Fear of the Unknown

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Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of succeed…it’s a common emotion that we all feel multiple times throughout our lives. We give fear so much power at times that it can stop us from even starting our on our dreams. If we allow fear to consume and paralyse us, we feel trapped in box and stay within our comfort zones preventing us from unlocking our full potentials.

On the other side, fear can be seen as a good thing. It can help us to break out of that trapped box and work towards our desires and dreams. I didn’t realise this until earlier this year, but sometimes the fear of something can push us to remain focused on what we are doing, eventually leading us to find fulfilment in what we achieve.

Whether that is your powerlifting journey or starting your personal development journey…sometimes the fear of succeeding is so much greater than the fear of failing. In the past, I have allowed it to take up so much space because I was scared to see what my future could look like. Have you experienced that kind of fear before? How did you overcome it?

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March’s Monthly Favourites

I think that we are all excited about the change of season from the cold and dreary winter to the sunny and fresh spring that is around the corner. I’m usually not the kind of person ready to start buying transitional pieces for the new season but a lot of things have started to excite me whilst at home. In 2020, I built up the courage to start taking baby steps to learn more about skincare and the proper application. I was really that woman that used only water and soap to clean her face everyday, nothing more and nothing less. Spending more time on social media and less time powerlifting, I had the space to discover and try new things. I walked into 2020 learning about skincare and fashion so I could fly into 2021 with some expertise. I’m having a lot of fun exploring my different interests that I want to share my March favourites with you.

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Switzerland’s Secret Islands: Part One

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With international travel being pushed the side, I’ve spent the majority of my time searching for places to visit in Switzerland. There are so many hidden gems in this country that many of the locals are shocked when I tell them. For a long time, I have wanted to go back to the Italian speaking part of Switzerland as it is the region that I have visited the least. I had planned to visit the Brissago Islands in Ticino last Easter but the country was still in lockdown. As lockdown will be easing up soon, I hope to visit them and the other islands that I have discovered in the meantime. Here I will be sharing some of Switzerland’s secret islands including the Brissago Islands, Schwanau Island, and St. Peter’s Island.

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5 Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy

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Your significant partner may have the key to your heart every day and especially on Valentine’s Day but proper diet and regular exercise is the key to having a healthy heart. Having a healthy heart has so many benefits and can impact your lifestyle, your happiness, your energy levels, your external appearance, and your longevity in life. These lockdowns may have put a block our activity levels but there are ways that you can overcome them. Indulge a little and read up on the 5 ways you can keep your heart healthy: What Types of Foods Are Good For The Heart, Gym Alternative Exercises, Tracking Your Physical Health, Managing Your Mental Health and lastly, Avoidance and Prevention.

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Choosing Deadlift Shoes for Powerlifting

An image of the SABO deadlift shoe for lifters
Photo by Folakemi Olamide

For powerlifting, the shoes that you wear are just as important as the belt that you choose to buy. Deadlifts is one of the most popular lifts out that recruit a lot of muscles in your lower body and back. One of the key techniques for deadlifting is shortening the range of motion so you can effectively pull more weight. In order to do this, you need to have a shoe that keeps your foot as close to the ground as possible. By wearing other shoes such as ordinary trainers and running shoes, you are short-changing yourself from proper technique and form which yields higher numbers and strength. Here is everything that you need to know about choosing the correct deadlift shoes for powerlifting: The Benefits of Deadlifts Shoes, What You Should Look For In Deadlift Shoes, Why You Shouldn’t Wear Other Shoes, Whether You Should Deadlift In Shoes or Barefoot?

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5 Daily Habits That Make A Difference

January really slipped through my fingers, I can’t believe that it has ended that fast. This month has been about clarity for me, clarity in what my goals are for this year, clarity in how I spend my time and decluttering my mind for clarity, peace and focus. Each week this month, I have been focusing on one thing that will help me get better, build up my foundation and set me up for success in multiple areas of my life. I have realised that when I don’t do my faith deveotionals, eat, train and stretch, read and do my gratitude hour, I feel that I have lack of energy and something is missing from my day. Here are five daily habits that I have done for years that have helped make a difference to my days.

Faith devotionals

I was born into a christian family and always attended church growing up. However, I never felt that I had a personalised relationship with God until I was 21 years old. I wanted to take a break from going to church to figure out if this was for me, if I wanted to have a relationship with God and why I wanted to have. I took that break once I got to college before deciding that it was something that I valued. Starting my mornings with my Bible devotionals, prayer and worship is an important part of my day. It’s a time that I get to pray for my day, lay out my worries and listen to God. In 2020, I turned more to my faith as I was scared and the fear of the unknown really took over me. This is my number one habit that helps me plant my feet. Knowing that I have started my day in worship and feeding my soul with love gives me the strength to take the upcoming day with hope.

Training and stretching

As a powerlifter and a lover of any kind of movement, doing a form of exercise is a habit that I have been doing consistently for years. There is something special about training that makes me feel alive. When I don’t exercise for a long period of time, I don’t feel like myself because it is an integral part of my day. Not only is movement a gift but also, it has its physical and mental health benefits – it helps to improve your core stability, muscle imbalance, build strength and muscle mass, helps you perform better in other areas of your life. Exercise has a skill set that can be transferable to other areas of your life. For me, I found confidence through fitness and that grew into something more once I started powerlifting – a strength that I couldn’t have imagined when I first started. With lockdowns becoming a norm right now, the fact that I can exercise in the comfort of my own home safely highlights the gift of movement even more.

Strong I am but flexible I am not. This month, I have intentionally started flexibility training to help me release tension in my calves and help me with become more flexible overall. I have been wanting to do the splits for years but that requires a type of training that I am not used to doing. At the moment, I have been dedicating 15 minutes of stretching after my training and 30 minutes of deep stretching after my walks on my rest days. I aim to keep this up so I can finally do the splits but also transfer this flexibility skill to my powerlifting sessions so I can increase my squat depth. Stretching is also therapeutic is some kind of way, I can clear my mind and focus on just that.

Gratitude hour and meditation books

Gratitude hour & Meditations

This is a new habit that I started the beginning of this year. Intentionally sitting down with a journal noting down y achievements and wins from the previous day, what I am grateful for each day, along with my intentions and affirmations for the day is something that I had never done before. I was excited to start this but I learnt earlier on that I had to take time to start this as it was new. I struggled getting this done in the second week because I didn’t have a set time to do this. I was doing it whenever I wanted and that meant that some days during that week I had to play catch up. After working on scheduling time after my shower to sit down and practice this gratitude hour, I feel like I have this locked into my routine. Cultivating an attitude full of gratitude, I love saying this phrase to myself. It keeps me grounded and it has taught me that no matter what is happening outside, I have so much to be grateful for.

Meditations…The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday provides me with some uplifting philosophy and pushes me to dig deeper in the morning. I will forever be a student of life and this book of meditations on wisdom and learning about the art of living from stoic philosphers is something that I’m glad that I started. At the back of my journal, I use these daily teachings as prompts for me to write my takeaways and it has really made me question some things that I do unconsciously and take more effective action. I know that it has only been the first month but I am nervous and excited to see how much my mindset will shift by the end of the year.

Reading

Am I the only one that struggled to get back into reading after college and/or grad school? I used to love reading as a child and it has taken a lot of effort to get back into consistent reading as an adult. I went from reading one book in 2018, three in 2019 and 10 in 2020. I’m making progress and I’m hopeful that I will get back to it sooner and later. What has been helping me is reading for at least 20 minutes a day in the evening as I wind down before bed. I find that it relaxing and it gives me time away from my phone and my laptop to slip into either a fantasy world, learn something new or examine my life. I’m currently finishing my first book of 2021 and then it’s purely fantasy and Afro-futuristic books for the next two months. I have Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo and Love In Colour by Bolu Babalola next in line. If you enjoy reading, what books are you currently reading?

a picture of a two books written by two British-Nigerian authors.
Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo and Love In Colour by Bolu Babalola

Eating

This one might seem strange because we should all be eating everyday. Last year, I slipped up when it came to eating my meals regularly and it really showed me that when I don’t have my meals planned in advance, I struggle to hit my macros. Eating is a culinary experience not just for you but for your tastebuds. There is something special to me about eating meals regularly and I’ll call it a habit that has made a difference in my life over the years because as someone who is into fitness, I’ve learnt so much knowledge about the role of food in relation to training. Having a routine, in general and especially in these series of lockdowns, has kept me focused on the things that matter to me and it keeps me grounded. Prioritising eating all my meals each day allows to do all the other habits that are important to me.

A decorative dish of chicken curry with jasmine rice on the side
Chicken curry and jasmine rice

There are other habits that make a difference to my day but these five are the main ones that help build a foundation for the others to follow. Placing each of these habits into either my morning routine or my evening routine helps me to start and end my day in peace. If you are aiming to start building a routine or a new habit, start out small. Forget about the end result and focus on the process and getting it right.

Staycation Trip to Luzern

This is my first staycation trip to Luzern (Lucerne – French spelling) and I will definitely do more within safety regulations to Luzern, other German-speaking cities in Switzerland and hopefully to the Italian-speaking part. I’ve travelled to Luzern before for day trips or events. If you are new here, I live and work in Switzerland and if it wasn’t for the pandemic I’d probably would not have chosen to spend my staycation there. In the German-speaking part, you can get by with German and English. French is either not used or not spoken as much in the area. Here is everything that you need to know about my October staycation trip to Luzern including: Where I Stayed, Where To Eat, Places To Visit and Luzern Covid Information.

Hotel des Balances Front View
Single Bed Hotel Room with personalised note and chocolates

Where I Stayed

I arrived to Luzern by train from Lausanne. I chose to stay at in Old Town near the train station as I love exploring Old Towns in Swiss cities. The hotel I stayed at was across the lake and it took less than 15 minutes to get there from the train station. Hotel des Balances is a luxurious four-star hotel in the middle of Old Town Luzern in Weinmarkt. When I got to my hotel room, I received a personalised letter, a box of chocolates and a glass of prosecco was waiting for me at the hotel’s restaurant. I’m not a fan of prosecco but I appreciated the gesture. I booked it via Booking.com mobile app and was able to secure an additional discount of 15% on top of my Genius Level Two.

Hotel des Balances Restaurant
A late breakfast at Mill’Feuille
A snack break on the terrace at Opus Restaurant
Breakfast at Dr.Oetker Cafe Guelhupf
Second floor at Negishi Sushi Bar
Greek Sea Bass Filet at Ammos

Where To Eat

Dr. Oetker Cafe Gugelhupf: This was my favourite breakfast spot. Dr. Oetker Cafe Gugelhupf is located in the Neustadt district of Luzern. It’s not easy to get there via public transport but I opted to walk there to do some sightseeing on my way to the restaurant. It took me around 20-25 minutes to get there and it did not disappoint. Dr. Oetker Cafe is a cafe, a restaurant, a bakery, a takeaway and a shop rolled up in one. They also offer cake and decoration workshops. The seating area close to the door as rocking benches attached to the ceiling with white rope and I was lucky enough to sit in this area. They serve brunch all day with a variety of options ranging from pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, fresh croissants and rolls, compote, museli, smoothies, platters, teas and coffee. It really was the best of both worlds with a hints of traditional Swiss breakfasts and international dishes. The decor of the cafe is the reason that I opted to go here first. I suggest getting there earlier in the day as it is very popular with the locals. It has a really great atmosphere, the staff are extremely friendly and you can ask them for their recommendations if you are not sure what to choose. They didn’t have an English menu but I always keep the app WordReference on my phone for times like these. For pricing, it was cheap (less than 20 CHF).

Mill’Feuille: Mill’Feuille is quaint eatery that is located by the River Reuss, on the edge of Old Town. It has an outdoor eating area, and a bar. They serve traditionally Swiss and German dishes. They speak both Swiss-German and English there and have menus in German and English. I went for a late brunch and ordered the Oven Egg (Ofnei) cooked in tomato sauce & grilled vegetables and bread. If you finish your bread, they offer another basket free of charge which is a bonus for me. For pricing, I found it cheap for a typical Swiss brunch (less than 20 CHF)

Ammos: I went to Ammos on my first night in Luzern after I settled down in my hotel room. It’s a ten minute walk away from Hotel des Balances. Ammos is a cosy Greek eatery that has both indoor and outdoor seating and serves traditional Greek dishes such as souvlaki and moussaka. The style decor of the restaurant is authentically Greek with Greek music. The staff are very friendly and call the eatery “Little Greece of Luzern” – I ordered an appetizer (Grilled pita bread with oregano), a main dish (Lavraki Filetos – Greek sea bass filet with warm chicory, potato salad and a herbal and olive olil vinaigrette) and a dessert that was far too sweet for me (Hellenic cheesecake). They have menus in English, German and French and the staff that were there that night spoke English and German. In total, the pricing was a little more expensive that I expected (just under 60 CHF).

Negishi: Negishi is a sushi bar that offers takeaway. As I ate late throughout my last day there, Negishi was one of the few restaurants open. It is located right beside the Luzern train station and it is a very popular spot with the locals. There are three levels to the restuarant including an outdoor seating area on the ground floor and on the second floor. The service is extremely fast and the food was delicious and they provide a wide option of choices. The atmosphere is very chill and it has this 80s vibe to it which was unusual but welcoming. I would definitely recommend going there if you enjoy eating sushi.

Opus: Opus is another resturant located beside the River Reuss on the opposite side of Old Town. There is a bridge that connects the New Town with Old Town. It is a very sophisticated and stylish Mediterranean restaurant that has an indoor seating area and an outdoor terrace. As I missed the usual lunch hours (11:30 -13:00), I was only able to have something small from the à la carte menu as they were preparing to serve dinner. I ordered some garlic bread with some salad and bowl of sweet potato fries and a mug of green tea on the side. I sat on the outdoor terrace watching a bridal procession go by.

Hotel des Balances Restaurant: The restaurant at Hotel des Balances was beautiful and very rich in styling. The restuarant is adjacent to the hotel and they serve breakfast with three different styled options, lunch and dinner. I had a classic breakfast on my last morning there. I would suggest trying dinner there at least once as they have two really known chefs, Andy Fluri and Niko Eichner, (if you are an avid fan of cuisines and culinary chefs, you may know them) who cook the lunch and dinner menu.

It was surprisingly warm for the middle of October which was good, I spent most of my time eating outdoors.

Boat Trip to the base of Rhein Falls
A side view of Rhein Falls
Chapel Bridge at Luzern

Places To Visit

Rhein Falls Neuhasen: I’m a lover of waterfalls and Switzerland has too many count! I spent a day visiting Rhein Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe, and the medieval Laufen castle. Luckily, it was a beautiful autumn day and I was able to take a stroll across the Belvedere panaromic trail above the Falls to a high viewing platform to see the Falls from another view. Before I left, I took a boat ride to the base of the waterfalls. There were four boat ride options that day, each one is colour-coded. I opted for a 30 minute boat ride and it felt refreshing to feel the sprays of the Falls on my face.

Old Town Luzern: My hotel was located in Old Town in Weinmarkt but I love visiting Old Towns in every Swiss City as it shows the medieval background and history of the city. The OldTown in Luzern has a lot of decorative buildings and paintings that tell its story, there are mutiple little alleyways that weave in and out throughout the old town. If you see the pavements change from a flat, smooth surface to cobbled stones that is an indicator that you have entered the old town of that particular city. They have wooden bridges that connect it to the other side of town and as you walk through these bridges, there are stories in German and pictures inside sharing an ancient story that is related to Luzern. It is definitley a must-see area of the city and it is best to explore it during the day. The atmosphere changes at night into a more chilled and romantic vibe. If you have time or enjoying hiking, I would suggest taking the cable car up to Mount Pilatus.

Burgenstock: I took a boat ride on Lake Luzern to Burgenstock which is a mountain along the shore. There is also a hotel on the top of the mountain, the Burgenstock Resort, which I hope to spend a night there for my 30th birthday as it looks beautiful and luxurious. It was the reason I took the boat ride as I have heard a lot about the Burgenstock Resort. The boat ride was only a hour long but you can take a boat ride across Lake Luzern stopping at various places but that takes 10 hours in total. I might have to do that during another visit to explore Luzern in its entirety.

This was a short three day staycation trip but there are other cities closeby that I would recommend visiting if you are in the German-speaking part for at least a week: Zurich, Basel and Berne.

Standing on one of the bridges that connects Old Town to the new part of the city.

Luzern Covid Information

The rules in Luzern have changed since I visited. At the time, it was compulsory to wear a mask at train stations, bus stops, boat platforms and on the boat. I wore a mask in and out of hotels and restuarants but it wasn’t mandatory in Luzern. At the time, there were different rules in terms of wearing masks across the country but in the French-speaking part , where I lived, you had to wear a mask if you were going inside any buildings. The restaurants, public tourist sites and the hotel all had hand sanitizers at the front doors. The hotel room was cleaned each day without fail, the bed sheets and towels were all changed regardless.

The Secret To Healthy Eating

Healthy eating and nutrition is one of the most overcomplicated topic on the Internet right now. I can completely understand why beginners in their fitness journey, novices and even advanced people can be confused. There are so many diets, approaches to eating, different ways to calculate macros, conflicting information on how to start – it’s daunting and overwhelming to say the least.

When I started to figure my nutrition alongside my training, it was so hard. I’ve tried clean eating, I’ve categorised foods into groups, initutitive eating, flexible dieting, If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), becoming vegetarian, becoming a vegan, and plant-based diet. Despite all the switching and the information from that, I’ve found an approach that works for me and that is tracking my macros but being flexible with my food choices.

Healthy eating is not supposed to be complicated but we overcomplicate so much that we end up setting ourselves up for failure when we slip off track because we are too focused on the end result, and not the process. It’s the small habits that you do everyday that build up to big changes overtime. If you are committed to your health, the longevity of your life and benefits that eating healthy will do to your productivity and performance – here is my secret to healthy eating.

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6 Best Home Workout of Fitness Equipment You Should Invest In

As freshly new lockdowns are coming in place in countries within Europe again and I find myself in my third partial lockdown, I’ve had to create a box of fitness equipment to hold myself accountable to my fitness goals. During the first lockdown in early 2020, it was very hard to get a hold of certain resources but I have figured out 6 pieces of equipment that you can get to build a temporary home gym or have at home when you don’t feel like working out in a gym.

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Setting Intentions To Reach A Goal

Happy New Year! Last year was definitely a strange one for fitness but when there is a setback, the comeback is always stronger. A lot of us lost both muscle and strength, and put on weight but once we get back into our regular activity levels, I’m pretty sure that a lot of us will experience body recomposition…whether it is your first time or your next time. Without further ado, we have made it to January 2021 and I’m sure that you have either set some goals or thinking about setting some. I want us to shift from the thought of setting resolutions (as there is nothing to resolve) and shift to setting intentions for 2021 that will help us reach specific goals and specific destinations.

I started setting intentions for my goals and my life in 2019. It helped me reprogram my mind, put me in a place of peace and kept me grounded as I priortised my intentions on a daily basis.

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