Category Archives: Training

4 Things to Think About Before Picking a Fitness Program

HIIT? Spinning? Body Pump? Barre? Swimming? Dancing? Yoga? Hot Yoga? Pilates? EMS? CrossFit? Running? Cycling? WHAT?!

Fitness programs and facilities are popping up like mushroooms. If you are not already confused about what is out there, I can tell you that I AM! We are swamped with information on fitness/health/nutrition all over the internet and social media. There are programs promising anything from fast/immediate fat loss to super strength gains etc.

It has become increasingly difficult to decide what is best for you. (I FEEL YOU!)


Before you jump on any program or if you don’t even know where to start, here are some things for you to think about:

1. Fitness Goals

Whatever you choose to get into, make sure that they are aligned with your fitness goals. Are you looking to lose weight? Gain strength? Or increase flexibility, mobility and stability?

Once you have written down your goals, it is easy to decide what to do in order to achieve them. Or, if you already have your goals but unsure of which is the best method, get help from a fitness professional!

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My previous goals were to run longer and faster. So, obviously running was all (almost) I ever did. Many people used to laugh at the idea that I was a cardio junkie or thought that I was crazy. Running has always gotten a bad rep in terms of its effectiveness in weight loss. Well, not everyone’s goal is to lose weight! I agree that if your goal is to lose weight, there are other more effective ways.

If you are training for a marathon, you’ll be out there pounding the pavement instead of spending most of your time in the weight room (and vice versa).

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SET YOUR GOALS!

2. Interest

This is a no brainer. You HAVE to pick what YOU LIKE! Pick a sport/training program that YOU enjoy.FullSizeRender_1

If you like running, GO AHEAD! If you like weights/heavy lifting, GO AHEAD!

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3. Sustainability

This point is closely related to interest. If you are not interested, you won’t be able to sustain it for long.

Fitness is a LONG TERM ON GOING journey and it should be a part of your lifestyle/routine. It is NOT a trend or a fad that you pick up, hit your goal and drop it. You’re in it for the long run.FullSizeRenderFind your BALANCE!

Whatever you pick, make sure that it is sustainable both financially and mentally. Of course, there is no harm in hopping around from one training/exercise to another. THERE ARE NO RULES!

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As long as you’re happy and healthy!

4. Community

Everyone performs better with support. Having people around you that support your goals or have the same interest MAKES A LOT OF DIFFERENCE!

They will be there to pick you up when you fall, to motivate you, to keep you accountable and listen to all your fitness related goals/chatter (HAAAA!).

FullSizeRenderProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI would not have achieved so much in running without the help of the people around me (you know who you are!).

The running community was there to share, motivate, encourage and push me beyond my capabilities.

IMG_0451 IMG_1048IMG_9552Whenever I had issues with training or running etc, I knew that I was not alone. There was always someone to PUSH me.

IMG_2258 FullSizeRenderSurround yourself with the RIGHT people and you will go very far.

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Before you pick a program, THINK about these points!

Hope this helps! 😀

Happy training!

xoxo

Plyometrics – JUMP!

Hello!IMG_2513

It’s Me!

Quick Update:

-Loving second semester of my Masters program! Always learning new things 😀

3 Months ++ of ZERO running (does running for the train count?)


What have I been up to since getting off running?

If you are wondering, I haven’t been sitting on my butt. I can’t sit still. 😛 I cannot NOT do anything. I’ve been doing heaps of body weight circuit training and cycling!

Most of the exerises that I do involve some sort of jumping. I find that it is a REALLY good way to get my heart rate up. Because I have plantar fasciitis, I’ve been incorporating it with a lot of care! I try not to aggravate it too much and have full days of rest + a lot of stretching + foam rolling the feet, calves, hips, butt, hamstrings (SO GOOD!)!


So, let’s talk PLYOMETRICS! Plyos have been a huge part of my training (lately). I love how my training has made a 180 degree change from pure running to pure circuit training. I’ve always been doing some sort of strength training (but it was never consistent). I found it REALLY hard to incorporate other forms of training when I was running. And I was not doing as much cross training as I should. Injury has forced me out of my comfort zone and I’m loving every bit of it!

IMG_4817Every time I start jumping, I remember why I chose running. 😉

If you can see the silver lining, amazing things can come from seemingly “bad” situations/conditions. It is all about perspective and how you deal with “failure” or “change”.


BACK to plyos.

Plyos involve a lot of quick EXPLOSIVE movements. Think jumping and bounding.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

The goal is to get your muscles to exert MAXIMUM force (EXPLODE) in the shortest amount of time. This means going from eccentric contraction (muscle lengthening) to concentric contraction (muscle shortening) as fast as possible.

Imagine you are trying to jump onto a box. What do you do? You would bend your knees and lower your body slightly before trying to jump. That bending/lowering is basically the eccentric phase where your muscles are prestretched to store potential energy. The jump is then the concentric phase where you release all that stored up energy.

Plyos require a high amount of force, which can lead to stronger bones, joints, tendons and ligaments.

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– Increases POWER & SPEED
-Increases ENDURANCE
-Increases intermuscular coordination and neural drive = Strength and efficiency
-Reduces landing force
-Improved dynamic balance in older people
-Weight bearing = stronger bones (increase in bone mass)
-Decrease risk of ACL injuries
-Better static and dynamic stability
-Aerobic capacity – increasing blood lactate, heart rate and oxygen consumption

Examples:

IMG_1989-Burpees

IMG_3338-Jumps (box jumps, squat jumps, jump lunges, tuck jumps, broad jumps)

IMG_2068-Hops (single leg hops)

IMG_7940-Bounding

-Death jumps

-Plyo push ups

Menu:

Pick and mix! You can do a few sets with a definite amount of reps or set the timer (30 seconds work:30 seconds rest etc). You can alternate between plyo and non-plyo moves for active recovery in between each move.

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Caution:

-Plyos are an advanced form of training (athletes). Make sure you have a good fitness base, flexibility, strength, coordination and range of movement.

-Make sure you warm up for at lesat 15-20 minutes before any form of exercise (esp plyos)

Start slow from lower intensity movements before progressing into more explosive and advance movements

-Engage muscles

-Ensure proper biomechanics while performing every movement

HAVE FUN!

xoxo

 Resources:

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training 4th edn 2012 (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins)

 

 

Feature: The Ultimate Running Programme

Don’t forget your heart, the most important muscle!


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Special thanks to Axtrosports for this feature! Click here for the FULL ARTICLE. This is just my part on running. ENJOY!


 

We are grateful to have Adele Wong from www.adeleruns.com to share with us a surefire way to whip your heart into shape.

Why Run?

Running is a great workout that can be your staple-go-to healthy activity or thrown in to complement other training regimes that you might have. Running boasts many health benefits, including improving the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs, vessels), strengthens bones, lowers cholesterol levels, releases stress, increases metabolism and helps with weight loss!IMG_4966

If you’re just starting out, your main focus should be on consistency. Commit to a few days of running a week and make it sustainable by picking your preferred time and place.

Week 1-4

The focus for these weeks would be to make running a habit and to build a strong base for more structured workouts.

You can start by running 25-30 minutes, 3 times a week. Monitor how you feel after each run. When 30 minutes becomes too comfortable, you can add 5-10minutes and eventually, being able to run for 50-60 minutes with ease.

At this stage, you can forget about distance and pace. Instead, focus on how you feel. On a scale of 0-100%, you should be running at 70-80% of your effort. Don’t worry, you will get a better gauge of how you feel when you start to run a little more!

Week 4 Onwards

Once you get stronger with a good base, you can spice up your running regime by adding some “fun” and structured workouts. This is where you can work on developing speed and endurance.10356340_10204293752563578_8230519310562349253_n

 

Let’s talk about adding interval training to your running routine. Without getting too technical, interval training is alternating between bouts of high intensity effort and low intensity effort. The duration, recovery time and effort level of each bout depends highly on which physiological system (cardiovascular, muscle strength, nervous system, anaerobic system etc) you want to work on.

Some Great Routines

Short Sprints

10 x 100m sprints with 2-3 mins of recoveryIMG_1446

As you get fitter, work on increasing reps and distance up to 200m. Keep your running time to less than 1 minute.

Hill Sprints

10 x 30 seconds up a steep hill with a jog down for recoveryIMG_2065

As with short sprints, work on increasing reps.

*Short sprints and hill sprints stimulate the nervous system and works on strengthening your muscles.

Long Hill Repeats

8-10 x 60-90 seconds up a gradual incline with a jog down for recovery

IMG_2092Work on increasing reps.

This workout works on muscle fibres that are needed in middle distance running (1km-10km).

Other Routines

6-8 x 400m with 2-5 minutes of recovery (@ mile pace)

4-6 x 600m with 2-5 minutes of recoveryIMG_1448

1 km @ 5km pace | 3-5 x 800m with 2-5 minutes of recovery (10km pace) | 1km @ 5km pace

5 x 1km with 3-5 minutes of recovery

2 minutes x 6 with 2 minutes of recovery

10 x 30 seconds with 30 seconds of recovery

The combinations are endless! You can even do a combination of 5 x 1km finishing with 5 x 400m or 3 sets of 100m, 200m, 300, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m. As mentioned previously, the effort, duration and recovery time depends on which physiological system you intend to work on.

In general, if you want to work on:

Improving the pace over longer distances (speed endurance): the recovery interval can slowly be shorten/equal to the running time

Getting used to the increased pace by stimulating the nervous system: 3-5 minutes of recovery depending on the length of running time

Anaerobic system: the recovery time should be twice the amount of running time to allow for full recovery and anaerobic products to be cleared.

Try adding any 1 of these structured running workouts once a week on top of your usual 3-5 days of easy running. As your body gets used to the stress of heavier workouts, you can start adding 2 structured workouts a week!

Running is so versatile! Mix it up and have some fun!

Review: Garmin Forerunner 235 (MY PANDA)

For the past 2 months ++, I’ve been using the Forerunner 235 thanks to Garmin Malaysia!

*For the rest of the review, the Forerunner 235 will be referred to as MY PANDA (you’ll see why)*Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMy panda has been my go-to watch since.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI have trained and even completed several races with it. I am still relatively new to Garmin. I have not tested many of the other models.

I’ll just highlight the interesting/useful/useless/fun features that my panda has (which may very well be common features in other models)!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetFR235


Internal Features:

  • The WATCH FACE: Yes, you can change the watch face. It is much more interactive compared to the FR225. I chose the cutest, most non-professional looking watch face – My PANDA! People get intrigued by it and I have random people coming up to me asking about my watch! Conversation starter, maybe?

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Just a few of the MANY different watch faces.

  • Wrist-based Heart Rate sensor: My Panda is the first product from Garmin featuring its own heart rate technology (FR225 was using Mio’s HR technology). So far so good. My heart rate has been quite consistent across all wrist-based heart rate sensors. As with all technology, you cannot expect 100% accuracy. Try not to rely too much on it and ALWAYS trust your efforts. You will know how hard/easy you are running. 😉FullSizeRender_1 2

Resting Heart Rate at 37!

  • The GPS system: The Panda allows you to select between GPS or GPS + GLONASS. Without hesitating, I went for the GPS + GLONASS even though I had NO CLUE what it was! Having a ‘+’ is always a good thing, right? Anyway, I Googled it and GLONASS aka Global Navigation Satellite System is the Russian version of the GPS. This feature increases the accuracy of position and distance (because we all want our paces and distances to be accurate to the T, right?)IMG_6541
  •  Different modes of activity: You can select between run, run indoor, bike, bike indoor or others. IMG_6540I’m a sucker for maps and I LOVE looking at maps. I like to see where I’ve been. Very pleased to have a GPS watch that can track my other activities: hiking/walking etc JUST so that I can review them later!IMG_4407These were from my hike/walk in Hawaii. You can SEE the AKAKA Falls! HOW COOL IS THAT!

IMG_4461Walking through the CRATER! You can see how big it is. Excuse me for being overly excited!

IMG_4759Journey to Green Sand Beach!

  • Satellite capture was a zillion times faster compared to the FR225

 

  • Bluetooth sync with Garmin Connect (smartphone) seemed faster and more sensitive compared to the FR225

IMG_6542A lot of info for this watch face.

  • Other fun/miscellaneous/smart watch-ish functions:
  • Activity trackerIMG_6539
  • Step counter and calorie counterIMG_6544
  • CalendarIMG_6545
  • WeatherIMG_6546
  • Smart Notifications from your phone when you turn on your bluetoothFullSizeRender_1Receiving whatsapp messages!

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  • Set several time zones. This came in handy when I went to Hawaii. I wanted to keep track of the Malaysian time.IMG_6548

External Features:

  • Light Weight: This is an EXTREMELY important feature because as runners, any extra weight would mean slower run times, right?! ;P
  • Big/wide watch face: Also an important feature because we want to be able to see the details presented AT A GLANCE and not squinting or trying too hard.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  • Interchangeable straps: Because we MUST change our watch straps to match our running outfits/shoes. My Panda strap comes in two colours: grey or black. It also comes in red and orange.
  • Easy to put on: As runners, we are always rushing out the door because WE CANNOT WAIT TO RUN. So we need to be able to put on our watches as fast as possible. The FR 225 was a little more difficult to slip on. Plus point for the Panda!IMG_2769
  • Clip on charger: I know there are many different types of charger heads across the different models. For the Panda, it was a lot easier to toggle compared to the FR 225. No problems with clipping it on!

 What do I think?

My Panda is definitely one up from the FR225. I am utterly pleased with all the special features and upgrades that has been added to the Panda.

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Okay, I seem to be a little harsh on the FR225. Don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing bad/wrong about the FR225.

But by comparison, I personally prefer the Panda. IF you are just starting out and looking for a BASIC GPS watch, then the FR225 is for you. If you have a little more to spend and want a little more fun features, GET THE FR235! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!

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Running and tracking has never been easier.

You can get it from most of the Gamin stores in Malaysia at RM1550. 🙂

*Psssst, if you are nice to me, I MIGHT be able to give you a little discount. 😉 T&C apply*

Let me know if you have ANY other questions!

xoxo

Physio Treatment – What Happens in a Session

Once upon a time, I had minor knee problems. I went to see a Sports Doctor who ordered a CT scan, prescribed some pills and sent me home with some exercises and rm1000++ poorer.

That was the end of my “Physio” experience and the pain eventually went away. But not because of what he prescribed. I stopped running shortly after (during my uni days).


Around August last year, another problem cropped up. I was training for SCKLM and I developed a nagging pain that ran down my right hamstring and pulled on my knee whenever I ran.IMG_2029

*Photo credits: Vincent

Consistent foam rolling and stretching helped a bit but it was always lingering. I went for a few sessions of acupuncture but felt little to no relief. *I am not saying that acupuncture is NOT good. It just didn’t work out for ME.*

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Soon after, Apple Physiotherapy Center dropped a friendly email offering some help. It was SO TIMELY. I was willing to try anything that would bring relief. I hadn’t explored physiotherapy, so it was perfect.

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Over lunch, Vincent and Jess (partners of the company) shared and explained (the misconceptions/confusions etc) everything about physiotherapy.

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They have been a HUGE SUPPORT for the past 5 months or so. I’ve been going there once either every week or every 2 weeks and I’ve never felt better!

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What happens in a session?

1. TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

The session starts off with Jess placing pads of electrodes on the affected area that is connected to a device that would send impulses to the muscle.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

EMS is generally used for:

-Rehab

-Increase blood circulation

-Relaxation of tense muscles

-Stimulates the muscles to prevent disuse

-As a strength training toolProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

She also places a hot pack over it which feels AMAZING!

2. Soft Tissue Manipulation (Massage)Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAfter about 10-15 minutes of EMS, a massage is given. This is the best part.

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3. Dry Needling

I know this sounds a bit scary BUT THIS is what’s going to help you!

Dry needling involves the use of acupuncture needles on the affected area. They are the thinnest needles and are able to penetrate deep into muscle tissue to target shortened and injured muscles that remain tense. Shortened muscles tend to irritate and press on the nerve.

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This form of diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain is known as Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS). As chronic pain is usually neurological (and not structural), it takes a skilled practitioner to recognise the physical signs and symptoms of neuropathic pain.

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As opposed to traditional acupuncture which goes according to predefined meridian lines, dry needling is used on tender muscle bands, at the center of tightness or near the spine where there is an irritated nerve root. No pain is felt if the needle penetrates a normal muscle. You WILL feel it if you have a supersensitive and shortened muscle.

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I can tell you that whenever Jess puts the needle on my butt, the muscles go crazy! They be rumblin’.

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What does dry needling do?

-Stimulates stretch receptors in the muscle which produces a relax reflex (causes the muscles to lengthen)

-causes minor injury to increase blood circulation to the area which stimulates the healing process

-help the nerve to function normally by creating an electrical potential in the muscleProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

Sometimes after the session, Jess tapes me up!


Although my pain was along the back of my hamstring and pulling on my knee, the root of the problem was my lower back! Specifically the right side. There’s a chunk of muscle that becomes ROCK HARD whenever I lack rest, run too hard or race. And that’s when it pulls on my nerve that runs down the back of my legs.

The treatments have helped to release that tight muscle. THANK YOU JESS! SO BLESSED to have met them and have them as part of my running journey. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMy last session before I left. Already missing them! 😉


I have to work on strengthening my lower back and my core (basically the WHOLE of me). I also need to work on using/activating the right muscles when I’m running. If you have a weak core/legs or if you are not using the right muscles, other non-dominating muscles will help to compensate which will lead to injury and pain.FullSizeRender 3

All these can be done and improved with strength training, running drills, stretching and foam rolling. Cross train and recover well! They are essential to running! And of course, having a good physiotherapist helps too. 😉

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Info on Apple Physiotherapy Centre

Look for: Jess LimFullSizeRender 2

Address:

PJ Palms Sport
No.1 Lorong Sultan, Sect 52, 46200 PJ.
GPS: PJ Palms Sport (Same row with PJ A&W)

Contact: 016 – 3210 662

Website: www.applephysiorehab.com

Email: applephysiorehab@hotmail.com