Tag Archives: exercise

#AdeleWFOTM – Allison Yee

This month’s feature goes to Allison Yee!

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If you’re into TRI, you’d definitely know this girl! We have not actually met in person but we’re connected via social media (THANK YOU SOCIAL MEDIA!).

She’s the definition of someone who works really hard and has earned all her podium finishes! Read on to find out a lil more about her!


 

1. What’s your main sport?

My main sport is running but I started cycling and swimming too. Now, I am into triathlons.

2. How did you get into it?

I was influenced by my triathlete friends and my boyfriend who is also a triathlete! I remember going into a bike shop alone in my hometown, Kuantan, bought a roadbike for myself and joined the local cycling group. I took it as part of my training to become a triathlete.

3. Do you join any groups (running grp, tri grp, cycling grp etc)? If yes, which group?

Yup! M3X for Triathlon; P2K and Team NATO for cycling.

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4. Your profession:

Student. Currently studying in UPM.

5. How do you juggle work/studies and your sport?

Tough question! It was hard at first. I was tired all the time. But as time went by, my body started to adapt. Definitely requires discipline and consistency.

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6. Do you have a training schedule? What is it like?

Yes, I do! It is very important when you’re still a student. I will have my run or swim in the morning before class, or after depending on my schedule. Tuesday night I will have my spinning class and Thursday night will be my night ride with Team NATO at Putrajaya. Weekends are usually for longer training sessions, either a long ride or doing all 3 with relatively shorter mileage.

7. Who do you usually train with?

Usually with my boyfriend when I am in my hometown, or with my good friends – Irene, Barry and Yoshi. I also train with local cycling teams like Team NATO and P2K and sometimes, I join tri clubs too!

8. Which was the most memorable race event and why!

National Triathlon Championship in Putrajaya and the SEA games selection.

It was my first Elite race! Very nerve wrecking and intense as I raced with the top athletes in Malaysia.

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9. What keeps you going?

The joy in doing swim, bike and run. Also, the people I train and race with.

10. Favourite event:

Port Dickson International Triathlon.

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11. Your inspiration:

I do not have an exact inspiration but what I believe is to bring out the best of myself in this sport, and be humble in what you do and achieve. Share more and you’ll learn more too!

12. Any advice for ppl who want to do what you are doing?

Ya! If you’re already an active person, great! Don’t shy away from this sport because of the commitment required in training. For the ladies, don’t be afraid to have a sun-kissed skin! Those tan lines from your swimsuit, tri-suit, cycling jersey and bib, running shorts etc are what you should be proud of!

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For beginners, just take every step slowly and don’t forget to recover well after every tough training session. Sometimes, doing too much too soon will give you unwanted injuries! Plus, it will get in the way of your training sessions.


Very wise words from Allison! Don’t be afraid to give TRI a try! And don’t forget to start SLOW! 😉

Thanks so much for your time, Allison! All the best and continue to give your best in all that you do!

xoxo

Do Calories Matter? – Part 3

Hello Part 3 (Part 1 and Part 2)!

We’ve explored calories, energy in food, the calorie focused theory and how we gain weight!

Now, let’s take a look at what happens if we just ate less!


Undereating

Image result for undereating

The conventional approach to lose weight would be to decrease food intake, increase physical activity or BOTH! Because……

Calories in < Calories out = WEIGHT LOSS

It seems to make sense.

We’ve all done it at some point in our lives. And I can tell you that it definitely works!

……tired-runner

Until your body catches up and starts going against you. You can’t outsmart your body!

Your body will undergo a period of trying to adapt to the decreased food intake and/or increased physical activity. It wants to defend your body’s set weight [1]. This leads to biochemical changes that can throw off your metabolism (i.e. slowing it down!).

You become very efficient at using your fuel and stores – being able to survive with less energy. It means that overall, you burn less. Keep in mind that your basal metabolic rate takes up a huge chunk of your daily expenditure (60-75%!). You do not want to mess this up.

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The pitfalls of undereating

If this continues, you might:

-Hit a plateau

-Feel tired and fatigued

-Experience mood/behavioural changes

Hunger

-Strong cravings

Lose muscle

-Store more fat

Gain weight

tired

…… basically a ticking time bomb towards failure and losing control. And all of this is happening because your body is trying to look out for you!

This potentially explains why some people, despite a calorie deficit, fail to lose weight!

There’s evidence that fatness can increase despite being in an energy deficit state [1].


We’ve seen how the calorie focused view fails to explain weight gain and weight loss.

So, now what?

What CAN we do?

Stay tuned for Part 4!

MAYHEM – First few weeks in Sydney!

Exactly how I would describe my first few weeks back in Sydney.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset


Week 1 & 2

I arrived on Sunday morning (29th January) after travelling through the night for 8 hours. Safe to say that I did not get much shut-eye. My aunt came to pick me up from the airport and we were off to an extended family CNY lunch.

Rushed back to my aunt’s place to repack my bag to move to my friend’s place (Ming). THANK GOD she was staying just 10 minutes away from my 1st placement site. That takes away the transport-planning stress.

God’s timing is PERFECT! They just got the place a week before I arrived. I moved in BEFORE she did. I guess I “warmed” up her room for her.

IMG_1427So GRATEFUL to have this gem in my life. 🙂 Always looking out for me and worrying about me not having a BED/TABLE/CHAIR etc. I thank God for YOU! I would have been homeless and lost for the first 2 weeks in Sydney! Thanks for your awesome room! LOVE YOU!

IMG_4594Also, Woolies was right next to us (THANK GOD!). I went to grab food to survive the week. Came back, made some food, set aside my clothes for the next day and it was time for bed. I WAS COMPLETELY SMASHED by the end of the day.

FullSizeRenderWoke up extra early the next day to test the transport system (CANNOT BE LATE ON THE FIRST DAY!). It was all good, taking only 10 mins by bus.

First week of placement went really well! Everyone is SO NICE. I have 3 very lovely supervisors. Very excited for the upcoming weeks!IMG_4669The Nutrition and Dietetics department sure knows how to throw a party!


 

It was a lot for me to swallow in just one week. Leaving home on the first day of Chinese new year + Packing and moving + New suburb + New place + First day of placement + Getting used to regular working hours + Stress from placement + Transport system + Exploring my surroundings + Shopping and cooking + Cleaning + Working out… and just trying to get back to a normal routine and life. I am a person that lives on a routine. I like to have it all in my head (at least). It has been a challenging week of just trying to adjust to what I have.

At the same time, I was frantically looking for a place to stay! I spent HOURS and 3 out of 6 precious Gbs of data that I had just looking/msg-ing/email-ing practically every place I could find.

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Hannah Banana! <3 Much needed catch up sesh! Again, so thankful to have her in my life. We spent the day walking, shopping, eating and pouring our hearts out! Just what we needed. 🙂

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetRunning the stress away!


Background story:

I have 5 placement sites this semester. They are all over the place. To me, TIME is very precious. I’d rather move 5 times than to spend my days in the bus/train travelling for a total of 3 hours. And so, the house hunt quest continues!


FINALLY, at the end of week 1, I found a new temporary home for placement sites 1 and 2. There’s a twist to the story. Minutes after we had settled and arranged everything, the landlord had to cut my stay short by 2 weeks (due to something he claimed was a “long story”). I was at the mall and tears literally rolled down my face. I was just TOO STRESSED OUT! GAH!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMoved out of Ming’s place after 2 weeks and into my new home for the next 4 weeks!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetAs of today, I still have no idea where I’m staying for those 2 weeks. That’s a worry for another day. HAAAAA! Currently living out of my suitcase.

Snapshots of my life:

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetTake time out for yourself, clear your mind, focus, pray and just CHILL. #doyou

IMG_5776This is dinner… most of the time. Along with some veges, meat and fruit.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetCheers to 1 dollar pineapples!

IMG_5510And 2.50 mangoes! SUMMER FRUITS! YUMMMMM!

IMG_4601Lunch.

IMG_5795OD-ed on sushi rolls. I’ve been having this every single day! SO GOOD!

IMG_5540Conducted a small group education session for the Drug and Alcohol group on FIBRE AND HEALTHY POO!

IMG_5515Got them to make all the different types of poo from play dough! SO FUN!

IMG_5541They were very cooperative when it came to making the poo and the reading of food labels. Phew!

IMG_5666Our nutrition booth for Australia’s Healthy Weight Week! It was such a good time getting ppl to play the “guess how many tsp of sugar is in this drink” game, filling out quizzes and giving simple education on healthy eating and exercise! #wellbeing #healthylife #lifestyle


3 weeks down! I cannot THANK GOD enough for seeing me through this time. Indeed, I am NOTHING without Him. Feeling very blessed and realized how much I have taken “convenience” for granted. Just grateful to live another day!

Everyone goes through tough times. Social media can be deceiving. Ppl seem to think I have it easy but you don’t know what goes on BTS.

The next time you face a tough period, don’t ask God “WHY ME”, instead ask “Show me YOUR will and YOUR power”.

 

Side note: I’ve been in the gastro/oncology wards and it has made me realize that HEALTH is WEALTH. Appreciate what you have and the body that you are living in. CHEERS!

5 Ways to Get BACK into the Game

You’ve got a solid training plan, you’ve successfully incorporated “health and fitness” time into your busy schedule, you’re on a roll, you’re seeing results, you’re at your peak…… and BAM!

125806194609612954500101197_Life_PRETRAILERSource: www.discovery.com

Life gets in the way – family, work, injury, sickness. Keeping up with your fitness regime is the last thing on your list. You’re forced to take a few days off or maybe even weeks (or months!). Your fitness level is not the only thing that you lose. Your motivation will probably go along with it. Getting your butt out the door is ALWAYS the HARDEST part. No more excuses! Time to kick start your engine.

Side note: Taking time off is good especially if your body is craving for a time out.


 

  1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

You’re probably feeling guilty. And you decide to punish yourself by going all out, doing as much as you can. This is a recipe for disaster. You simply cannot pick up where you left off (depends on how long you’ve been out. But I’m assuming it is long enough for you to lose some fitness gains). Not only are you setting yourself up for potential injury, your confidence level might suffer a huge blow. Setting high expectations which you know you cannot reach is only going to leave you demotivated.

Let’s face the facts: You’re not going to be as fit. You need to drill that into your head.

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Take it easy, be silly and have fun!

I should be the last person to say this because I can be very hard on myself. And it was and still is very hard for me. I know that I am not at the peak of my fitness just yet. So, I have to remind myself to do what I can with what I can.

What to do:

Take it slow. Step by step. You’ve got to learn how to walk before you start running again! Whatever the reason for your time off, your muscles mass and fitness level would have deteriorated. Your body will need time to adapt and adopt a “new” routine.

If you ran every day of the week, you might want to start off with running 3-4 days a week. If weights were your thing, you can opt to reduce the weight, reps and sets. By doing that, you are gradually building your body up, regaining strength and endurance. Try not to overdo it by trying to hit your previous PB. Do more when you feel more confident with your ability.

Set REALISTIC goals. Goals that are high but achievable at the present moment. Remember that your fitness and health is a lifelong journey, not a destination. Get excited to be embarking on a new journey with new goals!

  1. Seek Fun and Joy

For your first session, ditch your gadgets! We’re not going to get into the nitty gritty details of your training. No time, no pace, no distance. Just GET OUT THERE and be grateful that you can be back on your feet. Whether it’s in the gym or out on the road, just aim to get a good sweat sesh!

What to do:

IMG_4962Remember why you started running/working out. Remember how it felt after every session. Get those happy hormones flowing!

  1. Try Something New

To keep things fresh and exciting, try something new!

Not only will this prevent you from hitting a plateau, it might also boost your performance! Remember that your body adapts to your style of training. After some time, it gets bored and your body stops reacting to the stimulus of change.

What to do:

If you’re a runner or an athlete, switch up your training plan! Try a new route for your long run, add in a day where you run by how you feel, change the menu of your speed workouts. For example, you can take a scenic route for your long run and for your speed workouts, you can change the volume and intensity (there is a lot that you can play around with).

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If you’re a fitness enthusiast, join a dance class, bootcamp session, group running, go rock climbing or hiking.

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The most important thing is to find what you LOVE to do. If you love what you do, it makes it more sustainable! You should not be dreading every session/class/workout.

IMG_4971Try group running!

  1. Get Organised

Once you have found your ultimate sport/training plan, it is time to pen down when/how you are going to execute them. Being mentally and physically prepared means you are that much closer to achieving your goals!

What to do:

I like to have a physical planner and calendar. I like to WRITE DOWN (not type) my plans and goals. Not everything has to be digital. There’s something about picking up a pen and physically mapping it out on a big sheet of A3 cardboard.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis is exactly what I do! I like making my own calendars.

Plan your days and set a time. That way, you are more likely to follow through with your plan. With a set time, you can plan your meals around it too. This ensures that you are properly fuelled both before and after your workout. It will also help you to avoid unnecessary clashes with meetings, work, family time or dinner dates with your friends!

  1. Find Your “WHY”

You need to look for the “why”. If you cannot think of why you want to do this, chances are you’re going to either give up DURING your workout or you’re not even going to begin your workout.

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If you can’t justify the sweat and the pain, you won’t do it! Come on, why do we want to put ourselves through torture, right?!

What to do:

Write down a few “WHYs” starting from the most important one.

Why are you doing this? What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? Maybe you know of a family member who is battling with a health related condition or maybe you’ve signed up for your first run.

Those answers are going to help you stay committed to your plan. When you have a clear goal and a focused mind, you will be motivated to achieve it!


 General Advice:

If you haven’t been active for quite some time, your muscles may have become weak, imbalanced or stiff.

For your first few sessions, work on your stability and mobility, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. Stretching, power walking, pilates, jogging or light body weight exercises are all great choices to kick start your routine. These will help get your heart pumping and increase blood circulation to your muscles and cells.

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Always begin with a proper warm up sesh and end with a cool down and some light stretching. Foam roll every now and then. This avoids any unnecessary pain/injury.

Remember to always listen to your body. You know how you feel and nobody else knows your body better than YOU! If you need an extra rest day, TAKE IT! You don’t want to burn out before you even begin!FullSizeRender

I hope this helps! Before you convince your body, remember to convince your mind! Your mind is a powerful tool. If you think you can do it, you can! Set your mind straight, be confident and I’m sure you’ll bounce back to where you were before!

Don’t give up!

 

Train in the Right Heart Rate Zone to Maximise Fitness

Picking up from where we left off, we’re going to talk about the MOST vital organ in the human body – the HEART!

IMG_3827Post-run heart rate.

 Heart Rate (HR)

Our hearts are constantly beating (to pump oxygenated blood around the body) to keep us alive. Heart rate is usually expressed in BPM (beats per minute). The rate at which the heart beats varies for every individual. This is why the resting heart rate (RHR) of an individual is a good indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness. The resting heart rate is the number of times the heart beats per minute while it is at rest. The more physically fit you are, the stronger your heart is, which results in a lower resting heart rate. A strong heart is able to pump more blood around the body with each beat (therefore, your heart rate decreases).

The whole point of exercising is to raise your heart rate (to stress it enough to elicit change and adaptation). You can see why knowing your heart rate and how it responds to exercise is one of the keys to fitness.

Measuring your Resting Heart Rate (RHR)

The best time to accurately measure your resting heart rate is the moment you get out of bed. Make sure you wake up peacefully and not by the buzz of the alarm or the thought that you are late for work. This may lead to inaccurate readings because your heart rate probably shot up 100 beats to cope with the stress (Ok, kidding!). But yes, it will affect your resting heart rate.

You can use a heart rate monitor/watch (what I do) or do it the old-school way – manual palpation.

Manual Palpation:

-Place your index and middle fingers on the radial artery (as shown in picture)

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-Set your timer for 60 seconds and start counting!

-Take your average readings over 3 days and voila, you have your resting heart rate!

The normal range: 60-100 beats per minute [1]

Don’t be alarmed if your resting heart rate falls below the normal range (my resting heart rate is between 48-51 BPM). I am sure many of my crazy running friends are well below that range too! Well trained athletes have resting heart rates that can go as low as 40 beats per minute!

Take note:

*The resting heart rate is influenced by many variables – stress, drugs and medication, caffeine, body composition, fatigue, fitness level etc. Make sure that you are not on any drugs for at least 12 hours prior to taking your resting heart rate.

*Your resting heart rate (RHR) provides an insight into overtraining syndrome. If you have an elevated RHR of over 5bpm (over a few days), it is time to schedule in REST.

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)

The most accurate way to determine your maximum heart rate is to undergo a physical test at a physiology lab. But not everyone has access to these facilities so here are a few alternatives:

-Fox, Naughton & Haskell Formula: 220 – age = Maximum Heart Rate

-Tanaka, Monahan & Seals Formula: 208 – (0.7 x age) = Maximum Heart Rate

-Gellish et al. Formula: 206.9 – (0.67 x age) = Maximum Heart Rate

Adapted from the ACE Personal Trainer Manual, 4th edition, ACE (2010)

Please note that these formulas are a rough guide. Your maximum heart rate may differ by 7-12 beats on either side of the value.


 Heart Rate Training

Hitting the Target

So how do you know whether or not you’re doing too much or not enough? You certainly do not want to over- or under exercise.

The next thing you want to know is: the right heart rate zones that you should be training in.IMG_2984

Heart Rate Zones

Most heart rate zones are calculated using the percentage of your own maximum heart rate. There are actually many limitations that come with this method because it doesn’t take into account the resting heart rate. Remember how the fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate is? Again, I will leave that for another post. This should suffice for now.

Let’s take a look at the different zones:

Zone 1: Very Light

About 50-60% of your Maximum Heart Rate

Training in this zone improves blood circulation. Your heart rate is probably here if you’re taking a stroll in the park, walking your dog or shopping.

Shopping

Zone 2: Light

About 60-70% of your Maximum Heart Rate

Training in this zone also improves blood circulation. This zone is ideal for warm ups, cool downs and recovery periods after a hard workout. If you’ve ever heard of LISS (Low Intensity Steady State training), this is the zone to be doing just that.

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Recovery run/walk

If you’ve just started your fitness journey, you can spend about 30 minutes in this zone. It helps to build a good stable aerobic base with HEALTH as the primary goal.

Activities in this zone include: recovery runs, jogging, brisk walking, power walks etc. This zone is also known as the “fat burning zone” because you’re mainly using FAT as fuel. This zone is pretty much aerobic and fat metabolism requires oxygen. However, if you are talking about fat loss, this is not the ideal zone to be training in (it gets complicated). I can elaborate on that in another post so we’ll leave it at that for now.

Zone 3: Moderate

About 70-80% of your Maximum Heart Rate

Zone 3 is where you perform your easy runs. You can comfortably hold a conversation when you’re running/working out in this zone. This is where you’re able to work on general fitness and build up on endurance.

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You will burn both carbohydrates and fats in this zone. Lactic acid slowly rises in this zone but your body is able to clear it efficiently.

Zone 4: Hard

About 80-90% of your Maximum Heart Rate

This zone is where your anaerobic limit is at. It is where you perform your tempo/threshold runs.

These runs are done at your lactate threshold, the highest speed at which your blood lactate levels remain steady. It places just enough stress for the body to raise the lactate threshold. Tempo runs prepare the body and the mind to adapt to hard running over longer distances. It also works to build on endurance and helps the body delay fatigue caused by lactic acid.IMG_3761

Working out in this zone should feel comfortably hard.

Zone 5: Maximum Effort!

About 90-100% of your Maximum Heart Rate

What most people term as “ALL OUT”. If you are performing interval runs, this is THE zone – MAXIMUM! It is a pretty tough zone to be in and it is usually attained by trained athletes. This zone can only be sustained for short periods of time such as doing 400m sprints.IMG_2773

Interval runs improve your VO2 max – the maximum volume of oxygen that your blood can deliver to your muscles when running at high speed. This type of training aims to increase tolerance against lactic acid build up and allows lactic acid to be cleared more efficiently. This results in improved speed and performance.FullSizeRender

If you have just started out, don’t worry about not being able to hit this zone. Be patient.

To Sum it All Up

Being aware of your training intensity (by knowing your exercise heart rate DURING the workout) helps you determine when to slow down, maintain or kick it up a notch!

Use these tools to determine your resting heart rate (RHR), maximum heart rate (MHR) and the appropriate zones that you need to be training in to maximise your fitness goals!

Get a Heart Rate Monitor

I am currently using the MIO Alpha 2 (www.mioglobal.com). It is an idiot proof watch that does all the work for me (well, except the running). It accurately detects my resting heart rate and exercise heart rate. I just have to make sure that I hit the right heart rate zone!IMG_3734

I’ll do a review on it in my next post!

I hope you found this useful!

Till then,

Keep Running!