[Fitness] On starting again with exercise

Fitness Motivation

So was talking to a friend about exercising recently. She’s just started again after a long time, and she’s chosen to do jogging. Her issue’s running out of breath before she’s completed even half of her training circuit. One round is about 1.5km, depending on the route she takes, and she usually does about 3 to 4 rounds.

By default, she is fairly fit. She has no trouble doing brisk walks in the park, but when she ups her pace, she loses breath quite fast. So being the kepoh (slang for busybody) that I am, I suggested a few things she might need to look into.

Breathlessness is something that’s common when you are starting out. Usually comes from not warming up properly or from improper breathing techniques. Runner’s World has a guide that’s pretty good at explaining how to overcome this.

My own personal recommendation from the list is to warm up first. Once you’ve gotten that down, then you can focus on the breathing. The thing is to learn how fast you can go without triggering that moment when you know you are out of breath. If you are gasping for air like a fish out of water, you are going too fast. I learnt to take quick, deep breaths by walking fast and somewhat timing my breaths to my feet. Short but frequent breaths through the mouth for every step I took.

It’s basically “In-step-out-step-in-step” and so forth in the beginning. As time goes by and your stamina increases, you can then move it slowly to “in-step-step-out” as your body adjusts. The talk test will be your main guide here; you should be moving fast enough that you cannot sing, but slow enough for you to converse.

Another thing we discussed was non-running exercises. Alternate exercises that you can do at home when walking gets boring (and it will, even if you go to different places all the time). For this, I turned to Darabee, aka Miss Neilarey. She has some great, simple exercises you can do at home, and they are bodyweight exercises, which means you don’t need fancy weights to do them, just your own sense of balance.

Rest days are also important. Your body needs a rest now and then to recuperate, and she’s selected Sundays as hers. It’s a good day to rest and take things easy.

Which reminds me, I should probably get started on my own exercises. >>

[Geekery] 4 months on Inbox by Google

TL;DR: Inbox is beautiful but it doesn’t quite fit into my lifestyle and encourages my bad habits.

I am moving back to regular GMail.

Yes, four months after being on Inbox by Google, I am moving back to Gmail. It’s been a very interesting experiment, and I stuck on it longer than I thought I would have otherwise, but Inbox just doesn’t fit into the way I work.

Inbox by Google is basically Google’s attempt to rethink email. It categorises your email into different “bundles,” that fit different purposes. You can create your own or rely on the default ones; I relied on the default ones and found them wonderful on the phone for pulling out my flight and accommodation details.

Additionally, you can also “swipe” them away to ignore them or to deal with them later. This makes it easy to decide when to deal with the email and so you can focus on what’s important, as this video shows:

Which isn’t so bad, except it leads me to the reason why I am giving up on Inbox.

Inbox is meant for those who ARCHIVE emails, not for those who delete them.

Let me explain.

My style of email is that if it’s something interesting or something I want to look at later, I simply leave it as mark as unread. Otherwise, I’ll read it, and THEN mark it as unread to come back to it later. Once I’m done, I either leave it as read in the Inbox or delete it.

In Inbox, I tended to leave such emails as unread, filed as conveniently as they were under different bundles. This lead to an exploding inbox and one that did not encourage me to clear my emails. Rather, it encouraged me to procrastinate. A lot.

And this is coming from someone who was very good with reaching Inbox Zero. Ironically, Inbox by Google encouraged me to let such emails accumulate, rather than dealing with them immediately when I did visit the page. This stayed, regardless of whether I was using mobile or PC.

After 4 months, it was time for me to say goodbye. I love Inbox, but it’s not something I can use on the PC.

Here’s the thing though. I hate the normal GMail app on mobile. It’s confusing and hard to take information in at a glance. On mobile, however, Inbox shines. Beautifully and functionally. It brings up the stuff I need at a glance, and in an easy way.

So on PC, which is where I spend about 65% of my waking time, I will stick to using regular old Gmail. On mobile, Inbox has its place. And that is pretty much how I like it.


It was going to be one of those days, Illyra decided as she woke up to the sound of pouring rain and thundering skies, that would be better spent in the library than in studies.

“Illyra?” the door to her room opened.

Illyra shut her eyes closed tight; a few more hours in the soft coverlet sounded better than the cold floors. The door closed quietly, and then Illyra felt the covers being lifted. A small, warm body curled up behind her. Illyra sighed, turning over.

“I’m scared,” her sister looked up at her.

“Hush, little baby,” Illyra kissed her baby sister’s forehead and held her close. “It’s only the rain and thunder,” they both fell asleep again.

[Civics] GST petition request

This is a quick one, in case you missed it over my Twitter and Facebook: right now, the Malaysian Government is considering a list of some 800 items to be added to the list of zero-rated GST items, which means customers will not be taxed for such items.

However, pads and tampons are NOT on that list. According to this, it’s because the ministry has NOT received any official petitions/requests for such an exemption. Thus, I’m asking everyone to write to them and request that period items, aka sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups be zero-rated (I am not sure if the last is GST-charged, to be honest.

Sign the petition, write the emails, and help us ask the Malaysian Government to STOP TAXING our periods.