Thursday, August 27, 2009

Poll Results

Alright… I know this has been long delayed, so lets review the survey results of our recent survey. Sorry for the late posting. Just got back from Chiang Mai, Thailand yesterday. Will post some pics about that trip in my next posting.

Anyway, back to business. In this survey, I asked if people would be bothered if they knew their Personal Trainer was a smoker and the results are as expected.

More than half of respondents said - Yes. They would be bothered with this fact. Interestingly, I interviewed about 20 full time Personal Trainers and almost half of them are smokers while some others said they were casual smokers and only smoked when they went out clubbing with friends. Interesting stats… it seems to match with the demographics of their clients. I asked these trainers if any of them have been turned down by customers because of their smoking habit. Some said they tried their best to hide their smoking habit from their clients, while others said they couldn’t care. For them, they said there are lots of customers out there and there is bound to be mismatches – so if they don’t want me to be their personal trainer, there are loads of others out there who wouldn’t mind.

29% of the respondents said, they don’t mind they trainer being a smoker as long as they knew their stuff and was able to impart that knowledge to them. I am guessing the logic behind this is who cares what the trainer does to themselves, I am paying them for their knowledge and nothing else.

I also asked if its OK as long as their trainers looked fit and 6% said that is more important to them than anything else. This was kind of a trick question / answer. When Brad Pitt was bulking up for his role as Achilles for the movie Troy, he was still smoking as usual. Did he look fit? Absolutely. Would you have wanted him to be your Personal Trainer. I am sure all the women are wishing they could change their answer now.

And finally, 12% of respondents said the didn’t care at all. For them, personal training is just a job like everything else. Just like you have doctors who smoke and people working in McDonalds who eat in KFC, there is nothing wrong with that. I actually put in my answer as this, as I feel what a PT does outside his/her job is their own business. But at the same time, I do understand if some clients feel uncomfortable with this… so it is a matter of personal preference.

So what was your asnwer and your reasons for choosing the answer. Do share and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New addition to the family

I wanted to write on the results of our survey, but then I finally got my car yesterday evening…which I have been waiting for for the longest time, so I thought… why not. So this week, I decided let’s break away from all the fitness talk, and let’s just talk about cars.

For those who are unfamiliar with what this car is, it is a Mazda 6 2.0. To be honest, this is the first time I am buying a car that I truly wanted and not just buying it coz that’s all I can afford… so I hope you guys can bear with the excitement.

I got loads of questions asked about this car, so I thought I would paste them here to tell you a little about the car and why I chose it among all the other cars out there.

Why didn’t you go for the 2.5 model?
Firstly, 2.5 model is a little over my budget. Not to mention it comes with 18 inch wheels (expensive to replace), and a lot of eletronic gadgets which I honestly don’t care about. Like auto wipers, auto headlights, push button seat adjuestment. Also, I think too many eletronic gadgets also mean, more things to go wrong in the car. The only 3 features I wish my car had which is available on the 2.5 and not on mine is… the bigger engine (more power), Sun roof and HID headlights. Besides that, I thought the rest of the features were just gimmicks.

Why didn’t buy Honda Civic or something… cheaper and more features.
1) Personally, I think this car looks better than the Civic – no offense to Civic owners
2) Yes its expensive, but it’s a CBU… mean it comes fully assembled from Japan.
3) It's rare…. Have you noticed how hard it is to find a Mazda 6 on the road? That alone was the main selling point to me. Not much of a "crowd follower" I guess.

How does the car feel?
It’s big… so I am still getting used to it. And also, don’t want to really push the car till I go for my 1000KM service. But it feels like it has enough power… so I am not complaining. Plus, it has trip-tronic auto gear, so when you really need to rev, you have that option… but using the trip-tronic takes some getting used to.

Let me know what you guys think. I am just truly excited with this car as it really makes driving a joy.

PS: I know the pictures aren’t very clear, but it was taken last night and it was raining… so hence a bit blury. Once I get more pics I will post it up for all of you. Or you can come to meet me and see it for yourself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beer Drinking Experience

This week, I decided to take a break from the challenge of eating healthily anywhere as I wanted to share some findings with all of you. We will continue the challenge once again next week. Also, this break will ensure that everybody doesn’t get too bored with reading the same thing again and again.

Anyway, I went for a party last weekend, and drank a total of 6 beers. Ok I know that is a small amount by some people’e standard, but since I rarely drink these days, believe me, 6 beers was enough to tip me over. Now if you are wondering why I am posting this in my blog, I believe I have found the reason for why alcohol makes you put on weight. What’s better, now that I know the reasons, I believe I am quite close to finding a definite cure for the beer belly…. Meaning how to drink beer and avoid that beer belly. That will be in another post. But for this post, I just want to share with everyone, the reason why drinking alcohol makes you put on weight.

By the end of the night, after I had consumed my 6 beers, I was extremely hungry. I honeslty felt like I hadn’t eaten all day. So what did I do…. You guessed it, I visited a Mamak nearby to fill this hunger which felt like it was burning a hole in my stomach. I also noticed that at that point, I had this bad craving for Roti Canai or other simple starches. So instead of eating 2 Roti Canai’s I decided to make it into a Roti Telur and had plain ice water.

The next morning when I woke up, yet again I felt extremely hungry. Of course this was partly due to the fact that my stomach was emptying itself at a rapid rate the next morning… also better known as the “beer shits” to some. Usually, when I don’t drink, I don’t really feel hungry in the morning. I just force myself to eat a slice of toast. But this time… it felt like the night before… like I had been fasting for a whole 24 hours. Again, there was this craving for simple carbohydrates. I ate 2 slices of toast (whole meal bread) and an hour later, I was hungry again. Since I only woke up at 10am, I decided to have an early lunch and see how things proceed.

So I ate my lunch (I think it was Wantan mee) and I ate the usual portion I would normaly eat. 2 hours after lunch, I felt hungry again. OK I think you can see where this is going. I literally felt hungry all day. I couldn’t believe how quickly my stomach kept begging me for more food. It was riddiculous.

So based on this observation, I figured out 2 things:-

1) Yes, alcohol itself has high calorie content. So if you are going to drink, you need to cut out that additional calories somewhere else. If you drink once a week, you need to find out how much you drink on average, and start minusing out those calories through out the week by eating smaller meals and so on. So when you do drink, you have created enough deficit, where the total for the whole week is still the same.
2) These hunger pangs are probably the main culprit for you putting on weight. I drank on a Friday night and I think the on Saturday (recovery day) I ended up eating almost twice as much as my usual. That’s quite a bit.

I checked with some friends who drink all the time and still stay thin and here is what they said. Most of them don’t feel hungry the next day. Which means, whenever they drink, they actually lose their appetite the next day and it slowly comes back to normal the day after that. On top of that, most of these guys are very active. They play lots of football (maybe 3 times a week) so there are additional calories burnt there as well. So when you combine these 2 factors, it all balances out which results in no weight gained.

I got the active part covered, now it just comes down to the eating. Maybe I need to feed my hunger with high fiber foods which take longer to break down, and also less fattening and this should equate the entire formula. I am still doing a little bit more research on how alcohol consumption affects muscle tissue (since I train for muscle mass)… so once I have that sorted out, I might actually try it out on myself and see what happens. Maybe drink every weekend for 2 months while cutting down on food and see if I do gain any weight. If I don’t I would have successfully discovered the formula on How to drink beer and not have a beer belly.

As usual, look forward to hearing your comments on this issue.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You can eat healthily anywhere - McDonalds

Following my previous post and continuing with the challenge that you can eat healthily anywhere, for this post, I decided to cover McDonalds.

Who doesn’t love McDonalds and even their tagline says “I’m Lovin’ it”.

Again, my usual disclaimer before I proceed with showing you how to eat healthily there.

“If you only eat in this place once in awhile, then I say go ahead and enjoy. But if your visit this place regularly, then you might want to follow these tips carefully to ensure your gym workouts don’t go to complete waste.”

OK… so how do you eat healthily in McDonalds? Simple. Follow the tips below and you will be surprised at just how healthily you can eat.

1) Change your drink to Coke Light. This will instantly shave off a good 200 plus calories from your meal. Avoid the Milo and Ribena at all cost if possible. I can’t tell the difference between Coke Light and normal Coke, but I know some die hard Coke fans call Coke Light an insult to the Coke brand.
2) Stay away from the fries – Fries is a whopping 300 to 400 calories and poor fill up factor. Fill up factor is how full you feel after eating a certain food. So if you had to choose 2 different kinds of food which both have 400 calories, you want to choose something that is more filling – ie higher fill up factor.
3) If you are hungry, instead of whacking fries to fill yourself up, it is better to eat a burger (or maybe half). Burgers in McDonalds is around 400 to 500 calories (almost the same as fries, but higher fill up factor). Being a glutton myself, I usually eat 2 burgers at McDonalds, as 1 burger just ain’t enough. But since I rarely eat McDonalds, I guess its OK to enjoy properly every once in a while
4) I have friends who will buy 2 Fillet-O-Fish burgers, throw away the buns for one of the burger, and the other burger becomes a double patty burger. Good protein, less carbs. Good technique, I tried it once, and didn’t quite like it. But if you are one who lifts heavy and going for size, this is a good way to get in your protein intake at McDonalds, while reducing the carbohydrate content.
5) Generally, the food in McDonalds isn’t all that bad as people say. What makes it bad are the Fries, drinks (Ribena, Milo & Coke) and the portions are small, which causes us to overeat. So be weary of this and order wisely. If you can slip in a healthy snack before you hit McD’s, you will be partially full and less likely to indulge full on. This way, just one burger might be enough and you won’t have to whack your fries or chow down that second burger.

How often should you eat McDonalds where you can just eat and enjoy? Well it really depends on your total activity per day (exercise and any other activity like walking etc) as well as your age and body make up. If you workout regularly, then its ok to indulge in this every week and not see any difference to your waistline. If you are just a couch potato who drives to work, sits on the office chair for 8 hours, drives home and sits on the couch to watch TV, then once a week will make your waistline grow. Of course we also have some people who may be couch potatoes but have high metabolic rate, so even eating it everyday won’t make a difference.

My advice – Eat whenever you want to and try to be healthy like mentioned above. If you feel your waistline growing, then you know you need to cut down somewhere or do more exercise. It all comes down to balancing everything. A good benchemark to start with is once a week. If you feel once a week doesn’t make a difference, then maybe you want to try twice a week and see what happens.

So now you can eat healthily even in McDonalds. Of course its not the healthiest choice for eating, even when you eat carefully like suggested above, but its still better than just eating eating away without knowing some tricks and facts. Also, we all need to enjoy every once in awhile… so enjoy and as usual, I look forward to your comments.