Monday, December 27, 2010

Tips to Stay Fit and Healthy during the Holidays

Firstly, before i forget, let me take this opportunity to wish everyone Happy New Year. This is the last post for 2010 and you can look forward to many more posts in 2011. What a year its been and it sure did zoom past at light speed.

With December being a festive month, where lots of people are on leave and traveling, the urge to eat more than our usual is always there. Almost everyday i meet someone who tells me how they have put on weight this month, or how its impossible to watch your figure in December. Well i admit that it is harder than other times, but definitely not impossible. So i decided to do a post on tips for staying healthy during the holidays.

1) Plan your meals
If you are going for that big dinner party tonight, then maybe you want to have smaller meals through out the day to save the additional calories for your big dinner party. The problem is, many people continue eating like normal and then pig in even more during the party. So if you are going for a dinner party and planning to go all out, reduce your intake for the rest of the day. This way you can enjoy your dinner party without guilt. So start planning your meals and you should do just fine.

2) Do some extra exercise
Now i am not sure how full your social calendar is going to look like, but if you can, try to fit in some time for a jog or walk in addition to your usual workout routine. If you could throw in an additional 20 minute jog every other day, it will go a long way in preventing your festive luncheons and dinners from going straight to your waist. So if you are going to eat more than usual, make sure you balance it off with some exercise. If you are traveling, make sure you bring along your running shoes. This way there is no excuse of why you can't squeeze in a quick 20 minute run somewhere.

3) Alcohol Consumption
OK, i am not going to say NO alcohol at all during the holidays, as i know sometimes we just want to relax and unwind. PLUS, when its festive season, its that much harder to say no. If you are consuming alcohol, do your best NOT to have a huge feast after your drinks at the end of the night. Also, your 20 minute jog the next day after your drinking session becomes extremely crucial. So once your hangover dies down, make sure you do some exercise. While our body is breaking down alcohol (which is toxic to our body), our fat burning system is turned down low. Which is why you want to avoid that post drinking feast. This is one of the main contributing factors to why people put on weight when they drink. One way to reboot our fat burning system is to exercise. So if possible, do some exercise the next day. It does not have to be as intense as your other days, but some exercise is way better than none.

4) Eat slowly
Whenever we eat a meal, it takes time for our brain to register that we are full and signal us to stop eating. So if you eat extremely fast, there is a high chance you are going to overshoot that stop signal, overeat and feel over-stuffed. So slow down your eating and ENJOY your food. After all, what's the hurry. This way you get to prevent yourself from overeating and passing your "stop when full" point and you will stop just at the right spot.

5) Reduce sweet drinks if possible
Sweet drinks are really just empty calories. they do very little to fill you up but it adds massive damage to your calorie intake. I know we all crave to have a sweet drink here and there, but be mindful of it and don't go overboard. For me personally, i would prefer to save those calories for food rather than sweet drinks. So yeah, have your sweet drinks if you must, but keep an eye on it. There is nothing worse than sipping sweet drinks and cola all night only to realize you consumed a good 1 liter of it through out the entire night.

There you go... some simple tips to help you stay fit during the festive holiday season. All these tips are so easy to do, so i really hope you guys try them out. As you would have noticed, these tips are not about don't eat this and don't drink that. You are allowed to enjoy yourself, but you just have to be a little more mindful of things if you are concerned about your waistline. At the end of the day, i personally believe that moderation is key. As long as you remember this rule and follow it, you will do just fine during the holidays.

Do you guys have any other tips to share on how to stay fit during the holidays? If you do, please do share. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is running outdoors dangerous?

I recently gave a fitness talk and was asked many interesting questions. From what kinds of food we should eat pre & post workout to how to gain muscle mass. I rarely get asked about muscle gain during my talks, so it was refreshing that there were so many questions on it. Many also asked how they should exercise to see optimum weight loss. It really was an exciting and very interactive talk. One question which caught my attention the most was if running was bad for you? So i explained that its not, as long as you do it properly. So i wanted to cover this topic in this weeks post.

As many of you know, i am not too fond of running... but recently, i have kinda developed a small addiction for it. I think i just like challenging myself with something that i am not good at. and i am making great progress, which makes me want to do it anymore. I am actually looking at joining a 10km race sometime next year... maybe mid next year. Anyone care to join me?

Many people out there believe that running outdoors is extremely bad for your knees and that using a treadmill is safer. Well it is probably less risky than running outside, but running outside is far more superior in terms of building your cardiovascular endurance and burning calories. Why? Because when running on a treadmill, all you are doing is replacing your steps, while running outside requires you to actually pull your body weight through the distance. in short, running on a treadmill is like running on the spot. Secondly, the uneven terrain and speed makes it more challenging than a treadmill. For these reasons, it is far more difficult to run outdoors than it is to run on a treadmill. If you can run on a treadmill for 20 minutes non stop, it does not mean you can run run outdoors for 20 minutes non-stop as well.So is it recommended that we run on treadmills instead of running outdoors? Lets look back at history to our ancestors. Before there were cars, and horse carriages, mankind depended on their legs to get around everywhere. Because of this, people developed strong legs to carry out these duties. Today, in our sedentary lifestyle, we don't need to do such physical demanding tasks anymore, so in other words, our muscles and bones are kinda "pampered". Just because it is pampered does not mean that you shouldn't work at improving it. Law of use and disuse - If you don't use it, you will lose it. What i am trying to say is, we are NOT incapable of running outside. We just need to start developing this slowly.

Here are some tips to running outside without injury

Get a good pair of shoes - I can't emphasize this enough. If you like running outside, invest in a good pair of shoes. So far the best running shoes i have used are New Balance shoes. For about RM 300 to RM 500 you can get a decent pair which will take you far. A good pair of shoes is not necessarily the one with the most amount of padding and cushioning. Too much padding and cushioning can cause foot muscles to atrophy while shortening and stiffening our foot’s tendons. This over cushioning and pampering of our foot can lead to more injury.

Correct technique - Avoiding injury in any sports comes down to technique. If you run using the right technique, there is no reason why you should injure your knees or any other part of your body. There are various techniques to running safely which you can google easily. Try googling Pose running technique. If you can watch some You Tube videos on this, it will provide an excellent tutorial to you on the proper techniques of running. I will cover more tips on proper running techniques in one of my upcoming posts. Its too long to post here.

Do "them Squats"
- Like mentioned earlier, because of our sedentary lifestyle, many of us probably have underdeveloped leg muscles which need to be strengthened before you can run a decent distance. So start doing those squats and other leg exercises and start strengthening your leg muscles, core and back. It will go a long way in protecting yourself from running related injuries

Stretching before and after your run - Stretching before your run and after your run is essential in preventing injuries. So take about 2 or 3 minutes to stretch out your muscles before you head out for your run and another 2 or 3 minutes after your run. I personally find that this also helps with the post workout pains. I usually take a slow walk for about 1km after my run to cool down and then stretch for about 2 to 3 minutes. To warm up, i walk for about 2 minutes and then start my jogging.

Start slow and progress at your own pace - I cannot emphasize this enough. I have seen too many people who get excited and force themselves to run 5km on their first run... then get injured and give up running altogether. Start slow and make it a point to progress, at your own pace. Just because someone you know could progress 1 km a week, does not mean you have to keep up with them. Progress at your own pace and based on the goals you have set for yourself. Everyone is different, so your development needs will be different too.

Running on grass vs concrete - Running on concrete / road will have more impact on your joints compared to running on grass. If you are really worried about injuring your knees, i highly recommend starting on a grass field first. Then as you gain confidence and perfect your running technique, you can attempt running on the road. Again, running on a grass field is still far more superior than the treadmill.

So there you have it. Some simple tips to help you prevent injury when you run outside. For me, running outside is not dangerous. It only becomes dangerous when done wrongly, and done without the right precautions. Just like driving. It can be dangerous if not done properly, but that does not mean we should avoid driving because of the potential risk. With the right precautions, you can avoid injury.

If you follow the simple tips above, running outdoors does not have to be dangerous or harmful to you. Running on a treadmill may be safer, but can be dangerous if done wrongly as well. So go ahead. Try these tips and enjoy you runs outside. Running outside does not have to be dangerous. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How Many Calories Should Each of My Meals Be?

I was recently asked this very interesting question from a friend of mine and i decided that this will make an excellent blog post. he asked me how many calories should each meal have? Meaning would a 600 calorie meal be considered too much or is it OK?

Well i thought about his question for awhile and then i told him, well that truly depends on a lot of things and its hard for me to just say if that is too much or not.

Firstly, it would depend on what your goals are. If you are looking to gain weight, then your calorie per meal would be different than that of someone who is trying to lose weight. Secondly, it would depend on how much activity are doing for that day. If all you are doing is sitting at home and watching the CSI marathon, then you are not going to need much. Thirdly, it would depend on what you are going to be doing for the next 3 - 4 hours after your meal. if you are just going to watch TV, then you won't need as much as someone who is heading to the gym or going for a jog. It would also matter how many meals per day you are eating.

With a puzzled look, he asked me. OK, lets just say i am an average Joe who just wants to lose weight and eats about 3 meals a day. Then how many calories should i be looking at for each meal. He says he always goes to a restaurant and is not too sure how much to eat because he just doesn't know how many calories he should be eating for each meal.

Well again it would really depend on how many calories you need to eat in a day (based on your body and activity level) and you need to eat less than that to see weight loss. So for example, if your Daily Calorie Requirement is 1,500kCals a day and you eat 3 meals a day, then roughly, each meal should be around 500kCals. To find out how many calories you need in a day, you can check out one of my previous posts by clicking here. Now to lose weight, you want to eat less than 1,500kCals a day. So in this case, lets say you want to reduce it to 1,200kCals per day... this would mean that each meal should be roughly around 400kCals.

So i told him though it is OK, to follow this rough calculation of just dividing, its still better to eat as per your activity level. So i offered him some tips as below which help to make his calorie decision for weight loss more effective:-

1) Eat lower calorie meals when you know you are going to be inactive after the meal. Like dinner. You don't need to as much calories for dinner as you would for other meals.

2) Eat higher calorie meals before or after a workout or when you are going to do intense activity. So if you are going to laze around, eat less calories. If you are going to spend those calories soon, you can eat more

3) If one meal is higher than what you should be eating, make sure you adjust it for the next meal. Let's say you are aiming for an average of 400 calories per meal and end up eating a 600 calorie meal. Then be sure to subtract 200 calories from another meal to ensure you don't go above your target.

4) If your target us weight loss, then its always better to eat less than more. Meaning if you are deciding between foods and trying to justify that the higher calorie food is still OK, but you are not too sure, then go for the choice which has less calories.

5) It is also important to consider what i like to call the fill up factor of the food. A bag of Twisties has about 500 calories but does little to fill you up. A Fillet-O-Fish in McDs will be about 450 calories. Eating 5 apples will be around 250 calories. Which one is more satisfying to your hunger?So how many calories should each meal have? Well firstly you need to calculate how many calories you need in a day and then start doing the math. Its OK to just divide evenly and have each meal have the same number of calories but its far more effective to eat according to the tips i presented. If your goal is weight loss, then following the tips above will make a huge difference in the results you. From there you will be able to make a better decision on how much each of your meals should be. Try it out and see. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weight Room Ethics

One of the main reasons why i get up so early in the morning to go to the gym, is because the weight room is not over crowded at 6:30am. There are usually only 3 or 4 people in the weight room at this time, and that's how i like it. This way, i get to go in, do my work out quickly with minimal interference and be out of there. Secondly, i realized that here in Malaysia, a lot of people are unfamiliar with what i like to call weight room ethics. These are just simple unwritten rules that everyone should know when stepping into a weight room. Now i know these are unwritten rules and not legally binding. But at the same time, i think following these rules (if you want to call it that) is just plain courtesy to the others. But sadly not many people are aware of this and don't follow it and it really irks me sometimes. So here are some of the things that should be followed when you are in a weight room.

1) Re-Racking your weights
If you are done with the weights you are using, please put them back. The reason for this is, 1) it keeps the weight room looking neat and not to mention safer so no one trips on your dumbbell 2) it lets people know that you are done with it. Just this morning i saw a guy jump from the decline bench press, to the incline bench press and then the bench press. As he went a long, he just left the weights there and moved on. Come on buddy... you can recycle the weights. Meaning that you can transfer the weights you were using on your decline for your incline and so on. This is one method of clearing of the weights while re-racking your new bench. It takes the same amount of effort and time as pulling new weights from weight rack. So please... the next time you are done with something, put it back. I have seen incidences where i walk into the weight room at 6:30 am (i am the first use of the weight room for that day) and i see all the dumbbells scattered all over the floor and all over the weight room. It makes it difficult to walk around and a chore to find the dumbbell you are looking for. Situations like these should not be happening

2) Sharing your bench
Now it is OK to share your bench with someone else between sets. After all, you are not doing 3 sets of bench press back to back without any rest. So while you are resting, whats wrong with sharing it someone else. I usually get 2 responses when i walk up to someone and say "Hey buddy, you mind if i work in with you?". 1) some of them just say OK and then take everything and run away. This has happened to me many times. I am not kidding. 2) OH i still got 5 more sets. YES, i know you have 5 more sets, but can i jump in for a few sets between your sets. I don't understand why people just can't share it. What irks me the most, is he tells you he has 5 more sets and then he is busy chatting with his friend who is hogging the incline bench press. Jeez dude... if you want to chat, why don't you let someone else use it while you are chatting. You get this a lot when you go in the evenings when the gym is crowded. I have experienced this so many times when i attempted going to the gym in the evening after work. This is one of my main motivation factors to stay away from overcrowded weight rooms in Malaysia. When i was in the States, it was a general understanding that people jump in between sets. In fact, that's how i made so many friends. It just makes everything better. Plus, you now have a spot.

3) PT's can't share equipment with normal folk.
Personally, this has never happened to me. The PTs that train their clients in the morning are really cool and i have loads of respect for them. They usually ask me if they can share the bench with me and similarly i have also asked them if i could jump in for sets while their client is resting between sets and they are OK with it. But i know friends who have experienced snobbish PTs who won't share and worst still, being shoo-ed away by the PT, because they want to use the bench you are using. Well they don't literally shoo you away with words, but they ask you in a nasty way and then just stand about and look at you hoping to intimidate you. This should not be happening. As a PT, you should not be setting the wrong example in the weight room. Or maybe PTs are resorting to this because of reason number 2. Hmmm.... makes me wonder.

4) Don't stand in fron of the mirror and block someone else
If a guy is using the power rack to do squats, please don't stand right in front of him and do bicep curls and block the mirror. This is just plain rude. Whenever you are doing an exercise, take a look and see if someone else is using the mirror first. If there is someone else behind is using the mirror, find another spot to do it. Don't plant yourself right in front and block that person. Its just rude. This has happened to me enough times and i really feel disgusted with this.

5) Spotting someone correctly
Maybe i should write a post on how to spot someone properly, because generally, most people don't know how to spot properly. Over and over again, i have seen one person doing bench press, while his spotter is doing bicep curls at the same time. Group workout???? When you spot someone, you are not supposed to lift as much weight as you can so that the other person doesn't have to do much. I understand when you are helping someone move houses, you would like to help as much as you can, but when it comes to lifting weights, its not the same.

You are supposed to stand by just in case of an emergency and offer minimal help to get them through their sticking point. That's it. Please don't attempt to do bicep curls while i am doing my bench press. When you are spotting someone, ask them how many reps they are going for and ask them how many reps they think they can get on their own. This way you have a better picture of how much help to offer and when to offer it. If i am aiming for 8 reps and say i can do 6 on my own, try not to touch the bar before 6 reps... unless i really get stuck, then yes, do jump in. But otherwise, please don't start your bicep curls from the first rep.

So here are just some weight room ethics which is at the top of my list. What about you guys? Have you experienced any other "irk-ing" scenarios that you wish to share? Or did i miss out any other weight room ethics worth sharing. Do share your thoughts and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What Colour is Your Food?

I was watching Oprah the other day where she was featuring celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has a new show in the US called Food Revolution - not sure if this show will hit our shores any time soon. This show aims to help people understand the importance of eating healthy and staying healthy and he goes around educating people how to make simple yet healthy foods in their own homes. Food Revolution is a spin off from Jamie's previous show in UK which aimed at getting school cafeterias to start serving healthier foods to the school children in UK. After all, a healthy lifestyle is best cultivated when you are younger.

I honestly think Food Revolution is such a brilliant idea and i hope someone in Malaysia will do the same. Anyway, from watching some of the little snippets of the show, i picked up this really cool and important tip from Jamie, which i want to share with all of you.

During one of the snippets, he visits this family which is already obese. The father, the mother the kids, everyone is just way overweight. So Jamie Oliver goes in to find out what their diet is like and its mainly frozen foods such as fries, corn dogs, TV Dinners, Frozen pizza, fried chicken etc. The reason for this poor choice in nutrition is the usual excuse - we have no time to prepare proper food. Basically, their children have been brought up eating nothing but frozen food. Yikes.

So then Jamie heads to their freezer and takes out everything they have stored in there. He opens up the boxes / packets and starts pouring everything out onto the dining table (see picture below). He then asked the mother, what colour do you see in all these foods. With tears in her eyes, the mother answers "golden brown". Which is so true. Everything on the table is just one colour. Golden brown.This is when Jamie Oliver tells her that their family is seriously missing out on many essential nutrients which is vital for a healthy life. Ideally, the food they eat should be multi coloured. You need to have your greens, your oranges, reds and purples. The different colours in fruits and vegetables gives us different nutrients that we need which also has different functions, so its best to eat foods which have as many different colours as possible. Yes, golden brown is permitted, but it should not be golden brown all the way.

So what are you putting on your plate? Just take a quick glance and see if you have many colours or is all just predominantly one colour. Lets take a look at some of our local favourites and see if it is multi coloured or just one colour.

Hmmm....As you can see, its quite easy to fall into the same trap as the family i mentioned above. If you eat out most of the time, then its quite easy to miss out on all the different colours that we need and just eat one colour. If i were to eat without thinking and just follow my taste buds, yeah, i would do the same. Its called eating on auto pilot.

So how do we prevent this from happening? Simple. The next meal you have, just a take a quick glance and see what colours you are eating. If you are pre-dominantly only eating one colour for all your meals, then you know you know you need to throw in some vegetables here and there. If your meal already looks colourful, then, bravo... you are doing good. Keep it up. I am not a big fan of vegetables and have a limited choice of veges that i do like to eat. So i make it a point to prepare meals that uses these vegetables as much as possible. Or sometimes i make it a point to gulp down a good serving of the veges i do like first, before indulging into my main meal. I also eat lot of fruits to balance out my diet. So again, there are ways to work around this to ensure that you do get in all the various nutrients that you need. The overused excuse of no time has no place here. If you can't be diligent with your meals, then make it a point to eat the different colours during your snack time.

So, what colour is your food? Golden brown or multi coloured. Take a glance at your next meal and see what you are eating. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is Snacking Healthy For You?

I am often asked this question by people trying to lose weight - "Is Snacking healthy for you?" Well my answer is always, "it depends what you are snacking on." Many so called weight loss experts always preach that in order to lose weight, you should avoid snacking. Well this is kinda true if you look at snacking from the traditional aspect - which is chips, goreng pisang and other tasty yet unhealthy choice of foods. But what if you were snacking on healthier stuff? Would that be OK?
Lets look at some basic principles of weight loss. When it comes to weight loss, a huge part of it is calories in vs calories out. As long as your total calories in is less than your total calories out, then you will lose weight. Its just simple science and mathematics. On top of that we also know that starvation diets don't work. In other words, depriving your body of nutrition for long periods of time is counter productive. Why? Because when you starve yourself, your body kicks in into survival mode. In this mode, your body decides to build up its reserve, should there suddenly be a situation when there is no food coming in. This way your body can survive as long as possible. How does your body build up its reserves? By storing whatever you eat as fat. So in order to avoid this situation, you need to eat regularly. With that being said, it does not mean you have a free hand to eat continuously. Remember what i said earlier... it all comes down to calories in vs calories out. So you still have a limit / quota of how much you can eat and still see weight loss. Your job is to spread it out smartly so your body does not go into survival mode.

One of the best techniques to reduce fat storage in your body is to eat every 3 hours that you are awake. This way, your body knows that there is a continuous stream of nutrition coming in, so it does not have to kick in its survival mode sub-routine. So if you traditionally eat 3 meals a day and you are awake for about 18 hours a day, you know for a fact that your body is going through long stretches without food, which is not good for your waist line. So in between those meals, it best to snack in between so there is food going in every 3 hours.

The big question is, what can you eat in between those normal meals of yours. You could eat your chips and goreng pisang, if you were a construction worker using about 4000 calories a day. Sure thing. For the amount of physical labour you are doing, you will need all those extra calories. But for most of us reading this, the most activity we get is when we work out or for some who don't work out, then your total activity for the day is very little. This also means that the total calories your body needs is very little too. So this means you will have to be careful with what you choose to eat so you don't burst your budget.

Ideally you should snack on low calories foods like fresh fruits (also a great way to get in heaps of micro nutrients like vitamins and minerals), muesli or maybe even a protein shake if you are taking one. This way you get to ensure you don't totally bust your daily calorie intake because you are eating every 3 hours.I know its difficult for those in the working world to try and abide by this rule diligently. With meetings and rushing off reports, sometimes even having a regular lunch hour seems impossible. But with a bit of planning, you should be able to do just fine. The idea here, is for you to go to work prepared. The problem why most people can't seem to do it, is because they go to work without being prepared for this.

I personally like recommending simple fruits like apples, bananas, grapes etc, because they are easy to eat on the go and you can store them just about anywhere. You don't need to prepare them before eating, so this removes a lot of the fuss. Buying loose muesli to munch on is great too, but i personally find it a little more cumbersome. Protein shakes are awesome because you can even bring it with you for a meeting. Just put it into a thermos and everyone will think you are sipping down a cup of coffee and won't even know you are drinking a protein shake. Got a long meeting? No problem... if you have your protein shake handy, you won't have to worry about it.

So the big question now is, what are you snacking on? Just because a colleague buys some curry puffs at 4 pm, doesn't mean you have to gulp those down. The problem arises when we don't plan and don't have any other healthy foods to consume. But if you came prepared, then you don't have to snack on that curry puff. Of course its ok for you to chow down that curry puff every once in awhile ( i love curry puffs), but if you are serious about your weight loss, then you know what you need to do to burn off those additional calories because of the curry puff. You will need to work it off somewhere. So do the math and decide which is more important to you - temptation of the curry puff or your figure.

Being prepared is the best way to avoid eating unnecessary unhealthy foods. Carrying some fruits with you takes no time at all to prepare, so there is no excuse as to why you can't do it. Same goes with protein shakes. Its easy, convenient and takes no time at all to prepare. So plan your snacking properly and watch the fat melt off. Its that simple. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Suspension Training Certification

If you are a personal trainer who is looking for a course that will set you apart from the competition and gets you more clients, then this is the course for you. If you are gym buff / fitness junkie who is addicted to the TRX and want to learn more on how to truly unlock the full power of the TRX, then this course is for you too. If you always wanted to purchase the TRX, but was not sure on how to use it, then you definitely want to attend this course, because you will kill 2 birds with one stone.

TRX Malaysia is organizing a 8 hour certification course that is for anyone who is interested in learning how to unleash the full potential of the TRX. With the TRX gaining more and more popularity in Malaysia, more and more clients are actually asking for it by name, and being able to use it effectively and safely, sets you apart from everyone else.

For PTs who specialize in home based personal training, having a TRX as part of your exercise equipment is a definite bonus. Its easy to carry around and you are able to provide your clients with an almost unlimited array of exercises.

The 8 hours hands on course will teach you how to:
  • Set up the TRX in a wide variety of locations (extremely useful if you are doing home based PT sessions)
  • use the TRX in a comprehensive manner so its efficient, effective and a stimulating exercise tool for you and/or your clients of various fitness levels
  • train different client populations for optimal results
The fees for this certification course is going at a special introductory offer of RM 1,388.00 per participant. With your training fees, you will get
  • 1 Suspension Training Course Manual
  • 1 TRX set (P1 Model)
So if you were thinking for purchasing the TRX, now you have the option of purchasing the unit while getting yourself certified to use the TRX. Great deal isn't it?

OK, so who is going to be the trainer facilitating the 1 day course? This course will be facilitated by Marcel Daane, who is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Neuroscience. Marcel has a Bachelor of Health Science Degree in Complementary Medicine coupled with an Associate's Degree in Applied Nutrition. With more than 15 years of experience as an Olympic Level Sports Performance Coach, his credentials also include : NSCA Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist, ACE 'Gold Standard" Certified Advanced Fitness Specialist, ACE certified Mat Pilates Instructor, AFPA Certified Sports Conditioning Specialist, and USA Weightlifting Certified Olympic Weightlifting Coach.

Years of Health and Neuroscience Research combined with Two Decades of Field Experience have enabled Marcel to develop the Body-Brain Performance Institute, through which he conducts Performance Enhancement Programs for Executive Teams of Multinational Companies, such as SAP-Asia Pacific, CISCO, and Accenture to name a few.

In 2007, Marcel conceptualized SPEED Institute, which is now one of the largest Sports Performance Training center in South East Asia.

Marcel is an accomplished Olympic Level Sports Performance Coach. With his knowledge of Resilience and Sports Performance training, he helped the Singapore National Boxing Team secure medals at the 2009 South East Asia Games and the 2010 Tri-Nations Cup, an accomplishment not witnessed since 1972.

How do you register for this course? Just log on to the link below and you can register for the course on-line.

or you can email Danny G at

Simple right? Here are a few more details of the course for those of you who are interested:

Date: December 5, 2010

Time: 9am to 5pm

Venue: No 331, Level 3, block A2, Leisure Commerce Square, Bandar Sunway

Will you be attending this course? As usual, look forward to hearing your comments on this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trip to Langkawi

Firstly, my sincere apologies for not having a post last week. Was a bit tied up with some stuff, so didn't get a chance to sit down and post something. Secondly, Happy Belated Deepavali to all my Hindu readers, clients and friends. I had a blast for Deepavali as me and my family decided to go to Langkawi for the break. As i mentioned in my recent post on my India trip... you know a holiday is good when you feel sad to come home... and i sure did feel sad. So it indeed was a great holiday.

We stayed in the luxurious Westin in Langkawi which was near the town. This hotel truly was superb and this is my first time staying in a 5 star resort in Langkawi. My usual favourite hotel is Holiday Villa. But since my brother in law had a Starwood Privilege Card, we got the rooms at RM 380 compared to RM 1,000++ a night if you were to book it yourself... BIG difference. Is it worth the price? For RM 380, yes. I wouldn't have minded paying RM 500 or RM 600 for the room, but RM 1,000 is a bit much. Don't get me wrong, the room was gorgeous, but my expectation for RM 1,000 a night is a lot more than what we got.

Anyway we left for Langkawi on Friday morning with Air Asia and met up with my sister and her family there, since they were flying from Singapore. Once we checked in, me and my nieces headed straight to the pool. Yes, they are water bums like me. I brought along my trusty float and i had no idea it would be such a hit with my nieces. So much so, that i bought them each a float to take back with them. On the first night, the hotel treated us to a complimentary BBQ seafood buffet dinner. I was excited by the sound of this but was disappointed when i actually ate the food. Lots of the seafood barely had any taste and it tasted like they didn't even marinate it before grilling it. The desert was good though, so i ended up filling myself up with deserts rather than with healthy grilled food.

2nd day, we went out to the shops in Kuah town to buy stuff, especially duty free liqour. Got myself a bottle of Jagermeister (hope this is the correct spelling) and some Strongbow Cider. After that, we went to the pool some more and then at night we headed down to Pantai Chenang. Initially, the plan was to have a Chinese dinner at Pantai Chenang, but then we stumbled upon some Chinese restaurants in Kuah Town itself and decided to have dinner there instead. We then took a drive to Pantai Chenang to have a look and this place has really expanded since the last time i was there. There are a lot more shops and restaurants.

3rd day, me and wifey took my nieces out to the beach. The beach at Westin wasn't all that great, so we decided to drive up to Tanjung Rhu...we got there at late morning and we were the only ones there. Nieces had a blast making sand castles (see pics above) and of course swimming in the sea. We stopped by for lunch on the way back and was planning to head out to the pool after that. But when i got back to my room, i was just too burnt out to do anything... so i fell asleep. That night, we headed out to Pantai Chenang again for dinner. We dined at Oasis (see pic below), which is a restaurant that has tables on the beach... yes, you are on the sand. Awesome. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.Our last day was spent packing and rushing off to Kuah town for some last minute shopping. Our flight was at 1:30pm and Air Asia actually took off at 1:15pm... bravo... 15 minutes earlier than schedule. By the time we reached home, it was 4 plus and boy, it sure was a tiring but fun holiday. It truly has been too long since i last had a holiday that i enjoyed so much.

On a side note, the breakfast at the hotel was really great. Besides your usual stuff like the egg counter, bun counter etc, they had a "blend your own shake" counter. You get to choose if you want milk, yogurt or Soy milk, and then your choice of fruits, nuts etc. And then it is blended just for you after that. How cool is that? So for those who want to be health conscious during your holiday, here is one way to do so. They also had a pancake and waffle station which made fresh pancakes and waffles only when you order. Really great stuff.

Anyway, hope you guys enjoy the pictures i posted and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.PS: These mini's were up for rental while you are in Langkawi. RM 888 for 8 hours. Anyone fancy renting one? Wifey took pictures with the cars as this is one of her dream cars.

PPS: This is also my 100th post. So happy "centennial" post?

PPPS: I finally have a new poll / survey out. Please vote on it and let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Certified Law of Attraction Facilitator / Trainer

Have you guys heard or read the book Law of Attraction? If you have read the book The Secret, then you will be familiar with this. I read the book about a year ago, and after reading it, i was an instant fan of Law of Attraction and finally understood how i was attracting certain "unwanted" things into my life and also learned how to start attracting the things i want into my life. From money, to friends, to relationships - you will be surprised. In fact, i use Law of Attraction all the time even for running Fitness Malaysia, and honestly, the results have been awesome. I have attracted so many clients into the business, just by using Law of Attraction. If you are looking for a good book to read which will help you improve your life, get this book. It only costs you RM 41 from MPH and its an easy read and a definite life changer.

As you may already know, besides running Fitness Malaysia, i am also a free lance Training Consultant and a lot of the corporate training programs i run, are based on Law of Attraction. So when i heard that the author of Law of Attraction, Michael J. Losier was coming down to Malaysia to run a series of seminars, i jumped at the opportunity. One of the seminars he was running in KL was the Law of Attraction Certified Facilitator Program, which i attended and i am proud to say, i am now a certified Law of Attraction facilitator / trainer, having being certified by Michael himself.

The 4 day program was absolutely wonderful and i learned so many little things to improve my skills as a trainer / facilitator / speaker. Before this, all i did was just plan my talk and then deliver it. I try to make it as funny as i can, and that was about all i knew in terms of engaging a crowd. But with the program, i learned so many other tips on how to engage your audience, how to get their buy in to your topic, using Accelerated Learning Techniques as well as many other secrets. He even thought us about room arrangement, crowd control, venue selection and many other tips. So before teaching us all this, he invited all of us for a public seminar where 300 people attended. So he did his magic of engaging the audience of over 300 people and we were all wondering how he did it. How did he get everyone so engaged? How did he get people to write down everything he wanted them to do? How did he get everyone to learn so much in 2 hours and then test them and they still remember everything. Well, thats what we learned after that. He showed us all his little secrets, hand gestures etc and how we can also do the same... and now i know the secrets of becoming a top notch speaker. It was like watching that show on TV, breaking the Magician's code... you see the magic trick first, and then they reveal everything to you.

In addition to that, he also shared with all of us, his life story and how he managed to make it big and be the famous author that he is today. He has appeared 4 times on Oprah and is constantly traveling the world to educate people about using Law of Attraction for their lives. My favourite quote from him during one of our chit chat sessions:

Me: Good Morning Michael, how are you doing today?
Michael: I am doing great, coz that's how i planned my life.

So what was Michael like in person? Very down to earth, loves sharing with people and has a true passion for life. He keeps telling us he is actually a shy person by nature, but honestly, when he walks on stage, he takes command of it. His biggest passion in life is touching people's life through his books & seminars.

The program also taught us how we could start marketing our very own seminars, or better still, how we can run our own Law of Attraction seminars. The whole idea is for us to start running seminars and make money from doing something we love. I love giving talks, and touching people's live and now i know how to make this into an income generating hobby. So all in all, it was one of the best courses i have been too.

Whats all this got to do with fitness? Well not much actually. Just wanted to share my excitement with everybody. One thing for sure, the next time i do a fitness talk, i am sure going to use all the techniques i learned to engage my audience and to get everyone's buy in. So you can expect my talks to be much better, more engaging and of course everyone will learn something that they will remember, even after the talk.

So, have you read the book Law of Attraction? What are your thoughts on it? As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Are Meal Replacements Really That Bad?

OK, i decided to tackle this topic because i have been reading some fitness blogs and other sites and the general consensus about meal replacement are that it is considered cheating, its for whimps etc etc. In short, most people have a very negative view with regards to using meal replacement shakes as a mode of weight loss. Now i used to feel the same way too until some time back i spoke to one of my clients and we decided to give meal replacements a try and it worked wonders for her... of course this is in addition to an exercise routine which i coached her on. So the big question is, are meal replacements really that bad? Is it really considered cheating? Well here is my opinion on it.

Meal Replacement are basically low calorie shakes which is consumed in place of a normal meal. So instead of eating your usual meal, you replace your meal with this low calorie shake. They usually taste very good and have anywhere from 80 to 100 calories... which is pretty low for a meal. It is also usually pretty thick and this is important as it needs to be able to fill you up. If its watery, then you are less likely to get full on it and will feel hungry and probably munch on other things because you feel hungry. Also, its important to note that most meal replacement products are still designed to give you all the nutrients you need from a normal meal, but just without the heavy calorie baggage. So all in all its actually a good product and i don't see any harm in people using this to lose weight.

Lets look at some of the arguments that usually arise with regards to this and my opinion on these.

Its Cheating
When it comes to weight loss, there are hundreds of products out there which promise weight loss without effort. From slimming centers to brain surgery to the swallowing worms, you name it some one has thought of it and is already marketing it. Hence even with Meal Replacements, its considered that you are taking the easy way out. This is true, its an easy way out, but if there are no harmful side effects, then whats wrong with it? Let me put it in a different way. If you are looking to build muscle mass, chances are you are consuming some kind of protein shake to ensure you get enough protein in your system. Isn't a protein shake cheating as well? Shouldn't you just tough it out and eat boiled chicken breasts and egg whites to get all the protein you need? The reason you drink the protein shake, is because you are not able to diligently eat that much protein. Hence you supplement it with a protein shake which is convenient. Same goes for taking vitamin supplements? We take it because we know our diet really lacks these minerals and hence why why do it. Same goes for meal replacement shakes. Its just a convenient way for people to ensure they don't over eat.

Its for whimps
OK, usually this comment is followed by because people don't want to exercise and depend on the meal replacement shakes all the way. Personally for me, i don't think anyone should replace all their meals with meal replacements. what i usually recommend is that you swap one meal per day with a meal replacement shake... ideally its the meal which you know you cannot control and will end up overeating. I am aware of some people who sell meal replacements tell you to drink ONLY the shake and nothing else 3 times a day and this is because your shake will finish faster and you will have to buy more and that person makes more profit from you. This is not effective because how long can you honestly go on without eating solid food? a week, maybe 2? then what? This is why i recommend exercise along with swapping of maybe one meal with the shake and the results i have seen are pretty good. And i know its healthy and safe, because it is only one meal a day. So yes, i agree with the rest that consuming this 100% is not the way to go, but at the same time, i think don't think it should be completely thrown out your plan.

Its Expensive
Yes it is expensive but so are protein shakes. My point is, if people are willing to spend that little extra to see better results, why not. Why should we stop them from this? I am not saying that meal replacements are mandatory for weight loss, but if you can afford it, why not? The usual comparison made here by others are that people are willing to spend so much money on these products rather than just jog outside for free. Point taken... but again, i like using meal replacements as a method to turbo boost your weight loss progress. If its works and its safe, why not? Again, not all your meals, just one meal a day.

So would i recommend meal replacements to people who want to lose weight? Absolutely. Would i recommend it with exercise... YES. Would i recommend meal replacements with no exercise? NO, but then you must understand that everyone has their own ideas and a hard headed sometimes. You can tell them what you want, but its up to them to decide after that. Honestly, just drinking meal replacements with no exercise is still better than no exercise and no meal replacement and just maintaining the status quo and continue being overwieght. Which do you think is healthier? So again... if it works and its safe, why not.

What do you guys think of meal replacements? YES or NO in your books? Do share your comments and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Monday, October 11, 2010

TRX in Malaysia

Last Saturday, i was invited for the official launch of TRX in Malaysia. Before this, getting your own TRX unit in Malaysia was difficult and many people actually resorted to going to Singapore to order it or mail order it through the internet. Well now, you don't have to go through so much hassle, as TRX is now in Malaysia and can be purchased easily via a simple phone call to the distributor Eco Lifestyle Fitness Sdn. Bhd.

For those who are unfamiliar with the TRX, let me give you a little history on what the TRX is and how it was developed. TRX is a simple piece of exercise equipment consisting of a handle and adjustable straps that you latch on to a solid beam, tree or door. Once you strap it on, you can do hundreds of exercises and honestly, you are limited only with the creativity of your own brain. You can train your arms, chest, shoulders, back, legs, abs... you name it, you can train it. You use your own body weight as resistance and you can increase or decrease the resistance by simply changing the angle of your body. Go to youtube and type in TRX exercises and voila.... you will be able to easily create a workout routine. Each TRX unit you purchase, comes with a DVD set which gives you instructions on how to use your TRX as well as some exercises you can do. The TRX is also getting lots of publicity now as it is used a lot by The Biggest Loser Asia.

Whats my favourite feature about it. It weighs about 2 pounds and you can carry it anywhere. I travel a lot for holidays and now with this, i can have a quick intense workout anywhere at anytime. Now the TRX is great to tone your muscles and help you lose weight. But you are not going to be able to build much muscle mass by just using the TRX. With that being said, when i travel, i may not be able to get the same workout as i would in the gym with weights, but hey, it is still better than not working out at all, right? So in a sense, you would be doing some basic maintanence workouts, which is better than skipping and trying to rebuild once i return. I also like how it creates a lot of unstability which is great for your core muscles.

OK, down to its history. TRX ws born in the US Navy SEALS by a former US Navy SEALS Randy Hetrick. The idea came about when US Soldiers who were out in the battle field for long missions, needed a means to work out and stay fit. Being a soldier takes tremendous amount of fitness so you will need to stay at your best shape, escpecially when you are out in the field. Bringing heavy dumbbells and gym equipment to the field was out of the questions. So Randy and his team put together pieces of parachute webbing sewn together with a boat repair kit to form a crude version of the TRX we know today. This idea caught on quickly and soon other Navy SEALS began using it too. In short, the TRX was born out of necessity.

After retiring from active duty, Randy went on to get his MBA and soon realized the potential of the TRX when he took it down to a campus gym to workout. He got dozens of curious onlookers wanting to know how it worked and if they could have one. Hence he went on to develop it with industrial designers to develop the refined TRX which we have today.

Now i have known about the TRX for some time now and thought it was a decent piece of equipment. But after going for the launch and seeing the versatility of it, i am totally blown away and now i am a HUGE HUGE fan of it. Whats more, for attending the launch, they gave a free unit of the TRX to take home. YES, i cannot believe my luck. I actually got a TRX for FREE. My sincere thanks goes out to Danny G of Eco Lifestyle Fitness for his generosity in giving me a unit of the TRX. It will be put to good use, not only by me, but my PT clients as well.

So, if you are looking for an exercise equipment to invest in, which can be easily used at home, very very mobile and yet is able to train multiple muscles with varying resistance, i truly recommend you to invest in the TRX. The price is RM 1088 per unit, but compare that with say, an exercise bike. For a decent unit, you are going to spend well over RM 1,000... and all you can do is cardio. With the TRX you can do circuit training which provides you with great cardio benefits, strengthen your core and tone your muscles. So which would you rather invest in?

For those who are interested in knowing how they can purchase their very own unit of the TRX in Malaysia, you can log on to for more details. One thing for sure, i am going to start using the TRX for all my PT clients. So if you like the TRX and not so sure about it, well you do have the option of signing up for some PT sessions with me and i will bring in the TRX for your sessions.

So what do you guys think of the TRX? As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weight Loss Through Brain Surgery

Medical science - sometimes we are thrilled with the advancements that they make, but other times, you just shake your head and say "What the ....".

I was watching Oprah this morning and got the shock of my life at the topic that was being featured. She was having an interview with Dr. Oz and the topic of discussion... you guessed it. Weight Loss Through Brain Surgery. Now of course at first, many may not be able to see the connection here, but basically, our brain controls a lot of our bodily functions, including our appetite, which can lead to obesity.

So the surgery involves drilling a hole in your brain and placing 2 electrodes in there which discharges a small electrical pulse which is supposed to affect the part of your brain which is responsible for your appetite. This electrical pulse is supposed to suppress your appetite somewhat, hence making you eat less, which equals to weight loss. The electrical charges start with a very low voltage and is increased slowly in the months to come. According to doctors, it will take several months before the patient actually sees results.

These electrodes get their power from two pacemaker type devices which are implanted in the patients chest and has a wire running from your chest to the brain. The whole surgery takes about 3 hours to complete and supposedly they have been using the similar technology to treat Parkinson's disease.

So, has this revolutionary medical procedure been tested on an actual human subject? But of course. Carol Poe, the 2nd recipient of this procedure said she has tried everything from diets, to exercise, to stomach staples, but nothing ever worked. (really or you just didn't try hard enough) But now she claims that she can actually control her cravings thanks to this wonder..... whatever you want to call it.

According to Doctors there are no side effects from this procedure as they have been using it for many years on patients with Parkinson's Disease, and thus they are confident it is safe. The other point for adding to your feeling of security (just in case you had any doubts) is that the voltages start at a very low rate and can be manually adjusted, hence doctors are able to monitor their patients carefully before increasing the voltage.

So guys, what do you think about this procedure? Is it sane or insane? Is it really that hard to lose weight that you have to resort to such extreme measures? is exercise really that hard to do? Oprah said she would never attempt such a procedure. So what are your thoughts on this? As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weight Lifting Myths

Time and time again, i meet people who have a fitness question or 2 to ask and i realize that many people have fallen victim to many weight lifting / fitness myths out there. Today, i want to de-bunk 3 of the most popular myths with relation to weight training and i hope.... i truly hope, that this will finally put these myths to rest.

Myth 1 - You will become short if you lift heavy weights over your head.
i don't know if this is just a Malaysian myth but many many Malaysians out there truly believe that if you lift heavy weights over your head you will become short - especially if you lift at a younger age when you are still growing up. I haven't heard this for the longest time and then just the other day i was having a chat with someone and he was telling me how he used to lift weights during his younger days and the reason he is short is because he started lifting when he was 16. This sounds as crazy as the myth i grew up with - eating Maggi Mee will cause you to lose your hair.

Weight training has absolutely no effect on your height. Your height is determined mainly by genetics. Diet plays an important role too, but not as much as genetics. Certain people have the ability to grow taller because of their genes and some people just can't grow taller because they have bad genes. You can eat all the protein and calcium you want from 8 years old, but you will still be short if your genes are bad. Lifting weights over your head has nothing to do with it. How do you explain Arnold? He started lifting weights at the age of 14 or 15 and he is still taller than most Malaysians who don't lift. So please, don't use this as an excuse not to lift weights.

Myth 2 - Your Muscles will turn to fat once you stop lifting

This one is real popular and i have heard this at least a 100 times. If only i got a dollar for every time i heard this. Best of all, i recently heard this from an uncle of mine who just joint Fitness First and he told me the PT he hired in Fitness First told him this. This is his reason for recommending a cardio workout, rather than a routine involving weights. Reality Check amigo... as a PT, aren't you supposed to ask your client what they want to achieve before recommending a program? Or do you just assume that everyone who walks in the door wants to do some running and lose weight? How do these people even become PTs? What if my unlce is interested in having broader shoulders or inprove his swing strength for golf. How does you cardio workout help?

I truly wonder what certification this PT has. Muscle fibers are muscle fibers and fat tissue are fat tissue. Just like your arm can't grow into a leg due to lack of use, your muscle cannot turn into fat. YES, you may put on weight once you stop lifting, but that is caused by the lack of activity. Your muscles CANNOT turn into fat. Can you turn an apple into an orange by keeping it in the fridge and not eating it for 2 months? NO? Well if you can't do that, then you can't do that with your muscle as well. They are 2 different tissues and cannot interchange from one form to the other. You gain fat, yes, but its not all that muscle which is going through a metamorphosis to achieve this.

Myth # 3 - Women who lift weights will become body builders
This is the favourite myth amongst most women i know. Most women generally belive that it is easy to gain muscle mass and hence even if they lift a little, they will bulk up. I need to get them to speak to Aizan of Fitness Junkie Wannabe. Gaining muscle mass is not easy. Ask her and she will tell ya. Firstly, most women will not be able to gain a lot of muscle mass, because they do not have enough testosterone in their body to facilitate this. Secondly, even if they did have more testosterone, you still need to lift a lot... i mean a real a lot before you can see this. The ONLY way for a woman to become like the women body builder below is through the use of steroids. No other way.

So even if your routine was 100% lifting heavy weights, you will not turn into a woman body builder as shown above. Its just not possible. There really isn't any worry about this.

There you go folks. 3 very common myths i am sure you will face out there, so i hope this post puts an end to these myths once and forever. What are some of the other weight lifting myths you hear out there? Do share with us. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments on this.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zerobese Institute

Fitness Malaysia is proud to launch Zerobese Institute - the only weight loss program that empowers you to take control of your weight loss and keeps you motivated till you achieve your desired result. Zerobese is dedicated to 1 goal - that is to burn fat so you can look your best, and live life to the fullest. How does Zerobese work? Well check out the details below:

What is Zerobese Institute?
Zerobese Institute is a weight loss program that not only gives you the physical exercise you need to lose weight (in the form of group personal training) , but also gives you an education on nutrition, health, wellness, weight loss and fitness, so at the end of program, you are empowered to take on this lifestyle change yourself. Zerobese also aims to break the mindset that you need to have a gym membership to be healthy and fit. With Zerobese, our PTs come to you to train you at a location of your choice, so you don't have to buy expensive gym memberships, get stuck in traffic jams, go around in circles looking for parking. We save you money and trouble so you can give your full attention to losing weight and keeping it off forever.

We realized that the missing link in most weight loss programs out there today is that they either focus on exercise or focus on nutrition only. No one really focuses on both because most people are either an expert in nutrition or an expert in exercise. Zerobese combines both nutrition and exercise by bringing the various experts in various fields to you. so you come to one spot and we give you everything that you need without you having to shop around for the missing pieces.

Why is it called an institute?
For many reasons. For 1, the program is designed to run for 3 months or what we call a semester. There are classes 3 times per week (group personal training) as well as complimentary wellness talks from doctors, nutritionists and wellness consultants which will be held over the weekend. So you as the participant get to pick and choose which talks interest you the most. There is an exam, but don't worry - unlike your school and university exams, you don't have to study for this exam. When you join, a health and fitness assessment is done for you to determine your current fitness level, body fat % etc. At the end of the semester, the same assessment is done once again to gauge your progress over the semester. At the end of the day, we want everyone to achieve progress.

Why is it being done as group personal training sessions?
Where do we start. 1, it makes it affordable for everyone to get the training they need. PT sessions are expensive, and this way, you get to cut your cost dramatically. 2, it helps you to stay motivated for the entire semester. Most people fail to see results because they lose motivation over time and feel alone. With group personal training, you are always benchmarking yourself with others and everyone helps to keep everyone else motivated. 3 - its just much more fun when its done in a group compared to by yourself. We could go on and on with the benefits, but as you can see, this is the BEST way for you to lose weight quickly.

So how much are these sessions
well that depends on how many people are in the group. Below is the breakdown of the cost.

1 person - RM 120 per 1 hour session
2 people - RM 60 per person per 1 hour session
3 people - RM 40 per person per 1 hour session
4 people - RM 30 per person per 1 hour session
5 people - RM 25 per person per 1 hour session

No other hidden charges or costs. That's all you pay.

We recommend that you do the sessions 3 times per week but if possible, no less than twice per week. So if you were to sign up for twice a week with 4 of your friends or family members, this program will cost you only RM 400 per month. You get a PT which comes to your house twice per week. How great is that?

But purchasing a gym membership is cheaper, right?
If you were to purchase a gym membership, you will pay around RM 180 per month. This is just the gym membership with no personal training or any training direction for you. so you are basically left on your own to figure out what to do and whether you want to do it or not. Most people go diligently for about a month, maybe 2 months and then drop off - why? because there is no motivation for them to continue. the sad part is, you would have paid RM 180 x 12 months upfront to the gym, so even if you don't go, you will still be paying them.

With Zerobese Institute, we help to keep you motivated all the way so you don't drop off and waste your money for things you don't use. Plus you get a trainer who comes to you. If you were to get a PT in the gym, they would charge you RM 100 per session plus your RM 180 per month.

On top of that, with Zerobese, you get to learn about nutrition, health and wellness from our qualified speakers. Unlike in the gym, where the PT just trains you for an hour and then you are left alone again.

So let's do the math.

Gym Membership - RM 180
PT sessions - (RM 1oo) x (2 sessions per week) x (4 weeks)

If you were to join a gym, you would be forking out RM 980 (say ouch) a month to get the same benefits as you would with Zerobese Institute which would only cost you RM 200 per month. We still haven't factored in your joining fees, traveling cost, parking and time wasted... after all, they say time is precious. so which one seems better now?

What about these talks by nutritionists, doctors etc... do we have to pay for these?
No. Once you join Zerobese Institute, you will get to attend these talks for FREE. You don't have to pay for any of these talks. In fact, we encourage you to bring along your friends for these talks as well. Its open to everyone who is interested to learn more about health, nutrition and wellness. We will send you invites for these talks as well as post it up here in this blog.

Do i need to find my own group or will i be placed in a group
Well its totally up to you. If you have friends of your own, you could choose to form your own group. Alternatively, you could also opt to join a group of new people if you like. You also get to choose how big you want to keep your group. So this is all adjustable to your comfort level.

OK, this sounds awesome. How do i sign up?
Easy. You can call us at 03 8075 8621 or email us at

There you go guys. If you have always wanted to be in a successful weight loss program and want to improve your health, here is your chance. Unlike other programs which give you 10% and expect you to do the other 90% yourself, we will be there every step of the way to help you reach your goals.

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hari Raya Guilt

Firstly, let me take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim friends, readers and clients Selamat Hari Raya.... or should i say Selamat Belated Hari Raya. Hope all of you had a wonderful break. I was right here in KL and sure as hell enjoyed zooming around everywhere... coz the roads were so empty. It still is a little empty... so enjoy it while it lasts. I am sure next week, the roads will be swinging back to normal and it will be totally crazy again.

Now, i am sure many of you out there have probably over-indulged during this holiday season. Guess what, so did I. Yes... on the first day of Raya i went to 3 houses back to back. My last stop was with fellow fitness blogger Arfian of Corporate Athletes and i think i finished a lot of his kuih & biskut Raya. Yes Yes, i know how unhealthy those things are, but i just couldn't resist and it tasted awesome. I am sure many of you out there fell for the same trap.

But now once you are coming back to your normal routine (if you have one), i am sure the feeling you are all feeling is guilt. You probably feel guilty for over indulging, went for that 2nd or 3rd helping when you should have said stop. Some of you might even look in the mirror and say "why, why did i do this?"

Oh well, don't feel guilty anymore. There is hope out there for everyone, not just those who indulged, but for people who want to make a difference in the way they look and feel. We are almost ready to launch our BIG group personal training project that everyone can participate in. Just to give you a little hint, this is unlike any other personal training or group personal training out there. Besides your regular training sessions at a lower price (see previous post), there will be classes and talks from Doctors, Nutritionists and many other qualified speakers who will teach you and educate you on how to stay fit and healthy. You get to choose which talk interests you the most and attend... of course we strongly recommend you to attend all of them. On top of that, we will do a fitness assessment for you before you start, a photo shoot and then at the end of the program, we will redo the fitness assessment to gauge your progress. This really is going to be an amazing initiative and i can't wait to launch it.

So hold on to your knickers for just a tad bit longer and in next weeks blog post, we will finally reveal everything and give you all the details you need to know on how you can join and start seeing fast results. We are currently just tying up some loose ends and then, voila, it shall be revealed.

Oh yes... one more thing. This BIG project kicks off on October 1st, 2010, and seats are limited, so once you read it, i recommend that you sign up quickly before all the seats are taken.

So how did you celebrate the recent Raya holiday and did any of you manage to stay within your plan? Or did you over indulge like me. Please do share and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Group Personal Training

Let's face it. Personal Training is not cheap. In Malaysia, a 1 hour personal training session can cost anywhere from RM 80 to RM 150 per hour. Why does it cost so much? That's because, there is an endless list of benefits to personal training. Here are some of them:
Full attention of your PT - for that 1 hour, your PT has to give you his full attention.
Customized Program - With a PT, he will custom design a workout program based on your needs, goals and of course your body type and fitness level
The PT is able to correct your form immediately - if you are doing the exercise wrongly, the PT will be able to see it and correct you immediately
Propose a personalized nutrition plan for you - Now most PTs don't do this, but you can ask them for advice. If you sign up for Fitness Malaysia's home based PT sessions, all our trainers are trained to give you a personalized nutrition plan that helps you to get optimum results. It comes with the package.

For those who can afford Personal training, then fantastic. But if you still want the benefits of personal training, but can't afford it, what do you do? Well this is where you can join something called Group Personal Training (GPT). GPT is an interesting way for you to get the benefits of personal training, but at a fraction of the cost. This is still a relatively new idea in Malaysia, and not many people are offering services such as this.

Group Personal Training is a 1 hour exercise session where the PT trains between 2 to 5 people in the same way that a PT does, but since there are more people, the cost per person is cheaper. So if you can't afford a full fledged PT session, then group personal training is great way for you to enjoy all the benefits of Personal Training at a lower cost. Now of course, one of the most important points to note is, the group has to be a small number - usually no more than 5 people, or else it loses the personal touch and becomes a group class. This way you still get a good level of personal attention without having to pay so much. The other benefit of Group Personal Training is, that you can sign up for it with your own friends and family members, and this makes the whole training session more fun and exciting. If you feel intimated to work with a PT yourself, now you have the option of doing it together with your friends... so its less intimidating.

Fitness Malaysia will be launching its very own brand of Group Personal Training soon, so do look out for it as we will post updates about it on this blog. We are really excited to embark on this project and get even more people to lead a healthier lifestyle. So what do you think of group personal training? Have any of you tried it? As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ramadhan Bazaar Foods

Ramadhan Bazaar has become such a Malaysian icon and a huge part of our Malaysian culture, that it is no longer only visited by Muslims who are fasting during the month of Ramadhan, but also non-Muslims. As you know, Malaysians have a fascination for food, so the Ramadhan Bazaar is no exception and you will see all walks of Malaysians crowding these bazaars to sample the food.

I recently visited the Ramadhan Bazaar near my house and was fascinated with the selection of foods available. Unfortunately, i am looking at this from a fitness perspective and sorry to say but much of the selection in the Ramadhan bazaar is unhealthy, but i still managed to find some that were decently healthy.

Here are some of the things i found that were relatively healthy to eat or how you can make it into a healthier meal.

Roasted Chicken Wings - when i saw the stall selling this, i had to get it. The ones i got were spicy honey BBQ wings. It was absolutely delicious. Other roasted chicken available was of course the Ayam Percik. I also saw one stall roasting and selling whole chickens, but by the time i saw the stall, i already had too much food in my hands, so i said i will check it out next time.

Ikan Bakar - Marinated in spices and a chili paste and then wrapped with banana leaf and baked. This is another of my favourites and the one i got tasted wonderful. I always squeeze some lime over it before i eat it.

Satay - OK, satay can be unhealthy because of the satay sauce (which is usually loaded with sugar) and the little piece of fat in between. If you want to be healthy, be sure to remove that piece of fat in the middle of the satay and eat the saucce sparingly. If you can do that, you have a pretty healthy meal on your hands. If you are going to eat the entire thing, then its not so healthy. So eat wisely.

Roti John - technically this is a pretty healthy thing to eat. Its egg, chicken or beef, with onions and lettuce pasted onto a bun. Problem is, every time i have bought this in the Ramadhan Bazaar, all i could taste was Mayonaise. Thats because they drown the entire thing with maynaise and chilli sauce. So if you could tell the vendor to cut back on the Mayo and Chilli sauce, then this is a pretty decent meal to get. OR, tell him to put the Mayo and Chilli separately - this way, you choose how much you want to take. PLUS, i think it will taste a whole lot better this way.

Nasi Campur - Again, it is what you choose to put on your plate that makes it healthy or unhealthy. If you want to be healthy, choose more vegetables instead of the fried items. The one thing i saw in almost all stalls - ayam goreng with the "serbuk". OK, not sure what you call it, but this is the coating of the chicken that comes off from the chicken when you deep fry it and sinks to the bottom of the "kuali" and sits there. then these guys scrap it up and sprinkle it all over the chicken. Tasty? Absolutely. Healthy.... err.... maybe not. So just be careful once again with what you throw onto your plate.

Unfortunately, all the other things i saw were pretty unhealthy, so i stayed away from it. They had the usual selection of kuihs, dadih, drinks, nasi lemak and murtabak... which reminds me.. the one unhealthy thing i did indulge in was the the Murtabak... i really love Murtabak, so i decided to treat myself to it. Absolutely wonderful.

Overall Rating - Ramadhan bazaars aren't the healthiest place to get your meals, but you can still find some pretty decent food if you look carefuly and be careful with how you order it. I would not recommend it everyday, but hey, every once in awhile is OK. I understand that these bazaars have become so popular because most people are rushing back from work and don't have enough time to cook before its time to buka puasa. So if you go there frequently, try your best to make some smart choices as mentioned above. Its not impossible and these small steps will go a long way towards your health.

Anyway, what are your favourite foods at the Ramadhan Bazaar? Do share with us and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments