Koutoulafari – Retrospective

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“Why did you choose this place?” my sister – sociologist, author and seasoned traveler – asked me. Koutoulafari is a village-turned-tourist-escape on a hill somewhere near Xersonissos, one of the more party-oriented cities in Crete.

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Not With A Bang

After a two-year hiatus from this blog, this is a hard post to write. Putting the last two years into writing infers a kind of finality, as if by putting my experiences into writing they are finally made real. I strongly believe that owning your own story is key to being an active (co-)creator of your future, so it’s challenging to admit certain hardships yet-to-be-overcome into this narrative.

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Let’s Connect!

I’ve been really honoured by all of the new followers on my blog. I love reading your blogs too, as well as reading your opinions on mine. Here are a few other ways to connect with me:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Join the conversation on twitter for all things martial arts and fitness @mmmaelinleow

Follow me on Instagram for a glimpse at my personal life and hobbies @leowchu

Like my Facebook Pages for official updates on fights and fitness

I also have a very under-utilised Youtube channel. What sorts of videos would you be interested in seeing on my channel?

Never on a Sunday

I learned long ago that I need one day out of the week that is all mine, during which I don’t have to work, train, or be accountable to anyone else. In a society that is all about hyper-productivity and consumerism, and which sees busy-ness as a virtue and stress as a badge of honour, it’s not always easy to say “no.” But it is infinitely rewarding. Challenges appear much more manageable when you’ve had time to rest; training, work and study look like the privileges they are rather than burdens when you take some time away from them; and a day out of the normal routine provides an opportunity to devise solutions to your problems by considering them in a new light.

Sundays are for waking up without an alarm, making love, spending hours over coffee, reading things you won’t be assessed on, and being a tourist in your own town.

Spending my Sundays well means I can look forward to Monday morning, and give the week’s tasks everything I’ve got.

What Muscles Are You Using? Activation, Inhibition, and Why Not All Squats Are Created Equal

Knowing which muscles and movements you want to exercise, and being able to choose the right exercises to do so, are important whether your goals involve sculpting, sporting performance, injury rehabilitation or just general good health. Most people can make common-sense decisions about this – it’s not difficult to conclude that one should do squats to target glutes, quads and hamstrings, for example.

But how do you know that the muscles you are targeting are actually active and functioning in the right way during your exercise?

Although your squat may look the same as anyone else’s in the mirror, it’s possible that your muscles may not be activating correctly, or in the correct sequence, in order for the exercise to be as safe and effective as it needs to be. This can happen in any exercise or movement, but for now let’s use the squat as our example.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

I had all these really cool ideas when I read that this week’s photo challenge was the colour purple, mostly involving purple-belt jiu jitsu fighters. But, since there has been more tea and sympathy this week than jiu jitsu, I have a picture of a tea-cup. Tea-cups are purple. Twinings Traditional Tea has purple labels. The flowers in Earl Grey tea are purple. And Cadbury chocolate wrappers are purple. I’d love to write all about the anti-oxidant values of tea and chocolate, but the fact is that sometimes you just need good friends with tea and chocolate.