Even though I continuously remind myself to explore new things here in Shanghai, I definitely have my habits, my routines and my very favorite spots! Meaning, I seldom just stroll down a new Shanghai lane or bike to a new Shanghai area. But this Saturday when Culture Shock bike tours invited me to join a guided tour around the heart of Shanghai's French Concession, myself and Leon got a change to do just that!Read More
Last weekend we did something I wish we'd done a long time ago - because then I'd have done it several times since. We went to Bihai Jinsha - known as the best quality beach near Shanghai and if you translate the name you get something like "Bluish green sea, Golden sand".Read More
Apart from Yoga, I haven't been doing much fitness lately and to be honest the thought of HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING scared me just a tiny bit. So of course I said yes to Lizzy's invitation.Read More
It's getting hot in Shanghai (though most of us know we haven't seen nothing yet) and it's time to hit the pools! Whether it's for a little day-drinking session, a solid swim or tanning, escaping to a pool just make summer in Shanghai more bearable.. And much more fun!Read More
Summer is here and as I've had such a busy spring I just recently started finding the time and effort to go back to my no. 1 Urban Gym in Shanghai: Xuhui Waterfront!Read More
Oh I am not so sure about that. Or was that is. Before I went for a surprisingly successful and fun morning class at Spinback Fitness here in Shanghai. Here's the story:
Last time I went to a spinning class I was 16 and it was one of the most intense (and horrible) hours in my life (Ok I probably chose the wrong level as well as forgot to listen to my body). As I got down from the bike I literally passed out (!) and the next thing I remember is looking up and seeing the faces of half the spinning class... and feeling very uncomfortable and awkward.
So when Jen from Spinback Fitness invited me to come and join them for a spin I was so grateful about the invitation and in such a dilemma about what to do about it. With my past experience still haunting me every time someone suggest me to get into this calorie-burning activity, I really did not feel like going. On the other hand, I'm all about having an open mind, an open heart & discovering Healthy Habits in Shanghai... Dileeeemmmaaa!!
Then I got this awsome idea of sending my boyfriend (and his iphone camera for blogging purposes). He loves all kinds of activities, he loves being active everyday and he is keen on trying almost anything. Also spinning! Am I smart or what!
Of course my BF was super keen but of course he wouldn't let me get away with my great idea this easy, especially taking into consideration that I booked him on a morning spin class at 6.30... So in the spirit of Healthy Shanghai I joined him.
Friday morning very very early we were met by the super smiling and energetic instructor Chrissy and a room filled with shining bikes. The room in itself is super bright and makes your feel awake before evening getting on the bike.
My favorite thing at Spinback Fitness is.. Their TV!! And I never watch TV so that's interesting. The cool thing is that during your whole spinning class the screen take you on the most awsome adventures throughout the world: you go biking throughout New York, you go surfing somewhere tropical, snowboarding somewhere awsome and lots of other places and action-packed mission. It's such a treat for the eyes and before you know of it you'r halfway through the class.
Another great thing is the way Chrissy took us through different tours. So the whole class was 8 tours with different pace, different levels of steepness and different music. She also emphasized that we should listen to our body and bike with the pace and resistance that felt good (yet challenging, its just one hour right!).
The class went super fast and spinning was super fun!
Spinback fitness is currently moving their gym from Xujiahui to the heart of the French Concession (good move!) and from the end of January you can find them on Jiashan lu very close to that street most people know very well...whats the name again Oh Yoooongkang!
Spinback fitness also offers spinning in combination with posture exercise and personal training. This is what they call the Spinback Fitness Method:
Read more on their website and get in contact so you can start spinning in Shanghai!
It's not a secret that I like to visit Shanghai's parks and green spots several times a week - whether it's for a run, some yoga, a tabata workout or just a stroll. What is kind of a secret is the location of some of my spots! But Sharing is Caring right?
I find that by having different spots with different qualities (near my home, near some water, big & bustling, small & secret etc.) there is always a place I feel like going when the alarm rings too early in the morning! And there are less excuses...
Fuxing Park is easy and accessible, it has a decent size for a 5k morning run and it has great green areas for doing post-running stretches. But if you don't feel like running around hundreds of curious locals during their morning routines Fuxing is just a no-go. This has sometimes been my excuse for not getting out there (oh yes, I have good excuses as well).
But not long ago we discovered an amazing spot just around the corner from our apartment and I've been going there several times since. It's lush, it's beautiful and it's the spot I like to call my Secret Yoga Garden. In the morning you literally see below 10 people in this garden and it's just such a good little morning or afternoon green get-away from concrete and crowds! Only minus is that a 5k runs would include quite a lot of loops - but it's a great destination for a run through the streets and for doing yoga or other post-running activities!
Sharing is Caring
My Secret Yoga Garden is actually not my garden (!) no, it belongs to the Okura Garden Hotel on Maoming Lu/Changle lu which started as a French Club in the 1920s. Due to a visit by Mao in 1959 the Garden was designed with its current look including lots of small paths so the chairman could have his leisurely walks (read more on the Okura Garden Hotel's website).
The Garden is open everyday with access from Maoming Lu (between Changle and Huaihai) and as far as I am aware it is public (otherwise I am pretty convinced the Chinese guards and gardeners would have informed me as well as the small expat groups I've seen doing picnics here on weekends).
Do yourself a favor and visit this lush, secret spot in the heart of the French Concession in Shanghai. Whether its for pure healthy activities or a nice hangout make sure to bring a blanket and don't forget to do some stretches on the grass or practice your headstand like me and my boyfriend (I'm making him a yogi, so happy!!).
Enjoy Friends, and see you in the garden!
I find that mornings are the best time to run, do yoga and work out: (I) The air in Shanghai is so much better in the morning (ii) most of us know when we have to be at work - we never reaaally know when we are going to leave work later (iii) it gives us that energy boost from the morning that support us in having an amazing day (endorphins friends endorphins...).
Everyone can set their alarm to ringing 30 minutes earlier - but does that really buy us the time needed for a workout? Say Ta-Ba-Ta. My Partner In Crime has introduced me to this High Intensity Interval Training which is known for burning fat & calories (and even more important: giving us energy, happiness and awsomeness) fast.
Tabata, in a sentence, is a super intense, super efficient and super quick training method. It's a form of High Intensity Interval ("HIT") which is really intense exercise performed in many, short intervals with tiny breaks in between. This one is named after a Japanese Professor Izumi Tabata who studied Olympic speed skaters.
It involves using cycles of 20-seconds of intense exercise, followed by 10-seconds rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes. The theory behind it is that the body works so much harder when its really being pushed and that is burns more calories and recovers stronger.
There are many ways to do Tabata - try to google it and you will find websites dedicated to the concept. According to my Partner In Crime our favorites are body-weight exercises like pushups, pullups, dips, crunches, lunges, squats, jumps etc. It is easy to integrate running as well just switch between high and low intensity.
But Try it!
Classic routine of 3 or 4 sets:
- st set: Squats (4x cycles i.e. go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat 4 times)
- nd set: Pushups (4x cycles)
- rd set: Crunches (4x cycles)
- th set: Pull-ups or dips (4x cycles)
Give yourself 100% and you will be buuuuuurning. Then repeat 3 or 4 times per week!
The beauty of Tabata is that its quick, no gyms required, its super flexible and its super effective! Don't forget to download the "Tabata Timer" app or similar to keep your timing.