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Pregspo, Geriatric Wombs and Feeling "Complete": I'm Going to be a Mom!

"Congratulations!” I was sprawled out on a massage bed at a hotel spa in Istanbul, Turkey, when my bodywork therapist exclaimed this praise as she rolled her hands over my calves.

“For what?” I muttered, fatigued from a few days of touring the city on foot.

“You’re having a baby, pregnant, yes?” she asked.

“Nope,” I said.

“Are you sure?” she replied.

“Yep, I’m sure,” I answered, reflecting on all the yummy cheese I’d enjoyed during my European holiday.

“Well… how do you say? Something like, if God wills it,” she commented, wrapping up my massage. Waves of nausea and annoyance rippled through my chest and into my throat.

Not a week went by in Singapore without someone mentioning the “P” word to me, and now, on my vacation, I was confronted once again by my perceived “defectiveness”, my ambivalence, my fickle confusion.

“Yes, if God wills it, “ I replied weakly, eyeing the exit door.

As a 38 year old woman with endometriosis and a thyroid disorder who had been told that a natural pregnancy was probably not in the cards for me, I’d already lived for years with the idea that conceiving was the domain of other women- women with a healthy reproductive system, a big extended and intact family, or a sole mission to have a child. And, while my husband Ryan and I had talked many times about the prospect of adopting or seeing a fertility specialist, I’d reached a point of my life where I’d come to accept that what was meant to be would be. I had seen firsthand the incredible emotional pain some of my friends had gone through on their fertility journeys, as well as the havoc it created in their bodies and while I'm strong, I did not think I would be strong enough for that. With my existing health issues, Ryan and I decided that the turkey baster or IVF were not going to be a part of our future.

A week after we returned home from Istanbul, when I began experiencing relentless cramping and vomiting, I thought little of that awkward conversation with the masseuse, chalking up my body’s rebellion to more reproductive system troubles, the stomach flu, food poisoning… until anonymous infants began appearing in my dreams. Finally, I caved in and bought a pregnancy test- just in case. The next morning, two bright pink lines surfaced in less than the second it took to set that little plastic stick on the bathroom sink.

Frantic, I woke Ryan from his slumber, shrieking, “you’re going to be a Dad, I can’t believe it!” as I paced through the house. At that moment, we became two of the happiest yet most perplexed people in the world- our decision to become parents had been made for us and ever since then, it’s felt like the most “right” path we’ve ever come across in our nearly forty years on Earth.

Yes, it's finally hit us- we're going to be parents!!! 

Yes, it's finally hit us- we're going to be parents!!! 

At the time, I’d already started training again with my eyes on a figure competition, and had also hired a powerlifting coach. After a year of dealing with the energy-draining effects of hypothyroidism, my health was finally turning a corner and I’d reached a place where I felt confident about living as an athlete again. At around 17% body fat, I was lifting 4 to 5 days a week while employing a high fat Paleo-style diet recommended to me by my functional medical doctor for both endometriosis and thyroid issues. I’d also taken up yoga and cut back on my hours at work, as well as reducing my stress load significantly. I partially attribute these changes in my diet and stress levels as well as treatment adjustments for endometriosis and hypothyroidism to being able to fall pregnant naturally.

One of the first things I learned as a mama-to-be was that 17% body fat is not a healthy scenario for a little growing bean, so I immediately increased my carbohydrate intake while allowing myself to eat whatever I craved, which was surprisingly limited to pickles, beans, brown rice, peanut butter, coffee ice cream, and eggs. Meat made- and still makes- my stomach turn; the very sight of a steak was enough to send me bolting to the toilet.

Simultaneous to this, I was so focused on having a “fit” pregnancy, feeling both the pressure to be the best mom I possibly could well before our baby emerged into the world while being acutely aware that in the wellness field, women are often held to a somewhat ridiculous standard in terms of physical appearance- one that has perhaps fueled a trend of pregnant trainers and coaches with noticeable six packs, still lifting nearly twice their body weight into their third trimester. How do I know about this burgeoning “Pregspo” movement? Simple- I’d searched out every single “pregnant weightlifter” video available on YouTube and Instagram, trying to make sense of the space between the life I lived prior to conception and the new life I was going to have to build as a woman with a geriatric, high risk pregnancy. However, just as the decision to become a parent had been made for me, my “fit pregnancy” journey has been largely dictated by circumstances beyond my control, as the past six weeks have been organized around vomiting, migraines and incredible food aversions which have turned this Paleo-fueled athlete into a near-Vegan with a newfound love for caramel-coated popcorn.

Which brings me to the point of this post: it’s time to throw away these ridiculous expectations we place on women on account of their possession of a womb- that they MUST have children in order to feel happy and fulfilled, that if they do have babies they MUST eat a whole and natural diet throughout pregnancy, that they MUST- or MUST NOT- exercise regularly through each trimester, and that they MUST follow any sort of blueprint to "prove their worth." Let us each discover what is right for us as individuals- there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” diet or exercise plan or lifestyle choice or definition of wellness.

I’m just entering my second trimester and am feeling much stronger than I have in a while. I go to the gym when I feel like it now, and I lift about 40 to 60 percent of what I was lifting prior to that positive pregnancy test, although I hope to gradually increase the load, doctor approved. I can no longer run outdoors, and while a part of me envies those expectant women who continue to pound the pavement, I know that my own body doesn’t welcome it and that therefore, it’s probably no good for my baby and me. Alongside my daily morning egg whites and avocado is a tub of caramel-coated popcorn, which I enjoy as I please throughout the day. I haven’t weighed myself in weeks, and I’m guessing my body fat is around 20% now- the abs are disappearing and the shoulder caps are completely gone. 

And, just because I’m elated to become a mom despite being scared shitless about commencing this journey just shy of age 40, doesn’t mean that I suddenly feel it’s the right road for every woman, or that my new reality "completes me." I was already complete well before this angel showed up in my belly. 

Fit pregnancy, healthy body, fulfilled life- at the end of the day, it means something different to everyone, and that's A-ok. 

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Event: Creating Your Vision for 2015

Creating my new Vision Board for 2015 and assessing the old one. I accomplished a few biggies this year! 

Creating my new Vision Board for 2015 and assessing the old one. I accomplished a few biggies this year! 

Around this time each and every year, millions of people all over the world begin thinking about what they want to achieve and what they could be doing differently to have a more authentic and meaningful life. Some lament about opportunities and goals that have passed by unfulfilled, while others focus on resolutions and new beginnings. Have you ever said to yourself, “next year will be different”? The truth is, without a vision of our dreams, as well as a process to make them come alive, it's extremely challenging to achieve our goals. 

As you may already know, five years ago my life and my health were in the gutter. I came to realize that if I wanted to change my reality, I needed to be clear about what my desired future looked like. So, I began the practice of visualizing, crafting stories that represented the me I wanted to be through pictures and words. My life has changed remarkably from those many years of being trapped in the gutter, and that change was due in large part to the ladder I built with my imagination, which allowed me to finally climb out. Visualization tools like Vision Boards were the rungs of that ladder.

Whether you're aiming to complete your first half marathon, launch a business, improve your health, build your dream home, trek around the planet or bring more mindfulness into your daily life, having a clear picture of what you want can help you develop a more positive frame of mind, map out your desired future and set you into forward motion. A Vision Board— a collage of images and words that represent your aspirations— is a powerful tool for goal setting and transformation.

On Saturday, Dec. 6th, I’ll be holding a 3-hour workshop that will teach you how to create your own Vision Board for 2015.  We'll also explore how you can set your vision into motion through process creation. This workshop is back by popular demand and space goes fast, so sign up early! All supplies, coffee and tea are provided.

The link to register is here: http://rock2015.peatix.com/

I wish you a bold, brave and bright vision for 2015! Hope to see you on Saturday, December 6th.

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The BIG List: 35 East Asia Adventures For Your Fitness Bucket List (Part II)

In the first installment of "The Big List," we jogged across the Green Corridor, ascended Mt. Kinabalu, cycled from Singapore to Thailand, and explored many more fitness adventures throughout Southeast Asia. In Part II of this series, we head north to traverse the Great Wall of China, boulder over Hong Kong city slickers, and run through the mysterious city of Pyongyang, North Korea... Say what!?! Yes, for the first time in history, amateur marathoners will have their chance to race in the DPRK (if they're fast enough). Read on for fifteen more East Asia adventures and be sure to have your fitness bucket list handy! If you missed Part I, check it out here. 

CHINA
21. Run the Great Wall Marathon   17th May, 2014
Travel 5,164 steps on the Huangya Pass of China’s Great Wall in your favorite running shoes as you ponder how such an engineering feat could be accomplished over two thousand years ago. Completing 26.2 miles at one of the seven wonders of the world- and a vertical wonder, no less- will be no easy feat, so include stairwell runs in your training plans and acclimate yourself to sun-soaked jogs; there’s no shade on this route!
http://great-wall-marathon.com/

22. Sport Crag in Yangshuo
Once a sleepy village nestled amidst seemingly alien-world terrain, Yangshuo has exploded into a bustling tourist destination with no shortage of entertainment for all age groups. Climbers now throng to Yangshuo’s karst formations to explore some of the thousands of limestone peaks dotting the landscape. Sport cragging classes are abundant and serve all levels- just pop into one of the many adventure tourism shops in the heart of the village or arrange lessons through your hotel. One small tidbit of advice- watch out for wasps, which build nests within the nooks and crannies of the peaks.

Just before discovering that my hand was merely inches away from a wasp's nest!

Just before discovering that my hand was merely inches away from a wasp's nest!

HONG KONG
23. Go Bouldering Over the City Slickers
Hong Kong is quickly becoming known as one of the very top rock climbing destinations in all of Asia, and a very unique one at that. While cosmopolitan dwellers enjoy shopping and dining close to the ground in the central business district, more adventurous souls have the opportunity to dangle over 300 meters above them at Central Crags. If you feel like you need a little practice, climbing gyms and drop in classes are numerous.

24. Climb the Temple of the 10,000 Buddhas
While most of the views in Hong Kong are accessible by elevator, you’ll have to put your legs to work if you want to enjoy the over 12,000 Buddha statues at this temple, in the New Territories district of Hong Kong. 431 steps and over 500 gold icons lead the way to the main temple, and nearly 70 more steps must be conquered if you wish to reach the temple which holds the remains of Yuet Kai, the founder of the complex.

TAIWAN
25. Go River Tracing in Hualien
River tracing, otherwise known as river trekking, is a combination of hiking, wading, bouldering and climbing in and around a river canyon. The sport is increasingly popular among both Taiwanese locals and tourists alike, who head for outdoor exploration in Hualien, which offers waterfalls, caves, hot springs, clay baths and clear aqua waters. Guided treks are available for people of all fitness levels.

26. Hike Jade Mountain
Rise before the sun beats you to it, fuel up on an oyster omelet, and conquer the highest mountain in Taiwan- at 3,952 meters- in a single day. To summit Jade Mountain, a permit is required from the park administration and it is also recommended that all mountaineers spend the night at Dongpu lodge to acclimatize to the high altitude. The best time to go is in April and May, Taiwan’s prime hiking season.

MACAU
27. Hit the Trails on a Mountain Bike
Skip the blackjack tables and save yourself a strong dose of remorse! Macau has much more to offer than just gambling, catering to health-conscious early birds and wild night owls alike. Rent a mountain bike and explore the unpaved, hilly trails of the southernmost island of Caloane, an old pirate hangout. Be sure to pack your swimsuit and take a dip at some of the best beaches the island has to offer.

MONGOLIA
28. Run the “Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset Ultramarathon”   6th August, 2014
Has typical distance running become a walk in the park for you? After a few dozen marathons, are you just plain bored with it all? Then the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset Ultramarathon has a racing bib just waiting for your name! Soak in big sky, nomadic life and the most beautiful backdrop you’ve ever laid eyes on at Hovskol National Park. 100k and 42k options are both available. Be sure to book some time to explore Mongolia either before or after the race- consider having some R&R in a yurt, and don’t forget to hydrate on some airag, otherwise known as fermented mare’s milk!
http://ms2s.dk/

Run with the horses in Mongolia

Run with the horses in Mongolia

JAPAN
29. Run the Tokyo Marathon   23rd February, 2014
Scramble through central Tokyo with over 35,000 other dedicated runners and nearly two million spectators as the wind whips through your skimpy shorts. Yes, it is quite cold in Tokyo in February, and historically, on marathon day, bad weather has become an annual tradition. Participation is granted by lottery, as there are usually ten times the number of applicants than available slots. One runner claimed that one of the toughest aspects of this particular race was actually getting in!
http://www.tokyo42195.org/2014en/

30. Climb Mt. Fuji
Gobble down a sushi breakfast and head out to Mt. Fuji on a clear morning in July or August, the only two months when there usually isn’t much snow. At 3,776 meters, it is Japan’s highest mountain peak and is considered an active volcano, last erupting in the early 1700’s. While the slopes are steep, smooth terrain and clear markers makes this climb relatively beginner-friendly.
 
31. Go Skiing!
Hitting the slopes isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think of athletic activities in East Asia, but the powdery peaks of Nagano and Hokkaido offer some of the best snowboarding and skiing on this hemisphere. Contrary to popular belief, skiing in Japan can be quite affordable in comparison to a winter getaway in Europe or the States. Just don’t expect much in the way of a post-ski lodge scene- the locals, it is said, are just there to ski, eat and enjoy the onsen- nude bathing in near-scorching hot pools.

SOUTH KOREA
32. Go White Water Rafting
Thrill seekers rejoice- between bungee jumping and white water rafting, South Korea has you covered. Rafters descend upon Gangwon-do Province in the hot summers to tackle the bubbling rivers in traditional kayaks and inflatable rafts. Rowing against strong currents provides a great upper body workout- tipping over is another story!
http://www.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=260563

NORTH KOREA
33. Run the Pyongyang Marathon
A friend of mine recently alerted me to this latest marathon addition and honestly, I’m very tempted! For the first time ever, amateur marathon runners will be allowed to participate in the Pyongyang Marathon in 2014. You better be speedy though- according to some rumors floating around on running web forums, marathoners will be expected to either finish or quit at the 3:00:00 mark. Last year, only elite athletes were allowed to participate, with a minimum completion time of 2:40:00. Say what!?! Well, it’s something to shoot for!

Everest- the ultimate fitness bucket list experience

Everest- the ultimate fitness bucket list experience

INDIA*
34. Participate in the Hyderabad Triathlon
Swim, bike, and run your way through the capital city of Andhra Pradesh with about a thousand other participants. While this event is fairly new- just completing its fourth year- it promises to be an annual tradition, adding a new category, “Half Iron” for extreme athletes who are ready to brave the heat and the distance!
http://www.hyderabadtriathlon.com/

TIBET*
35. Take an Everest Tibet Training Climb
Prepare for the ultimate of all climbs as you ascend 7,000 meters up Everest on a training climb expedition. Set aside a month for the entire climb, which includes some serious altitude adjustment, as well as lessons on ice climbing. It is advised that all participants should have previous experience with high altitude climbing and be a highly fit and active winter walker. 
http://www.summitclimb.com/new/default.asp?vid=59

* Ok, so we traveled a bit more West than the East intended. I couldn't pass up the last two adventures! 

So, there you have it- 35 wildly fun fitness adventures in East Asia to add onto your bucket list... just be sure to cross them off as well! Where will 2014 take you? Have I missed anything? If you could pick one fitness adventure to accomplish in the next twelve months, what would it be? Leave your comments; I always love hearing from you! 

Looking to prepare your body and mind for a turning point or fitness adventure? Consider personal training and health coaching with Tangram Fitness! I specialize in turning "no way" into "heck yeah!" 



 

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The BIG List: 35 East Asia Adventures For Your Fitness Bucket List (Part I)

“It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before…to test your limits…to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” - Anais Nin

Too often, we play small, we remain within the confines of our comforts, we doubt our ability to become anything other than what we already know. And yet, every single year around December, most of us dare to think about what could be, as we pen New Year’s resolutions in our minds and allow ourselves to consider, if only for a moment, “what if”? Well, what if I told you that those things deemed "impossible" are quite within reach, and that all it takes is a push- a push beyond the familiar, beyond the shelter of routine, beyond muscular inertia? Many of us have a standard bucket list- a list of places we want to see and activities we'd like to do before we die- but what about one designed to expand your physical and mental limitations? Part I of the BIG list details 20 Fitness Bucket List Adventures in Southeast Asia, designed to inspire both body and soul, and Part II marches northward to Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Nepal and Mongolia. Let your imagination roam and then commit to playing BIG. Pick one, two, four or eight adventures to tackle and make 2014 the year when “what if” is replaced with “hell yeah!” 

Cycling from Singapore to Bangkok, anyone?

Cycling from Singapore to Bangkok, anyone?

SINGAPORE
1. Run the Green Corridor 10.5k   18th May, 2014
The Green Corridor Run offers a rarely seen side of Singapore, where lush greenery and thick woodlands offer a brief reprieve from the high rises and bustle of city life. Due to the rustic terrain, remnants of track ballast and the occasional muddy puddle, this trail run is a bit more challenging than your average 10k.
http://www.greencorridorrun.com.sg/

2. Participate in the OCBC Singapore Cycle Race   28th-30th March, 2014
OCBC Cycle Race is a mass participation cycling event held at the F1 Pit Building for riders of all ages and levels of experience. 
Bring the kids, your friends or significant other, and cycle along Marina Bay- there are categories for all levels, including a 59km Super Challenge.
http://www.ocbc.cyclesingapore.com.sg/

3. Hike from Bukit Timah to MacRitchie Reservoir
Trek through lively tropical rainforest while keeping an eye out for macaque monkeys, monitor lizards, and various splendid species of fish, birds, snakes and insects. The hike from Bukit Timah to MacRitchie is moderately difficult, spanning approximately 15k and taking anywhere from 3-7 hours, depending on how often you stop to enjoy the rare sights and sounds of nature. Hold on to your sports drinks and snacks! The monkeys like to steal them.

4. Run the Sundown Half Marathon   31st May, 2014
Get out your glow-in-the-dark baubles and don some neon running sneakers! The Sundown Half Marathon begins past most people’s bedtimes and will test not only your endurance, but also your ability to stay awake! Leg cramps and muscle fatigue are common, so train smart by adding in a few night runs during your training and staying hydrated.
http://www.sundownmarathon.com/

5. Join a Dragon Boat Racing Team
Dragon Boat Racing has been soaring in popularity in recent years as awareness through local festivals and associations spreads among locals and expats alike. A quick Google search will reveal a slew of themed teams, many of them representing different countries and clubs, like the British Dragon Boat Team, American Dragons Gaelic Dragons Singapore, and Singapore National Team. Find a team that floats your boat and contact them directly.

6. Go on a Vipassana Meditation 10 Day Course
Seeking enlightenment? Aren’t we all? Perhaps unplugging to meditate in complete silence for 10 days is just what the doctor ordered for your mental fitness regimen. For those of you with monkey minds who can’t sit still for a minute, this may be the challenge of a lifetime. Days begin at 4am and simple vegetarian fare is served; talking is not allowed throughout the course until the 10th and final day. There is no charge for the course, as it is run on a voluntary donation model.
http://www.sg.dhamma.org/

7. Run the SG Standard Chartered Marathon/Half Marathon   Date TBD
You may be able to run the distance, but can you beat the morning heat? Running 26.2 miles in sweltering Singapore gives new meaning to “marathon,” particularly for those of us who aren’t quite acclimated to the weather. That said, completing the Standard Chartered Marathon is an incredible feat that you’ll remember for a lifetime, and no easy task at that. Lots of training and preparation is required, as well as mental toughness to get across the final stretch!
http://www.marathonsingapore.com/

The hubby and me at the the Standard Chartered Marathon finish line feeling spectacular...and sleepy!

The hubby and me at the the Standard Chartered Marathon finish line feeling spectacular...and sleepy!

MALAYSIA
8. Climb to the Batu Caves in Malaysia
Just north of Kuala Lumpur’s city center, the Batu Caves consist of three large caverns atop a limestone hillside, and serve as a home to several cave-dwelling animals, including bats and spiders. Conquer both your fear of creepy-crawlies and 272 steep steps on this adventure! Touring around provides a nice afternoon workout that is suitable for the general population.

9. Ascend Mt. Kinabalu
It may be hot on flat land in Borneo, but once you get up to the top of Mt. Kinabalu, you may just think you’ve been transported to Alaska… if not for the glorious sunrise, that is. Mt. Kinabalu is well known as a somewhat treacherous trek despite what the official website tells you, and provides a good training ground for some of the world’s more famous peaks. If you plan well in advance, you can squeeze in the full climb and trip over a long weekend.
http://www.mountkinabalu.com/

10. Run the Penang Bridge International Marathon   Date TBD
Dash across one of Southeast Asia’s longest bridges, at 13.5km in length, and enjoy a slight breeze from the south channel of the Selatan Strait. Be sure to train in the heat and sun, as you’ll be fully exposed to the rays for long stretches of time. Palm trees are merely a mirage- it’s just you and a concrete cable-stayed bridge!
http://www.penangmarathon.gov.my/

THAILAND
11. Cycle from Singapore to Thailand
I have to admit, I had no idea this route even existed until meeting a group of about six Singaporean cyclists who had made a pit stop in Malaysia en route to their final destination- Bangkok. This trip is now officially on my bucket list and covers an estimated 2,480 km from end to end. You’ll want to set aside a good 3-4 weeks if you’re interested in taking in the scenery and making several tourist pit stops; otherwise, it can be done in about fourteen days if you’re a wild maniac.

12. Participate in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon   Date TBD 
One of Asia’s most renowned triathlons for the past twenty years, the Laguna Phuket Tri features a 1.8k swim, 55k bike ride and 12k run through the tropics.
www.challengelagunaphuket.com


CAMBODIA
13. Climb Angkor Wat
The largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO heritage site, Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap requires an ascent up many dozens of steps in order to reach the main temple, providing both physical exercise and spiritual reflection. Women who want to explore the whole of Angkor Wat will need to cover their bodies- no shorts and tank tops.

14. Run the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon   Date TBD
Looking to enjoy the scenery of Angkor Wat with a different lens? Consider signing up for the International Half Marathon and zipping through the sacred ruins in dusty sneakers as the morning sun guides your way. A bonus- all funds from the race go to Cambodian landmine survivors.
http://www.angkormarathon.org/

INDONESIA
15. Go on a Yoga Retreat in Ubud
Escape the grind, rejuvenate your senses, and travel into your deeper self at a blissfully quiet yoga retreat, where you’ll finally find the time to cycle through rice paddies and dine on healthy cuisine as you overlook a tropical forest… just be sure to squeeze in a few hours of yoga each day as well! Most retreats run from 1-2 weeks and have differing themes, from Yoga & Art to Movement & Meditation to Dancing with Your Shakti. I recommend One World Retreats and enjoyed class with Wayan Partawan, but all of the options look divine. Pick one that tickles your spirit and GO!
oneworldretreats.com 

Bliss out to the view at One World Retreats

Bliss out to the view at One World Retreats

16. Climb Mt. Rinjani
Ready to step into the ring of fire? Mt. Rinjani is an active volcano and the second highest volcanic peak in Indonesia, overlooking the verdant and lesser visited island of Lombok. Ascend 3,700 meters to the crater rim over three or four days with a private guide or tour group, beginning at Senaru. The climb is steep and the last 1000 meters is said to be quite difficult. Be prepared to wake up in the earliest hours of the morning and trek for long stretches without a break!

PHILIPPINES
17. Snorkel with the Whale Sharks in Cebu
I’m not so sure if snorkeling qualifies as “fitness,” but I can guarantee that if you’re at it for a good hour or two with proper fins, you’ll get a killer workout! Thankfully, whale sharks are 10 ton gentle giants- not killers- that feed on plankton and small fish. Oslob is the destination most recommended, and whale sharks are often visible when the weather is good.

LAOS
18. Hike the 100 Waterfalls Trek in Laos
The “100 Waterfalls Trail” in Laos is still a relatively secret gem which only began being promoted for tourism in 2008. The entire hike can be completed in a day and is relatively accessible for most, although visitors warn that if you’re not experienced at scrambling up slippery boulders, you may want to just take a seat on a dry rock and enjoy nature instead.

19. Go trekking in Luang Prabang
This five day hike deep into the forest to visit indigenous ethnic groups begins in the village of Ban Huay Lo. Active trekking takes place for approximately 6 hours per day through mountains and bamboo forests until reaching the Nam Ou River. A good level of fitness is highly recommended, as hiking in the heat can be quite grueling, particularly when you have all of your necessities strapped to your back.

VIETNAM
20. Cycle from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh
Slurp up a bowl of pho, hop on a trusty bicycle, and pedal 1,930 km from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh over the course of a few weeks. There are two major routes you can take- along Coastal Highway 1 or inland on Ho Chi Minh highway; the latter is known to have less traffic and noise pollution. Check out crazyguyonabike.com for lots of cycling tips throughout southeast asia, including highlights from this particular epic journey.

This list details a mere twenty adventures in Asia that will get your heart pumping, clear your mind, and motivate you to push yourself beyond your limits. There are hundreds of others, from surfing to skydiving to ultramarathoning, so go forth and explore! Check out Part II here, which covers China, Japan, North Korea (say what?!?!) and more. Do you have a favorite East Asia adventure? Add it in the comments section- I’d love to hear what you’re up to!

Looking to get in shape before tackling your fitness bucket list, or seeking training for a specific event? Drop me a note at aimee@tangramfitness.com for tips and information on personal training packages. I take an integrative approach to help people reach their health and fitness goals, combining personal training, health coaching, and nutrition education.


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