Wednesday, 28 March 2012

So you think you can run

Running is what our bodies were designed and evolved to do, unfortunately the modern way of life has left most people wanting to use the car, or take the train, hence the obesity epidemic. As long as you plan your training well, trying not to increase your run distance to far to soon, then running will offer great returns in both fitness and weight loss and always leave you with a natural high.
Running requires both little skill and equipment, however investment in good footwear is essential.

Running can be performed outside on the roads, across country or on an athletics track.

Indoor running machines offer a good simulation as well as a good workout.

Beginners should start slowly and possible hold onto the machine, until they get used to the movement, making sure that they know both how to operate and stop the machine in case of an emergency.

A common mistake made by most people on running machines is to run too slow. This results in a shortened stride, and also wasted muscle actions to hold the leg up, whilst the other leg is travelling back on the running belt.

Basic techniques that will aid in both improving your running, and preventing injury are:

  • Foot placement

    Aim to strike the floor with your heel and push off with the ball of your foot. Some runners, especially sprinters prefer to run on their toes - aim to make the movement feel as natural as possible
  • Length of Stride

    The longer your stride, the more efficient your running will normally be. Persons in poor health, or in rehabilitation will find a shorter stride more comfortable. Control your stride when running downhill, and aim for faster shorter strides uphill
  • Body position

    Aim to lean slightly forward whilst running up hill, upright when running on the flats and slightly back when running down hill. Your head should be up, looking straight ahead
  • Breathing

    Should be comfortable, ideally in through the nose and out through the mouth
  • Relaxed

    Whilst running your arms need to be relaxed, as they move at the same speed as your legs, on an alternating basis, i.e. left leg / right arm, then vice versa. Aim to move the arms forward and back, keeping the arms close to your sides bent at about 90 degrees
  • Sprinting & Uphill

    When sprinting or running up hills a pumping action with the arms will aid your running

Monday, 26 March 2012

Din Tai Fung, Sydney

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

Level 3, World Square, 644 George Street, Sydney.

Din Tai Fung is an award winning restaurant, originally from Taiwan. Its specialty - Xiao Long Bao which are small steam dumplings filled with meat filling and hot soup. Hand made with precision, Din Tai Fung claims that each Xiao Long Bao has a perfect 18 exquisite folds. It’s become so popular, that Din Tai Fung has restaurants in Australia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, USA, and Thailand.

The setting and decor is pleasant, sort of like an up market yum cha restaurant and that comes with the price tag too! Service is quick and efficient. The restaurant is always busy - so get in early otherwise be prepared to share a table or wait.

Pork Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) were yummy, however skill is needed to eat one with grace and poise. Put one dumpling in your spoon and with your chopstick, poke a small hole in the dumpling to let the soup flow out onto the spoon. Drink the soup, then eat the dumpling - this way you avoid the embarrassment of squirting it all on yourself or worst onto your eating buddy! 

Were there 18 folds in the Xiao Long Bao? I don't think anyone notices. I wasn't counting, and it didn't really matter to me. You can find good Xiao Long Baos without the hefty price tag, at other places like Taste of Shanghai which is downstairs in World Square.

Pros: Loved the Crumbed Chicken Fillet with Fried Rice! The Chicken fillet was so crisp and scrumptious, and the fried rice full of egg and flavour - this was one of the best fried rice and crumbed chicken I've had. It gave me that homely comfort feeling :)

Cons: Good food but be prepared for the price tag especially with the dumplings. This meal cost AUD$56 for two people at lunch and I wasn't completely full. It gets super busy, so get in early otherwise be prepared to wait or share a table. All persons to the table have to be there; otherwise they won't let you in.  

Just want dumplings without the restaurant experience? Perhaps try their new Dumplings Bar opened at Level 5, Westfield Sydney, Pitt Street.

Hot & Sour Soup small with shredded Pork $4.80

Pork Dumpling (Xiao Long Bao) 6 pieces $8.80

Prawn & Pork Shao Mai 4 pieces $9.80

Green Beans with Minced Pork & Dried Prawn Mince $12.80

Crumbed Chicken Fillet with Fried Rice $11.80

Lychee Mint Juice $6.
Chinese tea $2 per person  (not shown)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Skinny Jeans was only the beginning.

How 1-Minute Intervals Can Improve Your Health

Can brief bursts of exercise improve your health? 
John P. Kelly/Getty ImagesCan brief bursts of exercise improve your health?

While many of us wonder just how much exercise we really need in order to gain health and fitness, a group of scientists in Canada are turning that issue on its head and asking, how little exercise do we need?

The emerging and engaging answer appears to be, a lot less than most of us think — provided we’re willing to work a bit.

In proof of that idea, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, recently gathered several groups of volunteers. One consisted of sedentary but generally healthy middle-aged men and women. Another was composed of middle-aged and older patients who’d been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

The researchers tested each volunteer’s maximum heart rate and peak power output on a stationary bicycle. In both groups, the peaks were not, frankly, very high; all of the volunteers were out of shape and, in the case of the cardiac patients, unwell. But they gamely agreed to undertake a newly devised program of cycling intervals.

Most of us have heard of intervals, or repeated, short, sharp bursts of strenuous activity, interspersed with rest periods. Almost all competitive athletes strategically employ a session or two of interval training every week to improve their speed and endurance.

But the Canadian researchers were not asking their volunteers to sprinkle a few interval sessions into exercise routines. Instead, the researchers wanted the groups to exercise exclusively with intervals.

For years, the American Heart Association and other organizations have recommended that people complete 30 minutes or more of continuous, moderate-intensity exercise, such as a brisk walk, five times a week, for overall good health.

But millions of Americans don’t engage in that much moderate exercise, if they complete any at all. Asked why, a majority of respondents, in survey after survey, say, “I don’t have time.”
Intervals, however, require little time. They are, by definition, short. But whether most people can tolerate intervals, and whether, in turn, intervals provide the same health and fitness benefits as longer, more moderate endurance exercise are issues that haven’t been much investigated.

Several years ago, the McMasters scientists did test a punishing workout, known as high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, that involved 30 seconds of all-out effort at 100 percent of a person’s maximum heart rate. After six weeks, these lacerating HIIT sessions produced similar physiological changes in the leg muscles of young men as multiple, hour-long sessions per week of steady cycling, even though the HIIT workouts involved about 90 percent less exercise time.

Recognizing, however, that few of us willingly can or will practice such straining all-out effort, the researchers also developed a gentler but still chronologically abbreviated form of HIIT. This modified routine involved one minute of strenuous effort, at about 90 percent of a person’s maximum heart rate (which most of us can estimate, very roughly, by subtracting our age from 220), followed by one minute of easy recovery. The effort and recovery are repeated 10 times, for a total of 20 minutes.

Despite the small time commitment of this modified HIIT program, after several weeks of practicing it, both the unfit volunteers and the cardiac patients showed significant improvements in their health and fitness.

The results, published in a recent review of HIIT-related research, were especially remarkable in the cardiac patients. They showed “significant improvements” in the functioning of their blood vessels and heart, said Maureen MacDonald, an associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster who is leading the ongoing experiment.

It might seem counterintuitive that strenuous exercise would be productive or even wise for cardiac patients. But so far none have experienced heart problems related to the workouts, Dr. MacDonald said. “It appears that the heart is insulated from the intensity” of the intervals, she said, “because the effort is so brief.”

Almost as surprising, the cardiac patients have embraced the routine. Although their ratings of perceived exertion, or sense of the discomfort of each individual interval, are high and probably accurate, averaging a 7 or higher on a 10-point scale, they report enjoying the entire sessions more than longer, continuous moderate exercise, Dr. MacDonald said.
“The hard work is short,” she points out, “so it’s tolerable.” Members of a separate, exercise control group at the rehab center, assigned to complete standard 30-minute moderate-intensity workout sessions, have been watching wistfully as the interval trainers leave the lab before them. “They want to switch groups,” she said.

The scientists have noted other benefits in earlier studies. In unfit but otherwise healthy middle-aged adults, two weeks of modified HIIT training prompted the creation of far more cellular proteins involved in energy production and oxygen. The training also improved the volunteers’ insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation, lowering their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published last fall in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Since then, the scientists completed a small, follow-up experiment involving people with full-blown Type 2 diabetes. They found that even a single bout of the 1-minute hard, 1-minute easy HIIT training, repeated 10 times, improved blood sugar regulation throughout the following day, particularly after meals.

Of course, HIIT training is not ideal or necessary for everyone, said Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster, who’s overseen the high-intensity studies. “If you have time” for regular 30-minute or longer endurance exercise training, “then by all means, keep it up,” he said. “There’s an impressive body of science showing” that such workouts “are very effective at improving health and fitness.”

But if time constraints keep you from lengthier exercise, he continues, consult your doctor for clearance, and then consider rapidly pedaling a stationary bicycle or sprinting uphill for one minute, aiming to raise your heart rate to about 90 percent of your maximum. Pedal or jog easily downhill for a minute and repeat nine times, perhaps twice a week. “It’s very potent exercise,” Dr. Gibala said. “And then, very quickly, it’s done.”

Source: New York Times

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


We all have them, list them in comment serious, rude, funny or plain bizarre

1. Bad Drivers not knowing road rules.
2. Loud talker on cell phones
3. Pressing lift buttons to make lift arrive faster
4. Bad service at restaurants
5. Using Siri ( iphone 4.0 ) as a Personal Trainer .. Wat da??

Singapore Arts Festival 2012 - SUPPORT

Book this in your calendar,  where Stories and legends come alive, Should be very good. Can't wait.

The Singapore Arts Festival began in 1977 as a national showcase celebrating the local arts of Singapore’s diverse communities. Over the last three decades, the Festival organized by the National Arts Council, has played a symbiotic and catalytic role in development of the artistic and cultural life of Singapore. It has helped transform the city’s landscape, turning it into one of Asia’s major cultural capitals of today. It has influenced the work of artists Singapore Arts Festival 2012 -

Friday, 16 March 2012

East Coast Park - after 30 years...

The lovely East Coast Park in Singapore. Where local Singaporeans grew up. We had school sports days here. Learnt to ride a bike here. Had family day outs here. Fun times with friends at McDonalds...

East Coast Park Singapore

After 30 years, the McDonalds side of East Cost Park will be closing. Sad to hear that an iconic landmark will close on 18 March 2012. Word on the street, it’s to make way for new development and buildings at East Coast Park.

The current park is so serene and peaceful, compared to the hustle and bustle of the rest of Singapore. It is a real shame. Hoping that whatever plans they have for the new development, they will preserve as much of the park as possible.

So many memories, so many great times spent here. Will be thinking of all the special places in my heart on 18 March, when you close your doors for the final time. K x


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Is Fruit zero calories?

I love my fresh fruit. Blueberries with cereal for breakfast. Banana mid morning snack. Apple, post lunch snack. Grapes mid afternoon snack. More grapes, after dinner snack.

hmmmmm...... so I wonder - can I eat all the fresh fruit I want and still fit into my skinny jeans?

Apparently not. Did you know - One banana contains 100 calories and 27 grams of carbohydrates. One apple can contain as much as 115 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrates!

Fruit is not a free calorie food, according to Mike Roussell, PhD. "It's easy to eat 100 grams worth of carbohydrates in one day from fruit alone, and if you're treating them as if they have no caloric value, you will unknowingly be eating 400 extra calories per day."

Ouch. So you learn something new everyday! Though I still love my fresh fruit, I will be keeping this in mind the next time I feel the battle of the skinny jeans is on and I refer to my faithful pal the skinny jeans diet :))

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Sundown Marathon 2012

Are you excited? The Sundown Marathon 2012 will happening in Singapore on 26 May 2012. I'm excited because the atmosphere at this event is incredible and it inspires even those who are adverse to any forms of exercise! As they say in the Standard Chartered Marathon 2011 - Run for a Reason!

The unique thing about this Marathon is its run at night - There's a kind of magic that takes place when you run at night and can enjoy the cooler conditions and bright lights of Singapore! Also participants will receive a Race Kit Bag.

The categories are: 10Km, 21Km Half Marathon and 42.195km Marathon. Participants will each receive a race kit bag containing an exclusive New Balance Event Singlet and other goodies. Finishers will each receive a Finisher's medal unique to their category and Finishers in the 42.195km will also receive an exclusive New Balance Finisher T-shirt.

Nothing better than bragging rights wearing a 42.195km Finisher t-shirt down Orchard Road! I want one too :)

So join me as I count down to the Sundown Marathon 2012 and hope to inspire each and every one of you to put on your running shoes and lace up. Will I be able to run 42.195? Definately not. 21km? No probably not too. But I'm going to get motivated and stick to a training program and improve my running!

It's all about having fun and improving your overall health, no matter what your fitness level is.

Are you ready for the Sundown Marathon 2012?

Saturday, 3 March 2012

I AM Giving..... Enter NOW

I have some cool news - want to WIN these funky cute notepads?

These are super cute, great for writing down thoughts, to do lists, or leaving your best friend or loved one a special message!

Here's how to enter:

1. Comment below with a link to your favourite Kerancia blog post
2. Like my facebook page
3. I'll announce the 3 winners on 7 April 2012.

Good luck everyone!

XO Kerancia

Friday, 2 March 2012

$50 Bonus to spend at Mimco

I stumbled across this amazing deal. Grab the March 2012 issue of Australian Marie Claire at $8.40 to receive a $50 card to spend at Mimco!

I've had my eyes on this gorgeous bracelet for ages, and this great deal has given me the green light to buy buy buy! :)

Mimco Solar Beaded Wrist
The fine print: Basically the card has to be activated by 30 March 2012 in store or online, and is valid for 30 days after you receive an email that the reward is on your account.

So get in quick - I will be! And for the guys out there, if you are thinking of buying your lady something special, this is a great deal to buy a sparkling Mimco for her :))