PERSONAL RANT: Take a break, Take5: Of Ramadhan, School and a Zombie Attacks

Oh hello there. Yes, its been so long since I last updated this blog. Weeks since I last posted up something about sports, weeks since I last ran, days since I last had a solid good sweat-lovin’ work out. I feel fat. No wait, I have high metabolism. So honestly, I feel skinny and weak. Its like, if there was ever a zombie apocalypse, I’d be either (1) The first character to die, (2) Defend myself like a Hobo With A Shotgun or (3) Don a sheriff’s uniform and hope that I’ll manage to squeeze myself out of a zombie orgy. Sheriff/Police uniform always work wonders. (Think: Dawn of the Dead, Walking Dead and Chuck Norris)

Oh look! Another SALE across the street!

This is gonna be a long post, brace yourself.

Continue reading

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HEALTH & FITNESS: Training Even When Fasting

With just DAYS away from the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, I still remember around this time last year, both Haffiz and I were interviewed about our training runs and preparations for the upcoming, then Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011. I was prepping up to run a half-marathon (21km) and Haffiz is running the full 42km. Was I excited? Hell yeah, I  was stoked.

One of the challenges that we and many other active Muslim people face during this period, is the fasting month of Ramadhan. Despite the required change of training programme, I would not say it is a burden. Mainly because one can always train at a later part of the day nearing to break fast timing (adaptive) OR simply that fasting keeps my body lean too.

We both have different styles of training. His mainly focused on more runs while mine was more a balanced between short runs and high-intensity workouts with weights. I opted for endurance, speed and muscle. Anyways, here are some of the “tips” of my half-marathon  training regime during fasting month. 🙂

1. When did you start preparing for the year-end Standard Chartered marathon? What is your routine training programme?

Mentally, i started prepping myself last year during the SCSM 2010 when i was covering the event from a spectator’s point of view.

Physically, i started going for short distance runs (eg. 2XU 12km race and my own 4km short runs in my neighbourhood) as well as to build a better physique by training with the SG Titans (a non-profit Strongman team, http://www.sgtitans.com/) once or twice a week back then, coupled with my own workouts.

2. For the month of Ramadan, how have you tailored your training?

The month of Ramadhan coincides with the start of my new school’s semester so schedule wise, its very hectic. Thus my runs are minimized to running in the school gym (where i work PT) on its treadmills. I tailor my training very differently now. I am more focused on developing a stronger core and focus on high intensity training / endurance workouts to boost BOTH muscular development as well as improve my cardiovascular system. Training period on the other hand is limited to 1 hour before break fast or at night, 2 hours after my break fast.

3. How much does the new programme (in the month of Ramadhan) affect your preparation?

With lesser time to train, I have to make the best out of each individual session/training. Personally in my opinion, as long as you maintain that level of activity / training for your body, it would not affect much of one’s performance for your runs. I had always been a believer of stronger core leads to better, faster runs. And of course coupled with cardio workouts, it will keep you in shape for the runs/races to come.

4. Why is it important that you continue to train during Ramadan? 

To feel good, be healthy, maintain a decent fitness level at least and most importantly, look good for hari raya! 😛

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Buy a baju kurung that you like BUT you cannot fit well in it yet. And that will motivate you to run! 😛

For more info on this year’s Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012 run, check out: http://www.marathonsingapore.com/

HEALTH & FITNESS: Physical Activity Brings Benefits to Those With Cancer

As mentioned earlier, this blog is more than just about me or my team’s experiences and more in sports, health and fitness. Its a blog for the people, BY the people. And I’m pleased to share with you this amazing article by one of our readers, David Haas, on tips which would benefit our community as a whole. 🙂

Whether newly diagnosed with cancer, going through treatments, or in remission,
physical fitness can bring you many benefits. Those who have cancer often lose
their strength and energy, experience fatigue and weakness, and may also suffer
mental stress. A program of physical activity can help to improve how you feel
and relieve some of the effects of cancer treatments. It will not only give you a
boost of energy and a positive attitude, but it will also help you to feel mentally
and physically stronger and enable you to regain any of the physical functions
you may have lost.

Cancer patients should start out slowly with their physical fitness routine and
increase intensity as they can. This is especially true for those with certain types
of cancer, such as mesothelioma, which is a rare cancer in the lungs. The type
and amount of physical activity you can pursue also depends on other factors
such as age, treatments received, surgeries, and pain levels.

Go for a light run. No need to be so competitive.

Very little physical activity is better than none. Begin by simply sitting up and
moving your limbs (i.e. leg lifts, arm circles), walking short distances, or by doing
light stretches. Later on, try riding a bicycle, gardening, or swimming. Whatever
you decide, don’t overdo it and cause more harm than good. Your physician will
be able to advise you on what exercise is appropriate at your stage and amount
you should do.

Physical activity will help you recover from the effects of your cancer and cancer
treatment. It will also improve your overall health by reducing your risk of heart
disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, and more.
Exercise makes you a healthier individual even when in remission and will allow
you to enjoy your life more fully. 😀

Generally, having some great fun physical activity time with friends allows
you to enjoy your life more fully.

This article was written by David Haas. David is a cancer patient advocate who writes and researches for the betterment of others. He often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations. Check out his personal blog HERE OR you can follow him on Twitter @HaasBlaag.

HEALTH & FITNESS: Losing the Baby Weight – Easy Exercise Tips for New Moms

As mentioned earlier, this blog is more than just about me or my team’s experiences and more in sports, health and fitness. Its a blog for the people, BY the people. And I’m pleased to share with you this amazing article by one of our readers, Katie, on tips which would benefit our female readers and friends. 🙂

Photograph by Jennifer Bradford

After giving birth, you can begin to shed the pounds you gained during your pregnancy without ever having to set foot in a gym. There are many ways that you can get exercise at home and around your neighborhood, which will give you more time and flexibility to attend to your newborn. Taking care of a baby is a full time job, so having the freedom to squeeze in a workout at any available time of day right in the comfort and privacy of your living room is both convenient and easy.

Before you begin an exercise routine, be sure that you listen to your body signals so you don’t overwork it. Right after you give birth, your body needs some time to adjust and recover from pregnancy and being in labor. Your immediate goal should be to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle, rather than trying to reach a certain goal on the scale. Even though many celebrities are able to shed the baby weight at an incredibly fast rate doesn’t mean that this is ideal, so don’t worry about trying to match their standards. Gradually you’ll be able to increase the duration and intensity of your workouts as you get stronger and fitter, and the results will start to show in a healthy way.

For most women, light exercise can be incorporated into your post-pregnancy lifestyle within several weeks of getting birth, and usually after six weeks or more for C-section births. Always consult with your doctor and discuss your plans for exercise and weight loss after giving birth. Your doctor answered all of your questions concerning labor and delivery and provided advice on options like cord blood and immunizations, and your doctor can do the same for you concerning your lifestyle habits and different diet and exercise options. Once you’ve gotten your doctor’s approval, it’s time to burn some calories!

MOVE AROUND

To start out, try moving more during your day by walking and doing light activities around the house, like cooking, cleaning, and gardening. Taking walks around the neighborhood while pushing your baby in its stroller is a nice way to spend time together while getting some good exercise. Eventually you can also switch to a running or jogging routine several times a week. Wear a pedometer so you can keep track of your steps each day. This will help motivate you to move more, and it helps you to see the progress you’re making  throughout the day. Set a reasonable daily goal, and try to meet it, or even surpass it if
you have extra energy.

SWIM

If you have a pool, try swimming laps or treading water to burn calories. Swimming and water aerobics are great calorie burners because you have to engage so many different muscle groups to keep yourself afloat and move through the water. You’ll work your core, legs, glutes, and arms, and it doesn’t take much time to get a good calorie burn. Visit a local community center with a pool if you don’t have your own.

AT HOME EXERCISES

At home, you can turn your living room into a mini home gym. Roll out a mat and do sets of push-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, punches, kicks, leg lifts, and some stretching. Try lifting light weights or using a resistance band to add toning and sculpting moves to your workout, which will burn calories and build muscle to help you burn more fat all day long. Yoga and Pilates are other great ways to firm your body and lengthen your muscles, increasing flexibility and giving you a long, lean look. You can either create your own routine, or follow along with a workout DVD. Some are even designed especially for new mothers!

Overall, try to keep your workouts fun so that you’ll stay motivated. Listen to fun, upbeat music while you exercise, or try a dance-based routine like Zumba or belly-dancing (great for toning up your midsection!). Don’t worry if you don’t have time to do a long workout every day. Even making small changes, like going up and down the stairs more often during the day, will help you to burn extra calories. Take advantage of your baby’s naptime to squeeze in some exercise, and before you know it, the pounds will start to melt away.

As long as you stay committed, you’ll get back to your pre-pregnancy weight again and you’ll increase your levels of fitness and energy along the way; making you a happier, healthier mom! 🙂

This article was written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the blogging community who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche. If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact by visiting her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter @moorekm26.

GYM EVENT: Flame Freeze Indoor “Triathlon”

(Article by Nash A.)

7th June 2012 – The venue, the newly formed Celebrity Gym @ E!Hub, Downtown East. The mission, experience the Columbia Omni-Freeze Ice Technology, via completing the Singapore First Indoor Triathlon. Bil and I, entered the gym and we were completely overwhelmed by the place. With the inviting layout of the space, lavish looking designs of the walls and BIG-SCREENED MONITORS PLACED ON THE TREADMILL WITH INTERNET CAPABILITIES! Gaaaah!

It was like a big playground, regal looking playground, jaws were dropping, I swear. “It is designed to make each and every gym users feel special, feeling like a million bucks, aptly put like a Celeb”, said Tony Pickering, the Managing Director(Singapore) Celebrity Fitness. I couldn’t agree more.

With us still in awe, Columbia representatives handed out our gear for the day: The Columbia Omni-Freeze Ice Baselayer. The moment we fitted it over our body, in an instant, we “froze” over. Besides the fact that the gym was well air-conditioned, it certainly felt light and cooling all over.

So there were 3 functions:

  1. Strategically placed mesh for improved ventilation.
  2. Lowering of body temperature of the fabric to keep you cool.
  3. Wicks away moisture to keep you dry.

Now to get the sweat out, they unleashed Xabier and Fabiana, to bring the pain (and sweat of course). First up, cycling. 20 minutes of alternating speeds and intensity (interval training), following the rhythms of loud playing beats. Intense!!! My legs were really jelly after the session, yup the sweat kept coming alright!! Second comes the interval training (to simulate swimming). It was designed for MMA practitioners, and our butts got kicked…hard!!! Xabier came around to add intensity to the game. My body was screaming through the ordeal (though I liked it…) Luckily, Fabiana took over for the last 20 mins and we danced off the pain through aerobics.

The Bottom Line: Intense training + extreme perspiration = discomfort? Not with the Omni-Freeze. Cooling sensation troughout the triathlon and though it was soaking mid way through the ordeal, within minutes, I was dry again, ready for more.

The Men’s Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve Top($89.90). Comes in Blue and Black colours.

Editor’s note: Perhaps it could be the aircon environment some of us quipped. But after using the tee for some outdoor activities in HOT & HUMID Singapore, this product does prove its worth and indeed made our body feel a lot cooler. Truly proved its worth. 😛

Bonus: we were introduced to a new product called Chi Water, refreshing coconut water, 100% pure, it’s high in potassium and packed with electrolytes which keep your body rehydrated, vibrant and healthy. Fuuwah, felt like a million bucks! Thanks once again to Columbia, Celebrity Fitness and Chi Water. 🙂

Retails at all leading departmental stores. Estimated price ~$3.

From now to 29 February, Celebrity Fitness is offering a special founder membership package comprising a one-time joining fee of SGD 99 and SGD 108 membership fee per month for a year’s membership. After this limited offer is over, membership packages comprise a one-time joining fee of SGD 199 and SGD 139 monthly membership fee. Check them out on FB at http://www.facebook.com/CelebrityFitnessSingapore

EVENT: Adidas KOTR 2012

Last year, I took part in my 1st Adidas run – the Adidas King of the Road (KOTR) 2011 (you can read my review here). It was a gruelling run I must admit. With the event during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, running the 16.8km route was mentally tough. But completing the run WITHOUT consuming any form of liquids or foods made me feel real good. On top of the euphoria and runner’s high of completing yet another run, knowing that I did it while fasting certainly was like placing the icing on the cake. 

I truly felt like a King of The Road. 

Fast forward a year later, the Adidas KOTR will be held on the 28th of October 2012. Held right smack in the middle of the Gardens by the Bay, it would be the final leg of the region’s largest and most colourful race. I mean, the one of its kind 5-leg race spanning over five countries – Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines & Singapore is indeed an exciting race event to go to (if you have the moolah and time to travel overseas). Otherwise, conquering Singapore’s leg of the race is pretty fine enough.

Event: Adidas King Of The Road 2012

When: Sunday, 28th October 2012

Where: Gardens by the Bay

How much: S$50/runner

Link(s): www.adidaskingoftheroad.com.sg (from the beginning of July 2012 onwards) OR you could check out the Main KOTR site at http://www.adidaskingoftheroad.com/

RACE INFO

This year, the race will begin and end at Singapore’s newest iconic landmark, Gardens by the Bay, and will see passionate runners setting paces past iconic sites such as the Flower Dome, Heritage Gardens, Golden & Silver Gardens, Dragonfly Lake and Bay East Garden, the Singapore Flyer and the Floating Platform. This race route will make history as one of the first mass race to be held at the much-anticipated venue of Gardens by the Bay.

SO BRING YOUR CAMERAS PEOPLE! 

With a unique 16.8km route, the city race is targeted at everyone who likes to run – from the social runner, to the serious athlete. One of the objectives of the adidas KOTR is also to encourage runners to take part in all five adidas KOTR events across Southeast Asia, as the total distance completed will be the equivalent of two full marathons (84km).

Another uniqueness about the adidas KOTR is its race theme – ‘Colours’ that is represented through the variety of coloured adidas race t-shirts that participants will don. The multi-colour apparels showcased are meant to represent the vibrancy of the Southeast Asia’s sports scene, making the adidas KOTR the most colourful race in the region!

HEALTH & FITNESS: Cardio Overload

(Article by Nash A.)

I’m sure the feeling of euphoria would have won over the fatigue that grows on you after the 42nd kilometres on the road. Completing a marathon somewhat at times boosts one’s self-esteem and makes us feel good about our accomplishments. Besides, knowing that it is for the development of fitness, we tend to think that the heart is also going to get stronger each time we finish the race so we should go out there and conquer as many marathons and runs as possible. Well, that could be a grave mistake.

A recent study actually measured the vascular functions of avid runners after their runs, the result is really shocking.

By measuring cardiac enzymes and taking ultrasounds, the researchers were able to measure the acute effects of extreme exercise on the heart.

They found that:

  1. Right ventricular (RV) function diminished after races
  2. Blood levels of cardiac enzymes (markers for heart injury) increased
  3. The longer the race, the greater the decrease in RV function
  4. 12 percent of the athletes had scar tissue in their heart muscle detected on MRI scans one week after the race

Although exercise reduces your cardiovascular risk by a factor of three, too much vigorous exercise, such as marathon running, actually increases your cardiac risk by seven, according to a study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010 in Montreal. This is a powerful lesson to anyone who engages in large amounts of cardio exercise, because as it turns out, excessive cardio may actually be counterproductive.

The Solution:

1) Mix it up

Do not cancel your runs just yet. Long-distance running should not be stopped totally. Instead, frequency could be reduced, making way for interval training, which allows you to capture peak cardio activities without superficial strains. Right amount of stress, for the right amount of time.

2) Super-Slow Resistance Training

The objective of superslow resistance training is to create more tension in a muscle for a given workload. This is accomplished by decreasing the speed of movement. The amount of force or tension a muscle can develop during a muscle action is substantially affected by the rate of muscle shortening or lengthening.

In Conclusion

As you would diversify your financial portfolio, please do diversify your training portfolio.
Physiological development should be holistically done to ensure a sound and functioning body, with no signs of over exertion.

But of course, go easy on the diversification. 😛

HEALTH: Say NO to Smoking.

Stub out smoking

A pretty interesting and informative poster by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency about smoking.

More often than not, people tend to think that as long as they run or exercise, they are “allowed” to smoke because well, they are keeping their body fit. But thing is, every cigarette you smoke is only doing you more harm than good.

Yes, it “relaxes” you for the time being and is a great social tool. But smelly, smoky fingers and breath isn’t really a great way to keep a handsome image. Also, with tar in your lungs, I’m not really sure of how it would help you in your future runs, marathons, triathlons and other sports activities.

On a side note, smoking pollutes the air and destroys our environment. Have you seen how SMOGGY Singapore is lately? Zomg.

Of course its easier said than done, i must admit it. But hey, the goodness it brings, its gonna be all worth it. 🙂

EVENT: NIKE ‘The Chance” Singapore Finals

Singapore, 3rd June 2012 – 5 young football-enthusiast have been given Chance in a lifetime to represent Singapore in the global football competition spearheaded by Nike. Called “The Chance”, it will eventually see 100 players from 55 countries around the world traveling to FC Barcelona’s famed youth academy and undergo evaluation by a world-class team of coaches and scouts. The best 16 footballers from the global finals will be chosen by Nike to experience the ultimate training tour as their reward; facing some of the most renowned academy teams in world football – including Manchester United and a U.S. Youth National Team during a once-in-a-lifetime four week tour!

Left to right, Randy Pay, Afiq Mat Noor, Faris Ramli, Nazirul Islam, Sim Li Ming.

The 5 boys that made it through to the Regional Finals are: Muhammad Afiq Bin Mat Noor (19 years old), Muhammad Al Nazirul Islam Bin Abdul Razak (20 years old), Muhammad Faris Bin Ramli (19 years old), Randy Pay Zhan Hao (21 years old) and Sim Li Ming (23 years old).

However, the journey for these 5 are far from over as they would have to battle it out for the Top 4 places in the Regional Finals. Competing against 15 other selected players from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, the boys would certainly have to shine, deliver and just do it if they are ever going to impress the coaches and scouts. Because only the top 4 would proceed on to the global finals in Spain. 

Are Singaporeans good enough?

Competitions like these would have most of us asking – “Can our Singapore boys REALLY stand out and deliver in this global competition?”. Perhaps against the likes of our South East Asian neighbours, they might, if they do not buckle under the pressure AND have a tremendous amount of fitness. I mean, these boys will be training in Indonesia and definitely, the weather there would affect their performances. The only way to combat that is to always have high-level of fitness so that they can adapt quickly in most conditions.

Left to Right, Randy Pay, Faris Ramli, Sim Li Ming, Afiq Mat Noor and Nazirul Islam

However, judging from their built and size, should they proceed on to the global stage, this factor could go against their favour. Although there have been small built players who have excelled in the sport (think Lionel Messi), I doubt we would ever have our very own Singapore “Messi”. With the way our education-system is run, Singaporeans are more likely to pursue a career in a more “stable and recognizable field” besides sports. Not many people get much out of chasing their dreams or passion in playing sports. Some quit half way. Some get injured. Some grow a little too old too fast (like you and me) to get a chance at stardom. 😛

But hey, I guess that is what Nike “The Chance” is all about. Giving our HOMEGROWN talents that one opportunity to beat the odds and chase their dream in football. For what is worth, that is what I would like to see more in the future. Now that they have been selected, seems like these 5 boys would have to go out there and well….JUST DO IT. 😉

P.S, the boys get to train in Nike’s latest range of boots – the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII. Sadly, I cant say much about the feel and performance of the boots except that it does look rather nice on Cristiano Ronaldo’s feet. Would look nicer on mine I’d say. Haha.

REVIEW: Adidas goes Minimalist – the adipure Trainers

Fitness enthusiasts, HEADS UP! Adidas has unveiled its latest range of training gear – the adipure Trainers. The first natural-style training shoe designed specifically for the gym, these shoes were surprisingly very comfortable to wear. And according to the guys from Adidas, the adipure Trainer promotes natural movement by harnessing the body’s natural mechanics thus activating and strengthening muscles.

Like most “minimalist training shoes”, it uses your foot’s natural power and movement that will help you strengthen muscles you never knew you had in your feet, lower legs and throughout your core. Featuring an independent toe separation design and a quarter-inch minimalistic profile, the adipure Trainer allows an athlete’s foot to be close to the ground for optimal speed, balance and agility during a workout. 

For me, one of the plus points of these adipure trainers is that it provides real comfort around the ankle and balls of the feet as you skip, do your clean and jerks and even squats. It has a nice clean and natural feel, providing protection for the skin while still maintaining solid traction with the ground and durability.

It comes in 4 different colour combinations (although I heard that the blue and red are not in stores just yet). Retailing at S$169, you can get your adipure trainers at all leading sports shops and adidas boutiques.

One should not just know how to run but also know how to be functional in your movements and training. Personally, I advocate Total Fitness rather than just being real good in a single particular sport.