Monday, April 27, 2009

Eat fat and lose weight.

What would you say if I told you that there was a diet plan out there that said you can eat fried chicken, bacon, eggs, butter and Mozerella cheese and still lose weight? You would probably think I am pulling your leg right? But jokes aside, there really is such a diet out there. It’s called the Atkins Diet and it was created by Dr. Robert Atkins in 1972. This diet basically spawned the sudden craze of High Protein, Low Carb craze which all of us hear about on a daily basis.

The Atkins Diet is a system that enables our body to lose weight in a natural way by motivating a change in our eating habits and metabolism. Dr. Atkins theory was that most people are fat today because of refined carbohydrates and he wanted a diet plan that was palatable yet effective. So instead of trying to lose weight by swallowing food that tastes like cardboard soaked in water, people could lose weight by eating high amounts of protein and fat, but limiting the intake of carbohydrates, sugars and fruits and vegetables. It is recommended that you limit your carbohydrates / sugars to 20 grams a day, and 15 grams of that should be made up of vegetables and other high fiber food products.

An example of what an Atkins Dieters menu for the day might look like is:-

Breakfast: 3 eggs omelets with ham, mozzarella cheese and tomato, decaffeinated coffee with cream.
Lunch: Beef round steak (8 oz), spinach and mixed leaf salad with mushroom, onion
Dinner: Bacon sandwich on wholemeal bread with butter and cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes etc

As with any diet plan, there is a host of Pro’s and Cons. Here are some of the Pro’s of this diet?

Atkins Diet allows the people to eat variety of meat, fish and vegetables
Hunger is the major reason for the failure of most weight loss plans and programs because of the limitation of foods, but with the Atkins Diet, you will have a huge variety of foods and never have to go hungry. Not to mention, its much more tasty than most other diet plans out there.

Atkins Diet mobilizes more fat to use as energy
This diet mobilizes more fat to use as energy than any diet you have ever come across. Therefore, you have not to count calories every time whenever and whatever you eat.

Atkins Diet encourages the lipolysis process
Carbohydrate, in the form of glucose, is used to burn as the first fuel to provide energy to the body. Atkins suggests that by reducing our intake of carbohydrates drastically, our body will use fat as its first fuel because it lacks carbohydrates which can be turned into sugar. This process is known as lipolysis. The supposed result: weight loss.

The Con’s

It’s Expensive
Sticking to a diet high in protein is expensive especially when you eat out. Not to mention, Malaysian’s love Carbohydrates and everything that is nice has carbohydrates in them. From Roti Canai to Maggi Goreng to Nasi Briyani…. Carbohyrates are cheaper and trying to eat equal amounts of protein will burn a hole in your pocket.

Health risks
Many medical profeesionals say that the Atkins diet can lead to loads of health problems such as kidney failure, bone and liver abnormalities and hasten the onset of Type II diabetes.

No Sustainability
Critics say that the Atkins diet gives remarkable results in the beginning but does not show any results with continued results for those who stay on it for long periods. Hence you only see some difference in the beginning

So what’s Fitness Malaysia’s take on this? To do or not to do. I recommend for those who want to try this diet to read and learn more about this diet first. What I have posted is just a tip of the iceberg in terms of information about this diet plan. I also recommend that it is OK for you to do this diet, but I recommend that you do it in 2 week phases and no more than that. This means 2 weeks of the Atkins Diet, and maybe 1 month of your normal diet and then back again to the 2 weeks. Of course, it goes without saying that in order for you to see more results, exercise and doing this diet will increase the efficiency of your weight loss.

So check it out and as usual, I look forward to hearing your comments.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gym Etiquette

For this week, i decided that instead of me writing all the time, i got one of my friends Azmy (who is also been a big fan and supporter of Fitness Malaysia and our initiatives) to write a post for Fitness Malaysia. Thought i would take a little break. If you are wondering who he is, well here is a brief intro.

Azmy Mohamed is a certified trainer by the National Fitness Council of Malaysia and also holds a Core Certification by FISAF, & currently a Graduate Certificate holder in Exercise Science.He is a freelance instructor at various fitness centres all over Klang Valley. Apart from that, he is also a part-time Personal Trainer.

A Kuala Lumpur native & previously obese, Azmy is aspiring on becoming a Weight-Loss Specialist in the near future. His all-time mission & vision is to make Malaysia an obese-free nation, or at the very least, close to it.'

So guys, hope you enjoy Azmy's post and of course... keep your comments coming in as usual.


For those who frequent the gym all the time, or even those who step into the gym once in awhile, you should be aware that every type of gym/club has unwritten rules on etiquette. These rules include how you should behave and interact with others in the gym. Call it a kind of culture if you will, but those who are new to the gym, should be aware of this culture and adapt to it, or end up looking like a “foreigner” in a matter of speaking.

What exactly are the rules that make up this culture? Let me lay out some tips on how to act more responsibly and more respectably in the gym so you get accepted faster:

1) If someone else is using the machine that you want (esp. in peak hours), do suggest whether you can alternate with him/her. There’s nothing wrong here, it’s perfectly fine. Who knows, he/she might be receptive to your idea. And please bear in mind that nobody, & I do mean nobody, has the right to ‘own’ that a particular machine for an hour or so.

But again, it’s kinda awkward if you have to readjust the machine settings most of the time if you do that. In so, another better alternative would be to skip to another machine until the person is done.

2) as vice versa, if someone is already standing behind you and waiting for that machine that you are using on, You may also suggest that person to work with you. Again, it’s totally fine & nothing wrong here. OR, if you are the shy type, a better (& perhaps more polite) way is to let the person know when you’ll be done. Give him/her a hint like: ‘I have 2 more mins on this treadmill. Then it’s yours.’

3) Please do yourself a huge favor. At any point of time, in case you need help in machine adjustment, or on how to use a machine for that matter, do seek help from a personal trainer or any gym staff. All you have to do is to ask nicely.

4) If you want to learn an exercise from someone (that is, a fellow gym member), please find an appropriate time to ask. The best time is when that person is taking a break in between sets. In most cases, people are more than happy to help. Not only that, some might even feel flattered about it..

5) Bear in mind that safety comes first. If at any point of time, you are facing difficulty in completing a certain exercise, DO ask someone to support you. This is called a ‘spotter’.

6) If somebody or someone across the floor is ‘hitting’ on you & the chemistry is not there, then you have every right to tell them politely to bugger off. Of course this applies more for the ladies than the guys. But guys, if you are the one hitting on someone and have proven track record, please let me know… J

Happy workout, everybody!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

How fit are you?

Have you ever wondered how fit you are? Or have you ever wondered what the average fitness level of everyone should be? Of course the fitness level for each of us will be different depending on how regularly and how intensely we exercise. However, even if you don’t exercise at all, it is recommended that you meet this minimum fitness level. Being at this minimum fitness level ensures that you you are decently fit and that you are in the relatively safe zone for chronic illnesses caused by obesity. I am not saying that if you meet this level you will not get ill and that you will live forever. However, you might want to check your own fitness level and see if you meet it. If you are below this fitness level, it just means that you are at a much higher risk for chronic illnesses caused by obesity (such as heart disease) than those who are are in the zone. Being below also means that in terms of strength and fitness, you are below the minimum line… so maybe you may want to do something to ensure that you meet at least the minimum.

How do you find out how fit you are?

Simple. Here is a simple test which will take less than 5 minutes to do and at the end of it, you will know how fit / strong you are. Match your results against the table below and voila… you will know your fitness level.

Knee Push Ups – As an adult, you should be able to do a minimum of 5 knee push ups. How are knee push ups different from normal pushups? Instead of resting the weight on your toes, it will be resting on your knees as shown.

Chin Ups – You should be able to do at least 1 chin up as shown below.

Squats – Without weights, do the squats as shown in the picture. You should be able to perform at least 10 reps. Do it slowly without any jerking.

Sit ups – Get into the position as shown. You might want to put a towel or pillow for the lower part of your spine to protect it against the hard floor. You should be able to do at least 10 sit ups.

Running – Try this in your office or home. Best if the stairs are 2 storeys high and continuous. You should be able to run up at least 2 storeys of stairs without stopping. When I say run, I mean sprint up the steps. If you have to stop in between to catch a breath, it means bad news.

So take some time to try this out at home and see how fit you are. If you can perform all of the above or more, then bravo… you are in pretty good shape. If you can’t, then maybe you need to consider doing some amount of working out to bring up your fitness level.

Let me know and I look forward to hearing your comments.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rice... one bowl or two

I met some friends the other day and the topic of weight loss came up. As usual, everyone brought up their favourite “kalau tak makan nasi, pasti boleh kurus”. Then another friend echoed saying “Actually, I dengar kalau you makan nasi once a day, OK, tak gemuk”. Then echoed another friend “Ah Ah… betul lah, I pun dengar cerita sama”.

OK, if you are wondering why I am writing the dialogues in Malay, is because it is as it happened… and not for any other reasons.

Now back to the topic… is it true? If I cut down my rice to once a day, will I see weight loss?

The answer – It all depends on the amount of physical activity you do in a day. If you just sit in your office chair all day and then sit in you car for the traffic jam, and then in front of the TV… then even eating rice once a day might be overkill for your waistline. But if you work as a construction worker… heck, you could eat rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper and yet your body would be as lean as Bruce Lee. Why? Because of the amount of activity you do.

There are thousands of other weight loss myths just circulating out there and the thing that they all have in common… is that it is a perceived easy way out to weight loss.

Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble… but there is no shortcut to losing weight and keeping fit. Workout more and eat less… you do these and you will definitely lose weight.

Are there any other weight loss myths you guys have heard? Would love to hear them if you have any.

PS: If you want to know more weight loss myths and whether they work or not, do check out “Good Living” magazine which is out in news stands now. I wrote an article for them with regards to weight loss myths. If you see the magazine, please do pick up a copy and have a read.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Devil’s Workout – Burn Fat in Hell.

I was just checking You-Tube the other day and stumbled upon this workout video. You have to admit, the title of it is extremely catchy and makes you want to try out the workout. The first time I heard it, I wish I had come out with a cool sounding name like that for some of my workout programs.

The best part about this workout. You can do it home. You only need some minimal equipment to do it. Secondly, it’s a fast way to burn fat and workout your entire body all at once. So it incorporates strength and cardio all in one... which more and more researchers are finding is the most effective way to burn fat and keep it off.

I tried it out myself, and honestly, it is a little bit challenging and for those who have never worked out, you might want to to try it at a lower intensity till you build up enough strength for it. Or a series of other exercises (focusing on a single muscle at a time) to build the strength you need to perform the exercises properly. For more seasoned workout-a-holics, you can jump straight into it immediately and I promise you it is a challenging workout to do.

Just click the link below to watch a video and of course, leave your comments on what you think.

or if the you-tube link doesn't workout, try this link.