I can almost hear the footsteps of the Chinese New Year approaching! Yes, indeed! Chinese New Year, besides being a time for heralding the start of spring (often regarded as the most important season in the entire calender as we must start planning ahead for the remaining months ahead), is also the time when we visit relatives and friends. So naturally, it makes perfect sense for us to maintain a good complexion so we can put our best face forward in the new year ahead.

Here's my special gift to all my faithful readers - 8 beauty tips for Chinese New Year to get you glowing for all fifteen days of the New Year and beyond! Why 8 beauty tips? Because 8 is widely considered as an auspicious lucky number by the Chinese :)


Tip 1: Hydrate Yourself

Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Yes, we probably have been told by our mum but how many of us really follow this advice?

Well, if you still don't know, up to 70% of our body is made up of water. That's why we can survive in a desert or out in the open sea with no food for 3 days but the same cannot be said for the lack of water.

If you don't drink enough water, you will notice the almost immediate effects of it - your lips get dry, your skin gets more easily irritable and your urine's colour tends to lean toward the colour yellow.

Should you consume alcohol, remember to drink even more water to rehydrate the skin. Your liver will also thank you for this.

Tip 2: Get Your Beauty Sleep

Much as we want to stretch our days (and nights) longer so that we have more time on our hands to do more things, not having enough sleep time is detrimental to your beauty outlook. How would you want to look with panda eyes on the first day of Chinese New Year? Heaven forbid. But that could be the consequence should you keep late nights and deprive your body of enough rest time. Think at least 8 hours of sleep.

Research has shown that the lesser sleep we have, our bodies tend to function less normally and we are thus more prone to accidents happening. The lack of beauty sleep is also indirectly tied to the body's increased level of cortisol. Cortisol is known as the 'stress hormone'. When we are stressed, something has to give. Our temper and youthful looks perhaps?

More importantly, our body - the holy temple, needs ample time to repair itself. If you overwork your body and not let it have the 8 hours of rest it deserves, your body will certainly not thank you for it. For information, your body repairs itself between 12 midnight and 2am everyday.


Tip 3: Remove All Your Makeup Before Sleeping

I cannot emphasize this enough. Remove all your makeup thoroughly before sleeping. If you fail to do so, you will definitely be leaving remnants and debris on your skin. If you get a rash or skin irritation or even zit the next day, don't scream and say I did not warn you.

Use a makeup remover or cleansing milk to remove your makeup before sleeping. Don't be lazy. Remember, your face is your best asset as you can't be meeting people during Chinese New Year with your face bent down and eyes looking at the floor.

Tip 4: Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables

Hey, it seems that Mum has always been right, hasn't she? Here's one more beauty tip I'm sure many of you my friends have heard your mum nag before. Eat your fruits and vegetables. In fact, the more colourful items your plate has, the better it is for your body. Even our health ministry and nutritionists  have been encouraging us to take 2 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, so what are you waiting for?

Fruits and vegetables contain vital vitamins, minerals and fibre which our body need to continue working optimally. We cannot only survive on proteins and carbohydrates alone. When you feel good, you look good.

Tip 5: Avoid The Sun

Even though we live in the tropics, this doesn't mean we have to worship the sun 24/7. Stay out of the sun as much as possible if you can. The sun, on the contrary, is not your best friend. In fact, it is your worst enemy as the sun can and will speed up your ageing process. Pigmentation or dark spots due to the increased production of melanin in your skin is one of the most common consequences of sun exposure.

With the increasing incidence of skin cancer due the harsh UVA and UVB rays of the sun,  if you still insist on going out often in the sun, remember to wear sunscreen while venturing outdoors.

Tip 6: Keep Your Hair Off Your Face

A simple yet super effective beauty tip. Our hair, which is made up of follicles, is alive and living. It produces oil and needs to be cleansed daily via shampoo and conditioner. For some who have oily hair, they produce more oil, or sebum. When excessive oil or sebum is produced, the pores are clocked. Now, if the hair  happens to touch your forehead,  you can develop acne outbreaks or blackheads.

For those of you who are extra generous with hair styling products such as mousse,  do take extra efforts to keep your hair off your face so as to minimise the occurrence of the unwanted red-like additions on your face.

Tip 7: Chill

Even though we are living in a fast paced world and are continuously involved in a rat race, we still need to rest. Chill mate, chill dude
! Chill girl!

Stress causes breakouts to occur. Think of it as an internal volcano which is dormant. When you add more pressure (think stress), the once dormant volcano now starts to kick back into life and will spew ashes.

Yes, spring-cleaning and other preparations for the festival may be rather stressful but learn to enjoy the process. Very often, you probably ain't the only one who is doing the spring-cleaning or preparations. There's your family, partner or good friend helping you out! Learn to relax, bond and have fun.

Tip 8: Choose Your Clothes Early

Like it or not, clothes still maketh the man. As humans, we like to judge others and very often will form first impressions based on a person's attire. If we like what the person is wearing, we give him or her the chance to proceed further by speaking. If we do not like what we see, we shut him or her off immediately.


Pick your clothes early and coordinate them properly. Get the colours right and never, I repeat again, never pair a warm and cool colour together. You will look like a walking Christmas tree. In creating a pleasing look, we have to be uniform from head to toe in the same hue.

Follow my 8 beauty tips today and be ready to glow, glow, glow. Happy Chinese New Year to all! 
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As a fitness professional and sports nutritionist, what never fails to intrigue is the fact that I've always found it  strange why people don't give much thought to what they put in their bodies after they have finished their workout...which is a real pity.

Just think about it using another analogy - these same people will go to great lengths to make sure their car gets its fill of the right type of petrol fuel for their cars and do the regular oil maintenance check every couple  of thousand miles.

Yet ironically, when it comes to their own bodies, most never give a second thought to what they fuel it with! This is so sad.

If you don't nourish the holy temple that is your body, then how do you expect it to produce good results in terms of muscle growth? Especially after an intense workout.

Ask yourself what's the point of exercising so hard, huffing and puffing away even for some, if you're not going to provide your body with the proper nutrition so you achieve optimal results?

Do not worry if you are still unsure of what to eat as I have done your homework for you by listing the essentials that you will need to incorporate into your post workout meal.

Water

Drink plenty of water and be well hydrated before, during, and after each exercise bout to maximise performance and ensure an optimal hormonal response. It doesn't take rocket science for you to remember you just perspired after that intense workout and probably am now wearing a sweat soaked T-shirt now.

Proteins

As the word suggests, proteins are the building blocks and are responsible for all the repair works that take place inside our body. In short, proteins help us repair the muscle fibers which we have torn earlier during the workout, thus making them stronger and ready for the next 'shock'.

Omit your proteins and your muscles will be in a constant breakdown state. Personally, I would choose liquid proteins (think protein shake) over solid proteins (from food) as liquid calories are more convenient and allow you to optimize your post-workout window (which should be 30 minutes from the end of your workout).

Carbohydrates

Yes, much as the word has now been banished from some people's vocabulary (all thanks to the Atkins Diet et al), you really still need carbohydrates after your workout.

Carbohydrates will be used by your body to restore muscle glycogen. Should your post workout meal leave out carbohydrates, your body may then break down muscle tissue for this same purpose instead...which is not your sole aim, is it?

According to research done by scientists, the best ratio of carbohydrates to proteins is 2:1. This means for every 2 or more grams of carbs, you should also take in 1 gram of complete protein containing essential amino acids. This ratio has been shown to be best or maximizing glycogen replenishment in addition to stimulating protein repair.

Fats

Forget about ingesting any fats post-workout. Fats slow down the carbohydrate and protein absorption, and minimize the anabolic effects of insulin.
 
 
So now that you know the importance of the ingredients that make up a great post-workout meal, here's why eating the right foods after your workout is a must as they will:

- Properly refuel your muscle glycogen levels
- Repair of your damaged muscle protein
- Keep your blood glucose levels steady
- Strengthen your immune system
- Balance your body water level
- Increase fat loss and muscle growth

Click below to view some of 3 of my personal all-time favourite post-workout meals.
 

 

2. Chicken Breast Meat, Brown Rice & Spinach

 

3. Chicken Breast Kway Teow Soup

kway teow soup with chicken breast meat img

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