being too harsh or paranoid. Parenting sure is tough!!! (。•́︿•̀。)

When do you think kids are ready to go to slumber parties or sleepovers?
What's your criteria for letting them attend one?


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Good Bye Genesis Gym | Operation 健康アップ

One for the memories!! Managed to break PR for prowler push {is there such a thing??!} and pushed 130kg for 40m... yay!!! I was really glad to have done it before I left Genesis Gym on 31 Dec 2016. 

It's been exactly one month since I left... a sad decision for me to make but one which I knew I had to.

Superman was leaving Genesis Gym to be a freelance personal trainer. For the past year, even though Genesis Gym trainers work as a team, Jen was the one who helped me with my nutrition and planned my programs, while I trained under Superman most of the time since Jen does more management stuff and isn't on the floor much.

Especially since I injured my back in September last year and my chronic back problem escalated. Superman became my "main coach" of sorts and when other trainers like Boon took me, they would also usually check back with him if there were any major changes to be made too since he knew my injury conditions {weak back, bad knees, tight left forearm etc.} the best. He also took over from Jen to helping me plan my workout programs and monitoring my sleep and health...

{My fave squat rack at the gym}
I've said this before but I think when you have personal training, there should be a good relationship between you & your trainer and the right trainer matters. If you and him/ her don't click or have affinity, it is very hard for you to listen & learn new things, get motivated and push yourself through the pain, whether mentally or physically, during a workout. After all, that's why you want to have a personal trainer right?

I find Superman to be an awesome trainer. He is attentive, able to explain difficult concepts / exercise techniques easily, and knows how to push my right buttons to get me to motivated during a challenging workout session. He even goes the extra mile to help me think of additional exercises or drills outside of my programs to help me get better and reach my goals faster... or encourage me when I was really, really dejected for having to take a step back from my usual heavy training for my back rehab.

I trust him to give me solid, consistent and non-judgemental support with my best interest in mind.. and he is also not afraid to tell me as it is and even chides me when I do things that may worsen my injuries.

And it's not just me that finds him to be a wonderful personal trainer. I see how some of the other clients {and his peers} show him the same trust and respect, and even my gym mate, Jo, has left Genesis to train with Superman too.

Superman and I have formed a rather strong trainer-client relationship and he has become a good friend too. As a person, I like him a lot too since he is loyal, trustworthy, dependable and basically the kind of guy I'd like to hang out with. So, when I knew he was leaving Genesis Gym, there was no doubt that I still wanted him as my trainer and I wanted to follow him on his new journey as a freelance personal trainer.

It would be more inconvenient in terms of rescheduling my routine and getting used to a new gym, as well as a higher cost incurred per training session, but I believe it's a worthwhile investment in my health and well-being. 

I think I've benefited from the Genesis Gym system as much as I could and towards the end, didn't really feel I could make further improvement nor train confidently there with my various injuries without my "main coach". Plus, you all know that once I find a professional I trust and am comfortable with {like my hair stylist, aesthetic doctor, tattoo artist etc.}.. I usually stick with them for life if possible hahaha.

Thus, with support from my family, I made the move to have one-on-one personal training with him starting this year. 

{My fave platform at the gym}
I will miss Genesis Gym though as I was there 5 times a week last year and it really was one of my happy places, a home away from home.

The gym had always been my respite for many things. To me, it wasn't just a place to pump weights.. it was my sanctuary  when life outside got overwhelming, a haven where I found a fitter / stronger me, and a place where I met some of the sweetest and most loving people.

I may not have shown it much during my time there {sorry for my b*tchy resting gym face!!} but I do appreciate each person I met at Genesis that has taught me something about health, something about strength... something about life. Thank you especially to the other coaches Jen, Boon, and JJ who have been pivotal in my fitness journey there too.

As this chapter closes and a new chapter in my fitness journey starts, I can only count my blessings for the opportunity to have spent 1.5 years there and all the precious memories will stay with me forever #sentimentalsook

{Last lift selfie on my last day at Genesis Gym}
I will try to update regularly on my fitness training with Superman. There were some kinks to iron out in the past month but I must say, I have never been so on point with my diet before!! Goodness.. I've even started bringing a scale around to weigh my food so that I can properly document my calorie intake haha. Since I've had to cut back on training heavy or doing compound exercises like deadlifts / squats because of my injury, I've had to focus on my diet more to be leaner and it does make a huge difference because I still managed to lose 1.7% body fat in around 2 weeks last month.

Oh, I still get some queries on training at Genesis Gym which I can assist to answer as much as possible, but I reckon it's best if you consult to them directly {suggest meeting Jon or Jen at Paya Lebar HQ}, especially regarding prices and session times. Personal training is well, very personal, and the Genesis Gym coaches will be able to assess and give you proper advice when you talk to them.

If you are looking for a freelance personal trainer, I will gladly recommend Superman to you too haha. He does one-to-one or even two-to-one training and will travel to train you at your home, condo, nearby gym etc. at your convenience. Seriously, no excuse now for having no time to exercise or not going to the gym when there's someone COMING to you!! Best option for busy parents or working adults :)

As someone that's been training under him for 1.5 years, I'm very confident Superman will keep you accountable and not only help develop your own personalised fitness goals but also develop a realistic and achievable nutritional & exercise plan to attain those goals.

Here's to a fitter, healthier and stronger new year for all of us!!  

Genesis Gym Personal Training Updates:
The Beginning - Signing Up for Personal Training

For my own special friends & blog readers, I've ONE JUMPY Plus Smartwatch in Green {worth S$278} to give away!! With JUMPY Plus, your kids can keep fit too with the inbuilt pedometer and fitness games, not to mention it is a smartphone, GPS tracker, calendar and more!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

JUMPY Plus Kids Smartwatch {GIVEAWAY + PROMO}

Most primary schools, like Lil Pumpkin's, ban mobile phones in school... and I support this idea. Mobile phones can be addictive. Especially smart mobile phones where you can surf, chat, watch videos, take photos, play games etc. on them. Gone are the days of simply using the phone to call or send text messages, then putting it away until the next use. Nowadays.. you just feel like using them All. The. Time. #truestory

Of course, mobile phones are definitely useful in many ways but for young children, there is no need for them especially in school and having them around can be disruptive and distracting. Also, why put them under extra pressure of looking after something so expensive and valuable when they should be concentrating on paying attention in class??

Not to mention that as parents, we don't want our kids to call anyone or access the internet so freely at such a young age too. 

However, as Lil Pumpkin gets older and her daily schedule gets more complicated, sometimes we really need to reach her ASAP. For example, there are days when we unexpectedly have to arrive later than usual to pick Lil Pumpkin up from school and want to inform her so that she won't panic and think that we forgot about her.. However, it can be difficult to contact her without a phone... and that's when I wish she had one haha. Does that happen to you too? 

Things are so much easier now with her JUMPY Plus Kids Smartwatch though. Designed just for kids, the JUMPY Plus smartwatch is a mobile phone, GPS tracker, activity helper, fitness companion and more. We can now contact and locate Lil Pumpkin anytime without the need to buy her a smartphone!

With JUMPY Plus, we can preset 5 numbers for Lil Pumpkin to make and receive calls i.e. unknown numbers won't be able to contact her, and she can't contact strangers either. She's able to talk freely only to us {or her grandparents whose numbers are locked in} or send us simple text messages with emojis, hand-drawings and voice recordings ( ᐛ )و

The microphone/ speaker works well and Lil Pumpkin can receive / make calls with good, clear quality. She really likes to call us on it now like a walkie talkie ahahahaha...  

Do note that a nano SIM card {we're currently using 4G network but it works for 3G too} is needed to call or text, and you need to sync it up with a phone {compatible with both Android & iPhones} via an app to kick-start the fun. You don't have to bring a phone around with the smartwatch though as it functions as a mobile phone by itself.

If Lil Pumpkin is busy or in class, we can also remotely switch JUMPY Plus to "school mode" using our phones. While locked in this mode, her watch can only be able to tell time and make emergency calls so that she won't be distracted when she's supposed to be studying! haha..

I hope Lil Pumpkin won't need to use this added safety function, but IF she is in any danger or has an emergency, she can also easily press a SOS call button to notify me or other people on her call list immediately. If she is unable to pick up a call during an emergency, we can remotely listen in on what is happening to her.

The SOS call button isn't the only safety feature though. It has an inbuilt GPS tracking device for us to check on her location via our smartphone app. Alert areas {e.g. home, school, gym} can also be set up so that we are alerted on the phone when she enters or leaves the proximity.

I'm impressed that JUMPY Plus has a pretty sensitive intuitive interface {1.6" full-coloured 240 x 240px touch screen} for a kids product. With just gentle swipes and touches, you can scroll through notifications and the menu which includes interactive edu-tainment games, story-telling, a pedometer {!!!}, a virtual pet and much more!

Other features that Lil Pumpkin likes to play with is the Voice Note function where she can record 20+ voice notes and the Personal Alarm where she can record her own alarm notification messages e.g. "Time to pack my school bag!"... Too darn cute. I can also set up daily schedules with the Smart Calendar and record voice reminders for her on my phone to help her develop good habits too.

JUMPY Plus is specially designed for kids aged 4 - 12 years old, however I think younger kids may find some features too difficult to use {plus I think it's too expensive a watch for them!}, and older kids may find the games & storybooks too childish. I would recommend JUMPY Plus to kids aged 6 - 10 years old.  

The smartwatch's battery is easily rechargeable with a magnetic cable and usually lasts about 2 days. You can monitor the battery status on your phone and get a notification when the batt is low. There are also 10 different watch themes and you can also change the phone strap colour {although I don't think the local distributor sells just the straps}. It comes in red, green, blue and yellow.

If you've an accident-prone child like Lil Pumpkin, don't worry because JUMPY Plus is water-resistant and made to withstand heavy kids play. I do wish it came with a watch guard though to protect the face more from scratches and hard knocks...

If you're young at heart and want it for yourself, don't worry too because JUMPY Plus fits adult wrists as well haha.

Honestly, I don't mind wearing it for myself too because sometimes I need a break and really feel like disconnecting online and the world-at-large, yet still need to be contactable by my family. This fuss-free smartphone with limited access is perfect for those reclusive days

Find out more tips about using JUMPY Plus on their Facebook page and purchase the watch on JUMPY Plus Singapore website at S$278 each. Use my promo code below for extra discounts!

Promo: Quote "JPSakura10" for 10% OFF every JUMPY Plus kids smartwatch! Valid until Tue 28 Feb 2017 only. 

For my own special friends & blog readers, I've ONE JUMPY Plus Smartwatch in Green {worth S$278} to give away!! With JUMPY Plus, parents can stay in contact with their kids while the children themselves can enjoy this super cool high-tech watch, just like mummy & daddy's. 

Giveaway Method: Random Draw

1. Be a Sakura Haruka Facebook page fan

2. Subscribe to my upcoming newsletter. Make sure the email add you used to subscribe is working as I'll be using that to contact the winner. Remember to confirm the subscription and check your junk folder in case the confirmation email goes there.

3. Like & Share this Facebook photo and tag 3 friends. Make sure your post is public!

4. Leave me a blog comment telling me your best exam tip + FB name you used to like the page + name you used to subscribe to the newsletter. For those unsure of how to comment, choose "Name/URL" option then add your name and comment.

Bonus entry:
1. Follow @AiSakuraHaruka and @Jumpy.SG on Instagram
2. Repost this photo on IG & tag @AiSakuraHaruka @Jumpy.SG #ASHxJumpyGiveaway + your FB name + 3 friends. Make sure your post is public!

ONE random winner will be chosen. Just complete all 4 simple steps + bonus entry {if you like}!

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. The winner is Nadia Kua. Stay tuned for more blog giveaways on Sakura Haruka! Check out my current readers promos too. Thanks for your support!

* Open to Singapore residents only.
* Ends Monday, 6 Feb 2017 2359hrs {Singapore time} 
* Incomplete or inappropriate entries will be deemed invalid and will not be included.
* Winner will be announced by Thursday 9 Feb 2017 on this blog post and notified via email with further instructions on how to collect prize. Winners have 2 days to reply, or the prize will be redrawn.
* JUMPY Plus Kids Smartwatch prize is available only in green. No exchange of colours allowed.  
* Nano SIM card not included.  

For more of  Lil Pumpkin's Primary School journey:

For tips on P1 preparation:

* Disclosure: JUMPY Plus Singapore provided the kids smartwatch for giveaway. Terms and Conditions apply.