#PrincessBootCamp – Mulan Fitness Plan

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week stick fighting nerd fitness blog post

Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Disney Fitness Blog

When Mulan runs away from home to join Captain Shang and the Chinese army in her father’s place, she is a stranger to the rigors of boot camp and fitness. She is a veteran’s daughter, so she is not ignorant of what can happen in war. Her father is, in fact, injured from his service to the Emperor. But she truly has no idea what she’s getting herself into.

In this way, we have one up on Mulan. This is Week 4 of Disney Princess Boot Camp and while the workouts are revolving, the level of fitness and healthy eating has been maintained. But if you’re doing this Boot Camp and thinking to yourself “There’s no way I can dive into Chinese martial arts”…think again. Mulan did it and so can you!! And so could I!

Here’s a list of Chinese martial arts to choose from.

-Shaolin Kung Fu

-Tai Chi

-Karate (another form that has links to China as well as to Japan)

-Stick Fighting (Kendo and Bōjutsu are both Japanese forms of stick fighting, but Mulan and Co. do a lot of stick fighting in the movie. So if you have those forms available to you, even though they are Japanese and we are focusing on China, you can substitute them.)

-Sword Fighting (also look into stunt choreography to access the same kinds of skill building.)

Based on our location, what’s available to you may vary, but with the wonderful invention of the internet you have a lot more options than ever before. Take advantage. Here’s a look at what I did:

Tai Chi

I found a posting in my local paper for a Tai Chi class run at a church close to me. It was only $8 for the class and the instructor really focused on core muscles and strategic, precise movements. It’s amazing how little steps can really challenge your body! I also found some great videos of Tai Chi on You Tube and did those as well. Here’s one to kick off your intro to Tai Chi:

Stick Fighting

In Orlando, we have a Kendo Club. To reiterate, this is a Japanese form of stick fighting. And I don’t like to mix around Asian cultures as they are all unique and different and incredibly interesting to learn about. But since there were few choices in my area regarding stick fighting, I went with the closest thing I could find which happened to be Kendo. I cannot stress enough that if you have the chance to take a stick fighting class of any kind, you should take it! Stretch your body beyond what you think it can do and surprise yourself!!

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week stick fighting nerd fitness blog post
Karate

This should be the easiest for you to find in your area. Karate is another art that crosses the borders of Asian cultures. It has roots in Japan as well as in many other forms of Chinese Martial Arts.

Shaolin Kung Fu

This had to be my favorite thing this week. Shaolin Kung Fu is no joke and it is a purely Chinese martial art. Derived from the Buddist Shaolin temples in Henan province. Shaolin Kung Fu “combines Zen and martial arts.” I did these videos because I wasn’t able to get the Kung Fu classes available in my area on my schedule this week.

Here’s a really basic introduction:

Another great one that I enjoyed in the mornings:

This one is short, but this guy isn’t playing around!!

I hope you find time to enjoy challenging your body with these techniques. I know they challenged mine!

#PrincessBootCamp – Mulan Meal Plan

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Chinese meal plan fitness nerd blog post

Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Disney Fitness Blog

After a brief hiatus, we are charging forward into Week 4: Mulan Week! This week we are in China and studying all about Chinese culture, foods and fitness all while keeping Mulan herself as the central inspiration for the week.

When the Emperor sends out conscription notices to every family in the face of a looming attack from the Huns, Fa Mulan takes the place of her father, Fa Zhou, who is too old to fight. In an effort to spare her father, Mulan disguises herself as a man and uses the moniker, “Ping” to gain access to the training camp and not only pretends to be a soldier in the Emperor’s army, but eventually becomes one!

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Chinese meal plan fitness nerd blog post
Photo by Cristina Fowler (@thelittlestfowler)

With the help of Mushu, a diminutive dragon who was decidedly NOT sent by Mulan’s ancestors to aid her, Mulan manages to find her place in the world in the most unlikely way. She discovers a strength in herself that was not permitted for women at the time. And, in turn, becomes the hero she deserves to be. (And in the meantime she gets the hots for Captain Li Shang, voiced by very American actor, Donny Osmond.)

Mulan is voiced by Chinese actress, Ming-Na Wen (most recently Agent May on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), while her singing voice is Lea Salonga (also the voice of Jasmine.)

This is another movie that lives in that happy place for me. I was a freshman in high school when this movie came out and was still very much into Disney movies! So despite it’s flaws, I can easily find it’s virtues. But I can also call a spade a spade and recognize that Disney could have done a lot better to do justice to Chinese culture and representation.

That being said, here’s a look at my meal plan for Mulan Week, which includes a rich assortment of Chinese foods:

-green tea

-meat (chicken, pork and moderate amounts of red meat)

-Chinese fruits (kiwi, lychee, dragon fruit, pomelo, rambutan, ya pear)

disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Meal Plan
Rambutan…tricky to get into, but ultimately delicious!

-Chinese vegetables (bok choy, napa cabbage, water spinach, watercress, pea shoots, bitter melon)

-Other vegetables (broccoli, green beans, carrots, cauliflower)

-soy sauce (use very moderately or swap out regular sauce for a low sodium or light version)

-soup at every meal (the Chinese believe in yin and yang meals that consist of wet and dry foods together)

-white rice (another thing to eat moderately)

A note about switching from a Native American (Pocahontas Week) meal plan to a Chinese (Mulan Week) meal plan. It was a drastic change for my stomach and I tried very hard to ease into the new assortment of foods. I had never tried some of these fruits and vegetables, which was a lot of fun. But it meant that I didn’t know how they would effect me. Just be careful and try things in small amounts and who knows, you might discover some delicious flavors you’ll want to keep eating after Mulan Week is over! I personally loved the Chinese ya pear. It is a fruit I have added to my shopping list permanently!!

There are plenty of other Chinese foods to choose from, this is just the shopping list I was working with. I tried to keep it balanced with the food groups I’d already been working with. Fruit, lots and lots of vegetables, very moderate grains, and meats. The new piece to this week’s equation was the balance of wet foods and dry foods creating the yin/yang meals found in an average Chinese diet. Another interesting fact I found out, the Chinese believe vegetables to be more of a main course item than meat. So a lot of the recipes are veggie centric, which I really enjoyed! Stir-fry was an easy go to for dinners when I wanted something filling and easy to make.

Disney Princess Boot Camp Mulan Week Meal Plan stir Fry nerd blog post

Enjoy!!