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