Tag Archives: fitness

Get Fit, Get Fat, then Get Fit again

Apparently, somebody is watching over us. Understanding that heat and humidity are possibly the worst conditions for fitness training, Diane and I have avoided the inevitable topic of how to enjoy all the incredible food available in Southeast Asia without destroying the last year of workouts. Lo and behold, as if they heard we were coming, a group of dedicated fitness professionals just opened up what looks like an incredible gym conveniently located right in the heart of Penang. Normally avoiding promotion of specific businesses to keep the blog from sounding too commercial, this post is an exception to the rule. Consider this my one and only plug for something we haven’t yet seen but are confident will meet our expectations. Worrying about where to find air-conditioned comfort, studio classes and modern equipment we’re used to, Team Powerhouse Fitness appears to be a godsend.

Dr-Joe-LeonardiRecapping a bit, Diane and I were neither fat nor fit back in late 2013 but knew we could stand to lose a few pounds and increase our fitness levels. Deterred by her two-hour commute and my ridiculous work hours that coincided with a time zone three hours ahead of the Western U.S. coast, we usually reserved productive workouts for once weekly weekend trips to our local gym. Fortunately, the bank that shall remain nameless put an abrupt end to my working days and sent me reeling into uncharted (and unemployed) waters. Wondering what life as a House Husband should be like, I decided to embrace the positives. After agreeing we’d simply retire early 16 months later once I was old enough to apply for an MM2H Visa at a reasonable cost, I embraced the free time and embarked on a five-day a week fitness routine that included HIIT training, free weights, yoga and a lot of cardio. Seeing an immediate improvement, Diane decided to use her corporate gym membership and started attending fitness classes.

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Almost Expats – The First Anniversary

Looking back, it’s hard to imagine but they say “time flies when you’re having fun” and today marks the one year anniversary of my unexpected layoff. Recognizing that the odds of unemployed workers in late career successfully re-entering the workforce are slim, the life-changing event was the final straw in our decision to push up early retirement and become overseas expatriates.

we careChoosing Malaysia over Thailand despite large financial requirements for the MM2H visa, a social entry visit pass allowing unlimited entry to the country, I developed a new sense of the expression “patience is a virtue” as we began the long 18 month wait to my 50th birthday. Reaching that milestone allows an individual and their dependents the right to file paperwork under a status that demands a mere $150,000 MYR fixed deposit. Owing a large debt of gratitude to my former employer for getting me out the rate race, I’d like to personally thank H*** M*** Capital Management for their horribly stupid decision that left them devoid of the best operations and support person they ever had. An example of the thanks you get for breaking your ass include the useless brochure seen here 


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Mountain Climbing in San Francisco

No, of course you can’t really climb a mountain in San Francisco.

Intentionally, Diane and I don’t live in “the city”. Choosing suburban life after owning a newly built beautiful home in Calgary, Alberta, it seemed only natural. Sacrificing home ownership grates on me every day as the filing date slowly approaches for MM2H, the Malaysian Social Visit Visa and we begin our experimental early retirement in Southeast Asia. With just over six months remaining, it occurred to me how overseas readers might enjoy a story about San Francisco, the famed City by The Bay

 Diane and I live here until we flee for Malaysia in 2015.

Diane and I live here until we flee for Malaysia in the spring of 2015

Unfortunately, Walnut Creek, California lies about 25 miles west and with a $20 price tag just to get there, house husbands living on their wife’s salary for another six months don’t spend an awful lot of time in San Francisco. Convincing city people why suburban life has its rewards is often daunting. Recently, I underwent surgery to repair a hernia and the rehabilitation created a perfect opportunity to share a little piece of our suburban utopia before embarking to the chaos and excitement of Malaysia. Continue reading

nyc marathon

My One Thousand Mile Walk

I didn’t actually walk it all at one time.

But I do love walking. On any given day I walk anywhere from five to eight miles, depending on what level of activity I’ve done earlier in the day. It’s my quiet time when I do all my thinking, planning and mental relaxing. The mileage is correct when taken from the day of my layoff until present day.

Aside from the health benefits, walking is the most fundamental activity that humans can do. Our bodies are designed for upright mobility. Unfortunately, most of our time is often spent at white-collar jobs buried in cubicles. One of the first things my fitness class instructor said when I began my exercise regiment was “30 years in an office, right?”. They can always tell because of poor posture. Continue reading


Losing a job is good for your health

Many people say they would love to retire but have trouble occupying themselves when faced with excessive free time. Diane used to work shifts in her nursing career. When faced with a stretch of more than a few days off she’d go stir crazy.

I am not one of those people.

Having faced an enormous amount of involuntary down time between jobs during my first expat experience in Canada, I was very familiar with this situation. But searching for work due to limited opportunities in your field is very different from ending your career. Continue reading