Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Resolution

With the year coming to an end, and a a whole brand new year about to unfold, almost everyone i meet is asking me 1 question:-
What is my resolution for next year? My resolution for next year - to quit making resolutions i don't intend to keep.

Needless to say, many out there will have a resolution to hit the gym (again), lose some unwanted pounds, get fit, start that diet etc... but sad to say, 90% of the people who do this during the new year, end up quitting after about 2 months. Why is there such a high drop out rate for this? Simple.. people don't have specific goals and people want miracles in terms of their fitness results. So before you make your resolution to be a fitter person this year, just follow this simple guide and i hope you won't be one of those people who quits prematurely.

Specific Goals
Before you begin your fitness lifestyle, it is important for you to set specific goals. Like lose an inch of my waist in 1 month or lose 2 Kg in one month. Most people just join gyms, pay a shit load of money and don't even know what to do or why they are doing it. If you don't know why you are doing something, you will get bored.. that is guaranteed. So make sure you have a goal or target and make sure it is specific - it must have an amount and a time frame to achieve that.

Realistic Goals
Besides being specific, it has to be realistic. Realistic goals are goals that you can achieve... unrealistic goals can only be achieved when you are day dreaming. So make sure your goals are realistic. If you are a overweight male with 42 inch waist, please do not set a goal like a waist of 32 in 6 weeks. It's going to be virtually impossible to reach that goal. Start small.. how about 1 inch of your waist for each month... in fact, that is a pretty safe and easy goal to achieve.

When advicing people on how to set goals, i like them to just work out for one month and measure their before and after. Once you have that, you can calculate the progress you have made and use that as a measure for future goal setting. So if you lost 4kg in your 1st month, then you can safely say that your goal is to lose 4 kg a month, and that is your realistic goals.

The reason why people quit, is because they set goals which are unrealistic, and when they don't achieve it, they get frustrated and often times claim that they are NOT seeing ANY results. So set realistic goals which you can reach, it will make you feel good and get you on the right road.

Start small and improve slowly
I have seen so many new comers / beginners do this. On their 1st day in the gym, they run on the treadmill for 20 minutes on high speed. Wow... good start dude. Then they are missing for the next 3 days. When i approach them and ask them what happened? Oh, my legs hurt too much the next day so i could not come.

Please, start slow and work your way up. Rome was not built in a day and neither will your muscles and their ability to cope with the work out. Because the work outs become torture sessions, people are inclined to just throw the towel and quit.. why do something which hurts so much. Working out is a little hard i admit, but its not supposed to kill you and make you feel like you are about to die. If your work outs are that way, you are over training and most probably heading into what i cal burn out.

No such thing as a miracle
People also often expect miracles. They think 6 weeks of hard sweating in the gym will give them whatever results they want. It doesn't work that way. Losing weight takes time. What i like to tell all my clients is, give yourself at least 6 months... ie you must continue this routine, diet, lifestyle for at least 6 months. Then and only then will it be safe for you to have results that people can see and complement you on. and when you get compliments, you will be self motivated to continue the routine. So whatever you do, make sure you stick with it. Don't expect miracles where you will suddenly look in the mirror and see 5 inches off just like that. it always happens gradually and it takes time. So be patient.

So there you have it. Some simple tips to help you kick start a fitter lifestyle and of course with the hopes that you will stick with the program and not just quit after 6 weeks.

Before i forget. Happy New Year and Happy Holidays everyone. May next year be a better year for all of us.

PS: I sincerely hope 2009 is a better year than 2008 as this has been a truly crap year for me. For those who are close to me, i am sure you will know why.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gain Muscle Mass Quickly - Part 2

As promised, here is part 2 of how to gain muscle mass quickly. As mentioned earlier, this program is designed for skinny guys who want to pound on some serious muscle mass. If you are overweight and want to put on some muscle mass, you may not need to consume as much as i am recommending here. You can follow the general guidelines, but i would recommend just lift heavy to burn off the fat first. Once you start losing significant body fat, you can switch on to this program wholly. But where there is doubt, please leave a comment and i will be glad to answer.

Breakfast, Pre work out & Post work out

There are 3 very important meal times that you need to be aware of when you want to gain muscle mass. 1 is breakfast, 2 is before your workout (usually about 60 to 90 minutes before your work out) and the other is right after your work out (30 to 45 minutes after your workout). Lets go into these meals in more details one at a time.


Ah yes, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. If you heard you mother preaching this a million times, it’s only because it is true and like they always say, mother knows best. Breakfast is very important because it is the first meal after a long fasting period. If you eat your dinner at about 8pm everyday and breakfast at 7am, that is almost 11 hours of fasting that your body has endured. Because of that, you need to replenish your body with foods that it can use and also important to give it food that will not be turned into fat. Whenever you eat breakfast, remember these 3 simple rules

Avoid simple carbohydrates – Simple carbohydrates are all the starches that are white. White bread, croissants, noodles, white rice etc. Because your body has been starving itself for so long, the insulin level in your blood will be really low. The second you put any food into your mouth, it will automatically raise the insulin level in your blood. Simple carbohydrates get turned to sugar almost immediately once it enters your system. Because of this, you insulin will spike when there is a sudden introduction of sugar in your bloodstream, and insulin spikes will promote fat storage within your body. The insulin is going spike no matter what… what you want to do is minimize the spike to a gradual raise.

Go for high fiber, high protein breakfasts – If you can, skip all your sweet breakfast cereal and go for eggs and whole meal toast or a ham sandwich on whole meal bread or even oat cereal with milk (no sugar). Things such as pancakes, frosted corn flakes, roti canai, nasi lemak etc is just bad news for your belly in the mornings… so avoid them at all costs. You want to build muscle, so you will need loads of protein and breakfast is the one of the best times to replenish your supply.

Drink something that isn’t sweet – one of the worst things you can do in the morning is get a cup of coffee, load it up with sugar and milk and down it to wake yourself up. No doubt you will wake up almost immediately because of the sudden sugar rush, but this will also make your waist line grow. If you have to drink something sweet, try artificial sweeteners that don’t have as many calories or go for fresh fruit juice or lightly sweetened Soya Milk. The worse breakfast drink I have seen is having a can of Soda just after waking up. No nutrition and loads of fat building potential. So unless you are aiming to become a Sumo wrestler, please don’t drink soda in the morning. It’s just wrong.

Pre Work out

The next most important meal of the day is your pre work out meal. Before you go for your work out, you want to essentially load yourself with complex carbohydrates and protein. You essentially want to get this food in 60 to 90 minutes before your workout so that your body has time to digest this food and make all the nutrition you need available for your training. In essence, you are giving your body the ammunition it needs for the forthcoming assault… which is your heavy workout. So examples of pre work out meals that are good to have would be:

  1. Peanut butter sandwich on whole meal bread
  2. Thick Milk shake blended with fruits like banana or berries
  3. Tuna sandwich on whole meal bread
  4. Chapati with egg and chicken curry (small portion)
  5. Turkey ham sandwich with egg on whole meal bread

I think you get the idea. Avoid oily, heavy or fattening food like mee goreng, roti canai or rice with curry as this will only make you feel lazy and sluggish... the last thing you need when you hit the gym for a heavy lift. Although carbohydrates have been constantly bashed and given a bad name for making people fat, if you want to gain muscle mass, you need carbohydrates. Why?

When you train heavily, your body will actively look for fuel to power your activity. What your body does is revert to a process called glycolysis. Glycolysis is a process of turning sugars (usually provided by carbohydrates) into ATP and if you remember your biology lessons, ATP is a energy that is used by muscle cells to complete movement. So if you starve yourself of carbohydrates, it's simple to see that you won’t be providing the fuel you need for your work out heavily and to your full potential.

Another important tip is to have a glass of something sweet (not to sweet) about 20 minutes before your workout. If you are not a big eater, this is a great way to help you boost the sugar your body needs before the workout. The reason why it is 20 minutes before the workout, is because the drink is sweet and is already in the form of sugar… so there isn’t any breaking down required to convert it to sugar. This way, you load your body with fuel ready substances to power your work out. This is good for people who are skinny and just can’t seem to pound on that additional weight. If you are overweight and looking to lean up with muscle mass, you may skip this.

Post work out

Once you are done with your intense work out, your body will attempt to rebuild and repair the damage caused by your work out. The reason I use the word attempt, is because you body can only repair the damage if it is given the right raw materials. Imagine building a house without bricks or wood… you can’t do it can you. The same way, your body only can build muscle if it is provided with the right tools and of course the right raw materials. So you want to once again ensure your post workout meal is heavy in complex carbohydrates and heavy on protein. Your body’s ability to build muscle depends a lot of how fast it can exit the catabolic stage (the breakdown during work outs) and enter the anabolic stage (where it recovers and repairs the damage done during the workout). So as you can see, post workout nutrition is very important.

Post work out meals is also what people like to call the Free Zone… meaning almost anything you eat, will get utilized by the body immediately… so there is no risk of fat storage. Notice that pang of hunger that has just struck you after your work out. Yeah, its your body crying out to be fed. But again, if you eat more than your body can use (even if it is just pure protein), you will put on the wrong kind of weight. The best post workout food to have is similar to the ones mentioned in the pre workout meals…heavy on protein and heavy on complex carbohydrates. If you are drinking protein shakes etc, now would be the best time to drink it as it will be most efficiently used at this time compared to any other time.

Eat every 3 hours that you are awake

Besides the three important meals mentioned above, I would like to recommend adding in three more meals per day. Ideally, for maximum muscle gain and weight loss, you want to eat something every 3 hours that you are awake. So if you eat breakfast at 7am, you want to chow down something at 10 am and then go for lunch at 1pm and so forth. The idea is, to keep the additional meal portions small so that you don’t end up consuming more than you need. Eating additional meals not only raises your metabolic rate and prevent insulin spikes which result in fat storage, but eating additional meals provides your body with the continued supply of raw materials it needs to rebuild and repair your muscles. The problem with our body is, when you give it nutrition, it takes what it needs for that moment and then discards or stores away the rest. It is similar to a child who if you gave him or her pocket money by the month, chances are they will spend it all within a few days and be broke after that. Because of this, you probably have to give the child money on a daily basis and the same goes for our body… not daily but on a more regular basis. So if you want your body to maximize its protein usage, eat many meals and keep the portions smaller.

Ideally, your post and pre work out meals should be additional meals besides your lunch and dinner. So on top of lunch and dinner, you now have an additional 2 meals which is your pre and post workout meals. But if you lack the time and comfort to feed yourself in such a manner, you need to make some modifications while still abiding by the basics. For example, if you are going to workout in the morning before work, your breakfast will have to follow the pre-workout meal plan instead of the normal breakfast mentioned above. If you are working out after work, then your dinner will have to follow the post workout meal plan. So adjust your food accordingly based on your progress and your goals.

How much protein should I consume?

Since protein is the building blocks for muscle, you are going to need lots of it for muscle gain. But just how much protein does you body need to really build muscle? Well depending on the amount of muscle you have and how heavy you lift, your need for protein will vary. But in essence, you should aim to have 1.6 to 1.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 70kg, then you want to aim for 112 grams to 126 grams of protein per day. This is just a rough guide of how much you should be consuming. This amount may also vary depending on how hard and heavy you are lifting.

Wouldn’t it better to eat a whole lot more protein just to be safe? Not really. Since protein has the same amount of calories as carbohydrates, eating too much of protein will also mean too many calories in your system… and we all know what too many calories translates to. This is why it is important to follow the scale given above. You can vary your protein intake depending on the results you are getting and hence adjust to get the results you want. If you lift really heavy and weight 70kg, you may need a lot more protein that someone else who is lifting lightly and weighs 70kg.

It is also important to point out here that 112 grams of protein a day refers to 112 grams of pure protein. So if you eat a chicken breast that weighs 112 grams, it doesn’t mean you are done with your protein intake for the day. Chicken breasts have loads of other nutrition as well, and though it may be high in protein, it is not made up of 100% protein. To give you a better gauge of what I mean, 1 can of tuna has about 20 grams of pure protein. So in order to get 100grams of protein, you will need to consume about 5 cans tuna a day. Seems like a lot to consume doesn’t it. To get about 112, you will need to consume 6 cans of tuna. This is of course on the premise that you are not eating or drinking anything else. Just plain tuna. Do you think you get hungry after the 6 cans? If you were 70kg and lifted very heavy and going for muscle gain, yes, you would probably finish the 6 cans by lunch or by tea.

The thing is, everything we consume has some amount of protein in it. Whether it is milk, rice, bread, cheese and even chocolates, they all have some amount of protein in them. So consuming all that other stuff does count towards your daily protein intake. What you want to do is reduce the other unhealthy things like fat and increase your protein intake so that you put on the right kind of weight.

So if you are serious about putting on some serious muscle mass on your skinny frame, or if you are serious about loosing weight and gaining some good muscle mass, you need to follow the guidelines here. If you are thinking “It’s a lot of good stuff, but not so practical for me. So how much can we deviate from this plan and still get results?” Well it really depends on what you want and how much of it you want. If you want to maximize your muscle gaining potential, you need to be a dietary boy scout and train like there is no tomorrow each time you hit the gym. If you want less, then you just follow it less. The more you follow this, the faster and bigger gains you will see. So it really is up to you. Once you are decided, we hope we have helped you in some small way to achieve what you want.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gain Muslce Mass Quickly - Part 1

I have received quite a few requests on how to gain muscle mass quickly, so I thought this will be a valuable post to guys out there who do not want to look like anime characters but want to look big and buff. Gaining muscle mass basically depends on 2 things – Your work out and your eating / Nutrition.

Due to how much material there is to cover, I thought I would break it up into 2 posts so you don’t get lost in the literature and fall asleep. The first one is on training and how you need to train. But to sustain that training technique, you will need to eat the right foods, and I will cover that in my next post.

Train heavy

The basic science of building muscle is to train heavy. How fast your muscles grow depends on how much you can break down your muscles (catabolism) and then giving it enough nutrition / rest to recover (anabolism) from the breakdown before you trash it again and break it down. Whenever you lift weights, you are essentially causing your muscles to “breakdown”. What experts mean by breakdown is that tiny micro fissures and tears appear in your muscle during your weight training sessions. The heavier you lift, the more of these micro fissures are formed in your muscles. When you rest, your body works hard on patching up or filling those little micro fissures with new muscle tissue, hence allowing you to gain more muscle mass. Also, by patching it up with new muscle tissue and increasing the size of it, your body is essentially preparing itself to withstand further strain in future. And that is how and why your muscle grows with intense weight training.

But be warned, if you over train or lift more than your muscles can handle, then the micro fissures and tears might become bigger and cause serious injury such as muscle tears (when the tears actually get big enough to cause severe pain and loss of use of the muscle). So make sure you are always training within your means and never over train. It is also important to remember that you should progress slowly and not be too eager to add on weights when you are not ready for it.

When training heavy, there are a few basic rules that you must follow

1) Only train each body part once a week – because you are training your muscles with such intensity, you need to allow ample time for your muscles to recover and for your body to patch up those micro fissures. Training more doesn’t always mean more muscle gained… it only means more risk for injury. So assign a day for 1 or 2 muscle groups and only train those muscles on that day. The other days are for other muscle groups. When you train those muscles, train it hard because you are giving them ample time for recovery after that.

2) 6 to 8 reps – Each set for whatever muscles you are training should consist of 6 to 8 reps. If you can reach 8 reps for all your sets, its time to add weight. If you can’t even reach 6 on the first set, then it is obviously too heavy for you. So make sure every muscle and every set you do falls within the range of 6 to 8 reps. Doing it otherwise will only be a waste of time (too light) or increasing your risk of injury (too heavy)

3) Get a spot – I cannot emphasize this enough. You must get a spot when training heavy. A spot is not only good to help you lift up the weights when you can’t lift anymore, but is also essential in helping you train till failure. Because you have a spot, you can really push yourself to the limit and not have to worry about whether you can complete the rep or not. If you don’t have a regular workout partner, get some one in the gym to give you a quick spot in between their own sets.

4) 3 to 4 sets – I usually like to do 3 sets of each exercise, but that is because I am usually short on time. If you have a bit more time to spare, I recommend doing at least 4 sets for each of your exercise. You will see a big difference in the amount you gain by just adding that one extra set. But again, don’t think that 3 is good, 4 is better so 5 should be even better. It doesn’t work that way. Limit your sets to 4 and do only 4 sets. 5 sets will be over doing it.

5) 2 to 3 minutes rest – When I lift heavy, I usually take about 2 minutes rest time between sets. Sometimes if it is my last set, it may even be 3 minutes. That’s ok. The point is, you need a minimum of 2 to 3 minutes rest before doing another set. Never push for another heavy set when you have less than 2 minutes rest. You will not be able to push as much for your next set, and you are more likely to injure your muscles by giving your muscles such short breaks

6) Breathe in and breath out – This is one of the basic rules of lifting, yet most people when lifting heavy forget how important breathing is. A lot of them end up holding their breath. You need to breathe in when you are lowering or bringing the weights to the rest position and breathe out when you are actually using the most amount of effort to lift or move the weights up. Breathing is important because breathing properly actually makes the difference between doing one more rep and not doing it. Since every rep counts, you better make every breath count as well

7) Warm up – oh yes… another important rule which is usually forgotten because there is not enough time or I don’t want to be caught lifting an empty bar. Warm ups are essential to reduce the risk of injury as well as increase the potential of your muscles during a heavy lift. Our muscles are like a car engine and just like a car engine performs at its peak once it is warmed up, the same works for our muscles as well.

As mentioned earlier, the principle for muscle growth is how much you can break it down and how much time you give it to recover from the breakdown. Since heavy lifting causes a lot of micro fissures and micro tears, it is essential for you to give your muscles enough time to recuperate before you break them down again. In essence, if your muscles still hurt when it is time to hit it again, it means that the muscles are still not ready for another breakdown. So you need to be vigilant of this and not push yourself more than necessary. This is why I recommend one week a part between the same muscle groups so that they have ample time to recover from the previous workout. Remember, your muscle actually grow while it’s at rest and not while it is working out. Resting is important for you to add muscle mass. No rest only equals small puny over trained / burnt out muscles which are at high risk of injury if not already injured.

Do squats
Many of the body builders I have met swear by it. If you don’t do squats, you can forget about getting really big. Yeah sure you will be a bit bigger than you were before… but if you want to unleash your full potential, you need to do squats.

Why? Because squats are one of those exercises that involves a lot of other muscles and more importantly, squats help to strengthen your core muscles. Strong core muscles are essential in ensuring that your other muscles can lift heavy. If you don’t have strong core muscles, all your other muscles will not be able to lift heavy as well. This is why doing squats helps you gain muscle mass for the other parts of your body as well and not just your legs. The stronger your core muscles, the stronger your other muscles will be. The stronger those muscles are, the heavier you can lift and as you know, the heavier you can lift, the more muscle mass you are going to gain. So if you are serious about gaining muscle mass, just do it. No excuses.

If you are beginner and lifting for the time, please do not do this routine. Reason is, it takes time for your muscles to adjust and be able to handle the weights and abuse of heavy training. You will need a good 3 months under your belt before you can attempt this routine and make it work. For the first 3 months, train all your muscles twice a week, but using much lighter weights and keeping the reps at 12 to 15 reps. This is important to season your muscle for the heavy training you will be exposing it to later. So train steadily for 3 months at least before attempting this.

If you have any questions, please let me know and most importantly, look out for Part 2 of this article in the next post.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yoga Ban - Part 2

With so much hype still on the recent fatwa on Yoga, i got this email from a friend which explores the lighter side of things. Sorry for the long absence in new posts. I will post another proper post before the end of this week.

But for now, i thought i would share this with you guys.

Believe it or not, latest research has revelaed that there are 2 basic types of Yoga

1) Yoga from India

2) Yoga from Australia
Look forward to hearing your comments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yoga Ban

I am sure just about everybody in Malaysia has heard of the recent fatwa on Yoga as this topic has been headlining the news papers for the past couple of days. To be honest, I wanted to avoid the whole political fiasco as this is a fitness blog. But since the lines between these 2 unrelated fields (well at least I thought it was unrelated until now) have been blurred, why not.

My sincere thoughts… I think this ruling is “riddiculous”, for lack of a better term to call this. Why?

1) Honestly… how many people have deviated from Islam because of practicing Yoga? If the person is going to deviate and / or convert, believe me yoga will not be their reason for doing so. So what’s the big fuss.
2) How are these people planning on enforcing this? Will there be a police man at every gym and yoga center? Tell me? Wouldn’t the time and resources of the police be better spent on the street stopping snatch thieves and murederers?
3) Granted, yoga does have some religious elements and roots to it, but in most parts, its meant to help improve health. There are different segments of Yoga and depending on which one you choose to do, you can choose the non spiritual ones which is purely for health and fitness. In fact I don’t think there is any gym which offers the spiritual segment of Yoga. You only get to learn about this from places such as Temple of Fine Arts and other similar religious organizations.
4) Where do we draw the line of this absurdity and bans? Will there be a fatwa on attending weddings in churches, temples etc? Maybe we should all just stick to our little religious colonies and not interact with any other races of religion. The govt talks of racial untiy… how does this even promote that? Isn’t it exactly contradictary? Maybe we should also ban any show that shows a church, a priest of another religion… because hey… who knows, I might get tempted to deviate watching how cool it is on TV.
5) On a philosophical note, religion is a personal thing between you and God. We don’t need police or enforcers playing demi gods or the level between man on God. The way I see it, the more you try to clamp down, the more people will try to rebel and deviate from it… hence making it counter productive as well.
6) I think we are all adults here and should be treated as one. We don’t need this riddiculous supervision as if we are babies who just can’t wait to raid the cookie jar.

By listing down my opinion and thoughts on this matter, please note that I am not in any way trying to put down Islam or Muslims. Please do not get me wrong. I just think this particular fatwa does not make sense and should be removed. In fact all my Muslim friends have also shared their disatisfaction with this fatwa and most of them call it ridicolous as well.

So there you have it… my thoughts on why this is ruling is absurd and should be abolished. Would love to hear thoughts and comments on this.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Slimming Centers - Are you being robbed?

Have any of you out there tried slimming centers? Well I guess this question is more for the ladies as most slimming centers don’t entertain men anyway. One of my colleagues just recently signed with one of the slimming centers in town, but I won’t mention who or which one. She paid RM 5K for 20 sessions…which will last you roughly about a month. RM 5K a month… that’s a lot of money if you ask me. Most people I know don’t even earn RM 5K a month and here is someone spending RM 5K a month on a slimming center.

Anyway, her spending habits are her own and none of my business. But here is the best part. The slimming center gave my colleague a list of things she must not do during this 20 session program. Are you ready for this?

No eating oily and fried foods (even the yellow mee in mamak mee is considered oily, so any kind of noodles is a no no)
No rice and other white starches like White bread etc.
Only 1 sweet drink a day. The rest of the time, drink only water
Meal portions should be: 60% vegetables, 30% lean protein and 10% Complex carbohydrates (or wholemeal)
Only 3 meals a day – No snacking or eating anything in between these 3 meals
Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day
No alcohol consumption

When she told me this, I could not help myself and burst out laughing. I told her she paid RM 5K for someone to tell her what she knows she should not be doing anyway. I mean honestly guys, all of us know what foods are good for us and what foods are bad for us right. The question of us succeeding and seeing results is only a matter of whether we have enough will power to see it through or not. The biggest reason people don’t see results in a diet is because they quit. But I will cover more of this in another post.

Here is another thing. If you did stick to the diet plan above for one whole month, whether you went for this so called slimming sessions or not, I guarantee you would have lost weight anyway. Here is an example to put things in persepctive and see how you are being robbed.

It’s like me selling you Vitamin C (but lying to you and telling you it is a NEW weight loss pill) and then tell you to follow the regiment above. To make it better, I will tell you that this NEW pill causes bad side effects if you eat any oily food with it. That is the scare factor that makes people want to follow it. On top of that, you just paid me RM 5K. Do you want to spend that much money, not see results and get sick after that? No way right? You do it for a month, take my Vitamin C everyday… and voila… you lose weight. You are motivated to stick with my program because of fear (of getting sick) and greed since you spent the money. You lose weight and feel happy, I feel happy coz I made some money. What was the secret? Of course I will tell you it’s the Vitamin C (ooops... i mean my NEW weight loss pill) and guess what… so will you.

This is exactly what these slimming centers are doing guys. Playing with your fears and desires to lose weight and robbing you of your money. I hope all of you have the sense to not be fooled like this. For me, the best and safest way to lose weight… watch what you eat and of course, exercise. There is no short cut to it. When I tell people that, they don’t like to hear it and think I am hiding something or not revealing the true secret… so as usual, I like to give the following analogy:

How did Student A do so well in SPM? What was his secret? He studied hard for it… duh!!

Look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts on this.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Trim Down Your Beer Belly Now

A friend of mine recently asked me – “Dude, how do I get rid of my beer belly? Is there something I can do to lose all this flab”

I simply answered, “Easy, just stop drinking.”

Of course this is not the answer that most people want to hear. They all want to know what they can do (without quitting drinking) that can help them burn the excess fat around their bellies. Well taking this as a challenge, I did some research, and here you have it. Your own fitness program to help you lose you beer belly without having to quit drinking. But before I continue, here are some important points to note to ensure there are no misconceptions on what this routine can and cannot do.

· Quitting drinking is still the best option and will give you better results than doing this routine and continuing to drink.
· This routine just helps you reduce the damage of the alcohol on your belly and is not a guaranteed way to get 6 pack abs

The facts:
Ok, before we get into what to do, let’s get down to some facts on alcohol beverages

Each beer you consume, on average contains between 120kCal’s to 150kCal’s depending on the brand
Each shot of liqour contains on average between 60kCal’s to 80kCal’s depending on what kind of liqour you consume. This does not include the mixersas this will add about 20kCal’s to 30kCal’s per shot, again depending on what kind of mixer you use.

Not too bad right? Well if you are only drinking 1 or 2 drinks, sure. But if you can guzzle down about 10 drinks a night you can see how this adds up. Repeat this about 3 times a week and you will really see things growing…literally. For those who are wondering how bad these calories are, maybe this will help to put things in perspective. An average male adult should consume about 2000kCal’s of nutrition a day. So if you guzzle down 10 beers at 150kCal’s, that’s a whopping 1,500kCal’s. That is 75% of your daily requirements. Which also means, if you consume 4 equal sized meals a day to give you 2000kCal’s, then you can only have one meal now or you will have more than your body can use which translates into “belly fat.” Still can’t see it? Here is another one. For every 3,500 additional calories you consume, you will gain 1 pound of body fat. So if you eat 2,500 calories a day and your body can only burn 2,000 a day, you will gain 1 pound of body fat within 7 days. Scary isn’t it.

Here is another fact about alcohol. While your body is breaking down this alcohol, your body is unable to metabolize fat. This means, anything you eat, will be stored away as fat first and only dealt with once your body has gotten rid of all the alcohol from your system. For most people, this takes about 24 hours to do. Of course there is no clear cut where this process begins and another one ends. But at the peak of the breakdown (maybe the first 2 hours after you stop drinking), almost anything you consume will be stored as fat first. As there is less and less alcohol in your body to break down, your body can slowly metabolize more and more fat, but it won’t be as efficient as it would be when it is not breaking down alcohol. For your fat metabolism to return to 100%, you will need to wait roughly 24 hours.

So now that you know the facts, here are some tips to help you reduce the damage of alcohol on your gut:

1. Before you drink, have a lighter dinner than your usual. A dinner which is lower in fat and higher in fiber will be best.
2. If you are drinking liqour, use water or diet soda to mix it. Done this way, liquor is actually safer of the gut compared to beer.
3. Once you finish drinking, do not whack a whole plate of maggi goreng. I know loads of people who have a heavy supper right after a heavy drinking session. If you are hungry, look for healthier foods which are not high in carbohydrates and fat. Best thing to eat would be high fiber crackers or unsweetened cereal. Avpid oily fried foods. You get the point, yucks healthy food. The point is to esnure whatever you eat does not have much chance of being stored away as fat.
4. Drink lots of water after your session. It is recommended that you drinkat least one glass of water for every 2 beers you have had. If you can drink more, it will be better. Why? Lots of water helps your body break down the alcohol faster (and return your fat mtabolism to normal) and prevent dehydration, which causes a bad hangover.
5. Plan your meals. If you know you are going to drink 10 beers, do the math and ensure you stick to your calorie intake for that day. Do not exceed it.
6. If you can’t plan your meals, you will need to work off the additional calories you have gained over the night with exercise. On average, a 30 minute walk burns about 200kCal’s. So if you have consumed 1000 extra calories from drinking, you will have to walk for about 2 and a half hours to burn it all off. If you drink once a week and consume 1000 extra calories, of course you can break down the 2 and a half hours into 5 half hour sessionss. So either exercise or plan your meals. The choice is yours or best, do both. If you drink 2 or 3 times a week, then you got to start doing the math and planning.
7. The next day, eat a healthy breakfast – again, avoid high carbohydrate and high fat food. Most of it will end up straight in your belly.

There you have it. Some tips to help you reduce your beer belly instantly. Give it a try and let me know if it works. Would love to hear from you and of course answer any dying questions you may have on this topic.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Burn Fat For FREE

Burn Fat for FREE is a concept i have been having in my head for a long time, but was looking for the right place to share it. It was too short to be an article in my magazine, so i think this blog is probably the best place for me to share this, so here you go.

What does Burn Fat for FREE mean? Basically, the concept of burn fat for FREE consist of 2 main areas:-

1) It should not cost you anything to do it (except some unwanted fat deposits)
2) As far as possible it should not take additional time out of your busy schedule to do.

If the routine meets both the criteria above, then it will be a burn fat for FREE routine.
Sound interesting? Of course it is. I want to share with all of you one simple routine that all of you can do right now, even if you are the busiest person in the world with no time to spare or if you don't have money to spend on a gym membership or both.

So here is how you can burn fat for FREE easily and the best part, you will lose weight without you even realizing you are doing it.

Take the stairs at work / apartment whenever you can. Most of us work in buildings which have elevators and i know we all love to take the elevator even if its just a mere 3 floors or worse, some even take it for 1 floor. Well time to change all that. Whenever you have to go up to your office, make sure you use the stairs. If you live in an apartment, ditch the lift and take the stairs as well. Of course the immediate question in all your minds is, what if i work on the 40th floor of a building... am i supposed to walk up all the way? Well if you could, that would be great... but of course i am not expecting you to do that. If you work on the 40th floor, take the lift to the 37th or 35th floor. Walk up from there to your floor. Even when you have to go down, walk down the stairs to the 35ht floor and then take the lift from there. Same goes for your apartment... take the lift to a few storeys below your actual floor and walk up from there.

I would highly recommend all of you to start off with at least 3 floors first and as you get better, keep increasing it by one or 2 floors at a time. If you can climb up 3 floors at least 4 to 5 times a day(meaning 4 times up and 4 times down), you are doing good. And to get these numbers are easy. When you are going to work, when you are going to lunch, when you are going out for a meeting or a cigarette break, when you are going back home... it all adds up.

Now the most important thing that you need to know / do for this to work is consistency and continuous improvements. If you can ensure you do it everyday and keep increasing whenever you can, i guarantee you will see your fat melt away.

How much does this cost you? Absolutely nothing. How much of your family time or work time is this taking away from you? Nothing.

I had another colleague who loved this concept so much, she began carrying her laptop with here wherever she went, and hers was one of those old bulky and heavy ones. Why? Because the laptop is heavy and the more weight you are carrying with you while you are walking or climbing the stairs, the more fat you are going to burn. In short, 5 minutes of walking without carrying anything burns less fat than 5 minutes of walking while carrying something. The more you carry, the more you are going to burn. Again, if you are planning on doing this, start with something light and keep increasing as your get better. I have seen enough people who dive into the deep end because they are excited only to ditch the whole program 2 weeks later because they couldn't take it. Slow and steady... that is the key.

Does this work? Absolutely. If you stick with this for at least 6 months everyday without fail, i guarantee you your weight will reduce, your heart will be stronger and your legs will be stronger. The important thing is, you have to stick with it and you have to keep improving. If you do it for 2 weeks and stop, then you probably won't see any results. Of course this is no match to joining a gym and doing a full work out, but i gurantee you visible results within 2 to 3 months if you stick with it, and keep improving.

All i can say is, try it and see. What have you got to lose besides a few inches in those unwanted areas. If you guys have other routines that fit the burn fat for FREE concept (now that i have got you inspired and thinking), please do share as i would love to hear from you guys.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Welcome to Fitness Malaysia's Blog

Welcome to Fitness Malaysia's blog... your portal on health and fitness the Malaysian way.
For those who are new to Fitness Malaysia or have not heard of us, let me take a quick moment to introduce ourselves to you. Fitness Malaysia is Malaysia's 1st unisex fitness magazine which features fitness advice the Malaysian way. All our content is written by us and not borrowed from our overseas counterparts. Also, our fitness advice is targetted at normal people who have regular jobs and family commitments, hence having limited time to spend on fitness. Because you are working, there is a high probability of you eating out all the time... and now you can learn how to stay fit even if you have to eat out all the time. If you are looking for FREE fitness advice that is realistic and yet gets you results, then you need to read our magazine. We are probably one of the few magazines who don't condemn you for your bad habits, but instead we give you advice on how you can work around it and still get the results you crave. That's the difference between us and the other "do no evil at all" magazines. For more information on our magazine and to read it, please log on to www.fitnessmalaysia.com.my.

On top of the magazine, this blog will feature additional things which we can't do with just the magazine. This includes:

Virtual Trainer (launching soon) - why pay for personal training when you can log on here, and get virtual training for free. With the virtual trainer, we will post up the exercise routine, diet plan and best of all, you can write in and ask any questions you want... its all FREE.

Invitations to fitness events, launch parties etc.

FREE stuff and discounts - we are already in the midst of working together with gyms, supplement distributors, hotels, SPAs and restaurants and from time to time, we will inform you of special discounts or freebies that you can get. So do check this blog often as these freebies and discounts will only be available here.

If you have comments on how to make this blog more interesting or if there is something specific that you would like to know, please let me know and I will do my best to meet your request.

If not look out for our next post soon.

PS: To FFS regulars who stumble upon this blog... please feel free to leave your comments even if this may not be your cup of tea. Will do my best to mix the content up and ensure it stays interesting for all.