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Sunday, November 17, 2019

My Fitness Guide

As most people in my social circle know, I embarked on a fitness journey in winter 2018, right after Thanksgiving to be exact. I am happy to say that I have made it through a year and feel like I am in a "steady state" in terms of my health and weight, so I thought it would be helpful to discuss my key takeaways on motivation mentality, diet and workout routine.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a fitness or nutrition expert by any means. All my fitness posts are based on my personal experiences and what has worked for me. All opinions are my own. Please consult with a certified trainer or nutritionist for professional advice.

To provide a quick recap, I started keto and intense workouts when I was about 6 months into banking. I quickly lost all the weight and decided to quit keto around April 2019 after finding the diet to be unsustainable. After quitting keto, I was determined to maintain my weight even though I was back to enjoying my rice bowls.


POINT 1: You can incorporate a fitness routine if you care enough.
There are many reasons not to commit to a fitness routine - I know because I used to say them myself. Common reasons from investment bankers are: lack of time, difficulty of commitment due to unpredictable schedule, desire to spend limited free time (if any) resting, and it goes on. Those are all legitimate reasons, but like with anything, if there is a will, there is a way.

POINT 2: Motivation does not last long. You need to find your drivers, the fuel to your motivation.
We all want to be healthy and confident, but what is going to get you out of bed when you just want to sleep? This is why we need drivers. Drivers can be anything, but it doesn't matter as long as they work for you. Mine are:

  • I absolutely hate feeling bloated while working. My clothes get tight, making it really uncomfortable and hard to focus. There were several nights when I actually left the office to work from home for this reason, because the only way I was going to be productive was by changing into sweatpants. My diet and workout routine, which I will go into more detail below, has drastically reduced my bloating.
  • I have more wardrobe options. As a fashion appreciating female, I hate not being able to pull off clothing that I like.
  • I have always wanted slimmer legs, like Rosé from the K-POP group Blackpink. Not surprisingly, I sometimes have trouble waking up early in the morning to go to the gym, so when my little sister visited me in NYC, I told her to yell at me: "You're not going to get Rosé's legs if you skip today." Believe it or not, I jumped out of bed every single time.


Even though I am no longer on keto, I practice intermittent fasting and eat intuitively without counting calories. My key diet takeaways:

POINT 1: Eat low-carb, high-fiber food as much as you can.

POINT 2: Eat early. The earlier you eat, the less likely you will binge later throughout the day.

POINT 3: For carb sources, choose rice over bread. In my experience, rice keeps me fuller and I don't seem to gain weight as quickly.

POINT 4: If eating carbs, incorporate weights into workouts. This ensures a fast metabolism to offset carb intake.

POINT 5: I try to limit myself to one high-carb meal a day. If I eat a hamburger for lunch, then I will have a low carb dinner.

Here is what I eat in a typical day once my eating window starts:
  • Bowl of fresh cut strawberries from home
  • Black coffee and/or green tea and a TON of water
  • Vegetable jook or congee from home (if I had time to cook)
  • If I am still hungry, I will get a rice bowl from a to-go place near my office (if I did not cook)
  • Snacks: Skinny Popcorn, cauliflower snacks, almonds or bite size candy

There are several days when I feel content throughout the day eating just the above and end up skipping dinner. I am aware that this is not a lot of food and try to make sure I have a sufficient caloric intake.


I still stick to my rule of working out at a minimum of three times a week from my prior post, but now that I am more in maintenance mode rather than "lose weight" mode, I am more flexible and let myself work out twice a week if I am too busy or tired. Above are some screenshots from my Equinox app, showing my check-ins for the full month of October and since January 2019.

Every workout is around 40-50 minutes. with a good mix of cardio and weights/bodyweights. I always start with cardio first to get my heart rate up. The below is my routine in order:

  • Elliptical - 15 minutes at intensity level 15
  • Stairmaster - 10-20 minutes depending on how much time I have, on the "fat burner" setting at minimum intensity level 10
  • Squats - 10 reps 10 sets of deep squats with 16kg kettle dumbbell
  • Bodyweights: I set the timer on my iPhone to 2 minutes for all of the exercises below:
    • Bicycle crunches
    • Inner thigh lift (2 min per leg)
    • Regular leg lifts (2 min per leg)
    • Kneeling leg lifts (2 min per leg)

Once again, this post is about what has worked for me. I always try to tailor methods to meet my own needs for anything I do, and this is what helps me find personal satisfaction. What are some fitness practices that work well for you? I would love to hear.

Thank you for reading,

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