Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ladies and Fitness

I've always wanted to comment on our ladies' health and lifestyle and give them tips to improve and correct certain flaws i've observed over the years. Our Singaporean ladies are no doubt one of the most health and fitness conscious women in the region. However they are often misled or clouded with false tips to looking healthy instead of being healthy.
Now I have come up with certain problems i've observed in our women and hope that they might correct it with time.

1. Dieting
Understanding the term dieting is the first flaw made by most women. Dieting has been redefined in our jargon as means to cut down food intake and omit foods deemed to be unhealthy. To a lesser extent (luckily), it also refers to cutting down on the frequency of food intake.
According to the online Yahoo dictionary, dieting refers to a food regimen designed to promote weight loss and more specifically to eat and drink according to a regulated system. There is no reference to not eating at all! So here's the first rule of dieting... EAT!
Next I would want to bring up the matter of weight loss. Yes it is true that you diet to lose weight. But weight of what?
There are many types of weight loss; water loss, loss of muscle and the most desired and sought after...fat loss. The way you diet is going to affect what you are about to lose.

2. Building Muscles
Before i begin about how to bring about fat loss, ladies must first understand that unfortunately your metabolic rate is much lower than that of males due to hormonal differences. Male testosterone naturally helps men to build more lean muscle than women and hence metabolic rates for men are generally higher. Not to worry because the solution to increasing body's metabolism is... increasing muscle mass! Most women would be turned off by this idea as the first thing that comes to mind about building muscles is the fear of bulking up to looking like a female Arnie. Well NO! That's one of the biggest mistakes you could be doing.
When I refer to building muscles, im referring to building lean muscles that would compliment a thin body frame.
While guys would want to do something that would give them a bulge at the biceps and literally pop out of a small sized shirt by flexing, ladies would want something that makes them look slim. So how do they acheive their desires without reaching the guys' desires? Well, you can increase the frequency of workout. And there is no need to carry heavy weights.
The guys' norm to build bulky, muscle mass that can well be seen in terms of bulging t-shirts is to carry heavy weights, doing less reps. Now even doing it fast adds to the bulk as fast-twitch muscles are able to grow to a bigger size than slow twitch muscles.

So for the females... don't follow the males...
For your workout, just grab some light weights and do atleast 20 reps for up to 5 sets of the same exercise at a slow and steady rate for each set. This is actually the norm for weight loss and toning, even for men. What resistance does to your body is over time, causes lean muscle growth. For some women, they may look slim, but the bulk of their arms or legs is actually covered with fat.

Another reason why you should build muscle is that for every kilo of muscle gained, your body burns an additional 200 calories a day literally doing nothing! Just that building a kilo of muscle could take a long time, practically.
So get started with those muscles, hit the gym!

3. Supplementation
Here's something interesting. How many times have you walked into a gym and seen a woman grab a shaker out of her bag and down a protein shake after a workout? Personally, I have seen that happen, but I admit that it is rare! I realised afterwards that the reason why females don't go for supplements is for the same fear of bulking up. While guys who can't seem to put on mass try their luck with downing mass gainers, females avoid the very supplement that these guys religiously take.
The truth about protein supplements is that, it is NOT going to give you a quick mass gain. Supplements are products too, and like any other product, are subject to marketing strategies. Hence the design, the claims, the colourful labels, the before and after pictures are all techniques to lure you into buying it and beleiveing that they can do more than what they are capable of.
Protein Shakes aid in muscle repair by providing a steady supply on the important amino acids that you may not be able to receive from the normal everyday meal, and for us Singaporeans, yeah, I can quite safely say that we don't.
However, there is a problem. Different types of protein work differently on the body. The two main examples are Whey and Casein. Whey is the most easily digested and which quickly reaches tired muscles for speedy recovery. Casein on the other hand is slowly digested and normally used for night time supplementation.
For those who are familiar with the wonders of protein and fat loss, here's a refresher. You do know that protein is the hardest to digest and the body burns more energy to digest protein than glucose. Hence to process proteins, you burn fat! Here's the catch. Whey being a quickly digested protein, skips much of the fat burning part and hence for us Asians, if we don't train hard enough, our supplement may well be helping our bellies grow!
Hence the best alternative would be to supplement with Casein Protein. Few places actually have sell Casein protein. I doubt GNC sells it. I found mine from nutrifirst. Casein protein is slowly digested and hence best suited for fat burning. Having a casein shake after a workout may be a great idea. Especially since ladies won't be carrying heavy weights and requiring that much of a recovery boost.

The important change for ladies is to eat properly and have some weight training in their normal lifestyles.

More tips coming soon...

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Post National Service Training

This Post is writtten Specially for those who have just ORDed.

ORD may be the greatest releif for most Singaporean men. It marks the time when you no longer need to wake up early for 5BX, no longer need to do those runs, no longer need to train for IPPT or SOC or burn tons of calories outfield surviving on rations. Wait a minute... now is that actually a health releif?

Many Singaporeans will finally face the end of their fittest period of their lifetime... now that is ORD, fitnesswise.

Fortunately for health conscious people like us, the end of army is not really going to spell a period of lower fitness levels if we still remain disciplined enough to keep ourself in shape. Not just because you still got to pass IPPT the next year, but it is for your own good too.

1. Longer hours of sleep
Naturally, this is the first thing you'll look forward to... more sleep! Now I'm not going to stop you from sleeping and suggest that you should stick to the army regime of falling in at early hours in the morning. Instead im suggesting that you make good use of the sleep!
For ages, our Asian parents have linked beyond 8 hours of sleep as signs of laziness, impending corpulence and have misled us from what good it can do for us, especially when us Singaporeans love to have active nightlives at clubs and forget to sleep.
Sleeping is one of the best ways to grow! No, that does not mean sleeping for one straight week is going to make you taller by an inch. Tired muscles repair and replenish themselves best during sleep. Now does that ring a bell? Yes, im suggesting you make your muscles tired everyday before you sleep.
Our nation luckily has a good number of gyms for you guys to have a workout for a small fee of $2.50 or less (or more for you rich ones). Get it? Gym yourself to muscle soreness, then sleep more than you used to during army and grow lean muscle overnight!

2. Civilian Mode
Let go the feelings! You're free! You are the most powerful person in the nation currently... You Are A CIVILIAN! (imagine Hulk transforming)
Spend some time working out at high intensity for the first post-ord workout day. This can be acheived by releasing all the pressure built up during your service. Let loose all that anger you had in one smooth motion at the machines. I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself or others with free weights.
Best of all, you need not worry about Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or D.O.M.S. For those unfamiliar with that term, it refers to the sensation of muscles feeling fully flexed and sore usually the day after a good gymming session. D.O.M.S. is a sign of muscle tear and an indication that you had a good workout. You don't have to worry about it because now you have extended sleep hours, meaning more time to repair and grow than you used to have in the army.
Infact, if you actually went on to do the exercises you used to do in the army at your own time own target as a civilian, i could say you will become a fitter person with the freedom of having more rest time. Remember, you grow as you rest, not as you workout.

3. Remember to eat on time.
2 years of eating regularly on time would surely have disciplined you to grow hungry at the same time frame everyday. Except that now you do not have a ready and available source of food. This could spell trouble for you to sway from eating at the right time and that would lead to metabolic rate fluctuations. During your service, a high exercise rate and proper dieting period ensured your metabolic rate remained high. Now without the food available at the right time, it is up to you to ensure that your body gets the nutrition it needs at the right time.

Lets start with Breakfast. It is ultimately the most important meal for the day. Except you might want to stick to the idea of having your own version of basic exercises before your breakfast just like you used to have. It is a great fat loss idea, but remember that you still need to stick to your hydration plans before your pre-breakfast workout and have your breakfast within 90mins since you woke up. That would keep your metabolic rate high.

I do not wish to restrict on your food habits on what to eat for lunch or dinner that will have the best fat loss and muscle growth effects as this is the period where you want to experience and enjoy the freedom of choosing your favourite foods and drinks. Just keep in mind not to sway too far. The average Singaporean is known to gain as much as 6kilos within 2 months after ORD alone!!!

Try to have an early dinner like you used to. The traditional Asian bodybuilder rule states that there should be no carb intake after 5pm, infact no food intake at all. So if you want to make some muscle gains after your army before you get to hang out with ladies in the university, it is time you make some decisions on your after-7pm-diet. (5pm for hardcore bodybuilders)

Also remember to go easy on the supplements. Your metabolic rate has been tuned to survive on 3 meals a day for now. Having post-workout protein shakes at this period will increase your body's ability to store fat (this is for our Asian bodies only)

4. Do not forget to run!
You probably used to run for a few kilometres per week during your service and to completely omit this from your training schedule would not be the wisest thing to do. Stick to running atleast once a week of atleast 2.4km. This would help to preserve your cardiovascular state for now.
I would highly recommend swimming as you now have the chance to swim more often than you used to for the past 2 years. Swimming is a great way to tone and could double as a cardio workout at the same time. I suggest you still do some running every week as you still need to pace yourself for next year's IPPT.

So here's the main picture...
Have a good gym workout everyweek. Atleast once, not more than thrice...
Run atleast 2.4km every week.
Have 3 meals a day and eat early for dinner, before 7pm
Go easy on the parties, remember moderation is key.
Swim if you can, learn if you can't.
Sleep atleast 9hours a day! Now that you can afford to!

By the time you enter University, stick to this plan and you'll look and feel great, just like the day you ORDed.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Practical Fitness in Singapore

The average fitness conscious Singaporean... Runs!

Beyond which what an average Singaporean does for exercise can be classified under the Alpha male Singaporean and female Singaporean's workout preferences.

The Alpha Male Singaporean runs most of the time, takes part in atleast one marathon, doesn't miss the New Paper Big Walk every year and loves to gym. He eats anything and everything that tastes good and occasionally makes healthier food choices. Most saturdays are kept free for some beer or drinks at the club with friends. Neverthless, he keeps himself fit enough to atleast pass IPPT every year so that he doesn't have to turn up for Remedial Training (RT) during Reservist.

The Alpha Female Singaporean finds running the primary choice for exercise. Being slim is a must and it is acheived through a very health conscious lifestyle, occasionally resorting to smaller portions and reduced frequency of meal intake. Gymming isn't new to her, but she works out the lower body more often and is less inclined to carry weights as she doesn't want to bulk up. Her fitness however is not put to test every year unlike the men. Neverthless, from the looks alone, she's fit, beautiful and leads a healthy lifestyle.

Now many of you Singaporeans out there may find yourself varying slightly from being defined as the average Alpha Singaporean in terms of fitness. If you find yourself having nothing to do with fitness or have trouble handling your fitness level, then you've come to the right place.

This blog is written specially for us Singaporeans and gives specific information that is best suited for the Singaporean Lifestyle.

It won't take long for you to realise that trying to keep fit or improve your fitness is one trait that makes us Singaporean!

Knowing how to keep fit the right way deserves to be known for FREE!

People out there are making a living by selling you organised information on what to do for your health. Your Fitness is in your hands. Not theirs! They only happen to know something that you don't.

Instead I would like to share with you simple changes that can be made and easily integrated for the average Singaporean to follow and with which he or she will learn how to choose what to eat and what to do and turn himself or herself fit for life.

Here are some Main Points to adhere to...

1. Know your Biology
With the amount of information available on the internet today, it is not going to be hard for one to understand his or her own body. Spend some time to read some biology and find out how age, sex, weight, height, hormones, blood type and certain diseases affect the human body. When you know who you are chemically and biologically inside, you will know how your body will react when you do something to it from the outside.

2. Understand Nutrition
Once again, the internet is your best tool to find out about nutrition. Have some basic knowledge about common nutrients associated with fitness. For example, spend some time learning about protein and the different forms it exists in. Having a good knowledge of food will enable you to quickly process what's in the meal you are having next and allow you to understand what your body is getting itself into.

3. Do Research on existing Training Methods and Diets
Currently there are many books, articles and programmes available for every individual catering to his/her health and fitness. Magazines display quotes such as "Get the 6 pack of your dreams" or "Superman Shoulders" not just to show you what to do to get those, but to make sure you grab the magazine and pay for it. When it comes to diets, there was the Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Hollywood Liquid Diet, Slimming Pills and much much more. Yet have you ever asked yourself... How many of these work? What are the side effects? Who are successful from these programmes?
Well if you haven't, then by now you would have atleast started to wonder. Do you remember TVMedia? They used to advertise Abmachines and other exercise related stuff on TV and were a phone call away from eating into your wallet. Today TVMedia has been phased out, and furthermore those products that were once worth a few hundred dollars are found at Cash Converters for a few dollars. The reason? People sold them off as they DIDN'T WORK for them.

In simpler terms... I advise that you DO YOUR RESEARCH before you embark on any fitness or diet programmes.

The information posted on this blog could potentially harm the Health and Fitness Industry, but it is certainly going to improve your health if you cooperate. Read on and find out how you can live a better life!

With enough research, soon you will be enlightened about how you could still lead a normal life and yet change your habits to make yourself the healthy Singaporean the MOH wants you to be.

More Posts Coming Soon...