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.