8 February – 18 May, the 100 days that literally shape myself.
I embarked on a 100-day fitness journey earlier this year to kick start a few of the New Year resolutions that I promised myself.
It took me a month into the year to finally embark on the journey. For a person who has been
Let’s look at my past ‘track record’.
I’ve been plaque by obesity since young, which I didn’t really bothered until recent years. As I grow older, I become more concerned about the number on the weighing scale and, most important of all, how I look overall.
I’ve always wanted to go on a fitness journey since last year so I finally find the opportunity to get it going. 8 February marks the first day of my post-Poly life after submitting my last assignments the day before. I decided that I shall start slow – with a 100-day fitness routine to build the base for my long-term fitness plan in the future.
Of course, that 100-day fitness plan that I embarked on didn’t really turn out to be full workout mode. That means, to be frank, I didn’t really exercise and workout every single day. There are rest days, there are cheat days. But all in all, the thing that stayed constant throughout is my total calorie intake – which I set not to exceed 1, 500kcal. I went on to remove fast food and sugary drinks from my meals to ensure that what I put into my body will not jeopardise the effort that I’ve actually put in.
This 100-day programme was also planned in a way that it compliments my race training for the 2 half-marathons that I took part in in the first half of the year (Sundown Marathon and 2XU Compression Run).
In order to jot down a ‘complete report’ for my programme, I decided that I shall combine my relevant Dayre posts into one long omnibus blog post here.
It is very important to take photos of your progress throughout a fitness journey. So, this was taken prior to 8 Feb.
DAY 1 – 8 FEB
Started out the entire programme with a 5KM run with Vivian on a rainy Wednesday evening. Since it was raining, we didn’t get to run around the usual route around Marina Bay, but instead at the 100Plus Promenade just outside the National Stadium.
Featuring my fitness partner right from the start.
This marks the first ‘healthier meal’ after those binge eating throughout the Chinese New Year. It took me months after the commencement of the programme to realise how important it is to have a balanced diet. I’ll elaborate more on what I’ve learn with regards to dieting later.
DAY 5 – 12 FEB
Apart from just running, I also make sure that I build muscle mass. By adding muscle into your body, it will help to increase your metabolism – which means your body tend to burn more calories on its own when you have more muscle mass. I hadn’t been to the gym for quite some time prior to 12 Feb and I feel so lousy after each reps. The core strength was not there and out of the sudden, I feel weak.
But I understand one thing is that, even Arnold Schwarzenegger started out somewhere. No one is strong from the start. The only few things that are between my current self and the self that I aspire to become will be perseverance and effort. The sad fact is that no one can do it for me, it is up to me to make that break, to achieve what I’ve planned for myself. I round up the gym session with a 5km jog that evening to take advantage of the cool weather that is outside.
That’s probably the last time I combined core training and race training in one evening. Here’s another that I’ve realised over time: Focus and concentrate on one thing at a time. There’s no point dividing my energy to different training, it will just make you more tired and reduces the entire efficiency of your workout.
DAY 12 – 19 FEB
Day 12 was the start of a more serious race training regime that I put myself through. By then, it was just 5 weeks before Sundown and I was kind of worried that I might not train my physique and stamina in time for the race. New milestone achieved! I finally managed to push myself to run/jog non-stop for a good 12km within 80mins before spending the next 20mins walking the remaining 2km to cool down.
Progress pic after 15 days.
DAY 29 – 8 MAR
One month into the programme.
It wasn’t easy maintaining those weight. I remember I deviated from my diet plan for one week back then and my weight went back to 70kg. I admit those are some moments throughout the entire plan that actually caused some inevitable setbacks. It demoralises me a little because for so much that I’ve put in – my heart, my sweat and my time, there are actually possibility of it being undone just because of my indiscipline.
I recalled that this was the period in which I was down with a middle ear infection. I had to minimise on my exercise routine because I was afraid that sweat going into my ears was going to further implicate the infection.
As long as I got a little better, I returned to the gym and the road as well to resume my trainings.
DAY 43 – 22 MAR
Closing into 50% of the entire programme, I finally get to see some legitimate improvements. The ‘abs’ are showing, despite me having to do some flexing. Although there are still visceral fats – which I haven’t got rid of it even up till this day – I still find pride in the kind of improvement that I see on myself as the days passes.
I remembered how I used VSCO to enhance my photo a little because that perfectionist mentality in me was not that comfortable with the idea of posting up my progress picture (which requires me to bare the top half of my body) onto Dayre – even though it’s only followed and, most probably, read by my closest allies. I have never been satisfied with how I look, even though that can sound superficial.
Unlike others who have unwavering motivation and determination, my progress is slower and henceforth, pale in comparison.
DAY 46 – 25 MAR: SUNDOWN MARATHON 2017
Throughout the 45 days of the programme, it was not all just about gym-ing, weight loss and reducing visceral fats. Like I’ve mentioned earlier on, the routines actually form part of my training ahead of 2 half-marathons.
The big night finally arrived on the 25th of March.
Donning the race bib with such a nice number combination, 23450, I presumed that it would be a lucky race for me. My definition of a ‘lucky race’ would mean that there will be chances for me to outperform my past self and clock my personal best (PB).
This is not the first time that we ran together in the same race. Alright, maybe with the exception of Kishan. He was already running at the half-marathon level while we were challenging ourselves over at the 10km category.
Running 21 is, no doubt, totally different from running 10. It requires more than stamina and speed. At some point, you will realise that pace and speed will be at the back of your mind. Those would probably be the secondary thing in your mind, especially when you are a leisure runner and that the idea of half-marathon running seems rather new to you. As you cover beyond what you’ve tuned yourself to run, the exhaustion and the diminishing will to continue running will start to take over your mind eventually.
It is the battle of perseverance and how your body responds to the long duration of physical activity. Viv and I considered ourselves to be more race-fit as compared to the rest. We had been preparing ourselves physically and mentally week in and week out.
Despite it being the second half-marathon that I’ve attempted, it was still inevitable that I am feeling nervous. Signs of regret can be
As I sprinted past the finishing line, I was so relieved and that sense of accomplishment was real. Despite that, it still an easy race because 1) I was running on a full bladder, and 2) I had a stomachache halfway.
It’s a sub-3hr in terms to moving time (which means I deducted the time I’ve spent during in the toilet). It was pale in comparison if I were to pitch my own timing against the majority of the runners. My official net time was 03:06:34, as reflected on my e-certificate. Nevertheless, there was an improvement from my previous 21km (Army Half Marathon last year). I managed to run/jog for a good 15km before I started walking. I could remember how I actually struggled after the 10km mark during last year’s AHM. A 30-mins improvement is really something to cheer for.
DAY 50 – 29 MAR
After 50 days of trying to get myself into a fitness regime, I was finally halfway through. The progress had been slow but at least results are gradually showing. For the past few days, it seems that my weight is stable at the 68-something region so it has been a morale boost for me.
By Day 50, I realised that work out alone is not adequate. There is a saying: “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet”. Giving your body the correct nutrition is as important as conditioning your body in the gym. I started out going all out with a low/non-carb diet but as time goes, I realised that I get a little lethargic – less tenacity than I used to prior to the addition of the diet plan. No carb diet is not sustainable at all because carbohydrates are the nutrients that provide our body with energy. Without enough carbohydrates powering your cells and bodily functions, it is inevitable that one will lose their energy fast.
I brought back carbohydrates into my diet slowly. It wasn’t any kind of carbohydrates but whole grains. Wholegrains contains Vitamin E, selenium and phytic acid which help prevent blood vessel damage. The fibre found in whole grains will also aid in making you feel full, hence reducing risk of over-eating.
I think I will elaborate on whole grain diet next time.
I eventually opted for a low-calorie yet well-balanced diet because the most important thing is that I’ll have to give my body the correct nutrition to compliment my workout routine. Fitness is more than a programme for better well-being, it’s science and it’s art. I am still learning about the importance of nutrition and the science behind nutrition and exercise as I work towards my long-term fitness goal.
It is true to say that exercising may well not be the most difficult part of the journey, dieting is. There are many times that I make to control myself to not eat those things that I love. Looking back at my past eating habit, it kind of evident how I allow myself to end up in the unfit state.
But then again, the stricter your diet is, the more it will fail. The more you restrict yourself, the more you’ll crave for the thing that you want to it, and as the craving builds up, there will be a high probability that you will binge eat and undo what you’ve worked so hard for.
Hence, I gave myself leeway – or what they call it ‘cheat meal’. Once or twice every week, depending on my active level that week, I will allow myself to eat whatever I’d like to have – be it BBQ or non-whole-grain carbs or even process food. The only thing that stayed constant is the amount of sugar intake.
What’s a better way to keep track on your calorie intake than doing meal prep? Meal prep, to simply put it, is to prepare your meals way ahead so that you wouldn’t need to think of what to have that week. The calorie counter is clearer and more controlled when you cook your food by yourself. Hence, for the next half of the programme, I decided to try out meal prepping and I admit, I did have fun doing all the research, grocery shopping and cooking. Yet, it can be quite time-consuming at times so after the programme ended, I just try to meal prep as and when I am free. The rest of the meal I’ll just make do with what my family has cooked and just replace my rice with my oatmeal.
DAY 54 – 2 APR
One week after Sundown, I put on my running shoes once again to compete in my second half-marathon of the year. I think I went a little nuts when I decided that signing up for two half-marathon back-to-back (I mean, week after week) was a good idea.
I had not actually recovered from the previous run and I hadn’t been going for a time trial or anything in between these two runs. I thought me condition was going to be real bad because 1) The recovery run that I had three days before 2XU was horrendous; 2) I am never a morning runner. Flagging off at 0515 for me was just too early.
Surprisingly, I managed to keep my pace for the first 13km under 7 mins/km (roughly 8.5kph). Although I was 2 mins away from clocking a 10km under 1 hour, but today’s timing is already a PB, so I’ve nothing more to ask for.
I’ve also managed to push myself to run for 17km consecutively, a feat that I still looked back at it with awe. As I grow into more of a frequent runner, I suspect that I might have developed ‘runner’s diarrhoea’. I don’t know if that actually makes sense but for the two races that I’ve went, I ended up with stomachache halfway through. I had two toilet breaks at Sundown, the second after slowing down due to the pain in my abdomen at 12km. At 2XU, I had to relieve myself after the 17km mark.
I planned to walk of 2km before completing the race running.
That’s when all good things come to an end. I wasn’t that sure if I’ve actually over-exert myself for the first half of the race but my stitches acted up when I was about to resume my run at 19km. I eventually took a deep breathe, held my hand against my abdomen and completed the race with a final 100m sprint.
Started the race well but didn’t do myself much justice towards the end.
Didn’t get to run with Kishan because he was running with his army friend so I went to find him after my run for this photo. He was another one who ran 2 21km over two weekends and I think it’s already an incredible feat for the both of us because we only started running over the past few years.
Yapz, be proud of your boyfriend.
One race, a few PBs:
– Fastest half-marathon.
– Fastest 10km during an actual race.
– Longest continuous run: 17km.
I realised a thing about long distance running is that, one you started walking, you might never put on that pace again once you resume. Fatigue tends to get the better of you and you start to lose all the momentum.
Kishan and I were like saying that we are going to take a break from all these running. Meanwhile, I gave myself a few days to recover before heading back to the gym at the end of the week.
DAY 68 – 16 APR
It was less than a month to Graduation and I was trying to make sure I grind enough to make me look more presentable on that very special occasion. I stared into the mirror, as I always do to check on my ‘progress’, I could finally see some ‘abs’. Although it was made possible with the good lighting in my parents’ room, I couldn’t help but felt rather proud of how far I’ve come.
Of course, it wasn’t all smooth – that’s one thing that I’ve to really point out. There were multiple occasions that my self-doubts clouded over my mind. I became more sensitive towards the numbers – on the weighing scales and on my food diary.
I tried to make sure that I kept within a certain weight range so that I could be classified as ‘acceptable weight’. No one could really understand how is it like to be labelled as ‘overweight’, and worst still, ‘severely overweight’ for a good decade of your life. Many people came out with campaigns or what sorts saying that be confident with how you look. I used to be that kind of people. Perhaps not accurately true. I was more of having a care-less attitude towards my own weight and physical looks. My lack of physical activities up till 2013 showed how lackadaisical I was towards any attempt to get myself in shape and healthier state.
Indeed, a person doesn’t change overnight. There are many factors contributing to the change in my attitude towards fitness. I think being fit is something more than the ability to be gungho in anything physically straining or to have abs. I am guilty of the allegations that I’ve just put forward. Being fit is more of getting your body to function healthily and hence to lift your confidence.
DAY 82 – 30 APR
DAY 94 – 10 MAY
How my basket looks like during most of my grocery shopping during this period.
Another 6 days to go.
DAY 100 – 18 MAY
Day 5 (First day at the Gym) vs Day 100.
Not saying that there is really some major transformation like those you’ve seen in fitness magazine or motivational sites but as I look at my progress, I am glad that I actually made the effort to step out of my confort zone
100 days passed by rather quickly and I kind of feel a little sense of achievement here. Although I didn’t actually work out every single day throughout the duration of the programme but in these 100 days, I’ve already worked out more than my past 5 years combined. Exercising slowly becomes a habit and I no longer felt obligated.
There are many ups and downs during this journey, just like the fluctuation of my weight. I’ve been ranting a lot about it on Dayre with regards to my weight issues. But this is one of my struggles – together with my lower body problem (how I got so frustrated with my broad hits and the fat deposit along my thighs).
By Day 100, I managed to weigh in at 66.8kg. I was around 69-70kg 100 days before. Weight dropped but I think I’ve actually gained some muscle mass along the way so the programme has been a successful one.
The entire journey, like I kept reiterating, was never easy. There are times I felt happy because my form improved (either in the gym or running) and my weight dropped. But there are also times when I got very emotionally affected by the dropped in form (especially after not gymming for a while) and during times when my weight increases (usually after feasting or when my body resumes its water retention after my runs). I know this entire thing should be a healthy one, but I need to admit that it does affect me mentally sometimes.
But eventually, I learnt that these are just part and parcel of the process. I can’t possibly ensure everything suits my plan. At the end of the day, as long as the results are visible, nobody actually cares what happened during the process.
It’s just like life. In life, there are many expectations people have on you. At the end of the day, people are just going to judge you based on whether you’ve exceeded, met or do not meet the expectations. Not many people will be interested in the process (although I still take time to blog about this). And what should you do? Like fitness, you just have to continue working hard, keep on trying – if this doesn’t work, try another way. Take my diet plan for example, it no-carb diet doesn’t work in the long run, research and develop a new kind of diet that suits you and your activity level. Staying consistent is key, but of course, you’ve got to improve yourself along the way. Lay out a plan for yourself (like my diet and exercise routine) and force yourself to meet your own expectations first. There is the ultimate goal but to reach goals, you need steps and these small milestones can be your steps.
Throughout these 100 days, I’ve really learnt a lot. I’ve definitely become a stronger and more confident person than I was before (knowlegable as well, given a number of readings and research I’ve done). I became more disciplined as a result.
I couldn’t have done it without support from my friends as well. Viv, Yapz and Wanz. They’ve been motivating me via verbal means and/or physically as well. It gave me the strength to perservere on despite those few times when I almost wanted to give up completely.
Although 100 Days of Fitness ended a month back, I’ve continue to pick myself up from where I’ve left. Fitness is not just a 100-day goal or programme, it should be a lifetime one. I admit I am starting to get rather lax in terms of gymming and running, but own time own target. Fitness should add positivity to your life, not more burdens.