How I Burn Fat in 4 Minutes

27 January 2008

Photo: istockphoto

I really don't like exercising. And I still try to find every excuse to not do it. "I have a headache... I have to wash the toilet... The kids are awake... The cat needs a bath..."

But to realize my goal of 24% bodyfat, I knew I had to get moving. Eating clean and healthy alone won't cut it. Exercise is needed to build bone density, sculpt and maintain muscle, and of course, burn fat, among other things. And without it, any benefits of any healthy diet will stall. This, I know from experience.

But not just any exercise program would do if I wanted to be successful. I had to design one that fit my lifestyle and preferences...

(1) short - My morning yoga and occasional hula practices get interrupted often by the kids because they take more than the 10 minutes needed to feel any benefits.
(2) something I can do at home - Getting dressed and traveling all the way to a gym takes too much time, effort and money.
(3) something that doesn't need equipment - I like mat work... I hate weights and machines.

And I want a million dollars!!! Yeah, tall order... :)

But according to the Tabata Method, it's not.

The Tabata Method is the 4-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout named after Dr. Izumi Tabata at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Tabata's group found that these short intervals of hard exercise followed by rest are highly effective in strengthening aerobic functions and burning fat without compromising lean muscle.
Here's how it works:

(1) 20 seconds: Perform an exercise for as many reps as possible - but don't be sloppy... always use proper form!
(2) 10 seconds: Rest
(3) Repeat steps (1) and (2) again 7 more times.

Done right, this workout should leave you huffing and puffing and covered in sweat.
Please note that this is a very intense 4 minutes. Dr. Tabata - and I - stress that this type of exercise is not for the obese or for those with existing health problems, so see your healthcare professional before starting this or any other exercise program.

One of my most favourite things about this workout is that it's highly customizable. Here's mine:
Interval 1 - pushups (chest and arms)
Interval 2 - squats (legs)
Interval 3 - v-sit rotations (abdominals)
Interval 4 - breast stroke prep (back)
... then I repeat the entire cycle once. At the moment, I do this workout once a week... I really need the recovery time between!

If you want to try this out and customize your own routine, be sure to do your research as not all exercises are suited for Tabata.

Recommended Reading:

  • Workout Without Weights
  • Tabata Workout is an Intense and Effective Exercise Routine

  • It's Aloha Friday! v. I

    25 January 2008

    When I lived in Hawai'i, I really enjoyed Fridays. Instead of dressing casually, people all over the Islands put on their best Aloha shirts and muu-muus, beautiful flower leis, and hair flowers (left side for married, right side for singles), and we celebrated the island culture.
    And of course, in every store and mall, you'll hear the fun-loving rendition of "It's Aloha Friday - No Work Till Monday...." Fun and festive!

    Inspired once again by Zandria and her Random Friday posts, lifecandy will also have its own "It's Aloha Friday!" posts of random interesting, bizarre, noteworthy, etc. things I've come across throughout the week. This will only happen from time to time, depending on how interesting my life is on a given week. :)

    Okay... Here we go...

  • Jami of Bionic Beauty will be on Blog Talk Radio TODAY at 2pm! To catch it, visit the Loose Lips NY radio site at: And to call in, dial (646) 716-8862.

  • Some really great friends of ours, Rob (who was one of Roomie's groomsmen) and the lovely Val, have left for Oahu for some R&R and sightseeing. Yes, I'm envious... I wish I could've gone too... They didn't even offer to stash me in their luggage! What friends!!! :) Seriously, they're fabulous, and I hope they have a great time. They've promised to bring back a bag of poi powder for us... so, yay! Can't wait to see the pictures. :)

  • The stray cat we found in December - who we named "Neo", but according to the tattoo on his ear, is actually "Mustachio" - will have to find a new home in a couple of weeks. He is seriously skittish and twitchy, and has scratched our frightened children more times than I can count. He was the answer to our prayers when we had the mouse in our kitchen, but when it comes down to "Who goes? The cat or the kids?", well, my kids don't shed as much. We made posters and put them up this week...

  • Roomie and I took the kids to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner a few days ago. They just ate the injera (bread used to scoop up the meat and veggie stews), but they liked it!

  • I've called Goodwill for another pick-up. They're coming to get our boxes of stuff on Tuesday... Woo Hoo!!!

  • Is it Ever OK to Eat Lipstick?

    24 January 2008

    Photo: Experiment in Lipstick

    No, I don't think it's ever OK to eat lipstick.
    I don't open my purse while running errands and think "I only have time for a bite of my Aveda". It's been a long time since I bought lip product for its scent and/or taste... although cherry-flavoured lip balm still makes me smile.
    But I know I still end up eating it... while eating my tasty poached eggs, drinking my cups of green tea, smooching with Roomie...

    In fact, the average woman eats over 6 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime (that's over 500 tubes!)... so maybe we should be buying lipstick based on its edibility.

    In Cindy Mortimer's article in the November 2007 Issue of Alive Magazine, many ingredients in drugstore lipsticks are known to cause irritation and UV sensitivity, are known pollutants, and are known to be carcinogenic. Yum..

    For truly yummy lipstick, reach for the natural stuff containing Vitamin E as a preservative, ingredients like cinnamon or shea butter as antiseptics, and emollients such as cocoa butter or beeswax.

    Check out Cindy's charts of natural vs. drugstore lipstick ingredients at:

    Is your lipstick harmful or healthy? Find out at: (Thanks again for the link, d!)

    Roomie just suggested that the next post should be "Is it Ever OK to Eat Glue?" Good grief...

    Meme Addict Strikes Again!

    22 January 2008

    Hi-ho! Kari posted this meme on her blog (nice redesign, Kari!) and has encouraged her readers to take it and run with it... so, since I'm a meme-addict, and as this week's 52WoC assignment is to link to Kari, here's mine... Feel free to take it and run too.

    1. At what age do you wish to marry?
    I want to marry at 25... oops, too late - I married at 30... gotta fix that time machine!

    2. What color do you like most?

    3. Where is the place that you want to go the most?
    Any place where I can wear next to nothing and scream "I'm not getting dressed unless I get arrested!!!" Hopefully, the next words won't be "Oh, hello, officer."
    Somewhere warm like the Mediterranean...

    4. Which part of you do you hate the most?
    My painfully-dry winter skin... it always gets really dry and sore during the winter, so I have to slather on the body lotion... I'm an island girl - I need humidity!

    5. When you encounter a sad moment, what would you do?
    I weep copious tears...

    6. What are you afraid to lose the most?
    My family...

    7. If you win $1 million, what would you do?
    Travel to warm naked place, invest in our retirement and kids' education funds, pay off debts to mortgage and loan sharks... just kidding about the loan sharks...

    8. What’s your wish for the year ahead?
    More good health, good fortune, and happy-happy stuff with Roomie and kids...
    Less debt and boiling bum pustules... just kidding about the bum pustules...

    9. How did you celebrate the New Year?
    At home in my pyjamas watching Futurama surrounded by my family.

    10. Till now, what is the moment that you regret the most?
    Not being more adventurous, enjoying life more, and saving more money when I was single.

    11. Which type of person do you hate the most?
    Control-freaks have a special place in my personal version of hell... and I used to be one of those people!

    12. What is your ambition?
    To be a more effective blogger, to make a living from blogging... and to be able to do 25 push-ups.

    13. If you had one wish what would you wish for?
    For my kids to have long and happy lives...

    14. Name one of your body parts your hubby or boyfriend tells you he adores:
    Hubby thinks I've got a nice butt... despite the pustules... ;)

    15. What is the best gift you can give someone this year?
    My time... it's a very rare and precious commodity...

    16. List two of your Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions.
    To get down to 24%bodyfat...
    To learn to play poker...

    17. What do you need to do this year in order for you to be happier in life?
    Win a million dollars so I can finally get those loan sharks off the boiling pustules on my bum... sorry, just kidding...
    I'd like to be organized so that I can get things done according to priority... I like life to be a well-oiled machine on autopilot. :)

    18. What are the Top 2 things that you are most thankful for the year 2007 that made you even more happier for 2008?
    Starting my blog, and Roomie's lovely job because now we can have summers together as a family...

    19. What was the best lesson you learned in 2007 (be specific)?
    I have to have some projects, hobbies and enjoyment outside of my family... some stuff to call my own... to preserve my own identity beyond that of just 'Mom'. Doing so has made me a more effective mother... I think so, anyway. :)

    20. In this very moment, are you doing what you thought you’d be doing at this stage in your life?
    No, thank heavens! Being in WAHM Heaven is infinitely better than being in Computer Engineering Hell!

    Peace out! (omg, how old am I?... 16?! pffft!)

    Detox Day 8: The Lure of Sweets is Tenacious

    21 January 2008

    It's been a week since I started my detox, and here's where I stand...

    Pounds Lost: 5
    Waist Inches Lost: 2.75

    So, not a lot since day 4... I'm feeling really good though, and the initial drop was very motivating.

    The palmier I had yesterday definitely did NOT make me feel good. I felt nauseous shortly after I wrote my post, and I was so angry with those things that I was going to devise a very dramatic way of ridding my life of them... freezing them in a snowbank, mashing them all up and feeding them to the birds, even burning them like I did with my high school uniform (which didn't work very well because the skirt was polyester and all it did was melt).
    But since the rest of the members of this household aren't doing my detox with me, I can't just punt these treats... although I'm sure my kids would've loved my trebuchet idea and would've gotten a kick out of seeing the palmier package catapulted across the street... even Roomie would've gotten in on the act, drawing up plans and making it with his new drill bits.

    Anyway, this week has taught me a few things about how I need to eat to stay healthy...

    1 - eat an egg for breakfast
    2 - have 4 meals: 8:30am, 11:30am, 3:30pm (I can eat with LA and MN when they have an after-school snack), and 6:30pm, to avoid gak-snacking temptation
    3 - don't eat after 7pm

    Okay, on to week 2...

    Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?

    20 January 2008

    Cast your knowing gaze upon the peril I must face while on this detox:

    Philippine Dried Mango... 6 pieces = 160 calories
    Petite Palmiers... 1 piece = 110 calories
    Iran-Tabriz Confections... made with honey, nuts, wafer, etc.

    See?!!! This is what I'm up against!

    Roomie does try to help though, in his own Monty Python-y way...

    Sir Galahad (Me): Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
    Sir Lancelot (Roomie): No, it's too perilous.
    Sir Galahad (Me): Look, it's my duty as a knight (sugar-addicted human) to sample as much peril as I can.
    Sir Lancelot (Roomie): No, we've got to find the Holy Grail (7-11 cups, drill bits, neck warmers, etc...). Come on.
    Sir Galahad (Me): Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?
    Sir Lancelot (Roomie): No. It's unhealthy...

    Didn't help... I had the palmier on the right.

    52 Weeks of Blog Community

    18 January 2008

    One of the things I love about blogging is the social and community building aspects. It's much more personal so reaching out to other bloggers is so easy... a very one-to-one thing.

    A really groovy blogger I've come to enjoy reading has recently started a project to promote this community-building. Shai has started the 52 Weeks of Blog Community. Each week for a full year, she'll be giving us tasks that encourage us to reach out to other bloggers. Cool, eh?

    If you have a blog and want to join, just follow the links above to Shai's blog.

    Detox Day 4: A Notch...

    17 January 2008

    Well, it's a busy day today, so today's post will only be a quick update on the Detox.

    Modifications: I've followed the plan nearly to the letter... yes, nearly. I accidentally ate cheese in some leftover frittata, but it hasn't resulted in anything bad. And I decided to eat an egg every breakfast instead of the 3-4 per week because if I don't eat enough protein in the morning, I'll be starving by lunch and tempted to eat gak.

    Pounds: 4 pounds lost

    Waist: 2.5 inches lost (I had to buckle my belt in a notch!)

    Yup, already, and it's only been 3 days! And heavens, do I feel good! Very energetic and clearheaded. Woo hoo!!!

    January 2008 - My Makeup Case

    16 January 2008

    Photo: Me

    Okay, so I've made some changes to my makeup case based on the companies I found that do/don't test on animals, as well as other cool new makeup stuff I've stumbled on, or read about.
    Because I like trying new things, I'll be doing an update post like this every once in a while.
    Here's the latest...

    Moisturizer: Avon Solutions Hydra-Radiance
    Foundation/Concealer: Aveda Tinted Moisture - Sweet Tea
    Brow Gel: Rimmel Brow Gel
    Mascara: Avon Astonishing Lengths Waterproof - Black
    Eyeliner: Aveda - Cacao
    Eye Shadow: Aveda Uruku - Tagua (comes in a tube)
    Lipliner: Aveda Uruku - Morena (I often use this as an overall colour)
    Lip Colour: Aveda Lip Tint SPF15 - Coco Plum (If I'm using this, I don't use the Morena.)
    Lip Balm: Aveda Lipsaver SPF15
    Hair Styling: Aveda Confixor
    Shampoo: PM Tea Tree
    Conditioner: PM Tea Tree
    Scent: Fruits & Passions Jasmin Body Milk

    lash curler
    MAC retractable lip brush
    makeup pencil sharpener
    blush brush
    cuticle stone
    nail clippers

    Detox Day 1: Rehab

    14 January 2008

    (... okay, cue Amy Winehouse...)

    Today, I'm officially going into in the comfort of my own home...
    After being sick (with an eye infection, laryngitis, and coughing up more lungs than I'm sure I had) since December 27, I finally feel strong enough to face my addiction and deal with it once and for all.

    "My name is Nenette, and I'm a sugar-holic."

    My sugar addiction is my final frontier. I've easily improved the other aspects of my health - taking my vitamins, drinking my water, cutting out dairy, and increasing my protein intake - but sweets and bad carbs are my Mt. Everest and my Achilles' Heel (... oh, cue Brad Pitt in Troy...).

    Like an alcoholic, I can't stop at just one. At Halloween, a taste of candy will lead to a whole box, and at Thanksgiving, a spoonful of garlic-fried rice will lead to a couple of bowls. Before you know it, I'm feeling sluggish, foggy, nauseous, and not quite myself anymore. And the next day, my sinuses are stuffed up, and I've gained weight.
    This is what pushed me off the CRON wagon the first time, and I know that, if I don't kick this, with my insulin resistance, I'll never be where I want to be health-wise.

    So, I've set my goals, and today, the first day of my detox (and the first day in 2008 where I actually feel human again), I'm moving all of the things that trigger my addictive cravings into a different cupboard, pulling out my copy of Joshi's Holistic Detox and planning my menu for the week. One step at a time. It's a start.

    Car Conversation with Roomie...

    10 January 2008

    Roomie stops the car at an intersection. "... so, should I go down Academy Road? Yeah, I should go down Academy Road."

    "Are you talking to me or to yourself again?" I ask.

    "I'm talking to 'Virtual You'."

    "Do you do a lot of things with 'Virtual Me'?"

    Roomie grins. "Yeah, 'Virtual You' is dirty..."

    hula schools of canada.

    I've been dancing Hawaiian Hula and Tahitian Ote'a since the age of 6 and, for many years, had a blast sharing my hula knowledge through my own hula school and performing at various events.
    Although I no longer teach or perform, I still love to share the Island Culture any way I can.

    Want to learn to dance the hula? Have a look at our list of Canadian hula halau/schools below! (Click here for hula schools worldwide!)

    Are you a Canadian Halau and would like to be listed on this site or would like to modify your information? I'd love to hear from you!


  • Aldergrove:
    Halau Hula O Ka Poli Mehana `O Lehua
    Contact: Carol Antonsen, Phone: 604-856-6650

  • Burnaby:
    Halau Kia`i O Ka Hula
    Contact: Josie deBaat, Phone: 604-435-3489

  • Cloverdale:
    Susan's Paradise of Polynesia
    Contact: Susan Madec, Phone: 778-574-4852

  • Maple Ridge:
    Ka `Uhane o ka Pakipika
    Contact: Paddy Kauhane, Phone: 604-466-0763

  • North Vancouver:
    Spirit of the South Seas
    Contact: Marji Wallace, Phone: 604-986-5185

  • Richmond:
    Urban Dance Company
    Contact: Sandy McBeth, Phone: 604-277-4494

  • Vancouver:
    Paul Latta Dancers
    Contact: Paul Tavai-Latta, Phone: 604-257-8100

  • Vernon:
    Hula Halau Ke Aloha
    Contact: Pat Springborn, Phone: 250-379-2567

  • Victoria:
    Tiare Polynesian Dancers
    Contact: Mara Summers, Phone: 250-478-0779

  • Brampton:
    South Pacific Polynesian Dancers
    Contact: Simone Narasa, Phone: 905-450-8730

  • Markham:
    Halau Hula O Kaleiu'iokalani

  • Mississauga:
    Sionys Dance Company
    Contact: Siony Relato-Srnka, Phone: 416-255-9078

  • Scarborough:
    Hula-La! Aloha Toronto
    Contact: Lourdes Sadiua, Phone: 416-332-1264

  • Toronto:
    The Spirit of Aloha 'Ohana Hula
    Contact: Alilei Espada Talebian, Phone: 647-289-7258

    Halau Hula 'O Walea
    Contact: Joy Walea Emalani Corpuz, Phone: 416-899-9825

    The Hawaiian Pacific Magic
    Contact: Mela Lilia Uriarte-Tan, Phone: 416-293-1279

  • Cute Fuzzy Animal Testing...

    08 January 2008

    I was reading Jami's blog the other day, and I was really happy to see that her newest entry that day had a link to's Companies That Do/That Don't Test on Animals.

    This came at a good time as I was planning to do a makeup case audit again, and my mascara was due to be pitched again.

    I was so surprised to still see so many big names on the Do Test list, but I'm also very happy to see so many more names on the Don't Test list. At any rate, I'm just glad to know which to support and which to boycott.

    Question for my readers: Is testing on animals a factor in your cosmetics/grooming product purchases?

    The Big 8 of 2008

    05 January 2008

    Photo: happy new year 2008 #3

    I love the start of a new year. It's a time of re-birth and new beginnings... a time when the sins of the old year are put behind us, and we can start fresh. It's like the Vegas slogan. What happens in 2007, stays in 2007.

    This year, I've asked my Neo-Citrin-addled brain (yeah, I'm still sick) what I'd like to accomplish before the end of 2008. What are my goals?

    Now I hesitate to call these 'resolutions'. Traditional resolutions make me think of those well-intentioned life changes that I likely drop by Ground Hog's Day or get me whining like my 3yo when she's been told to clean up after a tea party with the cat.

    No, these are goals. And they have to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Furthermore, these are personal goals... just for me... a part of my campaign to focus on myself a little more.

    So, here they are... my Big 8 for 2008:

    1) Get down to 24% bodyfat
    And I plan to do this via CRON, yoga, tabata and hula.

    2) Learn to play poker
    I can't believe I'm 38 and I still don't know how to play poker. Maybe Roomie will teach me if I promise him a game of strip poker...

    3) Learn to sing properly
    I will actually take singing lessons this year... so I can sing for longer than 15 minutes, and not have people leaving the room when I do...

    4) Hit -4.00 in each eye
    I've been remiss in my eye exercises. I was improving for a time, then I got lazy.

    5) Do 25 REAL pushups
    This is going to be the toughest thing on my list... I just know it!

    6) Finish work on Livingroom & Diningroom
    Getting the clutter out, rearranging existing furniture, and setting up new stuff. This shouldn't take too long, but I'm giving myself the whole year to do it. Someday, I'll get the whole house done, but for now, one room at a time...

    7) Make $100 more per month online
    I have a few websites other than this one, so if I put in the work, I may actually be able to pay for domain hosting! :)

    8) Create a book of recipes for family meals
    Healthy, much-loved everyday dishes, so I can plan weekly meals and make grocery lists easily and quickly. I've been wanting to do this for ages.

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